How to Take Care of Your Home’s Windows
Windows are a huge part of both the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your home. Making sure that they last as long as possible isn’t too hard, and is essential for the wellbeing of your home.
No matter if you have just installed new windows or have windows from the Stone Age, it is never too late to start taking care of them properly. We have created an informational checklist that describes how to take care of each part of your window and what to watch out for.
Cleaning the Glass
When we think “clean the windows,” the part of the window that usually comes to mind is its glass. It’s pretty clear when the glass needs to be cleaned–or rather, the glass becomes unclear.
While it does matter what kind of windows you have in order to clean them best, there are some general rules to follow.
- Avoid abrasive cleaning materials, including those with high-alcohol concentration or petroleum-based formulas.
- Use gentle cleaners like Windex, or simply use some water with a bit of gentle soap.
- Don’t use a pressure washer; they can damage parts of the window and break seals.
- If possible, don’t wash in direct sunlight. This can help prevent streaking; the sun evaporates the water from the cleaner quickly, leaving behind the chemicals.
- Never use anything abrasive, such as a knife, for scraping gunk off. This could scratch and potentially ruin your window.
- Use a gentle cloth or paper towel to wipe the windows dry.
- Window screens can either be vacuumed with the soft, bristled attachment hose, or taken out of the window and cleaned with water and a soft brush before being left to air dry.
- When painting or staining the frame, cover the glass of the window to avoid splattering. Avoid adhesives if possible. If not possible, be quick to remove it after the job is complete.
These basic rules will keep just about any type of window clean and functioning. If you are concerned about your specific type of window glass, however, contact the installation company to learn about their recommended maintenance practices.
Cleaning the Frame
The frame of your window gets just as dirty–if not more–as window panes. Cleaning them will add to the curb appeal of your home and keep them working for as long as possible.
There are various types of frames. Since they are made of fundamentally different materials, the cleaning process and suggested maintenance tips may differ between them.
For wood frames:
- Since wood is an organic material, wood frames need more upkeep than the vinyl or aluminum frames. Clean them semi-annually for best results.
- For cleaning, use water and a soft brush or cloth.
- If you notice a lot of dirt buildup, you can add some soap to the water to help scrub away the grease and grime.
- When using soap, make sure to rinse thoroughly in order to protect the wood finish
- Touch up scratches immediately. Use paint to hide them, or use a wood finish to help prevent future scratches.
- Re-coat your window frames in finish every few years to increase longevity and performance.
If any part of this seems like something you can’t handle, there is absolutely no shame in contacting a professional to get the job done.
For vinyl/aluminum frames:
- Vacuum away dust and dirt that is loose in the sill and track areas before washing to avoid streaking.
- Use water–maybe with some diluted soap–and a soft brush or cloth for cleaning.
- Dry with a lint-free towel to grab moisture.
- Using paint, finish, or any other treatment is unnecessary and can sometimes void warranties.
- Ensure that the drainage and peephole areas remain unobstructed, both inside and outside of the frame.
Check vinyl/aluminum frames every few months for cleaning, but overall, these window types are fairly low-maintenance.
What to Watch Out For
While cleaning constitutes most of the maintenance you’ll ever need to perform on a window, watch for signs that your window needs more than just a good wash. These signs include, but are not limited to:
- Condensation. Condensation found on the exterior window pane can be normal in a colder climate. But if you are finding condensation on the interior pane or between the panes, your window may have a broken seal that is making it less energy-efficient–allowing inside air out and outside air in.
- Drainage. Keep the drainage areas clean of debris, insects, and dirt. If the drainage areas are blocked, flooding can occur within your windows with the possibility of ruining frames, seals, or your window as a whole.
- Color. While this doesn’t affect the structural integrity of the window, the loss of color in your window frame can draw attention to other parts of the home in direct sunlight. If your window has lost color, check furniture and flooring to make sure the discoloration remains outside. Otherwise, you have a solar energy issue and need to install solar reflective window panes or keep your curtains down during certain times of day.
- Performance. If your window creaks as it slides up or down, or doesn’t hold its position at all, it’s broken. Don’t put off fixing it because you’re used to it being broken. Putting off the maintenance of a window can cause further damage that could result in the whole window needing to be replaced instead of just small parts.
If you are ever unsure about whether you should clean our pane or frame a certain way, consult with the manufacturer’s specific instructions. Go to their website to find information about your particular window, or simply call them. They will be more than happy to help those looking to take care of their windows and increase the lifespan.
No matter what, you won’t regret taking special care of your windows so that you can have them for as long as possible.