Simple combination storm window maintenance tips

July 27, 2015

Combination storm windows are always at the ready, but only if you keep them well-maintained. Here's how:

Simple combination storm window maintenance tips

Combination storm window basics

  • Combination storm windows combine ordinary glazed windows with permanent storm and screen sections that can be slid into place in season.
  • Typically framed in aluminum, these windows have three channels running along each side of the frame to hold two glass sashes and one screen sash.
  • The three channels are staggered to make three openings of slightly different sizes, so each of the three sashes fits into only their channel.

How to remove a sash

  • To remove a sash, examine the mechanism carefully. There are usually tabs located along the channels or on the horizontal sashes. These can be pulled out to release the sashes from the slides.
  • If they're difficult to release, squirt window cleaner around the tabs and scrub with a toothbrush to loosen and remove grit. Pry tabs gently with a screwdriver if needed, but don't bang on the frame because old aluminum can be brittle.
  • Once the tabs are free, raise the sash a little bit and pull the bottom of the sash towards you. Carefully twist the window until one of the guides at the top of the sash is disengaged from its channel.
  • Now lift the sash out of the window to work on it.

Hardware fixes

  • Operating hardware, including extension arms, operating handles, latches and hinges, needs to be cleaned and lubricated periodically.
  • Brush the parts with an old toothbrush to remove loose dust.
  • Apply a few drops of a light household oil or silicone spray to the cleaned assembly and work back and forth a few times to move the lubricant around and to check your work.
  • Tighten any loose screws that you find.

Know when to replace

Aluminum storm windows are often poorly constructed and can therefore warp or break quite easily. If your aluminum storm windows are breaking or warping, consider buying new units from a reputable dealer. You may well recoup your investment in better insulation in just a few years.

Combination storm windows are a little more complicated than regular windows, so they need some extra care and maintenance. By keeping them clean and well-sealed, your windows could last you for years, and help you save on heating costs even when the weather's clear.

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