When Should I Replace My Windows and Doors?

New Windows for America | Replace Windows and Doors

Springtime has come around again and it’s time to start looking at exterior home repairs. Windows, doors, and siding can be expensive and time consuming replacements and knowing when they are necessary is crucial. Can it be put off for another year, or is it time to start looking at budgeting now. How to tell? To make that decision easier, here are 3 signs that it’s time to replace windows, doors, or siding.

  1. Leaks. This is the most obvious sign that replacement is necessary. A gap between the doorway and frame that lets light in is also letting that expensively heated air out. As a house settles, frames shift and lose their original shape; warping the door or window as well. This causes leaks that may be fixed temporarily with foam sealers or stick on weather stripping, but in the long run, will require replacing the frame and window alike.
    • How to tell: The easiest indicator is the feel of a draft. Moving a lit candle around the edge of the window or door and looking for abnormal flame motion will indicate air movement in and out of the casement. In the case of leaking siding, cold areas may form inside a room with an outside wall. These spots will occur close to the wall itself and might even be felt by hand.
  2. Difficulty Operating. Another indication of warping frames can be detected when windows or doors are difficult to open or shut. When they were installed, they moved smoothly and without trouble. Expansion of the wood in the frames or the frames moving “out-of-square” will keep the window or door from sliding easily on its rails or hinges. This will eventually lead to more sticking and loss of function.
    • How to tell: In sliding windows and doors, applying a small amount of lubricating jelly in the runner will help a window that is simply running paint-on-paint or is low on lubricating grease that was part of installation. Difficulty in movement after sliding open and shut around 10-20 times indicates a disfigured frame and replacement is necessary.
      In swinging windows and doors, friction areas in the frame will be visible where the frame is pinching. A small section that does not hinder opening or closing is ok, but indicative of future problems. Replacement is necessary when major effort is required to operate the window or door.
  3. Aesthetics. In a house that has historic value, replacement may not be an option. In younger homes, however, perfectly usable, yet outdated, windows, doors, or siding may need to be updated to increase resale value or to coordinate with a new theme design. Another visual indicator might be chipped paint, cracked panes, or water stains. These are signs of neglect and disuse that make a negative statement about the homeowner.
    • How to tell: Signs of neglect are often obvious, glaring, and can be detected on a daily basis. In the case of design or outdated style, a consultant may be required to make the final call.

It is important to keep windows, doors, and siding updated and in good condition for many reasons. Leaks cost money, framing disfigurement causes frustration, and poor maintenance announces neglect; all problems that no homeowner wants. Proper repair or replacement, however, will improve the home and life all around.

Contact us for an In-Home estimate or call us at 303-920-0175 today!

Fix the Money Leaks to Keep Out Summer Heat

All throughout winter, you worked hard to keep the warm air in and cold air out. Unfortunately, it difficult to make outdoor repairs in the middle of a snow storm. However, with spring making its way in and the ice melting away, it’s time to start finding and sealing the leaks in your house. These leaks can be difficult to locate if you don’t know what to look for and consultants are expensive, so here are a few quick tricks to check your home’s integrity.

  1. Windows – During the winter, you may have noticed that cold areas or condensation collected around one or more of your windows. This means that the window is probably leaking. Fortunately, finding out how much is a simple process. On one side of the window (inside or outside), use a hair dryer to direct air around the edges. On the other side, hold a piece of tinsel or a burning candle in the area that the hair dryer is blowing. If the candle flickers or the tinsel moves, you’ve found a leak which may be repaired with a sealer or weather stripping, but will ultimately require replacement.
    On the other hand, if you’ve performed the above leak test and found no weak spots, but the window was still cold in the chilly months, it may be time to replace the window with something more energy efficient. The rubber and sealers that manufacturers used in the past have a tendency to break down over time; allowing heat exchange between glass in double paned windows or miniscule leaks in single panes. Either way, it’s time for new ones.
  2. Doors – The hair dryer/candle test can be used for doorways as well. Just as with windows, look for air movement to indicate leaks. Unlike windows, however, weather stripping provides a shorter term fix due to the swinging nature of doors. Additionally, the foam insulation in aluminum doors will deteriorate in less than 10 years and the metal will transmit unwanted outdoor heat inside. This is harder to check except in extreme temperature conditions. The simplest fix is replacement with solid wooden doors.
  3. Siding – This can be the most difficult section to check since there are very few places that will show air leaks. The good news is that many companies sell FLIR attachments that will connect to your iPhone or Android and allow you to detect thermal changes in the sides of your house. Once you have found a leak, your local DIY store should have more than a few sealing options for you.
  4. Roofing – If you have access to your attic, then you have three excellent options for finding heat leaks. The first method uses nothing more than your eyes. Search for water stains or mildew patches where condensation or water leaks have developed. If you find none of these, go to your thermostat and turn the fan to “On”. With all of your outside windows and doors closed, this will create positive pressure and it’s time to break out the candle again. Search the edges of the attic: the floor, the apex, and seams between roofing boards. If none of these have revealed any problems, safely ascend to the rooftop and use your FLIR attachment to look for changes in temperature that might indicate a small, unnoticed leak. A tube of roofing tar is fine for one or two small spots, but large scale leaks will need a professional roofer.

Blocking out hot summer temperatures is just as important as sealing away cold winter air. By finding leaks, you will stay comfortable and happy during the extreme months. Most importantly, the energy savings will more than balance out the cost of repairs. Keep your house (and your checkbook) protected.

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