Not All Vinyl Windows Are Created Equal
The Replacement Window You Select Really Does Matter… Especially In A Cold Climate Like The Milwaukee Area
We understand that, for most homeowners, shopping for vinyl replacement windows can be a confusing – even sometimes an overwhelming – experience. You’re making an investment in your home, and you want to get it right.
You probably don’t mind paying a reasonable price for quality, but how do you really know you are getting quality at a fair price? We’ve put together a quick guide to help you sort through options using facts, not claims.
Here’s A Quick Guide For Milwaukee Homeowner’s Who Want To Compare Vinyl Replacement Window Choices
Air-Sealed Rating (CFM)
Many companies don’t talk about the air-sealed ratings, and that’s because typical replacement windows have pretty mediocre ratings at best. That’s true even of well-known brands that have a reputation for quality.
Here is how to understand air-sealed ratings. First, know that the rating comes from independent lab tests, so it is not just made up by the manufacturers. An air-sealed rating is expressed in CFM’s, or cubic feet of air per minute, which is really just a fancy scientific way to say how much air infiltration any given window allows.
Here’s what’s important for homeowners to understand: the lower the rating, the more air-tight a window is. And the more air-tight a window, the less drafty and more energy-efficient it is.
The worst air-seal rating a window can get and still legally be sold is .3 CFM – avoid those for sure. The next step up is .2 CFM, and that’s about the rating you can expect from one of our typical competitors.
From there, windows continue to decrease, all the way down to .01. Not .1 – .01. That’s the lowest you can get because absolute zero can’t be measured. That’s the rating on our windows and you can’t get lower.
Besides the benefits in eliminating drafts and better energy-efficiency, it’s peace-of-mind that you are getting vinyl replacement windows crafted to the most precise manufacturing standards.
A Crucial Rating For A Cold Climate (U-FACTOR)
There is another rating that Wisconsin homeowners should ask about when shopping for windows: the U-Factor, which is very important to get through a Milwaukee winter with lower energy bills.
To get to the heart of the matter, the lower the U-Value the better. A lower U-Value means a window is more resistant to heat flow. It’s important to minimize heat flow, because the higher it is, the more energy and dollars are escaping out your windows. Basically, a higher U-Value means your furnace is going to have to work harder to keep you comfortable. We strongly recommend something in the .20 to .25 range.
IMPORTANT EXCEPTION: Don’t Fall For This Tactic When It Comes To U-Factor! There is a practice employed by some replacement window companies that we STRONGLY disagree with. Some window contractors will tell you they will sell you multiple coats of Low E to improve their U-Factor. Low E is a GOOD thing, but using too many coats to artificially lower a U-Factor is a BAD idea. It will make for darker replacement windows that are often less efficient because they block TOO much heat.
In short, don’t let someone sell you multiple coats of Low-E applied to artificially lower the U-Factor.
Can You Trust The Warranty?
A Lifetime Warranty means a Lifetime Warranty, right? If you pin down the details, the answer is often ahem… well, sort of… not really.
The details and fine print of a warranty matter. Some vinyl window warranties that scream ‘Lifetime’ are actually pretty poor coverage.
Also, many warranties don’t cover workmanship at all, or only under very limited circumstances.
Here is what we recommend for homeowners: don’t accept ‘Lifetime Warranty’ and other claims at face value. Find out what’s really covered, how long, if workmanship is part of the warranty, and if the warranty is pro-rated.
We’re happy to go through your warranty and explain everything. Okna windows come with an industry-leading window warranty. We also back up our installation with our own Lifetime Workmanship Warranty – which very few Milwaukee-area window companies will do. Even more, we also give you a third level of protection by giving you a Lifetime Glass Breakage Warranty.
The Manufacturer Of Your Vinyl Window Matters
Sometimes we’re asked why we install Okna vinyl windows. There’s a lot of vinyl windows on the market, why this brand?
Here’s what we love about Okna windows: they put more emphasis on quality than any other window manufacturer we know. Quite frankly, some “big-name” brands seem more interested in their heavy marketing campaigns than how well their windows are manufactured!
One proof of Okna’s iron-clad commitment to quality is how air-tight their windows are. In independent lab tests, these windows get the very top rating possible. These are air-tight, no-compromise-on-quality windows. There literally is not a more highly-rated air-sealed window on the planet.
One thing this rating indicates is just how tight Okna manufacturing tolerances are. It speaks volumes about the care and precision that go into Okna windows.
Don’t All Companies Install Vinyl Windows The Same Way?
In a perfect world, all vinyl window companies would use the same high installation standards, because you’re paying for it to be done right the first time.
Unfortunately, how it often works is this:
Many Milwaukee replacement window companies are actually sales and marketing companies. They focus on selling the product, and then farm out the actual installation to low-bid sub-contractors to do the work.
That makes for inconsistent installation standards at best. Basically, it’s kind of the ‘Wild West’ out there in terms of who is coming to your home, and what their attitude, skill-level, and experience are.
HomeSealed is different. As an authorized Okna dealer, we’re required to meet rigorous installation requirements. But we voluntarily exceed those standards every single day, on every job.
We don’t use temporary labor, we have our own crews that are trained to our installation standards. That means we have complete control over the quality.