|Replacement Window Maintenance|
|Maintenance for Replacement Windows|
|Proper maintenance of replacement windows will help to ensure a long life for each replacement window unit.|
Repairing a replacement window generally requires the services of a professional handyman or contractor. There are, however, many things that a homeowner can do to maintain good window performance.
 Window Maintenance
Once the replacement window purchase has been made and the windows have been installed, homeowners may want to know what they can do to minimize future repair or replacement costs. Most window maintenance tasks can be undertaken with a minimum of cost, materials, tools and know-how.
Ensuring good weatherstripping is one of the most important things that a homeowner can do to seal openings in windows and prevent drafts. Weatherstripping can become damaged or simply fall off a window. In order to replace the weatherstripping the homeowner can use weatherstripping with self-adhesive tape for easy application but this type is not the most weather resistant weatherstripping available. Reinforced foam weatherstripping is an economical weatherstripping choice that creates a tight seal. It is sawed to size, attached to the wood or metal strips that are affixed to the top or bottom of the window sash with screws or nails and then painted for high quality performance.
Cleaning windows is a time-consuming but necessary part of window maintenance. In addition to the commercial cleaning solutions, it is possible to clean the glass with vinegar (1/4 cup white vinegar, ½ tsp. liquid soap and 2 cups of water, mixed in a spray bottle), lemon (rub squeezed lemon around smudges) or ammonia (1 Tbsp. per 1 gallon water).
 Window Stops
If the homeowner doesn't need to use the window as an emergency escape window he can install a window stop as a way to enhance the window's security. Window stops allow the window to open to a limited degree while they serve to prevent intruders from entering through a window. To install a window stop the homeowner should take pre-measured and pre-cut wood or metal strips, and place them against the side of the frame or against the window siding. They should be nailed or screwed into the frame, leaving at least six inches for good ventilation.
 Window Drip Cap
Window drip caps prevent water from leaking in behind the window's trim and into the walls of a house. The drip cap is installed at the top of the window and diverts water from the window. The homeowner must buy an aluminum or formed drip cap which conforms in size to the window size. The section of siding that is just above the window must be dry. If there is any wood rot, the wood should be replaced before the drip cap is installed. The drip cap must be cut to a length that's just slightly wider than the window and flashing tape should be applied to the window and exposed sheathing area. The window drip cap will slip under the siding and can then be nailed to the sheathing with galvanized nails as the drip cap slopes away from the window to keep the water draining away from the window. Caulking can then be applied to the top edge of the drip can and the overhanging parts of the drip can may be folded in towards the window. The frame will then be ready for the siding to be reinstalled.
 Eliminating Moisture From Between Window Panes
If moisture occurs between window panes, it's a sign that the window is failing. There are, however, steps that can be taken to get rid of the moisture and keep the windows functioning for a few more years. A fan, applied to the front of the windows, can help reduce the moisture. The fan's speed must be adjusted according to the temperature difference between the interior and the exterior of the house -- as the temperature difference increases, the fan's speed should increase as well. In addition, moisture may be caused by a window crack which the homeowner can patch using specialized sealant. Large cracks are not fixable with the sealant and the entire pane must be replaced.
 Vinyl Windows
Vinyl window frames are one of the most easily maintained windows frames on the market. They can be washed with a soft cloth or soft bristle brush and cleaned of hard-to-remove stains and dirt with household detergents such as liquid grease remover, chlorine bleach, furniture polish or nail polish remover. Abrasive cleaners can negatively affect the surface appearance of the vinyl.
 Aluminum Windows
Aluminum windows should be cleaned periodically to prevent springs from stiffining and sticking. The windows can be cleaned by brushing the frames and tracks with a stiff brush, then following through with a vacuum cleaner within the window sashes. A penetrating lubricant should be sprayed in the spring locks of the aluminum window to prevent the springs from becoming stiff. Applying car wax within the aluminum frames will protect the frames from collecting dirt while a silicone lubricant will keep the frames and tracks clear of rust and corrosion. Homeowners can also scrub the aluminum frames with a cup of mild household detergent to prevent oxidation and pitting.
 Wood Frames
Wood frames should be painted or varnished periodically. Painting and varnishing a window frame provides a protective layer to the frame while giving the window a fresh, new look. To begin a painting job the homeowner must inspect the window frame for any holes or depressions which can be filled and sanded down smoothly. The entire frame should be sanded to roughen it which will ensure that the new paint adheres properly. The sashes can then be moved, as needed, while the homeowner paints primer on the entire window and sash frame. Brushstrokes should follow the wood's grain and the paintbrush shouldn't drip. After painting the frame the tracks above and below the window as well as the sill can be painted. When the primer dries the same process can be used to apply the finish coat.
 General Window Maintenance Tips
There are a number of general maintenance checks and procedures that homeowners can do with all windows to ensure maximum performance. Aluminum screws should be replaced with stainless steel screws. All dirt should be cleaned out of the joints or other moveable parts, including the track and sliding shoes, at least twice a year and the moveable parts should be lubricated at the same time with a light oil or spray lubricant. (After the lubricant is applied, the windows should be opened and closed several times.) Screws, rivets, rollers, rubber gaskets and safety catches should be checked and, if corroded or missing, repaired. Windows should always be securely attached to the fixed frame of the window with all screws tightened.