When Should You Replace Your Windows?

Windows are one of the most prominent features of your home, but often times one of the most overlooked. Old or damaged windows can increase your energy bill, affect your ability to be comfortable in your home, and ultimately impact the resale value of the house. Here are some signs that it may be time for a replacement:

carpenter installing a window

  • There is visible damage to the glass, frame, or window pane. These are probably the most obvious issues. Is the glass of the window cracked or warped? Is the frame of the window rotting or broken? Can you no longer open the window or does it get stuck when you try and open it?
  • Your windows fog up or are drafty. Condensation and temperature issues occur when the seal on the glass pane fails or is broken. Do your windows fog up when it’s particularly cold or hot outside? Are your windows hot to the touch in the summer or freezing cold in the winter? When you sit by your window, is the temperature noticeably different from the rest of your home?
  • You have single pane windows. Single pane windows were very popular in the 70s, but given recent advancements in window design, are considered to be sub-standard and drafty. They can also pose safety issues with small children being able to reach the open window quite easily. Consider upgrading to double hung windows which will allow you to open from the top while keeping the bottom closed.
  • Your energy bill is sky high. Outdated or damaged windows can increase your energy bills by as much as 10%-25% percent. Consider replacing them with energy efficient windows which are better designed for UV protection and insulation.
    You can hear a lot of outside noise. Windows are the thinnest part of your homes exterior and are the most exposed to the elements. If you can hear a lot of noise outside when your windows are closed, you may want to consider replacing them to have better acoustic insulation.
  • Interior elements like your carpet and furniture have started to fade. If you notice that things inside of your home have started to change color or fade, your windows are not protecting adequately from outside UV rays.
  • The windows are no longer aesthetically pleasing. While this may not have any physical impact on your home or your health, it’s still an important consideration for your home. Would replacing the windows to a more updated design make your home more comfortable? Does the current design impact the visual appeal of your home? Are you just generally unhappy with the way the window looks?

 
 

Repair or Replace?

With any home repair or improvement, the main question is, can I repair this instead of replacing it? With windows, there’s no surefire answer and will vary from case to case.

With more major damage, like rotting panes or broken sashes, you may want to consider replacing. Same goes for any aesthetic improvements you’d like to make to the house. However, if a neighbor’s ball were to crack the glass, you may just want to replace the glass pane instead of the entire window!
 

What Are the Costs and Benefits?

Window replacements can range from $300 – $1,500 each and the reasons for replacing a window will vary from case to case. If you chose to replace, however, you will see immediate benefits in the security of your home and protection from noise, light, climate, and dust.
 
Energy savings is a big benefit of new windows, but having them replaced may not make sense for the energy savings alone. Drafty or broken windows can increase your energy bills by 10-25%, however the overall cost of replacing the window tends to outweigh this energy cost-savings. But if this is a route you’d like to go, it wouldn’t necessarily be a lost cause as homeowners get about 73% of their replacement window investment back when they resell the house.