8 Warning Signs That You Need to Replace Your Windows
Windows should be viewed as a system within your house. The “window systems” transport air of various temperatures, light and people rather than transporting gas or electricity. Like other areas of your home, windows show warning signs when something is wrong. Such as a leaky roof or chipping exterior paint, your windows show signs of age, damage and inefficiency, too. However, window warning signs are often times hidden and less obvious. They’re not as alarming as water spots on the ceiling or termite-infested siding. If you have been wondering whether it’s time to replace your windows, read on to see if replacement makes sense.
What is the age of your windows?
This really is the first question to ask yourself when considering new windows. If your home has the original builder grade windows and your home is over eight years old, then you are a candidate for replacements. Builder grade windows is an industry term. This term refers to a grade of window used by builders during new construction of homes. Builder grade windows are actually low quality stripped down products. The term comes from the fact that many builders and developers purchase a low end window product to put into new developments as a way to save themselves thousands of dollars.
Most people don’t inspect the window quality when buying and/or building a new home. Rather folks will view the aesthetics of the home; the counter tops, the bathroom, the kitchen, the exterior, molding and other eye catching characteristics. The big loser, of course, is the homeowner. He or she may have to deal with poorly made windows, flimsy locks and hinges and warped frames. Poor quality glass and gas fills, faulty balances, clunky opening and closing are among the many other issues that may occur within a few years of moving into a brand new home.
Older windows may also consist of single panes of glass or double panes that do not contain gas or coatings. (More on gas and coatings later). Older windows may be made of wood that is now rotting or deteriorating or aluminum frames that are falling apart.
Until the early 1970s, windows were generally well made with old-growth woods (the tight grains resist moisture and decay). Today’s wood curing processes are different as are the type of woods used. Even the higher end window manufactures are using a softer Pine wood to build windows. You can test your sills yourself by trying to poke a screwdriver into them. Or ask a Folkers professional to take a look.
Are your windows sticky and difficult to operate?
Over time, expansion and contraction causes windows to absorb and release moisture. This causes them to bend and warp out of shape. Living on the Gulf Coast adds another dimension to the expansion and contraction in that we experience a large amount of rainfall, high temperatures with high humidity and salty air. This expansion and contraction framing materials contributes to window leaks, water and mold damage to walls and may serve as an entry point for insects into your home.
Home safety can be jeopardized as well. The ease of raising and/or closing a window can impact the time it takes to escape from a fire or severe weather damage. Windows should be easy to open, close lock and unlock for everyone in the home, including the young and elderly. If opening and closing windows is difficult, even something as simple as enjoying fresh air may be a chore making replacement windows an option.
Is your home drafty with temperature variations from room to room?
Is your home uncomfortable during the summer and/or winter? Can you see daylight around the window frames? Can you actually feel a draft coming from the windows? Temperature variations from room to room is another indicator that it is time for new windows and/or doors. In some cases, the draft you feel isn’t actually from a leak but rather from convection, the movement of air due temperature variations.
For example, on a hot summer day, the heat energy of warmer outside air can exploit the panes of glass that have a low heat resistance (R-value) allowing heat to enter the room. These temperature variations are due to single and/or double pane windows that are allowing the hot or cold from the outside to enter the windows/doors through the glass or frames. Air leaks and poorly insulated windows/doors are quite common and can cost the typical homeowner as much as 25 percent in cooling and heating expenses.If you are suspicious that your hard-earned energy dollars are going out the windows, you are probably right.
Are you wasting money on energy bills?
Even if your windows and doors are properly sealed and are relatively new, you may be wasting hard earned money on energy bills due to poor windows and doors. Today’s windows and doors contain a combination of characteristics designed to make them much more energy efficient than in the past. Frame materials can make a big difference in energy use. Vinyl windows are more efficient than aluminum and wood windows.
Modern changes to the glass also contribute to increased efficiency. Gas can be installed between the panes of glass and coatings can be applied to the glass. This lowers the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SGHC which is the measurement of solar heat allowed through a window) and U value (measure of how much heat is lost through a given thickness of a particular material). The SGHC is affected by the type of glass as well as the type of frame system (aluminum, wood or vinyl) so the entire window system can contribute to energy savings.
Can you hear excessive noise from the outside?
Today’s windows can be built with impact resistant glass (hurricane resistant glass) as well as various coatings and different frame materials. With these designs, the homeowner not only gains the benefits of security and energy efficiency but a side benefit has been realized – noise reduction. The noise reduction properties of hurricane windows can be attributed to the overall thickness of the pieces of glass. This usually ranges from 7/16” to 9/16”.
This along with the thermally broken frame and silicone or urethane sealant coating used on both sides of the glass surface contribute to their ability to significantly dampen outside noises. This compared to older, normal, or thin glass can result in a huge change from what you previously heard on the outside of the home. In fact, outside noise can be reduced up to 40% with impact resistant windows.
Does your home have a problem with mold and mildew?
Leaky windows make it difficult to manage water and humidity inside the home, especially if water and/or humid air is leaking inside. Humidity problems are often accompanied by mold and mildew problems. Along the Gulf Coast, humidity and water is a year-round issue. As long as there is air and water infiltration around windows, there is greater potential for issues. You might experience mold and mildew problems, discomforts, health concerns and energy losses.
Are any of your furnishings, drapes, walls, rugs, carpet or valuables faded from the sun?
Damaging effects from ultra-violet (UV) rays of the sun have damaging effects on home structures, furnishings, window dressings and possessions. Old windows were not manufactured with UV-blocking technologies. For example, typical vinyl replacement windows can block as much as 95 percent of UV rays.
Along the Gulf Coast, UV protection has benefits in addition to protecting your living spaces and possessions from sun-fading damage. Fewer UV rays into the home means less heat gain during hot summer weather. Replacement windows with UV-blocking technology are typically well insulated, offering a nice R-value, which hinders heat loss during the winter. For us, windows are not a primary source for heat gain and loss, but rather opening curtains and drapes allow us to enjoy views while letting sunlight stream into your home.
Are your windows often foggy or hard to clean?
Sometimes older windows suffer seal failure and/or water damage from condensation permeating the failed. Seal failures make glass look fogged, dirty or the windows appear to have condensation between the panes. You will find the “dirty” windows impossible to clean. Plus the condensation build up is a sign of leaks and inefficiency.
Folkers Window Company specializes in window and door replacement for homes throughout the Gulf Coast area. We have over 350 years of combined experience in window, door, and home siding replacement. With 43 years of serving the Gulf Coast, our team can recommend the right products for your home and budget.
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