Vinyl windows won't stay up

val_sMarch 5, 2008

We just bought this house 4 months ago. Almost all the windows are vinyl and I can't find the manufacture info anywhere on them, sorry. If you know where to look, I'll be glad to try and supply the info if it's important.

None of them will stay up. They come back down quickly not slowly, like they can't support their own weight. The bottom sash is heavy compared to the ones in our last home. When you lift up the bottom sash you can see a metal spiral thing on the sides and someone told me that there is a screw adjustment thing in there to tighten that will solve the problem.

I thought I'd check in here to see what you all say before I start messing with them and maybe make it worse. I'm handy if I know what to do. Can anyone help?

Thanks - Val

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Take a look at the picture I posted. Sounds like a spiral balancer. You could order them at a few places online: f14ecf47
Hopefully this helps :]

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 3:57PM
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If they are the sprial balances listed by NEEDWINDOWS then all you need to do is measure their lenght. The distance form the red or similar color plastic at the bottom to the top of the metal. Each sash has a left and a right - both the top and bottom sashes have two each.

You need two tools to remove and install new balances.
You need a phillips head screw driver (a screw gun is easiest) and a balance adjusting tool.

The balance adjusting tool can be purchased from the balance supplier. They are usually not available in your local hardware or big box stores.

After you recieve your new balances and are ready to replace the defective ones you'll have to first tilt in the bottom sash and then tilt the top sash right on top of it. Now all four balances should be exposed. Sometimes the balances are covered with a piece of vinyl trim, just take those off.

The top of the balance is screwed to the vinyl. Look at the bottom of the balances and see how they are attached to the vinyl window shoes in the tracks. Practice using the balance tool by attaching it to the bottom two pins at the direct bottom of the balance. Hook the claws over these two pins, gently pull the balance out of the shoe with the tool attached and turn counter clockwise. Hold the tool tightly in your hands. if you feel tension on the tool then the balance is probably OK or may just need a turn or two to tighten itself up. Hook the balance back into the shoe. Check another one. If you feel no tension on the tool when you hook the pins and pull down a little then the balance either can be defective or just has to be re-wound.

Sometimes it take 5 - 7 clockwise turns to start the balance to start tightening and pulling up. Don't over tighten it. Then it is time to re hook the balance into the shoe in the side track of the window.

If you try to tighten the balance and you hear a clackety-clack, then the balance is broken.
Replace it by unscrewing the screw at the top and installing the new one the same way.

Remember to study how the balances are attached to the shoes before removing them so you know how to put them back.

Since you said you are handy, with a little patience and some practice, you could repair them yourself.

If it seems to be too difficult for you, contact your local replacement window dealer for help. Although he'll probably try to sell you all new windows, tell him you just want the ones you have repaired.

Good Luck

All The Best,
The Porch Guy

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 5:11PM
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Thanks guys! Yes, the spiral balances look like what my windows have. I'm printing all of the info you guys provided and will have to see if I think I can do it. Might be a job for the pros. I'm handy with the "small fixes" (which I was hoping this was). I was surprised to find ALL the vinyl windows had this problem. Seems weird to me.

Thanks for your help - Val

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 7:28AM
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