So, you’ve just upgraded your windows and are looking forward to enjoying them for decades to come, since today’s windows will last anywhere from 15 to 25 years, possibly more. But it’s important to note that how long your new windows will last can vary widely depending on the quality of materials, the quality of the installation, and how well your new windows are maintained.
“How do I maintain my new windows?” you might be wondering. You may have been told your new windows won’t need much maintenance, which is often the case. However, every component and system that’s part of your home needs some sort of maintenance, even if it’s just regularly cleaning and inspecting your windows to keep them looking their best and operating optimally.
Let’s now explore how to care for your new windows so you’re prepared to get the most from your investment.
How to Safely Care for Your New Windows
To properly care for your windows, you should first know how to open and access both the interior and exterior of each of your windows. Many new double-hung windows feature tilt-in sashes that allows you to access your windows’ exteriors from inside your home. This is much safer and easier than climbing a ladder or scaffolding to access your home’s exterior, especially on homes that have more than just a single story. Other types of windows, such as casement windows, can also usually be accessed on both sides. If you have divided-light windows, you may need to remove the window grilles in order to clean your windows’ interiors. Consult your manufacturer or NJ window-replacement company on how to safely access your windows’ exteriors and properly remove grilles for cleaning.
However, some windows, especially those that cannot be opened (such as hexagonal windows, bay windows, and other decorative and architectural windows), can only be accessed from the outside. In these cases, it’s critical that you take proper safety precautions. Know how to operate a ladder safely and how to set up and climb scaffolding before attempting to clean second-story or higher windows. When in doubt, hire a pro to properly clean and care for your new windows.
How to Care for Your New Windows’ Glass
While it’s critical to ensure all parts of your windows are cared for properly, perhaps the biggest aesthetic boost will come from having clean windows. To properly maintain your new windows, you should plan to clean them a few times a year. Never clean your windows on a sunny day in direct sunlight, as this can result in streaky windows. Use a soft, dry cloth to first remove heavy soil and loose dirt and debris from your windows. Then, apply a mild cleaning solvent, such as water mixed with a gentle detergent, a vinegar-water solution, or a commercial window cleaner. Using a soft, clean, lint-free cloth, clean your windows using a circular motion. Then remove the cleaning solution with a clean cloth or squeegee (working your way down the window in an S-shape).
The exterior glass of your new windows may be coated with special materials meant to boost thermal performance and reduce heat transfer. These coatings are very durable but can be damaged, especially if you scratch the surface with, say, a razor blade, in a misguided attempt to clean grime or paint from the glass surface. Likewise, window sealants, such as silicone, can damage the low-maintenance coating as well. When in doubt, always contact the manufacturer for guidance.
Your new windows should yield excellent thermal performance. Still, you may be wondering whether you should apply after-market window coverings or films to the glass in order to further enhance its thermal properties. While your new windows are durable and made to withstand harsh elements, you should not apply decorative or thermal window films, as they may damage the glass and/or the sash. In fact, according to Andersen’s website, movable insulating materials such as window coverings, shutters, and other shading devices should not be used either, as may cause thermal stress or excessive condensation, which can damage your new windows.
How to Care for Your New Windows’ Frames, Sashes, Jambs, Casings, and Sills
As your New Jersey window-replacement company probably told you, your new windows are strong, durable, and probably don’t require much maintenance. But it’s still important that you clean them to keep them looking and performing their best. Vacuum out interior sills, where dirt and grime often collect (especially in between the exterior glass and insect screens), then use a mild detergent and soft brush or cloth to wipe away the grime. Cleaning the window tracks with a soft cloth and mild cleaning agent is especially important to ensure your windows open and close smoothly for many years. You should similarly wipe down the sashes, frames, and jambs with the same mild cleaning solution and soft, clean cloth. While you should carefully dry all your window components after cleaning them, it’s especially important to ensure your wood-framed windows are thoroughly dried after cleaning.
How to Maintain Your New Windows’ Hardware and Moving Parts
Caring for your new windows’ hardware is as simple as using a soft, clean cloth and a mild detergent to gently clean window locks and handles. Andersen® recommends that, after cleaning your windows, you lubricate all moving parts with a light oil or dry silicone spray, while noting that lubricants or harsh abrasive cleaners are not recommended.
How to Maintain Your New Windows’ Grilles and Insect Screens
Remove dust, dirt, smoke, film, soot and salt spray from grilles or muntins with a mild detergent and a soft cloth or brush. You may need to use a stronger solution such as Soft Scrub for especially dirty or greasy muntins, but you must take care to ensure that no other parts of the window come into contact with these abrasive cleaners. Insect screens should be removed and cleaned with a soft brush and hot, soapy water.
Inspecting Your New Windows
As you’re caring for your new windows, inspect them for any signs of damage or problem and note any windows that don’t open and close smoothly and properly. Do your window panes appear cloudy or is condensation appearing between the panes? This is a clear sign that the perimeter seal has failed. If you’ve spotted any of these problems with your new windows, it’s important that you contact your manufacturer and/or your NJ window-replacement company right away.
Improving Your Home with New Windows
Now that you know how easy it is to maintain new windows, perhaps you’re ready to invest in high-quality windows from well-respected manufacturers like Andersen and Beechworth. Remember that even the best-quality windows are likely to prematurely break or fail if they aren’t installed by a reputable New Jersey window-replacement company. George J Keller and Sons has been in business for nearly 40 years, and we have extensive training in installing windows by the industry’s top manufacturers. Contact us today at 973-927-0963 to learn more!