I Need to Close a Window to Open a Window — Not the Computer Kind
March 21, 2020 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Help me unstick the top half of my window that has decided it wants to be the bottom half of my window. It seemed like the day to let it some air! Well, FML.

I have basically one nice window in my apartment. The top half has misbehaved before, and during the summer when I put the air conditioner in the bottom half, I have to use metal rods to keep the top in position. But it’s fine! In the fully closed position, no shims necessary.

Today I wanted to open the bottom half, and when I unlocked it, the top half slid all the way down. And now I CAN’T MOVE IT. I’m trying to get some leverage with a wooden spoon between the frames, but it’s not really budging. I need to get the top part back to its domain.

Luckily the screen is in, but unluckily this window looks right out to the street. Having an entire half open is just too noisy, so “just live with it” is not an option. I would reaaaaallllly prefer not to call my super — I’d consider that a absolute last resort, and even then, I’d be filled with dread. Help me, hive mind!
posted by Charity Garfein to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
photos would help. Look for latches on the edge that may need to be released in order to push the window back up.
posted by cosmicbandito at 10:33 AM on March 21

(some pix, though the sun is shining DIRECTLY into the crisis)
posted by Charity Garfein at 10:48 AM on March 21

In the middle two pictures showing the bit mounted onto the end of the top of the window, it looks like there's a potentially slide-y bit inside. Can you poke your finger into the hole and pull it towards the center of the top to release tension against the window frame, and let the top half slide upward easier?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:27 AM on March 21

It looks like the lower sash could be removed. What you've got is called a 'double hung' window. If you know (or can determine by looking for stickers/labels) the manufacturer and model of your window, you might find specific instructions, but the general principles are the same.

If I had to do this, based on your pictures alone, I'd start by sticking your fingers inside the two black latches at the top of the sash and sliding the inner piece of the latch toward the middle, then tilting the top of the sash inward. If you can lean it against your body and unstick the outer sash, you might be done, but if not, you may then have to sort of twist side-to-side to get the bottom portion of the sash out of the track. Carefully set the lower sash out of the way, then work on the upper sash. Reverse the procedure to reinstall the lower sash once you've got the upper sash back in place. It should work sort of like in this video, though that's a different manufacturer.

Alternately, does the lower sash slide past the upper sash, if you open the latch all the way? If there's still finger space below the bottom of the upper sash, you could raise the lower sash, then sort of raise both of them together enough to get a larger prop under the upper sash, then lower the lower sash again so you can access the top of the upper sash to raise it the rest of the way.

The third (and possibly simplest) option would be to stand on a ladder/chair inside the window, so you can pull the upper sash, rather than push it, which might get you enough leverage to unstick it without any further work.
posted by yuwtze at 11:38 AM on March 21

It looks like the windows tilt in by releasing the tabs on the top sides for the frame. It you tilt in the bottom widow it may free up the top one. You may need to two people as the windows can be heavy.
posted by tman99 at 11:44 AM on March 21

Well the bottom sash does tilt in! Which makes it a lot easier to move the top sash — except it still won't go up. I'm trying a bunch of jostling....
posted by Charity Garfein at 12:01 PM on March 21

Been there, struggled with that!

Can you get up high enough on a chair, or bed, or whatever so you can try to lift with your whole body?
posted by SemiSalt at 1:49 PM on March 21

If you haven't already, your top sash should also tilt in. Perhaps that will free it up enough to be able to slide it? Depending on the window, it may not be possible to slide up while tilted, but if something's jammed, just the tilt may unjam it.

My other advice would be to try to move it evenly, with two hands spread far apart, to hopefully prevent it from binding as you hopefully jostle it loose and work it upward.

Hopefully this is unnecessary and you got it closed yesterday!
posted by yuwtze at 9:32 AM on March 22

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