Q: Do your windows meet the Stimulus tax credit requirements?

A: Yes, in most cases, all you have to do is select the argon gas option in order for the window to qualify. However, check with your tax preparer to make sure YOU and YOUR HOME qualify. There are some reasonable restrictions on the tax credit, but many contractors fail to inform you of that. Some even show pricing based on you getting the tax credit, when in fact, you are getting the money back only at tax time, if the reasonable qualifications are met. If a window company offers to match your tax credit, all they are doing is marking up the windows that much more, then marking them back down – just a gimmick. Kind of like when these companies claim they have been authorized to take old window trade ins – just another gimmick. Everyone recycles their old aluminum and either recycles or dumps the glass.

Q: On a brick house don’t they have to remove some bricks to take my old windows out and put new ones in?

A: Not at all. Even though the old windows were not designed to be removed, installers long ago figured out a way to do it without disturbing the brick or interior trim. See “Installation” page for details of how this is done.

Q: Will my home be a big mess while the windows are being replaced?

A: No, the installers only remove the windows they are ready to replace immediately, one after the other. A little touch up paint should be the only work you would ever need to do when they’re finished. Most jobs don’t even require that.

Q: Will my home be uncomfortable while the installers are working, due to heat or cold?

A: Not really. Replacing the window right after the original is removed usually does little more that heat up or cool down a room for a short while.

Q: Are all of your windows energy efficient?

A: Yes, Texas adopted the International Building Code which requires windows to meet specific energy efficiency ratings. .Low E double pane glass is standard in all of the windows we sell. They are also Energy Star approved, an even more stringent energy requirement.

Q: Is there any additional advantage to the top and bottom panels’ tilt-to-clean feature besides ease of cleaning?

A: Yes. Should service ever be needed, the bottom panel can easily be snapped completely out in just a few seconds to replace broken glass, access the lifting system, etc. On double hungs, the top panel snaps right out as well.

Q: Do my windows come with screens?

A: Yes, half screens with fiberglass wire are included and we don’t save any money by leaving them off. Full screens are also available at a small additional charge.

Q: Are your windows brand name products?

A: Yes. Most of our manufacturers have been in business for at least 25 years. All are well known in the replacement window business.

Q: How many colors do I have to choose from and is there a cost difference?

A: In vinyl, primarily two colors – white and almond. Almond runs a little more than white on vinyl windows because the vinyl has to be loaded up with UV inhibitors and such. Don Young and Simonton also offer a darker tan color for a little additional charge. It is a nice neutral shade. Also, we are now able to offer a painted finish on the exterior of the NT Presidential vinyl windows to give you more design flexibility. It is a painted finish and not colored-clear- through like the while and almond colors and the Don Young Adobe or Simonton Driftwood colors. The NT Presidential painted-on exterior colors are Brick Red, Bronze, Cameo, Angean Blue, Desert Sand, Hartford Green, Sage Green and Tan. (See the Presidential brochure on the Products page) The add-on cost for a painted exterior is substantial, in addition to the cost to upgrade to the Presidential Series. Paint finish warranty is for 15 years. One drawback is that only white or almond divided pane colors are available, even on these painted windows, so if you want divided panes, they won’t match the exterior window color. On the interior, the NT Presidential and Simonton windows have woodgrain options available. See “Read More…” section on these windows on our Products page for more information.

Q: Will vinyl frames last for a long time or will I have problems with them?

A: We had the same question 20 years ago. Now we’re strong believers in vinyl as the material of choice. A number of years ago, a study commissioned by the U.S Navy determined that vinyl was the window frame material of choice for the long term, to be used on all naval bases. Not only is vinyl durable in a salt air environment – it stands up in everyday use. Numerous hollow chambers inside the frame members add significant strength while maintaining extreme energy efficiency.

Q: Are many of the windows being used nationwide the vinyl frame type?

A: Approximately 65% of the windows being sold today are vinyl.

Q: Are vinyl frames more energy efficient than aluminum?

A: Yes, studies show the vinyl material used in window frames to be over 1400% more efficient than aluminum. That is why you can take the glass out of a vinyl window, install it in an aluminum frame (even one with a polyurethane thermal barrier) and still lose over 30% of the window’s overall energy efficiency.

Q: Do these windows use the “spiral balance” wound up inside the round tube like my old metal windows have?

A: No, our windows now use a coiled stainless steel lifting system that requires no adjustments and is much stronger than the old system, generally speaking.

Q: Will I ever get moisture inside my glass blocking my view like my old windows do?

A: If you do, the glass would be covered by warranty unless it had previously been cracked or broken somehow.

Q: Do these windows have locks on them from the factory?

A: Yes, windows over about 30 ” wide will have 2 locks; under about 30 ” wide windows typically have 1 lock. All double hungs also have night latches that give a little additional security if you like to sleep with the windows open or if you’d like to make unused rooms more secure or to add security while you’re gone for extended periods of time. The NT Presidential single hung style is the only single hung we handle that offers night latches.

Q: What is argon and can it really escape from inside the sealed airspace?

A: Argon is a non-toxic gas that is four times heavier than air. It is often used to fill the airspace in between the sheets of glass to enhance energy efficiency and reduce sound transmission. Argon in the airspace DOES NOT increase the chance of fogging inside the airspace or failure of the insulated glass seal. Since the argon doesn’t move inside the airspace as much as everyday air like you and I breathe (which is all that most windows have inside the airspace) there is not as much heat and cold transfer taking place through convection. The U-value of the window is improved approximately 10% when argon is added. The window industry view seems to be that you may lose about 1% of the argon fill per year, so with a typical 90% argon fill, in 20 years you may only have 70% argon in the airspace, reducing the added energy savings slightly. Argon DOES NOT increase the chance of a seal failure or clouding up of the sealed insulated airspace.

Q: Will my new windows help prevent fading of furniture, carpet and wood floors?

A: Somewhat. Second generation Low E glass reduces the UV rays which cause fading, by approximately 84%. The newest third generation Low E (Cardinal 366, Guardian ClimaGuard 55/27) reduce UV rays by 95%. That doesn’t mean that fading cannot take place, because some fabrics, wood floors, etc. are very susceptible to fading - but it should be a help, at least.

Q: Can I get frosted glass in my bathroom?

A: Yes, Pattern 62 standard obscure or “frosted” glass is available at an add-on cost of approximately $25 on a typical “above the potty” bathroom window. A prettier, but somewhat less obscured “Rain” glass is available in some of our windows at an additional cost.

Q: If I add tinted glass, will it make my home even more energy efficient?

A: Not anymore. The Low E coating used on the glass in today’s is so energy efficient because it reflects the heat. Adding tinted glass to the Low E glass panels can actually work against you, energy-wise, because glass with a tint to it absorbs and re-radiates heat, reducing energy efficiency somewhat. Tinted glass may provide a little additional privacy during the daytime while it’s brighter outdoors than it is indoors. Tinted glass may also reduce some of the glare on lakefront homes, but gray tinted glass gives a truer color rendition than bronze tinted glass. Some homeowners report that bronze tint glass makes the water look murky. Add-on cost is also about $2.00 per square foot, typically. One word of caution, using tinted glass could hurt the energy efficiency numbers just enough, on some windows, to keep them from qualifying for the Stimulus tax credit.

Q: Do any of my windows need to have tempered glass for safety?

A: Some may have to be tempered but most windows are exempt. Please click on the link for tempering on the Instant Calculator on our Pricing page for full details on tempering, as required by the International Building Code.

Q: Are horizontal sliding windows available and are they as difficult to operate as my old metal ones?

A: They are available in 2 panel or 3 panel styles and often provide better fire escape from bedrooms than vertically operating windows. These are a far cry from the old aluminum sliding windows. Advanced roller systems and the vinyl frame itself make for easier operation. Sliders do not tilt-to-clean like vertical operating windows, but the sashes in some of our sliding windows can be removed from inside the home for ease of cleaning.

Q: What is the energy rating of your windows?

A: The U-value of most vinyl windows is usually about .33 with regular air inside the airspace. Using argon typically improves the U-value by about 10% to around .30. The lower the number, the better, like a golf score. The solar heat gain coefficient or “SHGC”, which measures how many thermal energy units (BTU’s) penetrate the window in direct sunlight, is generally about .27 with a second generation Low E glass like Cardinal 270. Using the new third generation Cardinal 366 or Guardian Climaguard 55/27 third generation glass will generally improve that number to .22 or even better, an amazingly low number compared to previous standards. Again, the lower the number, the better.

Q: How much will new windows save me on my utility bills?

A: No one can accurately tell you, despite their advertising claims. The fine print on the only warranty I’ve read (They usually don’t offer to let you see the warranty before you buy.) says that if you haven’t received the savings they promise AFTER 2 YEARS, then the people who sell the warranty to your contractor will have a check done for you with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (that’s a mouthful) to see how the “day average” temperatures for the last 2 years compare to the year before you purchased your windows. If you haven’t received the promised savings for that 2 year period after they make adjustments for that, then they’ll refund whatever savings you should have received for those 2 years…end of warranty. Oh, the salesman forgot to tell you that the energy savings warranty was for the first 2 years only? Sorry…The contractor who showed me this warranty bought them for a cost of $100 per job. I think you can expect major hurdles to jump over before you will ever see a check…kind of like some of those sweepstakes offers. I’ve seen 30% savings…once. Our customers rave about the looks, the comfort, the quietness of their home and, oh yeah, usually they even save money on their utility bills. We know that once you’ve got our highly efficient vinyl framed windows with Low E glass, you’ve done everything reasonably possible to stop energy loss through your windows. I believe any energy efficiency expert would tell you to then upgrade your air conditioner and heater to more efficient units, add attic insulation and insulation in your walls (if you have an older home that has none), caulk and seal all penetrations, upgrade your water heater, etc. You only lose so much energy through your windows. It’s not wise to spend another $100 - $500 per window trying to squeeze out a little more energy savings on your windows when you already have a high efficiency window.

Q: Will I need a building permit to change out my windows?

A: Some cities require a permit in order to verify that your new windows meet the new energy requirements. Your cost for a building permit is covered in our $95 permit allowance, which usually covers our cost of the permit plus the time required to apply for it. If your city does not require a permit, we will be happy to deduct that cost if you will just remind us.

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