Now Offering Alside & Revere Windows (almost) Nationwide!

In the fall of 2015 we started testing a program offering both Alside and Revere windows with and without professional installation in several cities across the country. Thanks to our fantastic readers this program has been a HUGE success. As a result, we’ve expanded to 37 markets nationwide and launched our new brand, Window Universe Express.

If you’re looking for new windows for your home this is the easiest possible way to get there and I’ll show you why. Check out our FAQ (link below) for even more info.

widow dog replacement windows
Here’s the window dog hard at work with the team at a home and garden show. He has to earn his kibble around here!

First, we’re offering a wide range of window options from both Alside and Revere. Our most popular options have been the Alside Mezzo and the Revere Berkshire Elite and there are many others to choose from. We’re also offering all styles of windows including casements, bay windows, garden windows, sliding patio doors and much more.

Next we’re offering top quality installation with a local project manager and top quality installation crews to make sure everything is done right. You can also install the windows yourself if you’d prefer.

Best of all, if you’re in an area covered by this program, we can get you a complete itemized quote for your project without ever inviting a salesperson to your home.

That’s right, you could spend several evenings inviting salespeople into your home to give you their sales pitch, walk you through their predetermined “price drops” and try to close the deal with their 50% off today only special after calling the manager for a special deal 3 times. Or, you could exchange a few emails with our industry experts to get your project moving along quickly and easily.

It’s up to you…

So who is Window Universe?

window universe replacement windows

Window Universe is the company we founded many years ago. We’ve grown from one small business operating out of an apartment to a multimillion-dollar business with 7 stores in several states and more on the way.

With our Window Universe Express brand we have the same top-quality products and services that we offer through our retail stores.

How does this all work?

 It’s pretty simple, which is why I love it. When you’re ready to get a quote for your replacement window project just fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you with the most helpful email we can write as quickly as we can.

You’ll see we don’t need the sizes of the windows to get you a quote. This seems unusual to some folks, but even in markets where we have stores our reps don’t measure the windows.   It’s just not necessary to get a quote in the vast majority of projects. We’ll get the windows measured before the manufacturing begins, but it’s not needed yet.

The basic info we’ll need is how many windows you want to replace, how do you want them to open, what color window frames do you want, etc. Just the basics.

If there is anything about your project that you think is unusual just note it and we’ll address it when we get back to you. The whole process is really easy.

What have our customers been saying about this program?

 Here’s one example:

If you don’t want to DIY your windows but pride yourself in being an informed consumer, Window Universe Express is the way to go! After sitting for hours listening to people tell me why their windows were the best, I couldn’t figure out why the window packages I was being presented with were so expensive ($10 – 12k for 7 slider windows)…

We are so pleased with the windows, the installer, and the process… Window Universe Express has created a great way to inform yourself as a consumer and be able to get real numbers. No games, gimmicks or “guess what your price is going to be if you buy it today!”

I rarely write reviews for products/services, but I was so impressed with the process, price and product, I told Dan that I would be happy to endorse them!

–Excerpt of an Angie’s List review from Andrea in Seattle, WA

Here’s another.

Every aspect of this window experience was excellent. They didn’t give a sales pitch, but instead provided links to specific information about all different types/brands of windows with ratings and specifications, so I was able to make an informed decision. 

He then provided a very detailed quote so I knew exactly what I was paying for, and was able to add or remove options and see the price impact of these changes. The accountant in me loved this approach.  Once we agreed to the window specs, I was given a final price and the measuring was scheduled. 

The gentlemen who came to measure the windows arrived when scheduled and was quick and efficient.  The windows were promptly ordered and once the windows were ready, the installation was scheduled.  The installation crew arrived on time and got right to work.  They put down tarps on my carpets since the install was on the 2nd floor and it was wet and snowy outside.  They installed the windows in a few hours and cleaned up afterwards.

–Excerpt of an Angie’s List review from Lisa in Philadelphia, PA

Here’s a bit more feedback from Austin in Dallas.  You get the idea.

Folks love it.

Why are the prices so great?

Ha.  Good question.  Window Universe Express is a completely different kind of window company.  We’re able to offer top quality products and expert level service at a very low price because we don’t spend our money on things you don’t care about.

Most traditional window companies spend tons and tons of money on sales and marketing.  It’s not unusual for a company to spend 30%-40% of their total sales dollars on things that you don’t care about like sales commissions, marketing and advertising.  Paying people to walk around neighborhoods knocking on doors is expensive, so are tv commercials and billboards.

Another company may be able to get to a similar price by offering cheap windows or by using cheap subcontractors.  That’s a low price, but it’s not a great value.

A typical company offering the products and services we do would charge $10k for a project while we would charge $7k or less.  It’s just a great deal.

I have more questions

Great! I love it when folks ask great questions. I’ve been emailing with many people about this program since we launched. I’ve noted most of the questions we get and put the answers all in one place for you.

On our FAQ page you’ll find answers to all sorts of questions like:

  • Will the price change after the windows are measured?
  • Who does the installation?
  • What is the warranty on these windows?
  • Are these the right windows for my climate?

Answers to those questions and many more on our FAQ page here – this will open in a new tab so you don’t lose your place here.

How do I get a quote?

That’s the easiest part. When you’re ready to get a detailed itemized quote for your project just fill out the form below and we’ll send you back an email just as quickly as we can.

If you don’t know the answer to any of the questions or if you’re not sure about something just make a note of it and send in the form as complete as you can. It’s ok if you don’t know all of the terms for these things. We don’t require you to be a window expert.

What if I don’t know the window terms?

Don’t worry about it.  If you’re unsure about something just take your best guess and let us know you’re not quite sure.  We can always revise the proposal later.

Another great way to learn about window styles and options is to take a look at our window design studio.  You can see the common styles and options with the right terminology.  Give it a try.


What cities are included in this program?

Here is the list of cities where we are currently offering this program. We’ll surely be adding more soon so if your city isn’t on the list check back often.

  • California
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
      Kansas City, Overland Park
  • Kentucky
      Lexington, Louisville
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
      Kansas City
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
      Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
      Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
  • South Dakota
      Rapid City
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
      Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio
  • Utah
      Ogden, Provo, Salt Lake City
  • Virginia
      Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Richmond, VA Beach
  • Washington
      Seattle, Spokane
  • Wyoming

Don’t see the area you’re looking for, try here.

If you’re within about an hour of any of these cities and you’re ready to finally get those new windows just fill out the form right here. We will get back to you asap and we will NEVER share your information with anyone.

Have more questions?  Don’t be shy, just ask!

To see if we can help with your project just fill out this form and you’ll receive an email with the next steps within 24 hours.

Get your completely FREE project quote by email.  

The Best Window Company in Houston – Texas Remodel Team

If you’re looking for the very best window company in Houston you’re in luck.  My friend Tim owns Texas Remodel Team and he’s going to be one of the best resources you’ll ever have as you’re shopping for new replacement windows.

We’re proud to name Texas Remodel Team the very best window company in Houston.

Tim has a level of experience in the industry that most other company owners just don’t have.  In the past he was a regional manger for the largest remodeling company in the country.  He was responsible for the territory from New Mexico to Puerto Rico with over 400 sales reps.

Why does this make him the best window company in Houston?

This experience provides a perspective on the business that other people just won’t be able to see.  For example, when I was talking with Tim last week we were talking about finding great installers.  He chuckled and said in his past life he had to kiss a whole lot of frogs to find a couple of princes.  As the owner of a window company I can tell you this is something we’ve all gone through.  Tim already knows who the good guys are.

Ultimately, he left that fancy job because he felt that he wasn’t able to provide the level of service that he want to offer.  A large corporation can sometimes have a focus on driving numbers rather than providing great experiences.  I can tell you Tim is all about providing great experiences.

That’s not the only factor in our decision to name Texas Remodel Team the best window company in Houston, but it sure didn’t hurt.

His business in Houston is growing quickly.  They do more than just windows.  In addition to being the best window company in Houston they also offer whole house remodeling, kitchen and bath remodeling and even additions.

Is Tim working with you on this site?

I love when I get to ask the questions and write the answers!  Yes, Tim will be contributing to the site.  He has a great deal of info and he’s going to be writing posts to share with you.  In the future we should see some great content and the site will be better off because we worked together.

How can I get a quote for my project?

It’s easy to reach the best window company in Houston for a quote.  Here are a few of the best ways.

  1. You can give them a ring at 281-719-1496.  Sometimes the easiest way to get in touch is just to pick up the phone.
  2. You can send them an email at  They’ll get back to you right away and I’m sure they’ll be able to help out.
  3. You can fill out the form below.  The info you submit goes only to the friendly folks at Texas Remodel Team.  It’s not shared with anyone else.  Ever.

Your Name (required)

Best Email (required)

Best Phone

When are you available?

How quickly do you need new windows?

Anything you'd like us to know?

The Best Window Company in Denver – Zen Windows!

The weather in Denver can be beautiful and it can sometimes get a little extreme.  If you live in this part of the world you’ll certainly want to find the best window company in Denver and I’m happy to recommend my friends Brandon and Jamie.  They own Zen Windows in Denver and they do great work all over town.

the best window company in denver is Zen Windows
Here are Brandon and Jamie looking all fancy in front of some beautiful new windows. Your windows could look this nice too!

Zen Windows works a lot like my company does which is why it’s easy for me to recommend them.  They make the process of buying new windows absolutely as easy as it can be.  There are no pushy salespeople.  In fact, there are no salespeople at all.

Brandon and Jamie have become contributors to the site and are going to be working with us to publish great new posts on the site.  The goal is to help make window shopping easy for everyone.  It’ll be easy to see why they’re the best window company in Denver.

How did they get into the window business?

Brandon is a Colorado native who grew up in Broomfield. In 2003, he started working as a laborer for a remodeling company that specialized in kitchens and bathrooms. In 2007, he opened his own handyman business and in 2010 he started specializing in window and patio door replacement.

Brandon and his wife Jamie, a native of St. Louis, MO, began working together as a team after they were married in June of 2012. They were inspired to open a small business because they both grew up in entrepreneurial households.

Brandon successfully operated his own window installation business from 2010-2013; during which he realized he wanted to provide a better overall experience to his customers. That is when Brandon and Jamie found their “Zen” with Zen Windows™.

What areas do they service?

They offer great windows in all of the Denver metro area.  To find out if they cover your area just send them an email, the address is below and they’re very friendly.  I promise.

How can I reach them?

You can find their website here and when you’re ready to get in touch there are 3 easy ways.

  1. You can give him a ring at 303-507-5206
  2. You can send him an email at
  3. You can fill out the form below and your info will go straight to them.  We do NOT share this info with anyone.

Your Name (required)

Best Email (required)

Best Phone

When are you available?

How quickly do you need new windows?

Anything you'd like us to know?

The Best Window Company in St Louis – Zen Windows!

We know our readers in St Louis are looking for great windows installed by a great company which is why I’m happy to recommend my friend my friends Dennis and Rhonda, the owners of Zen Windows in St Louis.  If you’re looking for the best window company in St Louis Dennis and Rhonda are the folks for you.

best window company in st louis
Here are Dennis and Rhonda looking all professional standing by ready to help get you new windows.

Zen Windows operates just the way you’d want a window company to operate.  They can give you a quote in 5 minutes, they don’t send a salesperson to your house and you can work directly with the owner to make sure your project turns out great.

If you’re looking for the best window company in St Louis or any of the surrounding area you should definitely give Zen Windows a look.

Dennis and Rhonda will be publishing guest posts as their company has become a supporter of our site and they’re working hard to make the window business easy for folks in St Louis.

How did they get into the window business?

Glad you asked!  Both of them have been in the home building and remodeling business in St Louis for years.  Of course neither of them like being on the either end of the high pressure sales process so when they heard about the Zen Windows business model they knew it was a great fit for them.

Luckily for all of you in St Louis the business is booming and they’re making the process of buying new windows absolutely as easy as possible.

How do they make the process easy?

They do many things differently than a traditional window company. For one, they don’t need to come to your house and camp out in your living room to get you a detailed quote for your project.  You can send them and email or give them a ring and they’ll explain how things work.  It’s really easy.

What areas do they service?

They offer great windows in all of the St Louis metro area.  To find out if they cover your area just send them an email, the address is below and they’re very friendly.  I promise.

How can I reach them?

You can find their website here and when you’re ready to get in touch there are 3 easy ways.

  1. You can give him a ring at 314-441-7788
  2. You can send him an email at
  3. You can fill out the form below and your info will go straight to them.  We do NOT share this info with anyone.

Your Name (required)

Best Email (required)

Best Phone

When are you available?

How quickly do you need new windows?

Anything you'd like us to know?

The Best Window Company in Boston – Zen Windows!

We know our readers in Boston are looking for great windows installed by a great company which is why I’m happy to recommend my friend Matt, the owner of Zen Windows in Boston.  If you’re looking for the best window company in Boston Matt is your guy.

Zen Windows operates just the way you’d want a window company to operate.  They can give you a quote in 5 minutes, they don’t send a salesperson to your house and you can work directly with the owner to make sure your project turns out great.

Matt the owner of Zen Windows Boston
Here’s Matt with his beautiful wife Heather, kids Madison, Nicholas and Nate and their little dog Sadie.  If you see Matt out on the road odds are you’ll see Sadie riding along.

If you’re looking for the best window company in Boston or any of the surrounding area you should definitely give Zen Windows a look.

Matt will be publishing guest posts as his company has become a supporter of our site and they’re working hard to make the window business easy for folks in Boston.

How did Matt get into the window business?

Glad you asked!  Matt has a great story.  He worked for a large well known window company in Boston for 21 years.  They did the typical 3 hour presentation with the high pressure sales patch.  Matt knows that business model inside and out.

He always operated ethically, but certainly saw the underbelly of this industry.  When he heard about Zen Windows he had the tycpial reaction, he thought it would never work.

Luckily for all of you in Boston it’s surpassed everyone’s expectations and it’s working out great!

How do they make the process easy?

They do many things differently than a traditional window company. For one, they don’t need to come to your house and camp out in your living room to get you a detailed quote for your project.  You can send Matt and email or give him a ring and he’ll explain how things work.  It’s really easy.

What areas do they service?

They offer great windows in all of the Boston metro area.  To find out if they cover your area just send Matt an email, his address is below and he’s very friendly.

What kind of experience does this Matt character have?

That’s a great question!  Matt has over 20 years of home improvement experience and their installation teams are experts installing windows and doors.  These are experts that will be able to get your project done right.  Once your project is complete we’re sure you’ll see why we said Matt was the best window company in Boston.

How can I reach them?

You can find his website here and when you’re ready to get in touch there are 3 easy ways.

  1. You can give him a ring at 978-604-4262
  2. You can send him an email at
  3. You can fill out the form below and your info will go straight to Matt.  We do NOT share this info with anyone.

Your Name (required)

Best Email (required)

Best Phone

When are you available?

How quickly do you need new windows?

Anything you'd like us to know?

Top Factors to Consider When Choosing a Window

With over 35 years combined experience in the window business, we’ve worked with many customers to find the right window for their needs. As you move forward with your research, ask yourself what factors are most important to you as a homeowner.  Is matching a particular design aesthetic your primary goal?  Do you prize extreme energy efficiency above all other considerations?  Do you prefer a window with a lifetime warranty that will last for many years to come?  How important is price in making your final decision?  We’ve created a list below of the most common factors homeowners consider when choosing new windows.  The clearer you are about what’s most important to you at the beginning of the window shopping process, the easier it will be to choose the window that best meets your needs.


For many customers, their spending plan is an important factor in determining which replacement window or door they choose. Some window companies offer only one type of replacement window; others offer a variety of brands and materials at a range of price points that work with many different budgets.  Knowing what you’re able to spend on your project will help you rule out some companies and focus on others.


Some window companies offer a variety of choices while others have only one window material or brand to offer. The goal of a one-size-fits-all window company will be to convince you that their window is the best and that it’s exactly the right window for you.  Although this may be true in some cases, it’s certainly not true in all.  There are four main materials used in residential replacement windows today:  wood, vinyl, fiberglass, and composite (a blend of more than one material, i.e. wood and vinyl).  The wider the selection of window materials to choose from, the more likely you will end up with the window that’s the best fit for your needs.

Window Quality

Let’s face it: all building materials are not created equal, and windows are no exception.  For some clients, a premium quality window is of the utmost importance; for others, not so much.  In many cases, the higher the quality, the higher the initial price tag.  Higher quality windows will often outlast other brands, so your long-term savings could certainly be worth the up-front investment.  Will you live in the home for many years to come, or are you focused on a short-term solution?  These are all things to consider when looking at the different window brands available.


Some homeowners will start their window research with a specific design aesthetic in mind.  Owners of condominiums and historic homes will usually have to follow certain guidelines when choosing which window to install.  Alternately, your home style or location may demand that you work within specific architectural parameters in order to maintain the integrity of the design; such is the case with Craftsman style homes, or regions like Cape Cod.  Only certain types of windows will look right in these instances, and you want to be sure you’re working with a window installer who can match your home’s design needs.


Energy efficiency, U-factor, Solar heat gain coefficient, double-glazed, impact resistant, egress windows, condensation resistance, air leakage, visible transmittance…are you confused yet? These are all words that can be used to describe how a window will perform.  Sometimes online research can leave you with more questions than answers.  All residential replacement windows installed today will need to meet certain basic standards for energy efficiency.  Some homes require specific performance features based on their location, like coastal impact windows for homes located within a certain distance from the ocean.  Additionally, some homeowners may opt for certain features based on what’s important to them (i.e. triple-glazed windows for more energy efficiency; windows with more sound proofing for busy urban areas).  A good window professional will explain your options in language that’s easy to understand, and will make recommendations based on the needs and wants of both home and homeowner.


The terms of a warranty can mean the difference between a good purchase and a great purchase. When choosing a window for your home, be sure to explore the different warranties available.  Common warranty lengths are:  10 year, 20 year, and lifetime.  Many companies have different warranty lengths for different parts of the window (glass seal, frame, hardware, or moving parts).  Not all warranties cover glass breakage, but you can sometimes add that at the time of purchase.  Labor and installation warranties are another aspect to watch out for.  These would usually be offered by the company that installed your windows, and are often a sign that the installer is very confident in their work.

Customer Reviews

Before making any final decisions, we HIGHLY recommend you read reviews by previous customers as part of your research. Angie’s List (which now has a free membership option), Better Business Bureau, Consumer Reports, HomeAdvisor, The Window Dog…there are many websites out there that can help you see who it is that you’ll be inviting into your home.  Read the responses from each company to get a balanced view of complaints and to see how they handle issues.  No company is perfect, and seeing how they handle problems is important should any unforeseen issues arise with your installation.

 Buying Experience

It often doesn’t take more than a couple of appointments for customers to realize that ‘buying experience’ may be one of the most important factors in choosing a window company.  Some window companies employ hard-core sales tactics or focus on bashing other window brands to make their own look better.  Their salesmen may wear you down over the course of several hours or offer a “sign now for huge savings that go away tomorrow!” sort of deal that makes you feel like you have no choice.  Other companies will aim to educate you rather than scare you, and will honor their price quote for a full 30 days after your consultation.  These companies are interested in providing a professional buying experience backed with exceptional customer service.  We encourage you to meet with more than one company so you can see the difference for yourself.

 Company Features

A final question for homeowners to ask themselves is “Who do I want to install my windows?” Do you prefer to work with a large chain business, or would you rather work with a locally-owned company?  What, if any, kind of labor and installation warranty does the company offer?  Are window installations their specialty, or is the company more of a jack-of-all trades?  Do they employ their own installers or do they subcontract their installations out?  Choose your windows and your installer wisely and you will be satisfied with your purchase for years to come.

Nicole Spano is the CEO of United Better Homes in Pawtucket, RI.  United is a leading installer of replacement windows in the Rhode Island area and they’re our recommended company in the area.  If you’re anywhere near The Ocean State I’d recommend you give them a ring.  

The BEST Window Company in Rhode Island – United Better Homes

You know there are many great aspects to life in and around the Ocean State.  One of them is that you get to order new windows from my friend Eddie at United Better Homes.  That’s right, United Better Homes is the absolute best window company in Rhode Island.

United Better Homes, the best window company in Rhode Island
Here is Eddie, the owner of United Better Homes, winning an award of excellence from Alside.

They’re a family owned business based in Pawtucket and serving customers in a 40 mile radius around their office.  That area includes all of Rhode Island and a whole lot of Massachusetts.  Eddie has been in the business for many years starting as an installer for other local window companies before starting his own business.

Just give them a ring to see if they can help.  You can reach them directly at 401-274-0111.

While working for other companies he saw first hand the way some companies were treating their customers and he knew he could do better.  In that regard the founding of his company is very similar to the way I started my company.  It is certainly possible to run a great window company.   Eddie and his team prove it every day.

They offer several brands of windows including Marvin, Pella, Soft-Lite, Alside and Harvey.  They’re going to have something for almost every customer.

United Better Homes Window Showroom
Their window showroom is enormous. I’d need some panorama mode to show show you just how big.

Due to the fact that they’re a fantastic local company they’ve been recognized for providing great service in the community.  They’ve won the Angie’s List Super Service Award 5 straight years and I’m sure they’re planning on continuing that winning streak for many years to come.

Eddie has recently starting working with us and we look forward to his many contributions to the site and to the window business.  I know you’ll quickly see why they’re the best window company in Rhode Island

You’re probably about ready to give them a ring to see how they can help with your window project.  There a many easy ways to reach them.  Regardless of how you reach out be sure to let them know that Dan from TheWIndowDog sent you!

Here are the best ways to reach out:

  1. Give them a ring at 401-274-0111
  2. Send them an email at
  3. Fill out the form below and they’ll touch base with you.

Remember, there is no easier way to get new windows than to work with Eddie and his team.  They’re just the kind of company you’ve been looking for and they’re standing by to help.

Your Name (required)

Best Email (required)

Best Phone

When are you available?

How quickly do you need new windows?

Anything you'd like us to know?

What is a Replacement Window Spacer?

When you’re in the market for replacement windows, you’ll probably hear a lot about the NRFC ratings, the glass and the installation itself, but another important factor is the replacement window spacer.

What is a Replacement Window Spacer?

Any replacement window that has more than one pane of glass will have some type of spacer system.

The spacer is not simply the space between the panes of glass but it is the material that is used to hold the glass in place from between the panes. It also keeps the seal of glass air tight to keep in inert gas like argon or krypton gas.

Here you can see a triple pane glass unit with 2 spacers. The spacers are the gray pieces that separate the pieces of glass and keep the gas sealed inside.

Why is the Type of Spacer Important?

The spacer is one of the factors that affects the overall efficiency of the windows.

If the spacer is aluminum, the efficiency of the window will not be as effective as a spacer made of stainless steel (which is less conductive).

Many window manufacturers are now offering ‘warm-edge’ spacers that are generally made of a composite material. This type of spacer can help to improve the condensation rating (and by improve, we mean lower the likelihood of condensation, but you can read more about that here).

What Type of Window Spacer Should I Get?

My two cents worth is that you can ask the company you’re considering hiring if they have a some type of ‘warm-edge’ replacement window spacer. Generally the cost to upgrade should be quite nominal.

It’s included in our triple pane windows at my company, but nearly any replacement window company worth it’s salt should be able to  upgrade double pane windows with a high performance spacer as well.

Andrew Zahn is the owner of Zen Windows in Central, PA.   Andrew has worked in home improvement sales, marketing and public relations before opening his own window company.  If you’re in central PA and you’re thinking about new windows you should reach out to Andrew.  He’ll be the easiest window company you’ve ever dealt with. 

2016 Window Tax Credit Details and Information

As an observant window shopper you may have heard about the 2016 window tax credit.  There have long been tax credits associated with energy efficient replacement windows and the federal government has just extended the tax credit for new replacement windows and energy efficient doors.

Which windows qualify?

Over the years there have been different methods for determining which windows and doors qualify for various tax credits.  In 2016 the government is using the Energy Star guidelines to determine which replacement windows and doors qualify.

If your new windows and doors are Energy Star certified then you’ll qualify for the tax credit.  Most manufacturers offer many qualifying options.

What are the 2016 Energy Star guidelines?

The guidelines vary based on where you live.  This is a pretty reasonable method as folks in Phoenix need different windows than folks in Maine.  The exact requirements for your location are shown here and your window installation company should be able to make sure they’re offering you windows that will qualify.

2016 Energy Star tax credit requirements for windows and doors
Windows and doors that meet or exceed the ratings shown here will qualify for the 2016 federal tax credit.

How much is the tax credit?

The tax credit for 2016 is based on the cost of the windows.  You’ll be eligible for a federal tax credit of 10% of the cost of the windows, not including labor costs, up to $200.

The tax credit for doors is similar.  It’s 10% of the cost of the doors, not including labor, up to $500.

This is only $200?

If you’re one of those people who says, “oh, it’s only $200 well that’s nothing” then please make a check out to me for $200 and drop it in the mail.

I know it would be better if it was $2,000, but c’mon $200 is $200.  Go buy your sweetheart something nice and quit your grumbling.

Is this a tax credit or a tax deduction?

This is a tax credit.  This means your tax bill will be reduced by $200.  There is no consideration for how much you make or how much you pay.  If you owed $10,000 in taxes you’ll only owe $9,800 if you spent over $2,000 on qualifying windows.

If you’re owed a tax refund (since starting a business I can barely remember what a tax refund is), your refund will increase by $200.  So, if your refund would have been $3,000 it will now be $3,200 if you purchased qualifying windows.

What if I already purchased windows?

If they meet the Energy Star requirements and you’ve purchased them in the last few years you’re eligible for the same credits.

What documents do I need?

You do not need to submit anything with your taxes.  You just let them know how much you spent on the windows and you get the credit.  It might be a smart idea to keep a copy of your invoice and the manufacturers certification statement in your files just in case you need to prove anything one day.

What if I used this tax credit last year?

If you’ve used a tax credit for any energy efficient home improvement in the past you probably cannot add this credit to that one.  You get one shot whether you use it for new windows, a new furnace or one of those fancy tankless hot water heaters (I just got one of those bad boys, endless hot water, I love it).

Should I ask a tax professional if I have questions about this?

Yes.  I’m a window person not a tax advisor.  This is the best info I have based on my experience.  Please don’t email me saying I cost you tax money.  Call your tax preparer with any questions.

Are Foam Filled Windows Better?

Are Foam Filled Windows Better?

One of the more common questions that we here in the Milwaukee area, is regarding foam filled windows. Are they actually better?  Is the upgrade worth the money? Which type of foam is better, injected or push-in? The answer like many things in life of course is… It depends.

Are foam filled windows better?
Here are two different types of foam filled windows. Is one better than the other? Check the U-Factor.

Foam Filled Windows have benefits

Foam filled windows will provide some benefits across the board, the debate really comes down to how much of a benefit, and is it worth the added expense. My first recommendation to replacement window shoppers is to check how this option affects the U factor of the window. Some foam filled windows will have a U factor that improves by 2+ points, others will not budge at all. There are a variety of factors for this, most notably in the design of the extrusion(the “inner-framing” of the window).  Windows that have many chambers will often see less impact on U factor, because those dead air spaces actually do a decent job of insulating. This is not necessarily reflective of product quality, it is just a different means to an end.  That said, the primary benefits to foam filled windows will be superior thermal performance (measured by U factor and condensation resistance), as well as a little bit of extra structural stability. It could be be conceivable to improve sound transmittance as well, however the impact here is probably negligible in most cases.

Types of Foam Filled Windows

The two common methods to foam fill windows are injected foam, where spray foam is actually injected into the extrusion, and push in foam, where expanded polystyrene is cut and pushed in. Despite what sales people may tell you, both are effective methods when executed properly, and each does have its own minor pros and cons.  Injected foam is generally higher density, and therefore a better insulator.  This advantage is somewhat mitigated however by the fact that these are pretty small spaces, so the actual increase in R factor is minimal. The downside of injected is that spraying foam can produces air pockets and inconsistent fill. Push in foam eliminates that potential issue, however this type of foam must be cut to exacting tolerances where it provides a tight fit in the chamber to be effective. The manufacturers that do this right, have CNC machines that cut the foam precisely to fit.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, the option for foam filled windows is better, however the value of it depends on the price vs performance increase. This is generally a pretty inexpensive option, so it does make sense in many cases. The one thing to keep in mind, is that when comparing two different products, the type or even presence of foam filling does not necessarily make that product better than the other. A precisely designed and manufactured unit will be the better option, with or without foam.

Brandon Erdmann is the owner of HomeSealed Exteriors in Milwaukee, WI.  He’s a window installation expert, a supporter of this site and an all around great guy.  If you’re in the Milwaukee area and you’re thinking about new windows you should give Brandon a ring.  You’ll be glad you did.