A breath of fresh air through an open window can feel great on a nice day! However, what do you do if the window gets stuck open? Obviously, you can’t just leave a window open and allow the elements to get in your home!
Crank windows have a mechanism that can get stuck in the open position, especially if the window, casing, or crank are not in good repair. Don’t worry! There is a way to get the window shut again!
A crank window uses a mechanism with a handle, a crank body, and a swing arm to pull the window open and shut. A broken crank may result in a window that is stuck in the open position. Replace a broken crank mechanism in order to open and close the window.
Table of Contents
How Does a Window Crank Work?
Casement windows are often opened and closed with a crank mechanism that is mounted into the window frame. It has an arm that extends and retracts in order to open and close the window when the crank is turned.
Sometimes, the handle can fall off, or the crank mechanism can wear down over time. When this happens, the window can get stuck in the open position.
Can a Window Be Closed If It Has a Broken Crank?
Leaving the window open is not a good option. There is a way to get that window to shut. You will need to purchase a replacement split arm operator for the crank mechanism. Make sure you find one that matches your current window crank. Sometimes the window manufacturer will have the information you need.
- Flathead and Phillips screwdrivers
- Locking pliers
- Window casement operator
- Replacement crank handle (if the casement operator doesn’t come with one already)
Remove the Crank
Carefully inspect the crank. It is possible that the splines inside the crank are worn down, which is why they aren’t engaging with the splines on the window closer. If this is the case, try the new replacement crank handle first and see if the window closes. You may be able to save yourself a lot of work!
Open the Window
Remove the handle. Use the locking pliers as a handle to open the window all the way. If you just want to get the window shut without a repair, use the pliers to shut the window until you have time to replace the mechanism.
Once the window is open, push down on the arm to remove it from the track. Push the window open the rest of the way.
Remove the Trim
Use the screwdriver to remove the screws from the trim, then lift the trim from the window frame.
Remove the Old Crank
Next, remove the screws from the old casement operator and window casing.
Install the New Crank
Make sure the replacement crank operator is an exact match to the old crank. Line up the screw holes on the window frame with the screw holes in the new crank operator. Screw it in place.
If the screw holes are stripped, push toothpicks down into the holes so that the screws fit snugly. Tighten all the screws. Place the new handle in place.
Close the Window
Reverse the process you completed at the beginning of the project! Close the window until it lines up with the closer arm. Slide the closer arm back into the track. Once the arm is in place, Crank the window shut again.
How Can I Prevent a Broken Window Crank?
Often, a little maintenance can keep a window from getting stuck in the first place. Clean and lubricate the window and closer regularly to keep them in working order.
Keep the Frame Clean
Bits of dirt and debris can get stuck in the closing mechanism, causing it to jam or deteriorate. Wipe down the window frames regularly.
Take the handle off the closer, and clean out around the splines with a damp cloth. For really stubborn debris, use an old toothbrush inside the handle and where it attaches.
Sometimes, a sticky window just needs a little oil! Spray WD-40 around the handle, closer, and any moving parts in the closing mechanism.
Replace the Trim
Swollen, water damaged, or broken trim can catch on the window closing mechanism and the window, causing it to get stuck. If you have damaged trim, pull it out and replace it. Trim boards made out of PVC may be a good option near windows as they will not sustain water damage.
Replace Old or Broken Windows
Older windows swell, break, or become brittle. If you have continued problems with your windows, look into replacements. Newer windows are often made of composite materials that won’t weather like older, wooden windows.
Don’t let a stuck window stay stuck! Replace the crank closing mechanism in a few easy steps for a window that opens and shuts easily. Keep the window in working order with a simple, regular cleaning and oiling routine.