Replacement Windows

Replacement Windows - Who Can You Trust?

It's hard, in the replacement windows field, to find anybody who has a clear, objective voice.  Don't believe me?

I was doing some research for an article about replacement windows for a national print publication.  Of all the sources out there, I found only two that had something even approaching objectivity.

Replacement Window Industry Sources That Aren't Too Bad

First, there is the National Fenestration Ratings Council.  It is unapologetically an industry-supported group.  It says so right there on their website.  And there's not a darn thing wrong with that.  Yet within the realm of an industry-supported group, the NFRC does achieve a high degree of objectivity when rating the windows of their members.  The council, guided by its members, sets standards which the members must abide by.   

Second, there is something called the Efficient Windows Collaborative which, just as the name says, has window manufacturing members who strive to produce more energy-efficient windows.

Feel free to check out their websites, but you won't find anything there.  You're just trying to figure out who in your area can put in replacement windows on the east side of your house.  The NFRC and EWC, while both important, can't help you there.

Consumer's Reports often has some good, free information on the web.  Do a Google search and their site may pop up, but don't expect much if it does.  CR is in the business of selling subscriptions, so their free material is pretty limited.

And that's it.  So you're stuck with people like me.

Yes, Yes...Get 3 Estimates

I gain nothing by telling you one thing over another.  I've had a lot of experience both as a consumer and a journalist with replacement windows, and if you were holding me over the side of a cliff demanding one good piece of windows-buying advice, I'd mention one thing:

That old cliche about getting three estimates blah blah?  Well, do it.

Do it.  Yes.  Nowhere else does it apply better than with replacement windows.  Here's what happens.  You get one estimate.  You think:  Well, okay, whatever, I don't know if that's good or bad.  Then you get a second estimate.  That second estimate, I guarantee you, will diverge from the first estimate by at least 25%, whether up or down.

Third estimate may push that difference yet another 25%.

You step back and think:  Gosh, if I'd gotten only one estimate, I'd be paying $4,000 more for my windows for exactly the same product.  Yep.  Replacement window companies have enormous room to negotiate.

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