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Lack of Use = Loss of Use

I recently contacted customer service about an issue with a string inside my cordless blind. The representative took my order for a replacement blind (thanks warranty!) and then asked if I was opening and closing my blinds at least once per month, as periodic use helps increase the longevity of the blind. This makes good, practical sense but, until she mentioned “periodic use,” the thought never crossed my mind. This advice is equally applicable to windows. 

How often consumers open windows depends in part on geographical location, perhaps the neighbors, and in part on personal preference. I love opening my windows to let fresh air in the house but, living in the Pacific Northwest, this can be less than pleasant for half (OK, more like nine months) of the year. In the South, it might be preferable to run the air conditioning over opening the windows and inviting in hot, humid air. But, regardless of the outside environment, as long as windows remain shut, window components are not getting any use.

Window companies’ care and maintenance instructions routinely detail how to clean windows and how to perform simple maintenance items like adjusting rollers or lubricating the track. I have not run across any that recommend simply opening and closing windows every so often. This easy task allows for confirmation that the windows continue to operate and the locking mechanisms are secure. Importantly, it also means the windows will move and their components will be exercised. Regular movement can also help to keep installation irregularities from manifesting as operational “defects.”  

An instruction to periodically open and close windows can be particularly helpful in dry, desert conditions where dirt or sand builds up in window “nooks and crannies” over time, making the windows difficult to operate when they are opened. Although I recognize that consumers living in desert conditions may rarely open their windows, lawsuits in those areas commonly contain allegations that the windows are “difficult to operate.” And, while difficulty in operation is often a maintenance item, could the number of claims be decreased by simply telling people to open and close their windows once or twice a month? It’s worth a shot.  

Don’t let lack of use cause loss of use. While it may seem like common sense to those “in the know,” a simple instruction to consumers to open and close their windows once or twice per month benefits both manufacturers and consumers. 


Susan McKay

Susan MacKay

Susan MacKay is an attorney with The Gary Law Group, a law firm based in Portland, Ore., that focuses on legal issues facing manufacturers of windows and doors. She can be reached at 503/620-6615 or