How Often Should You Replace Windows?

It can be difficult to decide just when your windows might need to be replaced. However, there are some tell-tale signs that will clue you in to when it might be necessary, and you can observe these signs by periodically inspecting your windows. At any rate, you can probably count on having to replace the windows of your home at some point during your residence, unless you don’t intend to remain in your home for any length of time.

The frequency of replacement is actually impacted by a number of factors, including your climate, the material your windows are constructed from, and the quality of the windows themselves. Below you’ll find some information that may prove useful when trying to decide how often your windows should be replaced. Even if you don’t know how old the windows are, you should be able to tell when they require replacement.

Periodic inspection

If you don’t typically open and close your windows for privacy or to let the sun in, you may not have a good idea of their present condition. That means every now and then you should intentionally carry out an inspection of the windows to see what kind of condition they’re in. When you do this inspection, you should be looking for leaks, cracks, and any kind of drafts indicating the window frame has been compromised. This will be most obvious during cold weather, because the cold draft will be easily detectable in contrast with the warm air of the household.

If you have double-pane or triple-pane glass, check for condensation between the panes. This may be an indicator that the seal is no longer functioning, which is a fairly common occurrence with older age. It might also mean you have inadequate drainage around the window, or that the frame is retaining water. The seal can also be weakened over time by the sun causing it to expand and contract, so it just fails altogether.

Check to see if you can easily open and close your windows. Sometimes windows get stuck in position as the paint seals it shut, and there are other reasons why an older window might refuse to move when you try to open or close it. You need to be able to open windows for safety reasons, as well as for cleaning and for proper ventilation, so don’t settle for a window that simply will not open. Before concluding your inspection, take a good look at the windows and make sure they’re still windows you can live with, and that they mesh well with your interior decor.

Cracked frames

If you observed cracked frames around any of your windows, that’s usually a sign that they should be replaced. If a problem is too big to be fixed by caulking or weather-stripping, replacement is the next option. Any frame which has become warped, broken, or damaged will compromise the efficiency of your heating or air conditioning. It can also allow insects or other vermin to come through the cracks and penetrate your household’s security. Frames that have grown soft because of water absorption on the exterior should also be replaced, because these will begin to rot fairly quickly with the excess exposure to moisture. Your window frame should feel rigid both inside and out, or else it is beginning to deteriorate.

Drafty rooms

When one or more of the rooms in your household begin to develop drafts, you can usually expect there’s a problem with your window security. Windows that are performing well should not allow drafts inside, and if you do feel them, you can bet that you’ve lost significant energy-efficiency. Your heating or air conditioning units will have to work harder to compensate for the loss of warm or cool air, and the draftiness will be uncomfortable for your family members. If the drafts can’t be managed with some caulking or weather-stripping, it’s time to replace the windows.

Rising utility bills

Among all your household bills, by far the largest one is generally allocated to heating and cooling, typically amounting to about 40% of an average household’s recurring expenses. When you notice that your energy bills are rising over a period of several months, and it’s not due to a price increase, that’s a sign that your heating and cooling systems are working harder to maintain proper interior temperature. It’s very possible that the reason for these rising utility bills is that your windows are no longer as efficient as they once were.

Of course, your HVAC systems could also be the culprit, but you should be able to tell if that’s the case because you’ll know how old those systems are. If you replace your old, drafty windows with high-tech modern energy efficient windows, you should notice a reduction in energy costs, and a return to comfortable living conditions.