When to Replace Windows with a Greener Alternative
By Dani Nicole
Home is the coziest place, unless your windows are outdated. That draft you feel in the winter or the rush of hot air in the summer may be a sign of larger issue. At Home Improvement Leads, we specialize in finding energy-efficient solutions to enhance home upgrades. Here’s how to know when to replace your window—and your green options to do so.
Sign 1: Poor Performance
You can usually tell that something needs to be replaced when it stops working. The same is true with windows, though it may be less obvious when it happens. Poorly performing windows require extra force to open or close. They allow air to leak in and out, and you might even notice fogging around the edges. Condensation builds up between panes when the glass allows in moisture. These are all warning signs that it may be time to upgrade.
Sign 2: Decayed Appearance
Scan your windows thoroughly for chipping and water stains. These signs of damage may point to an issue with condensation buildup or air leakage—which means it’s time to replace. Make sure to also check for warped or broken glass and frames.
Sign 3: Storm Damage
Even if your home was untouched in a hurricane, high winds, tornado, or flood, it’s a good idea to check your window for damage. Sea salt, humidity, wind, and other harsh elements can damage and even corrode glass. Consider storm window treatments if you live in an area with frequent inclement weather.
Sign 4: High Utility Bill
If you’ve noticed a pattern of high energy usage, you might consider replacing your windows simply to save energy and money over the long run. Energy-efficient windows keep cool air in during the summer, and toasty warm heat inside during the winter. Upgraded, eco-friendly windows will eliminate the need to fidget with the thermostat all day.
Check the Ratings
Reduce your energy usage by opting for an Energy-Star-rated window. This rating system will help you sort through hundreds of options. As a general rule of thumb, multipane windows are more effective at preventing air leaks. Single-pane windows just don’t do the job as well.
Pay attention to the U-Factor, a rating that measures how well the window can prevent heat from escaping a home. It’s an important number in climates with harsh winters. Alternatively, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient value measures how much of the sun’s heat the window blocks. This allows your home to stay cooler during long, hot summers.
As for your window frame, you have a whole slew of options. Aluminum or metal frames are mostly maintenance free, but they do conduct heat. You can solve this issue by installing a plastic strip around the frame, which is called a thermal break.
Composite frames are stable and offer advanced moisture resistance, which inhibits decay. You can also go for a fiberglass frame that can be packed with insulation for improved performance. Fiberglass and vinyl are both stable options that offer great thermal performance and moisture resistance, respectively.
As for the glass panels, make sure you opt for a low-emissivity coating. These glazes and coatings reduce the amount of UV and infrared light that passes through your windows, without affecting visible light. The result? Safe, wonderful sunlight and improved insulation.
Replacing your windows may seem like a daunting task, so just think of improved functionality, cozy interior temperatures, energy efficiency, and lower utility bills. Then you’ll see the perks clearly.