SWISCO - The Replacement Hardware Authority

Top sash guide replacement

A home owner from USA says:
I will be replacing all the window channel balances in my house. I am getting how to determine which series and believe that the length of the metal part of the balance is what determines the size. The stamp seems to be 1"less so I read.

My question is that I believe that someone previously replaced the top sash guides on some of the windows, and am wondering if it really makes a difference, some have the old yellowed sliding latch guide and some have what looks like a little black square, which I am sure is screwed on the inside, but can't see till I remove the window. If I am going to change all the old window channel balances shouldn't the top guides be consistent. I have different series so far, series 380 - 18" bedroom windows & series 351-12" bathroom window. Are all of these sort of generic, or how does it matter. I am just going room by room.

You actually have the original looking sash guide #18-187. Is it better to use original type or is there a better option now ?
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Dave from SWISCO responded:
Hey, thanks for posting. Yes, the first two digits of the stamp are typically one less than the length. As for the top sash guides, we always suggest replacing broken hardware with exactly what was installed originally, if they are available. Since there are different balance Series used in different windows, it's logical to assume that each window was made by a different company, which would also mean they'd use different top sash guides. Could you use the same top sash guides for all windows? I can only say "maybe." Some top sash guides are different than others for good reason, and it depends more on the sash than the balance itself. Personally, I would just stick with what the installers used, because you never know when they had a good reason for using the hardware they chose. That way no guess work is involved.
A quick learner from Ocala Florida says:
1 window had a set of heavier gauge aluminum channel balances with a seam running along the edge on both sides. Do I need to replace with seamed or can I replace with straight edged sides?
A quick learner from Ocala Florida says:
on top and bottom guides in the old channel balance I have removed. it compares to your 19-005 &15-005. my question is that each has tabs. wondering what is the purpose? Does this prevent them from shifting side to side in the track when installed.
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Paul from SWISCO responded:
I wouldn't worry about the seams. Every manufacturer has a small difference in the way they design the metal channels, such as seams or hemmed edges, but they all work the same. The only thing you need to be concerned about is the Series, length, and spring strength.

The tabs are meant to keep the balance stable in the jamb tracks, yes.
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