Maintenance Check: How to Spot Window Problems
Tips on Identifying and Addressing Window Problems
Some say that the windows are the eyes of the house, letting in light and letting its occupants see the outside world around them. However, sunlight isn't the only thing that our home's windows let in. Drafts, moisture, dirt, and critters. Those are the other more unpleasant things that windows can let in if we do not maintain them. When house hunting, one of the number one feelings that people want their future home to exude is "Light, bright, and sunny." It is obvious that home buyers, as well as homeowners, think windows are very important. So with this in mind, keeping your windows in good working order is too.
Common Causes of Window Damage
Physical Damage - This is the obvious one. If you see something broken, you fix it. A cracked or broken pane, or damaged locks that aren't functional are commonly damaged parts of windows.
Water Damage - When the caulking is not maintained properly, water can seep in. If your window appears to be leaking, this also could be an indicator of a leak elsewhere in your home.
The Age of the Windows - There are varied schools of thought on how soon aging windows should be replaced, or if they should be replaced at all. There are many conservationists who state that original windows are the best windows. After all, they were designed to last for centuries, and replacing them could affect the overall value of your home. If you have a very old house, or even a home that borders on historic, it would be worth the effort to maintain the current original windows. Most people openly believe that new is better, more energy efficient, and easier to maintain. However, even in the newer windows, newer does not always equal better, and there are many inferior replacement products out there. Either way, if you are considering replacing your windows, be sure to do your due diligence, and research before purchasing.
A Good Look
Giving your windows a once over every month is a good way to keep up on needed maintenance and keep bigger problems at bay. Be sure to look at your windows from the inside as well as the outside. Here are the types of issues that are most common in windows.
Seal Failure - When a window looks cloudy or there is moisture in between the panes of glass, this could be an indication of seal failure. Though this issue is mostly cosmetic, a broken seal does somewhat reduce the efficiency of your window. Contact a professional to address this issue, by either repairing or replacing your window.
Air Leaks - To test if your window is leaking air, light a candle, and trace the outline of your window. A leaky window will pull the candle flame in one direction. To fix this problem, replace the caulking around your window, inside and out.
Damaged Screens - If you have holes in your screens, any bugs will take this as an open invitation to come into your home. Make sure that your screens don't have holes, or tears in them, and that they are secure.
Locks - For safety reasons, give your locks a test during your once-over. Also, check that your windows have a smooth operation. If a window is the only method of exiting your home in the case of an emergency, you want to make sure that there is no trouble getting it open. This is also a good time to clean the debris from the window tracks as well. This will ensure a good seal when your window is closed, and that dirt and dead bugs aren't on your sill.
A good habit is to put a reminder on your calendar or your phone for a bi-annual window check. When you are washing your windows, for instance, is a perfect time to inspect while you are cleaning. Inspecting priority areas of your home on a regular basis helps keep small issues from becoming larger.