Installing beautiful, style-consistent windows goes a long way toward updating your home’s look. It’s an investment, and the way you maintain your windows will affect how long they last, how good they look, and how well they function.
Many of the life-shortening window problems are caused by improper use or maintenance. With the right upkeep, though, you can keep your windows looking fresh and new for years to come.
Each type of window has its own maintenance needs. To find out how to care for yours, read up on these window maintenance tips.
Vinyl Window Maintenance Tips
To care for the interior and exterior windows looking and working their best, follow these tips.
Show the Whole Family How to Use the Windows
You’d be surprised how many people damage their windows by using them the wrong way. Most don’t even recognize it because the misuse puts added stress on the windows over time.
When you have your windows installed, ask the installer to show you how to operate the windows. If you already have your windows installed, look up videos online for your specific window type.
After you know how to operate your window correctly, bring the rest of your family up to speed.
Clean the Glass Often
Keeping the glass of your windows clean helps it drain moisture. Stored moisture can damage your windows over time and give them a cloudy look.
Cleaning glass may sound simple, but there are some common window-cleaning mistakes you need to avoid. Use glass cleaner and a gentle cloth like microfiber. An abrasive cloth won’t help your window get clean and it could damage it.
In addition to abrasive cloths, don’t use razor blades, steel wool, or knives on your window. You should also avoid abrasive cleaners and detergents.
Clean the Interior Vinyl Frame on a Regular Basis
The vinyl frame of your window can become discolored if it isn’t cleaned properly. Besides, if you have a nice new window, you don’t want to sully its look with a dusty frame.
To clean your vinyl frame use a gentle solution of soapy water. Don’t use acid cleaners, strong solvents, or abrasive materials. This can damage the vinyl and your chore will do more harm than good.
Clean the Exterior Vinyl Frame on Occasion
On top of cleaning the interior frame, you should also keep your exterior vinyl window frame clean. While this doesn’t need to be on your weekly job list, you should do it a few times per year.
As with the interior frame, use a gentle soap and water. Harsh abrasives, acid cleaners, acidic solvents, and pressure-washing can all damage or discolor the seal on your vinyl. Be sure to use a soft cloth on these exteriors parts of your windows as well.
When you’re finished cleaning, be sure to rinse off the soap. Remaining soap residue can dry into an unattractive coating in the harsh sun.
Keep the Tracks Clean
One of the most important ways to keep your vinyl windows working correctly is by keeping the tracks clean. Dirt and dust build up in the tracks over time. This puts added stress on the window and affects how energy-efficient your windows are. It can cause your hinges, weatherstripping, locks, and rollers to wear out sooner.
If your tracks don’t work properly because of dirt, it can even let water into your home. As any homeowner knows, water can cause serious damage, even small amounts over time.
You should clean your window tracks every time you clean your window glass. In fact, always clean the tracks first. If glass cleaner drips into the tracks and mixes with dirt, it makes a muddy paste that’s even harder to clean.
To clean your window’s tracks, wipe them with soapy water until they’re clean. When you’re done, wipe them again with a wet cloth until all the soap residue is gone.
Clean Your Screens
Your window screens may not be part of your vinyl frame, but it’s still important to maintain them properly. You should do this a few times each year or whenever your screens look visibly dirty.
To clean your window screens, remove them from the window carefully. Lay them flat and wipe or vacuum off the dirt. Next, apply a cleaning solution of soapy water and give it a few minutes to work its magic. Rinse off the soap and dry the screens thoroughly before putting them back in your windows.
It’s also a good idea to only keep the screens on your windows during the seasons you’ll use them. Most people in Ontario don’t open their windows in the winter. Removing and storing your screens during colder months can cut down on the wear and tear so they last longer.
Lubricate the Hardware
One of the most important ways to keep your vinyl window working correctly is to lubricate the hardware. This includes the hinge and any other moving pieces.
Before you lubricate, always clean off any dust and dirt. Wipe down the hardware with soapy water and rinse off any soap residue.
Be sure to use silicone-based lubricants, not petroleum-based, for hinges, rollers, and metal tilt latches. A small amount goes a long way. While there isn’t a set schedule to follow, lubricate your hardware any time it doesn’t operate as smoothly as it should. This helps to avoid unnecessary stress on the hardware.
It’s also important to be careful when you’re cleaning the hardware. Don’t use citrus cleaners, vinegar, abrasive solutions, or ammonia.
Keeping Your Vinyl Windows in Tip-Top Shape
For a homeowner who wants to protect his/her property values, the to-do list never ends. While window maintenance adds to this list, it pays off by giving your windows a longer life and keeping them looking new.
If it’s time to update your vinyl windows, contact our window experts to discuss your options. Just make sure to use the tips above to keep your new windows in shape after they’re installed.