Best Windows for the Price

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tdhenson86
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Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:39 am

Best Windows for the Price

#1 Post by tdhenson86 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:31 am

For an idea of my climate and what I’m looking for: I live in Southwest Michigan and winters get very cold and summers get very hot. I’ve gotten a lot of window bids. Here’s what I’ve gotten with brands, NFRC ratings, and cost. This is my first time buying windows and I want a good deal along with a decent window. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

Vista (through Jack’s Wholesale Windows):
Quote: $2,945
U-factor .21
SHGC .16
VT 34%
AI .06

Alside (through 1-800-Hansons):
Quote: $2,766
U-factor .23
SHGC .24
VT 39%
AI .04

Pella 250 (They did not give me any NFRC ratings which is worrisome to me)
Quote: $2,489
U-factor unknown
SHGC unknown
VT unknown
AI unknown

Radiance Plus (upgrade with Super Spacer and triple pane low-e and argon)
Quote: $2,447.15
U-factor .20
SHGC .27
VT 44%
AI unknown

Polar Seal
Quote: $2,551
U-factor .28
SHGC .43
VT unknown
AI unknown

Preservation Model 9001
Quote: $5,700
U-factor .17
SHGC .17
VT 41%
AI unknown

Plygem triple pane (did not give NFRC ratings either)
Quote: $4,200
U-factor unknown
SHGC unknown
VT unknown
AI unknown

Polaris EN PS (the windows have the AAMA Gold rating and this quote includes a “free” whole house energy efficiency upgrade where they find leaks and fill them with insulation, insulated outlet backings, caulking, furnace efficiency test and recalibration, etc.)
Quote: $5,300
U-factor .18
SHGC unknown
VT unknown
AI .01

Sunrise (two options)
Model: Ultra U Plus2
Quote: $3,045.06
U-factor .25
SHGC .28
VT unknown
AI unknown

OR Sunrise AR 90
Quote: $3,458.86
U-factor .23
SHGC .22
VT unknown
AI unknown

Thanks for all your guidance!!
Tim

toddinmn
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#2 Post by toddinmn » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:15 pm

Are these casement windows? It can make it hard to compare when some are triple panes and other are not.
Can you price the Polaris without the mini energy audit? Do all these price include the same install methods? Do you know if they have another name for the Polaris lines?

If these are double Hungs I'd go with the Polaris,if casements Sunrise or Polaris

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HomeSealed
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#3 Post by HomeSealed » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:44 pm

Good advice from Todd... I'd only add that for michigan, you want the Sunrise option that has the .28 SHGC, not the lower one... You want a moderate to high SHGC, the only reason to sacrifice that would be if you go triple pane as the gain in U factor more than makes up for the drop in SHGC

tdhenson86
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#4 Post by tdhenson86 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:50 pm

The ratings I gave you are the ratings for their double hung windows. The windows I’m getting are one casement and 3 double hung windows (for a total of 4 windows), but I only used the double hung ratings so they would be comparable to each other.

Most of these are triple pane. The only double pane windows are:
Sunrise Ultra U Plus2-the Sunrise AR 90 is triple pane
Polar Seal
Pella

The company with the EN PS will not give a quote without the “free” energy efficiency package. They just said it’s a top of the line Polaris window made specifically for their company (PS stands for Passive Solar technology if that helps).

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#5 Post by Windows on Washington » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:02 pm

The Polaris window (upper end) is a stout little unit and performer.

masterext
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#6 Post by masterext » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:15 pm

You need to get more estimates. We usually recommend 25. Lol
Seriously, you have a lot of estimates there.

toddinmn
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#7 Post by toddinmn » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:36 pm

I like the Polaris option, but the free audit seems a bit expensive perhaps?

tdhenson86
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#8 Post by tdhenson86 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:46 pm

I agree that the “free” energy audit is pricey compared to what I was quoted for the other windows (double the price). But, I honestly don’t know what is a fair price. What would a good price be for those Polaris windows if I didn’t have the “free” energy audit?

toddinmn
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#9 Post by toddinmn » Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:38 pm

I would expect them tobe closer to the Sunrise.
The exclusive Polaris window they get is not much different then the non exclusive ones.
If anything get other bids in the upper brands from sunrise , Soft-Lite , Okna, or the non exclusive lines from Polaris.

tdhenson86
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#10 Post by tdhenson86 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:01 pm

Unfortunately, the Okna dealer in my area canceled on me the day of the appointment and they won’t return my calls to reschedule. The Soft-Lite dealer in my area has a terrible reputation as a company. So, I think the Sunrise and Polaris windows are my only options for better windows.

After posting this and seeing all the recommendations of Polaris, I called and talked the Polaris dealer down to $4,663 with the whole home energy efficiency included (on average, it costs about $2,000 to get this done by other companies in the area). Considering that, I’m leaning heavily toward them even though they’re about $1,000 more than the AR90 Sunrise windows.

Also, I found out that my home energy company partners with this contractor (Polaris dealer) and doubles all their rebates if you use this company. So, I’ll get between $400-$800 in rebates from the windows and energy efficiency program. The difference in price, then, isn’t so bad.

Thank you all for your help! (And, if you feel that, in the end, I’ve made a bad choice, please let me know)

toddinmn
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#11 Post by toddinmn » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:33 pm

I think you did good especially if the audit has a value to you, I just think it should be a service that is offered separately.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#12 Post by HomeSealed » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:23 pm

Couple of thoughts based on the added info:

- The ultra U Sunrise numbers are wonky for a double hung. The Sunrise DH does not meet the .27 u factor (or lower) Energy Star in their double hung without using a low solar gain package (lower than that .28 quoted, more like .21-.23), and/or a surface 4 low e coating on the interior surface of the glass which destroys condensation resistance. This is a significant detriment in your location.

-All that being said, you are looking at casements, not double hungs. The Sunrise casement is an excellent window, it does meet Energy Star with double pane and without any gimmick coatings that hurt performance. Its decidedly better than the Polaris casement in my personal opinion.

-Lastly, the Polaris is still pretty darn good. It sounds like you feel most comfortable with the company offering the Polaris line, and that is a very important factor as well. Installation quality, customer service, etc can certainly swing the pendulum back to a product that might be a step down, but still very good.

toddinmn
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#13 Post by toddinmn » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:59 pm

The bid was for 3 double Hungs and 1 casement.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Best Windows for the Price

#14 Post by HomeSealed » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:01 pm

toddinmn wrote:The bid was for 3 double Hungs and 1 casement.
Thanks for catching that, I only saw the casement mention....

In that case I'd probably agree on the Polaris option. Seems like a consensus.

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