The most common reason homeowners replace their windows is because their old windows are drafty and not energy-efficient. However, there are other problems that could just as easily affect your home’s energy efficiency, safety, and curb appeal. Here are some common window problems you’ll want to fix before winter.
Windows that don’t Function Properly
It’s no big deal – you know that the window in the master bedroom doesn’t open easily and you need to put some muscle into it. Windows that don’t open smoothly, get stuck halfway, or won’t stay open are common window problems. But if the situation persists, windows that don’t function properly can be a safety hazard.
If single-hung, double-hung and sliding windows don’t open the way they should, it usually can be attributed to dirt, dust, and grime build-up. When a simple cleaning doesn’t fix the problem, check to see if hardware such as springs and hinges are damaged – they might need readjusting or replacing.
When casement windows are difficult to open and close, the problem can be caused by a number of things. To inspect any screws, bolts, and springs that are missing or loose, remove the sash. If tightening the screws doesn’t make any difference, the culprit might be, if there is one, the hand crank. It will most likely need to be replaced and installed by a professional window installer.
Windows that are Warped or Rotted
Wood is prone to warping or rotting when it comes into contact with water.
Warping: As the wood frame absorbs moisture, it expands and contracts as ambient temperatures rise and fall. Types of warping include bowing, twisting, and crooking. Regardless of the type of window, when the sash has become misshapen due to twisting or bowing, window replacement is the most cost-effective solution where the damage is severe.
Rotting: Rot occurs when the wood retains moisture for a long period of time. This causes the wood to deteriorate when fungus forms and eats the wood fibers. The moisture that is responsible for wood rot can also encourage mold growth and attract pests such as termites, gnats, and flies. Wood window frames damaged by wood rot and/or pest infestation should be repaired or replacement windows installed.
Broken Window Panes
Accidents happen, especially if there are kids in the household who love to play ball. Glass panes become cracked or broken for a number of reasons. But if you taped the cracked pane into place or “fixed” the broken pane with cardboard, this should be a temporary measure – replace the glass panes as soon as possible.
Water Leaking through the Window
Where there are gaps between the window frame and the sash – whether they are caused by warping, wood rot, or time – water can get in. Water leaking through the window into the interior of a house can wreak havoc on inside walls and floors. At the first sign of damp siding or peeling paint around a window frame, inspect the windows for places where water has infiltrated. If you’re not sure about the extent of the damage leaking windows have caused, consult with a windows expert.
When Windows Constantly Fog Up
Condensation is the appearance of moisture when the heat in your home connects with the cold outside surface of the window. It might not look attractive but it is typically not damaging to the window or your energy bill. However, if the condensation cannot be wiped off, this is an indication that moisture is building up between the panes of double or triple-paned windows due to a broken seal. In most cases, you’ll need to replace the windows.
Windows that are Drafty
When they are closed but air escapes or enters your home, your windows aren’t energy-efficient. A common fix for windows that are drafty is applying fresh caulking around the windows and trim, inside and outside where applicable. Consider replacement windows if they still are single-paned, replacement parts are no longer available, or if cracks are exposed to the elements and can’t be repaired.