I’ve been asked by a fifth floor resident to put up a post soliciting advice on window operation. His message is as follows:
“I assumed for a while that the downstairs windows weren’t supposed to open, but I recently saw a picture on the site of them open, so now I know they’re supposed to open but can’t for some reason. The best I can do is move them up a couple millimeters. They won’t budge past that.
I was hoping perhaps someone else in the building has been in this position before and could help me come up with strategies to make them work again. I imagine the best route to go would be to open them then lubricate the tracks, but it’s that first opening that I can’t manage.“
Admin here again: I’m hoping someone else can offer some helpful suggestions (in the comments, please), but my impression after watching more than one contractor open long-unused windows in my unit is that it’s pretty much a matter of brute force. Because of the depth of the sills, I usually have to climb up and kneel on the sill to get enough leverage to open even a not-stuck window (Warning: lifting from that position can be risky for one’s back). I know someone else who’s used a metal bar as a lever but that visibly bends the lift ridge of the window and could damage it permanently. I’ve thought for years that someone needs to design a mechanism that can lift these windows without damage to them or us.
That said, I can suggest the best lubricant to use on the tracks once the window is open: white lithium spray. It’s readily available at Home Depot and makes a huge difference.
One other factor that affects ease of window use is whether the glass has been replaced. Although it’s not obvious just by looking, the newer glass is twice as thick which provides better insulation but means it weighs twice as much. One can find a bit more info about our windows by clicking on the “Windows” page of this site’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor section.