It’s hard enough keeping up with some of the basics of home maintenance, so it’s easy to overlook the condition of your windows. But like almost everything in your home, windows don’t last forever.
If you wait too long to keep them updated, they could cost you more than replacing them in the first place.
But the question is, when do you need to buy new windows? Sometimes maladies like cracked window frames are a clearcut sign. But smaller instances of wear and tear can be just as pressing and more difficult to spot.
Keep your home safe and secure with regular maintenance. Here are 8 signs you need to buy new windows.
1. High Energy Bills
How do you know if your windows are going bad? Keep an eye on your energy bills. If they continue to climb year after year, there’s a good chance that your windows are in need of a replacement set.
The condition of your windows has a massive impact on your home’s overall energy consumption. According to the Department of Energy, the difference between good and bad windows can impact 30% of your heating and cooling use. New, energy-efficient windows may cost a pretty penny early on, but you’ll save by running your HVAC less throughout the years.
2. Visible Damage
On rare occasions, your windows make it obvious when they need to go. Warped frames or damaged glass are some of the most obvious signs of age. While you could try to repair the windows instead, this type of damage can be difficult to permanently fix without a complete reinstallation.
For other types of wear and tear, you could be luckier. Is your set of double-pane windows foggy at all times? You may just need to have a professional seal up a leak.
3. Difficult to Operate
A good window shouldn’t give you any trouble. If it takes a good deal of strength to open or close your window, that tends to suggest there’s been some warping in the frame or the window itself.
This inconvenience alone isn’t the end of the world, but it’s likely the window no longer enjoys a snug fit and is letting in hot and cold air.
Think about the other components, too. Does the lock no longer fit or refuse to move? You’re looking at a serious security complication.
4. Noisy Interior
Whether open or closed, windows are the primary avenue for sound to enter or leave your home. If it seems like you can hear every little thing going on outside, your windows are probably several decades old. New designs feature significant improvements in noise reduction.
Walk around your home. Is the outside noise louder when you’re near a window? It may be time for some vinyl replacement windows.
Another obvious reason to replace your windows: The frames are decaying and chipping away. It doesn’t matter how high-quality your windows were 20 years ago. Eventually, outside moisture will penetrate the wood and lead to decay and mold.
You can usually spot these signs with a quick glance. You’re looking for black smears and other forms of discoloration.
Decay tends to take place outside the window frame first. Walk around the perimeter of your home and see how the exteriors are holding up.
Think your windows look outdated? They probably are. And old windows can put a serious hamper on your curb appeal no wonder how you try and dress them up.
If you’re giving your home a makeover — or just completed one — then it’s a great time to consider the visual impact of your windows. Style and quality may seem like trivial reasons to buy new windows. But remember that curb appeal has one of the largest returns on investment when it comes to your home’s value.
7. Drafty Windows
Not everything is visual. Older windows in desperate need of repair are often drafty. Maybe the frames are warped or the seals have come undone.
Whatever the case may be, you’ll feel a draft when spending time beside an older window. Let’s say you pull up a chair beside your window to enjoy some natural light while you read. If there’s a bit of a chill coming by the window, you’re dealing with a draft.
Don’t ignore these temperature imbalances even in extreme weather. A good set of windows should have no difficulty regulating the temperature of your home. You can contact an energy auditor to inspect the insulation of your windows if you want a second opinion.
8. Severe Weather Areas
Certain biomes can put normal windows to the test. For example, high humidity found in tropical climates like Florida and Hawaii will quickly eat through the wood and seals of most types of windows. You might also want to consider buying new windows when you live in severe weather areas, such as tornado valley.
These living conditions require specialty windows that you could be lacking. You’ll usually want to spring for fiberglass options that boast thicker finishes and extra strength, protecting you and your home in case of a weather emergency.
Is It Time to Buy New Windows?
Installing windows is surprisingly affordable. Rather than dealing with drafty, inoperable windows that raise your energy bill every year, it’s worthwhile to buy new windows right away. You’ll be enjoying the savings from an energy-efficient upgrade within a few years.
Although there are several types of windows, you’ll probably choose between wood or vinyl. Since vinyl is more energy-efficient and requires less maintenance, it’s worth your consideration.
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