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If your windows are damaged, worn out and inefficient, you have two choices: you can replace them with new windows or install storm windows for additional protection. It’s important to understand how they differ for you to make an informed decision.

Key Differences Between Replacement Windows and Storm Windows
When replacement windows are installed, the old windows are removed. That gives homeowners an opportunity to address any serious issues, such as windows that have gaps or that are difficult to open and close. Replacement windows take longer to install than storm windows and the job must be done by professionals.

Storm windows are used in addition to existing windows to provide increased protection from weather and to improve insulation, which can help to lower utility bills. Storm windows can be placed on the outside or inside of a house, although exterior storm windows are more common. You may be able to install them yourself or have them installed by professionals. If you choose storm windows, you will be able to remove them yourself at any time. Storm windows need to be cleaned and maintained regularly.

Pros and Cons of Replacement Windows and Storm Windows
Replacement windows are more attractive than storm windows,  storm windows simply cover old, damaged windows. Although storm windows are available in a variety of colors, a much wider array of styles and materials are available for homeowners who want to install replacement windows. 

Since storm windows are installed over the existing windows, they cover up problems without fixing them. Even if storm windows fit well, there still may be gaps. That can make them a less energy-efficient option than replacement windows. Storm windows can also reduce the amount of light that enters a home. 

Storm windows are much less expensive than replacement windows. Although replacement windows cost more up front, they can pay for themselves in the long run through lower utility bills.

How to Decide Which Is Right for Your Home
If your existing windows are very old, you should replace them to lower your energy bills and improve your home’s appearance. If your old windows look good and you want to keep them for aesthetic reasons, choose storm windows. If you have a historic home, storm windows would be a better choice since modern replacement windows could detract from the house’s charm and value.

If price is your main concern, storm windows would cost much less than replacement windows. The main downside is that they wouldn’t solve problems and your old, damaged windows could continue to negatively affect your home’s curb appeal and utility costs. 

If you plan to sell your home in the future, new replacement windows could increase its value. Energy efficiency is extremely important to many homebuyers, and new, efficient windows could be an attractive selling point. If you are not thinking about selling your home and you want to make it more efficient at an affordable cost, storm windows may be the way to go.