Windows provide you with streams of natural light, a warm natural feel and a view of your scenic surroundings. But that's not all. They're also a vital part of your home's defense system when it comes to keeping out the elements.

That whipping wind or sweltering heat are left outside, thanks to your windows. Or not. If you have inefficient or older windows, your house may not work like it should. What does that mean exactly? Take a look at the top reasons why you should choose energy-efficient windows, and you'll find out why you need them.

Your Comfort

Again, your windows have several jobs. This includes keeping you comfortable while you're inside of your home. Energy-efficient windows are made to insulate your house. This means that you stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

That tell-tale draft is a sign that your windows aren't working. They're letting the cold winter wind inside, making you shiver (and making your home work harder just to heat the space).

Energy-efficient windows help to keep the indoor temperature constant. Instead of wearing sweaters or hiding under blankets in the winter months, or setting up fans (on top of using your AC) in the summer, these windows make it possible to enjoy your home without feeling the outdoors inside.

Cost Savings

New or replacement windows cost money. That's just a fact. But they may end up saving you money in the long run. How much money you can expect to save depends on the specific windows you get. Replacing a single-pane window with an energy-efficient one can save you between $126 and $465 a year. Replacing a double-pane window can save you anywhere from $27 to $111 annually.

Cost savings come from a reduction in the money you'll spend on heating and cooling costs. The less efficient your windows are, the more your HVAC system has to work. This means your electricity, and possibly gas (depending on the type of heater you have), bills will go up. Efficient windows have the opposite effect, decreasing your HVAC costs.

Keep in mind, the cost savings vary. Why? There are different energy-efficient windows. Some are better insulated than others. The more panes the window has means that it keeps the outside out and the inside in better than a single-pane type does. You also need to consider what is around the window. If there are gaps in the frame, cracks or missing insulation (between the window and the frame), you aren't likely to see the cost benefits of energy-efficient windows.

A Better View

Along with your comfort and cost savings, your new energy-efficient windows allow you to see out - unobstructed. Older windows cause energy loss. But you knew that. In an effort to insulate them, homeowners often cover them in plastic sheeting or hang heavy curtains (that they keep closed). In the summer months, the opposite is true. While homeowners don't typically try to insulate their windows, they might try adding a tint to keep the sunlight out.

Whether you're putting up plastic, hanging drapes, tinting your windows or trying another method to keep the indoor air in and the sunlight out, you're also obstructing the view. Looking through plastic or a gray tint isn't exactly a way to see outside your home.

Not only are you missing the scenery around your house, but this may also turn into a safety matter. A clear view out can help you to see if the person at the door is a potential intruder or just your neighbor from down the street.

If you're interested in learning more about energy-efficient windows, contact Edelen Door & Window for more information.