Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When to Replace or Repair Windows

With low wintertime temperatures the cold will creep in and pool at windows in need of repair or maintenance, plus drive up wintertime electricity bills.  Just like any other part of a house, windows require maintenance and repair and sometimes replacing if the damage is too great. Windows are the most vulnerable point in a home for heat loss. 

Take a look at the thermal image below. The red and orange coloration at the windows is where heat is escaping from the home.

Foggy window glass before repair
Fogged Window

How will you know if windows just need maintenance or require replacing? 

The general rule of thumb to follow for window repair versus replacement is to repair a window with spotty damage and replace a window with damage throughout. Take the example image at left. Here we have a window that is foggy. We would repair a fogged window.

Free professional onsite window evaluation and estimate: 512-358-1560Contact us online http://clearchoiceaustin.com

What about newer super efficient windows - Why not just replace all of the windows at once?

broken window
It would seem like the best solution might be newer, more energy efficient windows. Advances in technology and the Low-E double pane type are much more efficient now, than they were years ago. But do windows pay for themselves if replaced with more efficient models?
The short answer is no, you're better off repairing windows. We find most homeowners only replace windows when there is no other option.

Window efficiency: plugging in the numbers for replacement

Let's take an example and be generous with the numbers favoring replacing windows.
Here we will replace older, double paned windows, to more efficient Low-E, double pane models. With this upgrade you'll get a 15% savings on your energy bill according to House Logic. On an energy bill of 4800 a year that's 720 dollars a year, for all the windows in your home. This is a modest amount if you break it down per window. For my house that would be 48 dollars a window, per year. In this case newer energy efficient windows won't drive the cost of changing out all of the windows. However, better windows could be one determining factor. 

Best window options for your efficiency dollar

Take this house at left. This house is what we call in the industry sun-struck and in Austin the summer heat is a real problem. Sun struck homes are houses that capture all of the heat with no shade. For this real world example repairing windows and then adding instant shade with solar screens will greatly increase the window efficiency and save more energy dollars over time for the homeowner. 
Every home is different. For your specific, free, professional, window evaluation call 512-358-1560

Planned Obsolescence and forced Replacement Window

There are some cases due to the myriad types of window models changing throughout the years, where a window may require replacement due to lack of repair parts availability. Planned obsolescence, or the manufacturer no longer being in business may make it impossible to locate a random, very necessary, replacement part. In that case of course, you will be driven to replace a window rather than repair. In those cases most homeowners choose to replace the single window or two matching windows if close together and repair other windows in the home.
In conclusion, it usually makes sense to repair when the damage to a window has spotty damage and replace only when the window is un-repairable.
Call 512-358-1560 for a free window evaluation by Affordable Screens & Glass - your Austin professional glazier.