Blinds can sustain damage from a direct hit or may break down over time. Whatever the cause, broken vertical blind stems and gears are quite easy to remove and replace.
Parts of Vertical Blinds
First, it helps to know how vertical blinds are put together. The slats, also called vanes, hang straight down and form the physical barrier that blocks sunlight entering from a window or door. These slats can slide left to right in order to expose or block the window as needed, or they can rotate in place to allow sunlight to filter in. They slide on a rod via a piece known as the carrier, and they rotate thanks to a piece called a gear.
The small piece of plastic that connects each slat to a carrier and gear is called the stem.
How to Remove the Slat and Stem
Stems sometimes break and require replacement, or you may need to remove one to access and replace a faulty gear.
If the slat remains attached to the stem, you may want to remove it first in order to easily see the stem. Using a small putty knife, slide the knife between the two sides of the stem. Push the slat up at the same time. Then, pull the knife and slat down simultaneously. If this does not seem to work, slide the knife on the opposite side of the slat.
Removing a stem is relatively straightforward. Vertical blind stems sit inside a C-shaped holder, and they pop out of the open side with a firm tug. Carefully stand on a step stool if needed, and use a flashlight to easily identify the open side of the stem holder. Then, grasp the stem and pull it sideways out of the C-shaped holder.
Removing and Replacing a Vertical Blind Gear
Now that the stem has been removed, you can see a small piece of plastic with jagged edges above the C-shaped holder. Although the name "gear" implies that this piece should be round, it is actually shaped like a rectangle. This makes it easy to insert a flathead screwdriver behind the gear and push it forward. Use needle nose pliers to grasp it and remove it from above the C-shaped area.
To replace the gear, hold it with needle nose pliers to guide it into the area above the C. Then use the flathead screwdriver again to push it back as far as it can go.
Replacing the Stem
Before replacing the stem, ensure that all the other stems face the same direction. Hold the replacement stem so that it also faces the same direction as the other stems and push it into the C-shaped area until it clicks into place.
Replacing the Slat
Notice that the stem has an inward-facing hook. Vertical blind slats have a notch in the top that fits on this hook. Slide the slat between the two sites of the stem until the notch settles over the hook. The blind should now work as good as new.