If your windows are single or double-glazed and have visible signs of damage to the seals they’ll be losing heat at an alarming rate. Fog or condensation is also a sure sign that it’s time to consider replacement.
Replacing inefficient old windows will improve your home’s insulation and resale value, not to mention lower energy costs. But how can you tell if it’s time to make the switch?
Decaying Window Frames
Wood rot is one of the most common problems with window frames. This is a fungus that eats away at the cellulose in the wood, leaving it brittle and weak. In the case of window frames, this deterioration leads to moisture buildup that can lead to mold growth and other structural issues. Fortunately, wood rot around windows is fairly easy to diagnose and treat.
The first step is to remove any rotting boards that are still attached to the frame. You can use a pry bar or clawed hammer to work the rotted board loose from its connection to the window. Work carefully to minimize damage to the healthy boards and the window itself. Once you have the rotting boards removed, you can start working on the repair process.
This can be done using a wood filler, which is available at any home improvement store. Follow the directions on the label to prepare the filler for application. Once the filler is dry, you can sand it down with different grades of sandpaper until you have a smooth finish. After sanding, apply a waterproof wood preservative to help keep the area protected.
For areas with significant rot, you may need to splice in fresh timber. This is a more involved repair but can be effective in keeping moisture from damaging the rest of the frame. Make sure to work with a piece of timber that is matched in size and moisture content to the existing framing so that your new splice will be as strong as possible.
While repairing rot is a relatively simple task, it’s always better to prevent it in the first place. Regular inspections of the window frames can catch rot before it gets out of hand and prevent moisture from seeping into your home. In addition, you can always replace inefficient old windows with modern energy-efficient replacements made from Fibrex or high-performance vinyl. This way, you’ll have a windows that are designed to last for decades. They’ll also be insulated against the elements to help save you money on your heating and cooling costs.
When a window leaks it allows moisture to penetrate the frame and damage your home. Often the moisture leads to mold and mildew which is dangerous to your health and can also lead to structural damage in your home. Leaky windows should be fixed as soon as possible to avoid expensive damage and prevent future problems.
Water stains on the walls or floors around the windows are an obvious sign of a problem. These stains can eventually cause the paint to bubble or chip. If left untreated, the moisture can lead to wood rot and even mold and mildew throughout your entire house.
Older single-pane windows are notorious for leaking. Newer energy efficient windows are designed with double or triple panes of glass to prevent air from transferring in and out of your home. This helps to reduce your heating costs during winter and cooling bills in summer. If your old windows are leaking it is likely because the seals have worn out.
One of the most common reasons for leaking windows is that they were not installed properly. If the window flashing (a water repellent border of material that surrounds the window) was not properly installed or the sill is not sloped correctly, this can cause water to seep into the wall around the window.
Another reason for leaking windows is that the window was not properly sized for the opening. This can be easily corrected by a professional window installer.
Leaky windows can often be repaired by removing the window, resealing the frame and caulking any exposed areas. This can be a simple project for do-it-yourselfers, but it is always best to have a professional install your replacement window. This way you can be sure that the new window is sized and fitted properly to your home and that it will function at peak efficiency. Professional installation can also ensure that the window flashing and sill are correctly angled to direct water away from your home.
A pebble from the lawnmower, a hyperactive cat, or even a blow from an in-flight baseball can cause a window pane to crack. This damage isn’t just unsightly; it also reduces energy efficiency and puts a strain on your heating and cooling system, which must work harder to keep the house comfortable. This can lead to expensive energy bills and unnecessary repair costs.
If your windows have cracks in the glass, you need to address them ASAP. The type of crack that you have will determine whether you need a temporary solution or a more permanent one. For example, if the crack is stress related, it’ll likely continue to grow and may not be able to be repaired. On the other hand, if it’s a pressure crack (which appear in a “hourglass” pattern) and your home experiences drastic changes in air pressure or temperature, then you’ll need to replace the entire window glass.
If you’re looking for a temporary solution, HGTV recommends clear super glue. It’s similar to nail polish and will fill in the crack, but it’s stronger and can withstand more wear and tear.
For a more permanent fix, you’ll want to use glazing compound, which is available in craft stores or hardware stores. It should be the consistency of thick dough and have a good amount of body to it. Start by applying a coat of linseed oil to the frame, which will help it stay pliable when you’re working with it. Clean the area and lightly sand the frame to prepare it for the new window pane.
Once you have the new window pane in place, apply glazier’s points to the frame to hold it firmly in place. Then, using the glazing tool, apply a thin coating of putty around the edges of the new window. Use the same color as the rest of the frame so it blends in.
If you decide to replace the window, look for double-pane windows that have an insulated gas fill between the panes. These windows provide better insulation and will save you money in the long run. They also add resale value to your home.
As your home ages, the windows in it will begin to wear out and lose efficiency. When this happens, it’s time to consider replacing them with newer, more energy-efficient models. Newer windows are designed to prevent air from escaping your home during the winter and helping you save on heating bills, while also keeping that nice summer coolness in throughout the season.
One of the most obvious signs it’s time to replace your window is if it has become prone to condensation. This moisture can form on the windows themselves, as well as affecting plaster and wallpaper around the window. Eventually, condensation can cause black mould to grow on walls and affect the ambiance of the room in general.
When this happens, it’s a sign that the seal on your windows has broken down. There is a desiccant in the seal that helps remove moisture, so when this breaks down the humidity levels in your home will rise. This excess moisture will then accumulate on the windows, causing them to fog.
Fogging windows are also a clear indicator that it’s time to get new ones. As you’ll see from the photos above, newer windows are more efficient, with argon gas between the panes to help reduce heat exchange and improve energy performance. Older windows may have single or double glazing, which will not be as efficient at preventing the transfer of heat.
While it is possible to add argon gas to existing windows, it’s much more cost effective to replace them with new ones that are already designed for improved energy performance. Replacing your existing windows with dual or triple pane glass with argon in between will significantly reduce energy transfer and save you money on your energy bills.
As you’ll see from the photos above, there are many signs that it’s time to replace your old windows. Whether they’re drafty, expensive to operate or difficult to open and close, it’s a good idea to start thinking about getting them replaced before the cold weather sets in here in St Paul. Replacing your windows now will give you a great return on your investment for years to come and make your home more comfortable for you and your family.