Six Signs it May Be Time to Replace Your Windows

Signs It's Time to Replace Your WindowsKnowing when to make replacement windows a priority can be a challenge. Windows don’t come with an expiration date, and unless there’s obvious damage, most homeowners don’t give them a lot of thought. That can be a mistake since even minor moisture incursion can rot wood, damage plaster, and encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Furthermore, drafty windows make it easier for heat to transfer in and out of the house, reducing your home’s energy efficiency. But while the indicators can be subtle, they’re also easily detectable if you know what to look for. Here are six signs it may be time to replace your windows:

  • Condensation inside the glass or between the panes
  • Sashes that are difficult or impossible to open
  • Cracks in the frame or glass
  • Drafts or temperature fluctuations near one or more windows
  • Damp walls or humid conditions inside your house
  • Glass that’s warm to the touch in summer and cold to the touch in winter

All of these can be noticed with a casual inspection and a quick check of a window’s basic functionality—otherwise known as the open and shut test. Of course, by the time some of these conditions become apparent, your windows may already be in an advanced state of deterioration, even if they still look fine. That’s why The Window Depot recommends Florida homeowners perform an annual inspection to determine if replacement windows are in order.

The Inspection Process

A thorough and systemic window review will require more than simply looking things over and checking the glass for cracks or condensation as mentioned above. Broken seals aren’t always visible, and insects can hollow out a wooden frame without breaking through to the surface. That’s why every inspection should involve gently probing along the frame, sash, and sill with the tip of a screwdriver. If you feel a soft spot or punch through to a cavity, you likely have an infestation. In such cases, replacement windows are usually a better option than simply filling the damaged areas with wood putty, since the window’s weatherproofing has likely been compromised as well.

You will also need to walk around the outside of your home to examine the fitting for every window frame. If gaps have developed between the frame and the exterior wall, it can allow moisture and insects to not only damage the window, but also support structures. You most likely won’t be able to determine what’s going on behind the opening, even with a flashlight, so a call to a professional for a complete evaluation will be needed.

Delving Deeper

During your inspection, you should also attempt to fully open every window, not just “crack” it enough to let in a little breeze. If the sashes stick at any point, or if they fail to remain open, it’s usually because the frame is warped or swollen. Difficult-to-operate windows not only make cross ventilation a challenge, but could also pose a hazard if they can’t be used as a means of escape in the event of a fire. You should also verify that the window lock engages properly. If it can’t be secured, it can’t provide adequate protection from would-be intruders.

As noted earlier, detecting air leakage can be a challenge with the naked eye. And just because you don’t feel a draft around a window doesn’t mean it’s maintaining an airtight seal. One method of testing for leaks is to light an incense stick and hold it close to the frame. The rising smoke will be disturbed by air currents too subtle to feel, giving you a better indication of how airtight your windows actually are. Drafty windows are candidates for replacement.

The Bay Area’s Window Specialists

If you think the time has come for replacement windows at your home in the Tampa Bay area, the company to turn to is The Window Depot. We offer and install premium brands such as PGT, Simonton, and CWS. We’ll be happy to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our specialists. Or you can drop by our showroom in Palm Harbor to see full-size models of our windows. And, if you decide to move forward with a window replacement project, we can provide financing for qualified homeowners.

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