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When Quality and Price Matter!

Windows Pittsburgh: Replacement Windows & Doors 101

What you need to know and understand before buying replacement windows.

The Q & A here is to help consumers who are shopping for replacement windows and doors avoid the bait-and-switch advertising gimmicks associated with the home improvement business. Since 1995, consumers have been misled with the introduction of the $189 buy-up window. The bait and switch advertising of installed vinyl windows for $189 was just the beginning in a long line of false and misleading advertising scams. In 2009, Pennsylvania passed the HIC law requiring all contractors be registered with the Attorney General’s Office. As of 2021, consumers are still being misled by crooked contractors and professionally trained sales people who perform heavily scripted sales presentations that promote overpriced windows, doors and leaf guard. The following information cuts through all the BS and exposes the deceptive marketing methods used nationwide in the sales of replacement windows to homeowners. We will point out the misleading information to help you make an informed buying decision. Based on verified heat gain/loss and air leakage test data found at www.nfrc.org we have concluded that fiberglass and composite windows, typically sold for more than $2,000.00 per unit, are no better than vinyl replacement windows that normally sell for half the price or less.

Q. How much are replacement windows and doors sold by major dealers?

A. The average cost of vinyl windows sold by large retail dealers is $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 per unit. Fiberglass/composite windows expect to pay $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 per installed window. Single entry doors start around $6,000.00.

Q. How much are replacement windows and entry doors sold by Windows Pittsburgh?

A. Professionally installed vinyl replacement windows with Low-E glass (U-factor rating 0.29) are 30 to 50 percent less than comparable replacement windows, entry and patio doors sold by major retail dealers.

Q. Who is responsible for testing the energy efficiency on windows and doors?

A. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) tests all windows, doors and skylights sold in the United States for energy efficiency. All windows, doors and skylights must go through an 11-step product certification process. All windows, doors and skylights are tested and certified by an NFRC-accredited simulation lab and test lab.

Q. Are fiberglass/composite windows superior to vinyl windows and why?

A. No they are not! All windows, doors and skylights are subjected to the exact same NFRC heat loss/gain and air leakage tests. Certified NFRC test results show that fiberglass windows with basic Low-E glass do not outperform vinyl windows. In many cases, vinyl windows with basic Low-E sell for less money and outperform fiberglass/composite windows that sell for approximately $2,000.00+ per window. Energy efficiency and air leakage tests conducted on all windows by the NFRC include the glass, sash and frame. Certified test results are available at: www.nfrc.org

Q. Are all vinyl replacement windows basically the same?

A. NO! While all of the window frames/sashes are made from PVC every manufacturer uses different grades of vinyl, spacer systems and other components. Vinyl windows are like automobiles. They may look alike but every vinyl window is different in quality, durability and performance.

Q. Who is responsible for testing the window extrusions found in vinyl and fiberglass windows?

A. Since 1936, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association has stood as a strong advocate for manufacturers and professionals in the fenestration industry. The AAMA is dedicated to the promotion of quality window, door, curtain wall, storefront and skylight products. In 1962 the AAMA Product Certification Gold Label told customers that a sample of the product has been verified through independent laboratory testing and follow-up on-site inspections of the window manufacturers’ production line. All wood, vinyl, fiberglass, metal and composite materials used in the manufacturing of windows, doors, skylights and storefronts must meet strict AAMA test standards. On January 1, 2020 the AAMA and the Insulated Glass Manufacturers Association (IGMA) joined forces to form the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA). Testing performed by the NFRC and the AAMA prove conclusively that fiberglass windows, with a limited 10-year frame warranty, are nothing more than an overpriced alternative to vinyl windows with a lifetime warranty.

Q. Explain how home improvement dealers put windows and doors on sale?

A. There is NO SALE! The legal definition of a sale is when the seller takes a markdown on a product or service. In the remodeling industry, labor and material charges are fixed. Major dealers are forced to inflate prices first, in order to lower them later. Large dealers with showrooms typically mark up 3.2 times cost or 320% over cost to cover expenses.

Q. How is it possible for any window dealer to give away one free window for every window sold?

A. This type of false advertising is considered “Puffing” under the law. Dealers cannot afford to give anything away for free! Replacement windows, patio doors and entry doors are not made until an order is placed with the factory. All pricing is controlled by the factory and rarely goes on sale. Buy one window, get one free is smoke and mirrors! Expect a price of at least $1,000.00 to $1,500.00 per window and be prepared to physically throw the pushy salesman out of your home!

Q. What is the legal definition of “Puffing” and how does it affect advertising?

A. Puffing generally is defined as exaggerated, vague, or loosely optimistic statements about a company or product that are deemed so immaterial and unworthy of reliance that they cannot serve as the basis for liability. The difference between a statement of fact and mere puffery rests in the specificity or generality of the claim. Advertisers can make any claim, for example: Buy 5 windows and get 5 windows free. The 10 windows in the offer can cost up to $20,000.00 but you are not obligated to buy them. Since the court considers this advertising as puffing, you cannot take legal action against the company. Remember all advertising is designed to generate interest in the product or service being advertised. The actual price remains hidden until the time of the in-home estimate. Buyer Beware! If it sounds too good to be true, it is! Buy one window, get one free does not include the price of labor. Windows are never free!

Q. What is the difference between Puffing and Bait and Switch advertising?

A. Bait and Switch occurs when a retailer advertises a low-ball price on an item to get the customer into the store, then switches from the advertised item to a more expensive item. Sears and other retailers did this with big ticket items like sewing machines, televisions and vacuum cleaners. The advertised product was “nailed down” (not to be sold under any circumstances). The salesperson’s job was to talk the customer into buying the more expensive model and never sell the cheaper advertised item. Puffing is a vague or exaggerated advertising claim like buy one window get one free. While puffing is legal under the law, bait and switch advertising is not legal. Puffing along with bait and switch advertising are both misleading, dishonest and deceptive. The puffing law has legalized deceptive advertising and needs repealed.

Q. Are fiberglass and composite windows sold by larger dealers really that much better than vinyl windows?

A. No they are not! Fiberglass claims to be stronger than vinyl, making it the best choice for windows and patio doors. The only advantage fiberglass windows have over vinyl is a narrow frame profile. On average, fiberglass windows sell for three times what vinyl windows sell for. For example, in 2020 a customer purchased 9 vinyl casement windows from us and paid around $10,000.00. The bids she received from Andersen Renewal and a Marvin fiberglass dealer were over $30,000.00 for fiberglass and $20,000.00 for vinyl! Yes, both local Renewal and Marvin dealers also sell vinyl windows.

Q. Why are Marvin fiberglass and Andersen Renewal dealers now selling vinyl windows?

A. Three reasons. Price, price, and price! High-quality vinyl replacement windows cost less and perform as well and even better than fiberglass or Fibrex composite windows. Windows Pittsburgh vinyl windows are up to 50% lower than major retail window dealers. NFRC test result information for all windows and doors is available at: www.nfrc.org

Q. Are Marvin, Pella fiberglass & Andersen Fibrex windows more energy efficient than vinyl windows?

A. No! Marvin, Pella and Andersen Renewal windows require upgraded Low-E Argon glass on double-hung and slider windows to meet current Energy Star Certification requirements. Fiberglass windows have a limited 10-year frame and 20-year glass warranty. FYI – fiberglass window frames are held together with screws, caulking and even glue. Triple-pane glass, available on vinyl replacement windows, may not be available on most fiberglass and composite windows. Since fiberglass window sashes are fastened with screws, they cannot support the added weight of triple-pane glass. Vinyl window frames and sashes are heat welded at the corners. They easily support the heavier triple-pane glass.

Q. If fiberglass and composite windows cost more and do not perform any better than vinyl, why buy them?

A. You are catching on! Window manufacturers spend millions of dollars every year brainwashing consumers about fiberglass being stronger than vinyl. If fiberglass is so much better than vinyl why are fiberglass warranties limited to only ten years? Does it make sense to spend $2,000.00 on a fiberglass window when for under $1,000.00 you can buy a vinyl window with a lifetime warranty that has been subjected to the exact same NFRC energy efficiency tests and performs as well as fiberglass windows? The only advantage fiberglass has over vinyl is a narrow frame profile and nothing more!

Q. Do fiberglass/composite windows perform better in sub-zero temperatures than vinyl windows?

A. No. If you read the fiberglass warranty you will see that fiberglass patio doors can warp as much as a quarter of an inch in extreme cold weather. The truth is all materials expand and contract with temperature changes. Vinyl and fiberglass windows are subjected to the exact same temperatures when tested and certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The only advantage fiberglass windows have over vinyl windows is a narrow frame profile. That’s it! Fiberglass and vinyl replacement windows are subjected to the exact same air leakage, heat loss and heat gain tests conducted by the NFRC. Many vinyl windows outperform fiberglass/composite windows when tested! www.nfrc.org

Q. What is the American Architectural Manufacturers Association AAMA?

A. The AAMA is the leading trade association representing window, door, skylight, curtain wall and storefront manufacturers and their suppliers. Fiberglass and vinyl replacement window extrusions must be tested and approved for use by the AAMA before a window can be manufactured using the extrusion. Both fiberglass and vinyl windows are both tested by the AAMA and must meet AAMA strict standards in order to be sold in the United States. Again, fiberglass windows are no better than vinyl windows when you take into account that all windows, doors and patio doors manufactured and sold in the United States are tested and approved by the AAMA and the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). Fiberglass and vinyl window manufacturers are members of the AAMA and the NFRC. The claims made by fiberglass window dealers, that fiberglass is a better material for windows than vinyl is, are simply not true!

Q. What is the National Fenestration Rating Council?

A. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a United States 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which sponsors and operates a voluntary program that tests, certifies, and labels windows, doors, and skylights based on their energy performance ratings. The NFRC label provides a reliable way to determine a window's energy properties and to compare products. The NFRC tests all wood, vinyl and fiberglass windows, doors and patio doors sold in the United States. All products are tested to the exact same standards. FYI-Vinyl windows and patio doors perform just as well as fiberglass do in the NFRC tests. Take the time to compare the U-factor, Air Leakage and Solar Heat Gain performance numbers between vinyl and fiberglass windows. What you will find is vinyl windows and patio doors are the better buy! U-factor and Solar Heat Gain test results are based on the entire unit not just the glass. FYI - If vinyl windows shrink in cold weather, as claimed by fiberglass dealers, they would not pass NFRC testing and would be totally banned for sale worldwide! Claims that fiberglass windows are better than vinyl are completely false. In our opinion, they are way overpriced and overrated!

Q. What information is on the NFRC label?

A. U-factor: measures how well a window or door keeps heat from escaping from inside the home. Look for low numbers. Range: 0.20-1.20. Energy Star qualified windows must have a U-factor rating of .27 or lower.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: measures how well a window or door resists heat gain from the sun. Look for low numbers.
Range: 0-1.
Air Leakage: measures how much air will enter the home through a window or door. Look for a low number.
Range: ≤ 0.3.
Visible Transmittance: measures how well a window will effectively light your home with natural daylight. Look for high numbers. Range: 0-1.

Q. How is the NFRC label different from the Energy Star label?

A. The Energy Star label tells you that a window or door is Energy Star Certified. The NFRC label lets you compare independent ratings of energy efficient windows and doors between window and door manufacturers. What you will find is that high-priced fiberglass/composite replacement windows are no more energy efficient than vinyl replacement windows. Many window manufacturers have omitted the NFRC test results for their windows on their website. We believe this is done intentionally since the NFRC test results prove fiberglass window performance is no better than vinyl.

Q. Why do window manufacturers and dealers continue to mislead about fiberglass window performance?

A. “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth” is a law of propaganda used in WWII. Repetition makes an advertised claim seem truer, regardless of whether it is or not! Fiberglass and composite window dealers are masters at selling a pig in a poke! The NFRC test data proves that high-priced fiberglass windows are no better than vinyl windows!

Q. How can it be legal for any company to use false advertising when promoting a product or service?

A. There was a lawsuit between Pizza Hut and Papa John’s Pizza in the 1990’s. Pizza Hut filed a federal lawsuit against Papa John’s “Better Ingredients Better Pizza” advertising and won the case. The verdict was overturned on appeal. The appeals court ruled that Papa John’s advertising amounted to “Puffing”! In other words, the exaggerated claims made by Papa John’s were so immaterial they could not be used as a foundation for a lawsuit. Pizza Hut appealed to the US Supreme Court who refused to hear the case. So now, all advertising is considered “Puffing” under federal law. This court decision has opened the door to all the false and misleading advertising common in the home improvement business.

Q. Do all major home improvement companies use puffing in their advertising?

A. Yes, they do! There are two types of dealers to avoid. The first type advertises really low prices, then uses cheap windows installed by unskilled, cut-rate labor. The other sells major brand name products at 320% over cost.

Q. Explain how the “Price Drop” gimmick or inflated price list is used by major home improvement dealers?

A. Dealers selling high-priced fiberglass windows will typically add $1,000.00 to their normal selling price of $2,000.00 a window, inflating their first price to $3,000.00 per window. They give the inflated price to the customer, then discount the price back to the normal selling price of $2,000.00 to give the illusion of a sale. The inflated price list gimmick is used in selling windows, doors, siding, roofing, gutters, flooring, kitchen cabinets, window treatments and other home improvements. Like we have already told you, there is no sale!

Q. Are there any online resources to check out a business?

A. Google reviews - Yelp.com – Rip-off Report.com – Pissed Consumer.com and Angie.com are some places to look online. Note we intentionally omitted the Better Business Bureau because we do not trust their rating system. There are many businesses that routinely lie to new customers, have all negative customer reviews/complaints and still have an A+ rating with the BBB. Stay away from all companies that have an “F” rating with the BBB.

Q. How expensive is advertising today?

A. Here is a list of various advertising media used in home improvement sales with a cost attached for each. Direct Mail: Clipper and Valpak – Cost $4,000.00 to 8,000.00 each per month. FM Radio – Cost $45 per 15 second spot. Television - Cost $300 to $400 per 30 second commercial. Billboards (large) - Cost $4,000 to $6,000 per billboard monthly.

Q. How much money do large remodeling dealers spend on advertising each month?

A. Larger dealers spend anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per month on advertising. Dealers who consistently advertise on television, radio and billboards typically sell home improvement like roofing, siding, windows and doors at extremely high mark-ups. Companies advertising with sports logos like the Pirates, Penguins or Steelers pay a steep price for using the team name and logo. Expect to pay at least $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 per window opening from large retail dealers advertising in direct mail, print, billboards, pay-per-click, radio and television advertising.

Q. Is 24-month 0% financing really free?

A. No, all retail dealers must pay 10 to 15 percent of the contract price to the finance company for 0% financing. Dealers build the finance charges they pay into the sale price paid by the consumer. 24-month 0% financing is never free.

Q. What do replacement windows sold by larger dealers typically sell for?

A. Larger dealers like Andersen Renewal, Metropolitan, Pella, and West Shore typically sell windows for $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 per opening. The higher price is to cover the dealer’s overhead, commissions, wages, finance charges and advertising expenses. It is totally unrelated to the quality, durability, energy efficiency, or the windows’ cost. The average cost of vinyl replacement windows sold by larger dealers in 2020 is $1,000.00 to $3,000.00 per opening.

Q. How much profit is there on fiberglass and composite replacement windows sold by major dealers?

A. Up to $1,500.00 per window opening on double-hung and slider windows, more on casement-style windows.

Q. How much profit is there on fiberglass and composite patio doors sold by major dealers?

A. Approximately $3,000.00 to $4,000.00 on a six-foot patio door.

Q. Can the Better Business Bureau protect consumers from companies that use false or misleading advertising?

A. NO! The Better Business Bureau of Pittsburgh is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and not a legal agency. Consumers can file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Q. Window World shows grown men standing on top of vinyl replacement windows. How is this gimmick done?

A. This is fraudulent advertising, because the windows the men stand on have Tempered glass in the sashes. This was never revealed. Tempered glass easily supports the weight of an adult man without breaking. Tempered glass adds about $150.00 to a window’s cost. Tempered glass is a safety code requirement on all bathroom windows, doors and patio doors sold in the United States. We find it interesting that Window World uses tempered glass in their advertising, then omits tempered glass (a safety code requirement on bathroom windows) from the written estimates we have seen.

Q. Are vinyl windows sold by Window World with SolarZone dual pane Low-E Argon glass Energy Star Certified?

A. NO! According to Window Worlds’ printed literature SolarZone Low-E dual pane glass has a U-factor rating of .29 and a SHGC rating of .30. Energy Star windows must have a U-factor rating of .27 or lower to qualify for Energy Star Certification. The Window World contract given to customers in the Pittsburgh area is another story! The printed contract lists only two glass packages, dual-pane SolarZone glass with a U-factor of 0.29 and SolarZone triple-pane glass with a U-factor of 0.23. Window World double-hung windows with dual-pane SolarZone Low-E glass have a U-factor of 0.29.

Q. Why is advertising an installed vinyl window for the low price of $189 now (*$326.00) bait and switch?

A. Since 1995, not one window was ever sold for the advertised price. The advertised price was originally $189 installed, now it’s $326.00. Aluminum trim, Low-E Argon glass, shipping, handling adds over $200.00 to the base price. Add an additional $195.00 trip charge. The $189.00 / $326.00 buy-up window is now selling for three times it’s original $189.00 advertised price! If that’s not bait and switch, what is? *Additional charges will apply to the advertised price.

Q. Is it possible to buy installed vinyl windows for $400.00 per window today?

A. NO. The days of the $400.00 installed window are gone forever! Wholesale vinyl window prices are up over $150.00 a window in 2021 from just 2 years ago. This is due to rapid increases in consumer demand, labor and material costs.

Q. Why do home improvement sales people take hours demonstrating replacement windows?

A. Larger companies selling overpriced replacement windows invest lots of time and money in training sales staff. Their sales presentations are heavily scripted and can take up to 2 hours to perform. If done properly, the presentation leaves the homeowner with two choices, the product just demonstrated or nothing at all. Dealers selling at higher prices will typically do a heat lamp demo to show the customer the efficiency of the glass in their windows to somehow justify the ridiculous price. Windows with Low-E Argon glass all perform well in the heat lamp demo, especially windows with triple-pane glass. Replacement windows being sold today are all tested and certified by the NFRC. What the consumer needs to look at is the U-factor rating of the window. Manufacturers are all required to list a window or doors test rating on the NFRC label. FYI - large well-known window manufacturers either hide or completely omit their windows NFRC ratings on the internet. We looked and could not locate the NFRC information on many of the window manufacturer’s web sites. Go to www.nfrc.org to get U-factor and Solar Heat Gain information on all windows and doors sold in the United States today.

Q. Are the higher-priced replacement windows sold by Andersen, Marvin, and Pella dealers worth the high price?

A. The short answer is no. All three manufacturers make quality windows but so do other companies. The big three companies listed here spend millions of dollars advertising their products. Remember you are replacing your windows to save money on heating your home, not help the sales guy make his next BMW payment. Higher priced windows do not save you any more money than lesser expensive vinyl windows and will take a longer period of time to recover your investment. Remember, generic aspirin performs just as well as the brand name aspirin at half the price. Vinyl windows sold by Windows Pittsburgh perform just as well as fiberglass replacement windows and cost less. We guarantee it!

Q. What is the difference between windows that are Energy Star certified and non-Energy Star certified windows?

A. Energy Star is a US Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program. In 2016, the EPA changed the Energy Star U-factor requirements on windows from .30 to .27. This small change requires windows to have upgraded Low-E glass packages to meet the new standard. Energy Star Certified windows and doors save consumers more money on heating and A/C costs. One would think the higher priced windows sold by major window dealers would automatically be Energy Star Certified. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Don’t take our word for it. Go to www.nfrc.org and compare the ratings of all vinyl, wood and fiberglass windows and doors sold in the United States today. Like we have already told you, our vinyl windows perform as well or better than fiberglass, composite and wood windows.

Q. What is the difference between Argon and Krypton gas used inside window glass?

A. Both Argon and Krypton are odorless, colorless, non-toxic inert gases that are used to increase the insulation and energy efficiency in glass. Argon gas is cheaper and more plentiful, while Krypton gas costs more and is the better insulator. Krypton gas is used almost exclusively inside triple-pane glass windows. Krypton gas is much heavier than Argon and costs 30 times more. Triple pane glass is available with either Argon or Krypton gas inside the panes.

Q. What is the difference between the Intercept spacer and the Super Spacer system?

A. Both systems use “Warm Edge Technology” the main difference is Super Spacer is a soft flexible silicone foam material while the Intercept spacer is a metal system. Both systems allow the glass to deflect with temperature changes. The Super Spacer system improves energy efficiency only slightly better than the metal spacer and costs more.

Q. Are wood windows better than vinyl windows?

A. No! Wood windows are just as expensive as fiberglass and offer a 10-year frame and 20-year glass warranty. Wood windows frames can warp and rot out. Our vinyl windows are maintenance-free vinyl and guaranteed not to warp, chip or peel. They cost less and are covered by a transferable lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. If you want a real wood window, check out our Platinum Plus line of wood clad vinyl windows with real Oak, Cherry or Maple wood interiors.

Q. How is Windows Pittsburgh different from other remodeling companies?

A. Windows Pittsburgh products are sold in a professional manner without any false advertising, gimmicks or high-pressure sales tactics. Our window pricing is 30 to 50 percent lower than large retail window dealers advertising on radio and television. We take the time to educate our customers about the features and benefits our products have to offer. All work is performed in a professional manner by factory-trained workmen that are fully insured for your protection. All of our windows, doors and patio doors are covered by a limited lifetime warranty. Our customer service, craftsmanship and pricing are superior to large, so-called budget window dealers! Read our reviews on Google, Yelp and Angie’s List and judge for yourself.

Q. How does Windows Pittsburgh’s price and service compare to other replacement window companies?

A. Windows Pittsburgh’s quality and customer service is excellent! Our pricing is up to 50% lower than major retail window dealers. We guarantee our prices are lower than Renewal by Andersen, Window Nation, Metropolitan, Energy Swing, Universal Windows Direct, West Shore, Thermo-Twin and we will price match their written price if lower than ours.

Q. How does Windows Pittsburgh’s quality compare to budget window quality?

A. Since 2004, Windows Pittsburgh has employed highly-skilled professional window installers with a minimum of 20 years’ experience. Since 1995, budget window companies continue to pay the lowest wages in the replacement window industry for basic window installation and continue to lead the window industry with customer complaints. Our professional window installers are paid three times more than what budget window dealers pay for installation. Please read our Google reviews and compare us to any other window company. Windows Pittsburgh is the clear winner.

Q. How do replacement windows sold with clear glass compare to windows with Low-E Argon glass?

A. Plain glass vinyl windows (no Low-E glass) have a U-factor rating of .46 or higher. These windows do not meet current IECC building code requirements. Our vinyl windows have a U-factor rating of .29 (with no grids inside the glass) making it more energy efficient than plain glass windows. Buying a new window without Low-E Argon glass makes as much sense as buying a new car without a windshield.

Q. Does Windows Pittsburgh offer replacement windows with triple-pane glass?

A. Yes all of our replacement windows, doors and patio doors have triple-pane glass available as an option.

Q. Is triple-pane glass worth the extra money?

A. Yes, if you are staying in the home longer than five years and not paying too much for the option. There are two versions of triple-pane glass, triple pane with Argon gas and triple pane with Krypton gas. Triple pane with Krypton gas is the most efficient glass package available and costs more. Some dealers hype triple-pane glass as the best thing since sliced bread. While it does save more money over time, dealers selling triple-pane glass have a tendency to overprice their windows. Triple-pane glass adds between $80.00 and $200.00 to the dealer’s actual cost. Paying $1,500.00 for a window that costs the dealer under $500.00 makes absolutely no sense to us. If you are interested in triple-pane glass windows, we have them at very attractive prices. Call us today for a stress-free in-home estimate.

Q. What does basic Low-E Argon glass cost the dealer?

A. The cost for Low-E argon glass adds about $20.00 to the cost of double hung and double slider windows that are under 101 united inches in size. Low-E glass is included on all double hung and double slider windows sold to dealers.

Q. Is Low-E Argon glass mandatory on windows, doors and patio doors sold in the United States?

A. No, but it should be. Clear glass (no Low-E) is still available on all windows and doors made today. We find it interesting with all the concern over global warming that the federal government has not banned clear glass in windows and doors. Our question is why? The government could make window and door manufacturers drop clear glass as an option but refuses to do so. We would love to know who in the federal government is being paid off to keep clear glass windows and doors on the market, while the cost for heating our homes continues to increase. Someone is getting rich!

Q. What is the difference in energy performance between windows with and without Low-E Argon glass?

A. Clear glass vinyl windows have a U-factor rating of .46 and higher. Vinyl windows with Low-E Argon glass have a U-factor rating of .29. Since the average cost for Low-E Argon glass is $20.00 or less, buying any window with clear glass makes absolutely no sense at all! Why clear glass windows and doors are still available for sale today when basic Low-E glass is not that expensive is a mystery. Basic Low-E glass could have and should have been made mandatory on all windows and doors sold in the United States more than 30 years ago. All the government has to do is have the window manufacturers drop clear glass as an option, instead wasting time and money on renaming a football team.

Q. Is there a minimum U-Factor requirement on windows and doors sold in Pennsylvania and the United States?

A. Yes there is. The IECC codes were adopted in all 50 states and are now law. Under the IECC codes all windows and doors are required to have a minimum U-Factor of .35. Simply put Low-E Argon glass is required on all windows and doors on new homes built today. Clear glass without Low-E Argon (.46 U-Factor) does not meet the IECC code. Low-E Argon glass is standard on all replacement windows, doors and patio doors sold today by most major window dealers except those windows and doors sold by budget window dealers. Confused? The IECC building codes only apply to new construction and not to older homes built prior to the IECC codes being adopted.

Q. Should the J.D. Power Award and the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval be considered when shopping for windows and other home improvements?

A. Not at all! The J.D. Power Award is given to a company for its product or service only after the company desiring the award signs up with J.D. Power and pays them to complete a survey of its customers. The survey is bought and paid for by the company receiving the award. The award is given after the survey is finished. The J.D. Power Award is nothing more than a survey with a predetermined outcome. Before advertising in Good Housekeeping magazine, a company’s product must pass testing performed by Good Housekeeping Laboratories. Good Housekeeping only tests products from manufacturers that want to advertise in the magazine. The Good Housekeeping warranty is limited to just the product. It does not cover the installation of the product. Windows, entry and patio doors sold by Windows Pittsburgh would also earn the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval if they were tested.

The sole purpose of this Q & A here is to eliminate all the hype and give consumers accurate information so they can make an informed buying decision. The pricing information contained here is to help consumers make sense out of all the false and misleading information used in the sale of home improvements nowadays. We have found that the two biggest mistakes made by consumers today is paying too much for home improvements, like buying fiberglass windows that cost $2,000.00 each instead of a quality vinyl window that sells for under $800.00, or buying cheaply-made vinyl windows with clear glass sold by budget dealers that use unskilled, cut-rate labor. We have mentioned most of the bait and switch gimmicks used in advertising as a warning to consumers to be careful. If you have any questions concerning anything discussed here or want to schedule a free in-home estimate, please call us at (412) 279-1112. In-home estimates take an hour or less to complete and you are not required to place an order the same day we give the estimate. Pricing listed here is subject to change without notice.

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