Whatever types of windows you have installed in your home, they all need a certain amount of TLC to stay in good shape for a long time. Just like any part of your home, windows need a combination of regular preventive maintenance and reactive maintenance.
Preventive maintenance mainly involves cleaning your windows according to manufacturer instructions, keeping an eye out for signs of damage and scheduling maintenance checks with a trusted contractor. Reactive maintenance, on the other hand, is about having a professional fix window problems before they have a chance to get worse.
#1 Keep those wheels rolling. Operating sashes can get stuck in their tracks if the rollers are poorly maintained. Lubricate the rollers every once in a while using a silicone-based lubricant or any manufacturer-approved product and spin them until they start to roll smoothly.
#2 Vacuum up the track. The tracks on which a sliding window’s rollers turn can accumulate dust and dirt, resulting in stuck sashes and/or scratches in the points of contact. The best thing to do is use a vacuum with a flat nozzle to suck up any grit lodged in the track. Stubborn dirt can be loosened with the help of an old toothbrush or paintbrush before vacuuming.
#3 Keep everything dry. Even if your sliding windows have drainage holes, you’ll want to make sure water doesn’t sit in any part of the windows for long. Just use a clean, dry rag to wipe up any excess water on the sill or in the tracks after a wash or rainstorm.
#4 Clean windows regularly. Window-cleaning products are available at all home supply stores, but you can also use mild household cleaning solutions. Soft rags, microfiber towels, paper towels and old newspapers can all be used to clean windows. Just make sure you read your window manufacturer’s instructions to avoid causing damage and voiding your warranty.
When to Replace Sliding Windows
As much as you want your windows to last forever, the truth is that their service life will eventually come to an end. The trick to avoiding a bigger expense down the road is to care for them to the best of your abilities but also know when it’s time to call a contractor for replacements. Most windows are due for replacement if the following telltale signs exist:
- Wood rot and other moisture damage
- Condensation (fogging) between panes
- Poor thermal control
- Poor noise insulation
- Difficulty in opening/closing sashes
- Inexplicably high energy bills during hot/cold months
- Unreasonably high maintenance requirements
- Rapidly fading furniture, drapes and carpets
If you’re ready to have new sliding windows installed, make sure you work only with a licensed local contractor with a good track record of service. Good luck!