Buying windows is a significant investment that should last a minimum of 15-20 years. To extend longevity, there are basic window maintenance tasks you can complete on an annual basis.
While most window maintenance tasks are simple, they make a significant impact. Here’s what to consider.
Window Maintenance Tasks to Complete Each Year
Basic cleaning and care will keep your windows in top-notch condition.
Inspect Your Windows Annually
Inspect your windows at least once a year, looking at the inside and outside components. Look for peeling caulk around the frames, check for cracks in the glass, and gaps around the edges. Gapping or eroding caulk can allow drafts into your home.
Also, take note of chipped paint or excess moisture on or around the windows. If you catch issues early, you can make minor repairs. But, if you let small problems slide, you might deal with major repairs down the road.
In addition to checking windows annually, inspect them after hail or wind storms.
Clean the Glass and Frames 1-2 times per Year
When dirt sits on your window frames, it can wear down the finish over time. Wash the outside of your windows one to two times per year. Use a special window cleaner or a mix of water and gentle soap.
If you live near the ocean, you must clean the outside of your windows at least four times per year to wash away excess salt.
Clean the inside glass and frames just as often. You can use a glass cleaner and microfiber cloth on the glass portion. A gentle cleaner of soap and water will remove dirt on the frames.
Maintain your Frames
Window frame maintenance varies by material. For example, vinyl, wood-clad, and fiberglass windows don’t need extra care – wash the frames and exterior glass at least a couple of times per year. Wood, on the other hand, requires more upkeep.
When inspecting your wood frames, note any chipping or peeling paint. You can fix minor rotting with an epoxy filler. If your paint is peeling, it’s time to refinish the windows. Depending on the type of paint or finish you use, plan on refinishing wood window frames every 5-10 years.
Clean Window Tracks and Lubricate them if Needed
Over time window tracks accumulate dirt that prevents the windows from opening and closing. Combat this by vacuuming your window tracks once per year. Then, wipe them down with a damp microfiber cloth.
Add a lubricant to the track for hard-to-open windows.
Insulate Your Windows During Frigid Temps
Frigid winter tips can cause the weather seal on windows to crack or warp. If you’re dealing with extreme cold, use a window insulation kit for added protection.
Monitor Condensation Issues
Minor condensation on the interior or exterior glass is not a huge cause for concern. But if condensation is a common problem and is left to sit on the window, it can cause mold, rotting, and warping. The easiest fix is to monitor humidity levels in your home.
If condensation occurs between the glass, your window’s seal is no longer intact, and you need to replace the sash or insulated glass unit.
What to Do If You Find Window Damage
Basic maintenance and cleaning will keep your windows functioning as they should. If you find damage, check if it’s something you can repair or if you need to replace your windows.
Also, check the manufacturer’s warranty. Many windows come with a lifetime warranty that covers the glass and frame for at least 15 years. If the warranty doesn’t cover your window damage, consult a contractor for advice.