How You Can Replace Your Old, Drafty Windows

Replacing old single-pane windows with energy-efficient ones helps to seal your house against cold drafts during the winter to keep it warmer on freezing winter days. Newer energy-efficient windows can reduce your heat loss by up to 20%—which translates into lower heating bills. Replacing an old window is something most homeowners who can lift 25 pounds or more and who can work on a ladder can do by themselves to save money on the installation costs. If you are considering installing new windows in your home, here is how you can do it.

Remove the Bottom Window Sash

You should remove the old window while working inside the house. The first thing you need to remove is the trim around the window. You will be reusing the trim once you put the new window in, so you need to be careful that you don't break it while you are taking it off the window frame. One of the best tools to use for removing the trim is a stiff, painter's putty knife. The trim is typically secured to the frame with small finishing nails. Slide the blade of the putty knife behind the back of the trim and gently force it away from the frame a little bit at a time until all the finishing nails have been pulled out of the frame.

Remove the rope from the sides of the bottom sash. The rope fits into a slot on the side of the sash and it is connected to a weight in the window frame. The weight is what held the window up when you opened it. Take the bottom sash out of the window frame.

Remove the Top Sash

There is a thin piece of wood the runs up and down the window frame to separate the bottom sash track from the top sash track. The tracks are the slots on the frame where the sashes go up and down. The stops are typically nailed into the frame with finishing nails. You can pry the stops out with the stiff putty knife or a flathead screwdriver. Don't worry if you break the stops, as they won't be reused again. Take the rope out of the sides of the top sash and remove the sash from the frame.

Remove Pulley Wheels

The rope goes from the sash, over a pulley wheel, and to a weight in the frame. The pulley wheel will be in your way when you install the new window. Take a screwdriver and unscrew the bracket for the pulley from the frame. Remove the bracket and the pulley. You can either cut the rope or slide it into the frame, as it won't be reused with the new window.

Install New Window

Place a bead of clear silicon caulk around the backside of the exterior stop. The exterior stop keeps the window from falling out of the frame and down onto your lawn. The caulk will seal the space between the window and the stop. Slide the new window into position. The caulk will adhere to the window and keep it from falling back toward you. Open and close the window to make sure it works right.

Sometimes a section of the window needs to be adjusted to make it square so you can open and close it. You should place little wooden shimsalong the side of the window and the frame to lift one section up so the window sits right in the frame.

There are pre-drilled screw holes on the inside of the new window. Screw the window to the frame and place more clear silicon caulk around the perimeter of the window. Set the trim back onto the frame and nail it in place.

You now need to go outside to place caulk around the exterior perimeter of the frame to seal it properly and to finish the job. 

For more information on replacement windows, contact a company like JFK Window & Door Co.