It can be quite the panic-inducing experience to have a window jump off the track while you're cleaning it. On tilt windows, this typically occurs if you don't open the window far enough before tipping it in or if you accidentally twist it rather than keeping it flat. It's often accompanied by a loud popping sound that can give you a fright when you're not expecting it. Fortunately, getting the window back on track is easy once you know how, and it won't take more than a minute or two. Here's how to do it.
Things You'll Need
Work gloves (optional)
How to Repair an Off-Track Tilt Window
1. Remove the Sash
To put the window sash back on its track, you first need to remove it from the frame completely. A pair of work gloves can make it easier to grip the sash firmly and push on stubborn window latches without hurting your fingers.
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- Open the window a few inches.
- Tilt the window in toward you by releasing the latches on each side of the sash and then pulling on the top of the sash. To release the latches, slide them inward toward the center of the window.
- Grab the sides of the sash firmly and hold it so that it is horizontal to the ground. Then, slant it so that one side lifts up and out of the balance. The other side should lift freely away from the window frame once the first side is free.
- Stand the sash in a safe place.
- If the top sash of a double-hung window is off the track, repeat the process for the top sash. You must remove the bottom sash and lower the top sash a few inches before you can remove the top sash. When reinstalling the sashes, reinstall the top sash before the bottom sash.
2. Adjust the Balances
With the window sash out, you'll be able to see a long bar with a hole in the bottom on each side of the track. These are the balances that hold the window sash and slide it up and down. You'll be putting the sash back into these to get it back on track, but they won't move until you unlock them. The lock is what puts on the brakes and holds the window in position when it's open.
- Place a slotted screwdriver inside the hole at the bottom of the balance and rotate it into a horizontal position. This unlocks the balance.
- With the screwdriver still in place, use it to slide the balance to a place about 6 inches above the window sill.
- Turn the screwdriver so that the balance is back in a vertical position with the opening on the top. This is where the window sash will drop back into place.
- Repeat the process on the other side, doing your best to align the balances so that they are directly across from each other.
3. Reinstall the Sash
With the balances properly aligned, it's a simple matter to reinstall the sash and push it back into position. You will struggle, however, if the balance on either side of the window frame isn't docked at the same height. Now is a good time to double-check and make sure everything is as it should be.
- Locate the two pins at the bottom of the window sash.
- Tilt the sash slightly and place the first pin into the balance. Once it's in place, the pin on the other side should easily slide into its balance as well.
- Tilt the window sash up and push it toward the window until it clicks into place. The sash should now be back in place and should slide up and down easily.