(BPT) - There's no better time than now to give your home the attention it deserves. Give it an annual checkup before cold weather arrives to help add comfort, save energy and cut home maintenance in the long-run.
When inspecting your home's windows and doors, here's what to check:
Inspect interior and exterior finishes: Over time, paint and stain can weather away. Flaking or peeling may mean that it's time to refinish or replace the unit. When replacing windows or doors, consider factory prefinished wood or fiberglass options from Pella, or vinyl options that don't need painting or staining, to save time and money.
Look for damaged exterior surfaces or signs of leaks: Check your sprinkler system to make sure it's watering your lawn and landscape, not soaking your windows or doors. Cracked or deteriorated wood may be a sign of water penetration. Leaks can linger and affect interior walls, floors or ceilings, so look closely for discoloration or other moisture signs.
If you spot a problem, track its trail. For example, discolored trim around a window might actually be caused by moisture entering a ways away. With a leaky roof, water may run down inside the wall and appear at the window. Contact a professional for help in making home repairs.
Clear windowsills and tracks of dirt and debris: Sand, leaves, insects or pine needles stuck in weather-stripping can affect the performance of your windows and doors. Open the windows and clean the opening with a soft brush, like a dry paint brush or vacuum attachment. Do the same for sliding patio doors.
Try opening and closing: Open your windows and doors to make sure moving parts work, and units close properly. Replace worn or broken parts.
Inspect weather-stripping: Re-attach loose weather-stripping around windows or doors, and replace material that's ripped or torn.
Replace or repair broken locks: If locks feel loose or don't work smoothly, replace them. Keep windows and doors locked when not in use. Locks help hold doors and windows tightly, to lock out rain, wind, snow and insects.
Inspect weep and breather holes: Weep holes in the exterior of windows, allow excess moisture to escape, while breather holes allow air exchange within certain components. Clear blocked holes of dirt or debris with a wire or toothpick.
Check exterior sealants and caulk on and around windows and doors. Pay attention to areas susceptible to rain, water and extreme sunlight. Remove damaged material and reapply sealant.
In coastal locations, rinse exterior metal like exterior aluminum trim or cladding: Rinsing exterior metal parts three or four times a year can help extend the life of your windows and doors by minimizing corrosion from salt spray or fog.
Feel for signs of air leakage around the window or door: Improperly installed windows or doors can be drafty, decrease energy efficiency, and allow unwanted moisture into your home. To help save on utility bills and keep your home more comfortable year-round, replace drafty old, leaky windows with new, ENERGY STAR-qualified Pella windows installed properly.