When was the last time you really looked at your windows? Not through them, at them?
While they were designed to bring natural light into your home and provide a means of ventilation, without proper care, your home’s windows will likely wear out prematurely and need to be replaced.
If you’re like many homeowners, you may not spend enough time doing what’s necessary to keep your windows operating and looking like new. Basic maintenance methods apply to all window styles, but by understanding how each style and material works, you’ll be able to keep them in excellent condition for years to come.
A Thorough Cleaning
Windows are the first line of defense against nature and the elements. They are exposed to adverse weather conditions including punishing winds, sizzling heat from the sun, frigid cold temperatures, and damaging moisture from all kinds of weather conditions.
Combine all these conditions with the build-up of dirt and debris, and you’ll soon notice extreme wear on all of your windows.
Regular cleaning can help keep your windows looking good and reduce problems. Here’s what should be included in your regular routine:
- Wipe away dirt build-up with a damp cloth and mild cleaner.
- Open the windows and remove leaves, sticks, pine needles, spider webs and insects and other debris with a soft brush.
- Keep window panes clean with a spray glass cleaner or a solution of white vinegar and water. Try using newspaper instead of paper towels for a streak-free shine. You can also use lint and scratch free Microfiber Glass Cloth. It works perfectly with all windows and glass surfaces.
- Make sure to clean the window casing and adjacent wall to keep the build-up of dirt to a minimum.
- Be careful not to use too much water as this can contribute to damage such as rotting and swelling, mold and mildew growth, and window jams.
Each season you should assess the structural integrity of all windows. Signs of moisture infiltration will be evident in areas of discolouration and spongy consistency. Use a metal rod to probe areas of concern.
Check the condition of any weather stripping. It should be flexible enough (not hard) to compress and eliminate air infiltration. Replace any worn or damaged pieces.
Look for fogging or condensation build-up between double- or triple-pane windows. A broken glazing seal will cause this problem and will reduce the insulating properties of your windows.
Inspect for brittle or warped frames. These may be more prevalent in areas that are exposed to sunlight for extended periods throughout the day. You may notice that the paint has peeled on those windows also.
Gaps between the window casing and wall are common when your home settles or from constant weather exposure.
Check for any openings or broken seals where warm air can escape and cold air can infiltrate and reduce your home’s overall energy efficiency.
- Use latex caulk to fill spaces between the window casing and wall inside.
- Replace rubber gasket seals that keep water and air from leaking inside.
- Fill areas around the inside perimeter of your windows with insulation to reduce drafts and utility bills.
- Caulk any exterior window gaps.
It’s important to keep your wood and metal window frames protected so they’ll continue to look like new. Re-paint every three to four years, but make sure to thoroughly clean them and remove any loose or peeling paint first. To keep your windows operating smoothly, be sure to paint with the window open and allow to dry before closing.
Remove splattered paint from the glass with one cup of boiling white vinegar and a soaked cloth. Rub the cloth on affected areas to loosen paint. Stubborn paint spots can be removed with a single-edged razor blade and soapy water. Be sure to position the blade at a 45-degree angle to avoid scratching or damaging the glass.
Repair or Replace Damaged Parts
Wood windows are especially susceptible to damage and deterioration, so you’ll want to repair any rotted areas, splinters, holes and cracks as soon as possible. Minor decay can be repaired by using a screwdriver and epoxy putty. Scrape out the rotted sections, fill with putty, smooth out with sandpaper and finish with primer and paint for a like-new window frame.
Cracked or broken glass in any window style should be replaced quickly for maximum safety and security. Even minor cracks can compromise the strength of the window and allow air to leak into your home. Cracks in double- and triple-pane windows filled with argon gas will allow the gas to escape and result in wasted energy and higher utility bills.
Broken hardware such as locks, handles, tracks and hinges should all be replaced to keep your family members safe and secure.
Wood-boring insects can not only be a nuisance but can severely damage your wood windows.
- Termites are common and can destroy anything in their path. Tell-tale signs are mud tubes, cracked or bubbling paint, and the winged insects inside or outside your home. Use termite bait or a chemical treatment to prevent future infestation.
- Small holes in your window frames may indicate a problem with wood-boring beetles. The larvae can live inside your home from two to five years. These insects will actually eat the wood and permanently destroy your windows, so paint on an insecticide specially made to kill the beetles.
- Carpenter ants are another wood-boring insect that can do major damage to your wooden window frames. They bore holes in order to make their nests inside. Before treating your windows with spray pesticide, destroy nests outside and use ant traps or spray inside to kill any ants there.
Screen Maintenance, Repair and Replacement
Window screens are an excellent way to ventilate your home while keeping insects and animals out. Of course, they’re also exposed to all types of weather conditions that cause dirt build-up and deterioration.
Regular cleaning and repair of holes, rips and tears will keep them operating properly. You may need to replace the spline that holds the screen in place as it can disintegrate over time.
Eliminate Mold and Mildew
Excess moisture and condensation build-up can lead to mold and mildew growth on your window sills. It not only affects the look of your windows, it can also be a health hazard for you and your family.
Special care should be taken to remove mold so spores won’t be spread throughout your home. Clean the affected area with dish detergent, baking soda and water; then, disinfect with a bleach and water mixture.
Clean Out Weep Holes
Weep are included in your window sills to allow excess moisture to escape, and breather holes allow fresh air in. Both types of holes help keep the window from building up condensation.
These holes typically plug up from dirt or get painted over. Clear any blocked holes with a wire or toothpick to keep them operating properly.
While taking care of your windows can require a little time and effort, regular maintenance is necessary to keep them performing properly and looking like new. When it’s finally time to install replacement windows, be sure to contact Ecoline Windows for an expert consultation and no-obligation estimate.
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