If you’re in the market to buy new windows, you’ll hear a lot of claims about how much energy you could save. Be skeptical of anything you hear because the Federal Trade Commission has repeatedly fined window companies for false claims. The FTC’s window-buying advice is worth reading before you shop.
As it turns out, new windows aren't nearly the most cost-effective or energy-effective means of making your house more energy efficient. Energy experts, like Brandon Theil of Chicago Energy Consultants, say that the best bang for a homeowners buck is sealing leaks and increasing insulation throughout the home.
Other energy solutions include:
- Use weather stripping around your windows.
- Seal up holes with caulk or other materials.
- Apply plastic to cover drafty windows.
- Insulate the attic space.
Eventually your windows will have to be replaced, but if these other issues aren't addressed first your home won’t be any more energy efficient than it was before. Start with ensuring that there are no places where air is escaping your home.
For example, this may be at areas in your basement where plumbing work emerges from the walls. If this isn't sealed properly it may cause a huge reduction in energy efficiency.
If you’re serious about improving your home’s energy efficiency, start with an energy audit. That’s a home inspection followed by recommendations for which tasks to do first and estimated savings. Contact me if you need a referral to an energy auditor.