The thought of replacing your windows might seem costly. You might think that your windows are functioning fine right now, so why should you bother replacing them?
Replacement windows are a big investment. Most significant home improvement projects are. If you’re asking yourself if new windows save money, the answer is yes. Upgrading one window or all of them can help you save on energy, cleaning and maintenance costs in the long run. And if you’re a savvy window shopper, you can save in the short-term too.
Five Ways You Can Save Money When Replacing Windows
1. Benefit from rebates and tax credits for energy-efficient windows.
Yes, you can get a tax credit for new windows! Qualifying energy-efficient replacement windows are tax-deductible. For years, the federal government has offered incentives for homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient.
The energy-efficient window tax credit was extended through December 31, 2020. So if you purchase and install qualifying ENERGY STAR® windows, doors, skylights or other products, you may be able to claim a federal tax credit of up to $500.1
Even if you purchased and installed ENERGY STAR windows or doors as far back as 2018, you can still apply for this tax credit and deduct 10 percent of the cost. Be sure to confer with a tax professional to determine if you qualify.
It’s not just the government that will give you money for investing in energy-efficient windows. Your local utility company may offer additional incentives and rebates as part of an energy efficiency program. These programs typically cover many products, so check with your energy provider to see if they offer rebates for energy-efficient windows as well.
Lastly, depending on who you purchased your replacement windows from and where you bought them, you may also be able to get additional savings. During promotional periods or certain seasons, window manufacturers and retailers often offer rebates on replacement windows, even if they’re not energy-efficient.
2. Calculate how much new windows can save on energy.
Like new light bulbs and appliances, replacement windows can recoup energy savings. But unlike those other home products, there isn’t a bright yellow sticker telling you how much new windows can save you.
Fortunately, ENERGY STAR calculates the estimated average savings for typical homes when upgrading to energy-efficient windows. Old windows can be a significant source of heat loss. On a typical home, replacing your old single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-certified windows can save you between $101 and $583 a year.2
As the years go by, those savings continue. So when you factor in the potential reduction in your heating and cooling bills due to more energy-efficient windows, the investment in replacing your windows might seem more reasonable.
How do energy-efficient windows save you that much money? They’re more air-tight than traditional, single-pane windows, which prevents outside air from getting in and inside air from getting out. Dual-pane and triple-pane windows have more layers of glass and may contain insulating gas between the panes to provide additional insulation. Energy-efficient glass may also have a special coating that reflects sunlight to keep your home cool in the summer or absorbs it to help hold in warmth in the winter.
3. Improve your resale value.
It can take years to recoup the cost of replacement windows. But you don’t have to stay in your home forever to make up some of that investment.
Replacing your windows can increase the value of your home if you choose to move. New windows can improve the curb appeal, and you can even customize your windows to fit the architecture of your house or enhance the interior aesthetic to make it more attractive to buyers.
In addition, potential homebuyers may also be willing to pay more for a home that's more energy-efficient because it offers the promise of energy savings for years to come. Replacing your windows with new energy-efficient windows can return up to 72% of the project cost upon resale.3
4. Reduce window maintenance and repair costs.
When it comes to maintenance and repairs, replacement windows can save you both time and money. The cost of constantly having to maintain old or inefficient windows adds up and can leave you with more weekend projects than you’d like. If a windowpane, sash or something else breaks or slowly stops operating as well as it used to, it might make more sense to replace the window rather than repair it.
5. Make home window cleaning more convenient and affordable.
Regularly cleaning your windows doesn’t just provide a spotless pane of glass — it’s an important part of window maintenance that helps keep dirt and grime from building up and causing damage.
Depending on where you call home, cleaning windows can be a challenge. Some climates or environments may kick up more dirt and debris onto your windows. If you have windows on a second story or above the roofline or live in a tall building, cleaning the outside of your windows can be difficult.
New windows are designed with convenient features like sashes that tilt in, making them easier to clean and making it less likely you’ll need to hire a cleaning company. Factor in what you would have spent on the tools and supplies needed to clean your old windows — or have them professionally cleaned — and you may see significant savings from window replacement.
Many homeowners start the window buying process and get sticker shock. But when you consider all the potential benefits — tax deductions, rebates, energy savings, increased resale value, reduced maintenance and repairs, lower cleaning costs — it quickly adds up to make replacing your windows a worthy investment.
1 Consult with a qualified tax advisor to confirm eligibility. Pella Corporation and its sales partners assume no liability regarding the homeowner’s ability to obtain tax credits. For more information, visit energystar.gov/taxcredits.
2 Ranges are based on the average savings among homes in modeled cities. Actual savings will vary based on local climate conditions, utility rates and individual home characteristics. For more information go to energystar.gov/products/building_products/residential_windows_doors_and_skylights/benefits.
3 According to the 2020 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine.