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Video:Repair a Double-Hung Window

with Dave Allen

Double-hung windows in older homes often lose the ropes attached to counterweights that help the windows open and close and stay in place. See how to fix a double-hung window easily and inexpensively without the major hassle of replacing the ropes.See Transcript

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Transcript:Repair a Double-Hung Window

Hi, I’m Handy Andy for About.com. You know I hear from a lot of people who live in older homes who’ve given up trying to use their windows because they don’t want to fuss with trying to get them to stay open. Today I’m going to show you an inexpensive and easy fix that will allow you to open and close your windows without any fuss.

Double-Hung Windows Use Counterweight Systems

In the spring or summer it’s nice to have an open window bring in some fresh air. A lot of people resort to using a block of wood to hold the window open or just give up and never use the window. Many older homes have double-hung windows that use a counterweight system, making it easier to open and close a window. This system also holds a window in place when it’s open. A counterweight is used on either side of the window. These are hidden in the wall cavity and are attached to the window with ropes.

The problem is over time these ropes fray and eventually tear, separating the weights from the window. With no counterweights the window no longer stays in place on it’s own. What’s the fix; replace the rope?

Well, when a weight separates from the window, it stays closed up in this compartment. Now it is possible to get to the weight and replace the rope, but here’s the issue. That means taking off all this molding and trim, getting to the weight with a new rope or chain, making sure it’s the right length so it works with the window—putting back on the trim and the molding, filling the nail holes, painting it again—yeah, yeah I know, way too much work.

Install a Spring Compression to Fix a Double-Hung Window

Fortunately I have inexpensive and easy fix that’ll take you less than 10 minutes, and doesn’t require a single stroke of paint. Let’s go to my workshop. This little piece of metal hardware is our simple fix and the secret is spring compression. This curved piece of metal has a bit of spring to it. The flat side rests against the window frame. The hardware is designed so that the metal spring compresses against the existing window track and holds the window in place.

This magical piece of hardware sells for about $4, comes as a pair, and is available at most hardware stores and home centers. And let me tell you, it sure beats the hassle of replacing that rope. Let me show you how to install it.

Here’s the tools we’ll need: a hammer, a blade, and, maybe that old block of wood to hold the window open while we work.The first step is to cut away any old rope to clear the path of the window track. You can attach the spring to the top or the bottom of the window frame.

If you decide to use the bottom of the window frame, you’re gonna want to use that old piece of wood to hold the window open while you work. Now I’m going to attach my spring to the top because it’s easier to get to and I don’t have to use this piece of wood to hold the window open while I work.

Begin by slipping the spring into the small bit of space between the window frame and the window track. The hardware has a pre-drilled hole for a nail. Tap in the nail that comes with the hardware. Next, try opening the window and see if the window stays in place on it’s own. If not, attach a second spring on the opposite side of the frame.

We’ve shown you a simple, fast and inexpensive fix that will allow you to enjoy the full benefit of your double hung windows without a lot of fuss. Hey, you can take that old wood back and throw it back into the to the scrap woodpile, where it belongs. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at About.com.

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