Window Wellness: A yearly scheduled maintenance program
We have found over the years that a scheduled maintenance program can add years to the life of most windows. All of those "maintenance free" windows still need a regular cleaning and lubrication of all moving/sliding parts. We can also spot problems before they become headaches. Upon examination, we will identify parts that need repair or replacement. Tilt latches, balancers, glazing beads, operators, shoes, locks and keepers, rollers, weatherstripping and everything in between. There are 1000's of variations of these parts that we can identify to remedy your window problems.
When a window is maintenance free it means no painting. The rest of the window, like anything else, needs care to operate at peak performance. Talk to a representative today about our Window Wellness Program © and experience the difference routine maintenance will make to your windows. Below are some educational resources, important consumer information and tips to lengthen the life of your windows.
Continue to learn about windows, their parts and what you can do to lengthen the life of the windows you already own.
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Important Consumer Information & Tips
The Sun is the primary hazard to your windows
Ultraviolet light (UV light) degrades everything it touches over time. Whether it's the glass unit, vinyl, rubber, sealant or finish, the sun will damage it over time.
Because of this, the windows on the sunny areas of a property will begin to show signs of damage faster than others.
The sun cooked this vinyl handle
Tilt latch plastic has gone brittle and broken
Debris is the secondary hazard to your windows
All moving parts need lubrication and debris does the opposite of that. Naturally, 1st floor windows, basement windows and windows near plant and animal life will collect debris faster. Dust, dirt, local foliage, insects, moisture and smog all contribute to the corrosion of your window's hardware.
Rust destroys balancers, plastic parts become brittle, and weatherstripping becomes clumped with dirt, which reduces insulation.
You can take steps to reduce debris by leaving screens shut or in place, installing storm windows and controlling the insect population in your home.
Dirt caked sashes and shoe assembly
Where there's water, there's damage
Leaks allow moisture to degrade your window. Until it is determined where the water is coming in from, the damage will continue. Sitting water will corrode any steel and rot any wood in the sash, sill, mullion or mainframe.
If moisture is rotting the wood in your window, you can tell by the early signs of discoloration, peeling paint that ripples with the wood grain or softness when you press on it. Early detection is key; we can apply treatments to stop the progression of rot in its early stages and repair rot with a block & epoxy procedure in its later stages. A window has to be really far-gone to require a replacement.
Water leaking from above the window; the homeowner rigged a cup to catch water
Water damage rotting top of window's wood frame
Toe Beading Demonstration
If you see water leaks, check where the water is coming in from. Often, water will leak between the perimeter of the glass if the sealant has failed or was incompletely applied. Toe beading the gap between the exterior of the glass unit and the sash with the appropriate sealant can prevent these leaks and save the seal on insulated glass units.
Your windows may have lacked proper sealing at the time of installation. We have observed windows that were not sealed around its masonry opening. They need to be sealed with Quad OSI polyethylene sealant that does not harden and crumble like traditional caulks. Often, a simple sealing can do wonders for leak abatement.
Unsealed masonry opening
Masonry opening crumbling seal
We have also seen windows that contractors have failed to flash during installation. Flashing is a specialized tape that seals the surface between the window and the wall underneath your siding or wood sill. Without it, windows are susceptible to leaking that damages everything in the water's path.
No flashing applied
Newly applied flashing
Notice how the wood splits along the grain and bubbles the paint; the wood border around this window has rotted from water. If you see rotten wood, you know that water is getting behind it.
In this case, the siding and frame around the window opening was getting moisture.
Because there was no flashing, that water was getting inside the house and causing water damage around the window's interior.
Rotted wood around window
Rotten wood replaced with fresh lumber after installing flashing
Vinyl IS NOT Final, but you can help it last longer
As we briefly described earlier, vinyl windows were initially marketed as being maintenance free because they don't need to be painted. However, vinyl has the tendency to warp, vinyl hardware eventually crumbles from UV exposure and all moving parts still require regular lubrication.
Standard vinyl kit window
When using tilt-in vinyl windows, manually pull back the tilt latches until the sash clears the channel when you return the sash to its upright position. This puts less stress on the tongues and helps them last longer. Make sure the tongue locks into the channel. If your tilt latches are broken, keep your window locked and closed until they can be replaced. The sash can fall in and cause injury or property damage.
Proper Tilt Latch Operation
Tilt latch is disengaged
Tilt latch is engaged
Casement windows are fragile
Casement windows need to be operated with care or they can break easily. The weight of the sash is held up by the sill and is moved by a series of arms and gears powered by the operator handle. All the force moving that weight is put on the internal gears. Without lubrication and adjustment, you may find yourself with a broken casement operator.
When closing a casement window, as soon as the sash stops, STOP CRANKING. Let the lock finish closing the window. People often believe the harder you crank a casement shut, the tighter the seal is. This is FALSE. The seal of a casement window comes from the lock and weatherstripping. When a casement window user cranks too hard, the worm gear contained in the operator strips and the whole operator needs to be replaced. If your window cannot shut completely from the crank and locks alone, your casement needs an adjustment.
Casement Operator Worm Gear Exposed
Use your windows
Like a person lacking regular exercise, when a window is not regularly used, all the moving parts--much like our joints--become stiffer and prone to wear. Even if you prefer to use air conditioning rather than venting your home, regularly open and close your moving windows and their locks.
A small investment in maintenance today can save you a fortune in repairs or replacement tomorrow
Why buy a new car when you only need the oil changed? The number one reason why windows fail is lack of maintenance. If you can't remember the last time you thought about your home's windows, they may be due for an inspection and tune up.
We have the tools and expertise to rehabilitate windows that have been neglected for years. Along the way, we can diagnose any broken parts that need to be replaced so you can save your windows instead or buying new ones.
Ask about our 10% bulk discount for 10 or more Wellness Services © on your home's windows or doors or present this coupon at the time of purchase to redeem this discount.