Replacing your windows is an exciting home improvement project. But there are a number of things to consider before jumping right into it. Five of the most important of these window replacement considerations are discussed below.

1. Should You Hire a Pro?

Replacing windows by yourself is no easy task. You need the correct window type and fit along with proper installation if you hope to have any success. Replacing wood or metal windows is even tougher.

Simply put, window replacement is a home improvement project that most people just aren’t up to. It is usually a much better idea to hire a professional contractor than try to DIY it. Remember to check the reputation of companies in your area that do window installation. Find one that works with both a warranty on labor and parts as well as a product warranty.

2. How Long Do You Plan on Living in Your House?

There are a number of different reasons to invest in new windows for your home. Many people do it because they are selling their home and hope to add resale value. In fact, vinyl windows recoup an average of 71% of their initial investment.

Basically, it is necessary to take the length of time you are planning on living in your house into consideration before making a decision on windows. If you plan on selling your house in the near future, make sure to select a window brand that offers the option of transferring the warranty to a new homeowner.

3. Find a Great Manufacturer

Window companies and their products are not all created equally. Some of them are far better than others. It is important to find a credible and reliable window manufacturer that makes top quality products. Look for third-party endorsements such as Good Housekeeping, AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association), NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council), and ENERGY STAR to aid in your decision.

4. Go Energy Efficient

In today’s day and age, there really is no reason not to go with energy efficient windows. These windows are environmentally friendly and can help you cut your monthly energy costs. They also help raise a home’s resale value more than non-energy-efficient windows.

Look for windows that are ENERGY STAR approved. The NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) is the organization that tests and certifies all ENERGY STAR windows. The NFRC also provides several different ratings that are on all ENERGY STAR labels. These include:

U-Factor - A measurement of heat transfer that tells you how well they are insulated. The lower the number, the better the window insulates.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – A measurement of how well the product blocks heat from sunlight. The lower the number, the less solar heat goes through the window.

Visible Transmittance (VT) – A measurement of the amount of light the window lets through. The higher the VT rating, the more light you see.

Air Leakage (AL) – A measurement of the rate that air passes through the joints of the window. The lower the number, the less air leakage.

Condensation Resistance – A measurement of how well the window resists condensation from water build-up. The higher the rating, the less condensation build-up the window allows.