Replacing your windows is one of those house maintenance tasks that may only need to be done once every twenty years, so it can be difficult to determine when the right time is, since you may not know how old the windows were when you moved in. Getting the timing right on when to repair and when to replace a window is the key to saving on your energy bills and living in comfort, so learn the signs that tell you when it is time to get new windows for your home.

If the Glass is Broken…

Repair. You can go to a licensed professional to replace just the glass of the window and leave the frame intact, which is a process known as reglazing. Since the frame is the most structurally important part of the window, you can save money by repairing only the glass in the event of a break. If the frame is bent or warped by the blow that broke the glass, however, you may need to look into replacing the whole thing.

If the Seal Fails…

Replace. If the seal on a double-paned window fails, you will experience what looks like condensation on the window which will be impossible to wipe away. This means that your window is no longer protecting your home from cold air or moisture, possibly because  the frame itself has warped. In this instance, it needs to be replaced.

If You Can No Longer Open or Shut Your Windows All the Way…

Replace. This can happen when the foundation shifts, or if the frame has significantly deteriorated. It is also sometimes caused when an old wooden frame is painted shut. If the window does not close all the way, you are losing a lot of money in heating and cooling costs. A tight, proper seal is crucial on your windows, and any window that does not have one should be replaced as soon as possible.

The Area Around Your Windows is Very Cold…

Depends. Some windows just aren’t very energy efficient, often because they are old, not properly insulated, or single-paned. If there are no drafts but you’re still feeling a lot of cold air around your windows, they aren’t properly protecting you. This can sometimes be fixed with an inexpensive sheet of weatherstripping or plastic sheeting, but this is really only a band-aid on a larger problem. Replacing the window with a newer, more energy efficient model is ultimately going to be much more effective than adding a single sheet of plastic.

When a Window Replacement Rep Shows Up on Your Doorstep….

Be wary. Some companies that go door-to-door to offer window replacement are not certified and have dubious business practices. It’s a good idea to do your research and go to the professionals to have your windows replaced, not because of pressuring sales techniques. Windows are only as good as their installation, so be sure to go with a reputable company.