We intend for our windows to last for years. However, the elements don’t see things they same way we do. Wind, rain, and sun damage occur if we don’t stay on top of things. Window maintenance is an important aspect of keeping our homes in the best shape they can be.
If unmaintained, the outside elements are relentless. They don’t give up until they find their way deep inside your home. The resulting damage can go unnoticed for a long time if no one is paying attention.
That’s not a pretty picture, no matter how you look at it.
Window maintenance is not exceptionally difficult nor is it expensive. Both these facts make it a DIYer’s dream job. Okay, so maybe that’s taking it over the top a bit. It can be time consuming and a bit tedious. However, the satisfaction of a job well done says something for itself, don’t you think?
If your windows are made to open in any way, they are simple machines. Letting dirt and grime accumulate can eventually affect your windows performance. Periodically clean the glass, tracks, frame, and window sill. Keeping them clean not only makes them look great, it keeps things working at peak performance.
Clean windows make it easier to detect any damage to the glass, caulking, or frame work. Sponge brushes work great for getting into the nooks and crannies, such as window track grooves. It’s easy to find a recipe for a glass cleaner online or purchase a ready-made product from the store.
Drafts go both ways
Whether it’s through a crack in the glass or the tiniest hole in the caulking or weather stripping, air finds a way to get in and out of your home. It’s amazing how even the smallest of openings affects the energy efficiency of your home. Not only does the outside air come inside, the air you are trying to keep warm or cool escapes. Therefore, window maintenance directly affects your utility costs.
That fact alone gives people the incentive to look for these culprits. You’ll find them disguised as cracks or hole in the caulking, defective weather stripping, and even cracks in window panes.
Reapplying caulk to an area when you discover damage is a great long term benefit. Also, a quick fix for cracked glass is to cover the crack with a strip of duct tape on either side of the glass. It should hold tight until you replace the pane.
Moisture is a mess in the making
Moisture comes in the form of rain, snow, or even humidity. It works its way into the structure of your home allowing mold, mildew, and wood rot to form. It starts at the place of entry, but keeps working its way into the inner recesses of your home.
If this happens over a long period of time, it comprises your home’s structural integrity. The long-term damage can be extensive. Not to mention, costly.
Routine window maintenance prevents moisture from taking a foothold. For instance, if you find some places where wood rot is setting in, scrape out the rotted place and fill with epoxy putty.
Are they all sealed up?
In addition to sealing your windows with caulk, if you have double or triple paned windows that have condensation on the inside glass you may have trouble. Double and triple paned windows provide added energy efficiency. If they were not certified reinforced windows, the space between the panes of glass is probably filled with argon gas. Air contains moisture which may allow condensation to form. If this happens, the most likely cause is that the argon gas has escaped.
The fix is probably to install a new window unit. Moreover, if you’re replacing one, it may be time to just replace them all.
There are some amazing window choices on the market today. In addition to any style and size you can imagine, impact resistant windows are a possibility as well.
Have we mentioned that windows today are extremely energy efficient? Shop around if you’re considering replacing the windows in your home. Check the energy star ratings and do the math. You are sure to discover that new windows pay for themselves over time in energy savings alone.
Speaking of sealing things up, we should mention your screens. Give them a good cleaning and check for any holes or tears.
Add a notch to the tool belt
Tackling your window maintenance is totally a Do-It-Yourself project as long as you feel comfortable with the process. Nothing is overly complicated. Just use common sense and always remember that safety comes first. When working on a ladder, for instance, resist the urge to lean over just a little farther so you can… reach… that last spot.
Taking the time to trudge down the ladder and move it over a bit counts as exercise at least. Lying in a heap on the ground with a ladder on top of you does not. No one wants to abruptly end their DIY project with a trip to the ER.
Moreover, should you discover more damage has occurred than you can scrape away with a putty knife, it’s probably a good idea to consult a professional.
Complete window replacement can get tricky. Not to mention dangerous! As a rule, ladders and glass are not a good mix for anyone. Let the professionals handle it!
When you’ve cleaned, caulked, weather stripped, and completed any minor frame repairs, you can sign this one off as a job well done.
Window maintenance is an important defense in preparing your home to stand against the elements. Adding it to your annual list of things to do is a wise choice.