From Pamela Fisk on February 21, 2012 in Window Replacement
Homeowners often find that window replacement has a substantial impact on home energy efficiency, not to mention major heating and air conditioning savings. But with the race to go green and cut costs, too many homeowners fall into pitfalls along the way. Here are the five most common mistakes when buying replacement windows.
1. Buying the cheapest replacement windows you can find
When you view window options, the prices of top shelf items may shock you, causing you to select something that is cheaply made and not durable for your climate conditions. You may think that all types of windows are the same, but you get what you pay for, and getting something cheaply made hurts your energy bills just as much as the windows you replaced. Also be careful going too far in the opposite direction by purchasing the most expensive windows. The more expensive ones may also not be right for your home, which is why it is important to hire a knowledgeable window contractor who can assess your proper needs.
2. Not hiring a specialist
Because home energy efficiency is a somewhat new concept, most people are not informed in the world of windows, especially since tracking down cost-effective windows is something that only occurs once in the time of owning a house. Don’t allow your pride to take over by relying solely on what you think you know. You need to find an expert contractor who has been in business for a number of years.
3. Improper installation
Even if you choose the perfect installer who helps you purchase the perfect, most energy-efficient windows, you’re still subject to mistakes in the installation process. How to keep this from happening? Make sure the contractor has been trained and authorized by the manufacturer to install the windows. Also, many contractors hire sub-contractors for the installation process. Adding another person to the mix creates opportunity for information to be lost in translation, so verifying that your window contractor is actually the one installing the windows could save you from an unforeseen problem.
4. Selecting non-brand names
Whatever window selection you make, choose one of the top, most respected window brands. Often times homeowners piece together the home remodeling process here and there, and if you buy off-brands you are taking the dangerous risk that the same windows and replacement parts won’t be available in the future.
5. Not asking enough questions
There are a lot of things you may not realize are important to home energy efficiency. One is the thickness of the window glass. Ask if the thickness is appropriate for your climate. Is the wood frame around the glass pane durable? Also, considering asking questions about the contractor’s reputation. Do they have references? Are they insured? Are they getting permits for the project? Once they answer those questions, try their name in a search engine. Trust that other homeowners have dealt with the company you are interested in, and will warn you of positive and negative experiences. After all, there are no “stupid questions” or wasted time with research when it’s your money and home on the line.
Remember that an unquestioned concern in the short term can cost you heavily in the long term.
Sarah Danielson is a freelance writer and contributor to Replacement Windows in NJ. In her spare time she likes to go hiking and help with an animal rescue out of Los Angeles, California.