If you live in a house where air drafts are part of it, you might think you’re literally throwing your money away. So you consider replacing your windows, but are they actually responsible for your discomfort and your high heating bills? If saving money is your main goal, there may be other more effective and less costly methods to achieve it. Read our article to better understand your needs and make the best decision possible.
Hydro-Québec tells us on its website that replacing all the windows of a house with Energy Star models can save up to 10% on heating costs. Although this is consistent with our findings in energy simulation for our customers, we must make sure nobody mixes up electricity bill and heating bill. In fact, the costs related to heating exclusively represent slightly more than half the total cost of a hydro bill. Furthermore, the effectiveness of your new windows depends not only on their intrinsic quality, but their efficiency is also closely linked to their orientation, their air tightness and their proper installation by professionals.
So, what’s the final cost of these economies of 10% on your heating costs? Let’s do the math together.
Energy Star windows are 20 to 40% more efficient than non-qualified models and the older the window that needs replacing, the greater the energy saving will be. Replacing old single glazed windows by an Energy Star model of equivalent size can save you approximately $ 27 per year by window. However, Energy Star estimates that this ratio decreases by 75% when replacing double glazed windows. Your savings then doesn’t even reach the $ 7 bar annually.
That taken into account, such improvements for an average house with 15 windows can result in total annual savings on heating costs situated anywhere between $ 105 and $ 405. Using the energy simulation software HOT2000 used as part of the Rénoclimat and Novoclimat government programs to which we participate, our experts were able to confirm these figures.
Now that we have established the potential savings, we need to determine how much it costs to replace all the windows of a house. As with all things, the price of the windows and their installation can vary according to their size, quality and the experience of the installer. However, we can easily establish the costs associated with this work somewhere between $ 10,000 and $ 20,000. These estimates are for an average house and for new Energy Star windows.
All things considered, we can establish at $ 250 the average savings for replacing old windows with new Energy Star models and at $ 15,000 the average cost for the renovation work. At this rate, it will take 60 years to amortize the investment. Okay, so let’s do the same exercise using the maximum possible savings, $ 405, and the minimum cost of $ 10,000 for the renovation work: still, it would take 25 years of annual savings in heating cost to amortize the investment.
With an amortization period exceeding 25 years, it might be wise to seek the true value of this renovation work elsewhere. RENOVA’s latest survey for the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) shows installing efficient windows at the top of the list of the most profitable energy efficient work. Although they say nothing about the potential for profitability, it is interesting to see that changing windows adds value to a home. In fact, all work to improve energy efficiency (insulation, air sealing, etc.) have become more and more popular during the recent years and contribute to increase the value of a property.
However, if your primary goal is to save money on your heating bills, you should consult an expert before investing thousands of dollars in work that may not meet your expectations. By performing a comprehensive energy assessment of your property, he will be able to identify the weak points of your home and therefore give you the most appropriate advice. Your investment will target the right places and will bring you the most savings possible on your heating bill.
In addition, the government program Renoclimat allows homeowners to reduce air leakage to get grants, making window replacement even more profitable. All in all, before investing thousands of dollars to replace your windows, ask yourself what is your primary objective. If the latter is purely monetary, this may not be your best option. But if your investment in new windows is to meet an aesthetic need, you can find comfort in the fact that it will also increase the resale value of your home. Click here to learn more about the Renoclimat.