How Do I Know When To Replace My Windows?
If you believe your windows need to be replaced, there are several ways to check and see if you’re a candidate for window replacement. NOTE: Before you follow these steps, know you should ALWAYS call a professional to confirm the necessity of window replacement. Although you may be certain that your windows need to be replaced, it’s important to know for sure; you may call us anytime for a free consultation (215) 428-2200.
To begin, how old are your windows? If you’re unsure of the age of your windows, a good option is to call your realtor for that information or try to find out about your house online (a great site to use: https://www.zillow.com/find-your-home/). If your windows are older than fifteen-years-old, then you are a potential candidate for window replacement. The reason windows older than fifteen years are recommended to be replaced is largely due to modern window technology–most notably the window traits related to energy-efficiency. Today’s energy efficient windows have progressed far beyond windows as young as fifteen-years-old and also contain health benefits such as blocking UV rays while still providing sunlight.
In addition, window manufacturing quality has evolved due to the noticeable benefits of precision required to produce a truly environmentally-friendly window. For example, a company we proudly support, OKNA Windows, produces windows with a U-Factor as low as #(**#). Now that you know your windows are at least fifteen-years-old, you probably ask these two questions:
1) If my windows are at least fifteen-years-old, does that mean I definitely have to replace them?
2) Do I have to replace my windows every fifteen years?
Answer to Question 1: No. Just because your windows are fifteen-years-old does not mean you have to replace them. Your windows could be much older but may still hold-up well due to quality of the window and quality of the installation. It’s important to mention that there are many factors that could put wear and tear on your window but not reflect the condition of the window installation.
Answer to Question 2: No. Just because you may get your fifteen-year-old windows replaced today does not mean you will need to replace them again in another fifteen years. Thank God; am I right? In fact, modern high-end replacement windows are expected to last thirty (that’s correct, thirty!) years or more; which is a minimum of twice the time it took before replacing your old windows. But don’t get too excited. Although today’s windows are durable and effective, it’s truer than ever that only advanced level installer with a specialization in window replacement are capable of unleashing a three-decade performance from a replacement window. In other words, even though today’s replacement windows can provide a phenomenal performance, only the best installers can achieve said performance levels.
What Else Can I Check To See If My Windows Need To Be Replaced?
Whether your windows are fifteen-years-old or younger, you may still be a candidate for window replacement. Unfortunately, there are several reasons other than age that could qualify you for window replacement. Consider how many windows are already placed into homes all around America; it’s hard to grasp the number of installations and even harder to grasp how many installations did not go smoothly. That’s correct: a human error may be a reason that you need new windows. Fortunately, this may not be bad news. In fact, there’s a silver lining in needing new windows due to faulty installation; if your current window situation is bad enough to require new windows in under a decade (which is common), then you’re going to fully experience the benefits of window replacement. Most notably, your window replacement will noticeably stabilize the climate of your home and provide a level of comfort previously unattainable. As a result, you can expect a significantly lower energy bill (often reduced by over 50% cost); and, the crispness of a high-end window and clean, professional installation is visually stunning, to say the least. With that said, there are ways to check the quality of your previous installation…
How Do I Check For Problems Due To A Previous Installation?
NOTE: You can’t always tell if your window issue is related to poor installation; there are many situations that may or may not reflect installation quality.
First, you could do is check for cracks along the caulking (if your windows are less than fifteen-years-old but there is cracking along the caulk, you may not need new windows but will likely need re-caulking). The reason cracks along the caulk may suggest potential window replacement is because it is a sign that your window is either loose, warping, unbalanced, or improperly sized. The cracked caulk often represents a shifting window frame; however, caulk may crack over time but not represent pressure being pushed or pulled by the window frame. DO NOT try to re-caulk the window yourself unless you are a trained window installation professional with over ten years of experience, like the Window Guardians’ master craftsmen ;). See “Caulking Article Link Plug” for more info on caulking.
The next thing you should do to check your windows is the ‘lighter trick. To perform the ‘lighter trick’, simply take a lighter, ignite it, and hold the flame about two inches from the edge of your window frames and see if any wind or breeze moves the flame. It will be easy to notice if there is some air getting through your windows when the flame dances or even blows-out due to intruding air. Unfortunately, even a small amount of blowing wind is leaving you vulnerable to mold, energy loss, and outside carcinogens, all of which would be countered by window replacement. At this point, if there is a decent amount of cracking in the caulk surrounding your window frames, and there is a significant breeze escaping into and out of your home, the best thing to do would be to call Window Guardians and have a professional examine your windows and recommend the best approach.
Second, if you’re curious about replacing your windows, then check the glass. It was once said, “The proof is in the pudding”, and that’s applicable to a window that needs to be replaced. In other words, how does your window look? For instance, notice if there is a foggy, misty build-up on the glass in your windows. This condensation usually begins to build-up around the corners of the window sash, between the window panes. Most commonly, this fogginess is a result of a broken seal between the window panes, causing moisture to enter between the panes and build-up along the inside of the window where you cannot clean. The primary cause for this broken seal was discovered to be due to metal window spacers (the window spacer is a full-parameter lining between the window panes that seals the panes together. Some windows are, and most older windows were manufactured using spacers made of metal which is a known temperature conductor that reacts to hot and cold by expanding or constricting. As a result, the shape-shifting metal spacers eventually break the seal between the window panes; and, once the seal is broken, it degenerates quickly and allows moisture inside the window, immediately. In other words, if your spacers are metal, then your window panes are a ticking time bomb, and if the seal is broken, then it won’t be long before you start to notice the negative effects. Unfortunately, if a couple of your windows start to fog-up, then it’s usually a sign that the rest of your windows will follow suit as long as they were installed at the same time.
NOTE: If you’re sitting around with a bunch of condensation on your windows, sad that you have to replace the, DON’T BE!
Great window specialist are available to solve your problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again, Once the negative results of metal window spacers were discovered, progressive manufacturers (like OKNA Windows) began producing windows with non-metal spacers such as their ‘HeatSeal’ spacer Insert link to OKNA. In summary, your windows may need to be replaced, but if you make sure to buy windows with proper spacers, then your previous condensation problem will become a distant memory. Don’t forget to call Window Guardians for current potential savings certificates and ongoing deals offered by manufacturers.
Am I Safe If I Passed ‘The Lighter Trick’ And There Is No Cracking In The Caulk Along My Window Frame?
Likely, your windows are probably still in good shape if you’ve passed these tests, but there are other signs of potential window replacement. One final test to check your windows would be to examine the mechanics of your window as well as window stability. Simply ask yourself these three questions:
1) Does my window easily open and close?
2) Does my window lock easily/properly?
3) Is my window solidly in place?
Answer to Question 1: If your window is difficult to close or open, then it may be a sign that the frame is warping or changing shape–the frame of your window may be pressing against the sash, making it hard to slide up and down. How easily your windows open or close and for how long they remain easy to open or close is often most directly correlated to the quality of your window installation. There are a lot of factors related to a window performance, but a window performs best for the longest if it is installed properly by an expert. See Installation Article Link Plug.
Answer to Question 2: If your window does not lock properly, then you expose your home to outside dangers and it is a sign your window is warping or changing shape. One thing only the best window manufacturers do is offer a magnetic seal between the window sash and frame–this creates a more precise and stable seal that will significantly limit the wear & tear of opening and closing your window over time. Although modern window technology is effective, the quality of installation will still be the determining factor in the test of window longevity. It is within the small details of the work by an experienced installer that you see such successful results from your replacement windows (these details often lead to us telling people that they do not yet need their windows replaced due to a masterful installation).
Answer to Question 3: Put your hands directly onto your windows. Push and pull on the windows, gradually applying up to decent force. If you are easily able to shake or move the frame of your window, then your window is no longer stable and may need to be replaced. Fortunately, this may not mean all of your windows need to be replaced. With that said, when removing old windows, we often learn that the previous installer used a mismeasured window that’s too small for its opening. It’s common for novice window installers to measure too small in an effort to avoid the trouble of properly fitting a window of correct size. This common mistake could lead to several problems such as all of the above issues mentioned. See Installer Article Plug.
What If My windows Are Older Than Fifteen-Years-Old, Are Not Energy-Efficient, And Are NOT Showing Symptoms Such As Fogginess, Cracking, Wind Seeping Through The Edges, Unevenness, And Still Open And Close Properly?
Well. What about that? We’ll still happily assess your windows for free in order to make sure they’re in tip-top shape. Unless your windows no longer fit the style you prefer, our representatives will honestly inform you that you don’t need new windows. You see, the Window Guardians representatives are me (Steven) and he (Sebastian)–we’re not working for a company to benefit from commission, we’re working as a family with a stake in our honesty and the belief in our three pillars: Guaranteed Service, Lifetime Support, and Environmentally-Friendly Work and Products. In other words, if you do not need new windows, then we will not try to sell you on window replacement. Even if you want new windows but may have a few years left on your old ones, we’ll let you know. When we provide an estimate, we provide a calculated, demonstrated answer to why or why not you may or may not want to invest in window replacement sooner or later. I know it sounds like a sales pitch to say “…we will not pressure you and will let you know if you don’t need your windows replaced…”; however, if you doubt this statement, then allow me to remind you that window replacement is project meant to last decades, not a couple of years. At Window Guardians, we understand how long a window replacement should last, and we still believe that people respect honesty and remember those that treat them right. This longevity factor is why you should believe us when we say that we won’t provide a service that you don’t need. In summary, we are banking on the hope you’ll remember down the line when you DO need window replacement, Window Guardians was the company that treated you like we treat our own family and have always and will continue to do so.