Posted in: Selling a home, Homeowner tips

Four signs you need to replace your home's windows

Person painting interior of home window

Key insights

  • Homeowners who can't easily open or close their home's windows should begin looking into solutions for replacing them
  • When window cranks are broken or missing, it's possible to replace them instead of paying for a full window replacement
  • If your windows are old and driving up your energy costs, you may recoup the cost of replacement in just a few years

Be honest. Are your home's windows missing cranks? Are any of them sealed shut or in danger of shattering if you force them open? Do your energy bills seem to increase more and more each year?

Whether you're thinking of selling or just doing some general upkeep to your property, ask yourself these four questions to determine if your home needs new windows.

1. Can you crank them open easily?

If you own crank windows and it's becoming increasingly difficult to get the crank going, it could be because the internal mechanism is failing after years of use. Another common scenario, especially if you have kids, is that the cranks for certain window have mysteriously disappeared over the years.

Some custom windows may require full replacement if the cranks are broken. If you'd rather avoid that expensive route, you can also follow this tutorial that helps you:

  • Measure for the new hardware you'll need
  • Select the right crank (depending on if your window opens to the right or left)
  • Remove the existing crank without cracking the window's frame
  • Replace with a new crank that matches the dimensions of the faulty one

2. Can you shut them?

We know, it's a silly question. But we've all had that moment when a window won't close on both sides evenly, or when you have to slam a window and hold it shut in order to lock or latch it closed.

While jury-rigging your window is fine in the short term, it can be dangerous to not lock the window fully. Burglars look for open windows as entry points and old, open windows could make you easy prey.

3. Do your energy bills seem a little bit out of control?

The last few years, we've moved from winter to summer quite quickly – meaning that your home's heating and cooling systems go from full-blast heating to air conditioning in a matter of weeks. Those with older windows may find that their energy bills are rising each year as their window's insulation deteriorates.

Ask your neighbors or friends with similarly-sized homes what they tend to spend on energy bills for each season and see where you compare. If your bills are significantly higher than the norm, you may find that you'll recoup the cost of windows in just a few years.

4. Do you know all your neighbors' drama?

If you can hear everything your neighbors are saying, even with the windows closed, you likely have a gap in your windows. While listening to the sounds of the neighborhood may not bother you, consider the worst case scenario here – that gap means that outdoor air could be replacing your home's heated or cooled air, driving your energy bills up. Also, don't forget that the neighbors can also likely hear you.

What else should you do before you sell?

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