It’s pretty obvious when your home’s roof needs replacement; it leaks.

You know when it’s time to replace your furnace; it stops heating.

But how do you know when it’s time to replace your windows? The reasons are a little more subtle and the changes are usually more gradual, so making the decision to replace them is much more difficult.

Windows are regularly exposed to harsh elements from weather and sunlight. Keeping them protected and in good condition can be a full-time job and eventually, a losing battle.

If you’ve been doing your best to maintain the windows in your home and you’re struggling to keep up, take a look at these five issues to determine if it’s time to make a change:

1. Poor Operation

Repairing window frame

Do you have problems opening your windows? Once they’re open, do you have to use a prop rod to keep them that way? Do they close tightly or can you feel air leaking through?

As your windows age, they may start to sag and warp. There can be a number of reasons this happens such as the type and size of window, exposure to the elements, and installation method.

Wood bay and bow windows can be susceptible to gravity and a lack of support. They often put undue pressure on the casement window hinges and cause them to bend. Eventually, the window pane will become misaligned with the window frame, and prevent the windows from opening and closing smoothly.

Warped frames can be a result of fast temperature changes or severe weather conditions. Dark-coloured vinyl windows attract more heat than light-coloured units so they may have more chance of warping. Vinyl frames become soft when exposed to the sun and may deform when locked and cooled. Years of continued operation while the window is malleable can create permanent warping.

Old double-hung windows with operational problems may also have a broken pulley system. While repairs can sometimes be made, usually the entire channel balance must be replaced.

Other causes of poor operation can be related to the foundation shifting or settling, frame deterioration or even paint that impedes smooth opening and closing.
Each of these issues point to the need for replacement windows. Dependent on the specific reason for the poor operation, you may need to consider a full-frame replacement instead of a retrofit.

2. Condensation, Ice or Decay

window condensation decay

You may have noticed condensation build up on the inside of your windows occasionally when the humidity is high, and that’s okay. If there’s no or low humidity and you’re still seeing water running down the window, you’ve got a problem. The same goes for frost build-up in winter and fog between window panes. These conditions indicate that there is a broken seal and that the window is not insulating as it should. Outdoor air should never penetrate through the glass seal to the interior of your home. While it is possible to re-seal the window, there may be other issues causing problems.

If your wood window has had condensation build-up for a while, that excess moisture will be pooling along the window frame and possibly dripping down the wall. All this added water will cause your window to rot. You may notice dark or spongy patches along the window sill or bottom of the window frame. This is a sure sign of decay and time for an upgrade.

Leaking windows may not seem to be a giant concern, especially if it’s only when it rains or is cold out. But in addition to the structural damage it can cause to the window, wall and floor, you might also be at risk for mold growth. Even if you can’t see mold growing on the wallboard, it’s likely you’ll find some inside the wall. It can pose a health risk to you and your family, so it’s important to deal with leaks as soon as possible by replacing the problem windows.

You may want to consider replacing your old, wood windows with vinyl windows. They hold up well against all types of weather conditions, are virtually maintenance-free, come in a variety of colours, and provide an air-tight seal.

3. High Energy Bills

energy bills

How often have you been sitting next to a window during the winter months and had to put on a sweater even though the rest of the room is comfortable? What about during the warmer months? Can you feel the humidity seeping in from the outside when you put your hand near the window frame? If you’re shaking your head “yes,” you’re throwing a ton of money away in lost heat and air conditioning, and it’s definitely time to replace those old, in-efficient windows.

Windows more than 10-years-old were built differently than they are today. Energy Star certified windows and doors are designed with new technology to help you save an average of 12 percent on your household energy costs.

Consider replacing old, leaky windows with high-efficiency, double- or triple-pane windows. Extra features such as those with argon gas or low-emissivity (Low-E) glass cost more initially but will save significant dollars on reduced energy bills. Low-E coatings reflect the sun’s heat during the summer months and keep heat in during the cooler winter months—saving on both heat and air conditioning expenses.

4. Soundproofing

soundproofed glass

Do you love the convenience of living in the Metro area but struggle with all the noise from traffic, people, pets and every other sound that penetrates through your windows? There’s a solution to that with soundproof replacement windows.

While not all noises can be eliminated, according to House Logic and housing experts with REALTORS, noise reduction technology can “block up to 90-percent to 95-percent of noise coming through windows.”

This is accomplished by creating a barrier that captures the sound instead of allowing it to penetrate inside. Blocking sound waves is done with thicker glass, increased air space between the window panes, and using a laminated (layered combination of glass and plastic.)

There is a modest expense to including noise reduction technology with your replacement windows, but imagine the quiet solitude you’ll experience inside your home while the world hurries by outside.

5. Curb Appeal

replacement windows

As you drive through your neighbourhood and look at all the beautiful homes, what catches your eye? Perhaps you notice well-manicured landscaping or an architectural detail like natural stone? What you definitely notice are the windows.

If your windows are broken, peeling, rotting or mismatched, they’ll detract from the rest of your home. Improve the aesthetic, curb appeal instantly with replacement windows. No matter your budget, there are all types of styles, shapes, sizes and colours to enhance your home’s appearance and save you money for years to come.

Only you can determine when it’s the right time to replace your existing windows, but if you’re experiencing any of these problems now, you should start considering your options now. For an expert opinion on making a change, contact Ecoline Windows today. Their friendly, knowledgeable technicians will provide the best options to solve any of your window problems.