What is a Window Balance and How Does it Work?

Aug 11, 2014

Having quality windows in a home is crucial in making a home energy efficient. They allow plenty of sunlight to stream in while keeping dust, bugs, rain, and snow outside. However, there will be plenty of times that these windows have to be opened. However, window frames, especially those that open vertically can weigh a lot. Furthermore, once the window is open, it has to stay up to stay open.

To make opening and closing windows easier, Woodbridge doors and windows experts install windows that feature window balances.

Counterbalance technology is more like rocket science than you might think. Consider a 20-inch device weighing less than 8 ounces, comprised of 22 parts that synergistically twist, rotate, stretch and otherwise operate to within thousandths of an inch tolerance, that helps raise and lower a window sash weighing 30 pounds over 4,000 times, while withstanding decades of climatic and homeowner abuseall priced for less than $1.00. In some circles, that would be considered an engineering marvel.

A window balance is a mechanism specially designed to keep a window panel from sliding down once it’s pushed up. Window balances are available in various measurements and styles, depending on the type and weight of window that it will be used for. The increase in demand for large windowpanes and heavier glazed panels, have led to the development of thicker, heavier window balances.

Early window balances used a series of weights and pulleys to counteract the weight of windowpanes. However, these were only good for keeping the window from sliding down, and pushing the window upwards was still difficult. Today’s window balances are also designed to reduce the amount of force necessary to push up windowpanes by a significant amount.

Today’s window balances are classified according to how much weight they can lift. Most windows use class 2 weight balance, which takes off up to 40% of a window panel’s weight off. This means a 10-pound window can be pushed up by hand using only 6 pounds of force. Monroe doors and windows specialists install class 5 balances on the heaviest commercial and residential windows.

(Excerpt taken from The Basics of Window Balance Selection)

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