In aging New York City apartments, outdated windows can cause major inconveniences for owners and renters alike. Changing your windows can make a world of difference, but you want to be sure you’re addressing every issue before choosing your new windows.
Common Problems and Solutions
The windows in your apartment or home are probably the last thing you think about on a day-to-day basis. However, they could be a contributing factor to many of your living complaints.
- Heating and cooling efficiency. Cooler weather is quickly approaching and you don’t want the heat you’re paying for to go right out the window (literally). Heat transfer through windows is responsible for 25%-30% of residential heating/cooling energy use. You can mitigate the energy loss by checking for air leaks in your existing windows, caulking and weatherstripping, re-glazing the panes or investing in higher quality window treatments. However, replacing your windows altogether is another option. The ENERGY STAR label indicates that you’re buying the most efficient windows for your needs.
- Acoustics. What you hear in your home is a huge part of life. If all the sounds are muddied and unclear because of poor acoustics, it can be frustrating. Large windows can let in attractive natural light, but they can also be an acoustic nightmare. Not to mention that you may not want all the sounds of your city to have a direct tunnel into your home. If you value a quiet environment and high sound quality from the electronics and voices around your home, you can opt to soundproof your existing windows or replace them with soundproof windows.
- Safety. If your windows have cracks in them or no longer lock, it is best to replace them. Even those who live in the safest neighborhoods should always remember that your windows are a major part of your home security system, especially if they are easily accessible.
All About Aesthetics
While functionality is arguably the most important part of your windows, you should also consider the aesthetics.
The most common framing options are solid wood, vinyl, aluminum or fiberglass. Regardless of the frame, you can choose from a variety of window styles to fit your home’s needs. Casement style, single-hung, double-hung, awning-style and fixed windows are all popular options.
Many of the renovations I do with East River Partners incorporate original stained glass windows that would be a shame to get rid of. If your living space has similar architectural uniqueness, consider hiring a professional to analyze their efficiency and find the best solutions.
For safety and best results, it is recommended that you hire a professional instead of attempting the job yourself. Additionally, if you own a landmark property or live in a historic district, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will need to approve the project beforehand to ensure that you’re upholding your home’s historic character.