When do you know it's time to replace your windows?

There are a number of signs that can start to appear when it comes to needing to replace your windows, some more severe than others. One example is the windows being draughty. While new windows may be a fairly significant expenditure, modern double-glazed windows are very energy-efficient. As a result, you will be able to save money in the long run if you were to replace your old windows. If there is a draught, then the likelihood is that there is something wrong with your windows, such as a broken seal.

General damage or wear and tear are also fairly sure-fire ways to tell that you may need new windows. Also, seeing a rise in energy bills could well be a sign that your windows are not performing in the way that they should, thus forcing heating to be used in an attempt to combat. In particular, old windows are often single glazed and are in turn prone to leaks and damage.

How does double glazing affect energy efficiency in a home?

Upgrading to double glazing will see a noticeable effect on the thermal efficiency of your home. Having energy-efficient double glazing will provide a broad range of benefits, such as reducing condensation and noise and generally making the house more comfortable. The two panes of glass that are used for double glazed windows are typically filled with air or, more prominently, an inert gas; each is tightly sealed. Argon gas is used in between each pane and is more insulating than air.

Is triple glazing better than double glazing?

Triple glazing can certainly be an upgrade in some areas. Triple glazed windows are typically more comfortable due to their heat retention as well as their acoustic insulation and noise reduction. The slightly lower U values can also help in reducing condensation even further, thanks to the heat being kept inside more and keeping the colder outside temperatures mixing with the warmer internal air. While triple glazing has its benefits, that is not to say that double glazing is anything close to being inferior. Double glazing still offers a myriad of benefits, such as the fact that it is generally less expensive than triple glazing and still provides a great all-round performance.

What material is the best for new windows?

  • Timber - timber windows provide great levels of insulation and give a stunning natural aesthetic. Softwood and hardwood are two options for wooden windows. Softwood is generally the less expensive option and can easily suit both modern and traditional homes, while hardwood is typically more popular on traditional properties. Timber is one of the most insulating and long-lasting materials thanks to its natural properties, but is also one of the hardest to maintain.
  • Aluminium - aluminium is a fantastic material to use for windows because of its natural strength, allowing designs to incorporate slim frames. The slim designs can allow a larger amount of glass to be installed within and can also easily accommodate some heavier triple glazing. These design combinations are greatly suited to contemporary homes, but they also work well with older properties. Aluminium windows are also known for their low maintenance benefits and long lifespan.
  • uPVC windows - uPVC is a very popular option for replacement windows, largely because of its value for money. UPVC windows are one of the most budget-friendly options available but they still offer a great deal when it comes to benefits and advantages. It is a very low maintenance material and can be customised in a lot of different ways, thanks to the range of colours and finishes on offer.

How do windows get condensation?

Condensation forms when the damp, warm air comes into contact with the cold glass on a window. Generally, condensation forms through the air inside a room being warmer than the surface temperature of the window. It is common during the winter because of the need and temptation to turn up to heating to combat the cold. That, combined with usual factors such as cooking and showering, means that condensation is likely to build up quicker.

How to prevent condensation on windows

Condensation is not always a bad thing, though it can be detrimental to one's health if it is not dealt with. Not only that, but it can cause damage to window frames and ceilings, as well as damp walls and a build-up of mould. The damp and mould can lead to health issues such as allergies and asthma.

Ventilation is a key factor when it comes to preventing condensation. An easy way to increase ventilation within the home is to open windows where possible and avoid draught-proofing windows in the most prone areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens. If you do not have an extractor fan, then this is particularly vital because otherwise there will be nowhere for the moisture to go. Showers and cooking are two of the most common causes of condensation.

Other simple ways to try and prevent condensation include investing in a dehumidifier, ensuring you have lids on while cooking and, if possible, drying clothes outside.

Do you need planning permission for windows?

If you are replacing a window with one that is similar in size and appearance, then you will likely not require planning permission. When installing new windows, however, there are cases where you may in fact need planning permission. Such cases include:

  • installing a window at a side elevation that can open and is not obscure-glazed, unless the part that opens is 170cm above the floor level
  • fitting a skylight that goes beyond 150mm of the plane of the roof slope or is higher than the apex of the roof
  • living in a listed building, area of outstanding natural beauty or other designated areas
  • your area falls under an Article 4 Direction

Do you need Building Regulations for new windows?

Building Regulations are based on the quality and way a structure is built to ensure safety standards are met. There are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to new windows and Building Regulations. These include ventilation, fire safety, thermal heat loss and safety glazing.

All building control approval is taken care of by us here at Lifestyle.

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