Installing winning windows

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(Sept. 15, 2014) - Home remodeling is up this year and along with it sales of replacement windows.

Installing new windows offers many benefits. They can make your home less drafty and more attractive. They’re easier to clean, and some come pre-painted. But putting in new windows just to save on your energy bills isn’t a good reason. Sure, new windows could lower your energy bills by as much as 15 percent, but you’re going to spend $10,000 to $20,000 buying and installing those new windows. So it could be decades before you recoup the cost.

With replacement windows, the most popular styles are double-hung and casement.
Consumer Reports tested 24 replacement windows in both types and found that higher prices don’t always guarantee better performance.

For casement windows, Consumer Reports says consider the vinyl $260 American Craftsman by Anderson 70-Series, available at Home Depot.

For double-hung windows in both warm/dry climates and regions with cold winters, Consumer Reports recommends the $300 Pella ProLine 450 Series. It performed well in wind-resistance tests, so it will keep out cold winds and hot air.

In warm/wet climates, Consumer Reports says the $190 Reliabilt 3201 window at Lowe’s is a good choice for a double-hung window. It and earned excellent scores for rain resistance in warmer temperatures.

Before you clean your new windows with ammonia-based product, be sure to check the instructions. Some window manufactures don’t recommend ammonia or alcohol-based cleaners because they can leave streaks or a film that can attract dust. Instead use a vinegar solution on a soft microfiber cloth or a paper towel.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.