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Keep Your Windows in Peak Condition with This Handy Guide | Golden Windows

It's the job of a responsible homeowner to keep each part of your home looking clean and performing well. If the sink backs up, you jump into troubleshoot mode with drain cleaner or snake. If the deck gets grimy, you give it a power wash. If your air ducts seem dusty, you either call for HVAC maintenance or roll up your sleeves. And throughout the process, you clean the many surfaces, nooks and crannies of your house.

But what about your windows? Most people know their way around a drain problem, but do you know how to prevent, diagnose and fix issues with your windows? Do you know the best way to keep them clean? If not, we’ve put together this handy list for ensuring your windows perform their absolute best.

When you purchase custom high quality windows from Golden Windows, you’re investing in a long, happy relationship with efficient, stunning and high-performing products. To help you make the most of that relationship, we want you to know as much as possible about maintenance – how to spot issues, resolve them and call for help when necessary.

Why Maintain Your Windows?

Especially as other tasks pile up around the house, you may feel the impulse to skip window maintenance. But there are several advantages to maintaining your windows, beyond just keeping the house clean.

One prime advantage is efficiency. A well-maintained window can make your home more energy-efficient. Think of windows as your home's protection from the elements. To ensure that your home's heating and cooling is working effectively, your windows need to be solid, sound, sealed and clean.

Another reason to maintain your windows is to ensure maximum warranty coverage. We offer an extensive and comprehensive warranty on our products to ensure that our customers receive the quality we promise them. Golden Windows has the best warranty in the industry with a 20 Year Transferable Limited Warranty on insulated glass coverage. To ensure that our products perform to the standards we have established, they need to be properly used and maintained.

Finally, maintaining your windows helps with both resale value and curb appeal. To get the greatest return on investment for your windows, you want to keep them looking and working great. Homebuyers often use windows and doors as a benchmark for the overall upkeep of a house. As for curb appeal, you want your windows to be the envy of the street – whether you plan on selling your home or not. Well-maintained windows can be a point of pride!

It can be challenging for homeowners to know if their windows are performing at their peak. But in this guide, we'll discuss ten ways to keep your windows working for you.

Make Sure the Whole Family Follows the Operating Instructions

Over time, misuse can cause your windows stress, leading to potential damage. It’s not anyone’s fault, per se – windows are made to be used, and sometimes family members get a little excited when it’s time to fling the windows open for fresh air.

But to keep your windows performing at their absolute peak, make sure everyone in the house understands and follows the operating instructions. For casement and awning windows, this means following a few simple rules:

  • To close the window, turn the handle just until you feel resistance, but do not force the handle. Forcing the handle will damage the gears in the operating hardware. The sash should just meet the frame.
  • Push down on the lock (or locks,) allowing it to pull the sash in tightly to the frame.
  • Make sure the locks are in the open position before turning the handle to open. You don’t want to jam the lock.
  • If your casement or awning window has a multi-point locking, simply push down on the single lever into the locked position.

We encourage you to visit the Operating Instructions page on our website for tips. There, you will find instructions for single and double slider windows, as well as single and double hung windows.

Regularly Clean and Maintain Your Windows

To keep your windows looking and working like new, Golden Windows recommends giving them an annual or biannual cleaning. Fall is the perfect time of year to do this – the summer excitement has died down, and it’s advisable to prepare your windows for the cold winter.

As for your biannual tasks (that’s twice per year, to be clear,) clean all the operating hardware, hinges and tracks on your windows, and lightly lubricate them with silicone spray or a gentle oil.

At least once a year, clean the vinyl and clad surfaces of your windows with mild soap and water. When you get to the glass and other finishes, make sure not to use abrasive materials or cleaners. If you want to restore the original lustre of your aluminum window frames, apply a bit of automotive paste wax.

If you plan on painting your windows as part of your annual maintenance, take great care not to paint over the weatherstripping or hardware. This can result in windows not performing as intended (and will not constitute a manufacturing defect.)

Ahead of the winter, we recommend removing the internal screens. This reduces the chances of condensation forming on the glass (a topic we’ll discuss in more detail below.)

Window-Cleaning

Clean the Window Tracks

As dirt, dust and debris accumulate in the window tracks, they can affect your windows' performance. Not only can they make your windows less energy efficient, but they can also cause wear-and-tear on the hardware, hinges and weatherstripping. This fall, clean your window tracks.  

Start by vacuuming the tracks, taking care to be gentle with the surrounding frame, sill, sash and stile. Use a crevice tool attachment, or a dust cleaner if you have it. Then, you can gently cleanse the track with a light application of baking soda and vinegar. Just make sure to rinse any residue afterwards and allow the window track to dry thoroughly.

Check for Outdoor Debris

Debris – especially windborne debris – can cause damage to your windows. There’s little you can do to protect your windows from that debris in the first place, but you can be vigilant about clearing the debris before it can cause further harm. If you leave certain types of debris, like wet leaves, to stagnate on the outside of your windows, they can cause damage when they freeze.

Every once in a while, head outside and clear your windows. In the winter, you may find fine debris on the windows from melting snow – use warm (never hot or cold) water to wipe it away.

Control Moisture and Condensation

Increased moisture around your window in the form of condensation can damage window frames and cause unhealthy mould to proliferate. Condensation can also cause unseen problems elsewhere in the house, like rot or mildew.

Condensation forms when the warm air in your home comes into contact with colder surfaces – like your windows.

Luckily, there are a few ways to control moisture and prevent condensation. The best piece of advice we can offer is to keep the relative humidity in your home in the 30-40% range (hygrometers, which measure humidity, are inexpensive and accurate). For comprehensive information about controlling the moisture around your home, have a read through our Condensation Information Package.

To prevent moisture from building up, make sure you stay on top of any leaky pipes or fixtures, cleaning the water away as soon as possible. Any devices or practices that produce a lot of moisture – like indoor hot tubs, hot showers, boiling pasta, etc. – should be appropriately ventilated. And keep organic materials such as newspapers and clothes away from cool, damp areas.

Check for Air Leaks

To ensure your windows are performing at peak condition, it is imperative to stay vigilant for issues. This means checking for air leaks every so often.

To determine if your windows have drafts or air leaks, you can run a couple of straightforward tests – no fancy tools required. The most basic way is to use your own sense of feeling; move the back of your hand around the window and feel for any drafts. If you hear whistling sounds coming from the windows, or if the drapes rustle, that’s also a good indication of air leaking.

The other rudimentary way to check for air leaks is by performing “the candle test.” Simply hold a lit candle around various spots on the window – if the flame flickers, you may have an air leak to address.

For more information, consult the National Resources Canada website. They provide a comprehensive air leakage control guide on their website, which is worth reading – not just for air leaks in windows, but elsewhere in the house as well.

Caulk and Re-Weatherstrip

There’s a chance your caulking or weatherstripping has worn out over time, in which case you may need to re-caulk or re-weatherstrip your windows to ensure optimum capability. There’s also a chance that the windows were improperly installed in the first place, either because it was a DIY job or the installation (or product) was subpar. You can avoid these mistakes in the future by choosing Golden Windows for your window replacement.

To re-caulk, start by gently removing the old caulking with a putty knife. Choose caulk that fits your purpose (i.e. if you’re doing the exterior, ensure the caulk is suitable for outdoor surfaces) and use both hands on the caulking gun to run a steady, narrow bead along the length of the seam. Then smooth the caulk with an applicator, working one small section at a time to prevent buildup.

Weatherstripping is relatively straightforward as well. This guide tells you how to remove your old weatherstripping, as well as which new weatherstripping to choose. If you have ongoing caulking and weatherstripping problems, it may be time to consider replacing your windows. Many of our windows come with double weatherstripping for long-lasting performance and draft-free comfort.

Window-Caulking

Check for Damage to the Glass or Frame

Inspection is an all-important first step in ensuring your windows are performing their best. Use your best judgment when checking windows. If the frame or glass show any signs of damage – including cracking, peeling, warping or chipping – either request service (more on that below) or consider replacing your windows.

Heat gain and heat loss from damaged or drafty windows are responsible for 25% to 30% of a home’s heating and cooling energy use. Not only does window damage cost you more money, but it also creates a more uncomfortable home environment for your family.

Read Your Energy Bill for Signs of Inefficiency

A roundabout way of inspecting your windows' performance is to track your energy bill spending. If you notice a small increase in the amount you pay compared with the same time last year (controlling for updates in pricing,) then your windows may be showing signs of inefficiency.

Especially if your windows are old, improperly installed or substandard quality, they will contribute to heat loss or heat gain in the home.

Request Service for Your Windows

We have recently added a "Request Service" page on our website that makes it easy for homeowners and professionals to contact our expert service team.

Simply click on the Request Service tab and choose either the "Homeowner" or "Builder/Contractor" form. Fill out your information, let us know a little about the window/door history and the issue at hand, and then hit "Submit." Someone from our amazing service team will contact you to get the ball rolling.

  

If the Ten Tips Above Fail, Replace Your Windows

Above, we’ve listed many of the ways you can ensure your windows perform their absolute best. But optimizing old, inefficient or subpar windows will only get you so far. It may be time to replace your old skylights and windows.

Golden Windows now offers triple glazed window options, like our GoldenClad and GoldenVinyl Triple Glaze windows. These three-paned windows come with two chambers for argon gas, making them superior insulators. They are durable, robust options that can handle even the coldest Canadian climate. Additionally, they increase soundproofing and security and decrease the likelihood of condensation forming. If you want a window that always performs at its absolute peak, contact us today to chat about triple glazed windows.

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