I talk to enough homeowners in my line of work as a window installation expert to know that picking out products these days—whether you’re buying a new TV or a new set of windows—is more stressful than it’s ever been before. The world wide web of online shopping has opened the door for about two bajillion different ways to get product information. Heck, some folks I know can’t even go out to eat in Sacramento without reading a dozen reviews on Yelp first!
When it comes to replacement windows for your home, though, there’s a surprising lack of information online about which windows are best, specifically about who makes the best replacement windows—and whether or not you need custom ones. If you Google it, sure, just about every window company you come across is going to try and tell you that they alone have the best fit. Let me tell you that, the simple truth is, the type of window that’s best for your home really depends on a wide array of individual specifications.
…the simple truth is, the type of window that’s best for your home really depends on a wide array of individual specifications.
This is why today I’d like to talk about the best replacement windows, who makes them, and why finding the perfect contractor is what will pull it all together for your unique home. Windows are the eyes of your home, but they’re also a valuable part of a whole home approach to energy efficiency. If you’re considering a window replacement job, make sure you do all you can to get the right help in finding the best replacement windows for your unique house.
Who Makes the Best Replacement Windows?
Even with all the new online review systems, I still generally refer to experts that have been around a long while. Consumer Reports, specifically, can be a great resource for homeowners figuring out who makes the best replacement windows, at least in terms of general information about window manufacturers. When it comes to custom energy efficiency window replacement and upgrade work, though, it’s best to seek local expertise.
In general here are some of the window manufacturers that have scored well with Consumer Reports, which uses surveys from a wide array of homeowners just like you to measure satisfaction in windows and other products:
- Andersen 400 Series – Wooden Double Pane: These windows average about $310 per window. They won solid accolades across the board from Consumer Reports, with folks who bought these praising their looks, energy efficiency, and effective insulation. However, customers also dinged these windows for cost and not offering a great warranty.
- Simonton Pro-Finish Contractor Vinyl Double Pane: Another model of window that scored well through Consumer Reports is the Simonton Pro-Finish Contractor variety, which averages about $260 per window, making it a bit cheaper than the Andersen variety. Like the Andersen model, these got points for their looks and for their energy savings. However, some customers were concerned about the seal and experienced a bit of window condensation.
- Integrity from Marvin Ultrex Fiberglass Double Pane: At $450 per window, the Integrity from Marvin Ultrex Fiberglass double pane is the priciest window on the list, but it did score points for being solidly built. However, some customers who went with this model complained about the price and also said the window did a bad job insulating from outside noise.
Why Double Pane Windows Are the Best Replacement Windows for California
One thing that all three models on the Consumer Reports list have in common is that they’re all double pane windows. Now, we’ve talked in the past about how double pane windows work, but it’s important so it bears repeating.
The selection of windows on the market today is a lot more complex than it used to be; windows aren’t just a single plate of glass in a frame anymore. Nowadays, we have insulated window models that can really help you save on your energy bills. As the name suggests, double pane windows are made up of two panes of glass, either tempered or laminated, held in a single frame. But rather than sitting tight against one another, the panes are separated. This cavity, which is created by spacers, is either a sealed vacuum or filled with a non-toxic gas like argon. The size of the cavity also depends on the crafting of the window but typically ranges from a quarter to three-quarters of an inch thick.
The bottom line here, however, is that double pane windows have great benefits for you and your home, bringing you added insulation that can help you save on energy costs.
Dual pane, double glazing, and insulating glass are also common names for double pane windows, so don’t be confused by these terms. All of them have the same construction of an insulating cavity sandwiched between two panes. The bottom line here, however, is that double pane windows have great benefits for you and your home, bringing you added insulation that can help you save on energy costs. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy reports an average reduction in household heating and cooling costs by about $500 annually when homes have double pane windows installed. That number may be even higher in Northern California where we have extreme temperature ranges over the course of a year. Simply put, investing in double pane windows can save you money on your monthly heating and cooling bills—and you may even be able to get help paying for new windows.
Custom Energy Efficient Window Installations
One of those last points above is very much worth emphasizing again: Northern California has its own unique temperature. What’s great for consumers in the rest of the country might not be as great for you and your home. That’s why my biggest recommendation today is that you go with an experienced local contractor that can help you take advantage of all that custom energy efficient windows have to offer.
Whether it’s retrofitting or upgrading windows on a brick, wood, or stucco home, an experienced custom window installer can manufacture any style window to fit your existing frame.
With custom windows, you get a fit that’s not only beautiful and energy efficient, but is also perfect for your own unique house. Whether it’s retrofitting or upgrading windows on a brick, wood, or stucco home, an experienced custom window installer can manufacture any style window to fit your existing frame. Think about it like chocolate chip cookies. Would you rather eat a store-bought cookies or one from your mom’s family recipe straight from the oven? There’s really no competition.
The most important thing, in my opinion, is hiring an experienced contractor you can trust. Here at Bell Brothers, whether it’s retrofitting or upgrading windows on a home, we can manufacture any style window to fit your existing frame just like it was custom made for it—because it will be. And installation by our expert window installers is always included, too.
So, yes, referring to online resources can make things a bit more complicated these days, but our window installation pros are still here to help. And there’s nothing simpler than that.
Learn more about the many benefits that double pane windows can offer your home—and whether there are other maintenance steps your house is in need of as well, from an HVAC system upgrade to efficient plumbing to an insulation install. Contact the experienced energy efficient home professionals at Bell Brothers today.
Wondering how to finance needed upgrades? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
Image courtesy Bill Chizek