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When To Replace Windows: Minor Issues vs. Major Issues

June 18th, 2020, 3:40 PM

Knowing when to replace windows is not a matter of intuition, but of observation. If by chance you can't detect a problem directly through your senses, a quick glance at your skyrocketing energy bills should be a dead giveaway. In many cases, a partial window replacement can resolve the issue — it may be a matter of a compromised window seal or uncooperative operating hardware. Full frame window replacements should be used as a last resort in the event of loose, soft, or rotting frames (due to pervasive moisture infiltration, mold growth, or pests). 

Here are some of the signs you need new windows — or that a key component needs replaced to restore functionality. 

Draftiness

Why is it a problem?

The only time you should feel a cool breeze on your skin or warm breeze through your hair is when the window is actually open. Otherwise, your home's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems could be working much harder than they should to regulate temperature — and they'll bill much more for it. 

What is the cause?

Most likely a breach in the window's weatherstripping or seal — this can occur in several places. For example:

  1. The frame's outer edge: where the frame is adjoined to the rough opening (the cutout portion of the wall where it was installed)
  2. The frame's inner edges: Between the interior casings and the sashes (movable panels)
  3. Between sashes: Operable windows have a number of moving parts; air can breach gaps where these parts overlap or meet.

What to replace

It depends on how the air is getting in — if there is a visible gap around the framing to the extent that light is poking through, then it might be time to replace the entire window. Otherwise, it may be something more minor like a sash not snapping into place because of a faulty lock or hardware.

Condensation

Why is it a problem?

Many times, it's not — window condensation occurs naturally when the air on one side of the window is cooler than the other. It's when fog appears between glazings of a double- or triple-paned window that it could become an issue.

What is the cause?

Window seal failure — occasionally due to a manufacturing defect, improper installation, or neglect. But most of the time, time itself is the cause. The air between the glazings expands and contracts as it warms and cools, a phenomenon known as thermal pumping. 

What to replace

Most often, merely replacing the insulating glass unit within the window sash (glass layers with the inert gas fill) will do. Some occasions may call for a sash replacement; extreme circumstances will require full window replacement. 

window operating hardware

Mechanical difficulties

Why is it a problem?

Who wants to wrestle with windows that won't open or shut without a fight? Furthermore, these stubborn specimens are more susceptible to the air and moisture infiltration issues mentioned earlier — because they can't close all the way, won't close all the way, or you don't want to deal with them.

What is the cause?

In a single word, friction. Build-up in rails or tracks is the most common source of resistance, followed by defects or damages to the operating mechanisms themselves — rollers, springs, hinges, etc. 

What to replace

With a little cleaning and lubrication, you may not have to replace anything at all. Otherwise, you'll have to order the appropriate replacement window operating hardware to reassert control.

Warping, sagging, and cracks

Why is it a problem?

These are all signs of major structural deficiencies within the window's framing. Failure to address these issues can result in further damages to your home. 

What is the cause?

Water and ultraviolet radiation. As the framing material (usually wood) softens, it becomes more hospitable to the growth of mold and the residency of pests — neither of which is a savory prospect for homeowners.

What to replace

If you're still wondering about when to replace windows, wonder no more. A full frame window replacement is probably in order. 

Other signs you need new windows

Noth all window replacement considerations are practical; sometimes they may be solely aesthetic. In other words, you may simply want new windows because your current windows don't look quite right. If you are the owner of a historical property, for instance, it's vital to have a window style that matches the building's character. 

Whatever the reason you may have for window repair, replacement, or renovation, Hodges Windows & Doors is open to finding your solution. Get in touch with us today.

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Everything was excellent. The salesman offered good advice and provided examples of how the end result would look. Hodges' workers arrived on time and worked quickly. The lead installer was quite knowledgeable as well, so the job was done neatly and without incident.

James G.
 
Vienna, Virginia
 
Window and Door Installation

Before, we could never keep up with the cold. Now we just turn the heat on, and it stays in the building. Complaints are way down, and we're very happy.

Rev. Davies K.
 
Falls Church, Virginia
 
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All in all a really fantastic company - they've been in business a long time and it shows based on how they treat the costumer. Am planning to do windows next year, and they will be my first phone call.

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North Potomac, MD
 
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Kevin J.
 
Springfield, Virginia
 
Door Installation

Thank you so much for fixing my window today! Thank you for coming even though these windows aren't yours......No wonder the management office here thinks you guys can do anything and are the most helpful window company around.

Kim T.
 
McLean, Virginia
 
Window Repair

I couldn't be more pleased with both my windows and the installation and now "on a clear day I can see forever". If you would like to use me as a reference I would be more than happy to cooperate.

Elizabeth H.
 
Arlington, Virginia
 
Window Installation

The installer, who I think was Tom Langworthy, did excellent work. He was respectful of our space and cleaned up after himself. He always conducted himself in a professional manner. He seems highly competent and he engenders confidence in his workmanship.

James B.
 
Washington, DC
 
Window Installation

I just wanted to express my appreciation to the team your company sent to install a few doors and repair windows in our house. They were professional, caring, cooperative and extremely courteous. They are a major asset to your company. On the whole, our experience with the Hodges Company has been very positive and we happily recommend your services to others.

Mary V.
 
Bethesda, Maryland
 
Door Installation and Window Repair

I am so pleased with my windows, your installers and staff. I would indeed recommend your company to anyone and everyone. They were quick, efficient and very polite.

Betty L.
 
Fairfax, VA
 
Window Installation

I must tell you that Mark Russow and everyone at The Hodges Window Company are nothing less than a great representative/distributor for your company and we will not hesitate to recommend both companies to our friends and family.

Debbie P.
 
Manassas, VA
 
Window and Door Installation

Throughout the entire process - from our first meeting to the on-going daily supervision - by you of the job, the professionalism, the quality of the products, and the workmanship was outstanding.

David & Rosemary P
 
Vienna, Virginia
 
Window and Door Installation

We enjoyed meeting with Brian Whitehouse and were impressed with his ability to explain our options, always respecting our wishes and never annoying us with hard-sell tactics...It was such a pleasure to deal with people who know their job and do it well.

Sara R.
 
Falls Church, Virginia
 
Window and Door Installation

Tom is definitely a master craftsman and did an excellent job. Just want you and the company to know that both Tom and Larry did an outstanding job and we are very pleased with the results.

Dave H.
 
Arlington, VA
 
Window Installation

I wouldn't deal with anyone else. Working with Hodges, I know I can get anything I want, and my imagination can run wild.

GJ G.
 
Arlington, Virginia
 
Window and Door Installation

Your craftsmanship made all the difference, and it was nice getting to know you. We hope to hire you again.

Nany & Harry B.
 
Chevy Chase, MD
 
Windows and Door Installation

Hodges had very knowledge salespeople, highly skilled installation crews, and the product lives up to expectations. You can't ask for better than that.

Richard N.
 
Ashburn Village, Virginia
 
Door Installation

I think they did a very good job. I will go back to them in a heartbeat.

Karen L.
 
Arlington, VA
 
Window and Door Replacement

We are so very, very happy (once again!) with the Hodges Company....this is the third time we have had a project completed, and each time we've been so pleased.

Valerie Soroka
 
Arlington, VA
 
Door Installation

Your guys did a great job. The temperature in the house is up by 3 degrees and the heat pump is running half as much.

Larry C.
 
Gainesville, Virginia
 
Window Installation

The whole process from initial meeting to installation was painless and quite surprisingly, a lot less expensive than we thought it would be... Thanks again for taking such good care of us. If anyone I know is looking for new windows, I will certainly recommend your company.

Carol B.
 
McLean, Virginia
 
New Window Installation

We love our new door. The installation work was timely, quick and well-done.

Mary Ann M.
 
Arlington, VA
 
Door Installation

I want you to know that your two colleagues who installed the windows did an outstanding job...Jean and I could not be more pleased.

Ted B.
 
Washington, D.C.
 
Window Installation

We will definitely be using Hodges again when we look to replace some windows in our house

Daniel Q.
 
Woodbridge, VA
 
Door Installation