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Why Won’t My Window Stay Open? – Step by Step Repair Instructions

Double- and single- hung windows are held open by “window balances”, also known as “sash supports”. When a sash support is not functioning properly, your window will not stay open—when opened, it’ll just fall back to the closed position. This can happen to older windows, as the tension of the sash support is reduced by the opening and the closing on the window after a long period of time. This can be bothersome to people who enjoy fresh air in their home, especially during the summer months. It can also be dangerous, as fingers could get crushed by the unexpected falling of the window. Instead of replacing the full window, which can get expensive, you can replace just the window balance. Replacing a window balance can be done relatively quickly and easily.

Replacing the Sash Support/Window Balance

Your window may not be staying open because of a malfunctioning sash support. There are two different kinds of sash supports—channel and tube. Both channel and tube window balances require different replacement techniques, but both can be done by a novice in about an hour.

window frame

Tube Spiral Window Balance Replacement

  • Begin by unlocking your window and raising the sash 6 to 8 inches. Next, you’ll begin tilting out the sash to gain access to the slide where the bottom of the balance attaches.
  • Release the sash by lifting up one side of it towards the ceiling.
  • Unscrew or unsnap the sash stops from the window frame. You will now have access to the spiral window balance.
  • On the bottom sash, remove the top screw in the top corner of the jamb, meanwhile holding the tube in place. These screws can be difficult to remove, and if they won’t move, try wedging a pry-bar behind the tube to try and pry the screws out.
  • Next, you’ll remove the support bracket. You’ll do this by removing the one or two screws that hold this bracket in place. Be careful when removing these screws, because the spiral balances will spin because of the tension they are under.
  • Now that you have removed your broken spiral window balance, it’s time to install the replacement. Though this replacement can be done by one person, it’s helpful to have someone hold the sash in place while you’re working. If no one is available to help you, use a block of wood to hold up the sash.
  • Set the sash in place. Do this by setting the top sash in its track and let it rest on the sill. Do this for the bottom sash as well.
  • Repeat the next steps for both balances on each side of the sash. Drop the balance with the bracket end first into the mortise on the side of the sash. It will slide all the way down to rest on the sill while you hold the top of the tube above the sash.
  • Attach the tube by pulling it all the way up to the top of the jamb letting the spiral fall into the sash mortise. Attach the tub with a 1 ½-inch wood screw.
  • Grasp the bracket and spin it clockwise to add tension to the balance. Turn it until the bracket is almost at the bottom of the tube and pull it down about 6-8 inches and turn it until it makes it way back to the tube again.
  • Get a 1-inch wood screw to attach the bracket onto the bottom of the sash. Attach two screws if your bracket accepts two screws.
  • Test it by putting the window in different positions to make sure the tension is right. Tension can always be adjusted if needed.
  • Once you put the stops back on, your spiral window balance installation has been completed.

Channel Window Balance Replacement

  • If your window has a sash stop, you’ll want to begin by removing that from the top of jamb.
  • Next, you’ll want to pop the take-out clips. The take-out clips are located inside the window frame above the sash. They are inch-long, small metal tabs. You can use your fingers or a flathead screwdriver to pop the bottom of the take-out clips.
  • Unlock the window and raise the sash above the bottom balance guides. Then, push the sash left or right to release it from the frame and set it aside.
  • Press down on the top of the channel window balance with your finger, and then tilt it away from the window frame and release it. Repeat on opposite side.
  • Now you’ll begin installing your new channel window balance. Start by inserting the terminal clip in the square hole located in the jamb. Push down on the top of the channel window balance and secure the top of it beneath the take-out clip. Repeat on opposite side.
  • Reinsert the sash into the window frame, and then place the bottom of the frame over the bottom of the channel window balance on one side of the frame, and then snap the frame over the remaining channel window balance.
  • Snap the take-out clips back into the jamb and reinstall sash stops if your window has them.
  • You have now completed your DIY home window repair! DIY projects don’t only save money, they can give you useful skills as well. Now, give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy your new-and-improved window.

    Contact us at Home Window Repair if you have any questions about your sash support replacement.

    Posted in Window Hardware

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