Monday, February 27, 2006

A Guide to Replacing Window Channels

Replacing the loose channels on those old wood sash windows is not anyone’s idea of fun, but it is one of the least expensive, and most effective, ways to save energy and lower heating bills.

Preparing the window

1. Carefully measure each window that will be upgraded. Take the measurements with you when you shop at your local home improvement center or hardware store. The employees will be able to help you find the right window channel kits. These kits will be made of either metal or plastic, so any cutting needed should be done using a hacksaw or a pair of tin snips.

2. Carefully remove the wooden channel from both ends of the window, using a small flat pry bar or the claw end of a hammer. The sash should now come out of the window frame easily.

3. Open up the sash wells by carefully removing the casing on both sides of the window. These sash wells can be insulated for further energy savings.

4. Attach the window casing and begin applying the new window channel.

5. Be careful to not damage the window frames, the walls or the trim when removing the old window channels.

6. Old windows can be quite heavy. It is a good idea to have another person around to help you remove them.

Steps for installing the new window channel
1. Cut the window jamb part of the channel to the proper length. The new window channel should fit against the inside wood channel within the jamb.

2. Fasten the window channel to the jamb, following the manufacturers’ instructions. Some manufacturers will use nails, while others will use screws.

3. It may be necessary to remove some material from both edges of the window sash before installing the sash portion of the new channel. The directions provided by the manufacturer of the channel should give you the exact space needed. If material needs to be removed it can be gently sanded away using a plane or sander.

4. After the necessary modifications have been made, attach the sash portion to both sides of the window sash.

5. Carefully snap the sash into place within the new channel. Test the fit by sliding the sash up and down a couple of times. The replacement channel should flex just enough to allow the sash to be snapped back into place.