With energy costs getting higher and higher, it makes sense that so many home and business owners are trying to improve energy efficiency. Simply by altering your home slightly, you can reduce energy waste drastically, which is good for the planet, in addition to being good for your wallet. Replacing your windows with ones that promote energy efficiency is one example of how you can accomplish this. Windows let in light, but they can also let in moisture and outside air. The more airflow your windows allow when they are closed, the more warm air will escape in the winter. This can drive your heating bills way up, since a lot of the energy goes to hot air that escapes through the windows.
Whether or not your windows are properly sealed is one of the biggest factors that determines how energy efficient they are. Even windows made of the best, most insulating materials, can allow a lot of air to escape if they are old and worn down. At least once a year, you should inspect all of your windows to make sure there are no visible leaks. If you have had the same windows for several years, it may be a good idea to replace them anyway, although this partially depends on what materials the windows are made of. Wooden window frames can deteriorate quickly, since wood is so susceptible to water damage. Vinyl windows are much better at resisting water damage, and they are a bit more insulating than wooden windows. That being said, they also can deteriorate over time, so it is a good idea to inspect them if you have had them for a while.
Once you have figured out that your windows need to be replaced, you need to figure out how to go about replacing them. Like many other components of your home, windows do come in standardized sizes, so it is usually pretty easy to find replacement windows for your home. Replacement windows are essentially the most convenient and practical way to replace old or damaged windows because they do not require a lot of work. Replacement windows can easily be installed in a day, and in many cases homeowners simply do this part themselves. If you do not find something that you need among the standard replacement windows, though, some companies offer custom windows, which give you a little more control over the shape and design.
In either case, though, you do need to figure out what you want your windows to be made of. As mentioned, wooden window frames do have some weaknesses. Also, aluminum window frames make very bad insulators. Vinyl and fiberglass are the two other options, and both have their advantages. Vinyl windows are definitely easier to install and are quite a bit cheaper. They are good insulators, but not nearly as good as fiberglass replacement windows. Furthermore, fiberglass replacement windows are also more durable than vinyl, so you can expect them to last quite a bit longer.