Replacing your Old Windows? Is it time?

Replacing your Old Windows? Is it time?

New windows are tempting because they offer so much—smoother operation, lower maintenance, energy savings, fewer drafts and easier cleaning. But they’re expensive, and pros charge almost as much as the cost of the windows to install them, which is a major investment. Here are some thoughts to ponder that can help you decide IF its time to replace them or repair them:

Ask yourself the following three questions to evaluate your old windows and weigh the benefits of new ones.

1. Are your old windows a hassle?
Are you sick and tired of nursing your windows along, or are you OK with the minor maintenance jobs that go along with them? Consider these things:

Ease of operation. Do they lift, swing or slide easily, or do you hesitate to open them when you want ventilation?

Scraping and painting. Painted windows require regular maintenance. Otherwise they’ll rot and fall apart. New windows with aluminum or vinyl cladding or that are made from vinyl or a composite eliminate this chore.

Condensation. Does condensation regularly collect on the glass, cloud the view and soak the window trim? Higher-efficiency glass in new windows will help reduce this problem.

Storm windows. Do you mind cleaning, maintaining and putting up and taking down storm windows? Do your storms need replacement?

Cleaning. Is this so difficult that you avoid doing it? Many new windows are designed to make cleaning a snap.

2. Are your old windows comfortable?
Single-pane windows often leave rooms feeling chilly and dry in cold weather and overheated in warm, sunny weather. Windows with double-pane glass can greatly improve the comfort of your home. They can block much of the heat of direct sunlight but still allow the light to come through (less need for shades). They’ll reduce cold drafts and the chill of cold glass. And they’ll reduce condensation so you can keep the indoor humidity at a higher and more comfortable level in cold weather. New energy-efficient windows will also save on your fuel bills but rarely enough to justify the investment if your old windows are still in good shape.

3. Are your old windows worth repairing?
You can almost always repair and restore old windows if you’re willing to set aside the time and can find replacement hardware. But it’s not always worth the effort and expense. Major problems include:

Rot. Once rot starts, it’s tough to stop unless you commit yourself to replacing rotted wood (a difficult job) and then maintaining it regularly. Consider replacement.

Sagging casement (crank-out) windows. You can usually replace worn-out crank mechanisms, but bent or worn hinges are tougher and replacements don’t always solve the problem. Consider new windows.

Fogged double-pane glass. The fogging that occurs between the glass panes can’t be fixed. Glass replacement (sometimes the entire sash) is the only solution. This is often difficult and it’s expensive if a pro does it. Compare the “fix-it” cost with the cost of a new window.

Hard-to-find replacement hardware. Call the window manufacturer or local window dealer if you can identify the window brand and model number. Many hard-to-find parts are available from online suppliers. But often new windows are the only option.


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