How Do I Know When It’s Time to Replace My Windows?

man replacing a window

As energy prices soar across the world, many homeowners struggle to keep pace. Many homes built today have energy-saving features like efficient HVAC systems, automated lighting, and energy-smart appliances. Still, many homeowners find themselves searching for ways to deal with rising energy bills. In most situations, the primary culprit of high energy use is leaking or malfunctioning windows. Today, we will suggest five signs to look for that indicate your windows need to be replaced.

Reason 1 – Your Utility Bill Is Out of Control

Looking at energy bill

It’s no secret that energy prices are on the rise. In many regions, energy costs are now almost double from only a year ago. Obviously, world events are affecting energy prices worldwide. However, when you notice a 3-5% increase in energy costs and the weather hasn’t been particularly severe, inspect your windows first.

If we think about how air gets into a home, we quickly realize that the exterior doors and windows are the primary path. The same goes for air escaping the home because as outdoor air passes an opening (like a window in poor condition), it literally sucks the air from the home. The problem is that we can’t see the air escaping, so we don’t know what to look for.

Many homes built in the 20th-century still have single-pane windows, which is very inefficient by the current energy standards. Replacing these single-pane windows with energy-efficient models with double or triple pane sashes can save nearly 25% in energy expenses. In fact, some homes, like those using passive house principles, can eliminate the need for any supplemental heat at all.

Reason 2 – Outside Noise Sounds Like It’s Inside

Outside noises are usually classified as either airborne noise or impact noise. Airborne noises are those that we hear but don’t necessarily feel. Impact noises tend to be felt before they are heard. Both noises are easily transferred through an opening around the window, or through a single pane window.

If you live in an area with traffic noise close to your home, you might be surprised by how much quieter the home is after replacing your windows. Few home upgrades can offer both energy conservation and sound dampening for the same price. If you upgrade your front and back doors as well, you can expect to reduce nuisance noises by up to 95%. 

Reason 3 – Your Windows Struggle to Open

Windows that cannot be opened with one hand are suffering from neglect. As mentioned earlier, we don’t always notice a window of having problems. We clean and look through them constantly, but many of us rarely open them because we use an HVAC system. However, the pros recommend testing your windows at the start of each new season, due to the expansion and contraction of the rough opening.

Windows can sag if the rough opening it is attached to is unstable. In many cases, a single gap or crack around a window or window frame can allow moisture to trickle in and get inside the wall. Over time, the moisture is absorbed by the wooden framing, causing it to swell and then contract as it dries. The constant movement of the frame usually results in the failure of the caulk seal around the window, leading to water damage.

Rough openings can also settle out of square, causing the window sashes to experience friction inside the frame. In most situations, it is this friction that prevents the sash from opening easily. Eventually, if the problem is not addressed a gap will form between the sash and the frame, allowing bugs and drafts to enter.

Reason 4 – You Can’t See Through

Condensation

Remember the Argon gas we described earlier? If your double-paned windows are foggy or translucent with condensation, they need to be replaced. When double-paned windows are built, a vacuum is formed between the panes to eliminate any air moisture. When windows become foggy, the culprit is condensation from moist air trapped between the panes.

Modern windows take advantage of new technologies, like thermal pane glazing and advanced glass design. Better energy efficiency and tighter manufacturing tolerances are more common today than just a decade ago. Modern windows like this one are made from extremely durable fiberglass, which can last as long as the home itself.

Reason 5 – You Want to Add Value to Your Home

Savvy home shoppers have discovered that homes with modern windows will save them money in the long run. Smart homeowners have discovered that with the right circumstances, new windows can pay for themselves, and then some. When we sell a home, many times the prospective buyer wants a look at a year’s worth of utility bills. This educates them on the energy efficiency of the home, which may affect how much they can offer.

As a homeowner, you can enjoy the lower utility bills, quiet living, and clean look of new windows while you live in the home. For example, let’s say you save 10% per month by eliminating the expensive drafts caused by your old windows. If your bill is usually 300.00, you will save over a month’s worth of energy (30.00 x 12 months = 360.00).

Quality windows, like those offered here, are designed to last for decades. If you replace your windows this year and sell the home in five years, you can save $1,800.00 in energy expenses and still retain a nearly 70% return on investment. Few, if any other home remodeling projects can both save and make you money while improving your experience in the home.

Which New Windows Do I Need?

With the myriad of window options available, deciding which is best for your home can be daunting. As mentioned previously, sometimes problems can be difficult to find unless you know what to look for. Usually, the best option is to schedule a free consultation with an expert in the field to determine the best course of action.

You’ll want to find a local company that has a wide selection of products because that usually indicates great relationships with manufacturers. Window installation companies that offer multiple brands have established an honest, reliable relationship that manufacturers trust to represent them.

We suggest finding a window company like this one because you’ll be able to speak to an expert and visit a showroom before you spend any money. Windows can be a substantial investment, so you want to get it right the first time. These folks can answer any question you have about windows, and some you haven’t thought of yet. We recommend doing your homework, asking lots of questions, and hiring a company you can count on.