As a homeowner you may be responsible for your windows and need to undertake home window maintenance on an regular basis. Our article offers you six top tips on how to go about inspecting and maintaining your windows.
Essential Window Maintenance for Homeowners
Regular maintenance is crucial for extending the lifespan of windows and avoiding costly window repairs down the road. Simple tasks like sealing air leaks, replacing weatherstripping, and lubricating moving parts can prevent minor issues from escalating into major window breakdowns requiring professional repairs or even full window replacement.
This article will provide homeowners with an overview of essential DIY window maintenance tips to incorporate into regular home upkeep.
Topics covered will include inspecting and replacing weatherstripping, sealing air leaks, cleaning windows and tracks, lubricating parts, fixing screens, safety precautions, and recommendations for a preventative maintenance schedule.
Following these best practices for window care will reduce the need for window repair services and provide homeowners with maximum value from their windows.
Check and Replace Weatherstripping
One of the most important aspects of window maintenance is checking the condition of your weatherstripping and replacing it if needed. Signs that your weatherstripping needs replacement include noticing drafts around windows, seeing visible cracks or wear, increased energy costs from air leaks, and interior moisture that can lead to foggy window repair needs.
The most common weatherstripping materials are foam, rubber, vinyl, pile, and plastic. Measure the existing weatherstripping carefully before purchasing replacements. Account for the height, width, thickness and any special shapes needed.
Have materials ready to go before removing old weatherstripping. Carefully pry out the old weatherstripping using a putty knife. Make sure the area is clean and dry before applying new weatherstripping.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, allowing recommended drying time. Press the weatherstripping firmly into place along the window frames and sashes. Use a utility knife to trim off any excess material.
Take care to properly seal corners and ends. Maintaining quality weatherstripping will seal air leaks, stop drafts, improve energy efficiency and help reduce window fogging and condensation issues.
Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks around windows can occur in various spots, usually where two different building materials meet, such as the joints between the window frame and the wall.
Drafts around windows can be located by carefully running your hand around each window to feel for air movement. Another simple test is to use a candle flame – if the flame flickers and wavers around a window when there is no wind, that indicates an air leak.
For a more thorough test, hire an energy auditor to use special tools like blower doors, thermal imaging cameras, or smoke pens to pinpoint air leaks. Once you’ve identified the leaks, use caulk or weatherstripping to seal them.
Silicone or latex caulk works for small gaps, while larger gaps may require foam sealant. Remove any loose old caulk, clean and dry the area thoroughly, then apply the new caulk or sealant per the manufacturer’s directions. Sealing these air leaks will improve energy efficiency and comfort in the home.
Clean Windows and Tracks
Cleaning windows and window tracks regularly helps maintain their appearance and function. To clean glass surfaces, you’ll need a specialized glass cleaner, a sponge or soft cloth, a squeegee, and paper towels.
Avoid using abrasive cleaners or materials that could scratch the glass and require commercial glass repair. Carefully apply the glass cleaner to exterior and interior window surfaces using a sponge or cloth in a circular motion. Use a squeegee to wipe horizontal surfaces in overlapping strokes. Follow with a dry cloth to absorb any excess cleaner.
For window tracks, use a narrow vacuum attachment to suck out dirt and debris. Compressed air can also help dislodge buildup. Use a moist cloth with a small amount of mild non-abrasive cleaner to wipe tracks.
Avoid saturating tracks as this can damage windows over time. Take time to thoroughly dry any excess liquid and make sure no debris remains in the tracks before closing the windows. Regular glass and track cleaning allows windows to operate smoothly and maintains maximum visibility.
Lubricate Moving Parts
Regular lubrication keeps window parts moving smoothly. Signs that lubrication is needed include sticky operation, squeaking, and increased resistance when opening or closing windows.
Use light household oil, silicone spray, or powdered graphite to lubricate window hinges, pulleys, and sliding mechanisms. Avoid petroleum-based products that can damage parts. Carefully clean areas needing lubrication.
Apply lubricant sparingly to hinges, pulleys and tracks per product instructions. Move windows back and forth to distribute lubricant evenly. Wipe away any drips or excess. Lubricating moving parts reduces friction and wear, allowing windows to function properly.
Check and Repair Window Screens
Window maintenance may require you looking at and managing window screens.
Inspect window screens once a year and repair any holes, tears or other damage. Small holes or tears can often be patched with a window screen repair kit containing material that hardens into a durable patch. For larger holes or more extensive damage, the entire screen may need replacement.
To remove window screens, locate the spring clips and use a flathead screwdriver to detach them from the frame. Place labels noting which window the screen came from. Clean the screen thoroughly and make any repairs or replacements needed.
When reinstalling, make sure the screen is fitted tightly within the frame and replace all spring clips to hold it firmly in place. Maintaining secure, damage-free screens allows air flow while keeping insects out.
Safety and Prevention
Take proper safety precautions when during any window maintenance to avoid injury. Use extreme care when working at heights and utilize proper equipment like ladders and scaffolding. Wear gloves to protect hands from sharp edges or irritating chemicals. Read and follow all manufacturer instructions for any products or materials used.
Establish a routine maintenance schedule for tasks like lubricating, sealing, and cleaning to catch issues before they become big problems. Take care not to over-lubricate or apply too much sealant.
Take time to do repairs properly instead of quick temporary fixes. Routine preventative maintenance paired with safe work practices will lead to smoothly operating, long-lasting windows while avoiding safety hazards. Consider hiring a professional if you are uncomfortable performing any high or hazardous maintenance tasks.
Home window maintenance in summary
Regular window maintenance including cleaning, lubricating, sealing, and screening should be performed to keep windows functioning properly over their lifetime. Thorough cleaning inside and out makes windows shine while removing debris that can impede function.
Lubricating hinges, pulleys, and tracks maintains smooth operation. Checking and resealing areas prone to air leaks improves energy efficiency. Patching or replacing damaged screens prevents unwanted pests from entering. Establishing a routine seasonal maintenance schedule catches small issues before they become big problems.
For any window maintenance beyond basic DIY skills, rely on experienced professionals like a local wood window repair company. Following proper maintenance procedures extends window life, improves appearance and performance, and prevents expensive repairs down the road.