Vinyl replacement windows are not all that, and here's why:
- You will never, ever recuperate the cost of replacing original windows through reduced energy costs.
- Windows today are built as modular units and are meant to be installed as a single piece. If a part of the window fails, you have to replace the entire thing.
- The lifespan of replacement vinyl windows is proving to be relatively short, with many vinyl windows installed in the 1980s already requiring replacement of their own.
- The average homeowner can't work on a vinyl window without highly specialized tools & know-how.
Despite having single-paned, old windows, our house is not drafty in the winters. Our secret? We have storm windows on all but one of the windows (and hope to get one made for that last window this summer). People always ask me if storm windows are hard to manage.
In short: no.
Our house is a single story and I can reach any window with a plain old 6' ladder. The only tool I need to install or remove the windows, besides the ladder, is a phillips head screwdriver.
(And yes, I detest this color for this house.)
Just use the screwdriver to loosen the wing doohickey. Then you can use the screwdriver, if necessary, to pry the window gently out of the frame. I've got weatherstripping around the edges of the windows, which helps prevent drafts.
Sometimes a chicken will come to supervise.
It helps to label to windows, especially since we only handle them twice per year.
Store the storms somewhere where they'll be safe until the fall. We used to take the storms down in mid-May and install them in mid-October, but with the cold springs we've had these past few years we haven't taken them down until June or even July.