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When it comes to home improvements, windows are generally not considered the best choice if you're trying to maximize your savings in comparison to what you spend. Most homeowners spend thousands of dollars on new windows and only see about $400 in the reduction of annual energy costs at the very most.

However, there are ways to get the most out of your new windows if leaks and drafts make it a necessity to replace them all. Save as much money as possible, both on window installation and long-term related costs, by looking for these five valuable features.

1. Double Panes

There's a fine balance between energy savings and window cost, and double pane construction offers the best balance. This structure traps a layer of air between the two pieces of glass, boosting the insulation value so you experience less heat transfer during both the summer and winter.

Double panes are definitely worth the investment over single pane windows because of how much money you will save in energy costs. Not to mention the fact that your home will be much more comfortable as it stays at a reasonable temperature.

2. Energy Star Rating

Not sure how to pick the right windows with all the competing claims of efficiency, quality, and various tests and ratings? Let the government's testing guide you by looking for the Energy Star approval stamp and rating right on the window.

Many of the windows that claim to offer high-efficiency ratings don't qualify for the Energy Star program's standards. If you want some kind of guarantee that you'll get the energy savings you're after, stick to windows that have been tested by an unbiased third-party rather than just private testing organizations paid by manufacturers.

3. Longevity

Don't overlook the eventual cost of replacement windows as part of the savings. Choosing windows that will last for decades, and still look good after all that time, can save you thousands of dollars by allowing you to skip even a single set of replacements.

Vinyl windows tend to last the longest, with many sold with 50-year warranties. Aluminum windows are a close runner up, followed by genuine wood when properly maintained. Vinyl windows can last twice as long as wood, saving you from a big cost a few decades down the road.

4. Lasting Finish

Much of the true cost of a window lies in the maintenance. Unless you love to scrape, clean and paint your own windows, you're paying someone else to do these essential maintenance chores. If it costs you $500 to have all your wood windows scraped and repainted and you have it done every five years, you'll save $5000 or more over the lifespan of the windows by choosing vinyl with a permanent finish.

Aluminum windows and composite frames are also available with long-lasting finishes, but they'll eventually need painting as well. Wood windows may be worth keeping painted if you have an older home that wouldn't look the same with vinyl, aluminum, and other modern materials.

5. Low-e Coatings

Finally, stick to proven glass coatings instead of going for the latest and greatest sounding ideas. Low-e glass coatings are designed to bounce select parts of solar radiation away from the glass to keep your home cooler in the summer. It also reduces fading of your furnishings and wall paint, cutting costs on interior renovations over the years you spend in the house.

Ready to get a quote on new windows for your home? Get in touch with us here at NuImage Installs for a custom quote and more information on which windows work best for your needs.