Inspect and Maintain Your Windows

If you notice a spike in your energy bill during the hottest parts of summer or the coldest months of winter, inspect your windows. Leaky windows can cost you up to $300 annually in utility bills. Airtight, dirt-free windows will protect your home from the elements and help you save as much as 30 percent on your heating and cooling bills!

Need a hand? To hire a professional to inspect and maintain your windows, visit Angie's List to find a service provider in your area.

1.) First, take a look at your windowpanes. If you have cracks in the glass, replace the damaged panes of glass. Cracks allow air to seep out of your house.

2.) Clean your windows. Getting a streak-free shine is no easy feat. Place a towel on the floor below the window. Grab a bucket and combine one teaspoon dishwashing soap with two gallons of water. Dip your sponge or scrubber and go to town on the windows. Purchase a good squeegee with a sharp blade and work your way from top to bottom (using horizontal strokes) wiping off the squeegee on a microfiber towel between each stroke. Use your rag to wipe off any remaining liquid on the edges.

3.) Clean your window tracks. If possible, remove the screen first. Use a vacuum with hose attachment to suck up loose dirt, animal hair and dead bugs. Then, dip a damp cloth in warm water and a little dish soap to wipe away any remaining dust and dirt. Make sure to rinse the area with water and dry thoroughly. A sticky or wet space can attract more grime

4.) Next, check the weather stripping around your window. Weather stripping is a grey strip of foam resting against your windowsill and window frame that provides protection from wind and moisture. To remove damaged weather stripping, cut the section out with a razor. Then reattach new weather stripping to ensure a snug fit. Note: Your home may or may not need weather stripping. Luckily, there are some very simple ways to find out. If you can feel cold air coming in around doors and windows on a windy day, you know the answer.

5.) Caulking can save you a lot of money on your air conditioning bill. First, remove old caulk with a scraper or putty knife. Then, load a caulking gun with a tube of high-quality caulk. Find cracks between window trim and siding and apply a bead of caulk. Smooth it out with a spoon or popsicle stick and let it dry.

6.) Do you have wood windows? Check the wood for rot or damage by poking a screwdriver in the wood to find weak spots. You may have to replace the windows if they have a lot of water damage. Also look for stains on the wall around the window, which are a sure sign of a window that is not watertight.

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