Tom Shafer

9 signs your windows need replacing

March 05, 2013

Unless you live in an underground bunker, your house has windows and at some point you'll probably have to replace them. Windows last a long time and can often be fixed, but when does it make more sense to skip the cost and hassle of constant repairs and buy new, energy-saving, replacement windows?

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9 reasons to consider replacement windows

How do you know when to say goodbye to your busted, inefficient windows? If your old windows have any of these issues, it's time:

replacment windows needed

  1. Pitted aluminum. Old aluminum window frames deteriorate with exposure to wind, rain and sun. They're also cold in the winter and form condensation -- and even frost -- on the glass.
  2. Single-glazed. Double pane, insulated glass wasn't common until the mid-80's. If your windows are single pane, they may be so energy-inefficient that you actually feel the cold coming off the glass in winter.
  3. Rotting wood. Water penetration into the wood sill over the years can cause rotting. You may have already tried to fill the holes, repair rotted wood, paint over the rot or just ignored it.
  4. Inoperable. The sash balances are broken. The sash may be off of the balance; the string may be broken or frayed; the sash might be frozen in place due to age; or your windows may simply have so many coats of paint that they don't open at all.
  5. Broken hardware. Sash locks and lifts can pull out of the wood. If you have casements, you may have at least one crank mechanism that is stripped or a lock that can no longer pull the casement sash in.
  6. Broken into. If you've had a burglary and the intruders gained access by smashing a window, you might not be able to repair it.
  7. Out of style. Casements may be out of place in your neighborhood. Double hungs might not fit the architecture of your home. Single hungs might not allow enough ventilation. In cases like these, your windows are the wrong style.
  8. In need of paint. The old paint is peeling and cracked. You can't just slap on a coat of paint without scraping and sanding for hours to prepare the surface.
  9. Fog between the panes. The sealant has deteriorated and so much moisture has entered the double- or triple-pane unit that the glass has fogged. The glass must be replaced.

If you are having any of these problems, your windows are trying to tell you something. Listen to them and consider installing replacement windows.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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