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Home Improvement Guide 2007
Get ready
Before starting any home improvement project, research and planning is the key to successful results.
New windows give home quick face-lift

One of the fastest and easiest ways to improve the overall appearance and curb appeal of your home is to replace those old, discolored, paint-flaking windows that shout"neglected home" to every passer-by.

We didn't include "cheapest." Windows generally range from $300 to $1,000 -- but the return on investment is excellent and there are all sorts of rebates and credits that help offset the initial cost. And if you're trying to sell, old windows drag down the value of your house.

If you're like most people, you don't really spend much time thinking about your windows. Many people take windows for granted.

From a practical standpoint, old windows can be costly. Those drafts aren't merely annoying -- they translate into big bucks in the form of higher energy bills. Right now, your hard-earned money may literally be going right out the window -- especially if you have the old single-pane style, which can lose up to 50 percent of your heating and cooling energy through leaks. Replacing basic single-pane windows with Energy Star-rated models would save the typical homeowner $125 to $450 a year, Energy Star says.

Windows have a typical lifespan of 15 to 20 years, unless you live near a golf course or Little League field. That longevity helps soften the blow of the high price tag. Any "extras" -- such as unusual sizes or shapes that must be custom-made -- will drive the price up even higher.

The good news is you can often recoup some (or all) of that investment. For one thing, replacing old drafty windows with energy-efficient ones will result in considerable savings on your heating and cooling costs. In addition, new windows (especially those with desirable energy-efficiency properties) can increase the resale value of your home. In fact, the Cost vs. Value Report published by Remodeling magazine says the average homeowner can expect to recoup between 83 percent and 102 percent of the cost of window replacement when the home is sold.

"Replacing windows is one of the best investments a homeowner can make today," says Kathy Krafka Harkema of Pella Corp., a Pella, Iowa-based window, screen and door manufacturer. "New energy-efficient, eye-appealing, easy to operate and maintain windows add value to the home, especially at resale time."

New windows usually offer greater security than their predecessors.

-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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