You're not imagining it! New windows have gotten more expensive, especially in recent years. There are a lot of reasons for that, including the cost of raw materials. But depending on the issue you're trying to fix, in many cases, you might not actually need a new window. A custom glass specialist might be able to repair your window for a lot less.
Our experts put this blog together to give you the 411 on when a window needs to be repaired versus replaced, what to look for, and how to save time and money. Read on!
How Do I Know if My Double-Pane Window Is Bad?
Good windows can help you save money on your heating and cooling bills, and make your home more comfortable all year round. They also help protect what's inside, reduce any outside noise, and can increase the value of your home. So if you notice any of these telltale signs that your double-pane windows need a little TLC, don't ignore them!
1. You Feel a Draft
Run your hand around your window frame. If you feel air, that's not a good sign. However, you might not need to replace the entire window. You might just need to replace the weatherstripping or replace the glass.
2. You See Condensation
If water is condensing on the inside surface of your window, it's probably not the window's fault. However, if it's building up between window panes, that's a sign that your window seal has failed, which means your window is no longer giving you the same energy efficiency.
3. Your Energy Bills Are Going Up
You might not notice this one first, especially since utility costs have been rising for all of us lately. But if you combine this clue with any of the rest, you might want to have a pro come and take a look.
4. Your Frames Show Wear and Tear
If your window frames are no longer looking their best, you might be losing more than curb appeal. Faded, cracked, or peeling window frames shouldn't go ignored.
What Is the Lifespan of a Double-Pane Window?
The typical lifespan for a double-pane window is 20-25 years. But that depends on the quality of the window and the outside environment. A lower-quality window may start to fail after 10 years, and harsh weather conditions can take a few years off of a window's life.
Like many things in life, investing in a high-quality product and performing regular maintenance are the best ways to save time and money in the long run.
Double-Pane Window Prices
In 2024, a homeowner can expect to pay anywhere from $450 to $1,400 for a new window, and a complex installation can add to the sticker shock. However, the rising costs of raw materials are partially to blame, and modern, energy-efficient windows use more of them.
Generally speaking, vinyl windows are going to be your cheapest option, and wood will be the most expensive. But thicker glass, gasses that add energy efficiency, and special coatings will add to the cost.
But don't worry! A bit further down, we'll outline a few smart ways to save.
What To Look For in New Double-Pane Windows
You tend to get what you pay for when it comes to new double-pane windows. More durable, long-lasting, and energy-efficient windows will cost more. But considering that a good quality window could easily give you twice the lifespan and may come with the same installation cost, it's usually the smarter buy.
Here's what you should consider before you fork over a ton of your hard-earned cash!
- Materials: Vinyl is low-maintenance and typically less expensive, wood is beautiful but will need to be painted, and fiberglass and composite frames are the most durable and energy-efficient
- Glazing and gasses: Argon or krypton gas fills add to energy efficiency, and special coatings can reduce heat transfer and block UV rays
- Sealants: Consider a multi-point locking mechanism to improve the seal, and don't skimp on high-quality weatherstripping
- Hardware: Look for sashes that operate smoothly and locking mechanisms that won't wear out quickly
- Efficiency Ratings: Choose Energy Star certified windows and look for whole unit U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) ratings
- Installation: A professional installation is the key to getting the most ROI from your windows, so be sure to use an installer that you can trust
- Warranties: A good warranty should include at least 10 years for the window unit and 20+ years for glass
- Cost: Consider your initial investment, the expected lifespan of the product, and your expected energy savings to make sure you're getting the best overall value
When To Repair vs. Replace
The cost of new windows isn't likely to go down in the foreseeable future. So if you have a skilled custom glass pro in your area that can provide window and screen repair services, they can be a homeowner's best friend. Unfortunately, when many people hear the word "custom," they assume that those services will be expensive. But our family business takes pride in working with local homeowners and businesses to come up with practical solutions to all sorts of problems.
When To Replace
Your entire window probably needs to be replaced if any of the following are true:
- The window's integrity is compromised
- The frame and sash are badly damaged
- Multiple components are broken or faulty
- The window is very old, so replacing it would be much more energy-efficient
- Replacement parts can't be found
- Repairs would exceed 50% of the cost of a new window
- Because of the way your window is made, you can't just repair the glass*
*Unfortunately, some manufacturers and some window designs don't accommodate glass repair work. If your windows were made by Renewal by Anderson, Marvin, or Pella, talk with your local glass pro to see if they can help.
When To Repair
You might be able to save money with a repair if any of the following is true:
- Only the glass is damaged
- The frame and sash are still in good condition
- You have a different, but minor, issue, like broken hardware, a sticky sash, or worn weatherstripping
When in doubt, it doesn't hurt to ask! If you're in Central Minnesota, contact us, and we'll see what we can do! For example, if both panes of glass in your window are broken, we can also help board it up until your repair can be completed.
How To Save Money With Double-Pane Window Glass Replacement
At East Side Glass, we are the only local glass shop that is set up to manufacture double pane or insulated glass units in-house!
We do this so we can offer same-day, in-shop, insulated glass replacement services on Wednesdays, by appointment only. It's a great solution for customers who are able to bring their windows to our shop!
Here's how to take advantage of this popular service:
- Contact us ahead of time to make sure we can get you on our schedule
- Remove your casement, crank out, double hung, or slider window sash and bring it to our shop by 9:00 a.m.
- Pick up your windows at the end of the day
Can't remove your own windows? Don't worry. We can also come to you!
Unfortunately, we can't provide same-day service for windows that require tempered safety glass, or for windows that need to be repaired onsite. And we often can't match any low-e tint in-house. That doesn't mean we can't help, but we'll have to have some work performed off-site, which will increase the lead time. In other words, you may have to choose between speed and perfection.
But remember, if you're ever in doubt about which service you may need, please ask! We'd hate for you to remove your windows and be stuck without a quick solution, and depending on the season, our shop can be a busy place!