When measuring how energy efficient your home is, it’s easy to consider appliances, insulation and even door frames. Too often, though, homeowners forget to look into windows. Windows are meant to be looked through but not overlooked. Here are ways to determine if it’s time to replace your windows.
This one is really simple. Does the window work well? Is there any existing damage from a severe storm? Are you able to easily open and close it? Does it lock securely? These are important features in case you need the quick ventilation or fast exit windows provide. If the window doesn’t function well in these ways, that’s a good indication it may be time for a replacement.
New windows might be needed just to have the aesthetic of the home be more consistent. Perhaps you purchased a historic home but the windows are a bit too modern-looking. Or, maybe you’re in the reverse situation and you bought a home that has been recently flipped and updated, but they left the older windows in place. Possibly you’re working on a “fixer upper,” and it’s a good opportunity to either create more privacy and wall space by making a window smaller or introducing more light in the room by installing a larger window.
According to Energy.gov, poorly insulated windows can increase your utility bills by about 10% to 25%. A layer of argon gas exists between panes to keep the window airtight. This gas tends to seep out after 14 years. To determine if this gas has leaked out and if another window might be needed, look for water condensation between the panes. If seen, it means the gas has escaped, water vapor has replaced it, and the window is no longer well-insulated.
If your window frame is made of wood, it likely is not as energy efficient as one made of vinyl. Vinyl window frames are airtight and better insulated. Also, as a standard, windows should have at minimum two panes of glass; single-pane widows are not energy efficient.
Like home appliances, windows have energy ratings. When shopping for replacement windows, keep an eye on their energy-star rating to help you ensure you’re looking through clear, new windows and towards some cost savings on your utilities for being more energy efficient.
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