How to open a stuck window

open a stuck window

Most of us enjoy the fresh air. Even in the winter we sometimes open a window to release the dusty furnace vents and bring in clean air. But if a window is stuck and refuses to open, you may need to work on it to enjoy that fresh breeze again.

Here is a list of tools you will need: a hammer, a candle or piece of wax, a spray lubricant such as WD-40, a wood scrap, a sheet of paper, an old toothbrush, some paint thinner, and a paint zipper, or you could use a pizza cutter if you don’t have a paint zipper. You will need needle-nose pliers or you can wrap masking tape around the head of a hammer or something soft to prevent marring when you pull the nails out, if they have been used.

Why won’t the window open? Is it because of humidity or maybe dirt build-up? Or someone may have painted the window shut in advertently or to deter would-be burglars. Perhaps a previous owner nailed the window shut for security reasons. Before we start here are the parts of the window so you don’t get lost. The windowsill is where the window frame meets the supporting panel. The sash is the framework around the glass. On both sides of the window frame is something called the stop.

A channel is an area in the window frame where the wood window travels up and down. Tracks are grooves in the sill or sides of the window frame where metal windows travel up or down or side to side. How do you find the stuck part? You need to slide a piece of paper between the sash and the stop; wherever the paper gets stuck means that is where the window is stuck. Apply lubricating spray to both channels.

Now we need to fix the problem. Take the paint zipper or pizza cutter and slip it between the sash and the stop, making sure you go a little bit above and below the problem area. Keep running this up and down both sides until it runs smoothly. If the sides were not stuck, the problem lies between the sash and the sill.

Insert the paint zipper or pizza cutter and run it from one end of the sill to the other. Next try to open the window. If it won’t budge, place the wood scrap over the problem area and gently bang it with a hammer to jar it. Once the window is open, take a rag with a little bit of paint thinner on it and clean the channels or tracks that are causing the window to stick. You can use a toothbrush to really get it clean.

Now rub a candle or the wax inside the tracks and inside the channels. This should make the connecting piece glide readily through. Open and close the window four or five times to check the facility of its movement, and to “retrain” the track. Keep repeating the last two steps until the window slide opens easily.

Then relax and enjoy your reinstated fresh air. After all, you’ve earned it!

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