Home Window Problems: Fix or Replace?

Home Window Problems: Fix or Replace?
  • Opening Intro -

    The "window man" has paid you a visit, touting his $179 window replacement plan, a deal that you are considering.

    After all, your windows are old, although not particularly drafty.


The problems you’re experiencing have to do entirely with your ability to open and close your windows with ease, something you may be able to rectify without replacing them.

Let’s take a look at possible problems and the solutions for various types of window issues:

1. Stuck window. High summer temperatures and humidity can make it more difficult for your windows to open, a problem that can usually be rectified by using a knife scraper or a putty knife. Carefully wedge this tool between the window ram and trim, spraying lubricant such as WD40 in the opening. You may need to direct the spray up and down the opening to provide sufficient lubrication. Wait a few minutes and try to lift the sash. Lubricate again until the window is free.

2. Clean the tracks. With the windows now open, inspect the tracks and look for built up debris. In some areas of the country, following a heavy pollen spring, material can get wedged between the track and the window. Use a handheld vacuum or a wet rag to remove debris buildup. Look around the edges of windows and screens from top to bottom.

3. Apply lubrication. Any number of lubricants can be applied to the window tracks to keep windows opening and closing with ease. Besides WD-40, 3-in-1 oil, silicone sprays, and similar solvents and lubricants can do the trick. Avoid using abrasive lubricants as these can stain or discolor your window trim.

4. Inspect weather stripping. Homeowners with older windows may make use of weather stripping to keep winter’s fury at bay. Weather stripping can, however, crack and rip, causing windows to jam. Old stripping should be replaced, but you may be able keep existing stripping in place with just a little maintenance. A home cleanser can be used to clean off stripping; use a rag to remove dirt build up.

5. Sash problems. Your windows may be stuck, but lubrication isn’t the issue. Examine the sash and you may that the window has been painted shut. This problem can be easily remedied by inserting a utility knife into the crack between the sash and the window stop. You can also use a block of wood, placing it in the sash and tapping it lightly with a hammer. Either method should free your stuck window.

6. Check track springs. Perhaps the problem with your stuck window can be attributed to a spring. Simply tighten the spring with the appropriate screwdriver to balance the window. You should be able to open and close the window with ease following this adjustment. Apply lubricant to metal connectors.

7. Broken sash cords. A more complicated problem with stuck windows are broken sash cords. The only way to handle this problem is to remove the entire window, take off the window stops and frame, and cut out the old cord. Insert a new cord with a weight tied to the end — a nail might do — and pull the new cord through the window pocket and around the pulley. Cut the cord to the appropriate length, replace the window stop and cover, and put the window back in place. Lubricate tracks before locking the window.

Window Maintenance

To avoid future window problems, put “window maintenance” on your annual to-do list. Wait until after pollen season has ended to clean the tracks, apply lubrication and to inspect weather stripping. Even if your windows are old, you can get more years from them by employing these easy to follow maintenance tips, holding off the window replacement guy for a few more years.


Popular Mechanics: 7 Quick Fixes for Broken and Stuck Windows — http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/interior/4293919


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Categories: Home Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".