Seasonal window cleaning; to screen or not to screen?

caroline94535October 30, 2013

Hi! I'm Caroline (in North Dakota) and while I've been a Garden Web member for eons, and usually post on the KT; I thought I'd ask for some advice here, too.

Do you keep your window screens up year round, or do you remove them for the winter?

I clean windows twice a year. Winters are so dark here; I want every speck of light to find its way into the house.

Seven of the windows are double-hungs. The sashes tilt in so I can clean both sides of the glass from inside the house. This is the best feature of the new windows.

The worst feature is the windows' screens. They cover the entire window area; the old windows had half screens. I have to either remove the entire screen (which I usually drop and then have to go outside to retrieve ) or just wipe at the sills and pushing some of the grime under the edge of the screens' frame.

So, long question longer...

Do you think the screens would protect the windows from some of the dirt? I'm in an industrial farming land area, with open prairies, very strong winds and clouds of dust at times. The screens get very dirty between washings. Winter brings some dust relief since everything is frozen and covered with feet of snow. Still the winds will scour the snow from some of the fields an flying dirt can still be an issue.

I have to keep one screen on in the front of the house. The east window in my sewing room faces the bird feeding tree. If I take that screen off I get too many fatal bird strikes. I keep it on to protect the birds.

Should I take off all the other screens, and get more light in winter; or leave the screens on and deal with the shading and dirty sills?

From the front of the house you see the larger living room window, no screens, and the tall sewing room window with a full screen, but it is partially blocked by the white spruce tree.

I'm in an old, plain, tired house, in an old, plain, tired town. The neighboring homes' windows are a mish-mash - some windows have screens; some don't; some screens are removable; some are tacked on. I don't "have to fit a pattern" but I do want my house to look as tidy and cared for as possible.

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I wouldn't take them off for light, it's to much trouble. I even open windows in the winter to let in a little fresh air so I want my screens on. I do have them off in the living area because I have suction cup bird feeders on the windows and I refill them by opening the window instead of wading in the snow. I sit a couple of feet from the window and get to see close ups of hummers, finches and wood peckers. One day a woodpecker was pecking at the window to let me know the feeders were empty.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 12:14AM
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I find this an interesting question. If U have had half window screens on the outside, U would notice that the windows with the screen, was the 1 that looked dirty, after the first rain. U would have to take the screens off and clean and hose them off.. Anyone reading this that has ever had sliding glass patio doors, will know the side where the outside screen was always positioned, was always dirty after a few rains.. Screens act like a furnace filter and the catch all of the dust and dirt. It rains and U have spotted, dirty, windows. That, I don't want to see. I wash my windows every 2 weeks and the outside screens have been removed 4 years. Some of my houses had them on the inside, and they tilted in 2 wash and the others, back in the day U had 2 go outside 2 clean them and remove the screens. I always had clean windows and cleaned them all winter long.

This was what I used:

2 gallons of water, this can B cold

1 tsp. of Dawn

I tsp. of Jet dry. and 1 tsp. of Denatured Alcohol

U have 2 B able to use a squeegee in the winter. In the summer U just use a hose end sprayer and rinse it off. This works great and the window washer who did my windows @ my hair salon, gave it 2 me and I have been using it 4 years.

People who have vinyl clad windows should omit the alcohol. It may change the color.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 2:02AM
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This is one of those times where there isn't a right or wrong answer, but you might consider these things....

1. Convenience. Is it a simple thing to remove and store the screens? The least expensive fix, but also the most work.

2. Replace them with half screens, as eteinne mentioned, but that's an expensive fix. Half screens allow the natural light in on the upper half of the double-hung windows and you still have the protection of the screens on the bottom.

Our home had half screens on it when it was built and the second year we lived here we had them replaced with full screens. The setting sun (most of our windows are on the west side of our home) is brutal in the summer and we needed the extra protection provided by full screens, but also made them UV filtering screens, which are very dark.

3. This is my personal favorite... Leave the screens, which is an economical and convenient fix - as well as providing an additional layer of protection - and add full spectrum lights/lamps to the rooms you think you'd like more natural light. Full spectrum lights are used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) through the use of "light boxes" that mimic natural sunlight, especially beneficial for those living up north.


Here is a link that might be useful: Verilux Full Sprectum Light

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 5:56AM
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My screens come down, and storm windows go up. Clean is not an issue. Who wants to look out at winter weather? UGH.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 5:13PM
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I do, I love nature and the birds at my feeders and the fox cubs playing near the trees.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 5:15PM
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I take my screens off in the late fall. I love every bit of light shining in my house in the winter. In the spring i give my screens a good scrubbing before putting them back up. I need to clean my screens once a year anyway so i might as well take them off once and leave them off until spring.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 12:59PM
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