So the groundhog says we’re in for another six weeks of cold weather (doesn’t he do that every year?), and that may have you thinking about keeping your Maryland home warmer and saving on energy costs.  New replacement windows and doors can make your home much more comfortable in the colder months and can pay for themselves over time in reduced heating – and air conditioning – bills.

How do you know when it’s time to replace?  Here are a few telltale signs:

You’re Cold!  This might seem a little obvious, but if you can feel cold air moving through your existing windows you’re wasting a lot of money.  We’ve had people tell us they can see their curtains move when the wind blows … if that describes your home, it’s time for new windows.

Seeing Daylight.  Stand inside your closed door during the day and look around the edges.  Can you see daylight?  If so, imagine how many dollar bills could fit through the gaps you see … that’s a great visual for the expensive heat that’s escaping your home.

Ummmpf! Can’t open or close your windows without a strain?  A window that doesn’t open easily means you’ll probably leave it closed in nicer weather, and that means you’ll probably use your air conditioning when you might not need to.  Similarly, a window sash that won’t stay up indicates a failure of the balance system inside.  Again, that window will tend to remain closed, and operating it can be dangerous to your fingers … and your children.

A Foggy Feeling.  If you already have double- or triple-paned windows and there’s condensation between the panes of glass, you’ve had a seal failure.  Besides not looking very nice, that means your insulated glass is no longer doing its job of protecting you from the elements.

Obstructed View: If you have old single-pane windows, chances are they’re dirty.  That’s because they’re hard to get to, so cleaning the outside glass doesn’t happen too often, especially on the upstairs windows.  Newer windows have sashes that tilt in so you can easily and safely clean both sides of the glass from inside your home.

Wooden You Like to Stop Painting?  If you’ve tried scraping and taping and painting your old wood windows, you know how tedious it can be … not to mention the danger of releasing lead paint dust in older homes.  New vinyl replacement windows never need painting, and the grids (or mullions) are sealed between the glass panes, so cleaning is super-easy.