Do you have a nice opening window that has mysteriously become latched closed?
How the heck can you get access to the guts of the mechanism in order to repair it?
Don’t fret - read on!
Step 1: Tools and Project Preparation
Before you start, get your tools and materials together:
- replacement latch keeper (from the window manufacturer or the retailer where you bought it) (If you don’t know the model, take some photos to show the staff or for reference when you are choosing the part to purchase.)
- putty knife or molding pry bar or old hacksaw blade (or similar thin bladed tool)
- screwdriver (probably Phillips or Robertson, but multi-driver might be a safer bet)
- (optional - silicone spray lubricant)
Step 2: Tip - Getting the Latched Window Open…
The problem is the latch lever is not unlatching the window, so you can’t get access to the screws holding the latch mechanism to the window frame.
The trick is to actuate the latch mechanism (ie move the retaining bar off latch studs):
- Before starting, remove the window screen and crank the window opener a little as if you were trying to open the window; (since the window is latched, obviously the window won’t open but the intent is to relieve some of the mechanical pressure holding the window closed).
- First slide a thin metal tool (eg putty knife or molding pry bar or old hacksaw blade) between the rubber gasket and the window frame) - start above the latch and work your way down*.
- Then gently tap it downward with a hammer, wiggling as necessary to get over/around screw heads that might be in the way.
- Once you can sense that wiggling and gentle taps have gotten you as far as they can, then tap a bit more vigorously to move the retaining bar to disengage from the latch studs
- The window should then pop open a little.
- Crank the window open wide so you can get clear access to the latching mechanism.
* This is the case for where the latch lever moves DOWN TO LATCH the window closed. If your latch normally moves up to latch the window, then insert your tool below the latch and tap it upward with the hammer.
Step 3: Out With the Old and in With the New!
Once the window can be cranked open, then it is a simple matter to remove the two screws holding the latch in place against the window frame, and install the new latch.
You might want to spray a little silicone lubricant into the mechanism so it all moves freely for a good, long time.
Step 4: Testing...
Make sure to test the repaired window latch to ensure it works when you need it - you don't want to go through another season with it stuck closed (or open!)
Actuate the latch lever a few times with the window open, then crank the window closed and actuate the lever a few more times. The window should crank open easily when the new latch lever is released (downward, in my case).