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How to Fix Roller Shades That Are Stuck

Updated February 21, 2017

Roller shades are an inexpensive window treatment that fit inside the window opening. Unlike blinds and shutters, these shades collect little dust, so they are low-maintenance and a good solution for people with allergies. Roller shades have a spring inside that winds up the shade whenever the ratchet on the end is disengaged. When the shade is pulled down, the ratchet engages and holds the shade in the lower position. These shades sometimes become stuck, especially when they are either fully raised or lowered. Luckily, they can be easily repaired, often without tools.

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  1. Remove the shade from the brackets. One side has a round pin that sticks in a bracket with a single hole. The other side has a flat pin and fits into a bracket with a slot in the top. Raise the flat pin up through this slot to remove the shade.

  2. Unwind the shade halfway and reinstall the shade. Pull the shade down. This releases the tension in the spring so that it can be pulled down easily. This will also fix a shade that snaps up too quickly.

  3. Turn the flat pin clockwise if the shade still will not lower, using pliers. The spring inside the roller may be caught and turning the pin will release it. Reinstall the shade and adjust the tension as you did earlier.

  4. Remove the shade from the brackets. One side has a round pin that sticks in a bracket with a single hole. The other side has a flat pin and fits into a bracket with a slot in the top. Raise the flat pin up through this slot to remove the shade.

  5. Wind the shade halfway and reinstall the shade. Pull the shade down. This increases the tension in the spring so the spring can raise the shade. This will also fix a shade that raises too slowly.

  6. Tighten the flat pin if the shade still will not raise, using pliers. This will tighten a spring that has become fully unwound. Stop when you feel the spring tighten, then ensure the latch on the ratchet mechanism is engaged. The ratchet mechanism is on the end of the rod on the same side as the flat pin. Reinstall the shade and adjust the tension as you did earlier.

  7. Warning

    Do not over tighten the spring when you are turning the pin.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pliers

About the Author

Camela Bryan's first published article appeared in "Welcome Home" magazine in 1993. She wrote and published SAT preparation worksheets and is also a professional seamstress who has worked for a children's theater as a costume designer and in her own heirloom-sewing business. Bryan has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Florida.

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