No window lasts forever, but with routine care and maintenance,you can make the most of your windows and even extend each unit’s service life. While installation and major repairs are always best left to the professionals, there are quite a few window maintenance tasks you can do on your own. In fact, you don’t even have to be particularly handy around the house to carry out some of these tasks.
Cleaning a Window
Did you know that dirty windowscan reduce the amount of natural light in your home by 20%? Over time, dirt tends to build up on your window, affecting not just how it looks, but its function as well. The good news is that barring extreme cases, a thorough cleaning is all you need to give your windows new life.
Add window cleaning to your regular rotation of house cleaning chores rather than leave off the task for whenever the buildup becomes noticeable.
A tip to get rid of window streaks: Window streaks are a big post-window-cleaning eyesore. The classic trick to getting your window glass spotless is cheap, effective and Grandma-approved: newspaper. Use newspaper as you would a cleaning rag and buff the glass. Microfiber cloths work great too.
General Maintenance Tips
Once your windows are clean, give them some more TLC to keep them in good shape. You can:
- Oil movable parts to ensure smooth operation.
- Check for air leaks by giving your window a little shake. If it rattles, your frames aren’t secure, which means there are potential openings for leaks. Seal those openings with weatherstripping or caulk.
- Open and close windows a few times to gauge how well they operate. Tighten any parts that feel loose.Other Quick Fixes
Routine maintenance is important because it allows you to catch small problems before they worsen. This reduces the need for major repairs and delays the need for replacements. Most of the time, you can do a quickfix for a minor problem using items you already have in your home. Here are some examples.
- Small holes (no bigger than ⅕-inch) in window screens can be sealed with clear nail polish. Just dab a bit directly on the hole to keep insects out and keep the hole from growing bigger.
- Clear nail polish will also come in handy if you have worn-out holes for screws. Re-tighten screws by coating the threads with nail polish and screwing them back in before the coat dries. The added polish will give the screw extra grip and tighten its hold in the hole.
- If you have a window that has been painted shut, take a sharp knife and trace along the window frame’s edge to loosen the bond. If the window still won’t budge, take a 2×4 wood piece and lay it flat against the window frame. Tap the wood lightly with a hammer to break the paint seal. If the frame needs some touching up, keep the window open until the paint has dried.
Jim Drake is a window replacement expert for Renewal by Andersen of Kansas. Working for the region’s certified Renewal by Andersen® retailergetshim up close and personal with projects involving replacement windows, doors and general home improvement.