The windows on your home play a critical role in regulating the temperature, breezes, noise level, sun-rays, moisture and amount of dust inside the house. They offer you a view of the outdoors and are a major accent to your home’s appearance.

Therefore, having windows that are beautiful, durable, functional and energy-efficient is not just a luxury, but also a truly essential feature on your home. But how do you know when it’s time to bite the bullet and replace your old windows?

Do your windows need an upgrade? Here are 6 signs that it may be time for window replacement.

1. Unable to open and close

You’ve probably experienced the frustration of rushing to your windows one cool fall morning to let the lovely breeze in the house, only to discover that your windows no longer open. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as the foundation shifting, the frame deteriorating and sticking due to heat or the windows actually being painted shut.

On the other hand, you may have tried to close your windows as tight as possible to prevent a cold winter draft or dust cloud from seeping in, only to become frustrated that the frame doesn’t seal completely closed anymore.

These issues are driving up your monthly energy bill, as well as eliminating an emergency escape route. Replacing them with new windows that are custom-built to fit the opening will not only save you money every month, but can also prevent a lot of frustration.

2. Fog between the glass panes

When the seal on the glass panes of a double-pane window fails, air and moisture enter the window and cause the irritating fog that blocks your view and is impossible to clean off. Sometimes this problem can be solved by simply having the seal fixed, but if the bigger issue is that the window frames themselves have warped, you will continue to experience seal failure time and time again.

Replacement windows that are designed with a high quality seal and built for each window opening will eliminate your foggy window pane problems.

3. Faded carpet, drapes and upholstery

The UV rays of the sun that enter through your windows will damage and fade your interior fabrics over time, particularly in rooms that face south or west and experience the harshest temperatures of the day. Replacing your old windows with new ones that have low-E glass will reflect the harmful rays and just allow the natural light indoors.

4. Moisture collecting on the windowsill

If the window sashes don’t fully close or have proper caulking around the frame, moisture can collect on the windowsill and begin to damage the wall around the window. Water damage that penetrates into the house frame can potentially lead to significant repairs that would cost thousands of dollars. A much more cost-effective solution is to prevent the water damage in the first place with replacement windows that seal properly.

5. Extreme temperatures inside and high energy bills

Most of us have felt the pain of paying for high heating and cooling bills, but with a harsh climate, the two choices are to either suffer extreme temperatures indoors or empty our wallets to keep the indoors comfortable.

The good news is that replacement windows can make a dramatic impact on both the interior temperature and your monthly energy bills by helping keep the very hot or cold air outside.

6. Warped frames or cracked paint

The aesthetics of your windows are also important and shouldn’t be neglected. It’s a great thing to enjoy the way your home looks, because it is your haven. If you are tired of outdated and deteriorating window frames, it may be time to treat your home to a brand new look. Additionally, this will add significant value to your home, should you wish to sell it in the future.

After inspecting your windows for these six signs of needing replacement, how do they measure up? Are they passing with flying colors, falling slightly under par or is it time to get information on the best replacement option?

Whatever your needs are, it’s important to be well educated so that you can make the right decision at the right time.