Assess your needs & be informed when buying windows

It’s that time of year – the time when people start to think about replacing their windows. There are many manufacturers out there and even more installation companies. A savvy homeowner will make an informed choice.

windowsNeeds Analysis: The first step in choosing to buy new windows is to identify what your needs are. Yes, it sounds simple, but it is an often overlooked part of your purchasing decision that can have costly consequences. What is your goal? Is it to simply replace a window with another window? Is it to save money on your energy bill? Is it to improve the asthetics of your home? Is the amount of ventilation a window will allow going to play into your decision?

Skipping any of these questions could mean that you will end up purchasing windows a second time when you find that your first installation project didn’t really meet your needs.

Buy for your climate: I can’t even tell you the amount of friends I have that purchased new windows from a large company only to find that, in the long run, the windows didn’t save them money on their energy bills. You’re purchasing new windows. It is an investment in your home but it is also an investment in your future comfort. Spend the extra $100 or $200 per window and get triple pane. Still not convinced? Then buy only two windows – one double pane and one triple pane and hold your hand up to them on a cold winters day and you’ll quickly understand what a huge mistake you would have made had you done all of your windows with only double pane.

Buy small: Let’s face it, there are many large remodeling companies out there that are willing to charge you $1000 for a small, double pane window. You’ve seen the advertisements on TV. There’s a lot of them. Where does the money come from for the ads? A company with high overhead can either cut the quality of the window, or they can raise their prices. That’s not a decision you should have to make. Choose a small but reputable licensed and insured contractor. Wisconsin window contractors carry a DWELLING CONTRACTOR CERTIFICATION license. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of insurance.

Buy to your budget: Today’s successful contractors know that many people are buying what they can afford – not how much they can finance for you. Does your window company install only one window at a time? If so, you’ll be able to see how they do things, and their quality of work, before sinking larger dollars into your project.

Buy informed: Find out what the u-factors are — the lower a u-factor, the more efficient the window. These ratings are displayed on a sticker which should be attached to your window. If an installer shows up without those stickers on the window, send them away. Manufacturers attach those stickers to the window. If an installer peels it off before it comes to your home it means that they are hiding the true efficiency of the window.  Triple pane windows have much lower (and therefore better) u-factors.  Among double hung windows u-factors vary from as good as .17 all the way up to.24

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