Introduction: Fixing Tilt Windows That Are Hard to Open

About: I teach electronics.

I have vinyl windows that, over the years, have gotten harder and harder to open and close.

I purchased the special spring tool, as well as several replacement parts, and managed to fix a couple of windows the expensive way - but today I'm going to teach you how to fix most of these window issues FREE (using household items).

P.S. Hard to open windows can be annoying, but they can also be dangerous in an escape situation where someone who isn't very strong needs to climb out of the window.

Step 1: Step 1: Prepare Your Work Area

Remove anything around the window.

This includes tiny knick-knacks that might be on the windowsill, pushing aside curtains and window shade strings and rods, and anything else that might get in the way of you opening and closing the window a dozen times in a row.

While you're at it, this is a good time to take a scrub sponge and clean the vinyl sill and trim.

Step 2: Step 2: Prepare the Lubricant

I use petroleum jelly. This might become less viscous (might liquefy and drip down) on a very hot summer day, so we'll see. Might need to switch to something that stays thick even when hot (axle grease?).

This is sold as petroleum jelly in generic form at the dollar store, or by the brand name Vaseline - but you probably already have a tube or tub of the stuff around the house.

You'll also need a dinner or butter knife to spread it (just like you'd spread jelly on a sandwich).

Step 3: Step 3: Smear in the Lubricant

Open the window just a tiny bit, and then use the tilt-in feature to tilt the top of the window (sash) towards you. Make sure you hold it steady so it doesn't slam down and break the glass.

You see the twisted springs on either side of the window sash now.

Take a pea-sized glob of the lubricant and smear it in. Try to get more on the twisted spring, and just below the sleeve that it slides up in to - as opposed to smearing it on places that won't do any lubricating good.

I've included a picture of a good smear that worked for me.

Step 4: Step 4: Work It Out and You're Done

Click the window back in to place (click it back in from being tilted out). Make sure both sides are clicked back into place.

Here is where the physical part comes in.

You'll need to open and close that window at least a dozen times to spread the grease inside the inner workings of the twisted spring mechanism.

Take your time, don't slam or bang the window, lest you break the glass. You'll get better and better at it as you go along.

Once the window is moving smoothly across most of it's path, give it a few gentle motions towards the limits of the path (fully closed, and fully open). Once again, be extra gentle here so as not to slam and break anything.

Finally, why not use the opportunity to vacuum the little bits of things that always seem to fall out of the window while you're doing this. Usually dead bugs, dust, dirt, and other mysterious items that have gotten stuck up inside the mechanism over the years.

P.S. Get another person to try out your handiwork on the toughest of the windows in the house. If it's still to difficult for them to open, repeat the above steps. None of the windows in my house needed more than a second lubrication, and most of them only needed one.