How do you know when to replace old windows?
Hi - I have a 40 year old passive solar house with wood wondows. Some of the windows are fogged between the panes. I don't know if I need replacement complete windows, or if I should try to just replace the glass in the problem windows. I have had some trim work done over the years. All the commercials I see talk about UV ray protection. We have just plain glass, I think. I have read quite a few articles on your website regarding this issue. I have about 35 windows, half of them @45" x 72". I had a replacement estimate that made me ill, and that was just for vinyl, which you guys don't like. I live in Colorado, and am just totally confused and discouraged. When I call to set up appts., a few of the companies have no opinion on windows for a passive solar house. Any advice would really help. Would it be worthwhile to try smaller windowcompanies? I have stuck with the major US brands.
Did you see this page about when should you replace windows? And what is bugging you most, is it the humidity between the panes? If so, what about only replacing those ones?
The thing about replacing windows is that unless they are single pane, rotted or just leaking air like crazy, rarely will you see a financial return making it worth the cost of replacement. To cover something you mentioned – by UV rays I’m thinking you probably mean the Low E coatings on modern windows. Those are great but not essential to have. Gas-gas filled windows are also worth the investment initially, even though the gas will pretty much have dissipated after 7 or 8 years, the savings in those years is worth it.
Please fill us in on why you think you need to replace your windows if its only a few that have humidity between the panes. And to hopefully help alleviate your anxiety about this, I would suggest you wipe the idea of full house window replacement from your mind. Humidity between panes sucks, so maybe replace the thermals in those ones if you want, or, you could contact a company that does ‘repairs’ on those and see what that entails and if it's worth it. As mentioned in the article, we aren’t fans of putting valves in window panes as it sort of defeats the purpose, but maybe after the humidity is out you could seal the holes.
I would suggest you caulk around any leaky panes or frames maybe, but you will never get your money out of full replacement so there is no point keeping yourself awake stressing about it. Let us know a few more details if you want as to their condition and we can maybe come up with more cheap solutions.