When Window Glass Has to Be Replaced or Repaired

If windows look worn out, are drafty, or difficult to operate homeowners think about new windows. The often suspect the energy savings will help offset the cost of the windows. Replacing windows with the belief that the new windows are worth the cost because of energy savings is a mistake.

New windows are not the best option for reducing energy bills. Sealing the home’s air leaks is significantly cheaper and simpler than window replacement. More of an impact is made. If energy savings is the only reason for considering new windows, window repair is usually the smarter choice. A home having lots of vintage features may look out of sync with new windows. New windows could reduce the price of a home when the time comes to sell it.

Rotted Wood

Wood deteriorates when it is consistently exposed to humid and wet weather, is seasoned insufficiently, or primed or painted incorrectly. Sprinklers blasting windows on a regular basis cause rotted frames, sashes, and dividers that allow air leaks and water into the house.

If the damage is spotty, repairing is the best option. Replace frames that are thoroughly rotten. Be careful in your analysis. The damage may look worse than it is. The cost of repair depends on the amount of rot. Small areas patched with epoxy are repaired for approximately $25.

The cost of having a handyman replace a sill that is rotten may cost from $90 to $250, plus the cost of materials. To remove and rebuild a window costs as much as a window replacement. Window replacements have a range of $300 to $700.

Broken Panes

Abrasive cleaners, storm damage, and kids playing baseball can cause chips, scratches, and cracks in window panes. Some vinyl windows are relatively inexpensive to replace. Multi-pane custom, aluminum-clad, or vintage windows can cost a minimum of $500 apiece to replace. They should be repaired.

Replacement glass costs between $3 and $14. Installation can cost from $100 to $300. Vinyl frames or sash replacement costs range from $40 to $250.

Broken Seals

Heat-induced expansions and contractions destroy window seals. They promote condensation between window panes and expose insulating gas and low-emissivity coatings to the air. This oxidation causes streaks or foggy condensation between window panes which are referred to as ‘blown’ windows.

It is hard to save a pane when the seal is broken. Online reviews of gizmos promising to de-fog glass with valves or solutions have not been favorable. The permanent and most practical fix is to replace the sash or pane. Installing a new sash is an easy and quick repair that renews the window life and preserves the frame. The cost ranges from $40 to $250.

Hard to Operate Windows

Windows that do not operate or open smoothly should be repaired unless old window parts are impossible to find. Opening a window that was painted shut requires using a putty knife to break the paint seal. Old putty and paint are scraped and sanded. Hardware, balances, and tracks are cleaned. This process costs just pennies.

A handyman replacing the parts costs between $50 and $270. As a note of caution, a toxic lead paint was used to cover windows installed before 1978. For safety reasons, hire a professional to replace the windows.

Drafty Windows

Rotted wood, a loose sash, old weather stripping, and peeling and cracked caulking cause air to rush in and out of divider, frame, and sash gaps. These are repairable items. A tube of painter’s caulk used to seal the gaps, costs less than two dollars. Ten feet of weather stripping costs approximately $8.

Replacing a sash is similar to replacing rotted wood. The replacement costs between $40 and $250. Replacing all the windows in the home would gain a seven to 15 percent energy bill savings. Sealing window leaks and other home leaks save ten to 20 percent. The real savings is money not spent on replacement windows. Most window problems can be remedied with some sweat equity and a few dollars. The repair is likely to improve the window’s energy efficiency.

All-Wood Windows

Well-maintained wood windows can last a century or more. Left unpainted windows degrade quickly. Even after being neglected for years, the damage is often superficial. Window stops and sashes wear with age. They are prone to gaps that allow air to penetrate.

Penetrating epoxy can be used on rotted wood. Epoxy putty can fill holes in sashes and sills. They can be easily sanded and painted. The putty for a 3 X 5-foot window costs about $20. The paint and primer cost about $10.

The flexible shape of a popular spring bronze weather stripping, having a V-shape cross section, applies continual pressure to the sash and seals the gap permanently, while allowing the sash to move. Adhesive foam and tubular vinyl are other weather stripping solutions. Window restoration takes between three to six hours for each window.

Non-Wood Windows

Windows made of aluminum, fiberglass and vinyl last for a minimum of 20 years before they need to be replaced. The gaskets, sealing the sashes do not have the same lasting expectancy. Small rips and holes are repaired by removal of the sash and an application of silicone sealant.

Contact a specialty supplier or the window manufacturer for gasket replacements. Caulk any cracks or punctures in aluminum- or vinyl-clad windows to protect the wood core from water damage. Tighten screws at the corners of aluminum sashes. Coat the threads of the screws with a dry-locking compound designed for screws.

The cost of replacement parts and gaskets is only a few dollars. Repairs take an hour or two per window. Any repair to prevent air leakage yields energy savings. The worse the condition of the window, the greater the potential is for saving on fuel bills. Sealing a single window can save $14 to $20 per year. A couple of hundred dollars is the maximum likely to be saved. Not having to replace windows is the big savings.

The Benefits of Double Glazing

Double glazing is the term used for using two panes of window glass instead of one. Single glazed windows waste a lot of energy. The most common complaint of single pane windows is the drafts that can be felt. Uncomfortable drafts are caused when air next to a window cools and descends to the floor.

The movement pattern increases heat loss and feels drafty. Comfort is affected by the glass temperature. Double glazing makes the transfer of unwanted outside temperature through the window more difficult. The inside pane remains close to the temperature of the room.

Double Glazing Is Energy Efficient

Double glazing creates almost twice the insulation provided by single glazed units. Thermal insulation reduces the flow of outgoing and ingoing heat. The ability to retain heat makes double glazing much more energy efficient than single pane windows.

Less energy is used to cool down or heat up the space. An estimated 50 percent decrease in the amount of heat that escapes a home through windows has been the determined statistic. Energy efficient windows keep warm air in and cold air out.

Two panes of glass, filled with gas and sealants are watertight. Often, Krypton, Xenon, or Argon is sandwiched between the panes. Inert gas, having low conductivity, inserted between panes increases performance. Once the windows are sealed, they become airtight.

Double Glazing Reduces Condensation

Water molecule levels in the air cause condensation. When warm inside air meets cold outside air condensation forms. Condensation appears on cold surfaces. Moisture on a surface that is warm forms water droplets that freeze in cold weather.

The frost makes a room feel colder. People on the inside are forced to make heat adjustments. The need to overcompensate for air entry and leakage during both the winter and summer months is eliminated.  A reduction in condensation also reduces unhealthy mold formation.

Double Glazed Window Construction

Different glass types are used to provide desired results. Double glazed windows may have a low-E coating. Low-E glass reduces the amount of heat that escapes. Double glazed windows do not have to be tinted. Tinting reduces visible light and obstructs views. Double glazed windows reduce ultraviolet rays by as much as 75 percent. Harmful rays can fade wood, carpet, fabric, paper, and artwork.

Warm space bars at the edge that contain very little metal account for water molecules being less shocked as they hit the warmer glazing inner panel. The spacer is a polymer or metal strip separating the two glass panes. Typically, it contains a drying agent to remove trapped moisture from the space.

The type of spacer used and how well the is sealed are important factors. A double glazed unit, not properly sealed, or a spacer with an inadequate drying agent can reduce performance. High-quality frames and edge spacers are common energy efficient window enhancements. The most popular option is a frame made of quality UPVC. Security and compression shoot bolt locks are the most common locking mechanism. There is an array of others available.

Double Glazing Reduces Heating Bills

The biggest reason homeowners choose to replace old windows is reducing heating bills by improving energy efficiency. The same reasons that make double glazing energy efficient also mean a reduction in heat bills. When less heat is lost through windows, less heat is required to heat a home for a longer duration.

The protection against condensation, drafts, and leaks reduces peak cooling and heating loads. Homeowners can install smaller cooling and heating systems, which is a money saving aspect. Double glazed windows put a dent in energy bills and are a significant factor to potential home-buyers when selling a property.

Double Glazing Adds Home Security

The complex locking system reinforces internal beading and hinges, which prevents a frame from being jimmied form the exterior. It contributes to the home’s safety. When it comes to home security, window security ranks high on the list of priorities.

Security is also increased because double glazed windows are harder to break than windows with single panes. The tight seal makes them more difficult to force open from the outside. For even greater security, specify laminated or toughened glass.

Double Glazing is Eco-Friendly

Double glazing reduces the carbon footprint of the home. When less heat is required, less fuel is burnt. It does not matter whether the heat source is an open fire, electricity, or gas. Ultimately, CO₂ is reduced which is a good thing in environmental terms. People who purchase double glazed windows are doing their part of protecting the environment. Greenhouse gases that contribute to change in the climate are reduced.

Double Glazing Reduces Noise

An added benefit of modern double glazing units is a reduction in noise. Double glazed windows create a barrier between the outside environment and the home which improves sound insulation. The careful construction eliminates drafts and considerably reduces noise pollution. Medium to high-frequency noise like the human voice is reduced.

A difference in the thickness of the glass between the outer and inner panes improves sound reduction even more. Modern double glazing typically has a 16 mm gap between the two panes. The space between panes ranges from six to 20 mm. A minimum of 12 mm is recommended for optimal thermal performance.

Lower frequency noise reduction, such as that caused by aircraft and traffic, or good acoustic control is obtained by a gap of at least 150 mm. However, a gap of this size allows convection between the panes to occur. Insulation performance is reduced. The space between panes that provides better energy efficient performance is recommended to be from ten to 20 mm.

In review, the benefits of double glazing include:

  • Reducing heating bills
  • Improving energy efficiency
  • Reducing a home’s carbon footprint
  • Reduction in furnishing damages
  • Condensation prevention
  • Reduction in mold formation
  • Home security
  • Noise reduction

The benefits of double glazing are significant. Most people associate double glazing with keeping warm. Modern double glazing also helps keep a home cool in the summer. The reduction in noise and harmful ultraviolet rays are bonuses.