How to Tell If Your Home’s Windows Need Replaced

Here at Jack’s Glass, we get a lot of questions about home window replacement.

Like many homeowners, if your window has a problem, you want to know the solution. But does your window need replaced, or can you repair it?

Sometimes, the solution is obvious—like when a falling tree has destroyed the window glass and frame. (That’s going to need replaced, of course.) However, there are a lot of other problems a window can have—from drafts, to warping, to condensation, and beyond. Do you know when it’s time for home window replacement?

If not, keep reading! We’re here to help. Our glass experts will explain which situations require repairs and which require a new window.

When You Need Home Window Repair

Windows can generally be repaired, instead of replaced, when the damage is minor. What qualifies as minor? When it comes to windows, we define damage as minor if it affects only a few parts of the window and those parts can be easily fixed or replaced.

You might opt for repair over home window replacement if your window has a problem like these examples:

#1 Your window doesn’t open or closely properly.

Sometimes, a problem opening or closing your window stems from the hardware. To fix this issue, you can switch out the operating or sash hardware and lubricate the window track.

If your window won’t open at all, it might have swollen shut or been painted shut. If it swelled shut, applying a lubricant can help. For windows that were painted shut, you can carefully slide a sash saw along the seam to free the window.

#2 There is a small amount of rot in the sill.

Over time, moisture coming in and accumulating at the bottom of the sill can cause rot to set in. However, if the rot hasn’t spread to the window frame, the window can usually still be repaired.

#3 There is a very slight draft.

If your window is letting a little bit of air in, even when closed, it’s possible the weatherstripping is the culprit. Weatherstripping that’s old and cracked no longer does the job of keeping the window tightly sealed. To fix this, you can replace the weatherstripping.

#4 The screen is damaged.

This type of damage is the easiest fix of all: just replace the window screen, and you’re good to go.

When You Need a Home Window Replacement

When the damage to your window goes beyond a minor fix, a new window is your best option. We also recommend home window replacement in other circumstances.

Let’s talk about when we recommend replacing your window.

#1 Your windows have poor energy efficiency.

Poor energy efficiency is one of the most common reasons for home window replacement.

Old, single-pane windows are notoriously poor insulators and waste a lot of energy. Homeowners whose homes have single-pane windows often end up with incredibly high utility bills (especially in summer and winter).

Today’s double- or triple-pane windows, on the other hand, keep drafts out, keep homes more comfortable, and keep energy bills lower.

If you’re concerned about your home’s energy efficiency, consider window replacement.

(If you live in a historic home, you don’t necessarily have to replace your original windows: owners of historic homes often install storm windows over the originals, in order to preserve the character of the home while increasing energy efficiency. You can read our previous post about storm windows here.)

#2 Your house was built before 1960.

Lead paint was not banned in the United States until 1978, and it was commonly used in homes before 1960.

If your home was built before 1960, you might want to consider window replacement—even if the damage is relatively minor. That’s because opening and closing your windows can release lead dust from the paint, which is hazardous to your health.

#3 There is extensive rot in the window.

If your window sash and frame is rotted, it’s time for an upgrade. When the rot has spread, there’s just too much damage for window repair to be worth it.

Extensive rot often happens in homes that have had a water leak in the walls. If you have a leak around your windows, we also recommend getting a professional opinion to find the source of the leak.

#4 Your windows are warped.

A warped window will cause all sorts of problems: water leakage and difficulty opening and closing the window, to start. Not to mention, warped windows look unsightly and can cause your energy bill to skyrocket. While there are temporary fixes (like extra weatherstripping), the best solution for warped windows is replacement.

#5 Your weatherstripping is fine, but you still have drafty windows.

If you’ve already replaced your weatherstripping, but you still have a drafty window, it’s probably time for home window replacement.

Drafts can be caused by a warped window or cracked window frame. They can also be a result of improper window installation or low-quality materials: certain materials contract and swell significantly during extreme temperature changes. (High-quality windows won’t contract as much in the winter cold or let in drafts.)

#6 There is condensation between the panes of glass.

While single-pane windows often cause the most problems, double-pane windows can still sometimes break. If you see condensation between the panes of glass in your double or triple-pane window, this means that the seal holding the insulating gas has failed and moisture has entered. As a result, your window has lost a lot of its energy efficiency, and the best option is replacement. (You can try to remove the moisture and seal the window again, but this isn’t a permanent fix.)

#7 There’s too much audible outside noise.

Excess noise is a sign that your window doesn’t provide enough insulation.

If you hear every single barking dog, honking car horn, flying plane, and talking pedestrian outside your home, you might consider home window replacement. A new, well-insulating window can help you enjoy some peace and quiet in your home.

#8 The windows are hurting your home’s curb appeal.

A common realtor’s phrase is, “Windows are the eyes of a home.” That’s because the style and appearance of your windows have a big impact on your home’s overall curb appeal. Good windows can go a long way in selling your property down the road.

Many homeowners opt for home window replacement when the windows are very out-of-date or don’t match the overall aesthetic of the home.

Questions? Contact Us!

If you still have questions, we’re happy to help. Read more about what to consider before replacing your windows, or feel free to call us. The window experts at Jack’s Glass can take a look at your windows and help you decide the best option for your unique situation.