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Windows, Part 4

Window manufacturing technology continues to improve and yet prices continue to increase. Most window companies continue to increase their profit margins at the expense of the homeowner. Much of this upward price spiral is due to the dramatic drop in interest rates and the tremendous … but artificial — increase in home values. Now that the housing bubble has burst, the sales pitch is that without new windows you can’t sell your house.

Simply compare your home’s “Value” to a barrel of oil or to the rate of exchange of dollars to the “Euro.” And just wait until China forces the dollar to go bust.

Homeowners have been willing to pay even premium prices to increase the value of the largest investment they have, their home. Dual pane windows do seem to increase the value of the home.

In a perfect world it might be possible to dramatically cut your total energy costs by installing dual pane windows. Even the sleaziest brands offer an insulation value that is better than the insulation of the average home’s walls. Yes, a new dual pane window will transfer less heat or cold into the home than comes through the house wall.

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The problem is that these windows have that spacer between the panes of glass and that spacer will soon fail. About 4% of all dual pane windows fail each year. That high failure rate could mean the demise of a home improvement company or a window manufacturer if the word got out. But they all keep these failures a secret!

Keep in mind that glass is not from another space / time dimension. It has regular physical properties and one of those properties is that it expands with temperature. The window will try to get BIGGER — edge to edge in X and in Y — as the temperature goes up. A window pane can grow by a quarter of an inch. This can break the seal on the spacer hidden at the edge of the window.

Window manufacturers build some “leak insurance” into their windows and that “insurance” is what gets these dual pane windows past their “warranty” period. And “warranty” is an interesting term — considering that there might not be one.

One company, for example, has a warranty that says “Lifetime” printed at the top. Then it says “ten years” in the first paragraph, then it says maybe three years farther down on the page and then it says one year as you read down farther and farther.

In at least one case, the actual / real / pathetic one year warranty is void if you live near the ocean. Further, you must use a “commercial cleaner” to clean your new

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