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Single hung windows are a popular choice amongst homeowners and builders alike due to their simple and durable design. They are called “single hung” because they have one movable sash, while the upper sash remains stationary – it doesn't move up or down like the bottom sash.

One of the most common questions homeowners have about single hung windows is what holds them up. Quite simply, it’s the balance system.

A balance system is a mechanism that ensures the window sash remains level and in the position you want it to be, either fully open or partially open. The balance system is responsible for supporting the sash and keeping it in place.

There are several types of balance systems used in single hung windows, including:

1. Spring Balance: This is the most commonly used type of balance system. It consists of a spring attached to the sash and a barrel attached to the window frame. When you open the window, the spring stretches and pulls the sash upwards. Similarly, when you close the window, the spring compresses and pulls the sash downwards. Spring balances are easy to adjust and replace.

2. Block and Tackle Balance: This system uses a pulley and a cord to counterbalance the sash. The cord is attached to the sash on one end and a weight on the other. As the sash moves up or down, the weight moves in the opposite direction to keep the sash level.

3. Spiral Balance: In this system, a spiral rod is attached to the sash and the window frame. As you open or close the window, the spiral rod twists to create tension, which holds the sash in place.

All of these balance systems work on the same principle of counterbalancing the weight of the sash. The balance system ensures that the weight of the sash is evenly distributed, making it easy and effortless to open and close the window.

Single hung windows are also designed with a locking mechanism that holds the sash in place and prevents it from sliding down. The lock is usually located at the top of the sash, where it latches onto the frame to keep the window secure.

The materials used to construct single hung windows also play a role in holding the window up. The frame of the window is typically made of vinyl, wood or aluminum. Each material has its unique properties and advantages.

Vinyl frames are popular because they are affordable, low maintenance, and energy-efficient. Vinyl is also durable and resistant to rot, insects, and moisture. Wood frames, on the other hand, have a traditional look and can be stained or painted to match the decor of your home. Wood is also an excellent insulator, helping to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Finally, aluminum frames are lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant. They are also available in a variety of colors and finishes.

In conclusion, the balance system is the key to holding single hung windows up. It counterbalances the weight of the sash, making it easy to open and close the window. The locking mechanism ensures that the sash stays in place, while the frame of the window provides support and durability. Single hung windows are an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a simple, cost-effective, and durable window option.