I am really struggling with a decision to replace windows.
We live in a house built in 1973. One of the reasons I loved the house was the floor to ceiling windows that overlook the wooded back yard. We see deer, turkey, fox, birds etc. My kids love looking out the windows. The windows are in the open floor plan kitchen/ family room, so we spend a lot of time in these rooms. What my husband and I did not consider when we bought the house... the fact that they are single pane glass (so it is cold) and the former owners did not take care of water issues and therefore there is rot on the outside sills and some of it has come into one of the inside sills (which I know is bad)
The cost to replace the 8 floor to ceiling picture windows with tempered glass (Andersen renewal) is $11K installed. Andersen seems to have a great reputation and gives a warranty on labor.
Given the economy, we are not sure if we should spend the money. Also, I hear replacing windows does not provide a big return on energy savings, but I don't think that holds true for the large windows we have.
Has anyone replaced large windows like this recently. Was there a significant improvement and comfort and some improvement in energy efficiency? Any other thoughts?