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Repairing Windows that Don’t Stay Open

Having a window in your home that doesn’t stay open can be very irritating. But it can also be quite dangerous. If the safety mechanisms disengage while the window is open, it could suddenly slam shut and shatter, sending shards of glass all over the floor. This is particularly dangerous if pets or small children are in the home. On other occasions, the window could fall unexpectedly while it is being cleaned or repaired, causing injuries to your hands and fingers. This is why the balancing mechanisms of your home windows must be maintained.
The balancing mechanism of a home window is controlled by two primary elements: The pivot bars and the window shoes. If one or both of these elements are damaged or out of place, the window will not remain open. Fortunately, these parts are easy to check and repair on your own. You should only need a flathead screwdriver to make this repair.

Check the Pivot Bars
One area where the window mechanism could be faulty is at the pivot bars. Pivot bars are located at the bottom of the window sash and allow it to tilt inwards. To check the functionality of the pivot bars, start by unlocking the window and tilting it inward until it’s in a 90-degree position. The window sash should release from the jams, allowing you to inspect the balancing mechanism. Look along the bottom of the sash and locate the silver pivot bars. Check the bars for damage, general wear, and tear, or twisting. If the bars are twisted, then carefully realign them. But if you find them to be damaged, use the flathead screwdriver to remove them. You can take them to a local window supply shop and purchase replacement parts.

Check the Shoes
If the pivot bars appear in good shape, then the issue may lie in the window balance shoes. They could have fallen out of place or become damaged. Window shoes help guide the window up and down and work with the pivot bars to keep it in place when it is open. While you have the window in the 90-degree position, locate the window shoes. They should be sitting roughly halfway up the jams. If you find them closer to the bottom of the sash, then they have fallen out of place. The u-shaped slot in the shoes will be facing upward when they are locked. Use the flathead screwdriver to make a 90-degree turn until the U is facing to the side. Once the shoes are unlocked, slide them back into place and lock them again. Tilt the window back into place and test its sliding function. However, if you find the window shoes have been damaged, use the screwdriver to remove them. Replacement shoes can be found at your local window supply store as well.

Repair or Replace
Once you have the new pivot bars or window shoes, install them in the window sash and test to see if that fixes the problem. If it does, then great! You successfully fixed your window! However, if the window still won’t stay open even after both the pivot bars and the shoes have been replaced, it is most likely that the internal balancing mechanism of the window has failed. In that case, the window will need to be replaced. For more information on how to measure a window for replacement and how to install a new home window, head to the following pages for a step-by-step guide.

Measuring Home Windows for Replacement
Replacing Home Windows