Your home’s windows can add value to your home while improving your quality of life, but what happens when your windows are too old? Once they reach a certain age, old windows can burden you with repairs and complex maintenance needs, while delivering poor energy efficiency.
Knowing when to replace your home’s windows is important. A well-timed window replacement can increase your home’s value, make your home more appealing to buyers (if you’re trying to sell) and can make life in your home better. Below are nine signs that it’s time to replace home windows.
1. Single Pane Windows
Many years ago, window glazing was made up of a single layer of glass. Single pane windows are highly inefficient. In rooms with southern and western exposures, single pane windows create hot spots on hot days, and in winter, they can leave indoor spaces feeling cold and uncomfortable. It’s been a long time since single pane windows were standard in homes, but these windows still exist in older houses.
How can you tell if your windows are single pane?
Hold up a candle or a lighter to your windows, and look for a reflection in the glass. Dual pane windows will reflect more than one flame.
Single pane windows can devalue your home and leave you feeling uncomfortable at the coldest and hottest times of year. If your home has single pane windows, it’s time to upgrade.
2. Condensation and Moisture Buildup
Under the right conditions, condensation can form on the interior side of your home’s windows. You’ll see condensation if the air inside your house is humid, and the temperature of the glass is dramatically lower than the temperature inside your home.
Condensation creates problems by obscuring the view out your windows and by creating the potential for mold and water damage. If your windows are properly energy efficient, condensation is less likely to occur.
Replacing your home’s windows and taking steps to reduce humidity in your home will prevent this problem from occurring. When replacing your windows, look for dual pane, gas-filled window types, with a low-E window coating. These windows will reflect heat back into your home while also insulating your windows from temperatures outside, thus reducing or eliminating your condensation problem.
3. Expensive Repairs Needed
Old windows can break over time, requiring expensive repairs just to function properly. As windows age, the need for repairs becomes more frequent. Whether the springs and mechanical parts are broken, or the wood around the frame has become rotten, these repairs can be expensive. If your windows are made of wood, you could even find yourself performing maintenance like refinishing or repainting every 5 years or less.
If more than one window needs repairs, the costs can only grow. If your windows are very old, you’ll get more value for your money through home window replacement, instead of repair.
Not sure how much repairs will cost? Get quotes from a window repair person or handy man. Compare those quotes to the cost of replacing your windows, to help you decide whether it’s worth it to replace your windows, instead of getting them fixed.
4. Window Noise
Can you hear every loud truck that passes your home? Do you suffer through the sounds of every noisy neighbor who lives on your street? If so, your windows probably play a role in this problem.
Getting new windows can reduce the noise inside your house. You’re especially likely to notice an improvement if you’re replacing single pane windows with dual panes. New windows have strong seals that promote energy efficiency and stop sounds from entering the home, leading to a more peaceful environment indoors.
5. Foggy Glass
Dual pane windows have a seal that prevents moisture and humid air from leaking into the space between the glass. If the seal is broken, moisture invades the space and the window becomes foggy, obscuring your view.
While this problem can be fixed, it’s expensive to repair several windows at once. If your windows are old or poor quality, several windows in your home may have this problem. If this is the case, it’s time to get new windows! Buy high quality windows with a strong seal to avoid this problem in the future. Remember that new windows will come with a new warranty that helps ensure you won’t be left with defective or poorly installed products.
6. High Energy Bills
While there are many things that can cause your home’s energy bills to be high, old windows are likely to be a large contributing factor. Replacing your windows with energy efficient models that have low-e window coatings and argon gas between window panes can help make all the difference.
Keep in mind that inefficient windows put a burden on your home’s HVAC system in many ways, and can contribute to more wear and tear on your furnace and air conditioner. In addition to increasing your home’s energy bills, inefficient windows can lead to higher HVAC maintenance costs, and may shorten the service life of your HVAC system. This means replacing your windows can lead to savings in many ways.
7. Water Damage
Poorly fitting windows can lead to leaks, which ultimately cause water damage. This water damage can cause mold and mildew growth, stains, dry rot and more. Replacing your windows can solve all of these problems, if you replace your windows with a high quality, custom-fit window designed for your home.
Pay close attention to the warranty on the windows you’re thinking about buying. Look for a product that’s guaranteed by the manufacturer/installer. If possible, look for a window dealer that installs all their own products. This can help ensure the windows will be properly installed, and you’re less likely to deal with issues like window leaks in the future.
8. Difficult to Open, Close or Lock
There are many reasons that windows lose the ability to open, close or lock. Some windows have complicated locking and open/close mechanisms, and those mechanisms don’t last forever. When the mechanisms break, the windows may become difficult to use. Additionally, as the house settles, window frames may take on a slightly different shape over time, causing the window to become difficult to push open or closed.
If just one of your home’s windows is having this problem, it may be easily repaired. If many of your home’s windows are having this problem, it may mean that your windows simply need replacement.
Window styles change, as do homeowner tastes. If you’re tired of your windows looking the way they do, it maybe time for a change. Replacing your windows with a completely different style can dramatically change the appearance of your home, impacting curb appeal.
Perform Regular Inspections of Your Home’s Windows
Inspect your windows once annually to stay on top of your home window maintenance. Performing an inspection will help you decide when it’s time to replace your home windows.