I couldn’t open the window, it was stuck, jammed and seized shut. The window handle moved, but the window just won’t open?
When you close the window, the handle gearbox pushes shootbolts (espag or espagnolette) and roller cams (mushrooms) out to lock the window in the outermost corners.
The window handle gearbox can break (which is often the case), or the shoot bolt (espag or espagnolette) and roller cams (mushrooms) jam or seize. When the gearbox breaks, it doesn’t allow the shoot bolts and the roller cams to return to the open position and the window won’t open.
Note: The parts below are for illustration only, as they come in different shapes and sizes from various manufacturers… uPVC and PVCu are the same material, just a different pronunciation.
It’s a fairly easy process to open the window. The difficulty is when there is:
The text and images below, describe how we do it.
You will need something fairly thin bent at a right angle. You could use a:
Once you have your tools, it’s trial an error to see which one fits best? Each window may have a different size gap between the window and frame, (and the gap can be different from one end of the window to the other…).
The shootbolts are towards the opening ends of the window, above and below the window handle (side-hinged window), or to the left or right of the handle (top-hinged window) – See the image below.
It can be an easy job. It’s only difficult when you can’t get the tool in the small gap, or the shootbolt mechanism is stiff or seized.
The repair will usually involve either:
Lugs can break off within the gearbox, or it can just fracture. To replace, remove the window handle and loosen the shoot bolts. You can then slide the gearbox out of the window frame (see the images below).
When you replace the gearbox, you can insert the gearbox in the window frame the wrong way round. All this does is change the direction that the window handle operates. Try the handle in the gearbox before you fit it in the window, or just turn the gearbox through 180 degrees.
As a temporary solution, you can often refit the shoot bolt gearbox without the shoot bolts (espag or espagnolette), so your window will still close and lock (by the handle latch only) whilst you wait for parts.
In some instances, the shootbolt can become disconnected from the handle gearbox. Refit, checking that the connection lines up correctly and is secure.
When uPVC windows are manufactured, the shoot bolts are sometimes cut to length to fit the window. In some cases, they can be cut too short and can jump out of the housing. If this is the case, the shoot bolt (espag or espagnolette) may need replacing.
The shoot bolts and their rollers can become seized or corroded, as they are usually manufactured from mild steel with a thin electroplated finish.
Free up, clean and protect from further corrosion. Lubricate, or replace as necessary.
For verticle window’s it’s easy, as the handle normally point downwards. For top hung windows (horizontal), imagine for a moment that you have turned the window sideways, and the window is now side hung (vertical). This gives you a good idea which way round the handle should go.
– My upvc window lock does not have the mushrooms but the locking mechanism is the same style. Any idea what I could do?
Have a look at another window (with the same mechanism) to work out if there is a method of opening – Choose a window on the ground floor, as you don’t want to fall out the window!
It could be that if you dismantle the lock you may be able to open the window? There may be some holes somewhere in the mechanism (shoot bolts) that you could grab with a pick. Practice, investigate with another open window (on the ground floor) to see if you can to work out a method of opening?