Do you suspect the time is nearing for a window replacement project? If you reside in a house with windows older than twenty years or so, you are probably correct. Even though windows may appear “fine” or only somewhat shabby to the eye, your windows could have some deeper issues that lie beneath the surface. Ignoring this impending project not only costs you money in terms of energy losses, but it could also spell out decreases in your comfort and home security.
Curious to learn exactly how to determine if a structure needs replacement windows, we reached out to Matt Rotondi, an authority on window replacement in Boston, MA for some of the signs that your windows do, in fact, need to be replaced sooner than later.
Top 5 signs that it’s time to take on a window replacement project:
Below are the top five signs that your windows are failing and some tips on how to check it out for yourself.
Feeling noticeable drafts
Do you often notice a feeling of draftiness coming in your windows during cold snaps or windstorms? Or, do you notice warm or cold pockets within a single room? Carefully try the candle test. Light a tall taper candle and hold it upright near the window. If the flame flickers and dances, air is being introduced. This flickering indicates air is seeping into your home from the outdoors. You are feeling the drafts from this window. The warm and cool air pockets stem from inefficient heating or cooling due to this effect.
Escalated heating or cooling costs
Have the costs of heating or cooling your house continued to escalate for no apparent reason over the past months or years? If your energy provider hasn’t passed significant rate hikes (call them to inquire), it’s normally a sign of reduced energy efficiency. Your windows are a likely culprit, especially when combined with other symptoms on this list.
Appearance of rot or decay
Does your house have older, wooden windows? Check them for signs of decay and rot around the exterior and interior of the frames. A decaying frame is relatively dangerous and a significant indicator that your windows are at a high risk of a collapse. The frames are the very structure holding your windows into a fixed position. As the wood will continue on the path of deterioration, the condition will become more severe.
This is certainly a solemn situation as you don’t want your windows to collapse. However, also consider that almost 1.5 million forcible entries occur in the United States each year. Thieves are opportunists. Frames that are decayed are prime targets, as they are easily broken into with minimal effort.
The three M’s: mold, mildew, moisture
Check around all the way around your window frames and in between the panes of glass for any indication of moisture. You might see mildew or mold growing in near the frame or sill. Or, you may notice that your glass has a hazy or cloudy appearance. And, you are exactly right – there is trapped moisture creating a cloud between the panes. The 3 M’s are indicative of windows that are leaking. Not only is rain leaking in, but air is also making its way inside and wreaking havoc on your energy bills. Not only is mold and mildew lousy news for your windows, but it can be catastrophic to your family’s health.
Failing window mechanics
Finally, check the mechanical operation of your windows. Do the windows glide open without force, or must you wrangle them when you want to ventilate your home? Windows that are in good condition do not require a show of brute strength to open them up. Also, consider your locking mechanisms. Do the locks still work, or will they only halfway slide over to secure them from the inside? That’s yet another red flag.
You may not have considered this fact, but you have a potentially dire situation on your hands. Windows provide more than sunlight and ventilation into your home. They also offer an egress out of your home in the event of a fire. Windows that don’t (or won’t easily) open are not safe for you or your family.
If you have any of the five signs that your windows are failing, it’s time to give your local window dealer a call. Sure, you’ll need to come up with some money for replacement windows. But for the safety and comfort of your family, it’s a small price to pay.