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Big difference in energy savings with Argon gas etc?

Big difference in energy savings with Argon gas etc?

Old 08-02-09, 09:14 AM
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Question Big difference in energy savings with Argon gas etc?

I received two bids for installing about a dozen SilverLine 8500/8520 windows by Andersen. One bid included windows with the LoE3/Argon/Foam Filled Frame the other I think is only LoE2 (no Argon gas). I know the windows in the second bid aren't included in the new energy conservation tax credit program, which would probably give me a $1500 credit on the first bid. The difference in the two bids was about $2000, so I'm wondering if having paying $500 more is worth while. Will I really see this savings in heat/ac for 5 or 10 years? If greater than that I can't see it worth it.
Old 08-02-09, 09:45 AM
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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.

Last edited by Gunguy45; 08-02-09 at 10:01 AM.

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