Benefits of Replacement Windows
The windows of a building do a lot of things for a home or even a business. One of the most critical functions that windows perform is allowing a building to produce lower electricity bills during the day. Think about it. If a building had no windows, no one in the building would be able to see anything without light. That light would have to come from using electrical lighting systems all day, every day. With windows, during the daylight hours, the admission of soft, natural daylight into a building means no need for electrical lighting, and thus no need to pay for that electrical usage.
But eventually, as with everything in life, windows start to age, and then they may require replacing. Or do they?
Getting replacements for existing windows isn’t going to be free. Some people, preferring not to get saddled with this expense, will insist that as long as a window isn’t broken, everything is fine, but is this actually true? Are there no window replacement benefits when you decide to switch out the old glass and frames and get something new? That’s what we’re going to look into more closely today, as we go over some of the more significant, more tangible benefits of replacement windows.
The Old Days Weren’t Great for Windows
If you’re not living in a newly constructed home, where you’re the first owners to move in, and the house has exchanged several hands over the generations, the age of the home and the windows are big points of consideration. Your concern is especially necessary if the original windows for the home are still intact, and there have never been replacements. So while it may look pleasing to the eye, if that Victorian you’re moving into is 80, 90, or even 100 or more years old, with the original or very old windows, that’s an amazing testament to the workmanship, but it’s also high time you enjoyed the benefits of replacement windows.
In the old days, windows were made with the materials and the techniques that were available at the time, both of which were simpler and not very efficient. Wooden window frames were the choice material for many decades, due to the ease of working with wood, and its abundance as a building material.
In the same way, windows were made quite simply, usually with four panes of glass, or two panes, one for the top and the bottom. However, these individual panes were only a single layer, and they were usually set and sealed in place with inferior products since they didn’t have access to polyurethane or silicone sealant like we do today. Because they used older products, the sealants that were available would wear away much more quickly, unless all tenants were exercising regular maintenance.
What Time Does to Old Windows
Superficially, windows may look fine on a casual glance, but older windows suffer more and more with each passing year as they degrade in performance. Part of this is simply due to the natural forces of erosion. Windows are exposed to the outdoor elements every day of the year, for the lifetime of the home. They are subjected to the damaging rays of the sun, humidity during the summer, rain or freezing temperatures during the winter, ice, snow, and even the attacks of living things like insects.
Over the decades, this can have many different effects, especially on older windows still made of wood and a single layer of glass. Sun, rain, heat and cold are all natural forces of erosion that work on wood, and the frame surrounding the glass can, with time, eventually change shape and warp. This deformation is because of years of absorbing water, combined with the natural expansion and contraction of both the window pane and the window frame at different rates throughout the years. Eventually, windows may no longer look or sit straight within the home, and there may even be gaps where air gets in, creating drafts.
Older Windows and Energy Efficiency
The other issue that you need to worry about if you’re receiving the benefits of replacement windows is energy efficiency. Windows are a natural point of "leakage" in a home, because they are, essentially, holes in the walls of your home. They are, by design, supposed to admit things into the house, like sunlight. And so, windows don't provide opaque surfaces and contain full insulation the way the walls of your home do.
However, one of the most significant window replacement benefits is the fact that modern windows do far more to fight against this air leakage than older, original windows can. In older Victorian homes, air traveling through windows is, unfortunately, a two-way street. Air from the outside is seeping in from the holes, breaks, and chips in a wood frame, especially if it hasn't been maintained. In the same way, whatever warm air you have in the winter or cool air-conditioned air in the summer is also leaking out through old windows in poor condition. So what does this mean to you? Higher heating bills in the winter, and elevated electric bills in the summer as your HVAC systems are forced to work harder and work longer than they actually need to.
In short, old, poorly maintained windows don't just look unattractive, they cost you more money in bills every single month.
The Modern Alternative
If you decide that it's time to invest, you'll enjoy many benefits of replacement windows. The two more high-end solutions are Simonton premium vinyl windows and premium fiberglass windows. Both of them are an improvement over the original, wood frame, single layer window panes. Both vinyl and fiberglass frames are mostly "one and done" windows, in that once these frames are installed, there's no need to do any extra maintenance on them, aside from cleaning them. They are entirely insect resistant and do not need paint or weatherproofing stain applied to them to keep them resistant to water, heat, or cold the way wood frames do.
The glass that is used in modern models also brings many window replacement benefits, especially if you’re upgrading from a single layer. Modern windows are often double layered, with a gas, such as argon or krypton inserted between the layers. These gases are non-toxic, colorless, odorless, and inert so that they won't combust when exposed to heat. However, they act as a thick, effective layer of insulation, giving you more protection than you've ever experienced.
Window Replacements Are Longer Lasting
One of the major window replacement benefits is the lifespan of vinyl or fiberglass windows. If these windows are installed correctly, they can provide decades of reliable, trouble-free operation. In most cases, a conservative estimate of window lifespan, assuming no abuse or impact damage, is between 20-40 years, though 50 years or more is quite realistic for vinyl windows.
For fiberglass windows, this lifespan is even longer. The average lifespan of fiberglass windows can be about 50 years or more, thanks to the unique, incredibly durable construction. And this construction is complemented by incredibly strong weather resistance. Water doesn't penetrate these materials, and insects like termites and carpenter ants can’t burrow into or through them, which adds to their lifespan.
Lower Bills with New Windows
New windows are also energy efficient windows. You'll definitely notice lower heating and cooling bills with these new windows, but why? The material choice of vinyl or fiberglass automatically lends more air, water, and temperature resistance than wood. However, the dual layers of glass, insulated by gas mean that when the window is shut, there's a vast reduction in the amount of air that seeps in from the outside or processed air that leaks out of the home.
The construction is also complemented by modern sealants, such as silicone or polyurethane, and much "tighter" design, such as the individual parts of the frame fusion welded to provide no gaps where air could leak. All this means that your HVAC systems will work less frequently than you're used to! And you'll see the final results in lower bills because your home will stay warmer or cooler for more extended periods before the HVAC system needs to kick in to restore your desired temperature.
Increased Appeal & Value
Finally, one of the bigger window replacement benefits is that these windows will both improve the look of your home, and add to your actual property value! Old windows, especially if poorly maintained, can hurt the look and, ultimately, the curb appeal of your home. Run-down windows make a poor first impression and can go some ways toward hurting a sale.
New windows, however, look great, and they add value to your home's potential selling price! When people are hunting for houses, one of their big concerns is just how much extra work they'll need to do to a place. But seeing new, energy-efficient windows means one less thing to worry about!
Improve Your Home Today
If you're interested in enjoying the advantages of replacement windows, that's what we're here for! Reach out and let us know what you're interested in. Banner Construction can help you make the right choice and provide a free estimate for your home!