It’s easy to think of your home’s windows as being visual enablers that merely allow daylight to come in, and you to look out. However, in addition to that function, windows also need to perform, almost as well as walls do, in their role as barriers that protect you from the outside environment. As a homeowner, if you neglect this critical factor, you may be compromising the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. By paying attention to the condition of your windows’ frames, panes, closure seals and lock mechanisms, you can determine whether they are underperforming. Look for condensation “fog” on or within the glass, as well as loose or rattling sashes and sliders, and dried-out or cracked caulking or weather-stripping around the glass and frame. If you are uncertain, consult a reputable company for an energy leak assessment, then get quotes for windows that are certified for their performance and longevity, and installed with a guarantee. If you decide to buy new windows, consider a design that complements your home’s architecture, as their style can contribute to your home’s resale value, just as their energy efficiency can.