One, they’re old.
I drive a 15-year-old sports car during the summer months. Why? Because its purchase seemed like a good idea at the time.
Basically, it’s hard on gas, develops a shimmer at about 50 km/h, and isn’t near as comfortable as my newer pickup truck. Essentially, the appeal of such a vehicle is limited to the retractable roof, which seemed pretty cool at the time, until one realizes that driving in air-conditioned comfort, while still being able to hear the radio, is probably more relaxing.
So, if your window is 15 years of age or older, I can guarantee you it’s tired and has forfeited not only its efficiency, but its will to operate.
Two, you can’t see out of them from Dec. 1 to March 15.
Condensation between the thermal panes, or frosty windows, aren’t factors that necessarily demand a complete window overhaul. Glass panes can be replaced, while the issue of thermal panes “sweating” due to high humidity issues, then frosting up on those really cold days, can be solved with a mechanical air system.
However, a broken seal, often blamed on a pigeon’s confused fight pattern, or the little baseball touting rascal next door, is more often the sign of an unstable frame or sash.
While frosty glass was once a common occurrence, today’s high-efficiency glass panels, no matter what the temperature outside, and no matter how much pasta mamma has on the burner, rarely condensate up the pane more than an inch or so.
Three, the windows no longer open.
Somewhat related to the age issue, window sashes that are either painted shut, or are so stubborn to open they require the homeowner preparing themselves with the same 15-minute warmup used by Olympic weightlifters. If the herculean feat required to open your double-hung window may risk igniting your sciatic nerve issues, are definitely past the rescue stage.
Four, a cool draft curls around your toes, then sweeps up and grabs you by the wazoo every time you step out of the shower.
Some people believe drafts to be a somewhat effective means of getting fresh air into the home. They’re the same folks that anxiously wait for the Easter bunny and Santa Claus to show up every year.
Drafts signify cold, outside air, infiltrating the home envelope, eventually meeting up with the warm, inside air. When cold meets warm, you get condensation.
With condensation comes mold, and with mold comes poor air quality, leading to colds and sniffles that last all winter long.
Every home can benefit from continued fresh air being circulated throughout. However, the answer to a fresh-air source can’t be you depending on the lack of insulation and caulking surrounding your windows and doors, or the lack of weather-stripping on your window sashes, or the fact the sash is warped, and no longer sits tightly within the window frame.
The solution to fresh air and consistent humidity levels will be an HRV (heat-recovery ventilation) unit. The answer to drafts is a newly installed window, properly insulated with spray foam and sealed with a quality exterior caulking.
And five, you’re getting older.
Regardless of the fact we heat our homes in the winter, cool them in the summer, and have mechanical systems to control the air quality and humidity levels, sometimes it’s just nice to be able to open a window.
When you’re young, this doesn’t present much of a challenge.
When you’re a little older, leaning over the kitchen sink in order to tug that sliding sash over will put your lower back in a very vulnerable position. Single and double-hung, guillotine-styled units, can also be challenging if they no longer function smoothly.
Unless you can get your hips tight up against the window sill, what’s equivalent to about a 50-pound barbell curl will definitely cause some strain.
Consider the more user friendly casement window.
Next week, how to buy a window.