The natural light let into the home through windows can improve mood, enhance design features, and cut down on electric lighting costs. Without proper maintenance, however, windows can let more than light inside. Learn how to keep your windows in good condition and when to replace them. Good windows can keep you safer, cut down on energy costs, and add value to your home.

The Importance of Window Maintenance

Your windows protect you from elements outside such as wind, rain, dirt, and heat. Over time, these elements can wear on your windows and cause leaks, decay, or jams. Windows can be caulked to deal with minor air leak issues, and re-painting wooden frames can help increase durability. Keeping an eye out for your windows can help them last longer, but sooner or later they will need to be replaced.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Windows

The rule of thumb for replacing windows is 15 to 20 years. New windows have technology to maximize energy efficiency with advanced glass films that let light in without compromising the temperature of your home. If you notice air seeping in, rising costs in heating and cooling, or condensation forming between glass layers, you may need to look into having your windows replaced. Some windows installed before 1978 may have lead-based paint, which is dangerous for you and your family. These should be replaced as soon as possible with lead-safe technicians to minimize lead dust during the replacement process.

What to Look for in Replacement Windows

When searching for new windows, the first thing to look for is energy efficiency. The insulating and reflective properties can help keep your interior temperature at an ideal level. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) determines how much heat will be blocked. Each geographical region has a different ideal SHGC, so ask your window contractor about your ideal level. Low-e glass has a microscopic film that filters the sun’s rays so light can enter the home while heat stays out. Look for windows with an ideal SHGC and low-e glass. Polyurethane foam should be used for the installation to improve insulation and security.

Keep your windows well-maintained and recognize the signs of inefficient windows. Installing new windows with insulating properties can decrease your monthly energy bill and significantly increase the value of your home, making it a worthwhile investment. Always be sure to find a trusted contractor for inspection, repair and replacement.