Owning a home is a big responsibility, but it’s also incredibly liberating. You have complete control over your domain and all those upgrades you’ve dreamed about are yours to build. Want a clawfoot bathtub? Rip the old tub out! Don’t like your kitchen? Knock through, replace the backsplash, upgrade your appliance package. Kids out of the house and you’re thinking that spare bedroom would be a whole lot cooler if it was a home theater? These options are right at your fingertips.

But while a lot of home upgrades are fun to do and add to your quality of life in flashy ways, there’s one humble upgrade that is consistently overlooked – or put on the list as an afterthought – but is arguably the most important thing you can do to ensure that your home meets your basic comfort needs: Replacing your windows.

A lot of homeowners need new windows but decide to invest in their kitchens and bathrooms first. No doubt, those add value to your home, but there is a great deal of immediate value to changing out your windows: immediate cost savings, basic comforts, and less outdoor noise and pests, just to start. So if you’re unsure whether to replace your windows before moving on to the funner projects, here’s a handy-dandy guide to the kind of immediate benefits you’ll see when you finally make that switch.

1. You Will See About a 20% Reduction in Your Energy Bill.
We love windows because they let light into our home. We can peer out on the world and enjoy watching nature’s activity from the comfort of our domain. However, that benefit can be a costly two-way street. As windows age, they become less effective at keeping the heat outside during the summer months and inside during the winter months. Most old windows only have a single pane with no protective low-emissivity coating. With minimal protection from the outside world, your HVAC system has to work twice as hard to keep your climate controlled. Switching to ENERGY STAR® rated double or triple-pane windows with insulated glazing and Low-E coating ensures that your home stays the temperature you want so you’re not wasting energy.

2. You’ll keep out all of the creepy crawlies.
Even the best windows warp and wear as they age. If they sit in wooden frames, the frames become rotten from years of moisture and seasonal weather changes. Opening and shutting them becomes more difficult and gaps begin to appear in your seals. These gaps, which allow indoor air to escape and make your HVAC work even harder than it already does, open your home to the outside world and all the bugs and pests that come with it. A majority of pest infestations can trace their origins to a gap in your windows or doors. Temporary DIY measures such as caulking and weather stripping will help stem the tide for a bit, but once window rot has set in, there is no saving your home from nature’s invasion. The best course of action is to replace these ineffective barriers with new ones: airtight windows made from modern materials that will keep the creepy crawlies outside where they belong.

3. New Windows Make Everything Look Better
No matter what type of home you have- a plantation home with a huge porch, a mid-century ranch house, or a more modern design- one thing we can all agree on is that old and rotten windows have no place in our dream home. They’re a black eye on an otherwise beautiful exterior. Who can truly enjoy the view from their kitchen when they’re looking out an old, worn-out, crumbling window? When you replace your windows, you get the ease and benefit of newer window designs and materials and the pride of owning a home with great curb appeal. Newer window designs also allow natural light into your home with much less heat penetration.

4. Be More Comfortable in the Place You Call Home
We touched on this point earlier, but since it’s a hard thing to measure, it’s worth repeating again. Your old single pane windows are letting too much heat and outside air into your home. Aside from making your HVAC work twice as hard, this also means the air temperature in your home is wildly uneven. Do you shiver in one room and boil in another? That means your improperly-sealed and unprotected windows are ruining your home’s comfort. New windows help keep the temperature the same throughout the whole house, so you’ll feel just as cool in your bedroom as you will in your favorite reading nook overlooking your backyard. Proper seals will also help the filtration system in your HVAC to better control the quality of the air in your home, which means the air you breathe will be cleaner. And if that isn’t enough to count window replacements among the unsung heroes of your home, properly installed and sealed windows will drastically decrease the amount of noise pollution coming in from outside, making your home quieter than ever before. All this adds up to a comfort that simply can’t be achieved with your old single pane windows.

5. New Windows Bring You Peace of Mind
Owning a home is a huge responsibility. You want your investment to perform and give you the satisfaction you deserve. New windows can make all the difference in the enjoyment of your home. When windows are installed by experienced professionals, they’ll be with you forever. When they’re ENERGY STAR® rated, they will undoubtedly perform better than outdated windows and make your investment more valuable. And when they’re made out of the best materials, they protect your home from whatever nature wants to throw at you. All this adds up to peace of mind. When you replace your windows, you can enjoy your view knowing your home is safe and secure.