What would a house be without windows? They allow us to feel connected to the outside world, even when we’re safe in our home. Unfortunately, windows can sometimes require a lot of maintenance.
Here are seven common window problems you may come across – and how you can solve them.
The Problem: Your windows have small gaps in them that cause air from the outside to come into the home. This problem is especially troubling in the winter, when air leakage can mean a costly heating bill.
The Cause: A window leaking air can happen for any number of reasons. Often, it occurs simply because of age and general wear and tear. You may notice that the window sealant or caulk has cracks or gaps in it. It’s also possible that your windows were poorly installed to being with, and the gaps that leak air have always been there.
The Solution: If you notice that the caulking on your windows is cracked or broken, the easiest solution is to re-caulk those areas. Double-hung windows may leak air from the top and bottom.
It is recommended that you use adhesive-backed, foam weather stripping to seal the top sash, and a foam-rubber backed rod to fill the gaps at the bottom. If you aren’t planning to open your windows until spring due to cold air, you can seal your windows shut completely with a temporary caulking.
This type of caulking can be peeled off as winter comes to an end, when you’re ready to enjoy the warm breeze again.
The Problem: Your double-hung windows may be difficult to open, and get stuck or refuse to move when you attempt to lift the lower sash.
The Cause: In some cases, your window may be sealed shut with paint. You also may find that your window’s tracks need to be lubricated for a smoother lift. Another cause can be that your wood windows have warped or swelled and don’t properly fit in the opening anymore.
The Solution: First grab a hammer and a stiff putty knife. You’ll be using these tools to work your way around the window, un-sticking the sash from the frame. Hold the putty knife parallel to the glass and gently hammer it into the crack between the sash and the frame. This will loosen any areas that have been stuck together by paint. Repeat this process on both sides of the window sash that is sticking, thus loosening it gently.
Once this process is completed, you should be able to open and close your window – but you may find it’s still a bit sticky! Find a simple, household lubricant such as candle wax or petroleum jelly.
Rub the lubricant on the window’s tracks, a little bit at a time. Test the window by trying to open it, and repeat application of the lubricant as necessary. Soon your windows will be sliding with ease.
If you have wood windows that are stuck, the only true solution is to replace them with durable vinyl windows that won’t warp or swell when exposed to moisture.
The Problem: The sills on the outside of your house are crumbling and rotting away, which is both unsightly and bad for the rest of your home. It’s important to fix a rotting window sill quickly so the rot doesn’t spread to the rest of your house.
The Cause: Wooden window sills rot away due to water damage. This can happen if your window sills haven’t been properly maintained through painting and using waterproof sealant. Storm window frames can sometimes be sealed too tightly, which causes rotting because they’re unable to drain properly.
The Solution: A rotting window sill cannot be fixed and will need to be replaced. This project is a little lengthier, but can easily be done by an ambitious homeowner. The key to replacing a window sill is removing the old sill gently and keeping it in one piece.
Your old window sill can be used as a template when you cut the new one, saving you the hassle of extensive measuring.
The Problem: This doesn’t just occur on window sills. You may notice water damage and rotting on the outside of your house around the window area. This should be dealt with as soon as possible so the rotting doesn’t spread, which would allow further water damage to occur.
The Cause: This is likely caused by insufficient weather proofing around the window. When the window was installed, the flashing may have been poorly installed or not installed at all. Your window may also be older, and the flashing needs to be replaced.
The Solution: It’s time to replace or install proper flashing! If you’re pretty handy, this can be done at home. However, the process of installing flashing involves removing the entire window from the house, and may require more than one person to do the job. Consider hiring a contractor to look over your situation and help fix the problem.
The Problem: Not only is broken or cracked glass unsightly, it can also be dangerous. Glass can chip off of the window and fall onto the floor or into your lawn, creating a potential hazard to anyone who walks nearby.
The Cause: You tell us! Did your kid throw a baseball into the window? Did your spouse knock something onto the glass? Or maybe the crack in your window pane is just as much of a mystery to you as it is to us. Broken glass can happen for any number of reasons. No matter how it happened, it’s best to fix it as soon as possible.
The Solution: Unless you consider yourself particularly handy, the glass will eventually need to be replaced by a professional. Until that time though, you can take steps to temporarily fix the glass and prevent any further damage or accidents.
For a crack in the window, placing tape over the entire crack will temporarily prevent air leakage through the window. Duct tape will work well for this fix. Make sure you place the tape on both sides of the glass, and stick it on gently to prevent further damage or breakage.
If you have a hole in your window, the first thing to do is remove all the excess glass. Do this using thick, protective gloves and wearing protective eye wear. Once the glass has been removed, cover the opening with a trash bag or a thermal protective barrier you can buy at your local home center.
The Problem: You may notice a fog-like moisture on the inside of your windows during the winter. Excessive moisture can cause damage to the wood around your windows, which causes rotting. Deal with moisture early, so that problem doesn’t occur.
The Cause: Condensation happens more often in the winter because cold air holds less water than warm air. During colder months, the warm air inside your home comes in contact with the cold air outside and creates condensation on the windows. Often, this will only last a day or two as temperatures adjust. But sometimes, if the humidity levels in your home are high, the condensation won’t go away.
The Solution: If the condensation in your home doesn’t go away after a few days, consider investing in a dehumidifier. This will help remove the excess water in the air of your home. If buying a dehumidifier isn’t an option, turn on a few fans to get the air inside your home circulating. It can also help to add weather stripping to your windows to prevent the warm and cold air from meeting.
The Problem: A sash lock on a window serves as a security feature as well as a feature for energy efficiency. If the sash lock is broken, both of these benefits will be compromised.
The Cause: Sash locks can break for any number of reasons, but the main one might be simple wear and tear. Repeated use can wear down even the strongest mechanisms over time. If the lock is broken due to rotting or damaged wood, the wood on the window needs to be fixed or replaced.
The Solution: The key to replacing a sash lock is to make sure you order the right piece. Take careful and detailed photos of the sash lock before ordering it from the manufacturer. You want to make sure you order the right part the first time. Replacing the lock is as simple as removing the rivets that hold the old lock in place, then securing the new lock with pop rivets.
All common window issues can be prevented through proper installation and regular maintenance. Keeping these common problems in mind, be sure to do a quick check of your windows at least once every season. Checking regularly for problems will help to eliminate them before they become severe.
In some cases, the problems you’re experiencing can only be solved with full replacement. Feldco is here for you when the time comes for replacing your windows. Our durable, energy efficient vinyl windows are built to last and will withstand any weather thrown at them.
Join the over 350,000 homeowners who trust Feldco and get a free quote online for your window replacement project and say goodbye to all your window problems.