The Do’s and Don’ts of Window Maintenance | Golden Windows

Main Image Credit: Jeff Madott Homes

It’s spring in Canada, which means most homeowners have maintenance on their minds. After the last slabs of ice melt and the sun re-emerges, we tend to assess our homes for any damage, deterioration or debris buildup over the winter. It’s a common rite of passage that most of us accomplish alongside our spring cleaning tasks.

But, unlike basic cleaning tasks, maintenance takes a little know-how to get it right. In an attempt to restore our home’s essential features to their former lustre and functionality, we need to take certain precautions and follow certain best-practice procedures. In other words, as much as we need to know what to do, we also need to know what not to do.

As a renowned custom window company in Canada, we take window maintenance seriously here at Golden Windows. Therefore, we’re dedicating this post to discerning the do’s and don’ts of maintaining your windows. Following these straightforward rules should help you retain the integrity and functionality of your windows – and preserve their warranties.

If you’re gearing up for a spring cleaning extravaganza that includes window maintenance, take a moment to review these suggestions.  

Set a Schedule

Before moving into the particulars of window maintenance, let’s start with a general suggestion.

We understand that most homeowners are busy. You might have personal to-do lists for immediate errands, schedules filled with family obligations and/or work deadlines, and more than a few social gatherings to attend. And among all of those demands, you might struggle to carve out time for your windows and doors.

That’s why we recommend systematizing window maintenance. Set a schedule on your digital or analog calendar. We recommend annual maintenance for most window tasks and twice-per-year cleaning for operating hardware.

If you live in a large home with several windows, consider breaking the annual task up over a few cleaning days. For instance, you may allocate a few hours in May to tackle top-floor windows; an afternoon in early June for ground-floor windows; an hour to clean the basement’s egress windows a few days later, etc.

Don’t Forget to Set Reminders

Without regular reminders, it’s easy for tasks to get lost in the shuffle. If you are using a digital calendar (like iCal or Google Calendar), you can set distant reminders for your window maintenance that repeat each year (or half-year, as the case may be).

Incidentally, you can apply this approach to several other infrequent home maintenance tasks: HVAC cleaning, exterior repairs, deck pressure washing – even car maintenance. When adding an item to iCal, simply click on the "repeat" drop-down menu and select "every year" or "custom" to create a customized alert repetition. And on Google Calendar, deselect “Does not repeat” and choose a frequency from the drop-down menu.

This way, you’ll never skip window maintenance because it slipped your radar.  

Do Clean the Glass Regularly

Because glass is transparent, it tends to show dust, smudges and debris more than other surfaces. For that reason, you may consider cleaning the glass on your windows a few times a year. Depending on the weather, you might even need to clean the exterior glass on an “as need” basis, ensuring that errant leaves and sap droplets don’t tarnish your view.

Don’t Use Abrasive Products on the Glass (or Any Finishes, for that Matter)

When you clean glass on your windows, be gentle. Abrasive cleaning products like scrubbing sponges, scouring pads and liquid and powdered cleansers can cause micro-scratches on glass surfaces. In the short term, this will negatively impact the aesthetics of a window, causing it to look foggy and rough; in the long term, it may lead to cracks or other serious damage.

Instead, use a gentle cleaner, like mild soap and water, and a clean microfibre towel for the job. The same goes for any finish: vinyl, aluminum, etc. A little light elbow grease should get you the rest of the way there, even on tacky outdoor glass or sticky kitchen windows.

Washing Windows

Credit: milaura Via Freepik

Don’t Tamper with the Weather-stripping

As we note in our care and maintenance brochure, “Care should be taken to ensure weather-stripping and hardware is not painted over. This could hamper the operation and seal of the window and cannot be claimed under the warranty as a manufacturing defect.”

That said, paint with care and precision. Carefully apply painter’s tape before starting, and ensure the paint fully dries before removing it. We don’t recommend painting vinyl; the paint may not adhere properly and can negatively impact the weatherproofing of a vinyl window.

Paint isn’t the only thing that can impact your windows. Especially around the holidays, ensure that your festive decorations do not tamper with your windows. This past year, we developed a useful guide for how to prevent damage from decorations around the holidays. Set a reminder to add it to your reading list this coming December!

Do Clean the Operating Hardware

The gorgeous double- or triple-glazed glass pane windows might be the centrepiece of your Golden Windows product, but the operating hardware is the workhorse. In addition to being an aesthetic flourish in your home, this hardware pulls double duty as the functional, operable element of your window – allowing plenty of fresh air while ensuring that your home remains insulated in cool weather. Regular care and maintenance help your hard-working hardware stay in tip-top shape.

At least twice a year, clean the operating hardware on your windows, including hinges and tracks, with a soft cloth and gentle cleaner, making sure to reach all those nooks and grooves. To encourage peak operability, lubricate the operating hardware lightly with silicone spray or a light oil. You can choose your two annual maintenance dates at random, but we recommend spring and fall as ideal times. Pencil a couple of dates in your calendar (see above), and, in the meantime…

Don’t Forget to Check Our Operating Instructions for Individual Window Styles

Not all windows are created the same. Styles vary – and therefore, so do our approaches to maintaining them. Casement, awning, hung, and slider window maintenance each require slightly different procedures and precautions.

Before you clean your operating hardware the first time, we recommend reviewing our “Operating Instructions” (on page 2 of our handy Homeowner maintenance guide). For example, you’ll find actionable advice for how to swing in the sash of a double slider; lock/unlock casement or awning windows to prevent gear damage; tilt double-hung sashes for cleaning, and more.

Likewise, review our product pages to learn more about caring for bow windows, picture and architectural styles. When caring for bay/bow windows, consult the operating instructions for its constituent window parts. (For instance, if your bay window is a mixture of basic casement and picture windows, refer to the instructions for those styles.).

Do Take Proactive Steps Toward Managing Condensation

In small doses, condensation is an aesthetic annoyance, preventing a homeowner from enjoying a crisp, unobstructed view out of their window. In larger amounts, condensation can start to cause structural damage as all of that water sits idly on surfaces, warping or cracking essential materials.

To tackle condensation, it’s beneficial to understand its sources. A few common sources of home condensation include:

  • Boiling water in the kitchen
  • Taking hot showers
  • Running humidifiers
  • Running dishwashers, washing machines and gas appliances
  • Hanging wet clothes to dry
  • And just daily life (four people living in a single space create over five and a half litres of moisture per day!)

To mitigate condensation, consider controlling or accommodating these activities. If the weather permits, crack a ventilating window or two when you boil water. Likewise, ventilate your bathroom after a shower with a fan and operable window. Consider investing in a dehumidifier to control the relative humidity in your home (between 25 and 50 percent, depending on the season). And try a few of these other tips:

  • Vent your dryer, stove top hood fans and all gas appliances to ensure their warm air moves outside
  • Turn off any furnace humidifiers that might be running
  • Open your fireplace damper, which will allow moist air to escape
  • Remove your windows’ interior screens during the winter, which prevents prolonged exposure to cold moisture
  • Consider Energy Star-certified heat recovery ventilators, which you can read about here.

Finally, the best offence is a good defence. Golden Windows helps prevent condensation formation by manufacturing its thermal glass with warm edge technology, which uses a cutting-edge spacing technique and dual seal design to create one of the warmest windows around. And the warmer the window, the less chance there is for condensation. If you’re worried about condensation damage from old or inefficient windows, contact us about upgrading.

Window Condensation

Don’t Be Alarmed by Some Condensation

There’s a common misconception that condensation is the result of poor construction. In fact, the opposite is true. Advancements in construction practices and materials have resulted in better-sealed, better-insulated homes that lock in heat. Unfortunately, when that warm air collides with cooler surfaces inside the home, it creates condensation. Likewise, properly sealed homes trap humidity, which similarly turns into water droplets as it comes into contact with cool surfaces.

This is all to say, don’t be alarmed. Condensation isn’t typically indicative of a broader maintenance or construction issue in your home. It’s simply the normal by-product of insulation. Follow the steps listed above to manage moisture and condensation.

If, however, you notice an extremely obvious patch of moisture pooling around the edge of the window, inspect the window for a leak. Leaks can be caused by glazing putty cracks, missing caulking, a broken seal or improper installation. And you should address them immediately. Refer to our resource on fixing window leaks, or book a service appointment.

Do Try the Maintenance by Yourself

Lastly, we’d like to encourage homeowners to take individual, proactive steps toward maintaining their windows. As you can see from our straightforward do’s and don’ts above, window maintenance is not prohibitively challenging. Provided you follow the best practices and precautions, your annual or biannual maintenance won’t be too taxing.

A little cleaning here, a bit of moisture management there – it’s within the realm of possibility for even DIY-averse homeowners. That said…

Don’t Hesitate to Contact Golden Windows for Professional Service

Tackling damaged or improperly functioning windows may fall outside of your DIY purview. And attempts to remedy the problem can potentially exacerbate the situation. In these cases, consider contacting our window service professionals. Fill out a simple online form (linked to the left) detailing the make of your windows, the nature of the issue, and a few other details. Our service experts will contact you to devise a plan for restoring or replacing your windows.  

There’s a significant difference between maintenance and repair. If you suspect your windows require the latter, please call in a knowledgeable, experienced professional.

Hopefully, this article serves a couple of purposes. Firstly, we hope it reminds you to stay on top of regular and semi-regular window maintenance to encourage peak functionality and preserve your warranty. Second, we hope this article demystifies the window maintenance process. As long as you proceed gently according to the product manual and stay vigilant for issues, you should enjoy a high-quality window for many, many years.

If you have specific questions regarding your windows, we encourage you to peruse the back catalogue of blog articles, many of which address granular window issues. Or you can always feel free to contact our knowledgeable staff with queries. Happy spring cleaning!


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3/28/2024 1:46:20 PM

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