It’s amazing the impact that windows have on your home’s energy conservation. According to National Resources Canada, windows and doors account for 25 percent of total home heat loss. It is also important to note that new windows are consistently ranked by home improvement experts as one of the top 10 improvements you can make to your home to increase its value.

When your windows are old and worn down, your energy costs go up. So how can you tell if it’s time to replace your windows? Read on for some tips that will help you spot the signs of deteriorating windows.

The first step is to check for drafts. Do this by holding a candle in front of the window ledge. A flickering candle means that a draft is coming through.

Take a close look at the condition of the frame by pushing the end of a flat-blade screwdriver into the wood. If the wood is soft and the screwdriver is easily pushed in, you may need to do a full window replacement, including replacing the frames.

If the paint is peeling on the exterior of your house this can also be a sign of worn out windows. Paint peels when moisture travelling through improperly sealed windows makes its way to the exterior.

Correctly installed, energy-efficient windows make a home more comfortable by reducing drafts and condensation and increasing the temperature of the interior side of the window. So what should you be looking for? Today’s energy-efficient windows are argon filled, have double or triple glazing, low emissivity (low-E) glass and insulated frames and sashes.

Windows should always be installed by a professional. Many stores offer free installation with your purchase, so be sure to do your research first, watch for sales and ask about energy-efficient features. (RMM)

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