Both old and new windows can experience problems that interfere with function, integrity, energy efficiency, and security. Luckily most common window problems can be resolved to return functionality with little effort. Use these solutions to common home window problems.
Windows Won’t Open
Windows that won’t open present a danger if you need to exit the home during an emergency. Some causes and fixes for jammed windows include:
- Paint: Check the seam along the frames to see if the window is painted shut. If this is the case, you can use a utility knife to carefully run the blade along the edge of the window and sill.
- Sashes: If the windows still won’t budge, it will take a little more strength and tools to remove the window sashes. Look for the nails, remove them from one side of the jamb, and see if this helps. If not, do the same on the other side and then remove the sash from the frame.
- Warping: Wood windows can warp if the weather is humid. In this case, there’s not much you can do, as sanding will mean they might be too loose when the weather cools down.
- Broken locks: Broken locks might be stuck in the locked position. You can try to fix the lock, but it’s best to have a window expert assess the window and make the repairs to keep your home secure.
If you have old windows with wooden frames, consider investing in low-maintenance vinyl window replacements so you don’t have to repaint the frames or worry about warping.
Windows Won’t Close
There are several reasons windows might not close, including humidity that causes wood frames to expand, and paint that interferes with the operation. If you can open your windows, but find you have difficulty closing them, try these solutions:
- Check the tracks: Dirt in window tracks can make it challenging to shut windows. If they look dirty, vacuum up loose debris, and then use a brush to loosen caked-on dirt and grime. Vacuum again and then see if this fixes the issue.
- Decrease friction: If cleaning the tracks doesn’t work, you can wax the tracks to help reduce friction. Silicone spray might also work if your windows are made of a composite material.
- Check for jams: Older windows might come off their tracks. Check to see if the window looks off-center. If it does, you might be able to re-position it with a bit of fiddling.
If you can’t fix the issue, call an expert to repair the window. Otherwise, your home’s security is at risk.
Windows Won’t Stay Open
If your double- or single-hung windows open and close but won’t stay open to let in a breeze, something is wrong with the components. This is a complicated fix because the components are hidden. You’ll have to disconnect the sash and try to figure out what part is malfunctioning. This isn’t advisable because you might make matters worse.
For example, you might think you’ve corrected the issue but you really haven’t, and the window can drop at any time, causing injury or smashing the glass. It’s best to call a window expert to repair the issue. If the windows are very old, it might make more sense to replace them.
If you feel a noticeable draft coming from your windows, there could be a few possible problems:
- Old Caulking: Check the window to see if the caulking is old, cracked, or pulling away from the windows. If so, remove it and recaulk using an indoor latex caulk wherever you see space along the trim, joints, frame, etc.
- Flattened Weatherstripping: Weatherstripping seals your windows when closed. However, if it’s damaged or old, it won’t be a tight enough seal. Open your windows and check your weatherstripping. If it is damaged or non-existent, you can buy new weatherstripping and remove/install it.
- Old Windows: If it’s not the caulking or weatherstripping, your windows might be single pane, or so old the energy-efficient features are no longer working. Either way, in this case, new windows are the only solution.
Leaks are a serious problem you need to correct ASAP, as water is very invasive. It can make its way beyond the damage you can see, leading to structural damage and mould growth that perhaps you can’t see. Common window problems with leaks can be related to the following causes:
- Improper installation: If your windows leak but are new, speak to your installer right away. They have a responsibility to check the windows and make repairs to ensure your windows are sound.
- Flashing issues: Flashing is installed around windows in homes with siding. Damaged flashing or improper window or flashing installation is a common cause of leaks. Again, for new windows, call your installer to correct the issue. If windows are older, check the exterior to see if caulking along the flashing resolves the problem. Calling a window installer is safest, as they will assess your windows and recommend repairs or replacements to stop the leak.
- Failing sealant/caulking: The exterior caulking might also be failing. Over time, the sealants crack, dry out, and pull away from the windows. If this is the case, the windows can be re-caulked.
If your windows look foggy, have moisture between the panes, or have frost, you have a condensation issue. The most common problems with home windows that have condensation include:
- The insulating gas is failing: Double- and triple-paned windows use gas like argon or low-e as insulation, creating a barrier that stops heat and cold from leaving or entering the home. When the gas leaks over time, the insulation is no longer working, leading to fogging, condensation, and frost. Have an expert assess your windows to see if the seals have failed. They can determine if the gas can be replaced or if window replacement is necessary.
- Single panes: Single-pane windows don’t have insulating gases and are prone to condensation. In this case, you’ll need to replace your windows with new energy-efficient options.
- Humidity: In some cases, condensation is related to excess humidity in your home. If the windows are sound, a dehumidifier can help resolve the issue.
Damaged Wood Frames
Home window problems and solutions for wood windows are usually related to maintenance. Wood windows eventually become cracked, suffer from rot, or begin to warp if not maintained properly. If your window frames are peeling, you need to check the wood for signs of rot. If the frames seem fine other than the peeling paint, you’ll need to sand, prime, and paint the frames with high-quality exterior paint to protect the frames. You should do this every few years. A better solution is to install new low-maintenance vinyl windows.
How To Solve The Most Common Home Window Problems
Having your windows assessed by a window expert will ensure repairs are done properly. You can also consider replacing old windows to improve energy efficiency, safety, and security.
Contact the window experts at Weaver today – get a quote for new windows here.