Home Improvement Tips | A Home Improvement That Pays for Itself

Real Estate Broker Owner with Crescent City Living LLC

I live in a house that was originally built in the 1950s.  Over the years, the original owners added on (and added on and added on) as their family outgrew the existing space.  Lucky for me, by the time they were ready to sell the house, it clocked in at well over 2,500 square feet of living area.

Not so lucky for me, they weren’t as concerned with energy efficiency during their expansion spree.

When we originally bought the house, we knew it would need work.  It was definitely what a Realtor would call a “handy man special”, a “fixer upper” or a “diamond in the rough”.  But we were captivated by two huge living spaces, a larger than average lot size and a location with family and friends all in the same block.

So, we bought it and embarked on our own spree – this time of updating and renovating.  We updated electrical systems, painted, changed floors, painted, renovated bathrooms, painted, changed out a broken air conditioner, painted, replaced the roof and painted some more.  After several months of work, we were finally able to move into our home and begin to really make it our own. 

After we occupied the house, we were disappointed to find that running 2 air conditioners and cooling a large single story house in the New Orleans heat was a little harder on the budget than we planned for.  Even with the addition of insulation, we were being hit with summer time electric bills that were running over $400-$500 per month.  But then winter came and the bills settled back down to normal.  As summer approached each year, we kept saying that we needed to change out all of the old windows in the house.  Like so many other projects that cost more than a couple of hundred dollars, it kept getting pushed to the back burner.


This year, we decided that there would be no more procrastination.  As we were painting and replacing flooring in one of the bedrooms, I decided to get a price on having the windows replaced at the same time.

I called my favorite contractor and he sent the window guy out to measure and prepare a quote.  Thankfully, it wasn’t as expensive as I was afraid it would be, so we bit the bullet and ordered the windows.

After waiting for a couple of weeks for delivery, the day finally came when the sounds of construction filled my house and those old, crank out, casement monstrosities were removed to make way for double insulated, low E, energy credit at tax time windows.

Within a couple of days, all of the windows were installed and caulked, windowsills and casings were retro-fitted and the appearance of the front of our house took a giant leap into the 21st century.   We had just paid an enormous electric bill, so we couldn’t wait to see what the next billing cycle would bring.

Finally, that Entergy envelope arrived in the mail.  What we usually viewed with dread, we were excited to  see…hoping for any reduction in our bill, but assuming that the recent hot, hot weather would mean another sky high bill.  The envelope please…I ripped into the bill…scanning the date to be sure that it was for the time since the windows had been c168073_linstalled…looking for that heart stopping number that meant another big deduction from the checking account…

To find that our bill had been cut by more than 50%!!  Yep – and that’s for a month when we had record heat and no rain.  I can only imagine how small they will be during the winter months when we use very little electricity beyond our appliances.

If you are looking for an easy way to reduce your monthly utility expenses and make your home more energy efficient, changing your windows is definitely an improvement that will pay for itself over time.

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This article originally published at West Bank Living

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Comments 55 New Comment

An Marshall
Your St Augustine Real Estate Consultant
Berkshire Hathaway - St. Augustine

I've been reading some very discouraging blogs this evening regarding economic forecasts and blogs going back on forth on legal lines being crosssed, I am so happy to read a "good news blog".  Good job finally getting the windows installed!

August 07, 2009 07:55 PM
Kristin Moran
San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397
Owner - RE/MAX Access - KristinMoran@Remax.net

What a signifcant savings....what did you do with it?  I too am excited to see a few posts from you on AR!  I won't jinx it & say "welcome back" though.  :P

August 07, 2009 09:39 PM
Lisa Heindel
New Orleans Real Estate Broker
Crescent City Living LLC

An, that's such a nice comment.  Thank you so much.

LOL @ Kristin...thanks :)

August 07, 2009 11:16 PM
Anonymous #54

My first home was a 100+ yr old farm house with the original single pane glass. It was so drafty that you often couldn't tell if the window was open or closed. After replacing the windows we not only saved $ and were more comfortable, but the kids were no longer constantly walking around with the sniffles. Good move.

August 08, 2009 04:05 PM
Joseph "Cathan" Potter
Coldwell Banker

That's amazing.  It's incredible how much you can save with energy efficiency.  I had a similar experience with shower heads and sink aerators, but the windows have yet to be replaced.

August 11, 2009 07:51 PM

Lisa Heindel

New Orleans Real Estate Broker
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