Have you given any thought lately on improving your windows? No, we’re not talking about the latest PC operating system (thank God), but rather the windows in your home. Windows are an important part of your house, so you need to be well-informed on how to deal with them wisely.
Here’s all you need to know about getting those new windows, what your options are, and how to find a good contractor. After all, older windows can be a real pane in the glass!
Heed The Warning Signs
There are certain indicators that your old windows are starting to lose their effectiveness. Here’s what you should watch out for.
Condensation. If outside air leaks in, it combines with the inside temperature and humidity and causes condensation. Condensation means moisture, which is an ideal breeding ground for mold, not to mention rotting wood. Incidentally, for a short term solution for mold, check out “3 Simple Tips For Fighting Mold On Your Own.”
Cold Drafts. Sadly, this has nothing to do with drinking beer. Related to the condensation issue, if you’re experiencing cold drafts from the windows, it means you’re losing heat and paying more for fuel. Drafts may result from old, warping frames, making them an ideal candidate for replacement. Speaking of warped frames…
Windows Don’t Work Properly. If the windows are getting tougher to open or close, or just don’t seem to fit right, that’s a big sign that something is significantly wrong. Your windows may be reaching the end of their useful lives.
They’re Just Plain Old. According to “Is New Window Installation In Your Future?”, if your windows are over 15 years old, then it’s time to consider replacing them, especially if they are starting to look their age. If you find yourself having to constantly perform upkeep on them (scraping, painting, putty), then yes, they’re headed for the final roundup.
DIY Or Contractor?
Now that you know your windows are hovering around death’s door, what are your options? As it happens, you can either make this a do it yourself project, or just hire out a contractor. Contractors are expensive. Replacing them yourself is a labor-intensive project, and it helps if you have some skills with tools and the like.
In the end, it all comes down to your particular situation, since each option has a very good point and a significant drawback. If you have more money than time and/or skill, then go with a contractor. Otherwise, get a shopping list of supplies together and head to your nearest hardware store. Then clear your social calendar, because you’re going to need that time!
Where To Get A Contractor?
With a huge investment such as window installation, you want to make sure the people you hire are professionals who won’t soak you. If you can’t get any good first-hand recommendations from friends who own homes and have had work done, there’s always resources like Angie’s List or Yelp. When you get a few names together, get some estimates, and also look them up on the Better Business Bureau’s site to see if they have any complaints against them.
Timing Is Everything
If you go the contractor installation route, bear this in mind. As a rule, people favor Spring and Summer for window installation. However, since contractors need to eat and have a roof over their heads all year long, you may be able to get a good deal during the off-season. And yes, contractors can work around bad weather and colder temperatures. Just make sure that you don’t end up with a rush job in an effort to minimize the amount of time spent in the colder weather!
Something Else To Consider
If your replacement windows are Energy Star approved, you could conceivably get a small tax credit for making an energy efficient improvement to your house. Check the tax codes to make sure you’re eligible.
Replacing windows is a big decision, and should be entered into carefully, after all research has been done. Shop around, and choose carefully.