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  1. Bullet Thermal flexing hot/cold cycles of double-pane windows in direct sun can also shorten their life somewhat, but eventually they all lose their gas and become clouded. One window repair company in our area offers a temporary solution: they remove one of the panes of glass. This solves the problem of cloudiness on the interior surfaces of the glass between the two panes and extends the life of the window, but eliminates any insulation benefit.

  2. Bullet Landscape sprinklers that spray on a window will reduce its life, especially wood windows. Heavy condensation is also detrimental to windows.

  3. Bullet Poor installation or structural settlement will cause windows to be difficult to operate. The stress on the window frame will also shorten its life.

  4. Bullet The quality of the operating mechanism and how often it is used will affect the life of the window.

  5. Bullet Exposure of the window to sun and rain due to location will also affect lifespan. Windows in direct sun for most of the day and with minimal roof overhang protection will have a shorter life. Skylights are an extreme example of this.

    Windows sometimes last much longer than these estimates with luck and careful maintenance, but end up being replaced for cosmetic reasons. New windows make an older house look fresh. One popular strategy that flip house investors use to increase an older home’s curb appeal is to replace the windows across only the front of a house.

    To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see our blog post “How accurate are the average lifespan ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?”

The lifespan estimates are based on reports by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) on the life expectancy of home components, along with our own experience in over 7,000 home inspections. While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
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