Whether Jack Frost is nipping or it’s the dog days of summer, having windows is essential to your survival. After all, it’s only your home that keeps you from the elements, creating a comfortable environment where you can stay cozy. While the walls provide insulation to keep the inside of your home just right, windows let in light, which is good for the mind, body, and soul. After time, they need to be replaced to continue letting in the light but not the elements. Here are some signs you should look for that let you know it’s time to replace your windows.
Condensation Forms on the Inside of Your Windows
Condensation is more than just irritating. It causes damage as well — not just around the windows but to the entire home, which can cost you a lot of money. It’s more likely to happen with single-paned windows than with double-paned windows because it typically forms when it’s warmer outside than inside and when there’s excess humidity in the home.
Condensation causes paint around the window frame to peel and can cause structural damage. If condensation is consistently building up, it can lead to water damage, mold, and even mildew.
If you have issues with condensation on double-paned windows, it probably means that there is a leak. Gas, typically argon, fills the gap between the two panes to insulate the window. If this gas is released, that insulation is gone and will lead to cold windows and potentially condensation. It may be that just the insulated glass panel needs to be replaced. If that’s not a viable option, replacing the window may be your only way to fix it.
You Feel a Draft
If the air feels drastically different around your windows, colder in winter and warmer in summer, than the rest of the house, it could mean it’s time to replace your windows. Sometimes the drafts can be fixed with weatherstripping or caulking, but if you’ve tried that and it’s still drafty, replacing the windows may be the only way to fix it.
Drafty windows lead to higher utility bills, and replacing them could reduce your bills by about 15 percent, according to the author of The Homeowner’s Energy Handbook. This alone may not be a financially valid reason to replace windows, but it does go in the pros column. Plus, it also raises the value of your home, so you’ll recoup some of the cost of the windows if you sell (around 70 percent of the cost as of 2016). Another pro is getting to curl up with a good book without having to worry about sitting too close to that drafty window.
There Are Cracks in the Windowpane
Damage to the glass, and especially a crack, is a surefire sign that the window needs to be replaced. A cracked pane will break eventually and could hurt someone when it breaks. It’s better to get it taken care of while it’s still relatively whole and not causing a major draft.
If the casings are expensive or custom-made, you’ll want to get a replacement for just the glass pane. That will save you money because of the cost of buying the whole window will be steep. If it’s an inexpensive vinyl window, it’s best to replace the whole thing.
If the window broke because of act of nature or an accident, it’s possible for you to use your homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost. It’s important to note, however, that the cost of a new window may not be higher than your deductible and reporting a claim could lead to higher rates. For this reason, it might not be worth reporting it to your insurance.
The Window Frames Are Cracking or Rotting
When there are cracks in the window frame, water will seep into those cracks and cause mold to grow. This mold is what causes wood to rot. If the damage is small enough, it’s possible that you could remove the rotting wood and replace it with epoxy filler. Once you’ve done that, you can paint the epoxy the same color as the rest of the trim, blending it in with the frame.
However, if the degree of wood rot is great enough, it’s possible that the entire frame will need to be replaced. This could be because the damage extends to the jambs that hold the window up. When this happens, the cost of preserving the existing window is too great and will exceed the cost of a replacement window.
Your Home Needs a Facelift
Sometimes homes just need to be refreshed. Maybe you’ve decided to modernize the interior of your home, and you need windows that match the new update. Maybe you’re in the midst of a remodel, and the windows just don’t fit in with the refreshed look of your home. If the windows don’t work with the new decor and the cost can be fit into your budget, it’s a sign that it’s time for some new windows.
One thing to consider as you decide to replace your windows, however, is whether the new windows will fit in with the era that the house was built. New, inexpensive vinyl windows will not fit in with a home built 100 years ago that has character and charming details. Replacing the windows with low-cost ones could actually decrease the value of your home.
Some owners pay the expense of preserving the original windows, even though it may cost more than new ones. Others choose a style of window that fits with the era. This may mean getting windows that have divided light patterns (panes within the windows) and have quality wood frames instead of vinyl.
With the new windows in place, you can now cuddle up with that book in a comfy armchair and your favorite fantasy novel. No draft will chill you, and you can enjoy the sun shining through without condensation blocking the light. It truly is a magnificent sight to behold and to enjoy.