How to replace cords for longer-lasting windows

July 28, 2015

Protecting your windows and giving them a long life means protecting all of their parts. Replacing the cords on your windows could add years to your windows' lives, which means not having to replace the whole thing.

How to replace cords for longer-lasting windows

Don’t put off replacing broken sash cords

  • Traditional double-hung windows use a counterweight system to make them easy to raise and to hold them up: A cord or chain attached to the top of the sash runs up to a pulley and down to a weight in a cavity at each side of the window.
  • When the cord or chain breaks, some folks just shrug and prop open the window with a stick.
  • Not only is this unsafe and inconvenient, it's a sentence for slow death for the window as you rock it back and forth, struggling to raise it.
  • This is a shame, since replacing the cord or chain usually is an easy job.

Replace window cords with chain

When one sash-weight cord breaks, the others are surely on their way out, so replace them all. When you do, use flat-link brass or steel sash chain; it will last years longer than cord. Here how to change a cord:

1. Carefully pry off the wood stop, or parting strip, just in front of the sash. Disconnect the cord from each side of the sash, and lower the weight inside the weight chamber.

2. Open the small panel near the bottom of the channel, and take out the weight. Cut off and discard the old cord.

3. Feed the new chain over the pulley into the weight chamber and pull it out of the weight-access hole. Loop the chain through the top of the weight, and secure the end to the chain with wire.

4. Pull on chain, raising weight close to the pulley. Put a nail through the chain to hold it in place.

5. Snip off excess chain, and attach the end of the chain to the side of the sash.

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