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A homeowner’s guide to window maintenance

Published on Friday August 30, 2019
Window maintenance

Window maintenance is crucial to a well-protected home. Windows guard you against water, dust, pollen, debris, extreme temperatures and anyone that might want to disrupt the peace inside your home. To do this important job, they sometimes need a helping hand. 

We’ve put together a year-round checklist of window maintenance tasks to help you keep your windows in top condition.

General Window Maintenance

Some window maintenance is related to the specific seasonal issues, but some of it needs to happen every few months regardless of the weather outside. 

Cleaning a window


No matter the time of year, your windows face elements that leave them a little dingy. When it comes time to clean your windows, it’s important to remember to only use an all-purpose or non-abrasive cleaner, like liquid dish detergent and warm water. 

⃞ Glass panes

This is a fairly obvious one to note. If your window panes are dirty, they can make your entire home look rundown. 

To clean your window panes, put non-abrasive cleaner on a cloth or paper towel and gently wipe your window both inside and out. Gently washing your windows keeps the Low-E film in good condition. Avoid pressure washing your windows, as it can break the seal and wear away the film. 

To finish, wipe down the windowpane with a dry cloth. You can use glass cleaner or polish to get rid of any streaks left from the cleaning. 

⃞ Casings, caulking & seals

Each window is surrounded by a window casing, often giving it a decorative style as the finishing touch of an installation. It is bound to the window frame with caulking and seals that also need to be cleaned. Keeping this area clean reduces the build-up of dirt along window components that could possibly lead to jams. 

Clean this area in a similar manner to the window itself with non-abrasive cleaners, though dusting beforehand can sometimes be enough if you clean the area relatively frequently. 

⃞ Sashes

The sash is the part of the window that holds the panes together and allows the window to move up and down as you open and close it. 

These areas can be cleaned with non-abrasive cleaners as well. To best clean them, apply the cleaner to a soft scrubbing brush or an extra toothbrush and gently scrub at the area until all dirt and grime has been removed. Dry the area with a cloth or paper towel. 

⃞ Tracks

The window track runs along the bottom and sides of the window. This is a key place where dirt, grime, debris and moisture build-up, especially if the bottom sash is frequently opened. 

Use an all-purpose cleaner (you can also use a baking soda and white vinegar solution) to gently scrub the area with a cloth. For smaller areas that are harder to clean, using a toothbrush can make the job easier. 

Make sure to clean both the horizontal and vertical tracks. 

⃞ Screens

Screens can accumulate dust, pollen, dirt and grime just like the other parts of your window and need to be cleaned seasonally as well. 

To remove build-up from your window screens, pop out each screen and place it on a flat surface in your patio, driveway or deck. Then apply the same non-abrasive cleaner to the screen, passing your cloth or paper towel gently over the screen until it is satisfactorily clean. 

Make sure you don’t clean too aggressively as that can cause damage to the screen.

⃞ Hardware

Maintaining window hardware ensures that your windows will continue to operate as expected. Cleaning clasps and locks can prevent jams and decrease the rate of wear and tear. 

Gently wipe down hardware with a household cleaner and apply lubricant or polish to keep each part moving smoothly. 


Cleaning alone isn’t enough to maintain your windows. Purposeful, routine window inspections are necessary to detect potential issues. The longer you wait to take care of a problem, the worse it often gets. 

⃞ Panes

Check your double or triple-paned windows for signs of moisture, like condensation between the panes. This indicates that a seal has broken somewhere around the pane or the frame of the window, which needs to be addressed. A broken or failed seal lowers the insulating capacity of the window, meaning air can flow in and out of your home and increase heating and cooling costs. 

⃞ Screen

Rips, holes and tears allow bugs, dirt and water to enter your home. Inspecting and replacing window screens on a routine basis keeps all of those unpleasant things outside where they belong. Routinely inspecting the spline that holds your screen to the frame is a good idea too, as that can degrade or warp over time. 

⃞ Casing, caulking & seals

As the barriers between the outside world and the interior of your home, casings, caulking and seals are the front line of defense for maintaining the energy-efficiency and overall comfort of your home. A breach in that line of defense allows moisture to enter your home, which can lead to mold and mildew

Check for gaps or cracks, especially around where different part of your window connect, to guarantee that there are no openings letting anything into your home. 

⃞ Hardware & Mechanics

Most windows are designed to move. Inspecting all the hardware and mechanics that allow your windows to move is an important step in extending the life of your windows. 

Take a look at any of the moving parts or hardware on your windows and check for nicks, dents or damage that could impair functionality. 

Summer Window Maintenance

Summer window maintenance

⃞ Trim back landscaping and lock windows, especially on the first floor. 

Home invasions increase during the summer as the weather gets warmer, so it’s important to keep the areas around your windows clear of any obstructions that will allow burglars to hide. Locking your windows, especially on the first floor, provides an added layer of protection during the summer. 

⃞ Check seals and caulking.

Broken seals let hot air into your home and cold, conditioned air out, which can affect your utility bills. Inspecting and cleaning the seals around your windows alerts you of any issue that may need your attention.

⃞ Eliminate debris from screens and window panes. 

Pollen and other allergens from spring storms can accumulate on your windows over time. Cleaning the screens, tracks and panes prepares your windows to better handle the dog days of summer that lie ahead. 

Fall Window Maintenance

Coffee cup on window

⃞ Check for drafts.

Make sure your home is sealed up tight before the temperature drops. Over time, the natural expansion of windows within their frames can lead to warping and creates gaps. As cooler weather rolls in, make sure there aren’t any gaps in your window casing or frames that can allow drafts to enter your home. 

⃞ Update Caulking

Since caulking cannot properly set in very hot or very cold weather, the perfect time of year to update old caulking is fall. Inspect your windows for any places where caulking is cracked or has peeled away from the wall or window and be sure to replace it. 

Winter Window Maintenance

Winter window maintenance

⃞ Switch screens out for storm windows. 

If your climate is known for heavy snowstorms or vicious winter winds, your screens might not be able to bear it. Installing storm windows over or in place of screens can help protect them and add another layer of insulation against the cold weather. 

⃞ Rid your home of humidity. 

As warm air inside your home meets cold air on the other side of your window panes, condensation can build up. If condensation appears on your window, open it briefly every once in a while to let the humidity escape. You can also invest in a dehumidifier for your home to help reduce condensation. 

⃞ Lock your windows

Even though the odds of a home invasion drops down in the winter, it’s still a good idea to keep your windows locked when you’re not opening and closing them. Locking your windows also pushes the lower sash down into the frame so that it’s flush with the track, blocking any cold air that could potentially seep in. 

Spring Window Maintenance 

Plants on a window sill

⃞ Install storm windows.

If you live in an area that routinely experiences severe spring storms, installing storm windows can add an extra layer of protection, especially for older windows that may broken seals. This will help prevent excess water or moisture from making its way into your home. 

⃞ Wash screens and panes after months of inactivity.  

Cold winter weather often prevents homeowners from opening and cleaning windows and screens. Once the weather starts warming up again, eliminate any grime that has accumulated to prepare your windows for the spring season. 

⃞ Update Caulking

Springtime, like fall, means milder weather that allows you to update caulking that may be cracking or peeling away from your windows. Since windows naturally expand and contract as the temperature changes, caulking that was fine in the fall may have been damaged if your winter was particularly rough. 

Window maintenance made easy

The best window maintenance is the kind that you don’t need to worry about. Long Windows offers the best vinyl windows available that require minimal maintenance and upkeep. Contact us online to learn more about Long Windows. 

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**Excludes labor. Subject to credit approval.

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