Although often replaced by a wand mechanism on newer blinds, some vertical blinds use a chain system to turn the slats. You pull the chain one way to open them and the other way to close them. Turning the slats to the open position allows you to see between them without sliding the entire blind to the left or right.
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Sometimes, however, vertical blinds get stuck, and the chain fails to operate them. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy fix.
Start With Simple Fixes
Sometimes, the slats on vertical blinds get turned the wrong way. When they do, they can stick to each other and fail to respond when you pull the chain. The solution to this problem can be incredibly simple. Take your finger and poke each slat at the top, separating it slightly from the slat next to it. Once you've separated the slats, you may find the chain working again.
Certain blind models have a self-adjusting chain system. In that case, you can pull on the chain to turn the blinds closed. If all the slats don't come along for the ride, keep pulling the chain even after the blinds are closed and you start to feel resistance. The blinds will make a chattering noise and reset themselves, turning all of your slats back to the proper position. Do so only if you're confident that you have self-adjusting blinds or you risk breaking your blinds.
The Chain Is Out
From time to time, the chain on a vertical blind can jump out of its track, causing the chain to slip or become tangled inside the blind mechanism. Chains may also break. To fix any of these issues, remove the valance from your vertical blind if applicable. You can then use a small screwdriver to pop the cover off the end of the headrail. Some covers just pop in place, but you may need to undo a screw to get the cover off also.
The chain mechanism will be just inside the cover at the end of the rail. If the chain is broken, remove it and place a new chain inside the appropriate groove. If the chain is just out of the groove, carefully untangle it if necessary and place it back in the proper position. Work carefully when untangling a chain so you don't accidentally strip gears or cause other problems.
You Need a New Control Chain Assembly
If the chain is slipping but appears to be in the correct position when you open the headrail, closely examine the mechanism for other issues. You may find cracked or missing teeth on a relevant gear. You may also see signs of wear where things are worn down and no longer meshing properly. In this case, it's easier to replace the entire control chain assembly.
Your new control chain assembly will come as one piece, so replacing it is a snap. Take a minute to examine the unit to see how the old one sits within the blind. Then, you can unscrew the old unit if necessary and pop in the new one. Different blinds may hold the unit in place using different screws or clips, but the concept is essentially the same in all of them.
The trickiest part of this repair may be finding a replacement part for your particular blinds. You can try contacting the manufacturer first. If that fails, many specialty websites, like FixMyBlinds.com, sell aftermarket parts for older blind models. If everyone you talk to responds with, "Wow, that's an old blind," however, it may be time to replace your unit.
Depending on where you find your part, it may look slightly different from the old mechanism. Vertical blind chains were once just big loops, but today, the strangulation risk to children posed by this setup is causing a lot of concern. Depending on where your new part is made, the chain may have two loose ends rather than forming a continuous circle in order to comply with local law.