One of the top reasons why so many homeowners choose vinyl replacement windows for their homes is because they don’t require the high level of maintenance that other types of windows, such as wood windows, need. Nobody in the world has an unlimited amount of free time and we’d all much rather spend what free time we do have doing things that are much more fun or interesting than scraping and painting windows.
While vinyl replacement windows are, indeed, low maintenance, they’re not quite maintenance free. They still do require a little attention to stay in good working order. But a few very simple maintenance steps will help keep your windows working and looking great for a very long time to come.
Although you’ll never have to paint vinyl replacement windows, cleaning them will help keep your windows operating smoothly. If the tracks on your windows are dirty or become blocked by debris, they can become more difficult to open and shut. Vinyl windows commonly have “weep holes,” which allow water to drain outside your home if the sill or track gets filled with rainwater. Make sure these aren’t being blocked by dirt or debris. If simply cleaning your window tracks isn’t quite enough to keep your windows moving easily, try applying a silicone lubricant to the track. Just be sure to apply the lubricant using a cloth rather than spraying it directly on the window or the glass. This can cause a mess that’s difficult to clean up or leave permanent marks on the glass.
If you see dirt or smudges along the vinyl frame of your window, simply use a mixture of water and a mild dish soap to clean them off using a soft-bristle brush. Never use petroleum-based cleaning products, nail polish remover, furniture polish, solvents, or any household cleaner that contains chlorine bleach because these products may damage vinyl. Also, do not try washing your windows with a power washer since the high pressure can be extremely damaging to both window frames and the glass.
Seals and Weatherstripping
If windows aren’t well cared for, they can become a major source of drafts in your home which, in turn, will drive up your energy bills and make your home very uncomfortable. A couple of times a year, it’s smart to take a few minutes to inspect your windows and look for worn-out weatherstripping and gaps in the caulk around the window. If either of these things happens, it’s very easy for your home to lose heat from the furnace or cool air from the air conditioner. The sooner you catch these problems, the better off you’ll be so that you’re not wasting as much money on higher energy bills.
Replacing weatherstripping is a very easy and inexpensive fix. Replacing old caulking takes a little more effort, but it’s still certainly the sort of thing you can do on your own without hiring a professional. If you need to replace caulking, the Department of Energy recommends that you do so on a day when the temperature is at least 45℉, so the caulk set properly and adhere to the window correctly. You’ll also want to make sure you replace caulk on a dry day with low humidity levels. Since humidity can cause cracks to swell, replacing caulking on a low-humidity day will help you avoid any problems with that.