If the concept of having windows weren’t that popular, you’d have a hard time believing that such a fragile part of your home is designed for long-term security and weather protection. Somehow, windows can remain free of cracks for decades, but does that mean the window is still in proper shape?
The main reason why people think those leaky windows are still worth keeping is the wrong idea of the term “service life.” To understand what it truly means for a window to be considered “long-lasting,” you have to know the actual meaning of the term “service life”.
Service life – The total time a product can be expected to perform its functions.
To be able to perform its functions a window needs to provide:
Outside view – Windows let people indoors see what’s outside their home without having to step out.
Natural lighting – Windows are supposed to let natural light inside your house, reducing the need to turn on indoor lights.
Ventilation – One of the window’s main purposes is to keep your home ventilated by letting fresh air in and stale air out.
Heat reduction – To avoid damage caused by heat from sunlight, a window must be able to reduce greatly the heat it absorbs or reflects.
Insulation – Staying cold during summer and warm during winter greatly depends on how well your windows can keep regulated air in.
Security – Windows should be able to resist attempts at breaking in to keep you and your belongings safe from burglars or trespassers.
The actual service life of a window is the time it can perform ALL those functions. As soon as the window can no longer perform one of those key tasks, it already means the window’s effective service life is over, even if it still looks pretty. The service life of a window can be extended by repairing it, but until then, it’s considered “deteriorated.”
That being said, the only way to make a window last for a very long time is proper installation, the right choice of materials, and paying enough attention to keep it properly maintained.
Now that you know what “long lasting” actually means, check out Part 2 of this blog series, coming soon, to find out what gives a window a long service life.