Your windows play a large part in your home’s protection against the weather, energy efficiency, and curb appeal, so taking care of them should be a priority. And that entails understanding what they are trying to tell you, through these common signs that hint at possible problems.
Condensation on the Glass
Where condensation forms helps determine the root of the problem. If condensation occurs along the bottom of the glass then, chances are, there are either high levels of moisture inside your home, or it lacks ventilation. In our experience, this condition is less likely to be an issue with your window than a problem with the moisture levels in your house — which you can easily have corrected.
If the condensation forms between the panes of glass in a multi-pane window unit, moisture has already entered the unit. This is largely due to the failure of window seals. The good news is, you do not have to replace the entire unit to take care of the problem. You can just have the pane removed and replaced.
And if the condensation is located on the center of the glass and inside your home, the culprit is normally a gas leak. In such cases, the gas fill inside the unit manages to escape (mostly owing to improper manufacturing) which, in turn, causes the glass to bow in. Window warranties typically cover the cost of repair or replacement for this problem.
Water leaking around the window – especially during inclement weather events – means the window is not as tight as it should be. This can be remedied merely by properly closing it, or checking to see if the weatherstripping has failed. If the window continues to show signs of a leak despite your closing it and checking its weatherstripping, the damage may be coming from your roof or siding.
Drafty windows, on the other hand, usually require changing the weatherstripping or the panes. This may be fixed by applying either new weatherstripping, rope caulking, or a clear plastic shrink film. You can also use a draft snake, or opt instead to fill in the cracks in the window pane with nail polish. If none of these solves the issue, you should consider replacing damaged glazing, adding a storm window, or replacing the entire unit.
Issues with Opening and Closing
Windows are supposed to open and close with no issues. So if yours are not doing so, something as simple as cleaning the tracks of dirt and debris may be all that’s called for. In some cases, operable parts may have to be cleaned and lubricated, too. Make sure to use the right lubricant, however, to prevent further problems.
The Need for Professional Help
Forget about trying to solve the above issues on your own; keep in mind that doing so may just escalate some of the issues further. Moreover, you may inadvertently void your warranty if you damage your windows in any way while you’re trying to fix them. We recommend that you instead delegate the task to a professional window installer. Such a professional will not only have the technical skills critical to solving the problem, but will also be able to advise you on what to do to keep the problems away.
Jon Fleming, along with brother Don, is a second generation family business owner of Vinylume Home Improvement. Upon graduation from college, Jon worked eight years as a reporter in New York City and Albany, NY, before rejoining the company. Today, Jon is vice president of sales and marketing.