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3 common window maintenance issues to be aware of

Posted by Kate Donnelly | Friday, November 06, 2015

3 common window maintenance issues to be aware of Next to all the complicated equipment and pieces of machinery your community contains, your building's windows seem refreshingly simple - they open and close. You can cover them with blinds to help keep light and heat out, or you can leave them uncovered to allow pleasing natural light to flood your halls. And that's pretty much it as far as windows go.

Except that it really isn't. Windows may seem fairly simple, but they play an integral part in many essential building functions. They can help cut down on energy consumption by keeping temperate air in and the raw elements out, for example. They also help prevent water from seeping into your building envelope, which can cause endless issues in the form of water damage and pest infestations.

These are all critical functions, and any one of them can be compromised due to various building maintenance issues. Here are some of the more common problems that windows tend to face, and what you can do to prevent them in your community.

1. Wear and tear

Windows are one of the longer-lasting items your community is outfitted with. In fact, a properly installed and well-maintained set of windows can last for decades. However, as FacilitiesNet pointed out, this can often lull facility managers into a false sense of security.

Sure, windows typically have a long life span, but that doesn't mean that once you install them you can forget about them. If anything, they require even closer scrutiny, since oftentimes the wear and tear that your windows will undergo will happen slowly, and won't make itself immediately apparent until a major problem erupts. The key takeaway here is to inspect your windows regularly. Look specifically at the weep holes around your windows. If these tiny openings are too small, or if they've become clogged with dirt, dust or other detritus, you may run the risk of allowing water to get trapped inside. Similarly, the weather stripping between the frame and the sash of your window may deteriorate over time, which can also allow water to accumulate.

2. Water damage

Water damage is any facility manager's worst nightmare. Not only can it cause interior paint to bubble, interfering with your building's aesthetic, but it can also play a more insidious role by potentially rotting the wood studs underneath the drywall. And it gets worse: Water trapped inside walls or ceilings creates prime conditions for mold spores to propagate. While water damage and rotting wood are serious maintenance issues, mold can endanger your residents. The upshot? Water damage is a big deal.

Windows can be especially culpable in allowing moisture to enter your building. This typically happens when gaps develop between the window frame and the wall it's set in. If you notice any visible gaps, or even suspect that a window may be draftier than it should be, caulk it immediately.

3. Thermal stress cracks

You may not think about it often, since your building is climate-controlled and kept at a pleasant temperature and humidity level, but your windows put up with incredible changes in temperature and weather conditions. In some parts of the country, the temperature can go from 80 degrees Fahrenheit or more to well below freezing - a difference in temperature of over 50 degrees. These drastic temperature changes can significantly affect your windows.

Windows are designed to expand and contract with weather changes, but sometimes that can occur unevenly. In these instances, you may notice cracks in the glass due to the stress. While you can't control the weather, you can help regulate the temperature changes your windows are subjected to. One simple way of doing this is to provide shade for larger or sun-facing windows. This keeps the sun from directly beating down on them, which can keep the temperature of the glass and frame more regulated, Pella, a window manufacturer, noted.