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Is it Time to Replace Your Windows?

Expert Overview

  1. Window glass, window frames, and window operability deteriorates over time, and windows in older homes often need to be replaced.
  2. Older windows that don’t have proper insulation from heat, cold, and noise can be a nuisance.
  3. Replacing your windows with modern, energy-efficient windows can lower your energy bill and improve the look of your home.

Windows are a key element in how your home functions—and how it looks. You may have an inkling already if you need new windows. But it’s not just guesswork. To make it easy for you to determine if replacement windows are right for your home, we’ve put together a list of the most common reasons homeowners replace their windows.

Your windows are drafty

Do you feel cold air seeping through your windows? This will be especially noticeable in the winter months, and when the wind blows. The glass probably feels either warm (in the summer) or cold (in the winter), which is a sign of poorly insulated windows. It’s uncomfortable to live with drafty windows, and can affect your sleep and even make allergies worse. It also winds up costing you money (see the next point).

You’ve noticed an increase in energy bills

Drafty, cold windows mean your furnace has to work harder. Hence, you may see an increase in your bill. The same is true in the summer months: the air conditioner has to work harder to cool your space, because the hot air seeps in. New, energy-efficient windows can drastically reduce your energy bill.

Your windows just don’t work very well

If your windows are in poor working order—such as broken cranks, trouble opening and closing, or locks that no longer work—you are likely wasting time, energy, and money. Broken windows can also be a safety hazard, especially if you have children. New windows will make life far easier, and be a wonderful improvement to your home.

Outside noises are seeping in

Window technology has greatly improved, and older windows don’t provide the insulation from noise that newer ones do. New windows can make a huge difference in how much outside noise you hear inside your home.

There is often condensation inside your window

Condensation forms when warm, moist air meets a cold surface. In this instance, that surface is your window. Not only is this a sign that your windows aren’t energy efficient; the moisture can also be harmful because it can lead to warping, mold, and other problems.

Your windows are in general disrepair

If the glass in your windows is cracked or foggy, your windows can’t do their job of providing light to your home. You also can’t take advantage of any views your windows are meant to maximize. Other damage, like warping or rotting around the windows, also compromises your windows. Inspect your windows both inside and outside to assess how damaged and worn they are.

You notice moisture between window panes

If you see droplets of water between the panes of glass, it’s a sign that the seal between the two panes of glass is broken. The seal is what prevents heat from escaping. But when it does escape, it hits the coolness of the exterior pane of glass and causes moisture. Windows with worn out seals definitely need to be replaced.

The frames are decaying

What kind of shape are your window frames and sills in? Is there rotting and mold around your windows? While quality windows last a long time, no windows last forever. Frames wear out, wood warps with moisture, and mold sometimes takes root.

The windows make your home look dated

If you live in an older neighborhood, you can probably spot the other homes that still have the original windows. New windows freshen up and modernize a home. Also, older windows are most likely single pane windows, which have no insulation or soundproofing. New windows won’t just increase your curb appeal; they’ll also decrease your energy bill.

Is it possible to repair my windows instead of replacing them?

Depending on which of these issues you’re dealing with in your current windows, you may be wondering: Can’t I just repair my windows?

The short answer is maybe, but it’s not very likely. Most companies require full replacement if you don’t already have their windows in your home. However, repairing makes sense in some situations, like if you have a historical home and switching to modern windows would compromise the integrity of the home. For the more serious issues though, replacing your windows will be the best option.

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