Homes inevitably need the occasional repair or renovation of various components, including their windows. If your home has had the same single-pane windows for many years, those windows may have structural or functional issues, or they may simply lack the efficiency of more modern products.
Certain telltale signals can alert you to the need for a window repair or upgrade. Pay attention to the following four trouble signs.
1. You Can Feel Air Moving Through Closed Windows
When you regularly feel a draft in a particular room and you can’t trace the problem to your HVAC system, you may have an air leak in or around a window. Possible causes of window drafts include aged weatherstripping, warped frames, moisture-related or mold-related seal damage, and thermal expansion or contraction.
Run your hand along all sides of the window’s frame to determine exactly where the draft occurs. You may find that the window just needs fresh caulk or weatherstripping, or you may need to swap a warped wooden frame for a frame material that resists warping better. You might even find a crack in the window glass.
If the leak seems to come from a wooden window frame, water damage may have already caused deterioration. Moisture and mold infiltration can make a wooden frame soft, spongy, and vulnerable to chipping or sagging. This damage will only get worse until you replace the frame.
2. You See Fog or Water Inside Your Windows
Constant fog or water droplets often indicate moisture building up between two panes of a double-pane or triple-pane window. These window designs feature sealed compartments with inert gases filling the spaces between the panes. The gas helps to insulate the glass against the passage of heat or cold.
A multi-pane window that suffers from condensation problems probably has a failed seal or cracked glass. The inert gases have escaped even as moisture has entered the space between the panes, robbing you of the windows’ insulating benefits. The simplest remedy involves replacing the entire window.
3. You Can’t Open, Close, or Lock Your Window
Casement and sliding windows should open and close with ease. If your window resists your efforts to raise or lower it, or if it won’t move at all, you face several possible issues ranging in scale from minor maintenance to a serious mechanical failure.
Accumulated dirt or dust can interfere with a window’s motion. If cleaning the window components doesn’t improve performance, then you may have a warped or bent frame that needs replacing. In the worst-case scenario, a shifted foundation may have rendered the window unable to operate normally.
A window that won’t lock or unlock may have a dirty or corroded lock mechanism. If cleaning and lubricating the mechanism does not yield results, your window service technician may need to replace worn fittings, screws, or brackets. A misalignment between the two locks in a double-hung window may also require correction.
4. You Can’t Control a Room’s Temperature or Noise Levels
A room that always seems too hot, too cold, or too noisy probably has single-pane windows. These windows commonly grace homes built 15 or more years ago, but they only provide minimal thermal and sound insulation. The results may include annoyance, discomfort, and high summer and winter energy bills.
Replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows can dramatically boost the windows’ thermal insulation, as measured by R-value. For example, a double-pane window can offer an R-value of up to 1.78 in the summer, as opposed to 0.96 for a single-pane window.
Double-pane windows do an equally impressive job of blocking sound. The extra layer of insulation can improve a window’s Sound Transmission Class (STC) from 26 to 35, for an 87% reduction in noise. Your window technician may also install a separate glass insert that provides additional noise reduction.
Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin can provide everything from brand-new windows to parts and service for your existing windows. Contact us today to learn more from our installation professionals.