How Do You Know If You Need To Replace Your Windows?

While a cracked pane shows your window needs to be replaced, not every sign is so obvious. When your windows are dated, damaged, or in need of repair, they cause your home’s heating and cooling systems to work overtime. There will also be additional unexpected signs that will help you determine if you need to replace your windows. 

So, how do you know if you need to replace your windows? Below, we cover eight signs you can look out for, so you will be prepared to replace your windows before your electric bill starts to rise.  

Operational Issues

If your window isn’t opening or closing properly, there could be a larger issue at play. Sometimes it is something as little as tightening screws, but other times it may be a sign of a broken windowpane – in which case you’d need a replacement. 

Outdated Style

Most homes will feature more than one style of window, but most designers will advise against mixing too many styles in a single home, as it creates a disjointed look. It’s likely that when you replace a single window, you will stick with the same style, but large-scale replacement of all windows at the same time gives you the option of changing the style of all of them for a more radical makeover. House style also plays a role in window selection because certain window styles are often associated with defined architectural styles. 

Broken or Damaged Seals

A broken seal can be a sign that it’s time to fix or replace the glass of your windows. You will most likely see moisture and fogging appear on, or between the panes. Once the seal is broken, your windows are significantly less efficient. Ultimately, this means your electric bill is likely to go up as your systems attempt to stabilize the interior environment.   

Window Rot

As is usually the case in home ownership, moisture is not a good thing for windows. If moisture has the opportunity to penetrate a solid wood or wood-clad window frame, the wood can, and will, rot. Rotted window frames will either look or feel bad, or both. A solid, healthy window frame is sturdy and strong. You can touch the wood and feel how solid it is. Once rot is present, it will actually be soft and almost mushy. The paint might chip or peel around the area and you may even find mold. 

Take a good look at the area around each of your windows. Push on the wooden part and make sure it is solid. If you feel anything soft, mushy, or bubbly, it might be time to replace that window. Make sure you open the windows and look underneath them. Ensure that when your windows are installed, they are properly painted everywhere, including the tops and bottoms. Anywhere water can creep in is a spot that could become rotted.

Increased Energy Bills

Do you start shivering when you sit in the dining room directly next to your windows? Windows are one of the most important features of a home when it comes to energy efficiency. A good window can help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer while saving you money on your utility bills. As your old single-pane windows reach the end of their life, miniature cracks and leaks will start to form between the frames.  

If your old windows are single-paned or have poor insulation, then upgrading to double-paned windows will help increase your home’s energy efficiency.  


This may seem like an obvious sign, but it can actually be difficult to detect drafts. You may not necessarily feel a draft, rather, some areas of your house might just feel cooler. If this often happens near a window and there isn’t a vent nearby, it’s time to investigate replacing it. 


Do you hear every car horn, dog bark, and other traffic noise coming from inside your home? If you’re wondering when is the perfect time to replace your windows, excess noise is a sign your windows are not providing enough insulation. Certain window types have better sound insulation than others. Generally, the more panes, the quieter. If your windows are single pane, you might consider upgrading to double pane. 

Materials can also make a difference, so you’ll want to consider the differences between wood, aluminum, and vinyl. 

  • Aluminum: Of the three main window materials, metal is the least efficient at dampening sound. It is, however, the cheapest option
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is better at blocking noise pollution and is not much more expensive than aluminum
  • Wood: Wood is another good choice for keeping out sound, but it is the most expensive option and typically requires more maintenance

Condensation or Water Build-Up

Sure, a little water on the inside of your window seems harmless – unless it’s actually a sign of bad ventilation, mold, or mildew. Exterior condensation usually occurs in the warmer months and interior condensation in the winter months. Interior condensation is most often caused by extreme cold outside and excess moisture present inside the home. There are measures that can be taken to reduce interior condensation. 

If you live in an old house with equally old windows, take note of where this window condensation appears. For double or triple-pane windows, moisture between the glass is usually caused by a faulty seal. If that’s the case, consider yourself lucky: you can correct the problem by replacing the insulated glass panel, and it’s a relatively inexpensive fix. 

How Often Should Your Windows Be Replaced?

The average lifespan of windows is between 15 and 30 years. Depending on the craftsmanship of the original installer, the materials used, and the weather where you live, the functional life of your windows can vary between 10 and 15 years. But you don’t have to wait 15 years to replace your windows if you notice any of the issues listed above. 


To learn more about the telltale signs of window wear, and the benefits of installing new windows, contact us today and we would be happy to provide you with a free quote.