T&K explains why older windows may be costing you money and represent a threat to the securing of your home.
There’s never really a perfect time to buy new windows and doors. We’re passionate about windows but we still get it – do you really need new windows or will they last another year? There’s the summer holiday to pay for, Christmas is around the corner, there always seem to be some many competing demands for what for most of us are finite funds.
But delaying or putting your purchase of new windows and doors off for another year, won’t just cost you money this winter but could also have a major impact on the security of your home.
You could, for example be losing as much as 20 per cent of the heat from your property through older windows. Energy efficient windows can cut this heat loss by up to 75 per cent.
In a detached three-bedroom home, according to the Energy Saving Trust, this can equate to an annual saving over and above single – and in many cases, older double-glazed windows – of up to £160 a year in heating bills.
More concerning still, is that old windows and doors can pose a real vulnerability in the security of your home. The vast majority of break-ins are committed through improperly secured windows and doors. Older windows and doors offer very limited protection against intruders compared to new generation high security windows and doors.
How secure is your home when you’re away from it?
So what are the tell-tale signs which mean that you really need to replace your windows?
- When were your windows last replaced?
If you’re scratching your head to answer this one because it was so long ago you can’t remember, it’s probably time to replace. This is because the service life of a properly maintained windows or door, regardless of material type is around 20 years.
If your windows and doors are hitting that milestone, they won’t deliver anywhere near the levels of thermally efficiency or security that today’s new energy efficient windows and doors.will and this could be costing you money. Think of a comparison between dial-up modem technology and new superfast fibre optic broadband – you can’t see the difference either but you know it’s there!
- Are windows damaged warped or broken?
This is an obvious sign that your windows at the very least need a little TLC, if not replacement. Even low maintenance PVC-U windows require a little oil and a wipe over now and again. Timber windows should be maintained regularly, including re-painting if frames are peeling.
- Are windows opening and closing correctly or are they stiff or clunky?
Window mechanisms can deteriorate over time. The weight of the sash and glass, for example on a casement window can impact on the hinge and opening and closing action. Although it can be caused by poor quality installation, it’s more often simply down to wear and tear through use. Hinges can be replaced but it’s another indicator that your windows are probably older and you’re not benefitting from the energy efficiency savings or enhanced security new windows offer.
- Do your windows have cockspur handles?
Do you windows still use a cockspur handles. This is a tell-tale sign that your windows are old and should probably be replaced. Cockspur locking mechanisms were used when double glazed windows first came out. The only point of contact between the opening sash and the fixed frame is the spur itself which can be easily forced.
This compares to multi-point locking systems. These anchor the sash (the window opening) to the frame at multiple points using shoot-bolts. If you don’t have them your property simply isn’t secure.
- Are your windows externally glazed?
This is another tell-tale sign that your windows are old and should be replaced as soon as possible. Take a look at your windows – is the glazing bead (the strip of PVC-U or timber, that surrounds the window unit or glass) on the inside or the outside of the window? In most cases if it’s on the outside it’s an older window and represents a major security risk. Burglars can simply ‘pop’ about the beading and take out the glass – replace them now!
- Your heating bills are high?
New energy efficient windows may not look so very different from older ones but the difference in performance can be huge. New thermally efficient windows use low-emissivity (low-E) glass. This allows light and heat in, but reflects escaping heat back inside the room. This cuts window heat loss by about 20% to 30%, compared to double glazing without it. They also use argon, to fill the space between panes of glass in double-glazed units. A far better insulator than air, it reduces window heat loss by a further 3% to 9% more than old double glazing with air filling.
- Are your windows misted on the inside?
This means that the double glazed unit has failed. Again this tends to mean that its older. If it did have argon inside, it means that it’s now escaped, significantly compromising window performance. At the very least, get the glass replaced as soon as possible.
- Problems with condensation?
This is another indicator of low levels of window performance. Condensation occurs when warm, moist air meets surfaces that are cooler than its dew point temperature. This is the point at which the water vapour in the air becomes more concentrated, forming droplets – condensation.This is why in autumn and winter single-glazed windows tend to attract far more condensation than double or triple glazed windows.
This is where energy efficient double glazed windows or triple-glazing become part of the solution. Using two or three pieces of glass, they create space between the cold air outside on a winter’s day and the warm air inside your home.
- Do you have black mould growing around your window frames?
Rather than being the product of heat loss, black mould and mildew is in most cases caused by inadequate ventilation, particularly in those areas of the home, where air moisture content is high, for example kitchens and bathrooms.
Your existing windows may not be the sole cause of the problem but new windows with proper ventilation, can be part of the solution. These feature special trickle vents, which support the background circulation of air, even when windows are closed during winter.
- Do your windows look ugly?!
Windows are a key element in defining the individual character of your property. During the early days of double-glazing there were far too many crimes committed against good window design and good taste, with some very unsympathetic installations, notably in PVC-U where there shouldn’t have been. New PVC-U windowsdeliver allof the benefits – a high level of energy efficiency, security and low maintenance – but are available in a wide choice of frames, finishes and colours.
T&K offers an extensive range of low maintenance and energy efficient windows and doors, including casement, tilt and turn and vertical sliding windows and doors in PVC-U, timber and aluminium. This includes energy saving triple-glazed windows with U-values as low as 0.8W/m².K.
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