How do electric window openers work

Generally, electric window openers, also known as electric window actuators, are operated remotely. A button is pressed or held down, activating a motor which powers the opening mechanism. The process relies on a main component to facilitate the movement, an actuator. The type of process involved during opening and closing will vary according to the type of electric window opener in use. Read on to find out about the 3 main types of motorized window opener and how they work.

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Linear Actuators

A linear actuator window opener is ideal for use on heavy rooflights and domes, as they generate enough force to lift the vent. They utilise two different opening mechanisms, rod and rack & pinion.

Rack & Pinion:

The opening mechanism for a rack and pinion works by converting rotational motion into linear motion. The pinion is a circular gear, which engages a linear bar that has been fitted with teeth, known as the rack; power is applied to the pinion causing it to rotate, which subsequently makes the rack move in relation to the pinion, which converts the rotational motion of the pinion into linear motion. For electric window openers, the rack is housed in external casing and is attached to the window. As the pinion moves, the rack is pushed out, opening the window along with it.


An extendable rod is fitted onto a track, with both parts being encased in external housing. As the rod receives power from the electric motor, the rod begins to extend. The rod has been attached to the window, meaning the window will begin opening as it extends.

Chain Actuators

Available in single and double chain variations, these types of window actuator are usually fitted to vertical windows. Double chain versions are more suited to wider windows, which need more than one push point to open properly.

Chain actuators work similarly to rack and pinion actuators. A chain engages with pinions that have been mounted on a drive shaft inside an external casing. As the pinions spin, the links of the chain are rotated through the casing at a 90-degree angle. This directs the chain into a rigid, straight form, which is highly resistant to tension and compression. For an electric window opener, the chain has been attached to a window. So as the chain is directed into a straight form, the window is pushed open. And as it retracts into the casing, the window closes.

Folding Window Openers

These are usually fitted to side hung windows or doors, as they offer a 90-degree opening. They are also called folding arm actuators and can be designed to open inwards, outwards or both ways.

They work via a motorised folding arm that is attached to a window. The arm begins in a folded position, however as it is powered by the motor, it begins to unfold. The arm is positioned in a way that as it begins to unfold, the window begins to open. To close a window, the arm begins to fold back up into its original position, bringing the window to a close.

Designed to open and close windows in difficult to reach areas, electric window openers, or actuators, are exceptionally handy. For more information, contact the team at Teal Products a call on 01242 620318 or send us an online message.

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