Episode 19 – All About Windows

Donna:
Good morning, Phil, how are you today?

Phil:
I’m doing wonderful. How are you?

Donna:
Fantastic. Hello to everybody out there too. Hope you’re all having a great, great day. A great start to your day. This is morning for us as we’re recording this. So so today we are going to talk about windows. The big question with windows is when to repair or when to replace. And you know, there’s a lot of schools of thought out there on whether or not replacing a window improves the value of your home. If you’re wanting to sell it, will you get your money back? And then there’s the cost involved. And so Phil you have learned a lot over the years about whether or not to repair, replace, and honestly you have saved some homeowners, a lot of money.
Donna:
And so today we want to just help you all know when to repair or replace a window. So do you want to start Phil by giving us just some basic knowledge of windows today?
Phil:
Sure. Well, you know, many older homes you see still have the original windows, they were actually hand-built on the job, wooden windows and they worked for many years. So then we moved to metal windows that were made out of aluminum with single pane glass. And then we started seeing insulated glass where we have two panes of glass with a layer of gas in between. Vinyl windows are very popular now. So you know, the material of the window is not that critical. Wood windows can be fine. Metal windows can be fine. Vinyl windows can be fine. It’s really more about the quality of the window and whether or not it operates properly.
Phil:
And you know, you hear a lot of talk out there about the efficiency of windows and I don’t believe you should ever replace your windows based on efficiency, because they’re really not that big of a factor in the energy efficiency of your home when you consider the way that energy efficiency is really calculated on a window or any part of your home is really the area of it. So when I say area, I mean length times width, so we measure that and then we measure the temperature difference between inside and outside. And then we multiply that by what’s called a U factor. So when you do that and you compare that to the area of the windows it is a pretty small area of your house. So we don’t get that much heat transfer through windows, whether they be single pane or double, there’s a minor difference, but not enough to, to account for spending thousands of dollars to replace your windows based on energy efficiency. The main energy transfer through windows is the radiant heat of the sun.
Phil:
And that doesn’t matter what kind of window you have. You’re still gonna get that. So for energy efficiency, I would not recommend replacing your windows based solely on that. If you’re going to replace windows, it would be because you have windows that don’t work. You have really old wood windows that won’t open and close anymore. And single pane glass can be a problem because of the moisture condensation on the glass. especially on older homes that have been insulated and air sealed, we get a lot more moisture buildup in them and you get a lot more condensation on a glass and that can cause problems.
Donna:
So, as you were talking about the history of windows, I’m having flashbacks to a few periods in my life. And one thought in my mind was the windows that I grew up with as a kid. They were aluminum and in our living room and our childhood home, it was a big picture window, you know, with the big open window and then the two smaller windows. And I remember my mom and dad, it was such an event to wash windows because that on the big picture window, in particular, there was the storm window. And it was huge as big as the picture window. And it had to be removed and the glass cleaned on both sides. Then you clean the ends, the outside of the inside window. And it was such a process. I remember watching my parents clean those windows.
Donna:
And then the second memory that I thought about with windows was when we bought our first house and the house was built in the sixties and it had all wood windows and they looked so cool and I did not want to get rid of them. So I just wanted to keep that look because the wood grills they just looked so cool, but they would sweat like crazy. So anytime it was cold, the inside of the window was wet. The wood was always wet on the inside. I caved, and we got vinyl windows. So now I have those old windows for decoration in various parts of the house and seasons. But those are some of my memories of windows that over the course of time and the differences.

Donna:
Today we really want to talk about some things that you can do to repair windows. What are some of the things that you can repair so that people don’t have to go through the expense of replacing a window?
Phil:
Well, there’s several things that can go wrong with windows. The glass can lose its seal and the two panes of glass normally filled with a gas like Argon will fill with air and you’ll start to notice condensation in between the panes of glass, the same condensation you would get on a single pane window on the inside. That can easily be fixed. We can order a new insulated glass unit and just put that in the frame and you’re good as new other things that go wrong. I mean, the latches that, you know, that you operate the tilt with, they can break. The sash balances that hold the window up and latches and locks can also be replaced.
Donna:
Also in an older window that have the weighted mechanism can be fixed?
Phil:
You can do that. There is basically a rope on a pulley with a weight. Those ropes break and the pulleys break. If your windows are in good shape and they’re not rotted outside and they operate well and everything, and you really liked the old wood windows, they can be fixed. It can save you a lot of money. The only times that I see that windows can’t be salvaged, particularly on vinyl windows, the actual vinyl frame breaks and you can’t get frames replaced. So in that case, you’d have to replace the entire window. And I’ve had to do that on a few jobs.
Donna:
So on an average size 1600 square foot home when someone thinks that they need to replace their windows, because they have a couple of windows that are not functioning properly, what could it cost to replace windows?
Phil:
A house that size could have 20 windows in it, and you’re looking at probably $250 average price per window. So that adds up, maybe it could be $7000 to $10,000 easily.
Donna:
Okay. So to repair something, say on a, on a window that has a broken seal, what can, something like that cost.
Phil:
About $250 depending on the size of the window. Less if you have more than one to fix.
Donna:
So definitely much more economical to repair one or two windows compared to replacing all of them.
Phil:
Right. And then, you know, if you have to replace balances in a few windows that could be fairly inexpensive. But replacement is sometimes warranted. You should have an expert advise you who understands what the situation is and give you good options. I believe that if you just call a window company their main goal is to sell you new windows. So take that with a grain of salt. Give us a call, we’ll come out and take a look at your situation and give you some good advice.
Donna:
Okay, great. Well, I love the fact that we can help people maintain their homes in an economical way, I love that we can help them do that. This is great information Phil. Thank you so much. Yeah. If anybody is having window issues and is not sure what to do, I hope they give you a call.
Phil:
I hope they do too. Thank you everybody. Have a great day.