Do Your Windows Need Replaced?

If your home's windows are starting to deteriorate or get worn, replace them before further damage occurs that can be costly.

Buying new windows for a home can be expensive. That is one of the reasons that people put off examining their windows for signs of wear or decay. But if you don't inspect them and catch the damage early, you may end up with costly repair or replacement bills later. Here are some indicators that may tell you if your windows need to be replaced:

1. Study the casements for signs of damage. Is the wood chipped, mildewed, moldy, broken, rotten, or missing? Without a firm window molding, the glass becomes subject to breakage from objects hitting it, like kids' baseballs or Frisbees, or harsh weather conditions. Be sure that all nails or screws are in place and firmly bolted, and that the molding remains fixed with the glass firmly secured. Reattach or tighten any loose pieces to prevent them from dislodging and perhaps breaking or getting lost.

2. Check window glass for signs of weakness. Does the glass shake during high winds? Can you hear a rattling noise when the window is opened or closed? Is the glass chipped, cracked, broken, or missing? Do the panes appear to be intact or are they out of kilter or broken? Does the glass have damage from objects like b-b guns?

3. Are all your windows functional? Do windows open and close readily? Do they stay open for as long as you wish, or must they be propped open with an object like a book or a box? If the latter is true, keep in mind that a dislodged prop can allow the sill to come down hard on tender fingers and possibly cause bruising or breakage. Do your windows keep out heat and moisture, or are casings cracked and dry, with beads of rain coming in during each shower? Do the glass windows deflect or magnify sunlight? Could a robber easily break one to enter your home? Are the frames secure?

4. Do all window mechanisms work properly? Are the locks operating correctly? Are there window springs or latches that fail to do their job? Does the window close completely when locked, or does it allow the escape of household heat or the entrance of outdoor air to your home? Do the window cables work correctly to lift and lower the window?

5. Are there signs of pest infestation? Check your windows periodically to look for small piles of what looks like sawdust. This may indicate an infestation of carpenter ants. Also keep an eye on possible termite assaults. Wild animals, such as mice, squirrels, rats, or snakes, in search of winter warmth may attempt to enter a window that does not close properly. Look for signs of gnawing on the outside moldings.

If your windows have suffered damage that suggests they need to be replaced, get several estimates from reputable installers before placing an order for the new windows and their installation. You may want to check the credentials of the company by contacting the Better Business Bureau in your area. Windows are the eyes of your home, so protect the vision of yours!

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