As a homeowner, there is always work to do around the house. Ongoing maintenance on various home elements is worth breaking a sweat over for your investment. Should you choose to sell your home, regular maintenance means that there will be less to fix before a transfer takes place.
One clear area that often needs some elbow grease is the windows. While many brands market vinyl windows as being "maintenance free", applying some effort to regular maintenance will extend the window's life.
While it may seem obvious, there is a correct way to use a window. Windows that are abruptly opened and shut are damaged over time. Make sure you speak to your window installer so they can show you the correct way to open or lock your vinyl windows. You'll also want to know how to properly remove the window screens from your windows.
Another way to take care of your windows is to clean them. People often skip necessary steps, use abrasive materials, harsh chemicals, or sharp tools to clean hard-to-reach places. In the correct order, a few simple steps will make sure your windows last, and you can avoid a replacement project in the future.
Cleaning window parts is not something you need to do regularly. Yes, you'll want to clean the glass of sticky fingers, dust particles, or sea salt, but your windows will look best if you schedule a deep clean once or twice a year.
Here are some areas to focus on during your deep clean session:
Inspect windows often to make sure that they are free of damage or air leakage signs. Broken window seals, condensation between glass panes, cracks, mold, or warping need to be addressed to prevent further damage. Look closely at the window frame and sash. Speak to your window installer if you suspect the problem is a production or insulation flaw.
While screens aren't necessarily part of the vinyl window, it's worth giving them a clean at least once a year. During seasons where you do not need the screen, store them until you do. Removing the screens during your deep clean will also make it easier to do a good job. You can clean screens by laying them flat, giving them a gentle spray, and brushing them softly. Allow them to air dry completely before replacing them in the window.
Removing window sashes requires a little more effort but can provide a clearer space for cleaning frames and grooves. Many manufacturers now make double-hung windows with sashes that can tilt in for convenient cleaning (especially on the second floor of your home).
Interior and exterior vinyl window frames look great when they've been dusted and wiped. Neglected frames can become discolored or start to peel if you use the wrong cleaning detergents. Steer clear of acid cleaners, abrasive materials, or strong solvents. Always use a soft, damp cloth, gentle soap, and water, making sure to rinse off soap residue at the end.
Tracks or jamb are susceptible to dust and debris build-up. Gently vacuum the tracks around the window edges. Next, use a damp cloth to pick up any residual dirt. Wipe away any moisture, mold, or heavy dirt build-up. Use a soft bristle brush for corners. You want to do this before you clean the glass so that water doesn't drip down and cause a muddy mess.
The best cleaning solutions are gentle but effective in wiping away residue, smudges, grime, and anything that's blocking light. You'll need to dry any water that has dripped down and gathered in the vinyl windows' tracks or frames to avoid damaging these parts.
Give the window one final look and make sure you've dried any wet parts. Put the screen back into place or put it away somewhere safe until you're ready to use it again.
One problem people sometimes run into when cleaning older windows for the first time is that they are difficult to open. If your window is difficult to open you may be having some window balance problems, these problems are more common in wood or aluminum windows than vinyl windows. If you are able to access the balance system, some light dusting, cleaning, and drying should be enough.
Keeping your windows in optimum condition is simple. If you've neglected your windows, speak to a window expert near you if you're needing to replace old windows or needing advice on how to salvage your current ones.
The effort will pay off, one window at a time.
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