f you’re considering buying Andersen Windows you’ll want to read this post. Here we’re outlining the reasons that everyone should avoid Andersen windows.
To be fair you’ll find that a window salesman will always tell you why you shouldn’t buy this brand or that brand so you’ll want to take this with a bit of a grain of salt. We’re playing devil’s advocate here a little bit, but these are the reasons a competing salesman will tell you to avoid Andersen windows.
Remember, if you think I’m wrong about something post a comment below.
First, Andersen Windows are less efficient than a vinyl window.
Andersen used to make a lot of vinyl windows, but they sold that division a little while ago. Now, they make wood, composite and vinyl clad windows.
In their brochures and marketing materials you see a lot of talk about efficiency. When you compare the actual efficiency ratings you see they’re really not any better than most other options. In fact, many Andersen windows are less efficient than a good quality vinyl window.
Don’t believe me? You can see this in the efficiency ratings. Common U-Factors (a measure of overall efficiency) for nicer vinyl windows will fall in the range of 0.21 to 0.29. Lower is better when it comes to U-Factors and the lower end of that range would be for triple pane windows.
I reviewed ratings for many Andersen models and couldn’t find anything lower than 0.24 with most being in the 0.27+ range. That’s not bad performance, but it’s definitely not better than the efficiency you’ll achieve with many other options.
Next, the air infiltration rates are higher than other options.
Air infiltration is a big deal when it comes to new windows. It’s a major concern for many customers. All windows have an air infiltration rate which measures how much air should be able to pass through the window when it’s closed and locked during a constant wind.
Now, Andersen only publishes their air infiltration rates in ranges so it’s hard to say what the exact ratings are. For most models they advertise air infiltration under 0.20 which is not so great. Most nice vinyl windows will have air infiltration rates under 0.05. Lower is better when it comes to air infiltration so the 0.20 of the Andersen windows is pretty high.
The window business can be pretty competitive so I would assume they’d advertise lower ratings if they could. We’ve already identified areas where they seem to stretch in their marketing. For example, in the Andersen 100 Series they say you never need to paint the frames, but then only put a 10 year warranty on the finish.
To me that’s an indication that they’re happy to stretch in the marketing of these products, but then they still advertise the higher air infiltration numbers. That would indicate to me that they don’t really have a way to make these windows seal better. I don’t have any inside info on that and if you think I’m wrong post a comment below.
Finally, the Andersen Window warranty is questionable.
Andersen just recently made their warranties worse in a way people might not appreciate. It’s the kind of thing that’s not a big deal until it is a big deal.
They added this section to all of their window warranties as far as I can tell. This is the sort of thing that doesn’t matter at all until it’s a big deal.
They’re basically saying if there is some systemic problem with the windows that they’re not covering under the warranty you’ve given up your rights to participate in a class action suit or to even have a jury trial. That’s not ideal.
The sneaky part is that you have 1 year to opt-out of this restriction. That’s 1 year from the date of purchase, not even from the date of install. So, if it takes 3 months for your windows to be delivered and installed you only have 9 months remaining to opt-out. Of course most people don’t have any serious problems in the first 9 months so you may not even actually read the warranty documentation until it’s too late.
There are other limitations to the warranty that you should also be aware of and we’ve reviewed the E-Series window warranty here.
Like anything, the Andersen window warranty isn’t all bad. In my mind it’s not a good thing that they’re trying to limit your rights to pursue a remedy to a problem with the windows.
What’s the bottom line?
Andersen has been in the window business for a long time producing a lot of windows. They make perfectly nice windows, but they’re certainly not perfect. You can often find a vinyl window that would be more efficient at a better price and with a better warranty.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you should never ever buy Andersen windows. It does mean that their name recognition isn’t a good enough reason to buy these windows without understanding the advantages and disadvantages. You may find projects from another manufacturer are a better fit for your window project.
Other Andersen window posts you might find helpful:
- Renewal by Andersen Reviews – The comments on this page are great.
- Andersen windows FAQ
- Renewal by Andersen Complaints – What’s going on?
- Andersen sells Silver Line and American Craftsman brands
How can you find a great window company?
That part is easy. Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.