Your windows are the protective barriers from the outside world. So, ensuring they’re well-sealed and cared for properly is essential to keeping you warm when winter comes, and everything outside your home becomes a freezing, snowy mess.
To make sure you go into winter prepared, read on for our window maintenance tips. We want to make sure you enjoy the autumn air and winter wonderland with a safe, warm house to come home to.
Why you need to prepare your windows for the fall
Windows are a huge source of air seepage; and thus, can cause a tremendous amount of outside air to enter your home. These gusts will not only bring cold winds inside, but they may also carry allergens like mold, dust, and pollen.
Having damaged windows from November through February is like leaving your front door open– it’ll get pretty cold inside! Not to mention, ill-prepared windows can cause your heating bill to skyrocket. So, when fall and winter roll around, it’s imperative to ensure your windows are in tip-top shape.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the benefits of following window maintenance tips for the cooler seasons.
Keeps the air you breathe clean
When you don’t regularly clean your windows, they’re exposed to dirt and other outdoor elements for long periods. In turn, this increases the chances of mold accumulating on your windows, which poses detrimental health risks.
Conversely, keeping your windows clean ensures the air in your home is safe for you to breathe in.
Keeps you warm while saving you money
If you live in the midwest, you know how unbearably frigid the winter months can be. And nothing’s better than coming inside to a warm, cozy home to escape the frosty temperatures.
But, if your windows are damaged or covered in dirt or other debris, it can prevent the sun’s heat from getting into your house. When you can’t take advantage of the free warmth from the sun, you’re forced to crank up the heat in your home. Relying too much on your heat pump or furnace will reduce the energy efficiency throughout your house and cause your heating bill to spike.
This cycle of experiencing icy drafts in the house and subsequently turning up the heat isn’t fun. Being cold in the winter and paying higher energy bills? Yikes.
Following window maintenance tips will help you combat these issues. The first step is to learn the signs which indicate your windows need some care ASAP. But none of the signs will be visible if your windows are covered in dirt and smudges.
It’s time to break out the ol’ mop and bucket and get cleaning.
Get your windows sparkly clean
Washing your windows in the fall prevents irreversible damage come wintertime. Dirt, birds’ excrement and even simple summer rains left on windows can all cause heavy staining, glass degradation, and corrosion when they penetrate the pores of the glass.
The fall is the optimal season to clean the exterior of your windows because you won’t have to deal with scraping any snow off or trying to hold the cleaning solution while you have hand warmers tucked inside your gloves.
So, we’ll go over the best winter maintenance tips for easy cleaning.
How to clean windows properly
To clean your exterior window glass, wipe it with a soft, dry cloth first. Then, use a liquid window cleaner, diluted vinegar, or make a mixture of water and mild dish soap for your cleaning solution. With your solution, wipe the glass surface and frames in a circular motion with a non-abrasive sponge or a towel. Rinse the entire area you cleaned with water and then gently wipe dry with a cloth.
Once your windows are squeaky clean, you’re ready to check for signs of damage.
How to tell if your windows need some TLC this fall
The primary indicators you need to look for on your windows are condensation, mold, cracks, drafts, and poor weatherstripping.
Follow these window maintenance tips to make sure your windows won’t face the winter season ill-equipped.
Look for water droplets
If you see water droplets on the window glass, the walls surrounding the window, or between the glass panes, this is an indication that your windows have accumulated too much moisture.
If the condensation has reached a more serious stage, you may see mold, rust, or wood rot under the windowsills.
Check for mold
Mold-free windows are critical for avoiding allergies and more serious health issues. Fortunately, there are a couple of window maintenance tips you can follow to make sure you don’t have mold.
Small amounts of mold can be tough to see with the naked eye, though they can still cause serious health problems. So, take a few moments to breathe in the air near your windows to see if you notice a musty smell. If you do, you may need a professional to check for mold growth.
If you can see a moldy patch, apply a little bit of bleach to it. If the patch lightens in color, it means that it’s most likely mold rather than just dirt.
Scan for obvious cracks
A broken window is easy to see. If you notice large or small cracks or find that your window is suddenly difficult to open and close, you either have a partially or completely broken window.
For partial breaks like cracked panes, you should repair them as soon as you can so your heated air doesn’t escape outside and drive up your utility bill. If the break is beyond repair, you’ll need a full window replacement.
Luckily, fall is the best time of the year to replace windows as this ensures their strength and security right before winter hits. So, start checking your windows for cracks now.
Inspect for air leaks
Hold up a lighter near the frame and glass of your closed windows to see if the flame flickers. If it does, you’ve got an air leak. Likewise, if you feel soft breezes throughout your home or hear faint whistling noises, these are also indicators that your windows are leaking air.
With winter right around the corner, adhering to window maintenance tips for repairing air leaks is crucial to having a warm and toasty home during the holidays.
So, let’s explore a couple of solutions for patching up those pesky air leaks.
Window maintenance tips for drafty windows
Caulking, also called weatherstripping, is a tried-and-true method for a quick fix. Simply place weatherstripping around the window to create a seal of insulation. This window maintenance tip works great for windows that fit loosely and need that extra layer to help them close tightly and keep outside drafts from coming in.
However, if the air leak is coming from a crack in the glass, you’ll need to use window film. This clear, adhesive film fills cracks by adding a layer of insulation to the window glass. It also captures the sun’s UV rays that bring heat into your home. So, window films are a win-win!
What if your weather strips are in rough shape?
Sometimes you may already have caulking on your windows. If you’ve done weatherstripping in the past, check to make sure they’re still in good shape. They can have wear and tear due to seasonal changes and just time in general. So, if the weatherstripping is loose, you’ll need to reapply it. Now, if you’ve already had to perform weatherstripping a few times, you may be due for a complete window replacement to efficiently fix a serious leak.
Your best bet for a warm and cozy winter
If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, follow our window maintenance tips to get your home ready for the upcoming wet and icy-cold weather.
Lastly, fixing your windows doesn’t have to be a DIY project. At Climate Seal, we’re happy to help you prepare your windows this fall. Contact us today to ensure your home is on the path to a warm and draft-free winter.