Homeowners across the country are taking a fresh look at their homes and evaluating their remodeling needs.
When determining what remodeling projects are most deserving, homeowners should consider that windows offer some of the biggest payoffs. When updating windows, homeowners can expect up to an 85 percent return on investment. Coupled with the energy cost savings, the replacement usually pays for itself.
Windows make that all-important first impression, and for this and many other reasons they should be in good working order. Windows and doors have a direct impact on energy conservation, security, and aesthetics.
Below is a checklist to help home-owners decide if replacing windows is the right choice.
How to Evaluate Windows for Replacement
1. Examine Your Existing Windows
If your window shows signs of wear and tear or exposure, such as cracked paint, but operates normally, then it’s likely time to refinish it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If vinyl windows show signs of seal failure between the glass panes, or wood windows have severe warping due to moisture or wood decay, then it’s time
2. Evaluate Problems
In addition to normal wear and tear and energy efficiency, there are a few other indicators that window replacement is needed. Signs to look for include:
- Problems opening or closing. In older homes, wood windows may have been painted over numerous times or may have become severely warped due to age and weather conditions. Windows that don’t open and close easily or properly are more than just annoying; they are a safety issue and a sign that it’s time to replace them.
- Drafts. There are many tests to determine if a window is drafty, such as placing a lighted candle next to the window to see if the flame moves. If it does, your windows are drafty and your energy bills are paying the price and it is time to replace.
- Excess noise. Older, single-pane windows don’t block as much noise as new double-pane windows. If you can hear your neighbors chatting across the street as they are getting their mail, it’s probably time to upgrade your windows.
3. Consider Energy Efficiency
Classic signs of inefficient windows include condensation, drafts and warped frames due to moisture. Heating and cooling account for 44 percent of the average home’s total energy use. Replacing old and leaky windows with energy efficient models can bring a significant return on investment when you consider today’s high energy prices. Plus, saving energy is good for your wallet and the environment.
Homeowners are increasingly seeking products that not only help reduce their energy consumption, but do so in an environmentally responsible manner. This means taking into consideration the full product life-cycle, from materials to manufacturing and use, to recycling and disposal. Here are some points to consider:
- Choose windows that are made from recycled or renewable materials.
- High-quality windows made from sustainable materials are built to provide long-term performance and minimize the long-term impact to the environment. Windows made from composite materials can be a good option for homeowners who like the look and strength of wood windows but want the low-maintenance features of vinyl. Because of the unique blend of materials, composite windows do not need ongoing staining or painting to maintain their natural beauty, saving homeowners time and money.
- hop around for quality windows that enhance the beauty of your home based on long-term value, not price. Saving a few dollars now could mean another replacement project just a few years down the road.
4. Determine How Much Impact
Replacement Will Have on a Home
When choosing replacement windows, look for ones that are designed for installation into existing window frames to help make sure the impact to the exterior of the home is minimal. This is key, especially for brick or stucco exteriors. By using replacement windows designed to fit into existing openings, the process is simpler, quicker and minimizes wear on the exterior siding.
5. Consider Hiring a Contractor
If you can’t do the replacement on your own, hiring a contractor may be the best way to go. Hiring a contractor can save time, cut down on stress, and ensure projects are done correctly. When hiring a contractor, be sure to interview several candidates, ask for references and don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder.
To help reduce window replacement anxiety, it’s important to select a company with professional installers who are able to do the job efficiently and correctly.
Here’s what you should look for:
- For your safety and security, installation professionals should properly identify themselves.
- The installation team leader should share the schedule and answer your questions.
- The installation crew should cover the area with drop cloths to protect your home.
- Cutting of materials should take place outside.
- The installation team leader should give you frequent updates on the progress of your window replacement.
- The installation team leader should demonstrate the operation and care of your new windows, review your warranty, give you an owner’s manual and answer final questions.
- Then it’s time to celebrate, enjoy compliments from the neighbors and relax in a quieter, more comfortable home.
The time is now to replace your old windows, it’s not okay to delay despite the dread and anxiety of home improvement projects for many people. The longer you wait to replace your faulty windows the more money is wasted due to energy loss.