Window Problems: When to Fix and When to Replace

March 23, 2015 Updated: March 23, 2015

Spring is an ideal time to take on home renovations, but most of these improvement projects are obvious. How do you know when your windows need to be repaired or replaced, short of seeing them fall apart? Let us guide you through the most common window problems and the best way to solve them.

Are you consistently feeling a draft in your home?

Not even the best or most costly window will be able to prevent air from filtering in from the outside, but it’s not something you should notice or even feel. There’s a quick way to find out if this is happening in your home:

• On a cold or windy day, take a thin piece of tissue and hold it near the window frame. If it flutters, you’ve got an air leak.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce heat loss through windows is to seal air leaks through caulking and weatherstripping.

Caulking vs. Weatherstripping

You’ve identified the problem, but how do you go about fixing it?

• Caulking is used at fixed joints, such as where the interior trim meets the wall. It should only be used inside.
• Apply a continuous bead of caulking around the window trim, joints, and between the trim and frame.
• Weatherstripping is used to prevent air leakage at the parts of an operable window.
• Simply replace the worn weatherstripping or install additional weatherstripping if needed. This fix performs better and lasts longer than caulking.

If you’ve taken these steps and still find there’s a draft in your home, consider having the windows replaced.

Do your windows stay open?

If you find yourself struggling to open a window only to find that it won’t stay open, it’s time for a new one. When this happens, the mechanism that keeps the window open is compromised and could cause a health hazard since it could shut at anytime.

Can you see frost and condensation on the inside of the glass?

A sure sign your windows should be replaced is if you see condensation, frost, or fog on the inside of the glass. This indicates the window is faulty and unable to keep moisture from seeping into the house. The condensation can lead to mouldy windows and cause rotting around the frames.

Are your energy bills higher?

Homeowners are quick to blame a faulty furnace for noticeably higher energy bills. But old windows can also contribute to these rising costs. Dated windows, especially those that are not energy-efficient, could be to blame because they are unable to regulate the air in your home. Take a good look at your heating bills for the last six months. If you’re noticing a steady increase—a good estimate to go by is 30 percent—then it could be time to bring in the window experts.

Are your windows made with single-pane glass?

A window with single-pane glass is a window with only one sheet of glass. These are common in older homes that still have their original windows. If this is the case in your home, then you are looking at an upgrade as opposed to a replacement. Energy-efficient windows are made with two glass panes to ensure these common window problems do not occur. Here are the reasons to consider them if you’re replacing your current windows:

• Reduced Energy Loss. Energy-efficient windows increase the comfort of your home by reducing the amount of air leaks. This will keep your home warmer during the winter season. In the hot summer months, you’ll find your air conditioner won’t have to work overtime since less air will be able to escape.

• Help Control Condensation. The next time it rains or snows, you won’t have to worry about seeing water or ice inside the glass. The interior surfaces of energy-efficient windows are designed to stay warm, which means your home will be able to maintain a high level of humidity that will prevent condensation from occurring in or on the windows.

• Longevity. Energy-efficient windows will last longer and you won’t have to worry about dishing out money for repairs and maintenance.

A trusted window professional will be able to guide your decision, whether it’s about repairs, replacements or purchasing energy-efficient windows.

Let us help you find that window professional. Consult our database of companies that specialize in window repairs and replacements!

Article originally published by EiEi Home Inc. For more information on articles, reviews, and contractors in your area, please see their website at