Sash Spiral Balance Recommendations.

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Established Member
20 Sep 2012
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I've been working away at rejuvenating the much abused (but still fundamentally sound) sashes around my house.

The rear two at the back have been replaced with (very sympathetic) modern units fitted with spiral balances and no space for weights.

Predictably the balances have failed after 10 years...

I can get like for like replacements for about a tenner from ironmongery direct...

Would splashing out on a more expensive set from ERA or similar actually be beneficial, or are they just as likely to fail in the same 5-10 year stretch as the cheapo units?

The windows are so badly overpainted that I'm having to completely disassemble to remove the paint and free them up, so if I'm going to switch hardware now seems like an ideal time as I can change channel widths, rebates etc. easily whilst the sashes are out prior to painting.

As a secondary question, the sidelights in my bay are fixed with no signs of ever having cords fitted and allowance in the frames for weights, it would be nice to free them up too, so I was considering fitting spiral balances there.

Is that asking for trouble, or actually a sensible upgrade?
I haven't used them for a while but Mighton used to be the place for sash balances and their Easilift version did make the sashes easier to lift, Reddiseals are also a good source for all things sash window related.
Those things should never have been invented.
However, since you must. Go to Mighton
Get the good ones ( they do several options) it's worth it.
They have a calculation form to get the right pre load etc.

Ive always bought from Reddiseals or Mighton.

AFAIK they are mostly made in America -yup we exported sash windows there
Thanks, I've just spoken to my local ironmonger and they might have some of the mighton ones in stock, they're going to check if what they have (it's an over-order by a previous customer) is the appropriate size, otherwise I'll order directly.

Those things should never have been invented.

I may have had a rant to that effect, to my missus over the weekend whilst trying to understand if the existing balances were definitely broken...

"This window design took hundreds of years to evolve into a perfect marriage of form and function... Then some clever dick comes along reckoning he knows better, and the simplicity of a counterweight is too old fashioned, so now because of him, I have broken bloody windows"

She's very tolerant of my ideosyncracies!
Quite agree! Idiosyncrasies are what makes us stand out from the herd I always think.
Personally I always liked the sound of the weights banging about in the boxes when I had sashes.
Not much can go wrong with a bit of lead and some string, when it does its a simple fix.

I have a hatred of the spiral balance 1, because its a stupid idea. 2, because they are a right pipper to get working just right and 3, they will smack your fingers something fierce if they slip when under tension.

Make sure to buy the crank handle tensioner, the ones supplied with them are a bent wire thingy that is frankly rubbish.
We'll worth the couple of quid.

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