There’s a good chance your windows need an upgrade. No, this isn’t a reference to any Microsoft product: we’re talking about real-world windows. Perhaps you’re a homeowner or perhaps you’re the landlord; in either case, when things hit that 20-year milestone, wear-and-tear generally becomes an issue. A home’s windows can be good indicators of a home’s health. You may have started to notice them “speaking” to you. The creaks and groans are strong hints it’s time for an upgrade. But too many people say they feel too overwhelmed to even think about it. The cost! The headache! Where to start? Keep reading for five signs it’s time to replace your windows and some great ideas for how to keep costs down.

  • It’s Time

All good things come to an end. If a window is rattling, rotten, doesn’t open or close properly, the root cause is all too often father time. The first tip for saving money is determining if the windows can be repaired or not. Repairs can be expensive. Do a cost-benefit analyst and determine what makes more sense, fixing or replacing. If you live in a building or house that was constructed 30, 40, or 50-some years ago, your wooden window frames are likely coming to the end of their lives. They might be fixable, but if you hear a quote from a contractor that makes you gasp, maybe it’s better to move on. Hey, getting three to five decades out of that solid wood isn’t bad! But as they say, “they just don’t make things the way they used to.” We don’t chop down big old trees anymore – for good reasons – but this means wood frames available today are not likely to last anywhere as long as the ones they’re replacing. For this reason, we’re going to have to suggest going with some sort of synthetic alternative. And while saying goodbye to wood is a little sad, by taking advantage of what’s offered in, for example, a Lowes windows installation package deal, you have a huge amount of choice, and choice is how you don’t break the bank.

  • Your Energy Bills are Too High  

The U.S. Department of Energy website explains that “Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.”  Depending on where you live, this figure could be even higher. The tip here for savings is to think about your climate. Talking to professionals about gas fills and spacers, glazing, and frame types might not sound like your idea of an awesome Saturday afternoon, but you’ll make much more informed choices if you have the facts about what does and doesn’t work for your area. The differences can be huge: think about a home on a windy California coast versus a house in Vermont that endures “real” winters – all windows are not created equally. It can be tempting to go with the cheapest option… but the goal is to get at least a few decades of use out of this investment, and picking the wrong option for your surroundings simply means you’ll be doing all this again a lot sooner than you’d like.

  • You Live Near the Coast, and or You’ve Been Through a Major Storm

Those in Florida, for example, long ago learned that securing windows before a storm hits isn’t optional. If your home was hit by a recent hurricane, or another severe weather event, window damage may have occurred – no matter how well you boarded up. Homes near even placid seas also have to deal with the effects of sea salt. A tip for savings when replacing storm-damaged windows is to consider fiberglass. These frames might cost more, but they can take a pounding, and – as fiberglass is flexible – they stand up to intense heat or cold.

  • You’re Planning on Selling the House

Here’s a little secret: replacing old windows can give your home an aesthetic boost that translates into serious money. Think about all the home makeover shows you’ve seen. How many times does the team do something relatively cheap and simple, that turns out to be the thing that causes all the “oohs and ahhs”? New windows and new window frames can make an old wall look new. The key to savings for you as the seller is to prioritize aesthetics. Something that looks good – no matter the actual price – can add value and make a buyer offer a better price. But if it doesn’t look good, all the sales pitches in the world about energy savings or UV light or easy maintenance won’t make a dent in a buyer’s mind. Windows are the eyes of a home and as they say, “the eyes are the windows to your soul.”

  • You’re Tired of Noise

There’s really no reason to have to put up with the roar of traffic or your neighbor’s love of midnight dubstep parties. The right kind of window can equal peace and sleep, and finding some tranquility will permeate every aspect of your life. There’s a growing amount of scientific evidence that noise is bad for your health. You deserve to live in a place where you can hear yourself think, so even if you decide not to go with the super noise-canceling options everywhere, consider doing so for your bedroom or home office. Silence is golden and it’s worth spending a bit on a window that provides it.