SWISCO - The Replacement Hardware Authority

Balance spring replacement?

A quick learner from Detroit, MI says:
Swisco,
i'm not sure if I need to replace my balance springs or not. My windows were put in June, 2005. They are extremely hard to open and close throughout the entire house. It's hard to believe that all balance springs went bad, or if they were simply installed incorrectly. What do you think?
Thanks a ton!
Jason
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Dave from SWISCO responded:
Good morning, Jason.

You can check the balances by removing them from the shoe and using a charging tool to test the spring pressure. Also, it could be that your pivot shoes are old and not opening properly. The break on the back of the pivot shoe might be stuck in the breaking position.
A quick learner from Detroit, MI says:
Thanks for responding so quickly, Dave. That's a good point you raise about the pivot shoes. I took out my balance springs and just used the pivot shoes. It has the same level of resistance and there doesn't seem to be any difference in the upward/doward motion (with window sash in place).
When I pull up and down on the pivot shoes (w/o window sash), they have some resistance, and don't seem to be moving freely.
What do you think?
Thank you!
Jason
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Paul from SWISCO responded:
Jason, you can use a silicone-based spray on the track to see if that loosens the pivot shoes.

Do you have spiral window balances? Or do you have another kind?
A quick learner from Detroit, MI says:
I finally took some photos of my window balances. Please let me know if you need more to help find the solution to my problem. I'll remind you of what I got going on.

My wife and I have been living in our condo for approximately 6 years now (new construction). All of our windows are EXTREMELY hard to open and close. We have vinyl, double hung windows. I went over most of the possibilties, and need help narrowing it down. I believe that the windows are square. I took out the balances and the window opens/shuts fairly smoothly (obviously heavy), but does not seem to have any obstructions. I recently bought two new swival balances from a window store (to see if it solved the problem), but paid way over market value.

The windows are still somewhat hard to open and close. I don't know if adjusted them correctly. Youtube says that I should install the swival balances and turn them 10-12 times and then connect them to the shoes. Again, this seemed to make it a little easier but I still feel that they could open/shut a lot better and smoother. Please find the attached photos.
Thank you for your time.
Kindly,
Jason
User submitted picture of spiral balance in white plastic casing.
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Paul from SWISCO responded:
Thank you for the clarification and pictures, Jason!

10-12 turns with the charging tool is excessive. I think you may have been misinformed. Please take a look at our Spiral Balance Installation video below and see if it clears anything up for you. That may very well be the problem.

If that doesn't work, then you may need entirely new balances for your window. Can you please tell us the weight of your sash, as well as the diameter and length of your balances?

A quick learner from Detroit, MI says:
Hello Paul,
I finally weighed my windows. They are approximately 25 lbs. The window diameter is 34" wide and 30 1/2" long (vertical). The swivel balances are about 29 1/2" long. I am wondering if the balances are too small for my windows. What do you think?
Thank you,
Jason
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Paul from SWISCO responded:
Please take a look at our S600-30 spiral balance with a Blue tip. That is good for sashes weighing 12 through and including 31 Lbs.

This information is based on 2 balances per sash. Balances are designed assuming friction in the jamb weather-strip will carry a portion of the sash weight. Suggested sash weights are approximate.
A quick learner from Detroit, MI says:
Hi Paul,
Thanks responding so quickly. Currently, I have the yellow-tipped balances. I purchased a orange tipped balance from my local window store, but it didn't seem to do the trick. You suggested the blue-tipped balances for the weight of my window sash. Do the different colors signify different weight classes? Maybe I should have bought blue-tipped balance from my local window store (for my window sash that weighs 25 lbs.). What do you think?
Thank you,
Jason
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Donna from SWISCO responded:
The different colors do, indeed, signify different weight classes. Blue may work better, but the Red will carry 7 through and including 29 lbs.

Are you charging the spiral enough times?
Also, too many turns may lead to breaking the balance, take your time adding equal amount of turns to each side.
A quick learner from Detroit, MI says:
Paul and Donna,
I wanted to give you an update on my window balances. I purchased all new balances (blue-tipped, S600-30, taking your suggestion). I watched your youtube video on charging the balances. I was overtightening them before, and with the new balances I purchased from your store, they seem BRAND NEW!! It's amazing what new balances can do. I recently moved into a different home and now have the same problem with my windows. Some balances are good and some are bad. I will purchase new balances throughout the entire house to hopefully get the same result...NEW WINDOW FEEL! Thank you for all your patients and help with my problem!!
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Paul from SWISCO responded:
That's great news! I'm so glad to hear that everything worked out for you. Please let us know if you have any other questions, and we would be more than happy to help!
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