Have you been tossing around the idea of replacing your 20-year-old windows lately? Maybe now is the time to finally make it happen.
As a business or homeowner, any tips or suggestions for cutting down on heating and cooling costs are always much appreciated. So keep in mind that replacing your windows, doors, or other commercial glass can save you hundreds of dollars per year.
So how can you tell if your windows need to be replaced? If you have absolutely no clue how old your windows are or even what they’re made of, you might not know exactly when it’s time to have them replaced.
Don’t worry. Today we’re going to help you figure it all out.
Below are the top five signs it’s time to upgrade your windows!
Visible Damage or Warped Glass
Sometimes you can get away with repairing a window instead of replacing it. If your window just needs new hardware or weather stripping, that’s a minor problem that might only need a repair.
But replacing a warped, damaged, or broken window frame or sash is almost always the smarter option compared to attempting a repair. Even if the windows are still operable, they can develop problems.
Do your windows fog up? Are they drafty? Do they stick when trying to open or close them? Do they refuse to stay open? If your windows are communicating in the above ways, they’re telling you it’s time to replace them.
One obvious sign that it’s time to replace your windows is decaying window frames. Wood windows eventually warp, aluminum will corrode, and locking hardware fails on old windows. If your windows struggle to open, or get stuck in the down or up position, it can cause a serious danger, especially in the case of a fire. This alone is a good reason to replace the windows in your home, store or office as soon as possible.
Because your wooden window frames are continuously exposed to moisture, they will eventually begin to warp. Not only does the warping make it extra difficult to open and close your windows, moisture damage can also cause more serious decay down the road. If you notice that your window frames show signs of decay, this is a clear sign that your windows are in need of an upgrade.
Rising Energy Bills
Have you recently had an increase in your energy bill?
As the temperature falls during winter and rises during summer, your cooling and heating bills probably change along with the seasons. If your windows are older, you can bet that most of the cooling from your air conditioner and the heat produced by your heater is going to waste.
Windows provide a small amount of heat in the winter by letting in sunlight, but drafty windows can cause your energy bills to be about 10% to 25% higher than normal – as it takes more energy (and more cost) to overcome the heat loss from the draft.
While older windows are usually single-paned and sensitive to leaks, newer windows are highly efficient and designed to help prevent air transfer. Older windows (and doors) lack proper insulation and might be ill-fitting, which can force your heating or air conditioning to work harder.
On the next cold day, stand in front of your windows in a t-shirt. Does it feel colder than the rest of the house? Go ahead and touch your windows. Does the glass feel really cold to the touch? If so, the warm air that your heating system is working extra hard to produce is being cooled down the second it gets within a few feet of your windows. What a waste!
Another trick is to grab a burning incense stick or a candle. Hold it right in front of your window frames and slowly move it around each window’s edge. If the candle begins to flicker or the smoke starts to move, drafts are entering through your windows.
Consider replacing leaky windows with windows that contain argon gas and low-emissivity (Low-E) glass to save money on heating bills. Low-E glass keeps heat in during the winter and out during the summer, greatly reducing your annual heating and cooling costs. Replacing drafty, aging windows with efficient, tight-fitting ones can provide some amazing results on your energy bills. Spring is a perfect time to upgrade your windows to new energy efficient ones.
Bonus: If you’re thinking about listing your building for sale, those new windows — plus the resulting energy cost savings — can be a huge selling point.
Old, Faded or Out of Style
Windows are one of the most noticeable features of your house, store or office, and if they look old, faded or ugly, your home or business will too. Check to see whether the window material is warping, the color is fading, or whether old screens or storm windows detract from the look of your shop.
If your windows no longer flatter the overall look of your store, filter out noise or shield it from the outdoor weather, it may be time for glass replacement. Even the best windows won’t deliver the comfort, look, or savings you expect if they’re installed poorly, so be sure to get a professional glass installer.
Recent Storms and Hidden Damage
The moment it rains, we cover up to stay dry. As soon as a brown paper bag gets wet, it begins to disintegrate. When your building gets wet during a storm, due to gaps or cracked paint (which allows water to get into a wood window), similar damage begins and can go unnoticed for years when hidden beneath the surface.
Both mold and rotting in wooden window frames happen because of moisture repeatedly coming into contact with the material for an extended period of time.
Although a poorly functioning window may result in rotting, it is not always the sole cause of leaks. Often, leaks happen through openings in the wall structure or even the roof. Regardless of whether the source of the leak is in the structure or in the window, a water-damaged wood window is no longer performing as it should.
Remember, water damage in your window frames is not always visible to the naked eye. Yes, it may show up as leaks on the wall, but much of the time it’s impossible to tell if the wall is moldy or damaged on the inside until the window is taken out.
And although it may look like your windows are perfectly fine, leaving rotten frames is a serious concern for several reasons. Rotten wood frames can begin to grow mold if left untreated. Mold is both bad for the structure, and for everyone inside the building, as it can lead to health problems.
If you reside in an area known for severe weather activity, you’re probably prepared for the possibility of damaged windows, and you may even have glass insurance. Doors and windows can be affected by flying debris and wind damage. Check your windows for damaged frames, broken panes, holes and cracks. If you find damage, we’re available to help with emergency glass repair.
Renovations or Changing Business
If you’re thinking of changing the layout of your store, or if you’ve just moved into new premises, then upgrading the glass and windows needs to be at the front of your mind.
Along with all the other points we covered so far – including checking for wear and tear, minor or major damage, weak points, and old glass – different businesses have very different glass installation requirements. And if you don’t know if the glass in your store is up to code, then a renovation is a great opportunity to update and install!
Glass needs change depending on what type of business you operate. For example, a coffee shop with big, clear and open shop fronts have a vastly different set of requirements to a bank or office building. If you’re unsure whether or not the glass in your store is right for your home or business, ask yourself these three quick questions.
- Does your glass vibrate from passing traffic, or let in road and traffic noise?
- Are your rooms overly bright and uncomfortably hot at certain times of day?
- For businesses, do customers struggle to see into your shop or storefront displays?
If you answer yes, it might be time to speak to a professional glass installer. We’ll be covering some more examples of the different glass requirements for different business in an upcoming blog – but for now make sure you keep an eye out for these early warning signs and get your windows upgraded, repaired or replaced as needed.