Have you ever opened your Double Hung window by attempting to raise up the bottom sash…only to have it drift (or slam) shut on you? This is a common problem for homeowners across America, and we’re here to help.
First let’s talk about what a Double Hung actually is. The word “hung” signifies that the operable parts of the window, called sashes, are actually suspended, or hung. In other words, they are not fixed or fastened in place. They’re inserted into the frame, in order that they may be moved (opened). The word double simply refers to the fact that there are TWO sashes that are hung, and ready to be opened. But let’s get back to “hung”.
How exactly are the sashes hung?
Over the years, there have actually been many ways that sashes have been hung in window frames. There is block & tackle, which many of you may recognize as ‘weight & string’. This is a system utilizes a chord, or string that is attached to a counter balance, or weight. The weight helps offset the weight of the sash itself, and makes it easier to push the sashes up or down.
Another version is called a spiral balance. This is a system where a steel rod is connected to a spring, and wound to create a force that opposes the weight of your sashes. The steel rod is actually twisted, kind of like a helix…thus the name spiral. The helix twists and puts force into the spring, and when that force is released, it helps you lift the sash.
I know…that’s a lot of technical mumbo jumbo. So let’s get into how OUR windows are hung, and why it’s a superior method.
You’ve all seen block and tackle systems in old wooden windows. You’ve seen the rope in the sides of the window, literally. This rope was attached to the counter weight. Problem is, most of the times you’ve seen this…the window didn’t work. (I’m guessing here, but pretty confident that I’m right). The rope has worn or broken, and the system either doesn’t work at all, or provides little to no help in lifting the sash.
Most of you have NOT seen a spiral balance. This is because it is encased in a plastic tube that hides it from view. BUT…you have seen a spiral balance if you’ve noticed drops of grease in the side pockets of the window. You see, with the steel spiral rod and spring system, grease or lubricant is necessary to keep the system moving.
Our windows utilize what’s called a constant force balancer. This is actually a ribbon of stainless steel that is rolled up into a coil. It’s called constant force because no matter how far the ribbon is uncoiled, the force remains…yep, constant.
Coil springs, as they’re known, are used in numerous applications, but got famous in their use in seat belts. They require no lubrication, don’t wear out…and if they’re good enough for seat belts, they’re good enough for me.