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  • Writer's pictureSEEN CONTENT AND DESIGN

7 signs telling you it’s time to replace your windows

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Many homeowners don’t have extensive knowledge about windows. If you’re one of them, please don’t worry! Look carefully at your windows, there will be some signs that tell you if something’s not right. 

Even though the lifetime of your windows can vary based on quality and maintenance. You can expect most windows to last 20-30 years under normal circumstances. However, other factors like extreme weather can reduce their lifetime. Don’t wait until your windows reach 20 or 30 years to consider replacing them. Instead, look for these 7 signs to know when it’s time to get new windows.

#1 Drafty Windows


Do you feel cold air coming in when you stand near your windows? Do your windows not close properly or do you see light around the frame when they are closed? Try holding a lighter near the closed window and see if the flame flickers or holding a tissue and see if it moves. If you notice one or more of these situations with your windows, then it could be the right time to change them. Service may be possible but depending on the age of the window.

To the left is a picture of an old window where someone attempted a service fix by adding extra weather stripping where the sash meets the frame. The original parts were no longer available, so they tried a retrofit with generic parts. This was ineffective as the hardware and the frame itself were too far gone. A proper assessment by a professional could have helped the homeowner avoid the time and money spent on service that proved to be ineffective.

#2 Condensation 


Do you consistently see fog on your windows? Do you have to wipe your windows every time you want to see outside? Is the condensation between the panes of glass in a sealed unit? Condensation occurs when warm, moist air from inside your home meets the cold surface of a glass window. Condensation can cause paint to peel off, lead to water damage of window casings, drywall, baseboards, flooring or the structure of your home itself. If your windows are double pane and you see frost between the layers of glass, this means that the seal has failed, if there are no visible cracks in the glass. This is a potential warning sign telling you it might be time to get new windows. Service could be a possible option, but it should be assessed as to whether replacing just the glass will solve the problem or not. New triple pane windows will be the most effective at reducing or eliminating condensation.

#3 High Energy Bills

High energy bills

How much do you pay for your energy bills compared to the previous years in the same season? If you feel that your bills this winter were higher than usual and you use heat or electricity normally, then something could be going wrong with your home. If your furnace runs longer and more frequently it could be compensating for drafty, uninsulated windows. Watch out in the summer too. When you open blinds and curtains on a sunny day and your home is unbearably hot, this means your windows lack the proper coatings to keep the heat and UV out. This can result in a tradeoff of you running your air conditioner or fans non-stop in order to keep the space cool while letting light in. Your electricity bill will definitely be higher as a result.

After market films are a service type of fix that some people try. While these films can sometimes help, if not applied correctly they could cause your glass to crack. Putting your money towards investing in new windows that seal tightly, are insulated correctly and have appropriate factory applied costings will help maintain a comfortable climate in your home while helping to reduce your energy consumption.

#4 Damaged Windows

damaged window

Do your windows look crooked or broken? Do you see water stains on or around your windows? Damaged windows can be caused by extreme weather, lack of care and maintenance, an accident or even structures settling over time. If you see any damage, it is best to have it assessed right away for repair or replacement. Leaving damaged windows for too long can cause safety and health hazards, and risk further damage to your home. 

#5 Outside Noise

outside noise

Do you hear your neighbors’ car engine from way down the street every morning? It would be so annoying if someone going about their day outside, unintentionally wakes you up when you want to sleep in. Old windows that have lost their seal or very old single pane windows will transfer sound vibrations from the street into your home. Considering replacing windows with new double or triple pane windows to absorb unwanted noise. Using different thicknesses of glass with one laminated pane is an effective way to drastically reduce sound transfer through glass with a double pane unit. Triple pane glass offers similar sound reduction qualities but, also increase efficiency.

#6 Too Much Annual Maintenance

window painting

Do you have to pay for window painting every year or couple of years? If you have wood windows, you probably repaint them regularly to keep them looking good and to keep the wood from deteriorating. If you don’t and you start to see paint peeling off down to the wood, it could already be too late. If moisture is absorbed into the wood frame or sits on exposed surfaces for any period of time, wood can begin to rot. As well, expanding and contracting joints will cause the window to warp and break. New vinyl or fiberglass windows will drastically reduce the worry, cost and time that you spend maintaining your old wood windows.

#7 No Longer Meet Local Building Code Requirements


Do your windows meet your governments standard requirements? Over time, building codes evolve to meet the needs of our ever-changing world. What may have been acceptable 20 years ago might not be allowed today. A typical example in Canada concerns the style of bedroom windows. In previous years many homes were built with awning style windows in bedrooms. This is no longer acceptable for fire escape reasons (Egress). New bedroom windows allow an occupant to escape in case of fire. This extra security is a worthwhile investment.

Many considerations with respect to size, operation, style, types of material used, thicknesses and types of glass have to be assessed when replacing windows which is why it is best to consult with a knowledgeable industry professional.

The 7 signs above can guide you to find out when you should replace your windows. But, if you have no time and are not able to figure it out on your own, give us a call or send us an email. We are here to help. If you are ready to get new windows, please click here to book an appointment to get a free quote.


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