Should I replace my windows?

Should I replace my windows?

How will you know it’s time to think about changing your home’s windows? The best indication is on rainy days, oftentimes your windows will start to show you that they are nearing the end of their useful life, or just in need of some repairs, if you notice condensation or foggy glass.

Although they don’t last forever, high-quality, well-maintained windows could last for 20 years or more, but there are many factors at play. (Windows in a coastal city might age faster than they would in a drier, more arid, climate, for example.) 

If your windows are more than a few decades old, listen carefully to what they’re telling you, so you’ll know when they need to be replaced. You can look at them from the inside as well as carefully climbing a ladder to look at your upper windows from the outside.

Here’s what to be on the lookout for.

They’re damaged, warped, or broken

It’s sometimes possible to repair a window instead of replacing it. If your window’s problem is minor, such as needing new weatherstripping or hardware, a repair might be the best option. 

Replacement parts sometimes are hard to find or have been discontinued, so replacing a damaged, warped, or broken window sash or frame is almost always preferred to attempting a repair. 

Do your windows fog up? Are they drafty? Do they have visible damage like chipping, deterioration or water stains on or around the window? Do they stick when you try to open or close them? Do they refuse to stay open? Are they hard to clean? If you are hearing outside noise when your windows are closed, chances are they aren’t providing enough acoustic insulation. If your windows are communicating in those ways, they’re telling you to replace them.

You want to reduce your energy bill

Windows provide some heat in the winter by letting in sunlight. But drafty windows can cause your energy bills to be about 10% to 25% higher, according to Energy.gov. 

Older windows lack proper insulation and older windows and doors may be ill fitting which may force your air conditioning or heating to work harder.

Replacing your windows with energy-efficient ones can reduce your heating and cooling bills. Bonus: If you’re considering listing your home for sale, those new windows — and the resulting energy cost savings — can be a big selling point.

But don’t assume all windows are the same; it’s important to consider your specific needs. One factor? Your location – check with your local window dealer to find ones that work best with your specific climate.

You just survived a severe storm

If you live in a hurricane impact zone or another area prone to severe weather events, you’re probably prepared for the possibility of damaged windows. In fact, just living near the coast can do a number on your home’s exterior, including your windows. 

But even if you don’t live in a coastal region, if your top priority in a window is low maintenance, windows made with Ultrex fiberglass would be a smart choice.

You’re renovating a historic home

In our area, there are a number of historic homes. Previous window replacements might have been with vinyl replacement windows that detract from the home’s historic charm. The wrong window can dramatically change the overall look of a historic home and can even interfere with its integrity. If your goal is to install historically accurate replacement windows, a company that can handle custom requests should be your go-to.

Single Pane Windows 

There is a very good chance if your house was built before 1970 and still has its original windows that they are made of single pane glass. Today’s window standards are made from double, or triple pane glass. Single pane glass windows are sub-standard, drafty, and occasionally unsafe.

If the carpet, furniture and window treatments have started to fade, this might be a sign that single pane glass is not doing its job at keeping out the UV rays that enter through your windows and can fade colors. Low E glass reduces most of the UVB light and helps minimize heating and cooling costs. Laminated and tinted glass will help block UVA rays.

Curb appeal sells houses

Windows are one of the most prominent features of a home, and if they look worn, your house will, too. 

Look to see whether the color is fading or the window material is warping, or whether old screens or storm windows detract from the curb appeal of your home. Design considerations are a close second to quality when selecting new windows, and the overall vision or design theme of a home or space should be a driving force in the window selection process.

While you’re upgrading your home’s appearance, you might also wish to change the type of window from a fixed sash to a window that opens. 

Install larger windows to increase a room’s natural light, which has aesthetic and health benefits: According to the Lighting Research Center, daylit environments increase productivity and comfort, plus help regulate your circadian rhythms for better general wellness.

There is no question that how a window and door performs is a top priority, but modern, energy models also come with the added bonus of being more attractive … which just may help increase your home’s resale value.

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Charles McDonaldBy Charles McDonald - Charles, and his firm, Charlottesville Solutions, are known locally and around the world for helping people relocate to the Charlottesville area. His background (running his own engineering firm for 20+ years in the Silicon Valley) has given him the skills to not only develop this site but also to manage a stellar group of agents!
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