Knowing when the right time is to replace your windows can help stop damage to your home’s structure and help you avoid costly utility bills and repair costs. Each manufacturer sets its standard when recommending window replacement; however, the average window lasts between 15 and 30 years. Hardware, weather stripping, caskets, etc., may need replacement after eight years, depending on wear and tear. We look at six main items when recommending if a window needs to be replaced or not.
Do you feel drafts around your windows? That is a sign that the window needs replacement. To test for a draft, place your hand around the edges of your window and see if you can feel any air coming through the seals. Another way to check this is by getting an energy audit. Energy auditors can run tests that determine the amount of air leaking out from around the window seals.
If you have double-pane or triple-pane windows, check them for moisture and condensation between the panes. These windows are built with a layer of air between the insulated panes to keep the weather out. If you find moisture between the panes, this means the insulation is no longer working, and homeowners should replace the window.
3) Difficult to Use
Windows that do not work correctly need replacement. Meaning if you have a problematic window to open or close or a window that tends to slide down, as a homeowner, you would want to replace those windows. Over time, the frame and balance of the window can warp, causing usage issues.
4) Broken or Cracked
This should go without saying, but homeowners who find a cracked or broken window should get the window replaced. Broken glass is a safety hazard and utterly worthless at keeping the elements out of the house.
I recently went to a friend’s house, and the window in her kitchen had a significant gap in it big enough to slide a pamphlet through. Gaps between the window seals indicate that your window should be replaced. To check, look around your window. Do you see several spider webs in the corners of the window? Can you see the light shining through the cracks? As windows age, the materials expand and contract eventually; they become old and worn and need replacement.
6) High Energy Bills
No homeowner is ever happy to receive a high energy bill. Why would anyone allow high bills to continue? Before blaming these high bills on the kids in the house, check the integrity of your home’s windows by checking the items listed above. In Wisconsin, there are several programs that can help you with energy bills, and tax benefits for upgrading and replacing your windows with energy-efficient ones. Wisconsin homeowners can also save energy by obtaining a free “Energy Pack” from Focus On Energy. (Click Here for the Link)
Each pack contains a variety of products, such as:
ENERGY STAR® certified light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs
LEDs use at least 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, producing less heat and more light per watt. Plus, they have a long lifespan, typically 15,000 hours or longer.
Efficient showerheads lower the gallons of water used per minute, without compromising performance—allowing you to use less water and potentially lowering water and heating bills.
Water-Saving Bathroom Faucet Aerators
These simple screw-in aerators reduce water use in your sinks while providing the pressure you need to wash. Reducing your water use will save you money on the cost of heating your water.
Pipe insulation may be used on domestic cold and hot water pipes. Pipe insulation will help to reduce heat loss by up to 80% through hot water pipes and will stop sweating on cold water pipes.
Add a home windows check to your spring and fall to-do lists. By doing regular maintenance checks on the windows, homeowners can avoid major problems in the future. Remember, if any of the above items ring true, then it’s time to call High Quality Contracting, Inc today and get your windows quote.
( Due to the pandemic, some window types may not be available. We will always do our best to get you the window replacement you want at a price you can afford. However, we have no control over the amount of time it takes to get the products in. Thank you for your patience. )
Time for fall home maintenance. Along with the taste of hot apple cider, the smell of burning leaves, and the beauty of the trees comes the autumn fall maintenance checklist. No, it’s not fun. But, every good homeowner knows it must be done to keep themselves and their families safe from the elements and cozy once the cold winter months hit. You have 6 to 8 weeks to get ready in Wisconsin so the sooner you tackle this, the sooner you can sit back with your fuzzy socks and enjoy the beauty of the season. To help you out, High Quality Contracting Inc. developed this handy checklist for your fall home maintenance plan.
Inspect your roof
Don’t forget to check their roofs at least twice a year for damage. Homeowners usually realize something is wrong when the damage has gotten so big that the cost is, well,“Through the Roof!”. So, now is the time to do that inspection. Walk around the outside of your home at your roof looking for signs of damage, sagging or aging. Pay particular attention to areas that moss, algae, and leaves pile up because those areas are prone to get water and leaking damage. Look for buckled, curled or missing shingles. Look for granule loss (texture on shingles) which is an indication that the shingles are aging and worn from the weather, they may need replacing. If you are able to get up on a ladder and look at your roof, do it. Check the spots that you had noted for damage. If you are not able to get up on a ladder, contact a local roofing expert such as High Quality Contracting, Inc. to come to take a look for you.
Check attic for wet or missing insulation
This is an area that many homeowners also forget. Who wants to crawl around in an itchy attic and check their insulation, right? But, you should. Wet insulation means that leaks are coming through the roof. It can cause further damage and molding issues if not address. Missing or condensed insulation causes your attic to leak out your winters heat causing your energy bills to skyrocket while your home stays cold. Pay attention to corners and around areas that have those storage items to make sure your items are not wet or having been leaked down on. If you find a problem- We are the experts ready to help.
Clear out and repair gutters
Clogged or damaged gutters can cause ice dams, siding damage, and roofing damage. It is imperative to check your gutters for any damaged or missing drain spouts. Climb up on the ladder (if your comfortable doing so) and remove any debris, leaves, sticks etc. from the gutter system. If you have problems getting up on a ladder, you may want to consider having new gutters with a gutter guard system installed. These revolutionary systems help prevent a buildup of debris and ice dams from forming.
Caulking cracks and gaps
When cold weather hits, the cold air starts leaking into your home along with the neighborhood critters who are seeking refuge and a bite to eat in your pantry. Keep them both out by sealing cracks and gaps around your home. There are several great products out on the market that can help you fill in the small cracks such as caulk, GreatStuff, and Flex Seal. For larger gaps and cracks, you may need some wire mesh, heavy-duty hardware cloth or hire a professional contractor to handle the problem. We found these useful tips from the Department of Energy on their website http://www.Energy.gov.
Tips for Sealing Air Leaks
Test your home for air tightness.
Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air.
Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
Inspect dirty spots in your insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
Cover single-pane windows with storm windows or replace them with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows. See the windows section for more information.
Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.
Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked in order to save energy and may prevent a fire.
Replace door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.
Applying weather-stripping around the frames of windows and doors can help reduce your energy costs. Weather seals rip, compress, and wear over time so remedy this with weather stripping. Another great fashionable item homeowners find useful are colorful draft stoppers. These sometimes home-made, sometimes store bought products adhere to the bottom of your door and help to reduce cold weather air from getting in. If your door has damage or larger gaps, consider having a new door installed by High Quality Contracting Inc. Give us a call today.
Trim bushes and trees
Trimming back your bushes and removing any dead branches from trees is a good thing to do this time of year. If you have several trees on your property, consider hiring an arborist to check out the health of your trees. This time of year is the perfect time to have these specialists check your trees for disease, to safely trim back the branches that may fall in the winter, and to apply treatments into the trees for fungus and diseases such as diplodia.
Prepare your windows for winter
Newer weather resistant windows do not need much maintenance. They simply need to be shut and locked closed. But, if you are like many Wisconsin homeowners and you have windows that are older that leak air, you have a lot more do to than that to ready yourself for the winter months. Installing weather stripping and plastic are two options that can help. If the window is cracked or broken it will need to be replaced. If you can feel a heavy breeze or you can see a gap between the window and the seal around it, it may be time to replace your windows. High Quality Contracting Inc. can help you with an estimate of the costs to have that happen. We install all types of windows and doors to help keep your heat in and the elements out.
Check walkways, railings, stairs
It is important to check your stair railings, walkways, and stairs for loose rails, boards and large cracks or gaps. Loose rails and boards can lead to serious slip and fall situations during the winter months. Large cracks and gaps in the walkways can cause ice to build up and for you to slip and fall. If you find your stairs, decks or railings to be faulty, contact a certified contractor like High Quality Contracting Inc. to come and repair or replace the items for you. No one wants to spend the winter in a cast. Taking care of these dangerous items now can save you later.
Shut off exterior faucets
Prepping your pipes from freezing and damage can save you a bundle in repair bills. Simply shut off exterior faucets and valves before the winter freeze hits. Drain and roll up your hoses and put them away for the winter. If you have a faucet that sticks out a little bit, adding some foam or insulation products around the pipe is a good idea as well.
Stock winter supplies
Don’t wait until you have 3 feet of snow on your front driveway before you realize that you might need a snow shovel. Check your shovels, ready the snow blower with yearly maintenance, get out the snow brushes for the cars, and purchase the ice melt products that you need. Don’t forget, if you have pets or plants, check for products that are safe to use. Many retailers offer specials early in the season, and prices can go up if they start running low. Don’t be caught unprepared.
Check safety devices
Now is the perfect time to check your safety devices around your home. Check your fire extinguishers and replace them if they are past the expiration date. Check the batteries in your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have never had your home checked for radon, now is the time to do it. High radon levels of 4 and above can be extremely harmful to you and your family, so having this checked is important.
Cover up the A/C units
Window A/C units should be either removed or covered before the weather turns cold. Covers can be purchased at a local hardware store or home specialty store. If you have a central air conditioning unit, you will want to consult your owners manual before ever covering your unit. Some units should not be covered to prevent moisture build up and others are recommended to be covered. It depends. If you are not sure, contact a local A/C company or the manufacturer to find out.
Check dryer vents
As you use your home dryer through-out the year, the lint sometimes passes through and builds up in the venting tube. When this happens, it causes your dryer to work less efficiently and becomes a fire hazard. The cool, dry fall and winter air causes an increase in static electricity which can ignite with the lint. Clear this out and if needed replace the lint vent tubing with new tubing. You will be surprised at home much actually gathers in there.
Schedule chimney cleaning
Nothing better than a warm cozy fireplace or wood burning stove in the winter. Keep those items working at their peak and safely with an annual cleaning and maintenance. Be sure to include a chimney cap if needed to keep creatures from climbing down your chimney when it is not in use. This will help keep your family safe to warm up by the fire.
Schedule heating maintenance and change your filter
Just like the fireplace and the wood burning stove, your home’s heater needs regular maintenance. The last thing you want is to have it break down in subzero temperatures in the middle of the night where the cost for repairs will go way up. Prevent all of that by scheduling a heating company to come in and check your products. The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau has a great list of contractors who have been verified to help you choose the right contractor for your home. Also, don’t forget to change your heating filter and replace it with a high-quality one. Your heating system has sat all summer long and the filter will be dirty and dusty. Replacing that will help keep allergies down and your unit working efficiently.
Contact Us for help with your fall roofing, or chimney issues.