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Banish flies from your window tracks!

We shared this last year about this time, and it was a hit. Read on for a relatively, quick and easy way to tackle one of the trickier household chores: Getting the dirt and dead flies out of your window tracks.

With flies reappearing, we think this is a great end-of-summer chore.

Give your windows a true clean-up

Before you thoroughly wash your windows for the season, we suggest cleaning up the window tracks so that your entire window will look like new!

It’s not all about aesthetics: a scrubbed up, bug-free window track is also a sign that your window will work efficiently, allowing rainwater to drain properly through the irrigation channels hidden under the track to the outside.

I’m sure you know what we’re talking about. The grime, dirt, specks of mold and families of flies that quickly accumulate in the tracks of your windows are simply gross!

Even if you are someone who is diligent about cleaning them, it’s typically hard to get them truly clean. Plus you may not have realized how much it can help to have the irrigation channel hidden under the window track clean. If it is clean, it will prevent moisture from seeping into your window frames and siding. (Maybe you didn’t even know there were irrigation channels hidden under the window tracks!)

So, here’s how you do it: First open your vinyl or aluminum openable window all the way. Then lift the moving window portion up and the bottom toward you and completely out. (Yes, you can do that!) Now you can take a putty knife and pop out the lower track so that it exposes the window frame. Yes, it does come out, too. Just lift the movable portion and clean. (Do take note of how it was sitting in the window frame first so you’ll know which end to put back where.)

Now you clean the part you removed and also clean and dry the area underneath the track. When the underneath and the track itself are clean and bug free, just reverse the procedure and place the window track back in, followed by the window.

Now, that feels better, doesn’t it! While you’ve got eyes on your windows, take a good look at the caulking around them.

Caulking keeps the moisture out

The UV light of the sun damages caulk. A good caulk job should be hidden from the sun and elements by paint or flashing whenever possible. So, if the caulk around windows and doors looks like it’s weathered, it’s time to start fresh. Of course – the optimal time to do this is before you paint. But if your inspection shows that new caulk is needed, don’t delay. Remove the old material, replace with good quality, paintable caulk and then paint over it when cured.

For starters, take a sharp tool which will cut out the old caulk and remove it to sound wood or metal. Caulking over existing caulk not only doesn’t look as nice and it can also inadvertently trap moisture behind it – defeating the purpose of caulking to begin with!

Once the affected section of caulk is removed, carefully apply new caulk. Use a wet finger or smoothing tool to seal the edges in tightly … less is more and covered is best.


Check for Z flashings at window

Most homes have something called Z flashings or head flash, which is located on the outside top of the trim board for your windows.

The Z flashing diverts water away from the top of your window. Yes, your windows still show raindrops, however Z flashing directs the majority of the water away from the top of your window. This helps prevent leaks and other trouble weather creates if it finds a way behind siding, trim and window frames.

However, not all homes have Z flashing above their windows. The better older homes back in the day had a sloped head trim board to do this job. If this is your type, make sure the wood is sound, caulked and well painted.

If your windows are leaking and don’t seem to have flashing, it’s a good project for a licensed professional to install them. If you are a fairly adept DIYer, a You Tube search for the procedure could be a helpful aid. This Old House and Fine Home Building are great resources.

Did you complete last week’s chores?

Now that you are on a roll, let’s review some of the end-of- summer chores we mentioned in our last blog.

We reiterated that there is likely still time to paint your house before the weather turns. In our climate, it’s ideal to paint a home’s exterior every five to seven years.

A good paint job is important for your house’s siding. It helps keep out the water, mold and mildew out!

However, even if you don’t paint your house this year, a scrub with 30 Second cleaner and a good rinse will get the grime off and actually help your current paint job last.

Remember ladder safety when you do this chore! Don’t forget to use a ladder stand-off and be sure the ladder is on solid ground when you use it to wash the outside of your windows.

Ladder safety is also needed when you check your gutters, for those of you who don’t have gutter guards. While you’re up there cleaning them out before they get clogged up this fall, this is a great time to ensure the gutters themselves are secured tightly to your house.

In the last column, we also reminded you that any grass, tree or shrub that is touching the siding or roof of your house needs to be cut back so it’s at least one-foot from any structure.

And of course, if you see any dangerous limbs or unstable trees taking care of that now before more fall storms blow in.


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