Next to your home's outer envelope and insulation, your windows are the biggest factor in reducing heating and cooling costs. When windows are warped or damaged, a huge amount of thermal energy can be lost through them in a single day. The total cost of faulty windows may total in the hundreds or even thousands per year if several windows have issues.
Watch for these five signs that it may be time to replace those windows:
- You Notice Windows Are Damaged, Warped, or Broken
Sometimes, damage to a window might be very superficial. If all the window needs are some new weather stripping, for example, you might invest in repairing it. In most cases, however, simply replacing the window provides the most value in the long run. This is especially true for warped or broken windows that will contribute to higher energy bills and a greater likelihood of accidents.
- Your Energy Bills Are Creeping Up
No matter what kind of climate you live in, most homes have a steady rhythm in terms of their energy needs. You might find yourself cranking the air conditioning to cool down or warm up during peak seasons, but changes in your bills should be predictable. Energy bills that gradually increase are a sign that your heater or AC must work harder to maintain temperatures. Time for home improvement.
- You Want to Increase Your Home's Value
Relatively minor repairs and replacements, like windows, can become a sticking point for buyers. When they think "move-in ready," they want to imagine that everything will be perfect. Even if the home is in good condition, it's a great idea to take care of superficial issues like this: If you don't, potential buyers might wonder what else might have gone wrong around the home.
- You've Been Through a Major Weather Event
No matter whether it's a winter blizzard, a tornado, or a hurricane, it's usually best to replace the windows afterward. Even windows that appear unscathed after a storm might develop mold, water damage, or other issues that can go unnoticed at first. At the very least, replacing the windows will help ensure the home is structurally sound when the next storm rolls in.
- You Want to Restore Your Home's Historic Charm
It's not unusual for the owners of historic homes to replace old-fashioned windows for various reasons: For example, concerns about the use of lead paint. However, it's important to make sure the replacement windows fit in with the architecture and aesthetic charm of the house. Budget replacement windows should be upgraded – modern technology can still be stylish.
It's easy to overlook the importance of your home's windows, but be sure to "check in" with them every few months. Make sure they offer a tight seal when closed and are free from minor defects that can develop into more serious problems with time and use.
If you are happy with how your windows perform but still want to curb energy loss in your home, consider installing energy-efficient windows. These windows typically consist of multiple panes of glass with the space between filled with air or gas.
This can be the perfect way to appeal to buyers: You get to be friendly to the environment and budget-conscious at the same time. That's a great selling point for an upgrade that may cost as little as a hundred dollars, depending on your local market.
Next time you think "home improvement," think windows first!