Common Window Issues and Solutions

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Common Window Issues

Windows can be a wonderful asset to your home but over time they can also be the source of some problems.

Take a look at some of the most common issues the Green Brand encounters and the solution to correct them.

Drafty Windows

Have you sat near your window and noticed a change in temperature? This may be caused by:

  • Loose weather stripping
  • Poor insulation on previous install
  • An inefficient product material

Solution:

  • Replace the window with a more energy efficient material. Winnipeg weather needs triple pane windows to be the most efficient.
  • Replace any loose or damaged weather-stripping to create an airtight seal around the window.

Leaky Windows

Leakage around your windows can cause major damage such as discolouration of the wallboard along the bottom sill, peeling paint on the window frame, spongy or rotted wood, ice build-up on the glass, difficulty opening and closing the window, and mould growth.

Possible Problems:

  • Glazing problems such as broken seals or glass
  • High humidity inside your home
  • Condensation or ice build-up
  • Peeled or damaged caulking

Solutions:

  • Contact a glass company to replace a broken window.
  • Too much humidity in the air can cause condensation and ice build-up. Run a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
  • Reapply caulking around the exterior of your window. Make sure you remove the old caulk with a putty knife and apply a smooth bead of caulk along the edges of the window.
  • Window failures may be covered under warranty or you may need to look into new windows or new sealed units to correct the problem.

Anders from Green Brand can give you helpful advice in wither you need a whole replacement or wither just the glass can be replaced to fix the problem.

Stripped Window Cranks/Broken Springs or Hardware

Casement and Awning windows use crank handles to operate. These handles generally operate smoothly but in severe weather conditions or with excess use they can become difficult to operate due to a stripped window crank or even break.

Possible Problems:

  • Long-term use of the crank
  • Over-tightening the crank
  • Forcing frozen windows open

Solutions:

  • Do not force the window to close tightly. The hardware will last longer if you leave a small gap and allow the mechanism to pull the window in for a tight seal.
  • Apply a lithium grease lubricant to the gears in the crank mechanism. You will need to remove the plastic cover over the crank to do this.
  • Clean out dirt and debris from along the window track and apply a silicone lubricant for smoother operation.
  • Replace the window crank. The cost is minimal and often the same crank can be purchased.

If you are believe that you need new hardware it is advisable to talk to your installation company to see if the product is under warranty.

Fogging

If you have been noticing some fogging on your windows chances are you have a sealed unit that has failed (pane of glass with a leak). A failed sealed unit allows moist air to condense between the panes creating fog. This cloudiness will continue to get larger over time obstructing your view and eventually, cause the window to rot.

Possible Problems:

  • The pane of glass has an inner or outer seal that has deteriorated or the spacer that provides strength may no longer be absorbing moisture between the panes.
  • If you have a window with multiple panes you may have Argon gas inserted between the glass layers, the gas may be escaping and causing condensation to build up.

Solutions:

  • Contact your window manufacturer or installer to examine the issue. A replacement may be required and the manufacturer’s warranty needs to be examined as this issue may be covered.

Rotting Window Frames

If you have wood windows then chances are you have noticed a little decay and rotting over time. Wood windows were popular due to the pleasing appearance but they do absorb moisture and that can be an issue.

Possible Problems:

  • Prolonged moisture from a leaking window can cause the finish to peel and the wood underneath to decay. This compromises the entire frame, the operation of the window, and will allow mould to grow.

Solutions:

  • If only a portion of the window sill is rotted you may be able to replace that section without doing anything to the rest of the window. This will require cutting out the damaged area and patching in a new section.
  • If the rotting is more extensive, you should replace the entire window with a full frame installation. This will ensure that there is no hidden damage and that your new window will last.

Windows Not Closing Properly

Winnipeg has some extreme weather and the differences in temperature from season to season can affect the framing of windows causing them to not close as tightly. This is not the only thing that can cause windows not to close properly but it is a main one and if your window does not close tightly then it can affect your homes energy bill.

Possible Problems:

  • You can also look for worn hinges, a misadjusted lock or a dropped sash.

Solutions:

  • A gap between the sash and frame (on the hinge side) indicates that the hinges are worn and need replacement.
  • You can check to be sure your lock is closing the window tightly by sliding a credit card between the sash and the frame. If you can easily move the card, a lock adjustment may be in order. When you open the window, you’ll notice the cams that move vertically when you lock and unlock the handle. A simple adjustment with an Allen wrench will tighten the sash against the seal.

Mould and Mildew Growth

Mould and mildew growth on your windows can be a health hazard. While not all mould is toxic it is possible to be allergic to mould spores.

Possible Problems:

All types of mould and mildew need moisture to grow and spores often appear within 24 to 48 hours of water exposure.

Solutions:

  • You will want to first remove any mould that is present on your windows by cleaning with dish detergent or baking soda and then disinfecting with a bleach/water mixture. (Be sure to take precautions like wearing gloves and a mask to protect yourself)
  • Prevent mould from coming back by providing ventilation. Open windows, run exhaust fans in bathrooms and the kitchen and using a dehumidifier will help.
  • Seal window leaks to prevent water from coming in and remove condensation along window sills as soon as you notice it.
  • Keep windows clean, dust and vacuum the room often to prevent mould from re-growing.

Glass Failure (Sealed Unit)

Cracks in the window glass can be caused by pressure or physical damage.

Possible Problems:

  • Pressure cracks can result from huge temperature swings in a short period of time. The glass will expand and contract quickly and can crack the glass.
  • A broken window can also happen from slamming the window too hard or an object forcefully hitting the glass.

Solutions:

  • You’ll want to contact your window installer to replace the glass.

Broken tilt/Pivot Pins

Double-hung and slider windows are made to operate on tilt pins for easy opening and cleaning.

Possible Problems:

  • When the window is tilted in and forced back into place, it is possible that the pins can break and cause the window to be loose.

Solutions:

  • You can install replacement pins by removing the sash completely, flipping it upside down, and using a screwdriver to remove the old pin. Slide out the broken pivot pin and insert the replacement. Reinstall the screw to hold it in place and put the window back into place. Test to be sure the window operates smoothly.

Ice on Windows

Ice crystals can form on the inside of your window during cold winter months when the outside temperature goes below the dew point. This causes any water vapour in the air to change from a gas to a liquid, condense on the glass, and then freeze into ice.

Possible Problems:

  • Prolonged exposure to ice on your window can cause mould, damage the window frame and the finish.

Solutions:

  • Reduce the humidity in the problem room.

Conclusion

Keeping your windows in top condition by performing regular maintenance will help you avoid many possible problems but if you find yourself faced with an issue don’t worry because many issues can be easily solved. If you do feel unsure you can always call Anders at 204-414-9444 to get some advice and to check on your products warranty.