Friday, June 26, 2015

Heat Conduction Through Your Windows

Do Replacement Windows help with heat?

Can Vinyl Windows instead of Aluminum Windows make a difference.

I have to admit I was really excited on this one.  The front of the home had a big triple unit, two sidelites and a transome with one upstairs.  Easy day.  Except my driver didn't get the two sidelites.  

Okay new plan, hang the ones we have and just get those two in the morning.  We told the customer two days and although it could have been one, it was hot, and Chris was sick.

Here's where it gets fun.  The customer had a laser pointer with a temperature display on it.  It was awesome.  You'll never believe what I found so I've provided all the pictures to give it some context.

I did the triple first.  Here's the before shot #throughglass for a time frame.

An hour or so later the old ones were out and I had some new ones starting to go into place.  This is actually three windows mulled together.

This set came in at .27 U Value with a .19 Solar Heat Gain Coefficient.  That's pretty awesome.  The numbers are actually a little better on SHGC when you have grids as they block the sun and lower that number.

So we're making progress.  I noticed once I set the two bottom ones you could almost feel the heat above them immediately.  I tried to catch in on film.  You have to decide if I did or not.

But the process continues.  I set the half circle and started the process of squaring them all up together.  The mullions make it so they have to straight and next to each other, but the new ones being square is more important than being straight with the house.  It's a long story but sort of irrelevant for this story....

I got them in and it was time to seal.  I went out to get caulking guns and glass cleaner.  When I came back, my customer had produced a cool laser light thermometer.  I've seen the air conditioning guy use these before.  They tell you if the air at the vent is coming out cold.  Interestingly enough, it will also tell you an amazing fact about heat reflective glass in modern vinyl replacement windows.

That fact is:  They totally rock.

I got the bead of sealant around the window by around 1:20.  The room was still pretty warm from being wide open just a few minutes earlier.  The sun was heading down in the West right into the front yard we were working on.  As I stood on the ladder caulking the second floor window I could feel the heat being reflected alright....  right into my face...  making me very miserable.

So back to the thermal thingy.  Sill temperature inside on the center of the sill at around 5:30 was 77 to 78 degrees after the house had re-equalized.  I thought that was great. It was working.  This was about the same temperature as the house itself.

Here's where it gets super amazing and brings up an ever interesting subject - Conduction and Convection Heat.   I know you're excited!  Here's the picture that creates the discussion.

Even after the house had reclimatized, this was the center sill temperature inside the sidelight.  This window is aluminum builders grade type double paned clear windows.

There are literally millions of them in North Texas alone.  This was the standard from the 70's into 2008 when aluminum was no longer Energy Star Rated.  Almost 40 years of homes have this window.

There were some that read lower and some were up to 111.  I'll put them below.

Did you know that it being 95 degrees outside in direct sunlight puts 110 degrees on your window sill?  Can you imagine what that does to your air conditioning and the poor machine trying to crank out that nice cold 60 degree air at the vent?

Here's the best explanation I could find on the types of heat transference.

Author and original source:

How is heat transferred?

Heat can travel from one place to another in three ways: Conduction, Convection and Radiation. Both conduction and convection require matter to transfer heat.
If there is a temperature difference between two systems heat will always find a way to transfer from the higher to lower system.


Conduction is the transfer of heat between substances that are in direct contact with each other. The better the conductor, the more rapidly heat will be transferred. Metal is a good conduction of heat. Conduction occurs when a substance is heated, particles will gain more energy, and vibrate more. These molecules then bump into nearby particles and transfer some of their energy to them. This then continues and passes the energy from the hot end down to the colder end of the substance.


Thermal energy is transferred from hot places to cold places by convection. Convection occurs when warmer areas of a liquid or gas rise to cooler areas in the liquid or gas. Cooler liquid or gas then takes the place of the warmer areas which have risen higher. This results in a continous circulation pattern. Water boiling in a pan is a good example of these convection currents. Another good example of convection is in the atmosphere. The earth's surface is warmed by the sun, the warm air rises and cool air moves in.


Radiation is a method of heat transfer that does not rely upon any contact between the heat source and the heated object as is the case with conduction and convection. Heat can be transmitted though empty space by thermal radiation often called infrared radiation. This is a type electromagnetic radiation . No mass is exchanged and no medium is required in the process of radiation. Examples of radiation is the heat from the sun, or heat released from the filament of a light bulb.

While all that is indeed a mouthful, It means the sill is hotter than the temperature outside because my windows is in the sun and not in the shade.  


We can all go home now.  

No I'm kidding.  

It means the metal conducts the heat and gets hotter than 95.  Probably well into 115 or 120 after the sun beats on it for 5 hours.  That the air (and the wooden sill) are convecting heat from the window frame, and the glass. And the entire thing, like the sun on the other side of it, is radiating heat inside towards my precious ice cold air conditioning.

The end of the day just before I took the thermal shots.  This shows the new triple that had 77 and the sidelite by the door that showed 107 to 111.   Thirty degree difference!  One day, half a day really.
The second floor one was a real hot beast to stand there on an extension ladder and caulk.  Hottest 15 minutes you'll ever experience.  No need for a tanning booth afterwards either.

On this you notice the numbers are at .27 and .20 instead of the .19 on the window under it.  This is a good one to know.  Brochures have approximations and are close but often not accurate.  Also if they test out a 2-0 by 3-0 but you build a 4-0 by 6-0 with that window.....    it won't be the same.

This one is different because the grids are larger, allowing more direct sunlight and therefor having MORE of a SOLAR HEAT GAIN Coefficient.  Cool huh?

Hey send me an email if you'd like!

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why salesmen want to make the deal today, not next week.

Why making the deal now is so important.

In sales and in buying, know what the motivating factors are.

I'm now about a fifteen year veteran of sales.  I was actually a carpenter for fifteen before that.

As someone who sells I have these observations about the sales process and the reasons salespeople want to make a deal with you today, not tomorrow or next week.  It's a balance between being pushy and finding the best way to do the overall job, which is to sell windows.  I'm very lucky in that I think I'm the best option for anyone who needs my type of product.  That makes selling easier.  That being said, here's why they want to do the deal today.

1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush - Salesmen try to make the deal today for a number of quite justifiable reasons; and that knowledge alone is an advantage to the buyer.

2.  If as a salesperson, you can only see two, well qualified buyers per day meaning ten per week due to the time factor itself in providing great service.  If you have to see everyone of your potential clients twice, you can only see half as many people overall.  That costs everyone money.

3  When you see 10 projects a week they blur together a bit.  The best discounts and adjustments or freebies that one can find will be hinging on doing the deal today while it's still fresh in everyone's mind as to the details.  The math is fresh and it's easy to rework the notes and the plan while the battle plan is on the table.   Every detail fades away when the deal is not made at that point causing the need for time and effort to revamp and re-construct the minutia.

4.  I try to see two people a day who may only want to see me for a half an hour but in many cases need three hours of instruction and insight to become buyers.  If last weeks "bid working" calls and says, "lets go", I'll cancel my other appointments to go get the sold deal.  Those people being reset may be inconvenienced and not reset the appointment.  Again, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  I go where the check is.  That does mean repeat visits can increase sales cancellations.

5.  A.  Buyers move to an important pile on the desk called "To Be Ordered".  Those get done and followed up on and ordered and deposited and taken great care of.  B.  "Bids Working" move to a less important pile called "I should call and follow up on these in a week or two".   For a busy sales guy running ten leads a week, that pile is consistently neglected not because I don't care, but because I'm very busy seeing those other ten people.  

6.  Salesmen as a rule have a 50-50 chance of selling a well qualified lead their product when they are there to answer questions and help with the process.  That number decreases to a one in five for bids working statistically.  

7.  There is no better time to pin down details and perfect an order than at the moment when you are most informed and have it on the front burner.  Otherwise the ideas can seem like reheated leftovers or, time can distract us from our goals. (the car breaks down, the A/C goes out or whatever life catastrophe happens)

8.  Some can also suffer from "Paralysis by Analysis"...   A condition where too much information in a sales pitchy world confuses the central issue and goal. Ultimately, the salesperson wants to make a sale and to be successful, which is always an contingent on a great relationship with the customer or vendor.

All of these factors play into the process of selling and buying windows, or most other home improvements.  Knowing them is important.  These are also why most home improvement companies want to have both homeowners present for the sales appointment.  Having only one homeowner for the sales appointment is called a one legged sales call.  It's called one legged because it can't stand alone.  Both legs have to be there for balance.

Whether it's 3 thousand or 5, or ten thousand dollars, no one makes that decision without their spouse.  Many will say they want their spouse to do the research and then they can make a decision together as a couple after the bids are in.  While this sounds convenient and easy on the buyer, that's really not the case.  If both parties need to be in agreement then it makes sense to have both parties there to address individual issues and questions and make product or configuration changes (with associated pricing changes) then and there.  Also, this is when the variables are really looked into.  I'm sure there are other vendors that do what I do.  They are not as good as I am at doing the job.  I think I'm the best even if I'm more expensive than other options.  

9.  Multiple visits and rehashes tend to be confusing and have to potential to lead to mistakes.   Here's an example:  "This is wrong, we talked about them being tan, not white."  "  "This was discussed early in the conversation but then we didn't get it pinned down as an important detail that needed to be in the contract".  These types of errors are avoidable when it's done all at once...    when addressed in two or three or four visits they become more frequent.

10.  While some folks just want to sell you something, there are others that sincerely believe they have the best products, installation and value available and they especially want your business for a few reasons;  A.  If they don't sell it and some better salesperson comes and sells it, you may get an inferior product.  B.  They know that indecisiveness is as big a burden as anyone can bear.  There's a great feeling associated with making a decision and putting solutions in motion.  It feels considerably better than anxiety created from being unable to make a decision.  Sometimes even the smartest of people can get "paralysis by analysis" if a good guide isn't able to get them "through the weeds".

I have to remember some of the other motivators.  There are a few more I'm sure.  These are just the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.  

As a buyer you can use these truths to negotiate and secure a better deal on anything home improvement related.  Beit a roof, a fence, windows or doors , siding, patio covers or sunrooms.  You name it, it's a factor and knowing the facts will make you better prepared to get the best deal you can get.

Here's an example of how that works.  Fence guy shows up and measures, tells you ten grand.  He's expecting you to say "I'm getting bids and will get back to you".  His price is probably as high as he thinks he can go based on the market, the project itself and his own profit margins.  There is usually some kind of wiggle room.  Five percent for instance is a great number.

While he's there and you go over the quote ask him right up front, "Can you come in at $9500.00?

Then pause and wait.  Often five to ten percent is on the table.  With some vendors there's about 30% on the table.  Those guys are a little shady but that's another blog post.

I offer a ten percent discount for the elderly and for veterans and active military, teachers and other public servants like firemen and police men.  While I don't give it to just anyone, it's still there and if it gets the job done today instead of next month, it's certainly a variable that's on the table.

I hope this helps you save some money on your next home improvement.  If you control the tempo of the meeting, these tips can really help and work with your next contractor meeting.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The big reason to avoid circle top windows or watch out for this phase of construction.

I have seen this literally a hundred times.  No one puts insulation in the quarter circles.  Around the rectangles they do, but not that big arched triangle.  No wonder it's cold around the circletops.

This is a remodel from a late 60's build.  The sheetrock was removed to show a fairly large void with a two by four block to hold it at the right thickness.  No insulation at all, foam, expanding, non-expanded or otherwise.  This is quite typical in every home I work in with arches and half circles.

Happy Window Research!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Vinyl Window Frame Sizing

What about the frame thickness of new vinyl windows?

They look fat and ugly from many window manufacturers, but not all of them.

One of the things I love about North Dallas is the bow windows.  There are a lot and they do look cool.  More than 90% of them have not been replaced by a window contractor since the home was built and are original to the home.  It's mostly because that beautiful 5 unit bow is built from five different windows.  That being said, I had some fun with this one, It came out really well.

This was off of Park and Custer in North Dallas close to Plano.  The custom mulls make it different than a factory built unit and that's the plan for a retro-fit window installation.

Builders Grade Aluminum Windows are certainly cheap.
Something that works really well is preferable.

Many folks are concerned about the thickness of the frame on vinyl windows.  Although they are indeed thicker and some manufacturers, considerably thicker.  Some manufacturers build very slim line type frames like the ones we see here.  This is a main reason we offer so many manufacturers.  It's important to have choices especially ones that help you get it right.  This window manufacturer for instance doesn't build pre-fabbed bay or bow windows or french doors or skylights.  Getting the right product from the right people is really important in keeping window costs down.

Here's more from my before and after page:  Window Results: The Before & After Window Gallery

And the window gallery probably has a few that will help:  Window Gallery - Dallas Windows

This vinyl vertical operating single hung vinyl replacement window measures two and five eights inches in frame thickness.  That's about as small as it can get in a quality product.  Junky ones will have a narrower frame but are so narrow they lack rigidity needed to provide longevity.

With bow windows the rigidity is less of a factor due to non expansive foam filling inside custom bent mullions.  This was built from a Slim Line Vinyl Window from a local manufacturer we're very proud of:  NT Window  

Those are a before and after.  Slim Framed Vinyl Windows after with old steel casement putty glazed window as the before shot.  As you can see the frames don't get too thick if you use the right replacement windows.

Here are a few that just baffle me.  All have great manufacturers but just really don't measure up.  First on my list is the Jeldwen Vinyl Window.  Reviews are terrible and there are a lot of reasons.  I just think it's ugly.  Granted that one is dirty because it was in my storage but none the less, ugly.

Next on my list of window fails is actually the Millgard Vinyl Replacement Window.  While I think it may look great in a wood window opening up north, it's just not right for Dallas and North Texas.  It's just ugly especially in a brick opening.  I read good things, but hated the window.  It uses a spring bar system which depends on vinyl strings to hold the sashes and it has sash clips to remove the bottom sash instead of tilting in.  It leaves a lot of what I call "slop" in the sash.  This means I can open it two inches and slide it back and forth about three quarters of an inch.  It depends on weatherstipping that is on the face.  I think there are much better products that are actually cheaper.

This is the Andersen Vinyl Replacement Window.  The Series 200 most call it but I've seen rebranding jobs on this one.  Just at a glance, exterior stops are not great, weepholes are not preferable unless needed and that shouldn't be on a single hung.  It's just not what I think of as a long term product.  I've found we're always better to do what's best for the home even if the wallet suffers ten or even fifteen percent to do it.  This is one place cheap windows just don't pay off.

I'm sure I'll make a few revisions and additions to this post but that's just a little on frame thickness.

If you have questions send me an email!