Homeowners can expect a window to last about 20 years, although we’ve replaced windows much younger and older than that. Framing material, maintenance, usage, and weather conditions all factor in to how long a window will last. Most homeowners are surprised to learn that what they do (or don’t do) can have a huge impact on the lifespan of their windows. These bad habits can speed up the need to replace your windows and cost you thousands of dollars.
Bad Habit 1: Leaving the window coverings down
Condensation is the most common window issue we hear about in the winter. While leaving window blinds/shades/drapes down in the winter won’t cause condensation, it does trap the moisture near to the windows and prevents airflow. This can lead to mold and eventually rotting that can only be remedied by replacing the window unit. Instead, try raising the window covering so that the lowest part is a few inches above the bottom of the window sill. If you’re still seeing condensation, check out our handy guide at http://rba-newi.com/window-101-condensation-issues/ for more tips.
Bad Habit 2: Using a storm window with a window that has a Low-E coating.
Low-Emissive (Low-E) coatings became popular in the 1980s to increase energy efficiency of windows. This coating is designed to reflect heat from the sun (energy) back to the outside, helping the home stay cooler in warm weather. When a storm window is installed on top of windows with a Low-E coating, this traps the energy. The trapped energy then bounces between the panes of glass and can cause extremely hot window glass or even be focused enough to cause property damage.
Bad Habit 3: Being sloppy when washing your home
Whether you have siding or a brick exterior, you have to be careful when washing near your windows. The pressure of a power washer or high-powered hose as well as the muriatic acid found in masonry cleaning solutions can destroy a window’s seal. This will lead to fogginess between the glass, loss of energy efficiency, and in some cases will void the warranty.
Bad Habit 4: Not cleaning the tracks
Are you having a hard time moving a sliding window or patio door? Is your casement window harder to crank than it should be? Take a look at the where the window sash meets the frame and you could find your answer. Cleaning the dirt and debris from this area will prevent pitting and corrosion and applying a dry silicone spray will help to get the parts moving more easily again.
Bad Habit 5: Not locking your windows
Windows are designed to work most efficiently when they are locked. This tightens the seal between the sash and weatherstrip and will help eliminate drafts and outside noise. Windows that are closed, but not locked, allow moisture to transfer between the house and outside. This will first appear as condensation, then later be noticed as mold or rot.