Spring clips serve a dual purpose on metal window frames. They provides tension that holds a sheet of glass firmly in place, but their slight give allows you to insert new glass without taking apart the entire window sash. Tension clips are also sometimes called spring clips, but these are used exclusively on window screens to hold them in place in the window frame.
The tools necessary depend on the reasons for changing the spring clips. When replacing a broken pane of glass, you need pliers to remove broken glass, a chisel to loosen the putty and glazing putty to secure the new glass. Spring clips used for holding a window screen usually require nothing more than a screwdriver. When working with glass, whether broken or unbroken, you should wear a pair of protective work gloves and goggles in case the glass slips or shatters.
Screen frames have simple spring clips. These look like thin pieces of bowed metal stripping. The clips provide tension to hold the screen in place while still allowing for the removal of the screen. Wood glass window sashes don't typically have spring clips. These frames instead use small glazier's points, which are just triangular pieces of metal. Metal frame windows have tension spring clips. These resemble a carefully twisted wire. The ends of the wire fit into holes on the metal frame during installation.
Glass Clip Replacement
You must remove all the broken glass from the metal window sash. Chisel the old putty from the frame to reveal the spring clips, since they are usually covered in putty. Inspect the clips and replace any that show rust or that are badly bent out of shape. Replace the clips in the frame by sliding the clip ends into the corresponding holes in the sash, with the bent spring portion of the clip on the inside of the frame. Apply the glass putty to the frame and slide the new piece of glass in. The clips hold the glass in place and prevent it from rattling
Screen Clip Replacement
The spring tension clips on a window screen may only be on one side of the exterior of the screen frame or they may be present on two sides. Remove the old clips if they are bent, rusted or have lost their tension. The clips usually pop out easily, but you can use pliers to pull them free if they are stuck in the frame. Place the new clips into the retaining holes, using the point of screwdriver to push them in if necessary.