Utility Bill Bailout: Energy Efficient Windows and Doors

Danny with Utility Bill Bailout Winners John Reis and Jeanne McCabe.
Danny with Utility Bill Bailout Winners John Reis and Jeanne McCabe.

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As winners of the JELD-WEN Windows & Doors Utility Bill Bailout contest, Jeanne McCabe and John Reis of Katonah, New York, received new energy efficient windows and doors for their 2,200-square-foot home. With heating bills topping $1,100 a month, replacing their drafty, single pane, aluminum frame windows will make a big difference in their energy expenses.

Window Replacement Decisions

When replacing the windows in your home, be sure to consider:

  • Cost: Get detailed estimates on the labor and materials for the job. Check to see if the windows you’re considering will qualify for state or federal energy efficiency tax credits.
  • Labor: While you may be able to reduce the cost by replacing the windows yourself, be sure you have the skills needed and time available before attempting to tackle the job.
  • Materials: Make sure the window design you choose blends with the style of your house. Research the different types of window frame materials available (wood, vinyl, or aluminum), and energy efficiency of the glass (Low-E coating with Argon or krypton gas between panes). Read the window and glass warranty to find out what’s covered and how long it lasts.

Installing energy efficient replacement windows.

Installing Replacement Windows

After each existing window was removed, the opening was prepped and any needed repairs made. Insulation was then stapled to the framing, sealant applied around the opening, and the window unit fit into place. After the window unit had been checked for level and square, it was attached, and the trim applied.

To conceal any minor variations in the size of the window opening, a special trim kit can be installed to cover any gaps. This is often needed for windows that are set in brick, block, or stucco walls where the rough size of the opening can’t be adjusted.

Replaced sliding glass doors and transom windows on home.

Installing Glass Doors and Transom Windows

Replacing the sliding glass doors and transom windows on the house proved more difficult, since the framing had been modified to serve as both support for the wall and a frame for the glass. Once the old single-pane glass in the transom had been removed, insulated glass panes were carefully set in place.

Wood frames and stops were installed to secure the glass and trim out the openings flush with the wall. With the installation of the new windows and doors complete, all that remained was some painting and finishing by the homeowners before the job was complete.

Completed job with new energy efficient windows and doors installed.

More Ways to Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs

In addition to replacing your windows and doors, here are some others ways to make your home more energy efficient:

  • Add additional insulation to your attic.
  • Install foam gaskets on electrical receptacles and switches.
  • Replacing existing thermostat with a programmable model.
  • Apply weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors.
  • Seal duct leaks on your HVAC system using metallic tape and duct mastic.

Other Tips from This Episode

Applying paste wax using cheesecloth

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Applying Paste Wax

To apply an even coat of paste wax, put a chunk of wax on a piece of doubled cheesecloth, twist the cloth into a ball, and rub it on the surface. Once the wax has dried for a few minutes, buff off any excess with a clean, soft cloth to bring out the shine.
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Black & Decker Cordless Cultivator

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Black & Decker Cordless Cultivator

The 18-volt Cordless Cultivator from Black & Decker is great for weeding and aerating soil around plants. The tines rotate in opposite directions for ease of use, and it can cover over 300 square feet on a single charge. The Cordless Cultivator is available at The Home Depot. (Watch This Video)

Gray Water Recycling

Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Gray Water Recycling

Gray water is waste water that comes from showers, tubs, sinks, and washing machines. Gray water usually goes down the drain, along with other waste water from your home; but if properly treated, gray water can be used to irrigate your lawn and nonedible plants. (Watch This Video)


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