Buyers beware! Replacing windows will cost you, big.
What windows should I expect to replace?
- Lead paint risk: Any window that was installed before 1978 is likely to have lead paint on it. Lead paint on windows is particularly bad for risk of lead poisoning. When a lead-painted window is opened and closed, it rubs against the frame and creates dust. That lead dust will blow in, onto the floor. Lead dust will be in the air, where children may breathe it in. The dust also lands on the floor, where they play.
- Energy efficiency: Older, single-pane windows with storms are generally less efficient. However, they are more efficient than poorly installed double-pane replacements.
Vinyl windows leak cold air if they are not locked. Cheap installations often neglect to insulate between the frame and the wall. Feel the edges of the window frame.
Wood windows, if they are old, were built with hollow window sashes that are not insulated. If you feel cold between the two sashes, check to see if it is locked; if it is locked and still cold, that is not a good window.
Metal-framed windows are a bad idea that never should have been manufactured. The metal carries cold into the house in the winter!
How can you evaluate the efficiency?
In the winter, feel around the edges of the window. In warmer weather, it is harder to know. But, until it is 50 degrees or more outside, you can do this test.
The easy answer, which we tell our clients: expect to spend $1,000 per window. Since many of the places you will be looking at have 20 or more windows, do the math…
And that’s for regular-sized double-hung windows. When you get to bigger sizes, sliding glass doors, French doors, bow or bay windows, the dollar really pile up. More on that in two weeks.