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Cannot lock Single Hung Gerkin Window

14164 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  fenestrationman
I live in a 10 month old apartment building. The unit has Gerkin Windows, 2-lite single hung vinyl type (2-XO), with two locking levers at the top of the lower, horizontally opening window. The left lock cannot be engaged no matter how much effort is exerted. When the window is opened so that the upper horizontal surface is at the level of the lower horizontal surface of the upper (fixed) lite, the left side is higher than the right, and they cannot be evened up. In certain windy conditions the window whistles and airflow is detectable. I takes considerable effort even to lock to right lock, but the left lock cannot be engaged even by a very strong young man, and I am a not very strong senior.

Does the problem lie in the block and tackle suspension alignment?
Is it a manufacturing defect or an installation error?
All other dimensions appear to be plumb and at right angles.
What needs to be done to fix it?

Any advice will be much appreciated.

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The balances might be a bit off, but how do the sashes sit when the window is closed?
Do the latches sit one behind the other in the closed position? or are they a little offset?
If they line up, one behind the other, they might be installed too far apart.
Is this happening on just one window? If it is, look at the other windows to see how the latches compare.
It might be the latches just need to be repositioned on the sashes.
Someone handy could just move the latches 1/2" away from their present position and install them a little closer together.
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Thank you for your prompt answer, Ron. I am a newbie still learning a stile from a rail, and a latch instead of lock. The lower sash moves up and inward from the fixed upper sash. The center of the latches sit 8 inches from each upper corner of the lower sash on the horizontal part of the upper rail and the locking part swivels under a ridge on the lower rail of the upper window sash. When I push the right side down to lock it I hear a loud cracking noise but cannot tell where it is coming from. The front-to-back distance of the 2 latch assemblies from the horizontal edges of the rail is identical. I do not see that moving the latches would make any difference. When the outside temperature increased this morning I heard that loud cracking noise from the window twice. I had not touched it since I closed it last night.
You're not following what I said about the latches. They need to be a specified distance apart. Too close and the latch hits the catch. Too far apart and the latch doesn't get into the catch and close properly.
To diagnose this without seeing it is a little tricky. This is why I asked you questions. It would help if you answered all the questions.
1. Is this the only window that has the issue?
2. Do you have other windows in the house that operate properly?
3. Is there a visual difference the way the latches are set up?
(Is there a larger space between the sashes on the bad window?)
4. Does this window tilt in?
5. Is the window properly set in the jamb?
( Is it possible it was tilted in and not popped back completely.)
6. Can you post a picture of the latches.
(Both working and not working windows)
first check to see somethings not stuck underneath the side that doesnt lock
Indeed, I was not following what you said about the latches because of my total ignorance. I even got latches and locks mixed up, thinking they were the same parts.
Let me try to answer your questions this way:
1. Is this the only window that has the issue? YES
2. Do you have other windows in the apartment that operate properly? YES
3. Is there a visual difference the way the latches are set up? NO
(Is there a larger space between the sashes on the bad window?) There are differences in the vertical spacing between the sashes due to the fact that the left corner could not be pushed down far enough, and therefore there is almost no visible horizontal separation of the sashes on the left side, where the theft-and-airflow-prevention lock could not be closed. There is no visible horizontal or front-to-back separation between the sashes.
4. Does this window tilt in? YES
5. Is the window properly set in the jamb? Not sure
( Is it possible it was tilted in and not popped back completely.) YES (It Improved after I popped it out and somebody helped me pop it back in, and now even a weak senior can lock both sides with the help of a 7-inch Stanley prybar.)
6. Can you post a picture of the latches.
(Both working and not working windows) The attached PDF file shows the left and right upper corners of the window with the location of the latches and locks marked with hypertext containing yellow signs. A description of the configuration of the window is here:

Thank you for trying to teach this old dog new tricks.
Sorry, did not know how to send my PDF file with the pictures.
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We did that and vacuumed debris from the sill and tracks, and it seemed to help last fall. We did not operate the window during the cold season and were told things would be better when it warms up again.
From the pdf picture the window locks are at the bottom of the window. I've never seen that.
You mention the window doesn't go down all the way on the left side. If that's the case, the window was probably not installed square so the locking mechanisms aren't lining up at the bottom.
It sounds like the window needs to be adjusted to square before the locks will engage.
I called upon the VP in charge of construction of the building, and he agrees that rhe window was not set in correctly. However, since removing the movable and detachable sash improved the situation so that we can engage both locks with the help of the 7-inch Stanley pry-bar, we are satisfied with it.
By the way, the locks are at the upper rail that tilts in toward rhe room. I will try to send the PDF file in a different way so that you see the tilted in sash on page 1. Again, many thanks for your help.
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The missing PDF file

Here is the missing picture and the missing PDF file. On viewing the PDF file run your cursor across the yellow stick on notes to see text.


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If somebody of your experience has never seen it, it probably does not exist, and it was probably the result of my faulty presentation. In order to clear up my misleading words I finally uploaded 2 pictorial presentations, one jpg and one pdf file under the new name of "The missing PDF file". Today we exchanged the movable part of the window with one of the well-functioning ones from the next room.
With the exchanged sash in place, the window still requires as much pressure on the left side as it did with the original sash. That confirms your diagnosis that it the entire window was not set correctly.
Also, even with both locks engaged, there is a difference in the vertical space between the two sashes, amounting to 1/8 inch between the left and the right corner.
Archie, good diagnostics switching the sash. It eliminates it as the problem and just leaves the frame. The frame is either racked or rhombic shaped or both. It just needs to either be removed and reinstalled or the points of installation need to be loosened and readjusted.
Someone with experience should be in and out in an hour.
Without looking to deeply, it sounds like the window is installed out of square. Take diagonal measurements of both the frame and the sash. My guess is that the lower left to the upper right measurement is greater than the lower right to the upper left.
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