My Windows Won’t Stay Up – Easy Fix

This is a first in our series of posts on trouble shooting your windows.  We hear from people all the time asking how to address a window problem.  You’ll likely find that many common replacement window problems can be fixed pretty easily.  Here we’re looking at what to do if your windows won’t stay up.

The first step is to take a look at the window itself to see if you can tell what’s going on.  In all double hung replacement windows there are balances in the sides of the frame that support the sash and hold it up when you open it so it doesn’t fall.

We’ve made a quick video that may help to diagnose your problem.

There are only 2 likely scenarios if your windows won’t stay up:

The first one is that one or both of the balances are not connected to the sash.  This would mean that the balances are there and they may be working fine, but they’ve become disconnected from the sash so they are not helping to keep the window open.  In the video above we show you how to address that, it’s typically an easy fix.

The second scenario is that one or both of the balances are connected to the sash, but they are not working properly.  In this case you’ll probably need to replace the failed component.

To do this you’ll need to identify which part has failed.  There are 3 parts that might need to be replaced.

The pivot bar is a small metal bar that is attached to the bottom of the sash.  This bar sticks out of the sash and connects to the balance shoe inside the frame.  If your pivot bar is broken, twisted, or otherwise not engaging with the shoe you should remove it and take it to a local window distributor to see if they have a similar part.

if your windows won't stay open the pivot bar could be the problem.
Here’s a broken pivot bar. Most of this bar is inside the bottom of the sash of the window, the end of it should be visible.

If your pivot bars look good, check the shoes.  The shoes are small plastic or metal blocks that are inside the frame.  They connect the balance in the frame to the pivot bar in the sash.  It is possible that the shoe could be cracked, stuck or otherwise defective causing improper operation.  I you can remove the shoe try taking it to a local distributor to see if they have anything similar.

This is a balance shoe. If your windows won't stay up this might be broken.
This is a balance shoe. You’ll find a part similar to this inside the frames of your double hung windows.

If the pivot bars are looking good and the shoes appear to be in fine shape then your balances themselves must be defective.  There are 3 types of balances, spiral, constant force or coil, and block and tackle.  Be careful when removing the balances as they may be under tension and they could snap out when released.  Balances can typically be removed with just one or two screws.

Once you have the components taken apart it will likely be pretty easy to see what is not working.  If your windows are older or if you don’t know who manufactured them you may have a hard time finding compatible parts.  Many window companies use very similar parts so it’s possible that another company will have something that will work for you, but you may need to try several distributors or manufacturers to find a part that will work.

Unfortunately if you can’t find the right part you might be out of luck and replacing the window may be the only option.  Hopefully this info helps to solve your problem.

Other posts you might find helpful:

Let us know if there is anything else we can do to help!

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Comments

42 responses to “My Windows Won’t Stay Up – Easy Fix”

  1. Nick Darchik Avatar
    Nick Darchik

    I have alside triple pane windows, one of the balancers broke and was replaced top sash! now the top sash drops down 1/4 inch not allowing the locks to line up? if pushed back up it will remain in place long enough to lock window. I don’t remember this window ever being like this?

    1. thewindowdog Avatar
      thewindowdog

      Hi Nick, I would bet the sash didn’t get put back in correctly. Did you watch the video on this page? There’s a decent chance the solution is in there. If not there’s a chance you have the wrong balance in there, but that’s less likely.

      1. Nick Darchik Avatar
        Nick Darchik

        Thanks for the prompt reply! Yes I did watch the video! Both balance devices are in place and appear to be properly attached? If I “slam” the window up it stays up and when lowering it the balance devices are working properly. As in they hold the window up from the first movement down?

        1. thewindowdog Avatar
          thewindowdog

          Next move would be to confirm that it has the correct balances. The company that replaced them should be able to tell you which balances they should have. Each will have a number and maybe a letter, like 7C. That tells you how far they can open and how strong they are. I’ve seen windows with incorrect balances before so that might be it.

          1. Nick Darchik Avatar
            Nick Darchik

            I finally got it figured out! one of the balance devices were replaced, with the correct unit. being these were dual spring devices (with triple pane windows) The inital tension on the springs had weakened to the point they could not hold the top sash up at the end of the spring tension when fully wound up. My repair was to remove the two screws centered in the springs and re locate both springs up to utilize the upper spring mounting to attach the lower spring. Up about 1 inch from original location.
            Now with the sash lubricated (with enddust) the window works better that when new!!

          2. thewindowdog Avatar
            thewindowdog

            Great news!

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