Before replacing windows, see the full picture

There are a lot of areas where your home could be losing energy and comfort due to drafts and air leaks. While replacing windows may seem like an obvious place to start, the majority of energy is actually lost in other areas. Trouble spots include:

• Attics, walls and light fixtures
• The area surrounding doors and windows
• Fireplaces and exhaust fans or vents

New windows can improve comfort, but they rarely provide cost-effective savings in Wisconsin. If you have leaky or drafty windows, you can make a big difference for your home by replacing or correcting weatherstripping, and by using low-expansion foam between the window frame and the rough opening.

Another way to think about this is that the wall makes up about 85% of the side of your home, and the window makes up 15%, according to the US Department of Energy. A wall with no insulation has the same efficiency rating as a regular window. So adding even minimal insulation to the wall will allow it to outperform the best window available, for far less money.

If you do have to replace those old windows, look for windows with an ENERGY STAR® rating for our northern climate.

Want to see what’s causing draftiness and air leaks in your home? FOCUS ON ENERGY® can help you find a contractor and receive incentives for insulation, air sealing and other fixes.

To find out if your problem is the windows or insulation and air sealing, schedule a home energy assessment. Find a Trade Ally at or call 855.339.8866.

Men talking about house

Posted April 2019

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