How to Know When it’s Time for New Windows

By Erik J. Martin

Is it feeling drafty in your house? Noticing higher energy bills? Getting more difficult to open and close your windows? These are telltale signs that it may be time to replace your home’s windows.

As your home ages, its bones naturally shift over time, causing gaps around your window frames to potentially form. If you notice a draft of air coming in and they are not open, you probably need to replace your windows.

Additionally, if your windows have visible damage or moisture, if your window frames are cracking or decaying, or you notice condensation on the glass panels after a storm, it’s another surefire sign they are letting air and moisture into and out of your home.

Furthermore, if you can hear outdoor noises loud and clear within your home, it’s yet another indication that those old windows need to be swapped out.

New replacement windows can lower your utility costs and add aesthetic charm to the look of your home, likely increasing its resale value.

Replacement windows appeal to homeowners who want elevated curb appeal, noise reduction, and energy efficiency.

Good candidates for replacement are windows that are 15 to 20 years old, regardless of how they may look or operate, particularly if you have single-pane windows.

One option is to keep your existing window frames and simply upgrade the glass. However, you may be able to take advantage of some of the current green initiatives being offered by the government in terms of tax breaks, which means replacing your windows entirely as an attractive alternative.

When shopping for new windows, look for products that offer more modern warm edge spacer bands and larger lines of sight that can not only add a greater level of comfort but also enhance your home’s appearance.

Newer window designs utilizing low E glass provide aesthetically pleasing views but also prevent heat gain and protect your home’s furnishings from fading by blocking the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Criteria to consider before selecting new windows include the location of the window, the overall design of your home, your climate, the amount of natural light you desire for the space, the best class option for your desired outcome, and whether a vinyl or wood window frame is preferred.

One of the most important specs to look at is called U-factor. This is a measurement of a window’s ability to insulate against environmental factors like heat, cold, and wind. The lower the U-factor number, the better the window insulates against the elements and the more energy and money you will save in the long run.

Windows come in several different kinds and styles. The most popular are double-hung windows, which are relatively affordable and easiest for instant cleaning purposes, as the lower sash and upper sash can move up and down and usually tilt for simpler cleaning. Casement windows open from the side with a crank handle and are better for rooms that can benefit from slight ventilation, such as a bedroom or kitchen. Picture windows, or fixed windows, can’t be opened. They usually have a tighter seal around the casing than a standard double hung. The main advantage is they can permit plenty of natural light into your living space, making them ideal for a living room. And bay or bow windows add fantastic cosmetic appeal to your interior and exterior.

A bow or bay can make the room feel bigger and brighter while expanding your view. They are typically placed outward from the main walls of a building and form a bay in a room.

Expect a typical replacement window to cost anywhere from $400-$800 and upwards per window to replace, including labor and materials.

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