Like aching backs and chatty neighbours, there are things in life that we simply choose to put up with… until we just can’t any longer. So how do you know when ‘enough is enough’ with regard to your windows? Here are 10 signs that your windows might be due for a replacement:

A man holding a crow bar dripping sweat.

1. Your windows are not functioning like they used to.

A properly functioning window should require minimal effort to open or close it. If opening your window feels more like a workout at the gym then you should have your windows looked at. It’s possible that the mechanism can be replaced and that the windows are still functional. Your window company will be able to tell you. The proper function of your window should be completely covered for the life of your warranty - at no cost to you. When you’re buying new windows make sure you ask about this. You’d be surprised what some companies hide.

2. Your windows have visible defects.

“Stuff happens.” Your in-laws look after your home and you discover a gouge in your living room window. Your Great Dane runs headlong into your patio door or screen and it never quite works the same again. You ‘save money’ moving furniture and take a six inch divot out of a window frame or door. Some of these situations can be covered up, some can be ignored (until your spouse reminds you…) and some eventually have to be dealt with. Some damage can be remediated, depending on the circumstance. Some damage is irreparable and then you’re going to have to make a decision. (Choosing to ignore it is still a decision...)

3. Your hydro bill is increasing.

For those of us who choose (for no good reason) to live in an area of the country that ‘enjoys’ severe weather conditions one of the first indicators that your windows are failing may be an increase in your energy bills. Older windows (more than 25 year sold) and cheaper, ‘builder grade’ (the windows new home-builders use) are typically the windows that are the most susceptible to failure. When you get replacement windows for your home you’re getting a service, not just a product. The quality and professionalism of the installation of your windows is just as important as the quality of the window itself. Proper sealing, caulking, framing and installation of your window will have a significant effect on the long term energy efficiency of your window. If you don’t know the company replacing your windows, if they have no track record, if they don’t have a fully comprehensive warranty that covers EVERYTHING (product and installation and service) then you have no way of knowing if the installation work they do is to done to code and whether it will continue to work effectively for as long as you’re in your home.

4. Your windows are deforming.

Materials and construction techniques vary greatly between windows. The most common type of windows are vinyl (either PVC or mPVC). Wood windows are common on some higher end homes and aluminum windows are typically used in commercial applications because of fire code restrictions. Traditional PVC windows are fabricated as a series of thin-walled hollow chambers. m(PVC) windows have solid frames like wood. Traditional PVC windows can be susceptible to warping and deformation over time if they are coloured or if they are a cheaper grade of window. All houses shift and move with the extremes in weather. A weaker PVC window may warp over time causing the window to not perform properly or causing damage to the seals. Deformation can be visible to the naked eye. Sometimes it is harder to see.

5. You can hear excessive noise through your windows.

Good quality, properly installed windows and doors are designed to minimize the noise pollution. This feature becomes even more crucial when your home is close to the major roads and crowded areas. If you’re noticing audibly different levels of sound it may be because the seals in your windows are failing or the insulation or caulking in the frame is starting to fail.

6. Your windows are drafty.

All windows fail eventually. One of the signs that a window has failed is when you can feel cold or a slight draft around your window. It’s more difficult to get a perfect seal around a door and it’s not atypical to feel a slight bit of cold around the lock. Windows when shut properly should not allow for any infiltration of air. A draft could be caused by an improper locking mechanism or it could indicate something else like a broken seal or poor insulation.

7. Your windows are fogging.

If your windows become foggy this indicates that the seal on your thermo (the sealed unit in your window) is broken. Hopefully you are covered by a good warranty that guarantees the functioning of your seals and does not charge you if they need to be replaced.

8. Your windows are condensing excessively.

Condensation is caused by moist air condensing on a cold surface. If you notice that there is more condensation on your windows than normal then this might be because something in your window has failed - either a seal, caulking, insulation or some other structural issue. Replacing your windows with energy efficient, high performance windows can make a world of difference to the comfort levels in your home. (Keep in mind that with new, properly installed windows there will be no chance for that moist air to escape and, as such, you’ll have to monitor the humidity levels in your home more closely.)

9. Your furniture and carpets are fading.

Older windows offer poor UV protection. Low E glass that is available with new replacement windows reduces most of the UVB light and helps minimize heating and cooling costs. There are also options to add extra protection such as tinting and lamination.

10. Your windows need some love and attention.

Are you due for an upgrade? Are your windows a cry for help? Are you ready for a home make-over? There are many ways to improve the curb appeal of your home. New windows not only make your house look fabulous, they also help you save on energy costs and they can contribute to lowering your carbon footprint.

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