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How Long Do Windows Last: Average Life and When to Replace

Whether you’ve thought about it or not, the time will come when your windows may need to be replaced.. But,…
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Jacob Wadding

Whether you’ve thought about it or not, the time will come when your windows may need to be replaced.. But, how long do windows last anyways? 

They might look fine and function properly, so what’s the point of spending thousands of dollars on new windows? We’re here to help you understand both the purpose behind replacing your windows and how to know when your windows should be replaced.

installing new windows after learning how long do windows last

How Long Do Windows Last?

In short, your windows should be replaced every 15-25 years for optimal energy efficiency and to help prevent further problems. If you don’t replace or maintain your windows you’ll be left with: 

  • Cold drafts
  • Lower energy efficiency 
  • Cracked glass or molded frames

Window frames can last up to 40 years and sometimes even longer, but the glass and window panes will have problems long before. The sun, weather, and general wear and tear simply cause different elements in the window to lose integrity and deteriorate over time.

Older windows are often very drafty and will leak a lot of heat in or out, depending on the time of year. By replacing them and ensuring that they’re all insulated well, you’ll be able to prevent draftiness in your home.

Signs that You Should Replace Your Windows

Gauging your window’s age is one way of trying to know when to get them replaced, but there are some specific signs that you can watch for as your windows begin to reach the end of their life.

1) Broken or Damaged Glass

One obvious sign is that you need to have your windows or windows replaced. If the glass is damaged to the point where it’s a safety hazard, then you should replace the window as soon as possible. You’ll likely have to deal with the loss of either heat or cold, depending on the time of year.

There is sometimes the option of replacing just the glass that’s damaged. But we recommend replacing the entire window if it’s more than 5-10 years old. Putting in a better window will save you money on energy bills and keep your home running smoothly.

2) You’re Looking to Save More Money on Electricity

Everyone’s electricity bills go up over time. Especially if you live in highly populated areas. But when your heat is produced primarily through electricity, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re taking measures to keep the heat in your home.

Windows and doors are one of the main ways heat escapes a home. Replacing your windows can help reduce how much electricity you use and save you money on your monthly energy bills. If you have very old windows, you’d be surprised how much an updated window can save.

3) Foggy Glass

Foggy glass isn’t something to mess around with. It can mean many different things, but it definitely means that you need to have your windows looked at by a professional company.

Foggy glass or moisture between window panes often means that a seal has broken on the window. These windows will need to be replaced to ensure that your home is sealed properly.

window seal failure with condensation

4) Soft or Rotted Frame

Wood windows can eventually rot as they’re left to become wet and dry out repeatedly over time. Most of the time, these windows don’t rot from water, however. They can experience dry rot where the wood simply deteriorates because of use, sunlight, and other factors.

5) Drafty Rooms

Drafty windows create drafty rooms. Even if you don’t feel that your utility bill is too high, you shouldn’t have to deal with drafts throughout your home. New windows can be sealed better and provide you with better protection against all of those cold and nasty drafts.

6) Cracked Window Frame

Cracked window frames are similar to the cracked window glass. It’s best to get these checked out and fixed ASAP. If your frame is too cracked, you likely won’t be able to open or close the window without the fear of it falling out of place. Your home deserves a new window that works properly.

how long do windows last

3 Alternatives to Replacing Your Windows

When you’re not ready to replace all of your windows, or you need to get by with what you have for a few months, there are alternatives and things you can do to help keep your home safe from the weather without sacrificing too much.

1) Exterior Storm Windows

Storm windows can serve two purposes. The first would be protecting your actual windows from the storms and harsh weather your home has to deal with.

The second reason is better insulation. Some storm windows, when installed correctly, will provide a barrier between your window and the exterior that successfully seals off your home.

2) Interior Storm Windows

Similar to the shrink-fit air sealing film used to provide better insulation for your windows. These interior glass windows provide clear protection against your window trim and can be left in place for as long as you’d like.

Interior storm windows work better than plastic film, but it is difficult to deal with, and if you want to open your windows for any reason, you wouldn’t be able to at all.

3) Insulating Blinds for the Interior

This is a less common method but one that actually works quite well. Insulating blinds are made to trap heat in your home and prevent it from escaping through the windows.

These work by having a layer of air between the window and the blinds that essentially acts as an extra layer of insulation for when you need it most. The downside to this is that your blinds would be closed, and it would be dark in your home.

modern insulating window blinds

Take Care of Your Home and Install New Windows

At ARCH Exteriors, we see the value of installing great windows and taking care of your home. We install windows that provide our customers and their homes with protection from the cold and insulation from the heat. When you want to replace your windows once and forget about having to do it again, go for a premium option. When you’re ready to save money on energy, eliminate drafts, and take care of your window problem, our ARCH team will be there to help! Contact us today to get started.

About the Author
Your home is probably the most expensive thing you own. When you hire somebody to make improvements, you want high-quality work. In addition, you hope they’ll take the same care you would. You want someone with a good reputation, legitimate credentials, well established, using quality materials, and who charges a fair price. For over 11 years, I have worked hard to provide all of those benefits to my clients. One of the major reasons we have been able to do that is our ability to keep highly qualified personnel. Our workers are well trained, properly motivated, and managed professionally. I make certain that I convey measurable systems and procedures that our team understands and can readily follow.

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