Windows protect your home from elements such as extreme temperatures, wind, rain, snow, and ice. Inefficient windows may allow outdoor air in, causing your air conditioner and/or heater to work overtime to keep the temperature comfortable inside. Damaged windows can also allow water to seep in, causing more problems inside your home.
Are your windows in good working order? Do they add something to the appearance of your home? Old, worn windows can detract from your home’s curb appeal. If your windows are old or damaged, it might be time to consider investing in new windows for your home.
How do you know if it’s time to replace the windows on your home? If it is time for new windows, do you know what to look for? Use this guide to help you make decisions about replacing windows for your home.
Consider getting new windows if…
Windows are damaged or broken — Even if the window itself is intact, a broken or warped window frame should be replaced before you develop real problems with the window. If the window sticks when you try to open or close it, if you feel a draft coming in or if the windowpanes are foggy, it may be time to replace your window sash or frame — if not the entire window.
You want to lower your energy bill — Windows that let in a draft can drive up your energy bill by as much as 25 percent, according to Energy.gov. Replacing your windows with energy-efficient windows can reduce your heating and cooling bills. Energy-efficient windows can also be a big selling point when it’s time to sell your home.
You’ve been through a severe storm — Wind, humidity, and sea salt can do a number on your windows. If you live in a coastal region or another area prone to severe weather, consider replacing your windows with new windows made with storm-resistant materials, which are better able to withstand the elements.
It’s time for a home renovation project — Whether you’re updating a historic home with vinyl windows, or are just simply giving your home a makeover, leaving the old, worn windows will affect the overall look of your home. Consider replacing old windows with larger windows to let in more natural light, and opt for a window that opens, rather than a fixed window sash. If it’s a historical home you’re working with, look for a company that will make custom windows to ensure your new windows are historically accurate, so as not to detract from the look of the historic home.
If you decide to replace your windows, keep these 4 factors in mind…
Choose a window style — When it comes to choosing new or replacement windows, you have some options on style. Here are some basic options to consider: Single or double hung windows — The most common windows in homes, single or double windows consist of two separate sashes that open by sliding up or down. A single hung window opens from the bottom, while a double hung window can open from top or bottom.
Casement windows — windows with one large sash that opens by swinging out. Awning windows — Hinged at the top, they open by tilting the window out from the bottom. Awning windows are especially popular in coastal regions. Slider windows — If space is limited outside and there’s not room for windows that open outwards, these are another great option in addition to single or double hung windows. Slider windows open by sliding side to side.
Choose window frame and sash materials — The most popular window materials are wood or vinyl. Wood windows have a more classic, beautiful appearance, but they require more maintenance. Vinyl windows, are popular because they are essentially maintenance-free and are lower in cost than wood windows. You also have the option of vinyl-clad windows, which are wood on the inside with a vinyl coating and wood frame on the outside.
Choose window glass — When choosing which glass to use, there are two basic types to choose from
Low emissivity (Low-E) glass — This glass has a thin, layer of material on the window to reduce the flow of heat through the glass.
Impact resistant glass — Although it may crack, impact resistant glass will not shatter when hit hard.
Consider the quality and compare warranties — Replacing windows can come with a bit of sticker shock, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Choose a high-quality window from a well-known company to get the energy saving, low maintenance, durable windows you’re looking for. Be mindful that warranties vary from one manufacturer to the next, so be sure to take a close look at the warranty before you buy. Well-known companies tend to offer the most solid warranties for their products and are more likely to still be around should you encounter any problems with your windows.
Once you choose a window, look for a contractor who is trained by the window manufacturer. Your local Home Builders Association can also help put you in touch with window contractors in your area.
Knowing when it’s time to replace your windows, and choosing the right windows for your home can make a big difference in the value of your home when it’s time to sell.