El Niño is upon us, as evidenced by the severe rain, thunderstorms, and wind-driven rain we saw this past week in San Diego. Since all of the experts are calling for a rainy winter and spring, we thought it would be a good idea to post some information about how to prepare your replacement windows and doors for the rainy season in San Diego.
The first thing to do is check that the weep holes in your replacement windows and doors are clean and free of debris. Weep holes are the small holes located on the exterior frame of your vinyl replacement windows and doors. They allow any water that is collected in the window to drain out, preventing water damage. Often, dirt, leaves, small sticks or other debris will collect in the weep holes and keep the water from draining. They can be cleaned out with a small, soft bottle brush.
Once all visible debris is removed from the weep hole, you can perform a simple test to see if it is functioning properly. Fill up a water bottle (about 500ml) and pour a small amount of water into the corner of each window track. Then, look outside to see if there is a flow of water coming from the weep hole. If there is, your weep hole is fine. If not, it needs further cleaning. You can either do it yourself, or hire a professional to do it for you. Either way, don’t wait too long. Make sure it gets done before the next storm arrives.
The next step to take in preparing your windows for inclement weather is to clean the window tracks. To do this properly, you need to remove the moving sash of the window. Vacuum the tracks, and then clean them with a mixture of mild dish soap and water. Rinse completely, and wipe dry. Again, this is something you can do on your own, or hire someone to do it for you. Even when there are no looming storms, it is a good idea to clean your window and door tracks every six months. In coastal areas and areas with dirt roads or leafy trees, they should be cleaned every two months.
Finally, make sure your replacement windows and doors are fully closed and locked. Sometimes windows and doors may appear to be closed, but are not, and water can get in through even the smallest opening.
Once the rains start, if you see a small amount of water inside your track, even though it is fully closed and locked, don’t panic. A small amount of water in the track is normal for most vinyl replacement windows and doors and will not cause damage. A properly functioning drain system inside the bottom of the window and doorframe will lead the water out eventually. However, if you see water rising in the track, that is a sign of a clogged drain system and must be addressed immediately.
For windows and doors on open walls (those with no overhang), it is wise to keep an especially close watch on the amount of water coming through, and consider placing towels around the base of the window or door for extra protection.
As with almost any product warranty, the warranty on your replacement windows and doors will be void if you don’t take the proper steps to maintain them. Window warranties don’t cover damage by extreme weather, so it is important to do your part to keep the water out. If you have any questions about the proper maintenance of your replacement windows and doors, consult the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions, or give us a call at BM Windows.