Your Windows Won’t Open – A Home Inspector’s Tips

You can’t open your windows.

A common complaint when the cool fall weather arrives.  As cool as Los Angeles fall weather can get!

When the complaint arrives in an email or via a phone call, the homeowner is usually concerned about the home having settled, causing things to be out of plumb now.

After pulling up the inspection report and looking at the type of windows, 100% of the time the problem is due to vinyl multipane windows.

And example Russel quotes is a mountainside home that faced south,  meaning  that many rooms also faced south: master bedroom, two other bedrooms (unused), living room, den, game room, and stairway. During the summer months when no one  was  home during the day, it would get extremely hot, and that meant that the air conditioning  would come on around 4:00 p.m. to cool the place down.

When Russel finished renovations and put the home on the market, the home inspector (he was not a home inspector at that time) for the buyers found that the windows in the two bedrooms did not open. They were brand new windows, just nine months old!  Russel called the window installation people and complained.  They were still under warranty, so I was justified.

The window guy came out and explained to him that vinyl multipane in  Southern California areas that get a lot of sunshine, too. The vinyl tends to melt and stick if the window frames get too hot. So after nine months of hot sun during the summertime, the windows in the two rooms that were never used had melted together and stuck

There are two simple solutions to the problem and one not-so-simple solution:

    1. Simple solution: A lubricant like WD-40 can often unstick the windows if they’ve only been in place a few months.
    2. Not-so-simple solution: Wait until your windows are so far gone that WD-40 doesn’t unstick them and then spend thousands of dollars having all the windows replaced. Again.
    3. Simple solution: Each weekend, go around and open all the windows that have not been opened during the week. If you don’t have time to do it each week, have a monthly party for family and friends, but before they get food or drinks, they each have to pick a vinyl multi-pane door or window and open and close it.


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