A window balance is a small part of most home windows that many people don’t really think about until an issue pops up. This is because window balances facilitate the smooth opening and closing of your window. When they stop working, moving your window at all becomes much more difficult. To fix these problems, you need to know what kind of balance your windows have. Here is a quick guide to the different types of window balances and how they work.
Block-and-tackle window balances are common in homes built in more recent years. Some people refer to them as channel balances as well. Block-and-tackle window balances usually have two or more pulleys that help you open and close the window more easily. Using a cord and a spring located near the top of the balance, they reduce the amount of force you must exert to move the window around.
The other half of the more modern side of this guide to the different window balances is the coil window balance. These are also known as constant-force balances because a small metal coil is constantly exerting force on the window when it’s connected. If you remove the window sash, coiled balances are easy to see because of the wound-up metallic coil left behind. This coil extends and retracts as you move the window, reducing the force you need to use.
You might find spiral (or tube) balances in homes built a few decades ago. After removing the sash, you can easily tell if you have this kind of balance because of the metal tube you’ll see behind it. Inside this tube is a spiral rod that attaches to a spring, both of which support the window and make it easier to lift or bring down.
Weight & Pulley Balance
Another relic of older homes is the weight and pulley balance. Removing the sash on a window with this balance will reveal the counterweights on both sides of the window. Essentially, these windows have small pulley systems that rely on these counterweights to offset the weight of the window itself. Each counterweight will be almost exactly half the weight of the window sash, so they evenly distribute the weight over the whole window.
Window balances are delicate pieces of construction, so if you need window balance replacements from an expert, give us a call here at Tualatin Valley Glass. We have years of experience repairing and replacing all manner of window balances, so you can go back to being able to use your windows without the extra hassle.