LESLIE: Debbie in Virginia wants to talk replacement windows and doors. What can we do for you?
DEBBIE: My husband and I recently purchased our first home and we have old aluminum frame windows that really let in a lot of cold air. So …
LESLIE: And you’re freezing.
DEBBIE: Yeah. So we’ve been getting prices from different window companies to try to decide what kind of window company to go with. We’ve gotten several – quite a range of prices and some of them are on super-windows, which are triple-pane and have a different kind of gas than argon gas …
DEBBIE: … and I was just wondering if those would be worth the extra money.
TOM: Not in Virginia. I don’t think you’ll get the return on investment. If you’re in an extreme climate – and particularly an extreme northern climate – you’ll get a return on investment for a triple-pane window. In your area it’s just another way for those guys to make some money …
LESLIE: It’s not really going to do anything.
TOM: … and it’s going to just drive up your cost. I would use a good quality thermal-pane, double-pane window. I would make sure the window is Energy Star-rated and there is also a rating called the NFRC rating, the National Fenestration Rating Council, and that will tell you what the UV rating is, what the air infiltration rating is and you can use these numbers to compare apples to apples. And you also mentioned that you’re replacing your doors. For doors I would recommend a fiberglass door. Fiberglass doors are eight times more energy efficient than wood doors and they don’t ding or dent like steel doors.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. They don’t really require any maintenance like a wood door would.
TOM: And they’re absolutely gorgeous, too.
DEBBIE: How about the difference between vinyl and fiberglass windows?
TOM: I think that either is fine. I’d probably use a vinyl replacement window and a fiberglass door. If you want to check out some really good-looking doors, go to the website for ThermaTru.com. They have a door designer right there and you can see some Therma-Tru doors. Those guys invented fiberglass doors. They’ve been around for like 25 years. As far as the windows, most of these windows are made by the companies that are selling them locally, so it’s harder to use a brand name unless you’re going to do completely like new construction-style windows. So I would make sure that I use the rating system to compare window to window. Don’t go triple-pane. Go double-pane and make sure it’s Energy Star-rated and you’ll have a good window to put in that house.