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Before and after image of replacement double-hung windows
6.15 Minutes

5 Signs Your Windows Need Replaced

Five things to consider when asking yourself, “do I need new windows?"


Do you ever find yourself asking, “do I need new windows?” Beginning the window replacement process is a big decision, so it’s important you know you’re making the right choice before upgrading. Great windows offer ventilation, look beautiful, help save energy, reduce noise and keep your space safe. If your windows aren’t doing one or more of those things, it may be a sign your windows need replacing. Below are five situations to help you decide if your windows could be doing more for you and your lifestyle:

1. Difficult to Operate

A window that doesn’t operate as intended is frustrating. If it’s getting difficult to open and close your window, consider replacing. Operating your window should be quick and easy. For instance, a well-functioning double-hung window features two sashes that slide for efficient ventilation and tilt in for easy cleaning. Just as convenient is the operation of our revolutionary Easy-Slide Operator, available on select casement and awning windows. It allows you to simply slide to open and close, without the effort of cranking. Simple operation with long-lasting durability is key to loving your windows. If your windows aren’t making the cut, it may be a sign to start shopping for replacement windows.

2. Uncomfortable Drafts or Poor Energy Efficiency

Improving energy efficiency is a common reason that homeowners choose to buy new windows. If you’re noticing drafty windows, especially in the winter, your existing windows are likely contributing to your energy bills. Other signs of poor energy efficiency include improper installation. Check the level, plumb, bowing, square and the reveal to tell whether your windows were installed properly. In addition to drafty windows, increased energy bills and poor installation, single-pane windows and fading interiors, described below, may also affect the energy efficiency of your windows.

Single-Pane Windows

Single-pane glass is inefficient at reducing thermal transfer through your windows. Dual-pane glass insulates better than single-pane, while triple-pane maximizes energy efficiency. In new windows, you can add inert argon gas between panes of glass to improve insulation and reduce thermal transfer. Some products are even available with optional foam insulation in the frame to further improve energy performance. Consider upgrading from single-pane glass to help keep your home comfortable and lower your energy bills.

Fading Interiors

Another component to take into consideration regarding your window’s energy efficiency is fade damage. Maybe you’re starting to notice that your wood floors and furniture are fading in distinct areas around the home where the sun beats in. This is a tell-tale sign that your windows are not as energy efficient as they could be. In new windows, selecting low-emissivity or Low-E glass coatings will add layers of thermal protection inside insulating glass, blocking harmful UV rays to help prevent fade damage from occurring.

Read through these tips to choose energy-efficient windows and start seeing the benefits they provide.

3. Outdoor Noise

Are your windows letting in unwanted noises? Outside noise can keep you up at night and that is not worth compromising on. Whether it’s traffic, barking dogs, airplanes flying over your house or your neighbor mowing the lawn, replacing your windows can help reduce noise transmission and improve the sound performance. While completely soundproof windows don’t exist, there are several factors that help your windows reduce noise. More panes of varying glass thicknesses help dampen different sounds at different frequencies. Insulating window frames and proper airtight installation can improve sound resistance as well. If peace and quiet is what you need more of, consider replacing your existing windows with noise resistant windows.

4. Poor Curb Appeal or Outdated Style

Windows are the eyes of a home and go a long way in selling the property down the road. From outdated grille patterns to out-of-style colors, a window that misses the mark when it comes to aesthetics is a common instance in which homeowners decide to upgrade. Think about whether your windows are making your house look more beautiful or distracting from the vision you have for your space. Windows are a powerful way to establish a design vision throughout a home. They add a consistent stylistic element from room to room, portraying any style from traditional and timeless to modern and trendy. Whether you’re restoring a home to its historic design or updating to a modern style that fits your taste, windows go a long way in achieving your renovation vision while also adding value to your home.

5. Damaged Windows

Damaged windows can present large challenges to homeowners. Whether the problems result from a baseball tearing through your glass or a frame that’s not airtight, windows sometimes experience water damage, mold, condensation, cracks or chips. Learning why windows sometimes fog or crack can help you identify when to fix or replace them before troubles progress. When a window is damaged, the frame or glass becomes exposed to the elements which may cause additional issues.

Foggy Windows

Sometimes, window fog and condensation can be a sign of a damaged window. Condensation on the interior or exterior often indicates high humidity levels and is nothing to worry about. If realized early on, there are ways to reduce condensation. In fact, exterior condensation is generally a good indicator of an efficient window. However, condensation between panes of insulating glass can develop when the seal between panes of glass fails and allows moisture to leak in. When old windows and doors have hazy windowpanes, replacement is usually the right call.

Broken Glass

Broken glass is a more apparent sign of window damage and commonly requires window replacement. Not only does broken glass have a poor appearance, cracks, chips or shattered glass pose a threat to home security and can compromise your energy efficiency. Broken window glass also opens an opportunity for insects and allergens to enter. Having broken windows causes negative effects and offers a sign it is time for replacement.

Do I need new windows?

There are many different factors that contribute to the functionality, long-term performance and appearance of a window. The lifespan of a window varies from case to case depending on:

  • the quality and type of material it is made of
  • the local climate and weather events
  • how well the window was installed
  • how often the window is opened
  • how often proper maintenance is performed and more

While estimating how long your windows will last is difficult, there are simple signs letting you know it may be time to start shopping for replacement windows: your existing windows are difficult to operate, inefficient, letting in too much noise, outdated or damaged.

When in doubt, it’s always best to get a professional opinion. Pella experts can help you decide if replacement is the best option and assist you in choosing from a large selection of high-quality windows that will last for years to come. New Pella windows can provide many long-lasting benefits including easy ventilation, improved energy efficiency, sound reduction, enhanced curb appeal and safety. Take a look at these replacement window installation options to ensure you get the benefits you expect and deserve.

Why are my windows foggy?

Condensation on the interior or exterior of a window often indicates high humidity levels and is nothing to worry about. Condensation between panes of insulating glass, however, can develop when the seal between panes of glass fail and allows moisture to leak in.

Should I replace my windows all at once?

It depends on why you are replacing windows. If a window is not functioning properly or is broken, it might be best to replace only that window. If you are looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency, update the entire look or reduce noise, replacing your windows all at once will likely achieve those goals more quickly and cost-effectively.

How long do windows last?

It depends on the quality and type of material the window is made of, the local climate and weather events, how well the window was installed, how often the window is opened, how often maintenance is performed and more.

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