Maintenance, Repair and Replacement

Like most things on the inside and outside of your home, windows and doors do require maintenance. These products may also require repair or replacement over the lifetime of the home. No products have an indefinite lifespan.

Like most things on the inside and outside of your home, windows and doors do require maintenance. Most manufacturers provide care and cleaning instructions with their products, which should be followed. Here are a few key maintenance considerations.

Glass, sash and frame surfaces should be kept clean, but petroleum-based cleaners, and solvents should not be used. Additional, you should not use a razor blade, putty knife or abrasive pad.

Particular care should be given to sills and track areas. Keep free of dirt, dead insects and other debris. Most windows and doors use a water drainage or "weep" system in the frame to drain excess water from heavy rains to the outside. Care should be taken to keep weepholes clean without damaging weephole covers/baffles.

Weatherstripping and hardware should be cleaned and maintained periodically. If weatherstripping is excessively worn, windows and doors cannot seal properly. Hardware components, such as sash locks, operators and patio door rollers, must be operable for security and life safety purposes. If any of these components are no longer functional, they should be replaced.

A brochure entitled, "Windows and Doors - They Need Care and Maintenance Too" is available from the Web site of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. Information on care and maintenance is also available on the Web site of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association.

Manufacturers offer a wide variety of warranties on their windows and doors, but there will come a day when components need to be replaced, repairs are needed, or the whole unit needs replacement.

Replacement weatherstripping and many hardware components are available at many hardware stores and/or home centers. There are also companies specializing in window and door repair and replacement components in many markets.
For energy efficiency and comfort reasons, most windows and doors today are supplied with insulating glass. Insulating glass generally is comprised of two lites of glass divided by a spacer frame and sealed together. Over the lifetime of a home, the seal between the two lites of glass may fail and the insulating glass unit may fog. In that case, the insulating glass unit can be replaced, typically by a local glass dealer. A database of glass dealers is available on the Web site of the National Glass Association. (Window & Door Magazine and this Web site are also produced by NGA).

Occassionally, homeowners raise concerns about condensation on window glass. Condensation is water vapor from the air that is deposited on a surface when the humid air near the surface is cooled. The water forms since cool air is not able to hold as much water vapor as warm air.

The occasional appearance of condensation on windows, mirrors and other areas of the home is not a problem, but consistent condensation indicates an elevated humidity level in the home.
Window glass provides a visible location on which the excess humidity in your home is able to condense. Condensation is also likely to be forming elsewhere in a home that is not as visible as on the window glass.

Many everyday activities can add more water vapor to the air and raise the relative humidity of your home. The breathing of a family, cooking meals, taking showers, washing dishes and doing laundry can all contribute to high humidity levels within the home. Proper ventilation is essential, because high relative humidity levels within the home can be damaging and contribute to the growth of mold and mildew.

More information about condensation and windows is available from the Web sites of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and Window & Door Manufacturers Association.

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