Is it Time to Replace Your Windows? Here’s What to Look Out For

Have you been living in your home for a long time? Over the years, our homes need some maintenance and a bit of sprucing up. Even the most high-quality well-maintained windows only last around 20 years, so if your windows are more than a few decades old, it’s time to replace them.

Windows are important for not only the aesthetic reasons of allowing more light into your home and making it less drafty and quieter, but they can actually save your life in the event of a fire, making it easier for your to quickly and safely exit your home. Over time windows become stiff making them hard to open. Replacing your windows with sliding or casement windows or windows with lever handles will make them easier to operate even if you suffer from joint or mobility issues. Are you ready to replace your windows?

Here’s our guide to knowing when your windows need to be replaced, how to find a window replacement company, and tips for buying replacement windows.

Image via Wavebreakmedia/depositphotos

Signs Windows Need Replacing

There are many signs to look out for when deciding if it’s time to replace your windows. The first and most obvious being that they’re damaged or broken. While not all windows that are damaged will need to be replaced, it’s better to replace them than attempting to repair them because they can develop problems like becoming foggy, drafty, getting stuck when you try to close or open them, or not staying open or closed. When the paint is peeling or cracked and the wood is rotting and falling apart repairing windows is no longer possible or cost-effective.

Another sign to pay attention to is high energy bills—drafty windows can increase your energy bill between 10% to 25% and by replacing your windows with energy-efficient ones, you can reduce your heating and cooling bills.

Finding a Window Company

When shopping for window replacements, keep in mind that you’re shopping for the installation company as well as the windows. Replacement window companies are either local or franchised/corporate companies. Local companies usually use one manufacturer, but they generally have a variety of manufacturers to choose from. Franchised or corporate companies like The Home Depot, Pella, Anderson, and Empire have a larger selection of manufacturers and they often use their own brand or a house brand. In general, a good place to start your research is with Consumer Reports and Angie’s List which will provide you with contact information and ratings on window companies and installers.

Tips For Buying Replacement Windows

The replacement windows industry is competitive and there are lots of companies to choose from, so to ensure that you get the best deal, you need to do your research and ask for estimates before selecting a company to work with. While getting estimates can be time-consuming, it will save you money. Most companies won’t charge for estimates and we suggest getting around five different ones. When you get estimates, make sure the company specifies the window brand and model, number of windows, size, type, and any additional add-ons. The installation details should be specified as well as the labor and material cost.

Before you have you contact these companies, you should have an idea of which windows need to be replaced because salespeople will try to convince you to buy more products, even when you don’t need them. Don’t feel pressured to act immediately after you receive an estimate, as you may be able to negotiate a better price. Other ways to save money include exploring off-brand window manufacturers and inexpensive windows.

Types of Windows

One thing to keep in mind is to choose the window materials carefully. The most popular window frames are wood and vinyl. The general consensus is that vinyl windows hold up better over time, but vinyl is plastic and it can become damaged and fade from sunlight. While wood windows won’t have to be repainted and you can choose from a variety of finishes to match your home, they will wear and rot over time. Another option is aluminum windows which are durable, but they are usually less energy efficient.