Stories & AdviceWindows

Stop Wasting Your Money Today With These Energy-Efficient Bill-Busting Shortcuts

You want all your windows to be energy-efficient, aesthetic, bill-busting glass beauties. I'll help you get there with these energy-saving shortcuts.

WARNING: Everything you read in this blog post can save you money, but DIY window replacement or energy shortcuts may void your warranties. Since writing this, I have actually had my windows upgraded professionally to ENERGY STAR, double-paned, energy-efficient windows.  They keep warm/cool air in the right places, reduce dirty energy, and have helped lower my monthly energy bills. No shortcuts were required. Hope these shortcuts help until you can upgrade too!

I will be the first to admit that I spent most of my life not knowing the difference between double-paned and single-paned windows. AND I had no clue how they affect my energy bills.

Windows were just the BORING pieces of glass that hung out in the holes in my walls. I cleaned them once a year. No big deal.

I was WRONG.

I’m no ignorant homeowner anymore.

I’ve since written articles for home improvement blogs and home ownership businesses, upgraded my own windows professionally, and have lowered my energy bills by much more than you’d think.

When I saw how much I was saving, I knew I needed to reach out to every homeowner I could.

The thing is, we don’t talk about energy-efficiency to each other.

We don’t go to the neighborhood block party or a church function and strike up a conversation about window awnings as we compare energy bills.

And that’s a good thing!

But, that also means that unless we find other ways to get helpful information to each other, there are going to be a LOT of us out there having a hard time.

And that’s bad.

So while being your Window Dude might not seem like a noble calling, I have taken the mantle on, and I’m here to get you the help I would have loved years ago.

PC: http://www.westcalpropertygroup.com

You may be thinking, well gee-whiz Window Dude, I can’t afford to just upgrade all my windows at once! Well, you’re exactly the person I want to talk to today.

So if you’re basically Bill Gates or Kim Kardashian, go ahead and get your wonderful energy-efficient windows and ENERGY STAR appliances all at once.

BUT, if you’re like me, you need a plan.

You need some window “Energy Star” shortcuts until you make it.

And then you’ll need these shortcuts until you make it all the way around your house.

Why Upgraded, Energy-Efficient Windows Are The End Goal

While my main goal here is to provide you affordable energy shortcuts and get you connected to the best in the window biz (yes, I have friends in high places *wink, wink*), I also want to help you get to the end goal.

Your end goal is to have all your windows upgraded to energy-efficient, aesthetically pleasing, bill-busting glass beauties.

You may be asking, “Why? Where are these amazing shortcuts Window Dude keeps talking about?”

They’re coming in fast!

But no one wants to deal with shortcuts forever. Eventually you’re going to want the superior energy-savings and bill-busting beauties we’re talking about.

Window tech has improved over the years. No, it’s not a dead science!

Look around. Are you still using paper windows like your long-dead ancestors used?

No.

Cause they’re dead. And obviously that’s because their windows were inferior.

Our windows have improved drastically, and they’re saving homeowners money while reducing energy waste and greenhouse gasses. The U.S. government sees this and wants to make this upgrade more available for people who can’t typically afford the upgrade.

And that means window upgrades that are a lot more affordable for me and you!

Based on my research, the more energy-efficient we are collectively, the less pollution we create, and the better our health.

Not to mention overall satisfaction in the U.S. And that means less money going towards fixing the environment and fixing our health AFTER the damage has been done.

Think of it as tax incentives for preventative care.

This window energy-efficiency tax credit goes to help cover 10% of the cost (up to $1500) of these newer, higher-tech windows.

And if you’re interested in learning more about this sweet 10% then you’ll want to get connected to the best window pros in your area with the cute, little form at the bottom of this page. But I’m not here to talk about that.

Science and Research To Convince You I Did My Homework

I did my homework, ok! I told you I take this seriously.

It turns out that there is actually a lot of science behind these new energy-efficient windows.

But along with that cool science and pizzazz, there are some super cheap and easy fixes you can do to your current windows to make them almost as efficient as these newer windows.

Your ancestors would be crazy jealous.

If you went back in time with these shortcuts and some actual glass windows (even crappy single-pane), they might just burn you for a witch or something. Cause, you know, magic!

PC:www.123rf.com

Important Note: If you do use these awesome shortcuts, just remember you’re going to miss out on the increased home value provided from the nicer windows and the 10% tax credit. See opening warning statement for more info.

So, before we get into the easy-peasy-shortcuts, let’s cover these cool new windows for a moment.

You can decrease your electric bill by up to 25% each month with these beauts.

According to EIA.gov, homes can attribute 25% of their electric bill to their windows. That’s ¼ of your total energy bill, my friend.

Homeowners lose about 30% of their energy through leaky windows yearly!

Let’s take the unfortunate single-paned window for example. That single window can cost you several pretty pennies in energy-loss every day!

If it’s summer and a hot 95 degrees Fahrenheit out there, and you want your home to at least be a comfortable 70 degrees, this one, devious, single-paned window will be effectively vomiting 1244 W/m^2 (Watts Per Minute Squared). Compared to a double paned window that is losing 33.7 W/m^2 (Watts Per Minute Squared).

What a huge difference just one extra pane makes!

I’ve already done the math for you, just let me show you. It won’t hurt; I promise.

PC: Fox/Simpsons http://newsroom.ucla.edu

According to energystar.gov, upgrading to ENERGY STAR windows lowers your energy bills and saves you money even more than an upgrade to fancy, new double-paned glass windows.

A typical home upgrade with ENERGY STAR will save:

Upgrading from single-pane windows: $126–$465

Upgrading from double-paned clear glass windows: $27–$111

Depending on your upgrade, you’re saving approximately $100-$500 per year in energy saving!

That’s savings of $10,000 over 20 years that would literally have just been thrown away out the window.

If that’s insignificant to you, you’re in the wrong place, friend. Cause that’s a big deal to most of us middle-class Americans.

ENERGY STAR savings according to U.S. geographical location.
PC: Energystargov

ROI (Return On Investment)

When you’re looking to invest, one of the things you need to consider is ROI (return on investment).

According to the National Association of Realtors’ Cost Versus Value study (2016), homeowners make around 73% of their window replacement investment back when they resell their home.

However, install windows incorrectly (as some DIYers do), choose the wrong windows, or choose less energy-efficient windows, you can actually lose value on your home.

That’s absolutely no good.

Which is why I’m reiterating the importance of keeping your warranties valid and talking with your local window professional.

Another thing you want to consider is aesthetic.

Stuff like built-in-cabinets, or mantelpieces, or unique windows can add value to your home. If you downscale that uniqueness, you can reduce the value of your home. Again, no good!

You want to match the look of your home or improve it. Don’t use vinyl when wood adds to your home’s appearance. Don’t choose one giant window when the window with several panels looked better.

Consult your window professional for the best upgrades for your home value.

Sneak-Attack-Shortcuts Before You Upgrade

PC: www.west-info.eu

So now I want you to imagine these savings, but without the cost of upgrading your entire home to ENERGY STAR windows.

Some may think these are obvious, but you’d be shocked (maybe appalled) at just how many homeowners a) don’t realize how much money they’re losing to drafts, b) don’t know how to check where their drafts are coming from, c) don’t do anything to prevent that loss.

Important Note: If you do use these awesome shortcuts, just remember you’re going to miss out on the increased home value provided from the nicer windows and the 10% tax credit. See opening warning statement for more info.

So, to prevent your windows from eating through you wallet, there are some key DIY shortcuts you can use to reduce energy loss until you can get around to actually upgrading all your windows.

Click here to get connected to your federal and state tax incentives and rebates.

Use these shortcuts as some first, cheap steps that offer an immediate payback without the investment.

PC:www.gobankingrates.com

Sneak-Attack-Shortcut #1: Install Window Film

Window film is a thin layer of vinyl or polyester which you apply to your window directly. Window film is an affordable way to reduce your energy bills, decrease glare, add decoration, and even make your living space more private.

Window film should help your ac do its job better–blocking radiant heat and UV rays. They are especially effective in older homes with weaker, single-paned windows.

Of course, window film makes it more difficult or impossible to use your windows.

Window film is easy enough to install that any motivated DIYer should be able to handle it. Just invest a little patience and time.

Window films come in several different types. Some are meant to block UV rays and keep out heat. Other films are used for privacy and still others are used to strengthen a window so it doesn’t break as easily. So make sure you get the one that’s going to maximize your savings.

Pros:

  • Can add privacy
  • Keeps out radiant heat and UV rays
  • Strengthens windows
  • Decorative
  • Some will work with curved surface such as concave windows
  • Look for film that may be reused in the case you want to take the film off during winters
  • Look for long warranties against bubbling and cracking
  • Good short to medium-term solution

Cons:

  • Peeling, cracking, bubbling
  • Only works if each side of the window film is sealed
  • You don’t get sunlight or the heat from the sun in the winter
  • May block desired outdoor scenery
  • May make home dark too often
  • It seals the window; you can no longer use that window

Sneak-Attack-Shortcut #2: Seal Gaps

I talked about how plastic window film can kind of help with that. But weather stripping, caulk, and foam can be a better way to insulate your windows.

In fact, a can of low expansion expanding foam may be enough to do the trick. Or maybe squish some DAP Silicone II around your window.

A caulking gun can be a great way to also seal up gaps and drafts that’s causing you to lose a ton of money.

And hey, I did the sand snakes or wadded up towels trick for a bit too. So if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes for now. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

It can also be helpful to have a home professional come and do a home energy audit. This can help you figure out where you’re losing the most heat.

This can be huge in helping you narrow down the culprits.

And while I’m talking about this, there’s a good chance you’d benefit from splurging on some serious insulation if you’re leaky and not upgrading anytime soon. This includes walls, vents, attics, and windows.

PC: tdiair.com

Pros:

  • Affordable and versatile
  • Easy to apply
  • Works fast
  • Insulation
  • Saves you money
  • Good short to medium-term solution
  • A go-to shortcut for many homeowners. When done correctly can work great!

Cons:

  • Certain expanding foams can warp jams and blow out framing so be super careful and make sure you know what you’re doing. Ask a window pro before application
  • Stick to low expansion expanding foam (see above)
  • May still be costly if you invest in some good all-over insulation
  • Need to check on efficiency more frequently and make sure the stripping hasn’t come undone or the caulk is still working
  • If installed incorrectly it won’t help you save money (pretty obvious)

Sneak-Attack-Shortcut #3: Curtains or Other Materials To Keep Drafts Out

This seems obvious but, again, you’d be shocked how many people aren’t doing anything to limit their energy loss and who don’t even know they’re losing that much money.

Even just simple heavy drapes in the winter or summer can keep the warm/cool air where you need it.

In college, my roommates and I used shower curtains we taped over windows to stop drafts. When I married my partner, we pinned up blankets for the first couple years until we finally upgraded to some heavy curtains.

That saved us so much money and we could tell a huge difference in temperature! It kept us much warmer/cooler when we covered the main windows and doors (not the main door obviously).

Pros:

  • Can be super cheap
  • Surprisingly effective
  • Helps keep energy where you want it
  • May even be decorative if you get good curtains
  • Great short-term solution

Cons:

  • Can look really silly (shower curtains)
  • Can look a little sloppy (nailed up blankets)
  • Not the best aesthetically but if you’re not trying to please anyone who cares?
  • Doesn’t do anything for your home value

Your (Favorite) Window Dude’s Summary

These are absolutely the best and most simple shortcuts you will ever need to lower your energy bills this year.

As your favorite Window Dude, I used them all together, saved a lot of cash, then upgraded to some amazing windows. Then I saved even more money. Now I’m paying for my family’s next sweet vacation with a lot of help from the savings.

While the shortcuts may not be the prettiest or most aesthetically pleasing, and it may not increase your home value, it’s a viable option to protect yourself until you can budget and afford that sweet window upgrade.

If you’re spending more than $75/month on your energy bills, you could qualify for the same help I got when I upgraded.

If you’re feeling ready for a home upgrade, then use the form below.

Check it out today and let me know what you think!

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