Ted in Sacramento, CA has been hearing a lot about dual pane windows lately. So much, in fact, that he’s gotten pretty interested in having them installed in his house. He writes:
“It seems like every home expert I know is telling me that my regular windows aren’t good enough, and that I should consider upgrading to dual pane replacements. I’ve heard they’ll make my heating and cooling bills go down, they’ll keep my house quieter, and they’ll reduce my carbon footprint. I like the sound of all that.
But, I do have a few questions I want to ask a window installation expert. First, are all these things I’ve been hearing about dual pane windows true? Second, let’s say I decide to go ahead and buy dual pane windows. What tips would you give me for the shopping and installation processes? Finally, and most importantly, how much do dual pane windows cost?”
Ted, you’ve come to the right place with those questions. In my line of work, these days I hear inquiries about dual pane windows constantly, usually from folks around Sacramento just like you who have heard things here and there about the benefits, and now they want to get serious and figure out whether this kind of upgrade is right for their unique home. There are many factors to consider, and much research to be done, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, dual pane windows are worth it. A tract home’s single pane windows are no match for Northern California’s upcoming heat waves.
So, How Much Do Dual Pane Windows Cost Exactly?
Ted says that his question asking about how much dual pane windows cost is probably the most important of his three questions, and I think most folks I talk to would agree. It’s definitely the question I hear the most from homeowners. Before I get into some numbers, though, I want to caution that these are just estimates, not guarantees. Actual cost will, of course, depend on the size of your home, as well as a number of other factors, including how many windows need to be replaced and upgraded, the duration of the installation process, and the exact model of dual pane windows you choose.
Let’s start by looking at some relevant numbers:
- $4,995: the average national cost of a whole home window upgrade.
- $4,752: the average reported cost for replacing windows in the Sacramento area, with the general range being between $2,602 and $7,404.
- $2,219: the average cost of window replacement for houses with less than five windows.
- $14,504: the average cost of window upgrades for houses with 10 or more windows.
So that’s your base expectation. The question now becomes: how much do dual pane windows add to the average window replacement cost over and above single panes? In general, homeowners should expect to pay between $450 and $600 for an ordinary dual pane window option, including installation costs, while the best models will range from $800 up to as much as $1000. So, let’s say you live in a house that needs five windows replaced. If you choose a pretty standard dual pane option, your costs will be just under $3,000, a bit above the average of $2,219.
How Much Do Double Pane Windows Save?
There are more factors in our double pane windows cost and savings equation than just average prices, especially when it comes to deciding what your best long-term financial option is. I’ve talked in the past about how dual pane windows are more energy efficient, saving you money on your HVAC bills. We have to take that into consideration as well. The US Department of Energy estimates that dual pane windows can reduce heating and cooling costs by as much as 24 percent annually. That’s right, a whopping 24 percent. Let’s break that down.
The average monthly electrical bill in California is between $80 and $100, while the average natural gas bill is $82 per month. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume you use your furnace for six months of the year and your air conditioner for the other six, paying roughly $1,032 a year in heating and cooling costs. That means dual pane windows can save you about $250 annually on your energy bill. Most dual pane windows last about 18 years, so over their lifetime dual pane windows save you about $4,460. If you live in that five-window house I mentioned above, that means you’ll actually make your money back in HVAC savings over the life of your newly upgraded windows.
Custom Dual Pane Windows Offer Additional Benefits
Now, one thing to consider is that not all double pane windows are created equal. Pre-fab windows may not save you anything in the long run due to an installation process that is known to be damaging to stucco walls around window frames. Some window installation companies, however, custom design all of our windows to specifically fit a client’s home. On top of all the energy efficiency benefits, this means that you can get dual pane window replacements that fit right into your existing frames, ensuring there will be no damage to any of your stucco or sheetrock. The windows will also have a tighter seal, and Sacramento’s noise pollution will be reduced by dual pane windows to as minimal as possible.
My guess is that Ted, like most of the homeowners I talk to about this, has now decided he’s all in. He’s probably ready for some advice for buying dual pane windows. There’s no secret to this. The easiest way to shop for the right dual pane windows for your house is to contact a window professional who can advise him on the best model for his own home. Ted should make sure to get an estimate (or estimates), and use my math above as a guide. I dealt almost entirely with averages. Ted, of course, will want to figure out his exact costs.
The great things that Ted and many other homeowners have been hearing about dual pane windows are true. They can lower HVAC bills, reduce noise saturation, improve a home’s curb appeal, and reduce your carbon footprint. They do cost more than single pane windows, but they’re an investment that pays off over time in the money you’ll save on heating and cooling bills. My last tip is to take a look at your budget, move some numbers around, and open a window (sorry) in your budget to afford this upgrade as soon as you can.
Find out exactly how much dual pane windows will cost for your house. Contact the professional window installation experts at Bell Brothers today.
Image courtesy Unsplash user Fabian Blank