When to Replace Your Windows

When to Replace Your Windows

Keeping windows painted and in working order are basic maintenance requirements for many homeowners, especially those who own older homes. The look and condition of a window offer clues as to whether it’s time to replace. With today’s highly energy-efficient windows and modern designs, there are plenty of cost-saving, aesthetic and functional advantages to replacing windows. Not to mention the resale value new windows generate. And, ensuring that emergency egress windows and doors (required by building codes) can be opened quickly can literally save lives, permitting a swift, safe escape in the event of a fire.

According to an industry homebuyer’s guide, if a home has been well maintained, it can command a much higher price than the same home with fair to poor maintenance. The guide says that an older home with modest construction features, such as a remodeled kitchen, or new insulating glass replacement windows, will add to its value.*

Consider these Pella® guidelines on replacements…

When to replace

  • Look for these signs as indicators that old windows need to be replaced:
    • Poor performance — opening and closing is a difficult task; air leaks in, out or around the window; condensation or fogging occurs on or between glass panes; windows are painted or nailed shut and virtually impossible to open
    • Looks — chipping, deterioration or water stains of the window or the area around the window (inside or out) is a sure sign; outdated design or style that doesn’t blend well with the rest of the home
    • Effort — cleaning is a major hassle and another chore to be avoided; replacement parts are hard to find or even non-existent

Style and lifestyle considerations

  • Windows can deteriorate much faster on one side of the house than the other due to differences in sunlight and weather exposure
    • Keep in mind that new windows can differ in the type of style, as well as type of glass from older models, even if you’re trying for a close match
    • To keep the exterior appearance consistent, consider replacing all the windows on one side (or one level if it’s a two-story house) at the same time
    • New replacement windows help seal out the sounds of nature, traffic, or noisy neighbors — thanks to improved design and performance which enhances their soundproofing ability
    • If you’re replacing siding, replace windows before the siding, so that siding can be fit to the new windows, for a neater appearance and better overall energy efficiency

Improve energy efficiency

  • To better protect interior furnishings, opt for Low-E (low emissivity) glass coatings, which help reduce heat transfer and ultraviolet (UV) rays that can fade carpets, walls and furniture. Low-E glass reflects heat back to its source, helping to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Be aware that Low-E windows will typically appear slightly darker than standard glass when viewed from the exterior of the home, to offer greater interior protection and energy efficiency.
  • Replacing old single-pane windows with today’s energy-efficient double- or triple-pane glazing can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs
  • Replacing fixed units (windows that do not open) with operable venting windows and doors (those that do open) can improve the flow of fresh air throughout your home
  • To add to overall energy efficiency, look for products that have qualified for the Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR® standards; selecting windows and doors that have earned the ENERGY STAR distinction can help you achieve substantial savings on heating and cooling costs


  • Typical residential windows can cost $600-$1,000 per window to replace (the actual amount will vary, based on the type and style of materials used and regional differences in installation)
  • If your window frames are in excellent condition, the easiest way to replace is to remove old sashes and put a replacement window into the old frame. This allows the existing trim to remain in place. If frames are worn or damaged, replace the entire window unit.
  • When planning a window replacement project, it’s important to approach the steps in your project in the right sequence. Measure your windows first, then choose, purchase and receive your replacement windows. Only then should you remove your old windows to make ready for your new windows.
  • A basic window replacement project often can take place in less than an hour
  • If the window opening is not square or other challenges become evident, contact a local window expert for assistance
  • Read Pella’s “How to measure” Timely Tips online for proper measuring techniques for replacing or installing new windows
  • If sizes or options featured in original windows are no longer available in standard size offerings, special windows can be manufactured to your specific size and style needs
  • For the ultimate in convenience, contact your Pella® Window & Door Showroom and local experts will schedule an in-home appointment to help provide solutions for your replacement window and door needs
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