Windows are an expensive part of your home. You have probably heard all sorts of tips about how new windows can cut down your energy bills and perform better during extreme weather, but that's a big investment to make. The decision to replace your windows, especially if you're replacing more than one, may not always pay for itself even if your windows are old and inefficient. To decide whether it's time to repair or replace your windows, you should look at more than just efficiency.

Types of Window Frames

While the glass itself is important, the frame is equally so. In addition, the type of window frame that's best for your home may vary depending on where you live and the climate you experience. For example, wood frames are a good choice in environments with high humidity because they don't suffer many condensation issues, but they're also high maintenance.

You'll generally have five to choose from: aluminum, fiberglass, wood, vinyl and fibrex. The best way to choose is to do some research on each type and ask a few local window installers for their recommendations. If you have the wrong type of frame for your environment, or if the frame itself is damaged badly, you'll probably have to take this chance to replace them; repairs would simply be too frequent and expensive.

Types of Glass

The type of glass you have in your frame is a heavy factor when it comes to energy efficiency, because the glass is responsible for reflecting heat in the summer and holding it in during the winter. If you have old, single-pane glass, it might not do a good job. One way to check is by looking at your glass's R-value, which measures how well it insulates, and its U-factor, which measures how well it keeps the heat in. It may well be that while your windows are inefficient, the cost of replacing them simply wouldn't pay off.

If you have minor window damage and are considering shelling out extra money on replacements for the purpose of saving money, double check that the additional cost would be worth it.


Certain damage can mean that replacing your window is the only safe option.

  • Rotting wood: Rotting frames and sashes can pose a serious problem, as they start to allow condensation inside, which can cause additional water damage. If only certain areas of wood are damaged, you may be able to get away with repairing only the damaged segment; if it's serious, you'll need a replacement.
  • Broken panes: Though they may seem serious at first, broken panes can be repaired. If you have an inexpensive frame, like vinyl, you can get away with replacing it, since it won't cost much; for more expensive frames, look for a good repairman.
  • Drafty windows: Replacing drafty windows won't always yield you big energy savings; you'd more likely get that from plugging up the rest of your house's leaks. Repairs for drafty windows are far cheaper than replacing the entire thing, so go for the repair and spend the extra money on plugging the holes elsewhere.

For more information, contact Ken Caryl Glass, Inc. or a similar company.