We’re always happy to see the latest newsletter from Bruce Irving in our email inbox and his latest edition doesn’t disappoint.
He selects some of his favorite new products on the market but also weighs in on one of his pet peeves which is homeowners who spend big money to replace windows all in the name of saving energy. Unless your windows are leaking like crazy or falling apart, Bruce recommends upgrading your insulation, air sealing, and heating plants before replacing windows.
First, the urge to conserve fuel will lead many homeowners to look into insulation upgrades, air sealing, and replacement of aged (20 years old and up) heating plants–all of which will pay themselves back in dollars and comfort. I was happy to see experts recently cited by the Boston Globe strongly advise against window replacement (a pet peeve of mine, as readers of previous newsletters may recall). Payback for such a move occurs about 30+ years out, after the new windows may very well have failed. (Did you know that 30% of the windows being replaced these days are less than 10 years old?) There’s an interactive site at http://www.boston.com/realestate/specials/081012_insulate/ and the full article, worth reading, is at: http://www.boston.com/realestate/news/articles/2008/10/12/time_to_button_up/
Second, for those fortunate enough to have money available for renovation work, now is an exceptionally good time to be in the market. Architects and builders are available, attentive, and many are cutting their fees. The only risk is that in their eagerness, certain ones can overpromise and may be tempted to recoup some on the margins later in the project. That’s where knowing people’s reputations comes into play and why having, say, a renovation consultant on board would be a good idea.