For many people, windows are merely a great way to add aesthetic value to a home. From big, plate glass windows in the living room, to small, circular panes in your bathroom, windows are the eyes of the house, allowing you to look out upon the neighborhood, and allowing light to come in. While windows can be an excellent way to improve the look of your home, they can also be a source of financial problems.
Unfortunately, glass is not designed for maintaining a climate within a home, which can lead to higher utility bills. These costs are further exacerbated by improper sealing, which can cause gaps to form between the windowsill and the wall. If you have an older home, your windows may be sucking money from your wallet without you even knowing. What can you do? Upgrade your windows and plug any leaks, while also utilizing material that will better keep your home’s climate at a steady temperature.
Warning Signs of Old Windows
For many older homes, the windows are usually single pane sheets of glass held in place by either a vinyl or wooden frame. While this was the standard for many years, it is not as energy efficient as modern, double pane windows. Additionally, newer windows are better designed to not only retain heat and cold but insulate against sound. If you live in a relatively noisy area, it is likely that your windows are reason why noise pollution is entering your home.
Here are the top warning signs that indicate your windows need replacing:
- Opening and closing improperly. If your window sticks when you try to open or close it, it can be an excellent indicator that it’s time to replace the window. Whether it is a lift or door style opening, you want to make sure that your window opens and closes properly in order to maintain a tight seal.
- Feeling a draft even when the window is closed. If you notice that the areas next to your windows are a bit colder than the rest of your house, this is a significant indication of loose seals around the window frame. Most frames are sealed with caulk or other similar materials, but they break down over time, leaving gaps between the frame and the wall. If you feel any sort of draft by a window, it will either need re-sealing or full replacing.
- Condensation. If you currently have a double or triple paned window, and you start to notice condensation forming between the panes, this is a good indicator that the sealant is beginning to fail. Multiple-paned windows have a cushion of air between them for added protection, but if there are gaps in the sealant, then water can start to form, meaning that the window is not working properly.
Cost vs. Benefit
According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual report, the cost of replacing a set of windows can run up to $12,000 each. While this is an expensive proposition, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that by switching from old, inefficient windows to government Energy Star rated ones, you can save over $500 a year on utility bills. Additionally, the added benefit of reduced noise means that, while the initial cost is high, the long-term benefits offset the damage.
Repair vs. Replace
If you’re not quite ready to remove and replace your windows entirely, it may be possible to just fix any parts that have worn down over the years. If you have older, single pane windows, you will still lose money in the long run due to less efficient energy usage. But, patching up loose sealant and repairing damaged glass can help mitigate the effect of inefficient windows.
Sometimes, if the frame itself is the issue, you can replace this part only instead of putting in a whole new window. However, this is not always the case - especially if the frame is damaged or rotten all the way through.
To determine whether or not your windows need repairing or replacing, it’s crucial that you consult a licensed window contractor to assess your needs. A contractor will be able to see how bad the problem is, and what steps can be done to fix it. If you can get away with simply re-sealing the frame to the wall, a contractor can help you get the job done. Similarly, if it is necessary to replace the entire window, you want to make sure to get an estimate of both the cost and the time required to do the job.
If you’re looking to upgrade your windows or are curious about what options are available, contact a licensed contractor in your area today. We can put you in touch with top-quality contractors in your neighborhood that guarantee their work. Whether it’s an assessment or a total replacement, finding a local contractor has never been easier.