A lot of people don't think twice about their homes' windows—as long as you can see through them and get some air and natural light, what's left to think about? But windows are structural openings after all, and without proper installation and maintenance, they can be a silent enemy of household comfort. No matter how hard your furnace or air conditioner might be working, a compromised window can leave you exposed to the elements—and paying way too much on those energy bills.
Anyplace there are connections in a building’s envelope, whether they are seams in the roofing material, the area where a window penetrates the structure, or elsewhere, there is the potential for that connection to break or wear down. Windows are a frequent spot where the weatherproof seal fails, but knowing the signs of deterioration can tip both residents and building staff off before a minor fix becomes a major problem.
Sometimes windows just need to be replaced outright, especially if they are outdated and no longer perform their function well. But how do you tell? With a bit of knowledge, co-op and condo residents can be aware of the money being saved or lost as a result of the type of windows they have, and can plan accordingly.
As far as windows are concerned, New Jersey's diverse housing stock runs the gamut. Many older high-rise buildings in New Jersey’s Gold Coast area have large single-glazed windows, with small operable portions at the bottom for ventilation, or curtain wall window systems. Other Garden State condo buildings are low-rises between two and eight stories, many of which have double-hung windows.
Windows in low-rise buildings often can be improved with new vinyl or aluminum replacement window frames. Due to the robust competition between manufacturing companies, the cost of those windows is relatively low and replacement is a fairly straightforward process that doesn’t create major disruptions for residents. Residents should check their governing documents or with the manager to see if replacing windows is their responsibility or the association board.