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Your windows do far more for your home than you may think. While they do improve a home’s physical appearance, they also provide light, views and ventilation, plus they can be responsible for up to 25 percent of your heating bill. If you have old, drafty windows, you’re also losing money year-round. During the summer, your air conditioning unit needs to work much harder to get your home cool when the sun is beating through the drafty windows. When wintertime rolls around, cold air gets in and it’s that much harder to heat your home. It may seem like a large expense, but new windows can go a long way to saving you money over time.

There are a lot of factors to consider when you start thinking about replacing your windows, and one of the first things to figure out is how many panes your windows are. If your home has single-paned windows, then you should definitely consider an upgrade, as those are the most likely to be losing a lot of heat. Double-pane windows are a great start, but if you can include high-performance glass, you’ll really start to notice a difference. You can even opt for the newer triple-paned windows to get the best savings on the market today. You can discuss different window options with the company you select, as they should be able to go over the different ratings for energy efficiency, durability and security.

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If you do decide to invest in new windows for your home, the precise amount of savings will vary depending on your old windows, your home’s location and many other factors. Some studies, including a recent Energy Star study, show that a typical home can save as much as $465 a year when you replace single-pane windows and upgrade to double-pane replacement windows.

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In addition to the money you’re now saving on your heating and cooling bills, you may also qualify for a federal tax credit for replacing your windows. To qualify for the credit, you don’t even have to replace all the windows in your home, but you do have to use qualified windows. The amount of tax credit can vary, so be sure to check with your accountant when you file.

Once you’ve finally decided to get new windows and everything is installed, you’ll notice all the other benefits to new windows. Not only are they more energy efficient and money-savers, but you’ll also find that they’re easier to clean than your old windows and far more attractive for the outside of your home. Plus, your investment may also improve the overall value of your home, should you ever be in the market to move or sell.

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While it’s true that it can be costly to replace your home’s windows, over time you’ll find that it’s worth the investment. With lower heating and cooling bills, plus new tax credit savings, you can find plenty of other ways to enjoy that money you’re saving.

Article by Deborah Flomberg.