Often, homeowners think they need to focus on painting, siding or other whole-house treatments to change the exterior look of their outdated homes.

But just by replacing old windows and doors, you can really change the look of your house in a simpler, faster, and more cost-efficient way.

Mark Wardrop, president of Ottawa Windows and Doors, said that one of the most valuable investments you can make in your home is replacing old windows and doors.

“Windows that were made and installed 20 or 30 years ago weren’t made with the energy efficiency in mind that they’re made with now,” he said.

Drafts around doors and windows are some of the biggest drains on the energy efficiency of your home, and the reason why many people are spending too much on their heating and cooling bills.

A good way to check for drafts around your doors and windows is by slowly moving a lit candle around the edges to see if the flame flickers, he said.

Wardrop said that nowadays, people are moving away from wooden doors and choosing materials such as steel or fibreglass instead to keep their homes insulated. He said that people are also opting for more low maintenance, vinyl windows with protective exteriors.

“That’s the big trend right now — people want long-lasting windows and doors that they don’t have to constantly maintain.”

For a good quality windows and installation, Wardrop said homeowners can expect to spend $850 on average for each hole in the wall, depending on the size and type of window.

He said that the government’s recent home renovation tax credit, which can reimburse people up to $1,350 for their home renovations, has helped keep a strong market for his business, as well as the current condition of Ottawa homes.

“Ottawa had a huge building boom in the 1980s, and windows usually have a lifetime of about 30 years — so now, in 2009, people can only defer that investment for so long,” said Wardrop.

“There is a certain lifecycle in a home, and it’s inevitable that some elements eventually be replaced.”

About the HRTC

For more on the Home Renovation Tax Credit, log on to cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/200/fqhmrnvtn-eng.html.

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