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Unsure if I need normal or heavy duty S500 balances

A home owner from Newburgh, NY says:
I'm just about ready to replace eight ancient (like 1955) spiral balances (top and bottom pairs on two double hung single pane windows). I'm unsure about whether I need normal or heavier duty (red or blue tip) balances. The sash dimensions are 30" wide by 32" tall, and with glass each weighs about 12 to 13 pounds. The old balances are 5/8" diameter, 29 inches long, but have no color caps.

Thanks,
Bill S.
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Donna from SWISCO responded:
Hi Bill,
You could use Red Tip or Blue Tip balance options.

29" Series 500 balances with Red Tip will carry a window sash weight range of 7 through and including 29 pounds.

29" Series 500 balances with Blue Tip will carry a window sash weight range of 12 through and including 31 pounds.

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 home owner from Newburgh, NY says:
Thanks for the response. I have another question on these balances. Having checked the old ones again, I found that the lengths are different between the top and bottom sashes. The top sash balances measure 28 3/4" from the point where the bracket attaches to the bottom of the torsion spring to the top where the mounting hole is (I figured this meant the balance length is 29"). The bottom sash balances 30 1/2" between the same two points. The sashes themselves are 31" tall (top) and 32" tall (bottom). Sooooo.... should the balance lengths I order be 29" top and 31" bottom, or some other length? (I looked for a dimension guide on your sire, but didn't find one).

Thanks again,
Bill
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Donna from SWISCO responded:
Bill, you will need to measure the channel portion of your original balances to get the lengths.
A home owner from Newburgh, NY says:
Sorry Donna, I'm being dense. The channel length is the length of the tube surrounding the torsion spring (as shown in the attached photo - knew I'd seen it somewhere on your site). Mine aren't even numbers though. The short ones from the top sashes are 28 3/4", the long ones from the bottom sashes are 30 1/2" (just checked again).
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Mike from SWISCO responded:
I am sorry to be a pain but I want to be a 100% sure that your numbers you are giving for your tube measurements are accurate. Here is another picture of of how to measure the length of a spiral balance...
Image displaying how to measure the spiral balance length.
Usually these measurements do come out to even numbers. If yours do not I will talk to our window balance expert here and see what he suggests.
A home owner from Newburgh, NY says:
The old tubes I have aren't even numbers. They're pretty old. They don't have plastic caps on the ends either, and they aren't the full length of the torsion spring they're supposed to cover. The torsion spring lengths are even numbers (29" and 31") and stick out the bottoms of the tubes a bit (maybe someone cut off the ends of the tubes for some reason). The window sashes are even numbers also; 31" for the upper sashes and 32" for the lower sashes. I can grab a camera from work tonight an take some photos of the old springs if it helps.

Thanks,
Bill
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Mike from SWISCO responded:
Bill, the next step would be to take a few photos of your balance and the shoes they hook into and upload them to the discussion board. We would really like to see what your balances look like before we offer a replacement recommendation.
A home owner from Newburgh, NY says:
OK Mike, here's what I have. The old tubes are pretty beat up, cracked and split, but I've pieced them together as best I can. The top two in the photo are from the lower sash, the bottom two are from the top sash.

Thanks,
Bill
User submitted photos of spiral balances.
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Paul from SWISCO responded:
Bill, it does appear you you have a Series 500 Spiral Balance. As stated earlier, your sash weights indicate you could use Red Tip or Blue Tip balance options.

29" Series 500 balances with Red Tip will carry a window sash weight range of 7 through and including 29 pounds.

29" Series 500 balances with Blue Tip will carry a window sash weight range of 12 through and including 31 pounds.

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.

Now, it does appear you have two different sized spiral balances, so you will want to be sure you have the exact tube measurement down before placing an order. The brackets (the pieces connected to the balances) appear to be the Swisco 17-007 Brackets.

A home owner from Newburgh, NY says:
Thanks Paul (and Mike and Donna),

(Nothing like owning an old house, eh?) I think I may go with the R32 (17-012) brackets though, to give me more options as to where to put screws into the sash. The wood is pretty beat up there.
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