Recently we featured a blog that talked about how important your roof is to the health of your home. Today’s blog is similar except that, rather than the roof, where going to be talking about another part of your home that is almost as vitally important; the windows. (And if you’re listening Google, no, we’re not talking about a Microsoft product.) The simple, unavoidable fact is that years of use and wear can destroy even the best windows and the only way to deal with this problem, in most cases, is to replace them.
Replacing all of the windows in your home is probably going to be an even bigger cost than replacing the roof but, if it’s necessary, it should be done no matter the investment cost. The good news is that putting new windows in will immediately start saving you money on your energy bills. Your home will stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer and your new windows will also greatly increase the overall value of your home. With those things in mind let’s get started looking at other factors that should be taken into account when it comes to your home’s windows. Enjoy.
One of the easiest signs that your windows need replacing is that your home is very drafty. Over time as windows wear out they simply begin to let more air in. Older, wooden frame windows are especially prone to this and in many cases this wear can make them difficult to open and shut or cause large gaps between the window frame and your homes frame, allowing air to get in and conversely allowing air-conditioned or heated air to escape.
In some cases weather-stripping can be used to counter this problem but, if all of your homes windows have it, it’s probably time to start replacing them. Indeed, most experts will tell you that any type of sealing that you do on your windows is really only a temporary fix. If you truly want to make sure that draft is gone you’ll need to replace the window.
As we mentioned above, the older a window gets the more difficult it can be to open and close. As a matter of fact, a window that is really hard to open or close is probably a window that needs to be replaced. If you have an older style double hung or single hung window with a balance mechanism you can also face the dangerous prospect of a window slamming shut when you thought it was going to stay open. In this case it closes too easily and can create a dangerous situation. Keep in mind that practically all types of windows can experience operational failures and that wood and metal window frames that haven’t been properly maintained can also fail.
If you have double or even triple pained windows and there is condensation inside of the glass (it kind of looks like fog) it may be necessary to replace just the glass or you may have to replace the entire window. This depends on the seriousness of the problem. For example, if you have moisture inside the window it may be a sign that the window’s seal has failed, in which case the insulated glass is no longer doing what it was intended to do, which is to create a barrier between the cooled or heated inside of your house with the air outside.
One easy way to know if the seal has failed is by checking to see if there are any calcium deposits on the glass. Even though you may not see any visible condensation, if you find calcium deposits it’s a good bet that the insulated glass has been compromised.
Lastly, one of the most obvious signs that your windows need replacing is that your energy bill is much too high. It might be hard to determine this fact but, if you’re not sure, you could always ask a few of your neighbors that have similarly sized houses. If their heating and cooling bills are much lower than yours it may point to the need for you to replace your windows.
One final bit of advice from the Department of Energy (DOE) is that if your home is very old and has very inefficient windows replacing them is probably going to be more cost-effective than trying other ways of improving their energy efficiency. We agree with them and agree that even though the investment cost may be high the energy savings will eventually catch up and thereafter afford you a good bit of energy savings and a home that is much more comfortable.