I took a closer look at the windows and some of the solutions suggested.
The windows appear to be retrofitted with plastic channels and springs. If I
pry the channel away from the side of the frame, I can clearly see the holes
where sash cords once were. The springs ride along slots in the back of
On the back of these channels, I can see the springs, but no adjusting
mechanism as was suggested via a private response. (Thanks, Bill!)
I went to Home Depot (I know of no smaller, local hardware stores in the
area anymore), and all three of the salesmen I asked had no clue as to what
"spring steel" was. (Thanks, Ransley!) No big surprise there. Their
suggestion was to replace the windows. Side rant: When Home Depot first
opened, didn't they have people who were actual home repair experts, and not
just clones of Wal-mart associates?
As was pointed out, springs do not have constant force, like sash weights
do. If the windows fell, you'd think there wasn't enough tension on the
springs. If the windows always jumped up, you'd think there was too much
tension. (Thanks, Bob!) Since the windows always went to the middle, though,
it seemed to me to be not a tension issue, but one of friction, as was
suggested before. The windows were moving too freely (which, come to think
of it, also explains all the rattling on windy days).
Here's what I did. I pried the plastic channels away from both sides of the
frame and slipped very thin shims behind them, in essence tightening up the
frame to the sashes just enough to create a bit of friction. After some
trial-and-error, I found the right width so that the windows open and close
easily, but only when I actually move them. Not sure whether it will work
the same way through seasonal expansion and retraction, but as of right now
this simple fix seems to be doing the trick.
Thanks for the help, guys.
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