Tom Shafer

4 myths about windows and doors you probably believe

March 08, 2012

When it comes to popular features for replacement windows and doors, many consumers believe the misconceptions they have heard. These myths about windows and doors have become truths to them. While some myths might have an element of truth, the following four commonly held beliefs are easily dismissed.

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Common myths dispelled

  1. Fiction: "I wash my windows several times a year."
    Fact: Consumers want to make sure that their double hung replacement windows tilt in to clean. Both the top and bottom sash can be tilted by compressing locks on the top rail, or compressing the jamb liner. But the truth is that very few people clean their windows more than once a year. The sash can be difficult to tilt: the jamb liner can be very awkward to compress to the point where the sash will release, and the sash is often too heavy for one person to handle when tilted out.

  2. Fiction: "Insulated glass has a vacuum in the space between the two pieces of glass."
    Fact: The space is filled with air for insulation (assuming there has not been an argon gas-fill ordered with the window). When the insulated unit is made, it is sealed with the air in the factory -- at that ambient temperature and air pressure. No vacuum is created between the glass.

  3. Fiction: "I need a storm door that converts to a screen door in the summer."
    Fact: These storm doors are available, and they are good products; however, you must remove the glass panel in the summer and insert the screen. Reinserting the square glass panel the following winter is sometimes tough to do since the door may have sagged out of shape. And when the screen is not in the door, it loses its rigidity and can be easily damaged. Both the screen and the glass unit can be inconvenient to store. If your home has central air conditioning, you may keep your doors shut in warmer weather, which can make a screen door unnecessary.

  4. Fiction: "I need a full window screen so I can lower the top sash and let fresh air blow through my house."
    Fact: Whether because the pollen count is high or it is difficult to reach the top sash without standing on a step ladder or chair, few people actually open the top sash for air flow. And a full screen hampers visibility through the top sash, which is where most people look out of their windows. A half-screen is usually sufficient to allow the window to open when needed for ventilation while keeping insects out.

Do your homework before shopping for windows and doors. Don't fall prey to common misconceptions like these or you might one day wake up and wonder whether you got your money's worth.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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