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Window Pains: And How to Fix Them

Let's face it, sometimes windows can be a real pain! 

Old window in need of repair

Let's face it, sometimes windows can be a real pain! They can be drafty or leaky, they might not open when we want them to, and then close when we don't want them to! So that's why we have come up with this list of the Top 10 Window Pains And How To Fix Them:

1. They're drafty. Drafty windows is an issue that occurs when there are deficiencies in the weather stripping between the moving parts. It is a problem because air leaks will cause the efficiency of the window to drastically reduce and will cost you more to heat or cool the living space. To solve this problem, the weather stripping should be replaced with new material. This can be done by a qualified window contractor, or in some cases it can be done by the homeowner. The material needed is available at most home improvement retailers.

2. They stick. Sometimes you will find that when you try to operate a window, it sticks in the closed or open position. This could be a problem. If it is stuck open, it will allow wind and rain to enter the home causing damage. If it is stuck closed, it could be an egress problem in case of fire or other emergencies.
This problem can be caused by dirt or debris in the tracks or carelessly painting the moving parts together. Scheduled cleaning and lubrication of the tracks is recommended. I have found that spray furniture polish works well. It does not attract dust and will not damage plastic parts that some oil based lubricants will. Do not use oil based lubricants on vinyl windows!

3. They contain lead paint. Some older windows may have been finished with a lead based paint. It has been determined that the inhalation or digestion of lead paint particles can be a health hazard. It is recommended to paint over the lead based paint with an oil based enamel. Be very careful when prepping the surface. It is when the lead paint particles are airborne that they are dangerous. ALWAYS reference the EPA's Renovation, Repair and Painting Requirements when working with any lead paint or hiring a contractor to do so. Please be aware that according to the EPA rule, anyone you hire to perform this work must be certified by the EPA and trained to follow lead-safe work practices.

4. They won’t stay open. Single or double hung windows that have defective sash cords are a personal injury waiting to happen (especially to children) because when the lower portion of the window is raised, it is expected that the window will stay open. But with defective sash cords, this is not so and the window will fall, possibly catching someone's fingers. This is a common problem that is caused by the balance system for the sash not functioning properly. This could be from broken cords to dirt and debris hindering the operation. This condition could not only cause injury but damage the frame or glass in the sash as well. A qualified window contractor should be able to repair or replace the balance systems for proper operation.

If you are a more advanced do it yourselfer and don't want to tear apart the sash, you can research supplemental springs like this one that fit into the jamb and hold the window open by pressure. One at each side of the sash will do the trick. 

5. Weep holes are covered. This is a condition when the designed weep system of the product is blocked preventing the expulsion of rain and moisture from the product. This can be caused by faulty construction, insect webs or other debris. This problem can cause water to enter the inside of the living space causing damage or the possibility of mold or fungus. It can be cured by periodically checking and cleaning out the weep holes as needed.

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Read Window Pains: Part 2