The simple anatomy a window
Windows operate on simple mechanical principles. Understand these and you can diagnose your window problem.
Single and double hung windows simply move up and down in channels in the window frame. Balancing mechanisms, such as rope and pulley, spiral or block and tackle, assist in raising and lowering the window sashes, and prevent them from sliding downward.
|Andersen Casement Crank|
Casement and awning windows operate by a crank handle and a track. The windows are opened and closed by means of a crank mechanism, which resides against the frame on the inside. The crank houses a series of gears inside a metal housing, which moves a control arm, attached to the sash, which slides along a track.
Sliding windows rely on rollers and a sliding track, like a sliding door. To open and close simply requires just a push.
Eliminate obvious maintenance problems
Often, the reason windows are hard to open and shut is because they’ve not been properly maintained. Windows are finely engineered, rely on moving parts, withstand extreme weather, and are built to last a long time. A well-maintained window will operate smoothly, year after year.
|Pella Sash Removal|
Single and double hung windows become difficult to open if there’s a buildup of dirt, dust, and debris. Over the years, friction from the buildup increases making the windows difficult to open and close. Try cleaning the window frames and spray with a non-silicone, solvent-free lubricant, opening and closing the window several times to work the lubricant.
If you have old painted windows check the sides of the sash to be sure they have not been painted (never apply primer or paint to the edges of the sash). If excess paint has been applies around the window frame and sill, gently slide a putty knife between the sash and the frame to release the paint. You might try using a hair dryer to blow hot air around the edge of the sash until you can move the window. After successfully releasing the window, lubricate the window frame interiors, channel guides, with pure paraffin candle wax, such as an unscented white votive candle.
Casements and awnings that are difficult to open and shut will require removing the sash (consult the instruction manual for your windows) and checking for stripped or loose screws. Lubricate the hinges with a non-silicone, solvent-free lubricant, and then open and shut the windows several times to work in the lubricant. It is helpful to keep the gears lubricated to make turning easy by applying a few drops of oil around the base of the handle if it’s difficult to turn.
|Easy to clean sliders|
Sliders that are difficult to open and close may simply require cleaning the roller system and track with a simple soap and water solution. If this doesn’t solve the problem, try lubricating the rolling system.
If the problem persists
After eliminating the obvious causes of hard to operate windows if you windows still don’t open with little effort, you’ll need to eliminate the most common repair problems. Failed or worn out pulleys or tension springs are common repairs for single and double hung windows. Chipped, broken or bent gears require you to buy a whole new casement crank unit for your casement window. Broken wheels may need replacing on sliding windows.
|Double Hung Balancer: ProSalesMag|
Windows are basically simple mechanisms requiring only regular maintenance to work well. Mechanisms can be faulty or wear out, which requires replacing parts, re-installing the frame or other repair. These repairs may appear easy enough, but they can actually be tedious challenges better left to professionals who have mastered the art and science of window repair.
Woodland’s window manufacturer’s websites offer tips on window maintenance; check out Marvin, Andersen, and Pella.
Don’t get stuck inside this winter.