Do your windows look like the photo on this page? If so, you’ve probably been trying to decide if you should have them repaired or replaced. Most likely, if they look like this, it’s time for replacement, but there can be other, more seemingly minor issues that have you wondering if your windows can be fixed rather than replaced.
Of course, replacing all the windows in your home is a large project that will call for an appropriately large investment. Replacing windows isn’t a Do-It-Yourself project for the average homeowner, but by trained professionals who know all the important things to do to make sure your windows last for a lifetime (for more on this, see our four posts on Installation in our Four Pillars of your Replacement Window Satisfaction series).
To keep your windows in proper operating condition, appropriate maintenance is one of the main keys to long window life for your Long Island home. Be sure to clean your windows regularly and keep the frames and any tracks free of dirt and grime. Keeping dirt at bay will go a long way to ensuring proper operation and delay deterioration over time.
A couple times a year, usually Spring and Fall while your doing your other outside chores, you should check the exterior of your windows for a good seal to the outside of your home. You’ll want to remove and replace any caulk or sealant around the window frame that looks old and worn out or that has visible gaps between the window frame and your siding. You’ll want to take care here though, because there are specific areas that are not supposed to have sealant to allow for moisture weeping and drainage. Inadvertently sealing those areas can do more harm than good by trapping moisture around your windows can cause mold and rot. When in doubt, call in a professional for assistance.
Eventually, however, like most everything else, your windows will exceed their useful life and need more professional attention. At some point, and maybe you’ve reached this point, routine maintenance is not going to be enough to keep your windows as functional and efficient as they once were. Just like a car, or other important systems in your home, at some point, repair costs will exceed replacement costs and still not keep you home as comfortable, or as attractive as it once was.
When you reach this point in the useful life of your windows, you’ll have to decide if your windows should be repaired, or replaced. At Renewal by Andersen of Long Island, we’ve seen thousands of windows in Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn and understand that this is not always an easy call for a homeowner to make. Read on to understand what to look for to help you make the Repair or Replace decision.
Is Your Window Glass Broken?
The first order of business when deciding whether a window needs to be repaired or replaced is a visual inspection. One of the most obvious signs of a window that needs work is broken glass. If your window is single paned, broken glass can be a relatively easy fix. If you’re handy and don’t mind working with sharp glass, you can have a local glass dealer or hardware store cut you a piece of glass to replace your broken one. Following some simple instructions and wearing strong gloves and protective clothing, you can remove the broken glass and replace it in most window frames. In some cases you may even be able to remove the window frame and bring it into a glass repair shop for them to repair.
While it’s an easy fix, single pane glass is not nearly as energy efficient as today’s modern insulated glass and could be costing you a lot of money in energy bills, so you may want to consider the ongoing money savings new insulated glass windows could afford you long term.
Many of today’s insulated glass windows use very strong glass that’s not as easily broken as ordinary window glass, but no glass can withstand limitless abuse and can break. If you have a broken pane of insulated glass in your windows, it’s not such an easy fix and you’ll likely need to call in a professional. You may need to replace the entire sash or window.
Do You Have Broken or ‘Foggy’ Insulated Glass?
If you have insulated windows, you can also have an issue known as “seal failure”. Although rare in the best performing windows today, some older insulated glass didn’t use the advanced technology that’s available today and the two panes of glass can separate from the spacer, allowing outside air into the air space. When this happens, the windows appear to have a permanent “fog” between the panes of glass, which is unsightly, and, more importantly, compromises the energy-efficiency the insulated glass is designed to provide.
Does Your Window Glass Always Look Dirty?
While window glass is very durable, eventually the “smooth as glass” surface isn’t so smooth anymore. When this happens, be it from corrosive elements in rainwater, or abrasive materials used to clean the glass, the glass catches dirt and reflects light and just isn’t as clear anymore and appears to have a “haze” over it. While this doesn’t always affect the energy performance of the window, it’s not so nice to look at and limits your views outside and the natural light your windows can let into your home. It also doesn’t help the curb appeal of your home as it makes the windows look “dirty”. When this happens, it’s time to replace the windows or window glass.
Are Your Windows Leaking Air, or Worse, Water?
If your window is leaking, whether the culprit is air or water, it’s going to cause discomfort and damage to your home. Air leaks let outside air into your home and create drafts that can make you uncomfortable and waste your energy dollars. Water leaks are even more dangerous and can cause big problems with mold, rot and insect damage to the window and the rest of the structural framing of your home.
Are Your Windows Difficult to Operate?
Another sign that you may need to think about window repair or replacement is if your windows are becoming increasingly difficult to operate. If your windows won’t lock or stay locked, if you can’t keep them opened or closed, or if they are difficult to open or close, even after you clean all the contacting surfaces, the hardware is probably worn or the window sash are out of alignment or warped. While they may be easy to write off as minor annoyances, these are signs that your windows aren’t functioning the way they should be, are probably not sealing properly and should be attended to. These may be signs that your windows are failing and could indicate structural issues in your home as well
Finally, if your windows are difficult to maintain and require a seemingly endless cycle of maintenance like scraping, sanding, and painting, it’s time to take action.
Should You Replace or Repair?
Now, if you identify with any of the issues mentioned above and are thinking that your windows need some work, should you need repair or replace. Most handy homeowners can handle minor repairs like cleaning and re-caulking, but for bigger problems, you likely will not be satisfied with an attempt at a repair job. Today’s modern, energy-efficient replacement windows are just far superior in energy efficiency, appearance and low maintenance to yesterday’s windows, that it often makes sense to replace the entire window. A repaired original window will be no more energy efficient than it was when it was installed, and advancements in window technology have made replacements easier to operate as well as easier to clean. Even when you consider that it might be cheaper in the short term to repair a damaged window as opposed to replacing it, bear in mind that replacement windows will often pay for themselves in reduced energy bills over the long run.
At the end of the day, the decision to repair or replace your windows lies in the amount of work that needs to be done in order for the window to be as functional as it can be. Older windows with a lot of aesthetic and operational problems will, more often than not, benefit from a complete replacement. Your windows will look better, operate easier and save you money on your energy bills, Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall.
Contact Renewal by Andersen of Long Island for More Information
Have any more questions about whether you should repair or replace the windows in your home? Renewal by Andersen of Long Island is here to help. As a subsidiary of Andersen Windows, we have been providing people with beautiful, energy-efficient windows in all shapes and styles for generations. Our experienced design consultants will ensure that your replacement windows are the perfect fit for your home, your life and your style. Call us today at 1-888-313-9052 for a free design consultation.