Repairing uPVC windows.
One of our motivating beliefs at Silver Saints is that if something is repairable we should be able to repair it. Our handymen have decades of experience between them in almost every trade area, there really aren't many jobs they can't do. If there is a gap in any one of the handyman's know how it doesn't take long for him to pick up the information he needs from one of our other handymen who has the necessary experience in that particular task.
But every once and a while there is a job that pops up that just stumps all of us and it normally has something to do with a new product or an imported technology that we have not seen before. Lately we have seen a big increase in the amount of people asking us to repair faulty uPVC windows. These are fairly new to the UK but have been widely used throughout the rest of Europe for many years because of their sound and insulating properties. They are normally double or triple glazed, have multiple seals and manufactured to fine tolerances. These modern uPVC windows also have ingenious opening and locking mechanisms which make them both very secure and capable of opening in multiple orientations. Any mechanical engineer would tell you that these windows are excellently designed.
The problem is however that we in the UK just aren't used to these windows yet and unfortunately the full set of operating instructions they are supplied with don't seem to be passed on from the installer to the user and so most people are forced to figure out their correct workings by themselves. It's often like watching a baby girl discover that the square shaped toy does not fit into the oval shaped whole. But after a few attempts they discover that the square toy into the square hole fits just fine. However little boys aren't so quick off the ball, they will pick up the square toy, try and insert it into the oval hole and on finding it does not fit will persist until the square toy becomes oval. Unfortunately when this principle of stubborn determination is applied to very heavy finely engineered windows the result is normally the failure of the window mechanism, which in the end results in a window that either does not open or does not close properly.
In the past we have always advised customers with faulty uPVC windows to contact the manufacturers or the company who installed the windows to repair them. This solution however easy to say was becoming a very unsatisfactory response to both the office staff and the handymen, who all like to solve any and all problems that they are presented with, or at least give it a go. So on our latest desperate request from a customer in Battersea we decided it was time to dive in head first to try and repair a triple glazed uPVC window that was not closing properly. We gave the customer a 'no win, no fee' offer, so if we did not fix the window we would not charge her for our time. We set aside a few hours and assigned two handymen to the task, knowing that the window would need to come off the hinges and would be very heavy.
It was clear as soon as the window was taken down that the window had been swung open rapidly, probably blown open by a strong wind, which had completely bent the top hinge by more than 90 degrees. The window was never going to close without us changing the hinge. As a temporary measure we removed the top hinge altogether and secured the window in place.
That same day we called the window manufacturers in Italy and they gave us the contact details of their agents in the UK. The agents promised to send us a replacement hinge in the post and we will return to reinstate the window fully as soon as it arrives.
It's good to know that the next time a customer calls to enquire about the repair of a faulty uPVC window we will be able to offer assistance.