For the last three months our gas bill has been substantially higher than usual. Like a good $100 – $140 more per month higher. That’s a lot when you consider that I live in a small one level ranch. Plus, the house seems colder and draftier to us. My Dad’s been over and told us it was cold, despite the fact that our thermostat was set to 68-70. Finally I called the gas company, with whom we have a maintenance contract. I told them the house always seemed cold and we wanted to get the system checked out. A week later they came out and took a look see. The gas man (sounds funny, doesn’t it?) told us a couple of things. The first thing he told us is that we should use a different filter, that the one we were using actually blocked air. He took the filter we had out and told us what to get. Unfortunately, things didn’t seem any different after removing that filter.
The other thing the gas man told us is that it part of the problem was our windows. My house is more than forty years old. Most of the windows are that old as well. The only exception is the windows in our bedroom, which were replaced two years ago. I will never forget the troubles we ran into when those windows were replaced. (You can read about it in my 12/04/09 post.) We had damage to the bedroom windows and the walls around it. We went to the nearby home improvement store to get replacement windows. It was at that point that we discovered our windows were not a standard stock size. Our windows were a few inches different. That may not sound like a big deal but it is. It’s a really big deal. See if you don’t have the same size window as the opening then you probably have to make changes to the walls, the window opening and the surrounding structural support. In our case in the bedroom, the walls, the window opening and the headers above all had to be torn out and rebuilt to accommodate the new size window. It was a lot of expensive lumber and a lot of man hours. It was noisy and messy. I had no idea at that time that you could actually order custom replacement windows.
So here we are. The old windows in my house aren’t sound or efficient. Some of them are completely falling apart, to the point where if you’re outside you can almost see through to the inside. Take a look.
Laundry room window on left and TJ’s window on right. These are the worst ones of the bunch. You can see that on the bottom of the frame it’s eroded away and you can see right in. That means the cold air gets in there too.
I’ll have more pictures to show you another time, but I’m sure you get my point. So. If we attempt to replace our current ourselves we’d run into the same problems that we had the last time. RB and I don’t have the know-how on how to build and rebuild. We could try but we’d wind up looking at who knows how much in cost for lumber and materials to get the openings ready for stock windows, on top of the window cost itself. After researching, custom replacement windows are the only solution that makes sense to me.
There are numerous advantages to using custom replacement windows instead of diy stock windows.
- Size and fit. A custom built replacement window will fit my existing opening. No extra costs to change an existing opening. This also means that since the window will be made for the opening the fit will be perfect, making the window more energy efficient.
- Simpler installation. As replacement windows just slide into your existing opening you aren’t looking at days of messy and noisy construction, which is just unpleasant.
- Design. Instead of being stuck buying the plain old white window that’s in stock you can specify what you want your window to look like.
- Cleaning. I don’t like cleaning windows. Old casement windows like I have now are a pain to clean. Many of today’s replacement windows tilt in for easy cleaning.
- Cleaning again. The house this time. A window that fits properly will allow less dust and dirt in because there won’t be gaps.
- Maintenance. The vinyl won’t need scraping, painting, or caulking every couple of years like the old wood windows did.
- Noise. Today’s windows actually help filter and block outside noises, unlike my old single paned windows.
- And of course there’s the big reason. Money. You’ll be saving money because your heating and cooling bills will be lower. Your home’s resale value will be higher. You’ll save time and money by not having to perform maintenance on the windows.
This post is part of a series I will be sharing with you and is based on a relationship that I have with Jantek Windows. The next post in this series will look at different options to consider when purchasing replacement windows. Some topics that I will be covering in future posts are manufacturing, fitting and ordering, and installation.
I’d love to help with any questions on replacement windows that you might have, or to hear any window replacing stories.
Jantek Windows serves the residential replacement window market through three distinct market channels that cover about fourteen states. They distribute nationally through their exclusive Appleby Dealers and The Window Source. Their Factory Direct Contractor program provides approved contractors with custom sizes, expedited manufacturing lead times, and special pricing, as well as technical support, product training and field service support. They sell direct in the Mid-Atlantic area through the Jantek Factory Showroom, with or without installation service, and well below retail prices.