Fall is upon us and cool, wet weather is fast on its way. Blustery winds and precipitation are picture-perfect from the comfort of your home, but if you have any damaged windows, you could be experiencing unpleasant drafts and unsavory energy bill spikes if your windows need replacement.

When should home windows be replaced?

Depending on your location, climate influences can lengthen or shorten your window aging process. For example, coastal cities like New Orleans host a humid environment that can speed up your replacement timeline due to chronic moisture buildup. Look for these tell-tale signs that your windows have reached their last days.

Signs your windows should be replaced or repaired:

  • Foggy window(s) surface during hot and cold seasons.
  • Drafts and breezes enter the home during windstorms.
  • Windows keep sticking or they often require exerted effort to open/shut.
  • Windows won’t stay open and shut or slide down after opening.
  • Historic/vintage windows run a high likelihood of replacement candidacy, especially if they’re painted shut.
  • Recent storm activity occurred, such as hurricanes, tornados, or other high wind/precipitation events. Don’t risk waiting as insurance claims often set a time limit on covered damages. Reference your policy for more information as plans vary considerably.

Is it worth it to replace windows?

Window replacement ensures your home is as safe as it can be in the event of any future natural disasters or unforeseen weather and wear. According to Remodeling magazine, new windows can also boost your home’s resale value.

If you own a vintage home you might be particularly fond of your home’s historic windows. Incorporating newer, modern styles can be a fun way to mold retro with modern and set your house apart even more. The benefits are endless.

Five benefits of window replacement:

  • Reduce unwanted noise, such as the sound of street traffic or neighborhood activities that take away your peace of mind
  • Control the temperature variance from cold draft leaks in the summer and heat leaks during the winter that could be caused by your outdated windows
  • Enhance your home value and style by updating your windows with complimentary and/or trendy colors and designs that match your home’s individual aesthetic. Replacement windows yield the extra benefit of recouping your replacement costs up to 69%.
  • Upgrade your safety level if you own a vintage home and/or your windows are finicky or unopenable. Permanently shut windows are a serious fire hazard. In the case of an emergency, windows with easy-to-open features ensure your household is safe when it matters most.
  • Expend less HVAC energy with energy-efficient windows that bring the pleasant side effect of reduced energy bills. Energy.gov found that drafty windows cost 10-25% more on heating/cooling.

Are new windows tax deductible?

As of April 27, 2021, IRS.gov lists a 10% tax deduction from “the cost of qualified energy efficiency improvement.’ with a lifetime limit of $200 for windows. Energy incentives encourage more fuel-saving practices that limit your new window choices, but they benefit you because they reduce your HVAC bills in the long run.

replacement windows

How do I prepare my house for replacement windows?

Before installation day:

  • Take inventory of anything you want to keep prior to the window replacement date. For example, if you want to keep any materials from the original windows, such as copper window trim or stained glass, add it to a list to give to the installer on the day of installation. As an added safety measure, use tape to leave a reminder note on each window itself.
  • Remove any window treatments, such as curtains, blinds, or any other window decor. Any intrusive hardware such as curtain rods should be removed also.
  • Cover or move nearby furniture far away from the windows or ideally out of the room. Make a path for your window installation company to use both inside and outside. Installers need as much space as possible to work as quickly and efficiently as possible without damaging their possessions. Don’t forget rugs and anything else that might cause accidents. Store your treasured items elsewhere. It’s worth it to take extra time to guard your valuables.
  • Acquire a permit if you need one to replace your windows. If you’re in a hurricane zone, you will most need one to verify that you install impact-resistant windows. In other regions, permits may be required if you’re expanding or changing the frame in any way.
  • Arrange for pet and/or child care to limit any accidents or mishaps that could be avoided. Pets and kids alike can get scared and therefore misbehave when strangers enter their safe space.
  • Block or take time off of work so that you’re at your home for the appointment. Alternatively, appoint someone you trust to be onsite for any on-the-fly decisions that may arise.

Day of installation:

  • Do a walking tour of the home with the installation lead so that the team knows exactly where work will take place. This will also give you a chance to ask any questions you prepared. You can get an estimate on how long the window replacement will take for instance, or ask if there’s anything else you need to do before installers get started. Pro tip: Ask the crew to leave any windows that require an additional day to install in the frame overnight. Leaving plastic coverings for extended periods of time can be disastrous if harsh weather conditions roll in.
  • Disable security systems that might be engaged by opening and closing the windows or doors. This will save you from additional disturbances, and your crew and neighbors will appreciate it too.
  • Verify windows are correct before the crew begins the installation process. Double-check that the windows are not only the right style, frame, and color, but that they also meet your specifications, (e.g. energy-efficient, triple-pane glass).
  • Be ready for interruptions if your window replacement involves multiple rooms. If you work from home, group everything you need together in a grab bag and be ready to relocate if you need to. Pro tip: Ask for installations to take place in the room you want to stay in first to streamline the process. Stay within hearing distance so that you’re close enough to answer any questions but far enough away to not be a micromanager. Professionals work best with a combination of trust and accessibility for unexpected questions, which brings us to the next point…
  • Expect the unexpected since construction work often hinges on weather conditions. Although some crews might work in less than desirable weather conditions, extreme wetness can put a damper (pun intended) on projects. Discuss what the company’s weather policies are and decide what you’re willing to risk. Do you really want to trek mud through your brand new plush carpet? Coverings run the chance of moving or leaking excess moisture.

Post-installation:

  • Walk the construction area with the installation lead to see how your new windows look! It’s easier to point out any issues while the crew is still there to inspect the installation. It can also avoid any disagreements that might arise if you discover unsatisfactory work after they leave.
  • Inspect the window sills and frames to make sure there aren’t any visible gaps or empty space left.
  • Open and shut the windows to test how easy it is to do so. You want gliding, virtually sound-free windows, not temperamental, creaking, and squeaking windows. Some heavy-duty window latches use stiff hardware that needs breaking in order to get used to them.
  • Most importantly, be sure to enjoy your new replacement windows as much as possible. Revel at their beauty and soak in the extra energy-efficient savings they bring you. Happy home improvement!