An egress window is designed to allow a person to fit through easily in case of an emergency, and a firefighter should be able to fit through with a full emergency equipment pack. At the first sign of trouble operating the egress window crank, you should repair or replace it. In some areas the building code for this type of window requires that the crank is fully operational at all times. Not only is a broken egress window crank inconvenient, it is also dangerous. Repair or replacement can be accomplished in a few steps. Take your time and you will have an operational window crank in no time.
Step 1 – Disengage the Arm
You will first need to open the window fully, if the handle will not open it use a pair of pliers. Work from the outside for more control. Remove any screws from the arm that attach it to the track. If there are no screws, the arm will slide out.
Step 2 - Remove the Handle
Loosen the setscrew that secures the handle to the shaft. Remove the plastic cover to get to the screws. You may need to use the pry bar to remove the trim framed around the gearbox. Do this carefully as not to break the trim. Check for any small nails when removing the trim. Remove the screws and the handle.
Step 3 – Clean Gear Box
Use a small wire brush with some solvent to gently brush off the gears, removing any dust or grit that may have collected over time. Move the gears as if operating the crank. The gears should run together smoothly and effortlessly. If you detect an improper movement or any worn areas, you will need to replace the unit. Have someone help you close the window and engage the lock while you find a replacement part. Take the old part to a window supply or hardware store. The experts there can provide you with the correct part.
Step 4 – Clean the Track
It is best to do this procedure from the outside. Blow out any loose dirt or grit stuck in the track with the can of air. Using the soft wire brush, dip it in the solvent and remove any built up dirt and grease. Remove any remaining dirt and grease from the window underside.
Step 5 – Reinstall or Install Mechanism
Use the household oil to lubricate the mechanism, reinstall or install the new mechanism in the reverse order of removal. You should lubricate the track along with the sash. It is advisable to use clear or white grease at this location.
Step 6 – Reattach the Arm
Using the reverse removal directions, reattach the arm and test the window. Open and close the window several times, this will allow you to see any excess grease you will want to remove from the track.