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How to Access Window Sash Cords in Double-Hung Windows

If your old house has double-hung windows, you’ll need to know how to get to the sash cords for maintenance or repair. Window sash cords become frayed or broken or disconnected from the weights that give balance to the window. These mechanisms also need to be periodically lubricated and maintained to prevent problems.

1

Gather your materials: Razor blade or utility knife, stiff putty knife, hammer, screwdriver.

No running with knives allowed! Do be careful when handling sharp (or pointed) objects.

2

Score the caulk and paint around each window stop.

Cut between the window stop (the trim along the inside of the window frame) and the frame itself with a razor blade or utility knife.

3

Remove the stops from both sides of the window.

Start at the bottom and work your way up, tap the putty knife to pry the stop loose wherever there’s a nail. Remove the nails after they’re loosened from the sash.

Be careful when removing the window stops and trim. Trim pieces can break easily if you use too much force.

4

Remove the metal track from the lower side of each window, if necessary.

Some windows have a metal track on each side for the window to slide along. Use the putty knife to gently pry the track free.

5

Push the lower sash up and lift it out of the window frame.

Push the lower sash up high enough to clear the windowsill and lift it out of the window frame by pulling the bottom toward you.

6

Detach the cord from its slot on each side of the lower sash.

The cords are attached near the top of each side of the lower sash.

7

Remove the parting strip from each side of the window.

Use the putty knife to gently pry the parting strip loose from each side of the window frame.

8

Remove the access plate from each side of the lower jamb.

Unscrew the access plate (sash-weight pocket cover) and set it aside. If the jambs don’t have access plates, remove the window casing to get at the cords, weights, and pulleys.

9

Take out the weights from each side of the jamb.

Pull the weights out of the access pocket.

10

Remove the upper sash.

You’ll see the weight pulleys on each side of the upper jamb.

11

Clean out any debris from inside the access panel.

Now you're ready to take care of your cords. When you are finished, follow the reverse process to put the window back together.

 

To remove the window casing to get at the cords, weights, and pulleys, begin by lifting the wood gently with a putty knife or pry bar to loosen the nails. Remove the nails and finally, the wood. Work carefully so you won’t have to replace the casing.

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