Archives for October 2012

Avoid the “Ready, Fire, Aim” mentality

Education really is king when it comes to managing a replacement window project.  You can either pay yourself for completing a little research or pay others to “instruct” you on the benefits of what they want you to invest in.  You see either way, you pay, but you maintain much greater control through self education.

If your windows are functioning properly there really is no need to consider replacing them.  Replacement, however, would typically be driven by two issues, both of which require research to ultimately decide on the best course of action.  Overall, most people replace windows either for efficiency or structural concerns. Understanding why you need to replace your windows is the foundation for a positive experience. 

Structural concerns can involve  many unique issues.  Some of the issues include, difficult operation of a window sash, water intrusion, seal failures, improper installation, or hardware issues.  Structural issues can also be compound issues, which means that the “fix” may be more involved than simply just putting in a new window.  When it comes to structural issues most homeowners will need the professional assistance of a licensed contractor.  (Settling for less will simply create more problems.)

Efficiency issues can include items of concern like air infiltration, single glazed windows, and frost or ice accumulation during winter months.  Many times, efficiency issues drive the replacement thought process.  These types of issues can directly impact the owner’s comfort zone in the house.  A cold or drafty window can actually compress your home’s overall square footage to a much smaller number.  (If Grandma is cold while sitting in the living room by the big window, the family must then relocate the gathering to a warmer setting.) 

While it is true that structural issues may impact the efficiency concerns, many times a simple upgrade to a more efficient window will solve both concerns.  It is very important to not skip the awareness aspect of this process.  In layman’s terms avoiding this type of understanding, would be the equal to shooting a gun with the following steps….. “Ready, fire, aim”

The Duck Test

Although it may be a crisp fall morning, the subject title has nothing to do with decoys, guns, or waders.  It does, however, have much to do with an old wives’ tale, that seems to get referenced every now and then in our office.  It’s the duck test, and it can be a very reliable source for proving a theory.  There is no need to stay awake and study for this test; it simply takes a little common sense.  “If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck….then it must be a duck!”

In summary, the test tends to imply that you can identify an unkown object, theory, or person by the repetitive habits or characteristics that the object or person displays.  Conversely, however, it can also be used to demonstrate that something is not what it appears to be.

The replacement window industry is plagued with interesting companies that many times employ interesting marketing tactics to get you to purchase their product.  “Simply the best for less….” or “Any size, white double hung window, installed for only $149,” or one of my personal favorites is when the company offers a “double lifetime” warranty are common catch phrases that you can see or hear on an almost daily basis right now.

Caveat emptor is Latin for “let the buyer beware.”  Don’t find yourself falling for a marketing ploy that you regret for as long as you live in your house.  Take your time, do your research, and select a reputable home improvement company that will be there to assist you with any issues, concerns, or problems.  Over the next few weeks, I will be providing you with a checklist of items to assist you in your window shopping.  Education is expensive; especially if it comes from trial and error. 




Larson Builders