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Tax Credit For new windows - Real Savings?
Old 03-11-2009, 11:38 AM   #1
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Tax Credit For new windows - Real Savings?

I'm interested to see if anyone else is considering taking advantage of the 30% tax credit up to $1,500 on energy efficient windows and doors. And especially what types of calculations you have done to see if they are worthwhile.

My situation:
12 windows in my house.
37 year old windows (house built in 1972 with original windows still there)
Windows in generally good shape given their age. Slight draft from some can be felt when it is really cold and extremely windy (30-40+ mph wind gusts).
I can feel the radiative heating when it is hot outside or radiative cooling when cold outside.
Current windows are single pane with storm windows on the outside.
1800 sf house with average annual heating (nat gas) and cooling bills (elec a/c) totaling around $1200.
House is located in southeast US (hot, humid summers and relatively mild winters with average high temps in the upper 40's and low 50's 3 months/year).
Zero trees so house is fully exposed to sun during the daytime.

My questions are how much would I really save by getting new windows?
If I assume $100 per window after the 30% tax credit, I am $1200 out of pocket if I can install for free myself or with help. If I can cut my energy costs by 10%, that would save me $120 per year or 10% of the cost of new windows. Would I see more/less than a 10% reduction?

I assume I would also have to pay an additional $30-50 per window for materials for trim, paint, and screens (none of which gets the 30% tax credit)?

Thoughts on my assumptions? Seems like a bit of a hassle to save a small amount of money over many years, without knowing how long I'll own the house.
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Old 03-11-2009, 11:42 AM   #2
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Some relevant information may be found here: EERE Energy Savers: Windows

However like most things IMO unless you know how to "professionally" install them I would leave it to the pros to do it. A good portion of the savings is going to come from the installation (when done right).
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Old 03-11-2009, 12:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by OAG View Post
Some relevant information may be found here: EERE Energy Savers: Windows

However like most things IMO unless you know how to "professionally" install them I would leave it to the pros to do it. A good portion of the savings is going to come from the installation (when done right).
Thanks. I saw that site a while ago and that is where I got the 10% savings figure from. Looks like it is a range of 10-25% for heating costs and 10-15% for cooling costs.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
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Living in Florida, I have a problem keeping one room cool. It is a 15ft x 15ft added-on room that is one solid wall where attached to the house and the rest is total glass. That is, two glass doors and remainder is all single pane wimdows. At the time it was built three years ago it was designed as a screen room and we had it converted to an enclosed room, hence all the glass. No way to run duct work so I had a window A/C installed. Doesn't do the job. I sized it for the sq footage but al the glass probably negated that calculation. The windows on the west side (afternoon sun) are timted and have large pull down shades. I'm wondering if awnings would help? In addition to the query to the forum, I going to schedule a free energy audit provided by my utility company. Got to do something soon as we are into the 80's already and by May, I won't be able to take that heat for another summer. Window A/C's don't cost that much and will replace it but how to calculate size with all this glass.
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
Living in Florida, I have a problem keeping one room cool. It is a 15ft x 15ft added-on room that is one solid wall where attached to the house and the rest is total glass. That is, two glass doors and remainder is all single pane wimdows. At the time it was built three years ago it was designed as a screen room and we had it converted to an enclosed room, hence all the glass. No way to run duct work so I had a window A/C installed. Doesn't do the job. I sized it for the sq footage but al the glass probably negated that calculation. The windows on the west side (afternoon sun) are timted and have large pull down shades. I'm wondering if awnings would help? In addition to the query to the forum, I going to schedule a free energy audit provided by my utility company. Got to do something soon as we are into the 80's already and by May, I won't be able to take that heat for another summer. Window A/C's don't cost that much and will replace it but how to calculate size with all this glass.
We had a room in NE Florida with two sides all windows. Fortunately, it got morning Sun but it still got pretty uncomfortable, heat wise, from about mid-Feb to mid-Oct. We resorted to 3M tint film on the windows, vertical blinds, portable AC, R-30 in the ceiling, and a pergola on the long side facing due East. Of all that the R-30 probably helped the most. Got somewhat useful in the afternoons - but I doubt you can do much short of replacing the windows with walls. Our room was about 13X25'.
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
I'm interested to see if anyone else is considering taking advantage of the 30% tax credit up to $1,500 on energy efficient windows and doors. And especially what types of calculations you have done to see if they are worthwhile.

My situation:
12 windows in my house.
37 year old windows (house built in 1972 with original windows still there)
Windows in generally good shape given their age. Slight draft from some can be felt when it is really cold and extremely windy (30-40+ mph wind gusts).
I can feel the radiative heating when it is hot outside or radiative cooling when cold outside.
Current windows are single pane with storm windows on the outside.
1800 sf house with average annual heating (nat gas) and cooling bills (elec a/c) totaling around $1200.
House is located in southeast US (hot, humid summers and relatively mild winters with average high temps in the upper 40's and low 50's 3 months/year).
Zero trees so house is fully exposed to sun during the daytime.

My questions are how much would I really save by getting new windows?
If I assume $100 per window after the 30% tax credit, I am $1200 out of pocket if I can install for free myself or with help. If I can cut my energy costs by 10%, that would save me $120 per year or 10% of the cost of new windows. Would I see more/less than a 10% reduction?

I assume I would also have to pay an additional $30-50 per window for materials for trim, paint, and screens (none of which gets the 30% tax credit)?

Thoughts on my assumptions? Seems like a bit of a hassle to save a small amount of money over many years, without knowing how long I'll own the house.
You can get a decent window for $150-$200 for double hung with low E glass. The "problem" is the installation. If you don't know how to do it right, which includes at times caulking or installing extra house wrap, etc, checking for air leaks with thermal sensors, etc, it won't do that much good, i.e. if you put a good window in a leaky opening, all you did is throw money and its not fixed.

If you will live there 5 years or so, its probably worth it. New windows are easier to clean, etc, so you will get enjoyment out of it.

I have 14 windows in my house so I have been looking into it a little, but the local window folks seem to think there's no recession, and are hitting me up at $600 a window installed...........
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:54 PM   #7
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$6500 is getting me 8 new casement windows (2-lite and 3-lite) which includes the $1150 for the wall of window in our living room. Very drafty and very broken casement windows from the 50's require replacement. I will be happy to get my $1500 rebate but that is not why I looked. I needed new windows, the guy warned me about the rebate and he is getting the job because his bid was $6500 not 12k AND his crew knows how to remove steel casement windows from a plaster and brick home.

Incidentally I just happened to pick the one brand of windows in my area that qualifies for the rebate (made locally). At altitude, breather tubes get the numbers too high for the rebate.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FinanceDude View Post
You can get a decent window for $150-$200 for double hung with low E glass. The "problem" is the installation. If you don't know how to do it right, which includes at times caulking or installing extra house wrap, etc, checking for air leaks with thermal sensors, etc, it won't do that much good, i.e. if you put a good window in a leaky opening, all you did is throw money and its not fixed.

If you will live there 5 years or so, its probably worth it. New windows are easier to clean, etc, so you will get enjoyment out of it.

I have 14 windows in my house so I have been looking into it a little, but the local window folks seem to think there's no recession, and are hitting me up at $600 a window installed...........
So if I assume $200 for each window plus $200 per window for installation and incidental materials, I get a tax credit of $720 and a total cost after credit of $4080. If my opportunity cost on that $4080 is 8%, then the amortized cost over 10 years is $594 per year. I would have to save 50% (594/1200) on my heating/cooling bill to break even after ten years.

50% heating/cooling savings seems doubtful given the other energy inefficient components of my house (poor insulation, drafty doors, etc).

And I have the added risk of not knowing the payback period. If I move, I doubt I will get back much of my initial investment.

I guess there is the intangible aesthetic value of new windows and easier cleaning (if I actually cleaned my windows).

Am I missing something?
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:13 AM   #9
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Fuego,

We had "expensive" windows installed a few years ago in the midwest. Installed, it was about $500/window for 17 windows. Our original windows were about 20+ years old at the time. Difficult to quantify the savings in heating and AC, but it was noticeable - even how often the heat or AC kicked on.

Here's the thing I didn't expect. The windows made the inside of the house really quiet. Almost no street noise, couldn't hear kids yelling outside, wind noise was negligible. Even thunder was muffled. I loved it.

Whether you can save enough to come out even or ahead at such a cost would be questionable all else being equal. One thing that happened to us was our electric unit cost and gas unit costs went up AFTER the windows were added. So, our payoff was speeded up. YMMV
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Old 03-12-2009, 10:50 AM   #10
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Here's the thing I didn't expect. The windows made the inside of the house really quiet. Almost no street noise, couldn't hear kids yelling outside, wind noise was negligible. Even thunder was muffled. I loved it.

Whether you can save enough to come out even or ahead at such a cost would be questionable all else being equal. One thing that happened to us was our electric unit cost and gas unit costs went up AFTER the windows were added. So, our payoff was speeded up. YMMV
Our unit costs for elec and gas have come down in the past year, so from a strictly economic standpoint, it would be even harder to recover costs.

However you do have a good point about the noise reduction. We live on a fairly busy road and get some road noise occasionally from motorcycles and big trucks. Acoustically sound windows would probably help some, but the noise doesn't really bother us. And our average ambient noise levels are fairly low inside the house. Not sure how much of the low frequency noise would be dissipated by windows anyway.
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