“Windows are imperative to a home as they fill the home with natural light, warmth, and ventilation,” said Christopher Wittmann, CR, Senior Exterior Sales Representative with Callen Construction, Inc. “Moreover, new and replacement windows can significantly increase a home’s energy efficiency and security.” That being said, it’s important to ensure windows function at their peak performance. To accomplish this, one must be well-versed on the telltale signs that indicate windows are beyond repair, including condensation that forms in between the panes of glass, warped window frames, drafts, and reduced functionality.
Condensation on windows is considered normal in moderation, depending on where the condensation is forming. When warm air, whether from outside or inside the home, encounters the cool glass of a window pane, condensation is likely to occur on the surface of the glass panes. In some cases, condensation can occur inside the glass panes, too. “If the amount of condensation forming is substantial and it’s occurring between the panes of glass, then window replacement is strongly recommended, as this is a sign that the seal is failing,” said Christopher.
Not only can moisture affect the glass, it can affect the window frame as well. In fact, moisture is one of the primary reasons wood window frames become warped. “They shrink and expand as they unevenly absorb moisture,” he said. “The end result is a poorly functioning, distorted frame. In other words, warped window frames are notoriously difficult to open and close and need to be replaced. Keep in mind, if your windows are older, you may notice the frames are cracking or peeling. This alone is not an immediate cause for concern, but you will want to monitor the situation carefully over time to see if it worsens.”
Along with too much condensation, drafts can also be a symptom of seal failure. If experiencing drafty areas in your home, try to pinpoint the drafts’ source. If it is determined the drafts are stemming from the windows, it’s likely time for window replacement. Drafty windows can also impact a home’s energy bills. “It’s typical for your energy bills to fluctuate slightly in accordance with the change of seasons, but if your energy bills are two or three times higher than what you anticipated, it’s likely your windows are to blame,” Christopher said.
You may know a home’s foundation expands and contracts in response to extreme temperatures, but you may be surprised to know a home’s windows react in a similar manner. It’s common for windows to experience minor expansion and contraction, particularly if made of vinyl. “However, when the window frame or sash can no longer withstand the stress and pressure, various issues can emerge, such as failure of the weatherstripping, water intrusion, seal failure, and decreased functionality,” he said. “In this particular instance, window replacement is absolutely necessary to avoid more extensive damage.”
Familiarizing yourself with the key signs that point to window replacement will help ensure a home’s windows are operating at optimal efficiency. “Addressing these signs early on will help prevent further damage and save money in the long run,” said Christopher. “So, keep a watchful eye for excessive condensation that forms in between the glass panes, warped window frames, drafts, and reduced functionality, as these are all serious issues that warrant your immediate attention and window replacement.”