There are many signs that your windows have outlived their usefulness. The big things to watch for are:
1. Your windows are outdated
Windows are the easiest way for heat to leave your house in the winter, and enter your house in the summer. Over the course of a year, any windows will cost you hundreds of dollars in energy, as compared to walls. However, in the last decade, new technologies have been developed that can prevent most of the high energy costs of windows.
Modern windows, typically sealed double-pane windows, have over twice the R-value of traditional windows. This means that they convey heat into and out of your house at less than half the rate. You can see a comparison of R-values of different window types on this contractor website.
In addition, new window installation systems, like casement awning windows, shut with airtight seals, preventing heat from crossing the window through air convection.
So what do R-values mean for your bottom line? It depends on your yearly weather patterns, energy usage rates, the size of your home, and the size of your windows.
2. Your windows are failing
Even if your windows are energy-efficient double-paned casement windows, they can still lose their insulating power over time.
You can check your windows by:
- looking for hot or cold spots near the inside of windows;
- wetting your finger and checking for small drafts near the edges of your windows;
- holding a small flashlight against the exterior caulk seal, and checking to see if light makes it through
If any of these tests turn out positive, then your windows are failing and are letting more heat in and out than they have to.
3. Your windows are allowing condensation.
Windows that heat or cool rapidly build up moisture condensation, especially in humid climates. This can have terrible effects on your house. Interior condensation can seep into your window frame and compromise the seal. Exterior condensation can cause paint to peel. If you notice peeling paint or a warping window frame, you should immediately replace your windows before they cost you any more money.
4. You just do not like how your windows are performing.
There are a lot of personal aesthetic reasons that you might have for not liking your windows. They might let too much noise in, interfering with your sleep or enjoyment of your day-to-day life. Your windows also might not open or close easily and cause you stress and frustration. They could also let too much light in or cause glare.
All of these are perfectly valid reasons to replace your windows. Windows, like everything in your house, are there for your enjoyment. If you do not like your windows, why not replace them?