I can see clearly now, the rain is gone...

...the rain on the insides of our windows, that is! This past week, we checked something off of our wish list that has been on there since July 19, 2006 (the day we closed on our house, in case you are wondering)...we replaced our crappy old single-pane aluminum windows!

We were in a hurry to replace those old windows before baby comes for a few reasons: (1) security – the old windows didn’t even have locks on them, just a wooden bar; (2) noise reduction – single-pane aluminum windows don’t offer much in the way of noise reduction; (3) air quality / air flow – some of our old windows didn’t have screens on them at all and some of the existing screens were REALLY old (like, probably from 1960 when the house was built), so if you did open the windows that had screens there were probably extra allergens and dust coming off those yucky old screens; (4) energy efficiency – luckily we never had any mold issues that we know of, but we did get condensation on the inside of the windows and they were about as inefficient as it comes; and (5) aesthetics – those old windows were just plain ugly!

But before we could pull the trigger on this major project, I had to do our taxes to make sure we didn’t owe a boatload of moolah to Uncle Sam like we did with our 2007 and 2008 returns. Two tax credits saved the day – Making Work Pay and the energy efficiency credit that we got to take for adding insulation to our house last year. Thank you, tax incentives! Since we were actually getting a small return back from the government, we knew that we’d be able to afford replacement windows without going in to debt. Whew.

My next step was to get several estimates from various contractors. We ultimately decided to go with Emerald City Energy - they are a local company, they are very highly regarded by the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List, I know a guy at work who recommended them and we felt that their product was superior to the others we looked at while still being cost competitive. Oh, and I should mention that they were super fast, too. We ordered the windows in the middle of March and they were ready to install by the end of the month. (And no, even though I may sound like I’m being paid to give them free advertising...I unfortunately am not.)

So in come the windows and up comes my dad to supervise the installation and also to allow Karl and me to not have to blow one of our precious vacation days to stay home when the installation guys were there (trying to save up all we can for our family leave this summer). Thanks, Dad...you are a lifesaver!

The whole job was completed in about 6 hours from start-to-finish, and they did a FABULOUS job. My dad, who is notoriously picky about the work that contractors do, didn’t have a single complaint and in fact was very impressed by their speed, professionalism, cleanliness and by the amount of caulk that they used. And we can’t even believe how much BETTER the house looks from the inside and out! I knew it would look better, I just didn’t realize how amazing the transformation would be. Click HERE for an older before picture. I think the after is soooo much better! :)

And as an added bonus, we’ll get to take 30% of the cost of this project as a tax credit on our 2010 federal return and we are also eligible for a rebate from our local energy company as well. Score!

It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiney day!

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