device to push slider windows tightly closed

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I'm helping an elderly couple with some troublesome windows in their home. The windows are sliders (one slider on each end) separated by a 48" fixed window. The windows are old and the latches don't work well and the seals are poor, therefore they leak air badly. I have done some weatherstripping which is an improvemetn but what I am looking for now is a device that can be inserted between the two sliders and exert some pressure on each side to force them to close tightly against the far edge. I'd like something that has an over-center type action or a screw adjustment to apply the pressure since neither occupant can handle much force. Before I go off and try to fabricate something for them can anyone suggest a commerical product that could accomplish what I am trying to do? If further explanantion is needed I'll gladly respond with more details
I'd also like any ideas on what I could use to better seal the edge of the slider that mates to the end of the fixed window (the far side is not so bad to deal with.) The frames are metal (these are old windows) so there is only a very small surface to apply any weatherstrip and the gap is very small (but large enough to be a source of air leaks.)
Thanks for any ideas! John Keith snipped-for-privacy@juno.com
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Thanks to your for helping folk in need. You can buy an ordinary bar clamps or other types of clamps which are reversible. That way you can put the clamp between the window and the frame and slowly screw it closed with the clamp. Bar clamps are the least expensive but you should have two since that will allow you to close the window evenly. Here are links to bar clamps:
http://www.7corners.com/7c_store/showdetl.cfm?DID=1&offerings_ID 1898081&ObjectGroup_ID#0602419&CATID18951621
A quick clamp is a bit nicer and is also reversible. Link:
http://www.7corners.com/7c_store/showdetl.cfm?DID=1&offerings_ID=-1314255481&ObjectGroup_ID 2314488&CATID18951621
Concerning air leaks, where regular weatherstrip will not work you can use a strip of old carpet perhaps folded and reversed and maybe covered with duct tape. Just close the windows tightly against the carpet with your clamps. Since the gap is small you can may be able to use just plain caulk or maybe foam rod designed for that purpose.
On a really bad windows I will just find a way to somehow get it closed then cover then caulk it shut. Then I may use either poly plastic like the 3M stuff or even regular 6 mil poly plastic stapled in place with cardboard edging. It can be done inside and out.
In bad situations I will sometimes abandon the use of the window entirely and cut a hunk of one inch foam board to close the window in and caulk it around the edges. Although it eliminates the use of the window, it also eliminates or drastically improves the situation with drafts and heat loss in the window. One inch of the foil backed foam board is R-7!!
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wrote:
Larry,
Thank you for your quick reply.
As usual your reply prompts me to supply some additional info.

Caulking the windows shut would be a great solution except that they need to remain operational so that when they have some one come to clean the outside of the windows they can reach them through the open window.
The idea of the bar clamp is interesting and I've not seen reversible clamps before but I'm not sure the couple could operate them (the husband is physically disabled.) But more importantly I'm not sure they would meet the wife's request for something that looks "pleasing". Right now I have a 1x2 of the approximate correct length +1/4" wedged in place to push against the two moveable panes and she says that would look OK if they were white. I'm not sure either of these people could routinely insert even these "wedges" so I'm trying to think of something that would insert much easier, like an over-center type of pressure expander.
Finally, I understand your comment about two clamps, one high and one low but again I think due to the physical limitations of teh couple installing the high one would be a challenge. The one wedge I have in the middle right now for a test seems to be a good compromise, if I can solve the other problems (ease of install and attractive.)
I may need to describe the details of the interface better also between the slider and the fixed pane to get some good commetns about weatherstripping. I'll try to do that later today when I have more time.
John Keith snipped-for-privacy@juno.com
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John, I think perhaps you are addressing symptoms rather than the underlying problem.
I hazard a guess that the sliding panels ride on some sort of plastic bushing and that has worn to the point that the window is cocking and dragging.
Try inspecting the bushings, and if you find them worn, often these can be obtained from a glass shop.
If the windows are large they even might have little plastic rollers, but those are probably still available also.
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On Tue, 24 Apr 2007 08:11:49 -0700, "Roger Shoaf"

A bunch of them are broken in my house and I was going to make my own. Thank you for what is most likely a better suggestion.
Mine are just plastic rectangles with a hole in the middle. They are held on by one screw at each end of the window and are rounded at the bottom to slide in the channel.
Some have broken at the hole.

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wrote:

I forgot. Mine are little but L-shaped. I bought a big piece of plastic corner molding to cut new ones out of and I just barely got started. Have to cut to the right width and length and drill one hole for each.
Still, would be easier to go to a glass store if they have them.

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For sure caulking them shut is the last gasp solution only to be used on windows that are barely usable anyway.

I have a good selection of bar clamps, very useful. All bar clamps are reversible. The clamp screws onto the end of ordinary steel pipe which is threaded on it's end. It is the same type of pipe used for water or gas supply, available in 1/2" and 3/4". It is only necessary to flip the stationary part of the clamp around to face the other way to make into a spreader. Other styles of clamps also have this feature.
It is also possible to make a clamp or spreader of any length since the pipe can be cut to order and the pipes can also be threaded to each other to make a really long clamp. There are nicer clamps for woodworking but none as cheap or versatile as the pipe clamps. I only suggested it as a gentle way to close a problem window. I would not expect that they remain in place after use. They need not be "pleasing" if they are in storage. Good luck with all.
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wrote:

Neat, I had never thought of reversing the parts of a piple clamp to turn it into a "spreader". Good idea. SO I see two problems with pipe clamps:
- turning the handle while next to the window would not be possible
- the pipe is heavy and the homeowners could not hold them long enough to get them clamped into place
But I should look at the clamps that are available these days and see if they might work. I've not used these (wife thinks I have enough tools and the current pipe clamps don't need to be replaced.) Don't these newer clamps have some trigger/rachet mechanism?
John Keith snipped-for-privacy@juno.com
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Don't know about pipe clamps, but some bar clamps have squeeze handles that cause them to move.

Again, a flat bar is lighter than a 1 1/2 inch galvanized pipe, and the rest of the parts are often plastic. Mostly on this I know about Harbor Freight clamps.

Some. The 18 inch clamp does, that I bought because it was on sale and cost maybe a dollar, but probably isn't long enough for this application.
I'm not sure if one could just take flat stock to make a longer clamp (if they're clever they would have used an unusual size to prevent this) but they probably sell long enough for your purpose.
I think open windows are great, and closed windows are great when it's cold out.

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That would be true with some styles of clamp but not others. There are several different styles of clamps many of which would almost certainly have the clearance to be usable.
One version which I actually own, not only has a low clearance screw it is also a deep reach or a C-clamp style which gives even more clearance. Jorgensen "Pony" Deep Reach Pipe Clamp is the name of this style of clamp that you will find very useful. You supply your own threaded pipe or if you can find this clamp locally they will also sell and thread your pipe. There are cheaper prices but this link should work:
http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyIDY33&refcode INFROO

My first reaction is... that I thought that you would be operating the clamp since you are "helping" them, eh? I assumed that you are the one who is handy and will own the clamps. Besides that, if these invalids can't pick up a 12 inch clamp they they may need your help every time they open and close this window.

The ones you own may be reversible since many are and you were previously unaware of the feature. Just try removing the fixed part of the clamp and reverse it. You call the clamps "newer" but they are nothing of the sort.
Pipe clamps are a well established technology, I assure you. They do indeed have a mechanism which allows you to position the movable part of the clamp along the pipe so that if adjusted properly only a turn or two of the screw may be required to to do the job. If your wifey won't let you buy any clamps then give the job to her!!
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Apologies if I have answered twice. For sure caulking it shut is only suggested as a last gasp solution for a window that is beyond help.
All bar clamps are reversible as well as some other styles of clamps. It is only neccessary to unscrew the fixed part from the bar and flip it around to make it a spreader. Since ordinary steel pipe is use, the pipe can be cut to any length you wish allowing you to have a clamp of and exact length. Pipe can also be joined together to make a very long clamp of any length, in theory.
I only intended it a suggested way to gently close a stubborn window. I would not expect that it would remain in place. It need not be "pleasing" if it is in storage. Good luck with all.
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I only suggested caulking it shut for a situation where the window is beyond help and replacement isn't in the budget. If they are "sliders" then they cross over each other when opened, thur preventing "cleaning" when opened.

All bar clamps are reversible as well as some other designs. The stationary part of the clamp need merely be flipped around to face the other way to convert it into a spreader. Since ordinary steel pipe is used, it can be cut to the exact length you need. They can also be converted into an extra long clamp by simply coupling the pipe end to end. Other clamps do not have this feature.

I only intended the clamp/spreader as a solution to closing a very stubborn window. I would not expect that they would remain in place after use. They need not be "attractive" if they are in storage.
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<snip>
The frames are metal (these are old windows)

With metal frames and probably single pane glass you're fighting a losing battle to save energy. IMO the people would be far better off with a modern window that doesn't leak, doesn't transmit as much summer heat, doesn't lose all that heat in winter and can be opened now and then to enjoy a nice breeze. Factor in an energy credit on the replacement cost and the choice is easy. HTH
Joe
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wrote:

Check with the gas or electric company, whichever they use for heat. Many towns have government or quasi-government programs to help fixed-income seniors with repairs like this, and the utility they use should be able to point you in the right direction. In some cities, IIRC, Habitat for Humanity also does repair work, and their ReStores can be a real cheap source for servicable windows from remodels. Know anybody into Scouting? Sometimes young strong guys going for their Eagle take on things like this for their community service project. Is there a local Vo-Ed school with a carpentry program? Sometimes they need small class projects. There are resources out there, but they take digging.
As a cheap painless interim measure, I'd recommend interior storms make from that plastic 2-layer stuff used for greenhouses- think clear corrugated cardboard. Hold it to the wall with velcro tape. Very light, and easy for even an elderly person to put in place or remove on nice days. Yeah, it obscures the view, but it does let the light through. 4x8 panels are about 40 bucks, the velcro tape another 20 or so per roll. If velcro seems to crude, a wood channel at the bottom and a wood turnblock at the top corners would work almost as well.
aem sends....
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how about a twist to adjust shower curtain rod? Dunno if you'll find one that short however.
--
Steve Barker




"John Keith" < snipped-for-privacy@juno.com> wrote in message
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If the owners are truely as feeble as you seem to be implying, I think you should get a reversible motor and some threaded rod, and open and close the window electrically. If they're able to exert any reasonable amount of force, then just use a hinged stick like they used to use to lock baby-gates into doorways. Kind of like this:
www.goedjn.com/sketch/wlatch.gif
The amount of mechanical advantage you get is the ratio of the amount of the top stick right of the hinge to the amount left of the hinge.
--Goedjn
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The winner, no doubt.

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That's very close to what I called an over-the-center type latch. This may well be the best suggestion yet. Thanks.
John Keith snipped-for-privacy@juno.com
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You know if you do this one right, it will both close the window and, if you put it at the other location, open it. Assuming there is a handle on the moving part. My windows have full height "handles" at both sides. Almost any design will be "right" but there might be some that will be wrong.

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I've heard of stripper bars and gay bars. What are shower bars?
And what did you do when you were there?

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