When you’re considering replacement windows in San Jose, CA, one of the things that you’ll need to take a look at is the windows balance system. Window balances determine how the window moves. For example, on double hung replacement windows and sliding windows, the sash of the window moves to open and close the window. Replacement window balance systems control whether the sashes move, how well they move, and how much they move.
What kinds of balance systems are available on replacement windows? There are a few things that are critical when choosing the right balance system on a replacement window. The first, and most important, is how easy the window is to operate. The second is how easy the replacement window balance system is to repair or replace if something goes wrong. And the third thing is the life expectancy of the replacement window balance system.
One type of replacement window balance system is a spiral balance. This system operates using a spiral piece of metal that slides in and out of a round tube that has an oiled spring inside it. Many older wood windows have a spiral balance. If you’ve ever tried to shut a wood window and it won’t shut all the way, but bounces back up slightly, then it has a spiral balance.
Spiral balance can be repaired when it’s not working correctly by a professional windows company. Repair requires a very specialized tool. Spiral balances can also be replaced if they cannot be repaired, but this requires more extensive work.
The life expectancy of a spiral balance is relatively short at approximately 5,000 cycles. A cycle is defined as opening and closing a replacement window sash one time.
Another type of replacement window balance system is a constant force coil balance. Almost all vinyl replacement windows use this kind of balance system. A constant force coil balance uncoils when the window sash is opened and recoils when the window sash is closed. Because constant force coil balances are made in one size, larger replacement windows require more than one coil. A potential limitation to this balance system is how far the sash can actually be moved.
If a constant force coil balance goes bad and needs to be replaced, this can be problematic. Because the constant force coil balance is not attached to the window itself, the coil has to be removed by heating up the vinyl and removing the shoe that the coil sits in. When the new coil is installed, the vinyl has to be reheated. The alternative to this is to cut the track of the window to remove and replace the coil.
The life expectancy of a constant force coil balance is more than double that of a spiral balance, coming in at approximately 12,000 cycles.
The final type of replacement window balance system is a self-tensioning block and tackle. The design of a self-tensioning block and tackle includes a sturdy stainless steel spring, a pulley system, and a parachute cord. These work together to open and close the window sash.
If a self-tensioning block and tackle goes bad, it is incredibly easy to replace, because it attaches to the interior window assembly.
The life expectancy of a self-tensioning block and tackle far exceeds either of the other two windows balance systems. With an average lifespan of 48,000 cycles, a self-tensioning block and tackle balance system lasts almost 10 times longer than the spiral balance and four times longer than the constant force coil balance.
To learn more about different balance systems in replacement windows in San Jose, CA, you can talk with our expert team at California Custom Creations. You can call us at (408) 316-6293 to make an appointment for a free in-home consultation.