maintain replacement windows

Proper care of replacement windows is required to maintain the function, operation, and appearance for years to come. They add curb appeal to any home. Maintaining replacement windows is not a hard task; however, there is some effort required to keep them looking and functioning at their best.

Windows Care & Maintenance

To keep your replacement windows looking new, regular maintenance is a must. Routine care will help prolong the life of replacement windows no matter the type of window or material. In the summertime, this can prove to be more difficult with all the extra dirt, pollen, sap, and summer storms.

It’s always recommended that you follow the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions for your newly replaced windows. Here are some professional tips you can use to keep your windows clean and long-lasting.

1. When to Clean Windows

You may think the best time to wash your windows is on sunny days for better visibility. There is a downside to summertime washing: the heat. Windows can dry out before wiping them down which can lead to streaks left on the glass.

Probably the ideal times of year to clean windows are in spring and fall. The weather tends to be more comfortable to have your windows open for washing. If it’s cloudy or overcast, you’ll get less streaking.

2. Window Cleaning Products

Brand new windows don’t require much attention. For the window frame, water and a mild detergent will get the job done along with a soft cloth. To clean the glass, a mixture of vinegar and water or glass cleaner will keep it clear. If your replacement windows are older, add a little more elbow grease with a more concentrated detergent and a soft brush.

Don’t ever use harsh chemicals or abrasives in the routine maintenance of replacement windows. The use of such products can lead to window failure, stripped finishes, and scratches. Cleaning solutions containing organic solvents such as chlorine bleach or grease removers can negatively affect the appearance, so stay away from using those.

Microfiber cloths are recommended for drying for multiple reasons. The material is soft and absorbent. They are washable and can be reused for many more cleanings. 

For a smoothly operating window, the tracks and moving parts can be lubricated with a silicone spray.  Remove all loose dirt and debris from the area. Then spray a silicone lubricant directly into a cloth to avoid over spraying it and then wipe away the excess.

3. Keeping Window Frames Clean

Replacement windows are directly impacted by the environment. For homes with wooden window frames, regular maintenance is important to ensure there are no leaks or open seams, especially if you live in an area prone to heavy rain or snow. Moisture build-up in wood materials leads to mold, mildew, and eventually wood rot. Repainting wooden frames is sometimes necessary, as well.

The frames of replacement windows made of metal, vinyl or aluminum are easier to maintain. Sash tracks and windowsills should be kept clean and free of debris. This is important regardless of the type of material the frame is made of. The track area is prone to dirt, spider webs, and excess moisture.

It’s normal for water to accumulate in the windowsill from wind-driven rain. The water is supposed to drain to the outside as water builds up.

Use a vacuum to remove leaves and other small particles from the tracks. Then clean the dirt and debris from the tracks with a mild dishwashing detergent solution diluted in warm water. The cloth or cleaner used to wipe the window frames should be made of a material that will not scratch the paint or frame.

4. Maintaining the Glass, Films, And Coating

Dirt and grime build-up make a window’s appearance very unattractive. Keeping the windowpanes clean helps with curb appeal and allows for careful inspection of cracks, glazing issues, and Low-e film degradation.

The use of a rubber squeegee to remove excess cleaning solution will provide a clear and shiny finish. A high-pressure spray nozzle should never be used to rinse replacement windows. The strong water pressure can loosen the panes from the frames and even crack the glass.

Windows that are coated with a Low-e window film must be inspected for bubbling, discoloring, scratches, or peeling. All these problems affect the film’s functionality which is to reflect a certain amount of radiant heat to help maintain the interior temperature of the home. If the film is cleaned the wrong way, it can result in degrading the film.

If you notice that one of your windows contains a crack, call a professional to repair it. The cracked glass allows air seepage. These leaks can directly impact your monthly utility bill.

Double-pane and triple-paned windows must be inspected and maintained properly for leaks due to the potential of argon gas leaking. The windowpanes need the gas to function properly.

Whether your new windows have standard energy-efficient coats, Low-E glass, or another specialty glass option, routine cleaning is needed to ensure clarity and a high-performance product.

5. Cleaning the Window Screens

Window screens must deal with the elements too. Over time, dirt and grime accumulate on window screens, leading to deterioration.

To keep them clean and functional, inspections are recommended to look for rips, tears, or holes.  Remove the screens and place them on a flat surface. When cleaning screens, use mild soap, water, and a soft brush. Rinse with water and wipe dry. Once the screens are completely dry, reinstall them.

6. Caulking

It’s also a good idea to inspect the areas around the frame while you're cleaning your windows. Maintaining the window caulking is necessary to seal the window frame or trim against water and air filtration. Pay attention to any open cracks, crevices, holes, or seams that need to be sealed with caulk. Air seeping in and out of these openings affects the energy efficiency of your home.

These openings allow in moisture, which leads to other issues such as mold. If you have wooden window frames, checking for moisture should be done regularly. If moisture builds up, wood rot can occur, resulting in a degraded frame that must be removed and replaced.  Many operational issues and costly damage can be avoided with proper caulking.

Benefits of Replacement Window Maintenance

Premium replacement windows improve curb appeal. But even with the best windows, cleaning them keeps the home looking great.  There are other benefits to cleaning and maintaining your replacement windows.

Extends Life of Windows. Dirt and dust easily collect on windows, etching into the glass. If left uncleaned, over time the resulting damage leads to the need to replace the window. Keep those windows clean, and they will last longer.

Improves Functionality.  A properly operating window system is less likely to break down when it is regularly maintained. Routine cleaning of windows also gives you a chance to take inventory of any changes or small mishaps. If you catch them early and take care of any necessary repairs, it won’t become a costly problem later.

Since they represent an important and sizable investment in your home, well-maintained windows help hold your property’s value. Homeowners get roughly 73% of their replacement window investment back when they resell the house, according to the National Association of Realtors.

More Natural Light. The amount of light that filters into a home is related to how clean the windows are. The natural light that accompanies clean reflective surfaces can impact your mood and productivity. More light makes rooms appear more spacious and inviting. A brighter open space will leave you feeling relaxed and inspired.

Better Energy Efficiency. Dirt particles that build up on your window may lower your home’s heating efficiency.  Less sunlight can penetrate and warm your home. With proper cleaning and care, Low-e coatings can function like they're supposed to.

bay window

Cleaning Different Types of Windows

Different windows work for different architectural styles. The shape and type of window should be considered when cleaning due to the various features to keep maintenance at a minimum.

  • Aluminum, vinyl, or fiberglass window frames will last longer if a non-abrasive cleanser is used.
  • Sliding window tracks should be kept clean so the sashes slide easily and seal tightly.
  • Regular casement windows have hardware that allows cleaning of both the interior and exterior surfaces from the inside. If your casement has egress hardware, then the exterior pane must be cleaned from the outside. Casement screens can be removed for cleaning.
  • Awning windows are best cleaned from the inside and outside separately.
  • For bay and bow windows, the inside and outside of the glass are best cleaned separately.

The Window Replacement Specialists

No matter how regularly you maintain your windows, they don’t last forever.  If your windows are over 20 years old, they may need replacing. That’s where Banner Construction can help.

We offer Pella and Simonton replacement windows in a variety of colors and sizes. Our team of professionals can guide you in selecting the windows that work best for your home.