Windows offer a beautiful view of your surroundings, aesthetic appeal, and can help you save on your home’s heating and cooling bills.1 But a common problem a homeowner will face is broken or damaged windows. What should you do when facing issues with your home’s windows? Depending on the specifics of your home or the repair job at hand, the decision of whether to repair or replace your window may vary.
Determine the problem
There are a variety of problems that could occur with your windows and taking a look into each of them is a good first step toward determining the best fix.
- Broken panes (the glass of the window) are easy enough to diagnose, and you probably won’t want to wait too long to get them fixed. Besides posing a potential safety concern to you and your family, broken windows can let your interior heating and cooling out, and could allow unwanted guests in, like bugs or small animals.
- Window performance can decrease as windows age. Weather stripping may not seal as well as a newly installed window. Materials can break down over time. If drafts are coming through or around the windows or if there are signs of water infiltration to the interior of the home, determine the cause and then you can decide if repair or replacement is the best decision.
- Window sashes can shift in the frame if windows are not properly installed or as a home settles which can result in gaps between the frame and sash. This could potentially lead to drafts of cold air or windows that are difficult to open. This can get worse over time as a house settles and as the window ages. A good starting point is to check if the window is installed level and square by using a level and a tape measure.
Window repair vs. replacement
The question of whether to consider repairing your existing windows or replacing them should be considered on a case-by-case basis. To make the right call, you may want to consult a professional and consider three core factors that go into window renovation: Labor, Performance and Aesthetics.
Sometimes repairing and maintaining old windows can be more trouble than proceeding with replacement windows, with the extra hassle that goes into opening and closing jammed windows, repainting windows to improve their appearance, finding rare or nonexistent spare parts, or cleaning all the nooks and crannies of outdated designs. If you find yourself spending a great deal of time and effort on your windows, replacing your windows might be the right choice for you.
Energy efficiency and comfort are so important when it comes to modern home ownership, and when it comes to inefficiency a major culprit can be drafty old windows. If you find your heating or cooling bills higher than they should be, it might be time to replace. On a typical home, replacing single pane windows with ENERGY STAR® certified windows can save on average $101 – $583 a year on heating and cooling costs.2
Climate control isn't the only factor - new windows are a great way to enhance a view or let in more light and plenty of homeowners would love to give their home a quick facelift with new windows. Sometimes old windows can add charm or historic aesthetics to a building, and replacing them with a contemporary style would impact the architectural style of the home. For these homes, pay close attention to the style you choose, and meet with an expert to see what options are available to deliver your desired aesthetic.
Full window replacement can be the easiest way to address many window problems. Going with professional installation means not only getting a window upgrade, but investing in a result that you know you can rely on. Whatever problem your window is facing, a good option is to consult a professional to determine what course of action is right for your home.
1For more information go to energystar.gov/products/building_products/residential_windows_doors_and_skylights/benefits
2Ranges are based on the average savings among homes in modeled cities. Actual savings will vary based on local climate conditions, utility rates, and individual home characteristics. For more information, visit energystar.gov.