Replacement windows give new life to an old house

Replacement windows should match the style and appearance for which you are looking. Kim Harris photos

Replacing old windows is often a worthwhile investment for homeowners. Energy-efficient windows can prevent heating and cooling loss and keep homes more comfortable throughout the year.

According to, windows are a functional update that may not be so noticeable visually, but help to improve energy efficiency.

“A $10,000 expenditure on new windows can bump up an asking price on a house about $8,500,” the website reported.

There’s an 85 percent return on investment for homeowners who want to upgrade their homes before putting them on the market, but new, energy-efficient windows for those who choose to stay in their home can be an even smarter move.

When my husband and I bought our home in 2012, we had the same windows the builder installed back when it was built in 2002. We never paid much mind to them until we started seeing our room darkening shades literally move when the Santa Ana winds kicked up.

After replacing our heating and air conditioning units earlier this spring, we decided now might be the time to replace those 15-year old windows so we set out to do our research.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can reduce energy costs by installing energy-efficient windows in your home. The website,, reported that new energy-efficient windows will eventually pay for themselves “through lower heating and cooling costs, and sometimes even lighting costs.”

Using a contractor was instrumental in our window replacement project; after all, window replacements are costly, so we wanted to be sure it was done right the first time. We hired a contractor based in Wildomar, Corey Baker Heating and Air (, since they had the ability to handle several projects that we wanted to complete.

Mike Orsag and Carlos Pas of California Replacement Windows install a new glass sliding door. The company double seals everything with polyurethane for maximum energy efficiency and safety.

Corey Baker recommended Milgard Windows to us, and since they are a local company, manufacturing windows right here in Temecula, we decided the company was worth considering. So we did our research, and once we saw all of the options Milgard had to offer, we made the decision to purchase our new, Style Line vinyl, double-paned windows. There were many to choose from and you can see all their options yourself at

Corey Baker sent out one of their subcontractors, California Replacement Windows, based out of Anaheim (, for our measurements and installation.

One of the biggest considerations when it comes to windows is determining exactly what kind of windows you want for your home. We initially had horizontal sliding windows throughout, but some of the smaller windows in our bathrooms always opened OK, but tended to be tough to close. We switched those out and went with double-hung windows that open from bottom to top to combat that problem.

We also had four small fixed picture windows in our house. The one above the door we couldn’t do much about other than to change it out, but the three in our son’s bedroom, we were able to get creative with based a suggestion given to us by our subcontractor, Mike Orsag with California Replacement Windows. He thought it might be better to go with casement windows, which are windows that open from the side, for the windows on each side of the picture window. Those casement windows are easily my favorites out of the entire project.

Mike Orsag of California Replacement Windows removes the track for the original sliding glass door before replacing it with new doors.

The other thing we looked at was the energy performance ratings. Some experts have said you should look at those ratings based on the location of the windows in the house; however, we choose to go with the maximum energy efficiency ratings that we could find to make our home even more energy efficient.

It’s also important to consider the style of your home, along with repair and maintenance when selecting replacement windows. You want your windows to match the style of your home and not require too much work in the long run.

We didn’t have any outside framing on our windows and wanted to add that for a more polished look to our home. We wanted to make sure that we selected the windows that were right for our home and our busy lifestyles, with little to no maintenance required.

On the days of the installation, Orsag and his crew were nothing but professional when it came to the work they did in our home. He took the time to explain each step in the process to us as we watched them work together like a fine-tuned machine, tearing out the old windows and installing the new.

The old windows were removed right down to the “builder’s seal” to protect the integrity of the waterproofing on the house, and the new windows were installed using high-quality materials. The new windows were sealed with polyurethane, not once, but twice.

Once the new windows were installed, we removed what remained of our old, room-darkening cellular blinds and replaced them with two-inch wooden blinds from Affordable Window Coverings in Murrieta ( Their installers came in about 30 minutes after the window installation was completed and quickly installed the new blinds, giving my new windows a fashionable and timeless look.

The bottom line for us was that our window project required a lot of research and a time investment of two days to replace the 27 windows in our home. Overall, it was a positive experience; we love the look of our new windows and are looking forward to the energy savings we should reap from the project.

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