Finding the right replacement windows can be a baffling and complex task. We recommend that you be as informed as possible before you make a buying decision to ensure that you will find windows that will perform well over time. Windows must be suitable for resisting certain environmental exposures (wind and rain) and of course need to fit within the budget you have set for your project.
Focus your efforts on finding windows that have passed a series of tests by one or more independent certification organizations. The materials used to make the window must be of high quality and the method in which the windows are assembled should also be superior. Also look for windows that carry the trusted ENERGY STAR label. Windows bearing this label are designed for maximum thermal efficiency to help you save on your heating and cooling costs year round and to help protect the environment. All windows sold in Canada must be evaluated for three performance criteria, known commonly as the A-B-C window ratings.
A - Airtightness (levels A1-A3)
B - Water Resistance (levels B1-B7)
C - Wind Resistance (levels C1-C5)
Typically, the higher the rating a window receives in each of these areas, the better it will perform. Choose a rating level that meets the environmental conditions of your home and your budget.
Generally speaking it may be time to replace your windows if any of the following occur:
Moisture occurs between the glass of a thermopane
Windows contain cracked or broken glass
Rotting or split muntins (the strip of wood or metal separating and holding panes of glass in a window)
Upper or lower sash is unable to move
Missing or rotting drip (The exterior "shield" above the top of the window)
Loose, cracked, rotting, or missing exterior casing (trim)
Missing or brittle potty holding glass panes to the muntins
Excessive water infiltration
Warm or cool spots - window is not adequately providing insulation
Peeling Paint on House – on exterior of house may mean moisture is traveling through improperly sealed windows and back out to the exterior
Frost and Ice Buildup - insufficient insulation or poor thermal material can allow a rapid transition from hot to cold air causing condensation to develop and frost and/or ice may form on the windows
Check for Drafts.
Hold a lighted candle in front of the window's edge. If the candle flickers, drafts are coming in through the window. Outside Noise or Drafts As insulation around a window deteriorates, openings can form that may allow unwanted sound and drafts into the home. Single-pane glass provides inadequate protection against outside noise. Consider replacement windows with insulating glass for greater thermal efficiency and sound reduction.
Check the Window Frames.
Tap the frame with a flat-blade screwdriver to test the softness of the wood. If the end of the screwdriver can be pushed easily into the wood, it’s usually a sign of decay and full-frame replacement windows may be an option to consider. Note: To avoid damage to the frame, make sure to use a flat-blade screwdriver or other blunt tool.
Check the Operation.
Open and close each window to see if it operates smoothly. If the window needs a prop, such as a yardstick, to stay open or it’s painted or swollen shut, it needs to be replaced.
Check for Caulk or Seal Failure.
Stand outside the window with a flashlight. Using the flashlight, "travel" around the entire window frame. If someone inside sees light coming through, this may mean caulk or seal failure or, potentially, energy loss.
There are many benefits associated with replacing older inefficient windows in your home. For instance the vast improvements in window designs and manufacturing techniques have made new windows extremely energy efficient, esthetically pleasing yet very affordable. Also custom sizing minimizes the disruption in your home as installation times are amazingly short. Other benefits of replacing your windows can include:
Cut heating/cooling costs – A new window properly installed will keep the cold out and the heat in. The glass surface will be warmer to the touch. This will cut the electricity, oil or gas costs to run your home.
Help the Environment – We all must take the environment seriously. By reducing overall heat loss in homes across the country, the less demand there will be on our energy grids. This will ultimately lead to less pollution in the environment.
Comfort – With drafts eliminated your family will enjoy their home more.
Health – With drafts removed opportunities for illness are reduced. Old windows often will leak allowing for moisture to enter the home. This moisture may lead to mold and mildew & their associated health problems. Also, older wooden windows may have been painted with lead based paints. Removing these will reduce the possibility for health concerns.
Resale Value – Window replacement is close to the top of check lists for home buyers. The investment made on new windows will normally be immediately reflected in the higher value of your home.
Rebates – There are still some government incentives available for window replacement. This will keep the capital cost down. Making a decision to benefit from these should be done soon to avoid missing out as programs are cancelled.
Aesthetics – Current window design can significantly improve the look of your home. The pride you have in your home can be matched to the look of your new windows
Value – Technology improvements have lead to very cost effective modern window designs. These designs allow for very high efficiency frames, high efficiency glass and easy installation. All of these improvements work together to make your project very affordable.