When to repair or replace your windows

2 min read
Insulation, Windows & Doors

Learn when to repair or replace windows, and which repairs you can do yourself. Unless your windows are in rough shape, it's usually more cost-effective to repair and weatherize than to replace. Use this guide to explore your options.

Start with easy window repairs

Windows in disrepair often look worse than they are. Start with easy updates—add weather-stripping and window locks, hang energy-efficient window treatments, and install storm windows.

Low-E storms boost the energy efficiency of your windows at a fraction of full replacement cost. They’re treated with an invisible coating that reflects heat while letting light pass through, resulting in less heat gain and loss and a more comfortable space for you.

Replace when necessary

If your windows are in poor shape—extensive deterioration, missing parts, or rotted frames—you may want to replace them with new high-performance windows. Replacement costs depend on many factors, including each window’s size, location, and style. Most window replacements cost between $500 and $1,000 per window, installed. Multiply that by the total number of windows in your home, and the cost can really climb.

DIY or hire out?

You can do your own window repairs if you have the interest, basic carpentry skills, and the right tools. Here are a few of the measures you could do yourself:

  • Replace dry and cracked seals on double-glazed windows
  • Insulate counterweight pockets
  • Install new suspension systems in older double-hung windows

If you’d rather leave it to a professional, hire someone with experience in window repair, and check his or her references first.

Insulate and air-seal first

If you want to improve your home’s energy efficiency, windows are often not the best place to start. Air sealing, insulation, and upgrades to heating and cooling systems are more cost-effective ways to lower your bills and boost comfort. For complex jobs, think about hiring a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor. The contractor can perform an energy assessment, pinpoint where your home is losing heat, and help you fix any problems.