Replacing windows may seem like something you can do yourself, but properly installing windows and protecting them from the elements is something that’s worth getting help with. Old, single-pane windows waste energy, are difficult to operate and require a lot of maintenance.
“It’s a do-it-for-me kind of job,” said Riverhead Building Supply sales manager Bryan Kappenberg.
The first step for homeowners is to assess what you have. Simply taking pictures of what the windows look like from the inside and outside and then bringing the photos to a local lumber yard or construction company is enough, Mr. Kappenberg said.
“Those guys would be able to look at the windows and that window sash, that window liner, and tell you what you have and what you can do,” he said. “The replacement solution for a house built in the 1970s is going to be very different from the replacement solution for a house built in the 1930s.”
Replacing your windows
Depending on the type of windows already in place, replacement windows can avoid disturbing exterior and/or interior frame details. Most homes use a style of windows from Andersen called narrow-line, which were discontinued in 2013, Mr. Kappenberg said. But Andersen has since come out with the “400 Series,” a tilt-wash style of window that can easily replace the older windows. This new series decreases air infiltration into the home and is more energy efficient than the older model, Mr. Kappenberg said.
Customers can also purchase vinyl replacement windows, which are a cheaper option, but they don’t last as long and may not have a special coating that diffuses heat entering the home during the summer. Vinyl windows are also often single hung, which means only one pane will open, Mr. Kappenberg said.
“That kind of stinks because you can’t lower the top half and raise the bottom half to get airflow through the house,” he said. A good set of vinyl windows will last around 10 to 15 years, while a good Andersen or Marvin set will last up to 50,” he said.
Another value is that a good quality window will eliminate the need for storm windows, although you’ll probably still want screens.
Protecting your windows
Since storms like Hurricane Sandy, more North Forkers are also taking steps to protect their windows from severe weather, said Brian Jensen of Long Island Weather Protection on Edwards Avenue in Calverton. “If you put in new windows but you don’t have a plan for protecting them, you’re not getting the best investment,” he said.
Electric roll shutters can cut down on cooling and heating costs as well as protect windows, Mr. Jensen said. A set of clear corrugated polycarbonate hurricane panels can also be also effective, especially against bigger storms. Those panels screw into rails on the side of the window frame, essentially eliminating the need to nail plywood into the side of the house.
“When something like Sandy comes through, a storm laughs at plywood. It does very little to protect a house,” Mr. Jensen said. “Nor’easters happen on a regular basis and I think Sandy was just the tip of the iceberg. The question is: What are you going to do to combat that?”
Increase your home’s value
The benefits of replacing old windows are substantial. You’ll lower your heating and cooling costs, make your home quieter, reduce maintenance, cut down on drafts and enhance your home’s curb appeal — not to mention the ease of cleaning with the new inward-tilting windows.
Investing in energy-efficient windows will increase your home’s value, so the end result is money well spent.