Growing up, my dad used to have a subscription to this magazine called Consumer Reports. The magazine evaluates products and gives people info that they can use to make sure they’re getting the most value for their hard-earned money. There was a time when my dad hardly bought anything without first reading about it in Consumer Reports, whether it was a car, a stereo, or a lawnmower.
Now, as an adult, I’m not as meticulous about it as he was, but I do like to make sure that I’m getting the best possible value for my money, especially when it comes to things that are as important as home repairs and upgrades. My sense is that most California homeowners feel that way too. That’s why today I want to talk about 3 tips for getting the best windows for the money.
We’re going to talk about the best type of windows to get for your home, finding the perfect frame to suit them, and, of course, working with a skilled custom window contractor and installer in Sacramento to guarantee the right fit for your home. Windows, as I’m fond of saying, are the eyes of your house. The right set of windows can make such a big difference, from curb appeal to energy efficiency. Here’s how to get the best windows for the money.
How to Get the Best Windows for the Money: Top 3 Tips
Here are my top 3 tips for how to get the best windows for the money:
- Invest in double pane windows
- Find the perfect frame
- Work with the right window contractor
Best Windows for the Money Tip #1: Invest in Double Pane Windows
The first—and maybe most important—thing that I want to talk about when it comes to getting the best windows for the money is why it’s a good idea to invest in double pane windows. Now, I’ve talked about how double pane windows work in the past, but it’s really important, so I think it bears repeating.
Just like the name implies, double pane windows have two panes of glass, either tempered or laminated, held in a single frame. But rather than sitting directly against one another, the panes are separated. This cavity is created by spacers, and it’s either a sealed vacuum or is filled with a non-toxic gas like argon. The size of this cavity depends on the crafting of the window but typically ranges from a quarter to three-quarters of an inch thick.
The reason that choosing double panes is so important when it comes to getting the best windows for the money is that the added insulation helps you save money on your heating and cooling bill…
The reason that choosing double panes is so important when it comes to getting the best windows for the money is that the added insulation helps you save money on your heating and cooling bill—which is important in a climate like ours where we have dry and hot summers, but wet and cold winters.
…if they’re properly installed by a local expert, double pane windows can potentially save as much as $340 a year.
If you do invest in double pane windows (and I strongly recommend that you do), you’ll notice a big difference in your energy bill. In fact, if they’re properly installed by a local expert, double pane windows can potentially save as much as $340 a year. When warm air transfers easily through single pane, your HVAC has to work harder to keep a consistent temperature in your home. When air doesn’t transfer or transfers more slowly, you’ll use a lot less energy to heat and cool your home, resulting in big savings. And big savings for years to come is a big part of getting the best windows that money can buy.
Best Windows for the Money Tip #2: Find the Perfect Frame
After you’ve elected to go with double pane windows, the next big choice for getting the best windows for the money comes when you have to select your window frames. The glass, of course, makes up the majority of the window, but the frame that it fastens into is almost equally as important, especially when it comes to insulation. Air can pass through cracks between the glass and the frame if you don’t choose the right option for your home and your new windows.
While double pane windows are almost universally a good fit for homes, the type of frame that’s best for a house can vary, depending on factors such as what the material it’s going into is. Stucco, for instance, is always tricky. We’ll talk about this more in the next section, but finding the right custom windows contractor who can advise you on the tricky business of frames is absolutely vital.
Best Windows for the Money Tip #3: Work with the Right Contractor
As I’ve mentioned throughout this piece, in order to get the best windows for the money, it’s important to pick the right local contractor. A local and highly experienced contractor can help with all your new window installation questions. They can give you more info about the money on utility bills that you stand to save by investing in double pane windows. And, they can help you pick out the best frames for your unique situation.
Most importantly, though, they can give you advice on how to get help paying for new windows. Here in California, we’re lucky to have a number of great financing programs that can help you with the cost of new windows up front, including HERO, PACE, SMUD, Ygrene energy efficiency, and more. These programs can be a little tricky to understand and navigate at times, but a good contractor can help you through it.
In my line of work, I meet a lot of homeowners in Northern California. I think almost all of them know how important windows are, and I think almost all of them are interested in getting the best windows for the money. However, when it comes to things like frames, double pane windows, and finding financing, they can sometimes be a bit in the dark. That’s why, here at Bell Brothers, we ensure that your new window job gets done right—and that you get the absolute best value for your money.
Wondering how to finance new windows—or even a furnace or plumbing upgrade? SMUD is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a SMUD-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local window, HVAC, and plumbing specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
Image courtesy HalfPoint