First of all...to clarify...Andersen has nothing to do with those windows other than owning the company. They bought Silverline about 3yrs ago to get into the all vinyl window market. Also Silverline was already being distributed through HD in the same markets as Andersen. Second...some people will say Silverline windows are complete junk. I won't go that far, but the madels you are looking at are about comparable to bottom of the line in some other brands. Are you getting quotes from HD? Ok..that said..lets answer your questions. Adding argon and the foam frame should not add $2000 to 12 windows. At least it wouldn't have 2 yrs ago, I don't think its changed that much. I'm curious as to the actual price you are being quoted, and if it includes install and wrapping the trim with aluminum. Argon will help the efficiency..but not by much. Its an inert gas, so it will help keep the cold from transmitting though the double panes. I always said it was more of a comfort thing, although I was in VA, and our winters weren't as severe as OH. If you can get the tax credit..then $500 addl would be a reasonable price for the upgrade. Would you pay $500 more for the exact same car if it got 27 mpg vs 23? I probably wouldn't because of how much I drive, but if I was driving 25K a year I probably would. I would also call some independent companies and ask for apples to apples comparable quotes. You will normally get a better product for a similar or lower price. Some people have actually complained about drafts with vinyl windows compared to their old wood, and it can happen. Vinyl windows expand and contract more, so cheaper ones with poor weatherstripping can have air leakage. They are still more efficient overall..but you can have air leaks. EDIT...sorry missed the payback time question. It all depends on your house..and how bad it is now..and how well the windows are installed, age of your HVAC, amount of insulation in the walls ceiling, etc etc. You can't look at it like a new furnace or A/C to replace an old system. Sometimes a simpler way to look at windows is to convert the U value to an R value..which more people seems to grasp better..maybe because the numbers change more. Anyway..say your first quote was for U value windows of .29 and the second was for .32. Those would equate to R values of 3.45 and 3.13. Not a huge difference if you were talking about a wall..but pretty big for a window.
Hi Joe, Gg is right on the money. If you are replacing them for other reasons, then there is the benefit that the new ones will save on energy. But some of that savings will come from a better installation. For that, where you detect air leakage, you can pull the window trim, foam seal, and refinish. There are many places where a bit of effort will have a much faster return on investment. CFL's in high use locations can save their cost in one month. Air sealing with a can of foam and some caulking can payback if 2 to six months (have to wait for winter). GL Bud
all of the above, but to add. If you have single pane double hung wood windows, you can figure to save 25-35% on fuel bills, with Lo-E/argon windows. You can do the math, but it will take a while for a payback. On a $1000 annual fuel bill you can save about $300, a bit less than a quality replacement window will cost, so 10 windows will take a long time to payback. BUT.........you will have better comfort since cold drafts from the old windows will be gone. And that new glass blocks 95% of the harmful UV rays that fade colors. And it will improve the resale value of the home.
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