You may not really think about it but the windows in your home require regular maintenance.

In fact, for a number of reasons, making sure your windows are in good shape may be one of the most important parts of maintaining your home.

Think about it. These panes of glass and the sealing around them must withstand a variety of weather elements.

Here in Florida, we could have 100-degree temperatures during the summer and occasional freezing temperatures in the winter. And it’s not impossible to see 30-to-40-degree temperature changes in a 24-hour period.

Add to that, the rain. Even without hurricanes or tropical storms, when it rains here, the downpours can be extreme.

Of course, there’s the wind as well. Again, regardless of tropical activity, we often experience high winds.

These environmental conditions can certainly take a big toll on windows in a number of ways. Sealants can lose flexibility. Components can corrode over time. Unfortunately, if you don’t have regular inspections done on your windows, the damage can become so great that the only alternative is replacement.

So, here are some useful tips to extend the life of your windows.

  • An annual inspection. Look for leaks, cracks or chips in the paint or material, sealant or difficulty opening or closing windows. If you’re not certain what you should be looking for, bring in an expert to inspect.
  • Caulking. Window sealant or caulking makes sure they are watertight. If you see cracks or broken sealant, they need to be fixed immediately. The most common spots for these problems are in the bottom corners and in between windows.
  •  Imperfections in wood. Wood windows generally require more maintenance than vinyl or fiberglass. Make sure your inspection includes both inside and outside. You’re looking for corrosion, peeling and cracking.
  • Window tracks. Make sure there is no dirt or debris building up in your window tracks. Clean these regularly with a dry brush. If there’s any dirt left, you can use soap and water.
  • Window fit. The fit of your window will change over time because of exposure to the elements and regular usage. If the fit of your window deteriorates, it will impact your energy efficiency. If they don’t open or close completely, that’s a sure sign of a bad window fit.

One last thing. If you have a second home near the ocean, this inspection should come quarterly because of potential salt build-up.