Reality: A $15,000 vinyl window replacement project will return about 80% of your investment at resale, according to the “Remodeling Impact Report” from the National Association of Realtors. And if they’re Energy Star-qualified, they can save you around $300 in energy bills per year. So, plan to live in your house about another 10 years to recoup the cost of new windows.
Bottom-line: I get it — new windows are sturdy, pretty energy savers. But unless old window frames are thoroughly rotten, most windows can be repaired for a fraction of replacement costs. And if you spend about $1,000 to update insulation, caulking, and weather-stripping, you’ll save 10% to 20% on your energy bill.