Start by monitoring your home for drafts and increased heating and cooling costs, say our experts.

While a cracked pane is a clear indicator that your window needs to be replaced, not every sign of distress is so obvious. When your windows are dated, damaged, or in need of an upgrade, they cause your home's heating and cooling systems to work overtime. Ahead, additional unexpected signs that it is time to replace the glass, according to two experts.

Broken or Damaged Seals

A broken seal can be a sign that it's time fix or replace your window's glass, according to David Flax, the vice president of operations for Window Genie, a Neighborly company. "You will see moisture and fogging appear on or between the panes," he says of the main symptom. "Once the seal is broken, your windows are significantly less efficient." Ultimately, this means your electric bill is likely to go up as your systems attempt to stabilize the interior environment.

master bedroom interior windows
Credit: hikesterson / Getty Images

Operational Issues

If your window isn't opening or closing the way it once did, there could be a larger issue at play, says Flax. "Sometimes it is something as little as tightening screws, but other times it may be a sign of a broken windowpane—in which case you'd need a replacement," he says.

Increased Heating or Cooling Costs

Are you spending more money on keeping your home at a comfortable temperature? Brad Roberson, the president of Glass Doctor, a Neighborly company, says your panes have likely lost some of their efficiency. "Chances are, in homes with older windows, especially single-pane ones, a large chunk of your heating and cooling dollars are going to waste," he says. "Single-pane and worn double-pane units are prone to leaks."


This may seem like an obvious sign, but Flax says it can actually be difficult to detect drafts. "You may not necessarily feel a draft—rather, some areas of your home might just feel cooler," he says. "If this often happens near a window and there isn't a vent nearby, it's time to investigate replacing it."

Condensation or Water Build-Up

Unfortunately, water that appears between your windows can only be caused by one thing, according to Flax: a seal that has been damaged and is no longer airtight. Roberson agrees, adding that fog or condensation between panes can indicate seal failure, which could allow moisture into your space. "High-quality windows can often be repaired, but in other cases, window replacement may be a better option," he notes.

Cold Glass

When your windows are cold to the touch, your home is not efficiently retaining hot and cold air, notes Roberson. "The temperature of the conditioned air from your ductwork is being drastically affected when exposed to your windows," he explains. "For more efficient heating and cooling and a more comfortable home, you need windows that offer better insulating properties."


If what is happening outside your window seems as if is occurring inside your home, you could have a pane issue, notes Flax. "If you start to hear people chatting, cars, traffic noises, and dogs more clearly than before, some portion of your windowpane isn't fully connected and sealed up," he says.


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