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double hung vinyl window spring mechanism repair

double hung vinyl window spring mechanism repair

Old 03-22-02, 10:15 AM
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double hung vinyl window spring mechanism repair

I am looking for the steps needed to repair a double hung vinyl window spring mechanism. The spring is malfunctioning and the bottom window will not remain in place when raised. Thank you.
Old 03-22-02, 11:56 AM
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They use two types of spring mechanisms:

One is a "spiral balancer"....looks like a tube with a pc of twisted metal that comes out and hooks to a "shoe" that rides in a track in the side of the jamb. Note the balancer for the bottom sash is often hidden behind a cover so you don't see it when the sash is in the lower position. This type of balancer can be adjusted. Window guys use a special little hooked tool to take the end out of the shoe, but you can do it with a pair of needle nose pliers....just BE SURE to hold it tight once its out of the shoe, because it is under tension and will "spiral" back around to zero tension if you let loose. Turn the spiral part against the tension a couple of times to take up the slack, then reinsert into the shoe as it was before. Do both sides about 2 turns and that should cure the problem, IF that was the problem. If you can turn and turn the spiral without feeling any tension, it has come loose inside and must be replaced.

The other type spring is called a "constant force balancer"....it looks like a small square deal mounted about mid way on the sides of the jamb in that track and has a metal ribbon that comes out of the box ( kinda like a spring loaded tape measure ) and hooks to a shoe the window connects to. This type is not adjustable or repairable.

Now, if you need replacement, it would REALLY help to know who made the windows and get ahold of them, because there are several dozen different sizes of balancers and they are matched to the weight and height of the sash.

Oh, and one other thing to check....there MAY be nothing at all wrong with the spring........ A LOT of times, I've seen this problem on vinyl windows and what has happened is the window is OUT of the shoe ( the plastic pc that travels up and down in the track, connected to the spring ).......When people tilt them out to clean, they get one side out of level more than a few degrees and the metal tang that sticks out of the window that SHOULD be in the shoe ISN'T...so the spring actually isn't doing any good. Tilt your sash out and look at the bottom point where it pivots.....does it look like it's in the shoe like one that you're not having a problem with ? Then that's the problem. To re-engage it, tilt the sash out, take a flat tip screwdriver and turn the part in the shoe that rotates until it is vertical if it's not that way. Then, with the sash tilted out 90 degrees to the wall, lift or lower one side so you can **** the sash from side to side out of level enough to re-engage the side that is not in the shoe . Then raise the side you lowered back to level and tilt the sash back into the window as normal. If the sash is big or hard to get to because of furniture, etc, a second pair of hands helps a lot.
Old 03-22-02, 12:44 PM
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Thanks, Andy. Your reply is very thorough and should help me thru the process. Thanks again, Gary
Old 09-07-11, 09:12 AM
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spiral; how to remove it... helppp

I saw Andy's note about twisting the spiral on both sides of the window; I purchased the little gadget; opened the windoe (as if cleaning it) found the black cover over the bottom of the spiral; BUT can't seem to figure out how to use the pronged gadget and can't seem to pull the spiral out of the shoe; afriad I will break something; anyone have suggestions??
Old 09-07-11, 04:07 PM
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The best thing to do is to completely remove the window sash in order to work on the pivot shoe. You tip the window in, hold it parallel to the floor and with your fist, bump one side of the sash downward (beat with your fist on the edge of the sash right in front of the pivot shoe... but don't break the glass!) until one side of the sash is so much lower than the other side that one of the pivot bars comes out of its pivot shoe. Remove the sash and set it aside.

You can now hook the tool onto the bottom of the spiral balance. You normally use the tool to push the hooked balance back into the frame and then pull down. Hang onto the tool and don't let it spin. You can then raise the balance up and down to check it to see if it is working properly... if it needs lubrication, if it needs cleaned, etc. You should probably count how many turns is on it as you let the spring tension go. Normally you wind them 5-8 times but yours may be different. Let us know if you have further questions or if we can be of additional help.

And welcome to the forums.

and just FYI, it's usually best to start your own thread rather than piggy-back a new question onto an old thread.
Old 09-29-11, 10:16 AM
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I, too, want to thank Andy if he's still hanging around here. I had a window contractor quote me $196 parts & labor to replace the spiral balancers and shoes on two windows. I've discovered that the parts are just fine and the windows had come unseated from the shoes (I bought a condo on short sale in July and am slowly fixing the little things that aren't quite right). I've already "fixed" one and will have a friend help me with the other, larger window. I'm not too happy with the contractor, mind you, but I'm glad I didn't throw away $196.

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