The American Recovery and download windows 11 iso was passed and signed into law in February of 2009. Homeowners are now being generously rewarded with a tax rebate incentive of up to $1,500.00 if they make qualifying environmentally-friendly improvements to their homes by the December 31, 2010 deadline. The proverbial legislative ink had barely dried, as window manufacturers far and wide seemingly materialized out of obscurity. Suddenly, everybody and their uncle was now nobly boarding the energy-savings bandwagon, offering window deals of a lifetime. Promises were made, guaranteed to slash fuel bills, while rescuing Mother Earth from a certain impending doom.
Naturally, our green inner child aspires to do our fair share in preserving our environment… not to mention our wallets. Saving a bundle on utility costs and receiving a bundle back from Uncle Sam seemed like a delightful no-brainer for many thousands. For them, wasting valuable time and money by putting off needed home improvements was simply no longer an option. Thousands of others, however, remained skeptical and are still putting off the inevitable. Perhaps they just aren’t convinced that their windows really need replacing. Or maybe, they just don’t know which window company to trust or even where to begin. If you fall into this latter category, then stay tuned.
Saving money, saving the environment, and collecting a whopping $1,500.00 reward are good things; very good things. That said, there are a plethora of potential pitfalls lurking on the horizon if we consider energy-efficiency while neglecting everything else. Therefore, I’ve listed what I regard as the top 10 most important things to consider BEFORE selecting a replacement window. I encourage homeowners to use this article as a checklist prior to getting an estimate on replacement windows.
1. REPUTATION OF COMPANY/PROBLEMS WITH START-UP COMPANIES
Though there are many fine reputable window manufacturers to choose from, homeowners also need to beware of start-up companies. Of course, all companies were start-up companies at one time. Nevertheless, new figures from InsolvencyJournal.ie reveal that four companies a day went belly up in the first seven months of 2010, up 22% from the same time in 2009. We’ve seen window companies go out of business, change their names, and reopen. We’ve seen companies like Republic and Kensington declare bankruptcy, potentially leaving customers holding the bag with worthless warranties and un-serviced windows. We’ve seen no fewer than 17 major window manufacturing corporations file for Chapter 11 in the last 3 years.
A word to the wise: Check out a company’s reputation BEFORE spending your hard-earned cash. Exercise caution BEFORE purchasing from a highly leveraged impersonal company or a start-up company.
2. HOW LONG WILL A WINDOW LAST BEFORE YOU NEED TO REPLACE IT?
The next thing to consider is how long a window will last. All windows are NOT created equal. Windows run the gamut, from the quality of the glass package to the quality of the framing system. Investing in replacement windows for your home should only be done once. Most windows are only made to last 10 to 20 years. Some cheap windows that go for $150 to $200 may only last for 3 to 5 years. Some manufacturers claim that their windows will last for 50 years or even a lifetime, but they are often unwilling to back those claims in writing.
3. WINDOW WARRANTIES: READ THE FINE PRINT
Some manufacturers not only claim that their windows will last a lifetime, but they even back it up with a so-called “Lifetime Warranty.” Before you get too impressed, you’d be well-advised to read the fine print. Many so-called lifetime warranties are misleading. Many lifetime warranties refer to the lifetime of the window, not the lifetime of a homeowner. Such a guarantee is virtually meaningless. It’s like saying, “I guarantee you that you will stay alive up until the day that you die.” Double-talk. Take a few minutes on the Internet and look up “Lifetime Warranty Definition.” You’ll see what I mean.
4. DON’T GET “FRAMED” WITH FAULTY FRAMES
There are a wide variety of window frames to choose from: wood frames, vinyl frames, fiberglass frames, aluminum frames, wood frames covered with aluminum or vinyl, and composite frames.Decisions! Decisions! If you wait until a window salesperson arrives at your doorstep to figure out which frame is best, guess which frame the salesperson will recommend? Naturally, the one his company sells.
There are pros and cons to each choice. Get all the facts BEFORE you buy.
Because many homeowners like the look of wood, wood frames are still a popular choice. One advantage of wood is that wood is energy-efficient. Wood is a non-thermal conductor, so it won’t lose heat or draw heat in from the outside. The downside is the constant maintenance required to keep wood looking decent. If you enjoy painting, staining, scraping, and sanding, then by all means, be my guest. But keep in mind that wood can also shrink, rot, and warp, which means you’ll probably have to replace your windows over and over. This is good for the manufacturer, but bad for you.
Of course, some companies treat wood in an attempt to preserve it. However, treated wood may contain toxic chemicals. Also, wood is expensive. Other framing options are much more economical. So when we stop to consider the cost and hassle of maintaining wood frames, the cost of replacing windows, and the danger of toxic chemicals, wood windows may not be the best choice. Instead, a homeowner may be better advised to consider alternatives that will save time, money, and a tree.
Aluminum or vinyl-clad wood frames
Next, consider aluminum or vinyl-clad wood frames. Like frames made entirely of wood, clad wood frames also require maintenance, though not quite as much. Aluminum-clad wood frames are more energy efficient than aluminum window frames, though they are not as energy-efficient as wood frames without aluminum. And clad frames have been known to hide water infiltration, leading to costly deterioration hidden under the cladding. There have been lawsuits involving this very issue recently, involving well-known companies. Your best bet is to avoid this technology.