Starting Over: How to Know When to Replace Windows in Your Home

The average window replacement cost in the United States is around $500 per window

Once you start to calculate how many windows you have in your home and how much a total replacement project will cost, this is a task many homeowners will attempt to avoid. But, there comes a time when you shouldn’t put off your window replacement project any longer. 


Keep reading to discover what signs to look out for so you’ll know when to replace windows in your home. 

Your Energy Bills Are High

One of the most obvious signs it’s time to replace windows is when your energy bills are constantly increasing. 

When your windows are no longer doing their job, they will let more and more outside air into your home. This means cold or warm air is coming inside your home, working against your air conditioner or furnace. This causes your HVAC system to work harder to keep a comfortable temperature, which uses more energy and costs more money. 

To check to see if your bills are gradually increasing, look at your energy usage over the past year. Is there a slight incline in the trend? If everything else in your home energy usage has remained the same, your windows are likely the culprit. 

Drafts Make Their Way In

Sometimes, you can even feel the cold or warm air entering your home. If this is the case, your windows need attention as soon as possible. 

Take a moment to test your windows for drafts on an extremely cold or warm day. Run your hand along with the window frame, pausing to feel for any air movement.

Another easy way to test for drafts is with a candle. Make sure your HVAC and any fans are turned off and light a candle. Hold the lit candle up the window and see if the flame flickers. 

If the flame moves, that’s because there is a draft of air coming through your window. Move the candle around and attempt to pinpoint the exact location of the draft. 

If a draft is only coming from one or a few windows, you can cover them with plastic to help conserve energy. This is merely a temporary fix but can help buy you time before a replacement is feasible. If you feel drafts of air from multiple windows in your home, it’s time to invest in replacement windows

You Can Hear Everything Outside Clearly

Still wondering, “should I replace my windows?” If so, take a few moments to sit next to a window during a busy time of day. Make a conscious effort and pay attention to all the sounds you can hear coming in. 

If you can clearly hear every car that drives by or every child playing in their yard, then it’s time to replace your windows. Keep in mind that if you can hear everything that’s happening outside clearly, anyone outside will be able to hear everything going on inside your home. 

Windows should act as a sound barrier. If they aren’t then the seal is bad or your old window panes are not thick enough. Install new windows and you’ll achieve peace and quiet even during the busiest times of the day. 

Difficulty Opening, Closing

If you’re having difficulty opening or closing your windows, these could be signs you need window replacements. 

Your windows should open and close easily. You should also be able to lock them without too much of a struggle. If not, then either the wooden window frame has swelled or the window was never installed correctly. 

Before replacing your window, clean off the window tracks to ensure that there is not any residue or dirt causing the window to stick. If the problem persists, then there is an issue with your actual window. 

Condensation Forms on Your Windows

Another one of the best window replacement tips is to keep an eye out for condensation. 

Condensation is small water droplets that collect on a surface. Condensation can also appear in the form of fogged or frosted glass. This is a clear sign that your windows are no longer doing their job when it comes to efficiency. 

Most commonly, these will occur between the layers of your window panes. This means that the seals of your window are faulty and have broken down over the years, allowing moisture to enter. Condensation can also form when window glass becomes cracked. 

Your Windows Are Old

The last way to know when to replace old windows is based solely on their age. 

On average, windows are made to last around 20 years. This estimate applies to modern windows, traditionally made out of aluminum. Older windows that are made out of wood can last up to 30 years, but these aren’t as widely installed. 

This is why it’s important to know the age of your windows when you buy a home. If the age is not specified, it’s probably because the windows are original to the home. So how old would that make the windows in your home? 

Knowing When to Replace Windows Is Just the Start

Now that you know when to replace windows, you need to consider how you will go about this process. 

If you’re having issues with just one or a few of your windows, you can consider replacing them in batches. By replacing a few at a time, this project will be more financially achievable. But, if you’re needing to replace all of your windows, replacing them all at the same time can get you a better deal with the contractor. 

Not sure what style of windows you want to install when it’s time to upgrade? Be sure to head to the Projects section of this site for all the home renovation inspiration you need.

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