Windows are more than just a decorative feature in your home — they play a big role in your home’s ability to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Windows are also essential to your home’s overall energy consumption, comprising 25-30% of your home’s entire energy use. In other words, nearly a third of all the heating and cooling energy in your home can be lost through your windows.

But if your windows aren’t doing their job, this number may be higher. The more energy you’re using, the higher your energy bills go. And, if that isn’t enough to convince you there’s a problem, you’ll probably feel uncomfortable as the temperatures in your home keep you sweating or freezing depending on the season.

With that in mind, you need to decide whether you should repair or replace your windows. What steps you should take to improve your windows will depend on their current state and your budget now and in the long run. So how do you determine whether a window needs to be repaired or replaced? Learn everything you need to know in this guide.

When to Repair Your Window

Sometimes when a window is causing problems, there’s a relatively easy solution that doesn’t involve replacement. How can you tell when to repair windows rather than replace them? Look for signs like:

1. Foggy Windows

Foggy windows are a sign the seal between the panes of glass in a double-pane window is beginning to deteriorate. As the seal deteriorates, moisture builds up between the panes. Moisture buildup in and around windows can lead to mold and rot. Besides looking bad, if mold and mildew are left unchecked, it can impact the condition of your home.

In some cases, especially if your windows aren’t that old, it is possible to repair this seal by replacing the second pane of glass. Another option is to defog the glass. You can pay for professional defogging services or you can buy a spray and do it yourself.

Remember that this is a temporary solution. These treatments and sprays work for a while but then must be applied again. Over time, the money you spend to defog windows will add up. If you need to delay replacement for a few months while you save up the money to purchase a new window, this may be a great solution. But it won’t get rid of the underlying cause of the fog.

2. Cracked, Broken or Chipped Glass

Breaks in glass can take different forms and are caused by different problems. Some cracks may be caused by exposure to extreme cold outside and the extreme heat of a heater on the inside. When glass is exposed to temperature fluctuations over time, it can slowly create cracks. Or window glass may break because something hit the window.

Depending on the size of the break and the source of the problem, it may be possible to repair the glass to prevent outdoor temperatures from making their way inside. Glass replacement is a great way to correct a break, especially one caused by a stray baseball or golf ball. But if the cracks in your glass are due to temperature fluctuations or other structural problems, the repair will only be a short-term solution. Over time, you’ll likely encounter additional damage due to moisture buildup around the window.

Note that replacing the glass in a window is best done by a professional. There are DIY glass kits available for purchase, but if you don’t use them correctly or fail to address the underlying problem, the repair may not hold. A professional glass repair or replacement company will do a better job of correcting the problem and preventing issues down the road.

3. Warped Window Panels

If you have trouble opening and closing your windows because they seem to be sticking, there’s a good chance you have warped windows. This issue happens when gaps form between the window frame and the sash as windows bend and expand. To address this problem, identify where the gaps are and add extra weatherstripping around your windows. You can also loosen the hinges to create more space for the windows to move up and down.

It’s important to realize that anything you do to address warped window panels is only a temporary solution. Once a window is warped, there’s no way to fix it. All you can do is find ways to mitigate the problem, such as weatherstripping. If you are dealing with a warped window, consider it a sign that replacement is coming. Use mitigation measures to keep your home comfortable and safe until replacement happens.

Knowing When It’s Time for a Replacement

Sometimes it’s possible to repair a problem with a window, especially if it’s newer. But most of the time, window damage is often a sign it’s time to replace your windows. How can you tell when to replace windows? Check for these signs:

1. Drafts

If you feel a breeze coming from your windows when they’re closed, it’s time to replace them. Drafty windows can impact the temperatures inside of your home and cause your HVAC system to work harder than it should to keep you comfortable. You’ll see higher energy bills each month, and all that strain on your HVAC system will likely shorten its lifespan because it’s working so hard.

Replacing your HVAC system is one of the most expensive repairs you can make as a homeowner. It’s crucial to do anything you can to prevent this necessity, such as replacing drafty windows.

2. Increased Energy Costs

Sometimes problems with your windows aren’t visible. But if you’ve noticed your energy costs creeping up in recent months, it may be due to faulty windows. Why does this happen? Windows are designed to create a barrier that prevents outdoor air from coming into your home. They are also designed to keep air inside of your home — the warm or cold air produced by your HVAC — from getting out.

If your windows are no longer capable of blocking air from coming or going, a lot of the comfortable air from your HVAC system is escaping. This issue causes the HVAC to work harder to produce more air. When this system is working harder and running longer, your energy bills will increase accordingly. Replacing your windows with energy-efficient replacement windows from Homespire may be your best solution.

3. Condensation

If you notice fog or frost inside the panes of glass in your windows, that’s a sign of condensation buildup. Moisture in and around your windows can cause more damage the longer it’s left unaddressed. Condensation in windows is usually a sign the seal in the windows is broken.

Newer windows are insulated using a gas piped in between the panes of glass. When the seal on the glass is broken, this causes condensation. But it’s also a sign that the insulating gas has been able to escape and your windows are no longer effectively insulating the inside of your house.

In some cases, your window may actually be allowing water into your home during rainstorms. Even if you are diligent about wiping up the water when it comes in, you probably won’t get to every crack and crevice water can reach. Over time, this will breed mold that can damage your windows even more. Besides causing damage to windows, mold can also cause significant health problems for the people who live in your home, especially if they are allergic to mold. An entire window replacement can help solve those condensation-related issues.

4. Outside Noise

You may have noticed more sounds from the outdoors making their way inside — sirens, cars, planes and passersby can all generate noise. Older windows or windows with broken seals aren’t able to deflect noises well, so those outdoor noises can enter your home.

Newer windows with double or triple panes are sealed with argon gas and do a lot to block noise. If the noise is becoming excessive, or you just want to find a little peace and quiet in your day, replacing your windows will go a long way to help.

5. Decaying Frames and Other Visible Damage

Touch the frames around your windows. If they are soft or flexible to your touch, they’re likely decayed and damaged beyond repair. Soft or damaged frames result from exposure to condensation. Over time, the moisture becomes mildew and mold, which can destroy the frame around your window.

Leaving this problem unaddressed will result in sagging windows. Once the frame is damaged or cracked, it will no longer be able to support the weight of the window. Replace your windows to help preserve your home’s structure and address that moisture damage.

6. Operating Issues

You shouldn’t have to be a bodybuilder to open one of your windows. Walk around your home and test each window. If you find ones that get stuck when you’re opening or closing them, it’s time to consider a replacement. Windows that are stuck in place or are painted shut are also important to replace. Operable windows allow you to escape safely outside in emergencies and make it easy to open your windows to simply let in the breeze.

Which Solution Is More Affordable?

The cost of window repair largely depends on the extent of the damage, the size of the window and the type of glass required to replace it. If the glass is the only part of the window that’s broken, repair or replacement of the glass is more affordable than replacing the entire window. But make sure you know the source of the damage before you jump into repairs.

If there is more to the story than just cracked glass — such as a broken seal — then replacing the glass may only delay a necessary replacement. And if you’ve waited too long to initiate repairs, a small problem may have caused more extensive damage to the frame and seal. You’ll save money by skipping the repair and going straight for replacement in this case.

One thing to keep in mind is that window repair versus replacement is about more than just calculating the cost of materials. To truly determine the value of a repair or replacement, there are several things to take into consideration:

  • Monthly energy costs: What are you paying now? What could you be paying by replacing a damaged window?
  • Material costs: Does the cost of supplies to repair a window — or the cost of paying a repair company — cost significantly less than replacing that one window?
  • Energy efficiency: Are your windows older and begging for replacement? Or do you have newer windows with a lot more life in them?
  • Warranty: Do your current windows have an existing warranty in place to cover the damage? Will that warranty pay for the cost of repair or replacement?

Answering these questions will help you calculate whether it is more affordable in the short and long term to repair a window or replace it. Once you’ve done these calculations, you can move forward with a more accurate picture of what you need and what you can afford.

Choose Window Replacement With Homespire Windows and Doors

If you do notice significant condensation, damage or operating issues with your windows, it might be time to get replacements with quality, energy-efficient windows from Homespire Windows & Doors. Our window replacement options can help save energy — and money — in the long run. And they’re backed by a true Signature Warranty on both labor and materials so you don’t have to worry about those windows again for as long as you own your home.

Every window is only as good as its installation. When you purchase windows from Homespire Windows & Doors, you’re purchasing locally manufactured windows that will be installed by one of our experienced installation teams. A well-done, professional installation is a crucial part of window replacement. Our professionals install windows that will stand strong and look beautiful for many years to come.

If you aren’t sure whether to repair or replace your existing windows, let us help! To learn more about our energy-efficient windows, call us at 833-684-1873 to speak to a member of our team, or complete our online contact form to request a free, in-home window analysis.