Following a rash of window opener jobs I decided to try and find a quick, easy, inexpensive and efficient solution for most windows. I have developed an opener that in many cases allows for the job to be completed in a single visit of less than 30 minutes.
The big problem that panel members encounter when trying to make window openers is when the locking button is offset from the centre line of the handle. Most UK double glazing manufacturers use a standard mounting for their handles. I must say that this came as some surprise to me but it has created the opportunity for this simple opener.
By replacing the existing offset button handle with a straight one the task becomes much easier. The window remains easy to open for regular users. After several unsatisfactory attempts (too heavy, too complicated, too expensive….) I discovered that I could manufacture an opener by using off the shelf plastic pipe fittings with one minor modification.
The widow opener solution consists of a new handle some 21.5mm solvent weld pipe and three connectors available nationally from Screwfix for a total of £7.00.
One metre of 21.5mm waste pipe. ( cut 40, 80,80, 800 )
Two ‘T’ connectors
One 45-degree connector
One straight window handle (white, silver or gold)
One of the ‘T’ connectors needs to be modified as shown in the pictures below, by cutting a sloping ‘U’ shaped slot. This can be done by drilling a 12mm hole then using a Hacksaw and Stanley knife to finish.
Use a standard pipe cutter to cut the five pieces of pipe to length and assemble as per the pictures using the appropriate solvent cement.
On site modifications can be made before welding to accommodate length of reach or handle preference. For horizontal window handles just rotate the head through 90 degrees.
Hint: When replacing the handle open the original window handle and remove the bottom screw first using the handle to push against. Then close and remove the top screw. Fit new handle in reverse order.
You might need to adjust the length of the new handle square shaft with a hacksaw to match the existing length.
To use the opener slip it over the handle lifting up so that the section above the ‘U’ depresses the locking button. The window handle can then be rotated. Note that once the handle has rotated by 5 degrees it is no longer necessary to continue to depress the button nor is it necessary to press the button for closure.
I batch produced five kits of parts today and it took me less than 45 minutes.
Note: Although the lock is supplied with a key it really isn’t worth using the key as they are so generic any key will work. The great security advantage of having the depress to open lock is to prevent thieves opening a large window using a loop of wire or stick through an open small top window.
The Client was a young lady in her mid thirties who had moved into an apartment with assisted living approximately one year earlier. She suffered with M.S. and had limited leg length and up until that time had been cared for at home by her parents.
She had great difficulty in carrying food, plates and mugs from kitchen to the dining room since they would slide from her lap. It was therefore necessary for a carer to help her, particularly at mealtimes.This was a major set-back in her need for independent living and she was very distressed that her carpet was being damaged and her new home being spoiled.
It was important that any new surface should be compatible in height with other work surfaces such as the dining table and her writing desk. Also, that any additions to the chair should be light in weight and removable and portable.
The solution was to extend the wheelchair arms with slide-on box section arms which were very stable and a snug fit.
A new tray, the overall width of the chair, was made to securely interlock with arms, have a wipe-down surface and lips around the edge.
The arms and tray could be secured and removed by the client so they could be carried and stowed away by her.
The benefits far exceeded the objective of providing a means of carrying food and drink within her apartment; the tray served as a firm work surface for many other purposes but the most significant spin-off was that she was able to take her food and hobbies into the communal areas and this opened up a social life she did not have before.