Window replacement can be a scary and expensive process. So at what point do you winterize those old windows to eek out another year, or take the leap to energy savings with new windows? While that is only a call you as the homeowner can make, Erie is here to help you make an educated decision.
Homeowners traditionally come to terms with window replacement for the following reasons: to repair or replace damage, to save money long-term on energy consumption and energy costs, easier maintenance or ways of blocking noise and light factors.
Repair & Winterize or Replace?
If this is simply not the year that you can squeeze new windows into your home maintenance budget, here are some steps that you can take to winterize your windows to at least provide a short-term, band-aid like effect to get you through the season:
Caulking & Weatherstripping: Keeping in mind that most of these will not solve your window problems, by taking this two-pronged approach, you can likely make it to Spring before a new crop of problems are likely to surface.
Caulking: Begin by using a stiff-blade putty knife to remove any old caulk or peeling paint from around the exterior area of the window. Then, clean away all dirt and dust using a scrub brush dipped in warm, soapy water. Wipe the surfaces dry with a clean cloth.
Finally, apply a fresh bead of caulk around the outside perimeter of the window, creating a continuous seal between the window frame and siding. Be sure to use an exterior-grade caulk. We recommend either 100 percent silicone sealant or a “siliconized” acrylic caulk. Both adhere well and will remain flexible.
Weatherstripping: There are a few options in the weatherstripping arsenal, feel free to use one or both of these options to best suit your weather sealing needs this winter.
Adhesive-backed foam: A compression type of weatherstripping, meaning that when the window closes against it, the foam compresses to seal gaps and block drafts. The easy peel-and-stick application and cuts easily with scissors make this one of the easier weatherstripping projects. Be sure to thoroughly clean the area around the inside of the window, as the adhesive won’t stick to dusty, dirty surfaces.
On double-hung windows, apply adhesive-backed foam weatherstripping to the bottom edge of the lower sash, and to the top edge of the upper sash. If you don’t want to apply the weatherstripping to the sash, stick it to the sill directly below the lower sash, and to the head jamb above the upper sash. Either way, once the sash is closed and locked, the foam will seal out drafts. On sliding or casement windows, apply the adhesive-backed foam to the vertical edge of the sash or vertically along the side jamb.
Window insulation kits: These kits block cold air by sealing the entire window behind a large sheet of shrink-wrap plastic. The plastic adheres to the interior window casing with double-sided tape; you then use a blow dryer to seal it in place. Window insulation kits are very effective at sealing out drafts, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to open the window until next spring, when you peel off the plastic wrap.
When It Is Time To Replace
When all else fails, and the window isn’t protecting your home from the outside elements properly, window replacement is the best route to go. The look and condition of a window offer the best clues as to when it is time to replace. With today’s choices of energy efficient and updated designs, there are a multitude of cost saving and functional advantages to replacing your windows.
Look for these signs that your windows are ready for replacement status:
- Performance (or lack thereof):
-Air leaks in, out and around the window
-Opening and closing the window are difficult or impossible
-Condensation and/or fogging in between glass panes
–Deterioration, water stains or chipping of the window itself, or surrounding frame
–Outdated style that does not blend well with the rest of your home
–Replacement parts are hard to locate, or non-existent
–Windows will not stay open
Understanding that window replacement can be a costly venture, there are some lifestyle considerations that come into play. Windows can deteriorate at a faster rate on certain side(s) of the home due to differences in exposure to sunlight and inclement weather. Even replacing windows on this side of your home can be enough to help you see a significant cost savings on your seasonal energy bills.
Other Style And Lifestyle Factors To Consider:
- If you are looking sell your home, replacing windows beforehand can command a much higher resale price than those with outdated windows.
- You can capitalize on tax credits to recoup some of the initial investment into new windows by selecting windows that have earned the Energy Star distinction
- Replacing old, single pane windows with more energy efficient double or triple pane windows can save you significantly on long-term heating and cooling expenses
Ready to take the plunge on new windows? Check out our next article: Taking the Pane Out Of Selecting The Right Window For Your Home to learn more about the components and various styles of the window industry to help you make the most informed decision possible!
Whatever route you choose to go, take the time to do your research and ask plenty of questions. Learn the various components and differences between window styles. Hire a contractor you trust, who has the experience to handle your project correctly the first time.
Give Erie Home a call for your free estimate and in-home window assessment!