Extend the Life of Your Windows With These 9 Essential Maintenance Tips

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated April 4, 2022
A mother and daughter cleaning tall windows in home
Photo: Valerii Honcharuk / Adobe Stock

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They may look simple, but windows need just as much care and maintenance as the more complex elements of your abode. All the hard work they do—like regulating temperature and keeping moisture from sneaking inside—can create some serious wear and tear if left unchecked. 

Luckily, regular window maintenance will keep this part of your home in tip-top shape and won’t add more than five minutes to your daily chores. Use this guide to find out what you need to do to ensure they’re always as good as new. 

1. Keep Your Window Tracks Clean and Lubricated

Window tracks are magnets for dead insects and dust. If you’re having trouble opening or closing a window, it’s probably because your tracks are begging to be cleared out. Thankfully, you don’t need much to restore them to their original state—in fact, you can clean your windows with a few Q-tips and a bottle of vinegar. This kind of window maintenance only needs to be done once every two to three months to keep the build-up of debris to a minimum. 

If your window is still getting stuck even after doing all that, the tracks are probably in need of a little lubrication. After cleaning, wipe them down with a brand of silicone-based lubricant to ensure everything works as it should. Avoid using products like WD-40 as these can gum up the tracks and make the situation even worse. If taking these steps doesn’t end your struggle, it might be time to call in the services of a window repair company near you

2. Minimize Condensation by Regularly Washing Windowpanes

Window with condensation
Photo: Bihlmayer Fotografie / Shutterstock

Regularly cleaning windowpanes is one simple way to reduce the amount of condensation forming on the glass and the overall level of moisture entering your home. Be sure to use a gentle glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to complete the task, as anything rougher—like the rough side of a sponge or steel wool—may cause the panes to crack after a certain point. 

The windowpanes need to be cleaned from the inside about once a week, so go ahead and add that to your usual chore rotation. On the other hand, cleaning the outside doesn’t have to happen as frequently. Wiping it up just once a month should be more than enough, though that might vary in cases of extreme weather. 

3. Watch Out for Cracks in the Glass, Wood, and Sealing

If you’re still experiencing an unusual amount of moisture in your home after regular window maintenance, it might be time to take a closer look. Cracks in the glass, wood, or sealing can all contribute to this kind of problem, but they’re easy repairs for homeowners to DIY. 

By using a repair kit and carefully following the instructions, you can fix a cracked windowpane in minutes. Cracked window sealing also doesn’t take long to correct with the help of a caulk gun and a little bit of time.

4. Repair Window Damage as Soon as You Spot It

Windowpane with large crack
Photo: Lina Mo / Shutterstock

Window damage can get worse the longer it goes unfixed. Whenever you notice an issue, whether that’s a dirty track or a crack in the sealing, repair it right away to save yourself even more time and energy later on. 

5. Repaint Wooden Frames Whenever They Start to Chip

Giving your wooden window frames a regular update with a fresh coat of paint will preserve both their appearance and ability to function. Paint offers protection from the elements and prevents moisture from permeating the wood. 

Get a can of paint and brush out anytime you notice that your wooden window frame is starting to chip. And try to add that new layer before the wood has a chance to be exposed to external forces.

6. Regularly Dust Vinyl Frames to Preserve the Finish

Along with wiping down the panes, regularly cleaning vinyl frames will also extend the life of your windows. Try to wash the interior vinyl frames on a weekly basis. The exterior frames will be fine with a monthly cleaning. Avoid creating scratches by using a gentle soap (like baby shampoo) and white vinegar to get the job done. 

7. Maintain Window Screens With Yearly Cleanings

Dirty screens block out your view and aren’t as efficient at keeping out bugs and pollen, but a yearly window screen cleaning will guarantee these don’t become your problems. Start by vacuuming up any loose dust, then use a mix of dish soap and warm water to eliminate stuck-on gunk. The process might take a while, but you’ll only have to do it once a year.

8. Caulk and Weatherstrip Your Windows

It’s important to look for any holes or seams that need to be sealed, then caulk your windows. You don’t want air to creep in through any sneaky cracks or crevices; it can seriously strain your energy bill. Not to mention moisture, mildew, and mold can invade your home through these weak spots. 

Here’s a tip: Sealant problems are most common between windows and at the bottom corners.

Weatherstripping each window can also prevent air and moisture from entering. Just remember to check your weatherstripping, caulking, and sealant over time; like anything else, they tend to degrade with age.

9. Hire a Pro for an Annual Window Inspection

Even if you’ve covered your entire window inspection and maintenance checklist, you may still need a little professional help. There are some window issues—like a mismatched window fit or a large crack—that will be easier and more cost-efficient for a professional to fix. The cost of window repair is between $200 and $600 on average, and the price depends on a handful of factors like the size and type of the window as well as which part is broken.

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