Angie's List: Before you buy new windows, check out these tips

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Common signs that your windows need replaced include wood rot and drafts. Angie's Lists' Angie Hicks has the benefits of replacing your windows.

"When it comes to items around your house nothing is going to last forever and windows are no different. You can expect you're going to replace your windows if you live in your house for a long period of time. Your return on investment can be a really good return in your heating and cooling bills throughout the year, but you need to live in your house for a period of time before you realize those savings which can be as much as seventy percent."

Window salesman Chris Pasa knows what to look for.

"The most important rating system that windows have today is the U factor. U factor is a number that they put on each window that tells you just how efficient it is. The lower the number, the more efficient that window is."

The style, shape and type of window will play a factor it it's cost. A triple-paned, low-emission window will cost significantly more than a single-paned window, but will provide better energy efficiency and long-term energy savings.

"The two most popular windows are still wood windows and vinyl windows. Typically when you use a wood window it's a clad version, meaning it's a solid wood window but it's covered on the outside with either vinyl or aluminum, that way you don't have the upkeep and you don't need to worry about them rotting and things like that. And then the other window is a vinyl window, which is 100% vinyl. It's inside and out maintenance free and should last you a lifetime."

You want to make sure your windows are installed correctly. Doing it wrong can lead to many problems like air leakage and loss of energy. You could also void your warranty if the window is installed wrong.

"Remember that this is an investment in your house that is going to last for a long period of time," says Hicks. "So you want to know what kind of guarantees and warranties come with the windows."

If you're concerned about the price tag up front, look at replacing your windows one by one over time as funds become available. Also, look into federal tax credits available for qualifying windows, which can help lower that upfront cost.

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