How to Replace Your Windows For Next to Nothing
To replace or not to replace-that is the question that almost every homeowner asks at one time or another when it comes to windows. However, there’s probably no better time to ask that question than in today’s financial environment, which makes it not only possible but profitable to replace your home’s windows.
In fact, the net cost of replacing your old windows could be next to nothing-it’s simply a matter of doing your homework before you purchase and doing some calculations based on your current utility bills:
1) Choose energy-efficient windows that are eligible for the government’s $1500 energy tax credit. 2) Research your financing options before you buy new windows. 3) Calculate your average monthly utility costs.
Buy Windows that are Eligible for the Energy Tax Credit
The really great news for homeowners this year has been The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provides federal tax credits for eligible building components that improve energy efficiency. Happily, this includes energy-efficient replacement windows.
In order to meet the eligibility performance criteria, windows (doors and skylights too) must have both a U-Factor equal to or less than 0.30 and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) equal to or less than 0.30.
By choosing energy-efficient windows, the tax credit is 30% of the amount paid for the product, up to a maximum of $1500 combined for 2009 and 2010. In other words, if you spend $5000 on new windows before December 31, 2010, $1500 goes back into your pocket at tax time! Not bad.
Shop Around for No-interest/No-payment Finance Offers
As a homeowner, you have many options available to you in order to finance your home improvement plans-even if you don’t have the cash on hand to buy your new windows outright. Consider taking advantage of some of the no-interest or no money down financing offers.
These incentives make it easier for you to borrow the money to carry out the improvement while allowing you to use the money you do have for other things. Remember also that you have equity in your home, and that means you can take advantage of financing options that others may not have by using your home as collateral.
Home equity loans and lines of credit, for example, have low interest rates and the interest payments are often tax deductible. Tax deductible options put money back in your pocket so to speak, further reducing the actual cost of the home improvement. So it’s wise to research your options and spend some time with your calculator before you decide how you want to pay for your new windows.
Energy Efficient Windows Mean Savings on Your Monthly Utility Bills
Much has been written about the energy savings you can reap by being energy conscious. They aren’t exaggerating. The statistics bear out the claim. Energy-efficient windows can save a homeowner an average of 25% on monthly utility bills.
According to Energy Star’s savings estimates for a typical home, $126-$465 can be saved a year when replacing single-pane windows with Energy Star qualified windows and $27-$111 a year over double-pane, clear glass replacement windows. The money you save on your monthly utility bill will help to cover the cost of your new windows within the first year.
Finally, installing energy-efficient windows is a wise investment for the long-term, as they will increase your home’s resale value as well. Over time, your new energy-efficient windows will actually pay for themselves.
It’s clear to see that when you factor in all of the tax benefits, the utility savings and the return on investment, replacing your old windows with new ones really can cost you next to nothing.