I recently visited a house where the homeowner had contacted me to inquire about replacing her home’s windows. Under the impression that trashing the (very beautiful, antique) windows and replacing them with high efficiency vinyl models, this (well-intentioned, but misinformed) customer was convinced that to make her home perform appropriately she would need to undertake this several thousand dollar renovation.
A quick scan with an infrared camera revealed that the real problem wasn’t really the windows. Although the windows weren’t perfect, a much more cost effective solution, I told her, would be to remove window trim and add spray foam to the sash weight cavities, and caulk around the outside of the trim of the windows. In the end, the job was much cheaper than replacing all the windows would have been, and equally effective. My customer was thrilled with the results, and she got to keep her antique windows (which is a good thing, because it would have pained me to have put them in a dumpster).