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How to Take Care of Your Windows for Optimal Performance | Golden Windows

Spring in Ontario is a time of year where the weather can rapidly change from cold to hot and vice versa in the span of a day or two. These rapid temperate fluctuations can have quite the effect on your home as different parts of it expand and contract. Then there’s also the weather that’s a mix of rain, snow, heavy winds, and sometimes even intense sunlight. All of these factors can influence your home more than you may think, particularly when it comes to your windows.

A number of people tend to neglect their windows or even forget about them completely. When there are heavy rains most will worry about leaky roofs and basements but not even take a second to think about how water can damage their windows. The same goes for the heat, cold, and even a rise of humidity inside the home.

If you’re a homeowner who is wondering how they can best take care of their windows and ensure their longevity, you’ve come to the right place. Our installation experts at Golden Windows have years of experience in the window and door industry and are always willing to offer advice to concerned homeowners. Let’s start at the beginning and take a look at some maintenance tips you should be doing for your windows this spring. 

Inspect Your Windows

The first step of window care and maintenance this spring is to do a full check of your windows both inside and out. Spring is often a time when people begin to do some serious cleaning and renovations, and they will also check their home to make sure that nothing was damaged over the winter. Many will check their roof, foundation, eavestroughs, driveway, trees on the property, as well as the basement and attic, but will often forget to consider their windows.

So what exactly are you checking your windows for? Primarily, you should be concerned about any possible air leaks or cracks that could allow for water or pests to get in. Unwanted water can cause mould or deterioration to the window frames and surrounding walls, which can then lead to health issues as well as costly repairs.

You should also consider that drafty windows are a huge contributor of energy consumption in both new and existing homes. In fact, heat gain and heat loss through drafty windows are responsible for 25% to 30% of heating and cooling energy use in residential homes. With warmer days on their way you wouldn’t want your air conditioner to be forced to work overtime in order to keep your house cool.

What Causes Drafty Windows?

Leaks and cracks can form as your window frames warp from the expansion and contraction that the vinyl and aluminum go through during the cold and hot weather. Rapid shifts in temperature can cause the frames to crack or warp, which is where problems arise. Another reason they can form is simply because your window units are worn out and old, or because you have wooden frames which naturally deteriorate over time. If you haven’t been taking care of your wooden frames then they will likely rot or break as they get soft from moisture exposure.

Another reason for drafty windows is that the seal may have been compromised in some way, either from damage because of the weather and debris or simply because of age. Newer windows typically last up to 20 years and more, but if you have older model units they are more likely to get damaged simply from exposure and use.

How to Tell if You Have Drafty Windows

It’s not too difficult to tell if you have drafty or leaky windows – all you need to do is hold your hand up to the frames on a cold, windy night to see if you feel any air. You can also use a candle to see if the flame moves near the window, or blow the candle out and see if the smoke moves away from the window (indicating a draft). Another option is to take a Kleenex and hold it near the frame to see if it moves from the air current.

What to Do About Drafty Windows

There are a few things you can do to fix your drafty windows. For example, you can apply weatherstripping, caulking, or even shrink film. But if your units are old and simply past the point of repair then your best option is to replace them with the help of a professional.

Golden Windows designs, manufactures, and installs high quality, energy-efficient windows that are low maintenance and made to last. Our units were built to withstand Canadian weather with a number of features like:

  • Low E gas and argon gas filling
  • Warm Edge Technology (W.E.T) Intercept spacer and an optional upgrade to Superspacer™ to increase the unit’s energy rating
  • Contoured exterior profile for a low-maintenance, weather-resistant exterior
  • Multiple layers of weatherstripping to reduce air leaks

As an ENERGY STAR® participant we are committed to be a window and door company that you can count on to supply you with the highest standard of energy-efficient products available on the market. You won’t find anyone better to work with when it comes to replacing the windows in your home and are confident that you will be happy with our service.

Drafty-Windows

Check for Condensation

Something else to consider when checking your windows is whether or not you’ve noticed that they tend to get cloudy or sweaty when it’s cold outside. This build-up of moisture on the glass of your windows is called condensation, and it can appear other places as well. For example:

  • On the frames and sashes
  • Near the weather seals
  • On the walls around a skylight
  • Between the glass panes if the seal is broken

Increased moisture around your windows can damage window-frame finishes and cause the build-up of mould, which is potentially dangerous to your health. It can also cause decay in the walls and attic of your home.

How Condensation Occurs

If you read our window condensation guide you’ll see that windows do not cause condensation. Rather, because windows can become cold during the winter, condensation can form when warm, moist air in the home comes into contact with them. When warm, the moisture in the air is a gas that turns into a liquid after cooling down when making contact with the cold surface of the glass. This is where it will then turn into a liquid which appears as a fog or droplets on the glass (condensation).

Window-Condensation

So really, the problem is mainly due to high levels of moisture in the home. Increased levels of moisture can occur in the home because of low airflow and a lack of ventilation. Window condensation is becoming a common problem in modern homes because they are sealed tightly to prevent air leakage and there is less natural airflow.

In contrast, older houses are not as air-tight and have many cracks and spaces that allow air to move through them. Though not very energy-efficient, this means that moisture is less likely to get trapped inside and end up causing condensation on the glass.

Moisture can get into the air when you shower, cook, dry clothes, or even when breathing (the more bodies in a home, the more moisture becomes an issue). Because these are all activities that people obviously need to do, you’ll need to find ways to prevent moisture from building up inside if you want to prevent condensation from forming on your windows.

Track Humidity Levels

You can tell how much moisture you have in your air by tracking your humidity levels. A device called a hygrometer can be installed into your home and used to track and measure humidity. With this information you can make changes that will hopefully help lower the amount of moisture in the air.

Here are some general guidelines you should keep in mind when using your hygrometer:

  • If the temperature outside is below -18 C (or 0 F), try to keep the humidity in your house between 15% and 25%.
  • If the temperature outside is between -18 C and 4 C (0 F and 40 F), try to get keep it between 25% and 40%.

Condensation-Chart

 How to Prevent Condensation

Condensation isn’t really a problem during warmer days, but if you notice it then spring is a good time to do something about it. This is primarily because with warm weather you have the opportunity to increase your home’s air circulation and decrease the levels of moisture in your home by simply just opening a window. Opening your windows is recommended in the spring anyway as it gives you a chance to empty out the stuffy air that you kept trapped inside over the winter and replace it with fresh air.

There are other things you can do to prevent condensation, and one of them is to replace your windows. While windows don’t cause condensation, they can definitely help to prevent it.

For instance, you may want to consider replacing your units if you only have single pane windows. This is because double and triple pane windows are less likely to form condensation as only the outer pane of glass will get likely get cold, leaving the inner pane to stay warm and not cause moisture in the air to turn to liquid when contact is made.

Another bonus of multi-pane windows is that argon gas is commonly filled and sealed into the spaces between the various panes to increase their energy-efficiency as well as their thermal performance. The gas acts as a barrier that slows the transfer of heat through the glass, reducing the possibility of condensation.

If Prevention Doesn’t Work

If the moisture levels in your home are still high even after trying to lower them, you may want to consider investing in a heat recovery ventilation (or HRV) unit. An HRV is a ventilation system which uses a fan and built-in heat exchanger to extract about 75% to 85% of the heat in your home’s air before exhausting it outdoors. The heat that gets saved is then transferred back into the home as a fresh stream of air from outside.

These systems are so effective at doing their jobs that it’s now a standard in the development of new homes in Canada if they are to be ENERGY STAR qualified.

Window-Cleaning

Spring Cleaning for Windows

No matter the quality of your windows, you can help protect them and extend their life by performing some general maintenance. Here are some tips that will help you maintain the overall operation and appearance of your windows:

  • Cleaning and maintenance should occur twice a year in the fall and spring.
  • Start by vacuuming up dust and debris from the tracks and sills.
  • Clean and test operating hardware, hinges, and tracks, and lubricate lightly with silicone spray or light oil.
  • Refrain from cleaning glass or other finishes with abrasive materials or cleaners.
  • Vinyl and clad surfaces can be cleaned with a mixture of mild soap and water.
  • Apply automotive paste wax to aluminum window frames to maintain their lustre.
  • Ensure that weatherstripping and hardware is not painted over, as this could cause performance issues.
  • Inspect face caulking to ensure proper seal against the glass.

Be sure to read our homeowners care & maintenance guide for more information on caring for your windows, including how to properly operate them. You can also find details about our exclusive 20 year residential warranty.

Get in Touch

If your windows are in bad shape and in need of replacing then you should contact Golden Windows to book an appointment with one of our Installation Sales Representatives who will come by to do a free onsite consultation. They’ll be able to help you out and make recommendations so that you are completely satisfied with your new windows.

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6/22/2020 12:53:41 PM

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