Saturday, March 10, 2012

Window Shopping . . . Literally!

The temperatures this week are promising to go into the double digits to the positive which means spring is finally here (not that the winter was typical of Manitoba - it was VERY mild - but I do so enjoy spring and summer!).  And, that means, house-building draws ever nearer!  YAY!!  So, while Jay spends many hours talking with various trades people learning all he can about the very best way to build our house, I have taken upon myself two very important factors in a well-built home.   First of all, I am solely responsible for the design of the kitchen. And that is so much fun (especially since, at this point, I have only seen the drawings and not the price!).  The other is windows.  I have taken upon myself to request window quotes from various companies and then learn all I can about those windows and companies and hopefully make the very best choice for the budget we have.  Currently I have 5 window quotes in hand and I am awaiting 2 more.  Sending in a request for a window and door quote is fairly easy.  I have done most of it online from the comfort of my own home.  I write a nice email asking for a quote, attach the house drawings and a couple of days later a quote appears in my inbox.  That is the easy part.  The hard part is figuring out why one quote is more than double another quote, especially when the windows are essentially the "same" (I am sure window company reps would disagree that their windows are the same as another company's windows!).  So, I have spent many, many hours looking up SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficients), U-Values, Condensation Ratings, BBB Business Reviews, warranties, options and accessories to try to figure out which window company is right for us.  In case you are wondering, right now I have quotes from Gienow Windows, Thermo-Tech Windows, Hi-Tech Energy Windows, Durabuilt Windows and Polar Ray-O-Max Windows and I am awaiting quotes from Duraco Windows and Inno-Tech Windows.  Some of these companies I found through the recommendations of friends, some through Shel Busey's Home Discovery Show, some through radio jingles and some through the Kitchen, Bath & Renovation Show we attended earlier this year.  The window company that is prominent right here in the town where I live is Jeld-Wen windows but I refuse to use them again so I haven't even requested a quote.  Though this house is only 10 years old, we have had to replace almost every single window due to failed seals!  The window units are covered under warranty but installation is not so every year these windows cost us more.  We have 2 more units that will need replacing this spring.  No matter who says what, I will not install those windows again.  So, pardon me as I break out the spreadsheet and try to conglomerate all this information I have collected into something usable that will magically show me which company to use!  I am looking for highly efficient windows that block the sun in summer, keep the heat in in winter, aren't cold to the touch and don't fog up with condensation at the drop of a hat.  Shouldn't be too much to ask, should it?  All in a budget I can afford?  I will let you know what we decide, whenever that may be!  :)  In the meantime, if you have any experience with any of the companies I have listed above, please feel free to share.  I would love to hear what you have to say.

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