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Cheaper alternatives to buying new windows

Air loss from poor window insulation can account for up to 30 percent of your energy bills, but buying new windows ($8,000-$15,000+) may not be in your budget.

Here are some simpler, less expensive ways to upgrade your windows:

  • Seal any cracks and openings. This is a pretty simple job you can do with a few materials from your local hardware store. By caulking or weatherstripping window cracks, the energy savings will pay you back in about a year. Caulk starts at a few dollars on up, and hardware stores like Home Depot show you all the items you’ll need, and give you step-by-step instructions.
  • Install interior storm windows. Storm windows add a nice layer of insulation to your home. Besides reducing outside sound, storm windows are extremely durable, so you won’t need to replace and repair them as much.
  • Target specific window problems. It’s possible your window has a damaged screen or maybe a broken lock, etc. Issues like these can also be solved by a quick trip to your hardware store for any replacement parts.
  • Decorative insulation. Shutters and insulated curtains help block air and light. Some fancier insulated curtains even have a reflective film that bounces heat back into the room–perfect for winter! Shutters are sold in square-feet, so the price range depends on your needs. Insulated curtains range in price depending on style and features, but you can find durable ones under $40.
  • Invest in overall home insulation. So what if your windows are fairly new, but you’re still experiencing air loss and drafts? The problem may not be in your windows but general insulation throughout your home. Areas like you basement and attic easily can let outside air in. (Insulating an average attic can cost you almost $2,000, but the payback period may be shorter than with new windows.)

ComEd and Ameren both offer incentives for making your home more energy efficient. It’s best to look at your utility’s eligibility requirements to find out what rebates specifically apply to window efficiency upgrades.