Learning Center » Windows

9 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Windows

time to replace your windows

You might think those gorgeous bay windows will last a lifetime, but most window professionals consider 20 years to be a full service life. Even vinyl becomes a senior citizen of the window world at 25 years. Fortunately, modern windows bring plenty of gifts. They’re better insulated than their ancestors, so an Energy Star product can save you up to $500 a year on utility bills alone.

If you’re about to sell your home, they’ll raise your resale price while offering a 70% return on investment. That’s before you even factor curb appeal into the math. New windows will freshen up your aesthetic and add coziness to your winter days. Now that’s value!.

Signs that your windows need replacement

Mother Nature is your windows’ greatest enemy. Tough climates can wear down your windows in just a few years. A little caulk and weather stripping can go a long way towards fixing storm damage. You might even get away with saving pennies by replacing your sashes, locks, and weather stripping, but the costs aren’t always sensible. Let’s take a closer look at signs of damage.

Broken panes

Rogue baseballs and stray tree branches can do significant damage to the toughest of windows. Shattering glass can cause significant harm to your family, so it’s important to deal with cracks as soon as possible. A little DIY surgery might do the trick, but if your sash needs to be removed during the repair, new windows are more sensible.

Sticking sashes

A simple wipe or lubricating layer can repair the stickiest of sashes, so this isn’t always a sign of an impending window replacement.  If wax or silicone don’t do the trick, or your tracks have taken permanent damage, that stubborn sash might need to be replaced.

Drafts

Drafty windows will negate your HVAC system’s effects and create skyrocketing utility bills. This annoying problem can be caused by gaps, storm damage, or a broken seal. Poorly-installed windows can be just as draughty, so you might need to reinstall or replace the entire window. Weatherstripping and caulk can certainly help, but a lick-and-stick approach rarely provides an adequate seal.

replacing your windows

Fog

Is condensate getting you down? There might be an easy way to resolve the problem. Indoor fogging occurs when you have more humidity indoors than out. Your relative humidity should be between 30 and 50% in winter—a problem that might be fixed by improving your air circulation or turning down your humidifier. Condensate that occurs between your panes is more difficult to remedy. This is a sign that you have a glass seal failure. Your friendly window professional will assess the problem and decide whether you need a replacement or repair.

Leakage

If water is infiltrating your home through your windows, a simple gutter cleaning might help. If the water is penetrating through a cracking or warping window, however, you might have a functional problem that requires new windows entirely. This might seem like a minor problem, but window leakage can destroy your home, cause mold infestation, and compromise your foundation. These are serious consequences that demand a drastic response, particularly if your windows were badly installed.

Gaps, cracks and missing seals

Contemporary windows rely on their seal to support their glazing, so even minor gaps can be catastrophic. If you can see spaces between your window, wall, frame, or sash, your seals have probably failed. Cracks and discoloration are two more signs that your sealants have worn away. A periodic five-year reseal schedule will keep your windows in good order, but it’s not always enough. If solar pumping has pressurized your seal, it’s probably time for a replacement.

To replace or not to replace… that is the question

The window replacement decision isn’t limited to severe mechanical failures. Many minor repairs are as expensive as new windows, so it often makes financial sense to choose the most drastic solution. Your windows’ post-repair performance should also be explored. If a repair doesn’t deliver the energy efficiency you need to keep your utility bills down, even an inexpensive fix can cost you in the long term.

Aesthetics matter too, of course, especially if you’re about to sell your home. A new set of windows can add architectural interest to your property and improve your property value. Energy Star windows can also save you a fortune, so if your home’s energy efficiency levels belong in the ice age, a replacement will garner the best results.

Residential windows rarely outlast their first 30 years. Once you’ve reached the 20-year mark, many inexpensive repairs become financially impractical. Replacements will breathe new life into your curb appeal and keep you comfy in extreme weather, so why not spoil yourself with a gorgeous replacement? You deserve it. 

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