Photo: Window Screen, Chris Pond, Flickr, attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
When the snow starts to melt and trees begin to bud, restless feet start to make their way outside. Warmer weather brings a more comfortable climate and the ability to indulge in long-awaited recreational activities.
Unfortunately, we can’t always frolic through the new grass. Who doesn’t love opening windows, skylights and screen doors during temperate weather to bring fresh air inside? Screens make it possible to enjoy lovely spring weather while keeping bugs outside.
But, if neglected, screens get dirty with everything from dust, dirt and grime, and detract from the environment they’re intended to create. Here are some tips for seasonal screen maintenance that will help your screens last longer and improve your warm, breezy days inside.
Removing window screens
Depending on where you live, you may need to remove window screens for the winter. If you live in a warm-climate region, it’s best to use your own discretion but is not necessary to remove your window screens in the winter. If you live in cold-climate regions, clean and store window screens for the winter months to protect screens from harsh weather.
For cold-climate homeowners, removing screens for the winter also increases the amount of natural light admitted into the home, which can help to warm the space using solar energy. Depending on the screen material, up to 40 percent more light comes in without them on the windows. Why is more sunlight important? Because it boosts solar heat gain – the amount of solar energy that penetrates a window – and helps to warm a room simply from sunlight.
This intuitive approach can reduce dependence on mechanical heating and reduce the need for more artificial light.
Cleaning window screens
In warm-climate regions, you may prefer to leave window screens on over the winter, but the change in seasons is still a great time to clean and care for them. Dirt, dust and salty sea air make for a poor view and grime that can build up in windowsills.
Taking the screens off is also the perfect opportunity to inspect the condition of the windows, sills, casings and, of course, the screens themselves. Inspect them for any holes, tears or other damage and repair as necessary.
To clean your window screens first rinse then with warm water in the bathtub. Combine about three cups of water with one cup of household ammonia and a tablespoon of dish detergent in a spray bottle. Spray the screens with this solution and use a soft brush to remove excess dirt. Rinse again with warm water and allow to air-dry.
Not just window screens
Just like window screens, your skylights may need a seasonal cleaning. For skylights that open, remove the bug screen and rinse it off with the garden hose. For very dusty screens, use the cleaning directions above. Allow the screen to air dry completely before reinstalling it. Wipe the interior skylight sash with a water-dampened cloth.
Glass cleaner such as Windex® can be used to clean the interior glass, if needed. For the exterior glass, the latest models of VELUX skylights feature Neat® glass, which has a special coating that works with the sun and rain to remove debris. The silicon dioxide coating makes it exceptionally smooth, while titanium dioxide reacts chemically with the sun to break down organic material.
When it rains, dust and debris are washed away, leaving the glass virtually spotless.
Fresh air and natural light allow for a comfortable, healthy environment in any home. When the seasons change, make time for skylight and window screen maintenance to keep your home bright and sunny.