Screens: Tips for Happy Doors and Windows During Warm Weather
I love summer, and I love it, even more, when the screens on my windows and doors let me bring more of the season into my home – without also bringing in bugs. It’s THE BEST feeling—that first warm day when you throw open the windows to let a breeze into the house.
And is there any sound that tells you summer’s here more than the sound of a screen door slamming? (Probably right after Mom yells, “And don’t slam that door!” Sorry, Mom.)
Or maybe you have memories of sleeping on a screened-in porch, dozing off to the sounds of nighttime while fireflies flicker.
This means those screens are worth taking care of. I want to help them last a long time, so I can enjoy years of good use. And I’ve been surprised to learn how big a role they play, not just in making us more comfortable, but also in keeping us healthy.
A Great Idea is Born
Before wire mesh screens were invented, people would sometimes hang pieces of fabric or cheesecloth over their windows in summer to keep out insects and dust. The alternative was sitting inside a sweltering house with the windows sealed, which wasn’t much fun. But there wasn’t a good alternative.
Then, the Civil War came along. In 1861, a Connecticut company that made wire mesh sieves for food processing was in a bind. Wartime meant they’d lost all their southern customers. Rolls of surplus mesh were lying around the warehouse and business was hurting. Then one employee had a bright idea: Why not use the mesh to cover windows with screening? In one fell swoop, the window screen business was born … and took off. It’s never looked back.
Protecting Your Health
Today, window screens are found around the world—wherever people want to be able to leave windows open for a breeze. The invention of air conditioning means we don’t have to rely as much as before on windows for all our ventilation and cooling. But screens are still essential for keeping out some dirt and pesky little invaders when we do.
This brings me to their purpose as health aides. Do you know which animal kills more human beings than any other, around the world, year after year? Not sharks, not snakes, not bears or alligators… but the mosquito. Before window screens, the arrival of warm weather also meant the arrival of clouds of disease-carrying insects, like mosquitos and flies. You can add wasps to the mix, too, as dangerous and annoying. Window screens changed all that. So when we think about modern inventions that have contributed hugely to longer life and better health, let’s hear a cheer for screens!
Your Screens Need Love, Too
Like other parts of your home, screens need maintenance to keep performing. Fortunately, that’s not hard. Washing them once a year not only makes screens look better but also helps them last. Washing removes the natural build-up of dirt and gunk that accumulates. Over time, that build-up contributes to the breakdown of screen material.
The best way to wash screens is with a little dish soap or white vinegar swished into lukewarm water. If you can remove your screens, hose them down, scrub gently with the soap solution, rinse and let them air dry. If you can’t take the screens down, start by vacuuming them well. Then wipe them with a soft rag or sponge dipped in soap solution. Be sure to put down towels around the screens to catch run-off. Wipe away soap residue with clean water; then dry the screens using a lint-free cloth.
Even with regular care, metal mesh screens turn brittle over time. Then they dent and tear more easily. Patch a small tear yourself with a little screen material from the hardware store and some quick-dry cement. For larger holes, you should call a professional. You’ll probably need to replace the whole screen. Fortunately, this is not a time-consuming job.
Screen Material Choices
If you’re buying new or replacement screens, it’s a brave new world of choices out there. Aluminum mesh used to be the most common screen material used. Today, fiberglass has taken its place. Fiberglass won’t rust, crease or unravel, unlike aluminum, and comes in different colors.
When buying screens, think about the color of the screen frame and the color of the screen material. Depending on your situation, you might want to consider retractable roll-up screens that slide out of sight when you don’t need them. Think, too, about how much privacy or sun protection you want. It’s possible to get high-transparency screens that let in more light and a clearer view of outside, as well as denser screens that limit light coming in. Pella has a great selection of screens. Visit their site for options.
Screen…And Screen Again!
At McCann Windows & Exteriors, we’re happy to help you get exactly the right screens for your doors and windows. Can we help make this your best summer ever? Please give us a call with any questions or use our contact page. We’re ready to serve you and estimates are free. Visit: Contact us. or Just email info@McCannWindow.com or call (847) 8o7-1336.