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Windows have a lifespan of 20 to 50 years: Plastic or metal windows (30 to 50 years) last longer than wooden windows (20 to 40 years), but they require more frequent maintenance. Insulating glazing lasts 25 years. If you don't know how old the windows in your house or apartment are, find out with a simple test. Hold a lit candle up to the window and look closely at the pane:
If, despite the candle test, you are unsure how old the windows in your house or apartment are, there are other clues as to whether or not they are still tight:
You do not have to replace double-glazed windows or triple-glazed windows just because a moving part has failed to withstand the load. It is often worthwhile to have such damage professionally repaired by a window maker. For example, if a hinge is broken or the hardware needs to be replaced. It is also worth replacing window handles, rubber seals or hinge covers. If the damage is more extensive, window replacement often makes more sense than window renovation. Especially in the case of non-insulation glazed windows. Often, spare parts such as hardware or hinges are no longer available for such old windows.
There are three reasons for window replacement besides energy saving potential: frame breakage, glass breakage and leakage.
If you replace only one window in a house that is not yet insulated, for example in the living room, the window could become a cold bridge because it insulates better than the facade.
If you replace all the windows in a non-insulated house, the risk of mold increases. That's why replacing windows is the best time to think about energy renovation. It avoids heat loss, saves energy costs and pays for itself quickly.
New windows have many advantages. These are the five most important advantages, sorted alphabetically:
The cost depends on the frame material, window size and glazing. Good window makers charge 100 to 120 Swiss francs an hour. Expect to pay 600 to 1,000 Swiss francs or more (including installation) for a triple-glazed insulating window:
A double-glazed window costs about 100 Swiss francs less. If you want to make a rough estimate of the cost, count on 350 to 500 Swiss francs per square meter of window area for double-glazed windows and 400 to 600 Swiss francs per square meter of window area for triple-glazed windows. Options such as tilt and turn hardware, better soundproofing or safety glass will cost extra, as will the time it takes to get there and back. On the other hand, the cost of professional disposal of the old windows is usually included in the price of window replacement.
Windows with one sash cost less than windows with two sashes, simple casement windows are cheaper than windows with turn or tilt fittings.
No. If only the windows are renovated in a non-insulated house, the humidity rises and collects as moisture in the masonry instead of as condensation on the window. This creates mold, which threatens the fabric of the building. This is why the subsidy programs generally only finance window replacement as part of overall energy renovations (see measures M-10 to M-15 in the harmonized subsidy model of the cantons from 2015 - available only in German).
Aluminum, wood or plastic? The decision depends on your budget, taste and house. The materials are equal in terms of burglary protection, energy consumption, indoor climate and sound insulation. Thus, the materials for window frames differ:
The choice of windows is simple. Since the late 2000s, all windows in Switzerland have been triple-glazed as standard. They reduce the heat transfer of the gas in the spaces between the panes, therefore have a higher thermal insulation value (U-value) of 0.5 to 0.6 watts and insulate just as well as a solidly insulated wall. Triple-glazed windows insulate about 80 percent better than double-glazed windows, which were standard until the late 2000s. That's why new windows are a simple, effective and comparatively inexpensive measure to improve the energy efficiency of older houses or apartments.
Minergie windows are more energy-efficient than other windows because the space between the three panes is filled with inert gases and therefore no heat can escape. The higher energy efficiency compensates for the additional costs comparatively quickly.
Skylights are more stressed than other windows because they are more exposed to wind and weather. That's why they only last about 25 years and should be serviced every 6 to 8 years. You should also check them thoroughly at least once a year for cracks and damage to the frame, rotted wood frames, gaps between frame components, fogged windows, and brittle or missing seals. If you have the facade and roof insulated, you should also replace the skylight(s) so that the whole building envelope is perfectly insulated from the point of view of building physics.
Many homeowners replace windows to improve energy efficiency and save money on the bottom line. A window renovation with insulating windows of energy efficiency class A has an energy saving potential of 5 to 10 percent. If you enlarge the windows on the sunny side, you optimize the energy balance because you gain more energy thanks to the larger area of sunlight than you lose through heat loss. If the house or apartment has not yet been renovated for energy efficiency, you should think about it before replacing the windows. Thanks to new windows, a new heating system and better exterior insulation, you can save up to 60 instead of 5 to 10 percent energy. Use our energy calculator to check the energy efficiency class of your house or apartment, simulate the impact of energy renovations, analyze the savings potential and calculate the investment costs, taking into account any subsidies.