Are your energy bills climbing or already high? A significant rise in your utility bills over the last year, or even five years, that comes from an increased use of power or gas and not simply a rate hike means you’re leaking somewhere. Windows are often the culprit. If you can borrow an infrared camera, you can track exactly where the energy loss is coming from. If you don’t have a friend with such fun toys, many home pros offer this service. Check HomeKeepr for a referral.
Are they tricky to open or won’t stay open without a prop? Really old windows may have a problem staying open because their corded weights have broken after decades of use and fallen into the interior space between the window and the wall. Newer windows might refuse to close because they’ve shifted ever so slightly. Either way, these are windows that are a huge pain to operate. That alone can be a good reason to replace them.
Can you hear your neighbors when you’re indoors? Cars, kids and pets, they’re all part of living in most communities, but they also make a lot of noise. Good quality windows will help reduce the volume, though none can block noise entirely. If you can hear your neighbor’s car like it’s in your own driveway, you definitely need to consider a window replacement.
Do you wake up to condensation between the window glass panes? A small amount of condensation isn’t really anything to worry about, but when it’s widespread or happens every day and hangs around for most of it, your window pane seal has probably been compromised. Sometimes you can contact the manufacturer or the reseller where the window came from and order a replacement pane, but they can be difficult to install and costly, which is why many people choose new windows at this stage. A window with a busted seal is one that’s costing you serious cash. The air trapped between those two (or three) panes of glass act as insulation, reducing the rate at which the window cools.
Is there extensive damage? Sometimes the damage to your windows can’t really be seen until you open them up, examine moving parts closely and, when necessary, remove some trim to look for rot that’s hidden inside the wall. Small sections of damage can sometimes be repaired, but larger areas indicate that you need to fix whatever cause the damage in the first place and then replace that window with one that’s new and healthy.