Windows are something that are very unfortunately often overlooked by homeowners after a point. Unless something goes wrong with one, people rarely give them much thought aside from perhaps what a nuisance they are to clean (this has become an age-old joke in media). Others who work nights, often consider windows a real nemesis, letting in the nuisance sunlight when they’re trying to sleep.
However, these things aside, there are some real reasons to pay close attention to your windows, and some reasons why it may be time to replace them, even if they seem “fine” on the first inspection.
See, windows are indeed important, as they are crucial for letting natural light in (which you do occasionally need for health), for letting ventilation work in the milder times of the year, and of course, aesthetics.
Windows are like other fixtures – if they’re outdated or they look awful, this can cause some real negative effects on your homeowner’s insurance, your curb appeal, and above all else, your resale value. Your home is an investment, after all, even if you consider it your forever house. You want it to appreciate in value regardless of whether or not you want to sell it someday.
With this all in mind, we’re going to take a look at five major reasons to possibly replace your windows. Some of these may surprise you, while others will seem obvious in hindsight.
#1 – Efficiency
This one is all down to financial impact but is one of the ones with a major impact on resale value as well. The thing with windows is, while you can install one that’s perfectly sealed and that shuts airtight, you’re still going to lose heat and cooling through it.
Why is this? Well, it all comes down to good old thermodynamics. Glass is transparent, to let light through. The problem is, if it can let light through, it can let other energy transfers occur too. If you’ve ever touched a window pane in the dead of winter, you may notice it’s like ice, despite your home being warm and toasty.
Conversely, you may have noticed how hot a window feels in July, despite your house being cool and comfortable. Glass allows heat to transfer to places where less heat is, which can suck your air conditioning or heat dry, running your power bills through the roof.
Fortunately, modern window designs are engineered to combat this problem, mostly by the type of glass being more resistive to this heat transfer on a molecular level, and the sandwiching of glass panels. Between these panels is argon or other noble gas-filled space, which is a non-thermoactivated substance that highly discourages lower-frequency energies like ambient heat from escaping.
They also pair with more modernized insulation and installation practices that prevent leaks and compromised seals, resulting in a much greener and more overall efficient concept all around.
#2 – Styles Change
Windows, like anything else, do change in popular styles over the years. Some of these outdated designs become “retro” or “antique” and are thus appreciated when going for a period look in a home. However, aside from a certain subculture of people, modern generations have much less love for “period décor” than their forebearers, modern and timely aesthetics being valued more and more across the board.
Your windows may be dated, and while this could be intentional if you have, for example, an Elizabethan-styled Tudor house, or a rambling Victorian home, in houses built in the 20th century or later, not trying to achieve these historic looks, it’s a detractor.
Modern windows can add a sense of the contemporary and will enhance your resale value, as well as your overall motif. People tend to find “aged” looks to be depressing these days, and if you’ve been feeling run down in your home, it might even be affecting you without your realizing it.
#3 – Age
Age of windows isn’t just a problem due to going out of style. As windows age, they begin to break down. Microfractures will form in glass, frames will bend and warp gradually, latches will begin to malfunction, and glass will discolor. Eventually, it can droop and warp, as many older types of glass (used up to the mid-1990s) have this odd problem of seeming to “melt” like a slow-moving liquid.
Experts on the material will be the first to point out that glass isn’t actually a liquid, but crystalline substances of an older formulation like this can indeed begin to give. This makes them dangerous, inefficient and ugly as they begin to decay.
#4 – Defects
Even if they’re not that old, windows can have defects from manufacturers that don’t show up right away. As meticulously inspected as windows are by both the manufacturers and any reputable contractor, some of these problems just aren’t detectable until they produce symptoms.
These can be things like condensation due to the seal between pains being compromised. Others can be rapid rot or cracking of glass or the framing of the window, or just compromised seals allowing drafts.
Windows may suffer bent frames that cause them to not close or open properly, or be difficult on a good day. You’ll notice drafts from windows like this.
#5 – Security and Safety
We’ve saved this one for last because, to be honest, it’s the biggest peril when it comes to windows. Of course, most criminals will not try to gain entry through doors, being plainly aware that they’re locked and reinforced, probably with an alarm.
It’s disturbing how few older windows have sensors installed, or proper locking mechanisms, or even safety glass to prevent violent B&R incidents.
This lack of safety glass can also result in dangers to children and pets, possibly putting too much weight on weaker old windows, falling through them as they break, or cutting themselves very severely.
This is why windows made modernly are reinforced, designed for alarms to be readily installed, hard to break, and very, very safe overall. If your windows are older than fifteen years, this alone warrants looking into swapping them out.
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