Vinyl Windows Won't Stay Up

Vinyl Windows Won't Stay Up?

Got a window or two that just won’t stay open no matter what? That’s never a good sign—but it is something that can be fixed, one way or another. Below, you’ll find some of the common problems that cause vinyl windows to fall and how you can fix them.

My Vinyl Windows Won’t Stay Up

When you have a double hung vinyl window that won’t stay up, the problem is nearly always caused by the window’s balance. Balances are systems within window frames designed to help them open and close smoothly. There are several different types of balances depending on the style and age of your windows. You’ll often find what is known as a “constant force balance” in modern windows—and that’s because this is the most durable balance system out there. But you’ll sometimes also run into other balance systems, like spiral balances or block and tackle balances. 

1. The Balances Are Disconnected or Improperly Tensioned

The first thing to understand about window balances is that there are several different types, including spiral balances, block and tackle balances, and constant force balances. Each of these have differing mechanisms that allow the window sash to open and close, and that hold the window sash open. At times, parts of these balance systems can become disconnected, which is usually the result of an internal component breaking. 

In a spiral balance, for instance, the spiral spring inside the window frame can break due to age, wear or corrosion. Similarly, block and tackle balances can disconnect due to broken pulleys or snapped cords. Constant force balances rarely break, but when they do, it can be the result of a faulty spring or the connection between the balance and its shoe breaking. All of these things can cause your window to not stay up.

Tension is another issue that can cause windows to fall shut when you open them. This issue is most prevalent with spiral window balances, which require you to adjust the spiral portion of the balance to ensure the window opens properly. Too much tension within the spiral balance, and the window will be tough to open. Too little, and the sash will fall.

2. Your Shoes Came Off!

Modern constant force balance systems consist of several moving parts including the shoes, which connect the window sash to the balance mechanism, thus holding it open. Sometimes, however, these shoes become dislodged. In order to fix the issue, you’ll need to remove the sash from the window frame, then locate the slots in either side of the window frame.

Look here for the shoes, which are small metal or plastic blocks that are designed to connect to both the balance and the sash. If one or both shoes is at the bottom of the sash channel, then this is why the window won’t stay open. Use a flat-head screwdriver↗ to twist and reposition the shoes so that they are about halfway between the windowsill and the bottom of the sash opening, then replace the sash and test the window.

3. The Pivot Bar is Broken

The pivot bar is attached to the bottom of the sash, where it keeps the sash connected to the balance shoes. If you’ve identified that the problem isn’t with the shoes, then it could mean the pivot bar is broken. Check the underside of the sash to see if it has snapped, twisted, or if there is some reason why it isn’t reaching the balance shoes. If you find a problem with the pivot bar, check with the manufacturer of your window to see if you can get replacement parts.

When window sashes won’t stay open, the fix is usually an easy one. Only rarely will a problem be bad enough that it necessitates replacing the window—and this typically only happens when the window is older, already at the end of its lifespan.


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