By Mark Spencer, Owner/Operator Legacy Window and Door
Here is the first of my series on the big three when replacing your windows.
The window product itself is something you can easily learn more about. More and more information is being putting on the web everyday. Our industry offers free in home estimates. Salespeople are trained about their products, and how to sell them.
Unfortunately all this good information can be easily distorted and altered to fit a company’s specific sales focus. Here’s my opinion on what you need to know about standards of quality, warranties, and the company selling the windows.
Customers deserve Quality Information so they can choose Quality Products.
Independent Organizations that Insure Quality
Two (2) major organizations exist to help consumers shift through the bad information. One certifies the STRUCTURAL integrity of windows and doors*:
American Architectural Manufacturing Association or AAMA
AAMA tests the structural quality with specific tests including but not limited to weld quality, wind load capacity and Forced Entry Resistance (FER – a safety guideline).
Another large organization certifies the THERMAL integrity of windows:
National Fenestration Rating Council or NFRC
NFRC is a non-profit organization created by leading manufacturers in tandem with the government to protect consumers from fraud. How else would you know if the glass is coated with Low e glazing? How would you know if inert argon gas is between the sealed glass?
Every window certified by NFRC comes with an energy sticker on the window. This sticker will guarantee the windows U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Co-Efficient. You’ll need to request air infiltration numbers from your company you’re doing business with.
Twenty years ago Window Warranties were typically one to five years. Today top-end products are better engineered and offer Lifetime Warranties.
I’m often asked ‘Is this window better than this? How can I tell if a window is any good?’ My response is ‘Look at the warranty.’
Legacy’s Warranties always include:
• Glass Breakage
• Seal Failure
• Weld Integrity
• Any Defect for as long as you own your home – this warranty transfers to the next homeowner.
Hint: on the low price bids take a look at the actual warranty card, not their literature. Then discuss how they measure and install the windows.
Customers Should Feel Completely Comfortable with their Purchase Decision.
Sales companies know your fears and objections. They train their people to address them. Some sales presentations include upwards of 15+ steps on overcoming customer objections. During a sales pitch, you should feel in control, not pressured.
Any company offering a ‘one-time’ price that has to be decided before the salesperson leaves is not acting with the customers best interests in mind.
Take your time. If you want to replace your windows begin looking a few months ahead of when you want the work done. Don’t feel rushed. You should feel like you’re setting the agenda. Everything should be done with the customer in mind.
There are a lot of good windows out there. And some very bad ones.
Ask for validation of their commitment to excellence (AAMA, NFRC). Read their warranty card not just provided literature. Get more than one estimate. Talk to previous customers. Take your time and you’ll make the right choice.