Windows protect your home from the elements and help maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home. Ideally, your current windows operate at peak performance and keep you dry and comfortable. But unless your home is brand new or you've recently installed new energy efficient replacement windows, your home may not be as protected as it should be.
If your windows are older, especially if they're wood windows, you may experience issues that prevent them from keeping your home and dry and comfortable. Windows that are stuck shut, have broken seals, are warped or rotted, or have broken glass - all of these problems cause your windows to be less energy efficient. If you're a fairly handy DIYer, there are some window repairs that many homeowners can tackle themselves.
Older windows tend to get stuck shut over time. This is most common with wood windows, where years of repainting make them difficult or impossible to open. To free the window sash, take a putty knife and run it between the window sash and the frame along both sides. If the window remains stuck, run it along the top and bottom of the sash. Once open, clean and lubricate the tracks.
If you have a section of rotted wood on your window, you may be able to repair that area. Use a chisel to remove the damaged area. Apply a liquid epoxy to the chiseled-out area and let it soak for five minutes, then repeat. Apply epoxy wood filler in the area and fill completely. After it's dry, sand the area smooth and repaint.
If you have a broken glass pane on a single-pane window, you can replace the piece of glass. Carefully remove the damaged piece of glass. Covering it completely with tape first makes removal easier and safer. Use a blade to cut around the glazing silicone and remove it, then take out the glass. Scrape out the old caulk, repair any wood damage, and then install a new piece of glass.
Older windows can also be drafty, letting warm heated air escape in the winter and increasing the temperature inside your home in the summer. If you feel air around the edges of your windows from behind the trim, the spaces around them probably weren't properly insulated and sealed during installation. You can remove the interior trim, fill gaps with foam insulation, then reinstall the trim.
While some window repairs can be easy enough for a homeowner to perform, ask yourself if they're worth the trouble. If you have older windows and one or two has problems with being stuck shut, wood rot, or drafts, chances are your other windows will have similar problems in the near future. Rather than spend the time and money to repair old windows, it often makes sense to consider replacing your windows. Today's vinyl replacement windows are designed to be more energy efficient, are manufactured using the latest technology, and are assembled with materials that make them safer, stronger, and long-lasting. Not only will your home be more comfortable, but it will be more energy efficient, saving money on utility bills and preventing excess wear-and-tear on your HVAC system.