Window Maintenance Guide
If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t think a lot about maintaining your windows beyond cleaning the panes and sills when needed. For the most part, your windows are an afterthought as they protect against the elements, provide views of the surroundings, and allow you to ventilate your home when you want. However, if you want to keep your windows looking and functioning as they did the day they were installed, there are regular maintenance steps that you may want to be familiar with. Replacement windows are a significant investment, and taking the time to make sure they’re in good condition can help ensure that you get the most out of them.
How to Properly Maintain Your Windows
Some of the steps in the window maintenance process are tied to specific seasonal issues and some steps should happen every few months regardless of the weather outside.
The most basic year-round task is proper cleaning. This process should be done using non-abrasive products. It’s important to regularly clean the:
- Panes – The most obvious area of a window that needs regular cleaning is the glass. Using non-abrasive cleaners is important so you don’t harm any Low E coatings. Also, avoid pressure washing your windows, as this can damage seals and films.
- Casings, caulking, and seals – The window casing surrounds the glass panes and is bound to the frame by the caulking and seals. Regular cleaning of these components will help prevent the buildup of dirt that can cause your windows to jam.
- Tracks – This is the area of the windows that usually collects the most dirt and debris. It’s important that you clean the tracks regularly to allow your windows to continue to open and close smoothly.
- Frames and sashes – It’s important to wipe down the frames and sashes every once in a while to keep your windows looking like new.
- Hardware – You should wipe down your window locks and clasps, and lubricate them if they’re getting harder to operate.
- Screens – Cleaning your screens will improve your views of the surroundings. Also be sure to inspect for tears or holes that may allow insects to enter your home.
Your windows play an important role in your home’s thermal performance. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that up to 30% of residential heating and cooling energy usage can be tied to inefficient windows that don’t adequately prevent heat transfer. Some signs that your windows might not be performing as expected include areas of your home that are colder than others, or noticeable air drafts near windows.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you perform a few winter maintenance tasks to help your windows keep your home as energy efficient as possible. This will lighten the workload for your heating system and reduce your monthly energy costs. You should:
- Remove dirt and debris from the tracks to ensure that your windows are sealing properly when they’re closed.
- Inspect the caulking and weatherstripping. Year-round exposure to the elements can make loosen weatherstripping or make it brittle, and caulking can easily pull away from the window frame or develop cracks.
- Remove screens that might not be able to withstand heavy snowstorms, or consider installing storm windows over them.
- Lock your windows to push the sash down and ensure the tightest seal possible.
Once the temperatures start warming up, there are a few maintenance steps you should take to undo any damage that the harsh New England winter may have inflicted:
- Spring cleaning also includes your windows and screens, as they’ve likely built up a layer of grime during the colder months.
- Extreme temperature swings can cause windows to expand and contract, damaging caulking. Be sure to look for any areas that need to be repaired or redone.
Other General Maintenance Tips
If your window frames and sashes are made of wood, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the finish and repaint or refinish if you start to notice signs of trouble. This will protect your windows against damage from the elements. And no matter what material your windows are made of, you should make sure that the tracks stay lubricated so your windows will continue to operate as they’re supposed to.
New England’s Window Experts
If you’ve done everything you can to maintain your windows properly but they’re still not performing as you’d like, it’s probably time for new windows. At NEWPRO, we offer three different lines of high-performance replacement windows that are engineered to perform reliably in the New England climate. Contact us today and we’ll visit your home to tell you about our window options and provide a no-obligation estimate.