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Home Safety: Knowing When To Replace Windows

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If you live in a home with old windows that show signs of wear and tear, your residences is at a high risk for burglary. In fact, approximately 60.5 percent of all burglaries in the U.S. involve forcible entry, which means thieves target entry points like windows and doors at a high rate. Even if you have a lock on your window, if there are worn out or rotted parts around the opening, you might as well consider the structure to be insecure. The following guide can help you determine if it is time to replace your residential windows.

Glass Quality

In addition to being energy inefficient and a drain on your monthly energy bill, windows with old glass are more vulnerable to smash-and-grab type robberies. Thieves can easily break thin, weak glass to unlock or unlatch windows for a quick entry into your home to grab valuables and make a quick exit.

When you replace your outdated windows, enhance the safety of the devices with security film to prevent glass from shattering from repeated impact from bats, crowbars and other items.

In addition to helping protect your home, newer, state-of-the-art windows can also help to filter loud noises and protect your home from other unexpected events such as hail or a wayward baseball from kids playing in the yard or near your home.

Frame Condition

Rotted window frames not only look bad, they are also vulnerable to termites, moisture and other problems. You do not want to give burglars and unwanted insects easy entry into your home because you failed to repair window frames with dry rot.

Depending on the extent of the damage to your window frame, you may be able to repair the structure. If the rot is only in a small area of a window frame, you can remove the damaged wood and repair the spot with polyester resin and solid wood, products you can purchase from a home improvement store.

However, for more serious problems, you should call a professional to remove and replace the entire frame. Experienced window installers should be able to match the look and feel of custom windows as well.

Locks and Latches

Common sense dictates that all of your windows should have locks or latches so they cannot be opened easily from the outside. However, if you have a window with a lock that is broken or does not secure the opening very well, do not waste any time replacing the lock.

Just because the window looks secure with a lock that is in place does not mean a devious individual will pass it by when they are trying to rob you. Some thieves will try windows all around your home looking for a place to enter with ease. If windows sashes are not aligned correctly or the lock mechanism has loose screws, your home is vulnerable.

Replacing a window lock is fast and relatively inexpensive. You can turn it into a DIY project or hire a professional to secure you windows.

Vulnerable Window Types

Some types of windows are more secure than others. Many older homes were built with windows that are not even on the market anymore or that would not pass a security inspection from your homeowner's insurance company. Furthermore, if you install secure windows and do pass an inspection, you could be eligible for a reduced rate on your homeowner's insurance premium.

Among the most vulnerable types of windows are vertical and horizontal sliding devices.

Vertical sliding windows, whether single or double hung, generally have crescent locks that are easy to dislodge for burglars. Furthermore, if the window frame has rot, a thief will have an easier time pulling a window with a crescent lock right out of the wood.

Horizontal sliding windows are similar to sliding glass doors. They move on a track to slide open. Old horizontal sliding windows can be lifted right out of the track from outside of the home.

If you are unsure about whether or not your home's windows provide adequate protection, call your local police department or sheriff's office to see if they offer free inspections. For more information, you can also contact a window replacement company, like New Jersey Siding & Windows Inc.