Window replacement done right

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Q: On one side of the house, I have old-style wood windows with the lead counterweight on a rope. They were painted closed decades ago. I am planning to replace them with vinyl windows. When I did this in a previous house, the contractor pulled out the old aluminum windows and dropped the new vinyl ones right in. But with all the extra wood for the old window guides, I don't see how it will be done and not look really bad from the inside. These windows cost a lot by themselves, and I am concerned that I will also have to factor in the cost of reframing the window to remove all the old window guides. How does this all work? A: Good decision to replace the old wooden double-hungs. Even painted shut, they're an energy disaster. The ones that are operational are worse. They leak air like a sieve. Replacing those antiques with energy-efficient models will certainly show on your winter utility bills. And if you go with a low-emissivity (Low-E) coating on the glass on the south a...