Replacement windows can offer many benefits. If your home is cold or drafty, or if your windows are just difficult to operate and maintain, then you might be ready to consider purchasing new.
Modern windows are designed to be much easier to operate than the older models and improvements are being made all the time. New windows often operate with a smooth, easy to use crank system as are found in casement and awning style windows. If you don’t want a cranking system, you can also elect to use the old sliding style. Advancements in materials and design allow even the older methods of operation to work much more smoothly and easily today.
An old wooden frame can get jammed up due to expansion from cold and heat, or even because of layers of paint applied over the years. Water can also seep into the wood and cause it to swell (not to mention cause rot). Often these windows also have a "storm window" which must be removed and replaced as seasons change. These do not allow any operation once installed, often with flimsy, temporary fixtures.
In the case of hung style sashes, if they slide up easily, you end up with the problem of keeping them open. Often they slide right back down, unless you improvise some sort of propping mechanism to keep them up.
Aluminum windows can also be susceptible to wear and tear causing operational frustration. The frames can become bent out of shape and you often have to deal with multiple moving panes, which can be difficult to access for cleaning. Eventually this leads to jammed up channels and difficult operation.
Newer PVC frames, coupled with sealed multi-pane glazing can alleviate all of, these issues. They are not susceptible to rot, do not require paint and multi-pane sealed units provide much more insulation than the older styles, or storm windows. To top it off, they are also less susceptible to frost, which can cause your windows to freeze shut in the winter.
The amount of time you spend maintaining your windows, and the difficulty of maintaining the exterior of a second or third floor window may also be a consideration.
Modern windows are designed to operate for years with little or no maintenance. PVC does not require painting, and the color will stay vibrant for a long, long time. Also, PVC will not warp, swell, or rot over time, ensuring smooth operation and excellent insulation for years.
New style windows also don’t collect condensation, which can not only cloud your view, but cause ice buildup, as well as swelling and rot.
A new PVC frame window will save you time, and frustration. PVC is highly weather resistant making it virtually maintenance free, and fantastic looking for decades.
Cleaning windows is a job very few people enjoy. With older fixtures, you often have to make trips up and down a ladder to access the exterior. Even if you have a single story home, the outside of your windows are often very difficult to access. There are better options.
Windows are now designed to be cleaned much more conveniently from the inside, helping you avoid climbing, or disassembly every time you want to access the exterior. Much effort has gone into designs that make the cleaning process considerably easier.
When a new casement window is opened you will notice that the sash moves away from the frame towards the center, providing easy access to the windows exterior surface from inside. There are also options for sliding or hung style windows, which allow the sash to be tilted inward making it very easy to clean. In some cases, newer hung style sashes may still need to be removed, however, in situations like that, you will find removal and replacement to be much easier.
To top it off, PVC tends to be a much slipperier surface than paint or aluminum. Often any dirt landing on the non-glass surfaces just slips right off in the rain.
Energy Savings and Comfort
It comes as no surprise to most that there is a measurable cost benefit to new energy efficient windows. But consider that the very same features which provide that savings also directly affect your comfort!
The old single pane designs used to leave rooms feeling cold and dry in the winter and hot and damp in the summer. Even the older multi-pane variants had their issues. Since they often had many sliding components, their capacity for insulation value was severely diminished compared to modern designs.
Now most if not all windows use sealed units which contain two or even three individual panes of glass. These panes are separated by a layer of air sealed tightly between them. Air is one of the best insulators we know of, and you can see right through it! You also have the option of filling these gaps with special gasses such as argon, or a low-e mixture. These have a higher insulating value than regular air.
Modern designs can also incorporate gasket sealing in casement and awning style windows, sealing up those cracks, and keeping the drafts out. Sliding variations also offer deep channels for the operating components and sashes are usually sealed with a felt like stripping which allows for smooth movement while stopping the cold air from blowing through.
Lastly, better insulated openings in your home also offer increased noise reduction. If you live on a busy street, then you probably have to listen to the traffic outside day and night. Sometimes even a heavy wind can cause loud rattling or banging. This may just be a minor inconvenience but it can be a major problem if you are a light sleeper. Newer windows not only provide better protection from the elements, but those very same features also provide a reduction in the noise which makes it in from outside. In some cases, it is possible to request acoustic glazing for your sealed units, which can reduce noise even further.