Question: We live in an old house and over the years, all the sash cords for the windows have broken. The window sash have no access pockets to get at the sash weights. Is there some other way of solving this problem, such as a pressure plate to put in the track?
Answer: If you really want a lot of work, you can try to repair the the broken cords, but window and screen expert Chuck Fromberg says that there are several types of springs on the market that can make the windows work almost as good as new. Both of the types he's familiar with cost less than $5 a pair--you'll need a pair for each window. One doesn't even require any tools for installation, while the other is installed with a couple of small nails. Fromberg said that any well-stocked old-time hardware store should be able to help you out. Fromberg runs Action Screen & Door, 24619 Arch St., Newhall.
Bernard Gladstone, home improvement writer for the New York Times, provides detailed instructions on the care and feeding of double-hung windows in his home improvement manuals. In the 1966 edition, published by Macmillan, there are illustrations showing how to remove the stop molding to get at the upper and lower sash and to uncover the access cover for the sash weight. If you really want a lot of frustration and hard work, go ahead. My advice is to use the springs and forget about sash cords and weights.