Cleaning and repairing your home are obvious ways to protect its appeal and function, but updating your home with eco-friendly additions ensures your investment is efficient and valuable. Unfortunately, you may not know where to begin with your updates. From upgrading to low flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water waste to installing solar shingles to reduce energy costs, the possibilities are truly endless. However, if you want to see an enormous reduction in your home's heating and cooling costs plus instant appeal and value, focus on your windows. Using this guide, you can replace, dress, and tint your windows for energy efficiency and appeal.

The 101 on Replacement

While window replacement costs may seem high, you will see a large return on your investment. Replacing your single-pane windows with Energy Star qualified windows can save you $126 to $465. Understanding when to replace your windows is key to preventing further loss of energy.

If you are noticing the following visible signs, you are most likely in need of new windows:

  • Difficulty Opening and Closing – If you find one or more windows that are constantly sticking when you try to open and close them, your windows may be deteriorating and need replacing.
  • Buildup of Frost – Condensation on the glass panes can build up and freeze if your old windows lack proper insulation.
  • Temperature Decreases/Increases – Use your palm to test the temperature of the window inside your home. If it is overly warm or overly cool, your windows lack proper insulation. Use your hands to feel or a lit candle flame to see drafts of air. These drafts are signs that your window frames are deteriorating.
  • Peeling Paint – Inspect the interior and exterior frames for peeling paint. Chipping paint or softened window frames signify moisture. Without replacing your windows, the moisture can lead to expensive water damage and dangerous mold.
  • Visible Light – From the outside of your home, inspect the frames for spacing or signs of light. If you can see light, your frames are lacking sufficient sealing and caulking.

Repairing some of these issues is possible, but investing in new windows is smart for energy efficiency and long-term financial savings.

Dressing for Success

While surprising to hear, you can improve the efficiency even further by dressing your windows with specialized treatments. Curtain panels, shades, and blinds block the sun and heat from inside your home for proper air conditioning, but they also prevent heated and cooled air from escaping your home through your windows. Of course, these window treatments also add a bit of style and personality to your home.

Install blinds on your windows to increase their efficiency. Wood and faux wood blinds are also versatile options for each room in your house. When you require privacy, close the blinds, but open when you prefer natural light.

Energy-efficient curtain panels are attractive and functional options for dressing windows, as well. While they appear similar to traditional curtains and drapes, the lining provides ample protection from the outdoor sun and temperatures. Fortunately, you can find these energy efficient curtain panels in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles.

Time for Tinting

Tinting your new windows is also an option for increasing efficiency. This thin layer of film will block heat from entering through your windows, resulting in regulated interior temperatures and a 30 percent reduction in cooling costs.

Window tint not only helps you conserve energy, but it also protects your paint, wood and upholstered furniture, and electronics from the harmful rays of the sun. This protects wall paint, leather, fabric, and artwork from fading, but also reduces the possibility of deterioration due to the harsh ultraviolet rays.

From added value and appeal to the intense energy conservation, the benefits of replacing your windows are easy to see. Using these tips, you will understand when to replace and learn how to enhance your investment's benefits.