What is a good indicator that a window company is reliable?

Unfortunately, too many times homeowners pick window companies for the wrong reasons. Where a company is located or based out of, is one of those baseless reasons. And don’t get us wrong, we are all about supporting local economy and businesses in the city. But what if sometimes these businesses don’t provide good enough products or services?

Remember, quality of the windows and their correct installation is more important than where they come from.

The argument against out of city window companies in Calgary is that because the windows come from the East (generally from Ontario) they are not warm enough for the cold Alberta climate. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, all good windows in Canada are approved and rated by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and meet international ENERGY STAR requirements.

Information on window ratings for different companies can be found on this Natural Resources Canada page.

You can also search whether a window company is CSA certified.

The whole purpose of certifying windows is to ensure that they meet the specific climate criteria for different parts of the country. A window is considered efficient when it gains more energy than it loses. When testing windows, these organizations consider the climate conditions in different areas across Canada and determine what performance levels are required for each geographic region.

As of January 2020, homeowners no longer have to consider a Climate zone when shopping for windows that are ENERGY STAR® certified in a particular area. A product in Canada is either ENERGY STAR® certified or not, with a single standard applied nationwide.
But keep in mind that if you are looking to purchase new energy-efficient windows in Calgary, you should only consider models with a minimum ER (energy rating) of 34 to make sure that these windows meet the Canadian government fenestration standards.

Check out: How To Compare Replacement Windows

An ER rating of replacement windows is calculated on three factors:

  • U-Factor: The U-Factor shows how well a window stops heat from escaping your home. A lower U-Factor means better insulation and higher energy efficiency, crucial for preserving a comfortable indoor climate and reducing heating costs, especially in colder climates.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): SHGC indicates the amount of solar radiation that enters through a window. It is a scale from 0 to 1; replacement windows with a higher SHGC collect more solar heat. Knowing about your window’s SHGC helps choose the right windows based on climate control needs. A higher SHGC is beneficial for leveraging solar heat to warm interiors in cooler climates. On the other hand, a lower SHGC is preferable in regions with warmer weather conditions to reduce cooling demands.
  • Air Tightness: Window’s air tightness refers to preventing air infiltration through the window seals, occurring when there are gaps or low-quality seals in the window installation. High air tightness in windows is vital for energy efficiency. It prevents unwanted heat loss during cold seasons and heat gains during warm seasons, providing the consistent indoor temperatures and lower energy bills.

Does the cost of shipping matter in the final price of the windows?
Another reason people will sometimes be dissuaded from purchasing from a company that isn’t local is because they think that the cost of shipping will drive up the price. While the prices obviously have to accommodate for shipping expenses, the actual cost difference is not that high. Because these companies often ship hundreds if not thousands of windows into a city on a weekly basis, the actual shipping cost per window is very low. If it comes to a slight increase in price for getting better performing windows, think about how long you want your replacement to last. Good windows won’t need to be replaced again for at least 20 years. Buy a bad product and you may be looking at another replacement project five years down the road.

Showroom vs. No Showroom
This seems to be a hot topic of contention with a lot of clients who are looking for window companies in Calgary. The thinking here, of course, is that because companies have a showroom they are somehow more reputable and respectable.

That may be true. But showrooms also require space and resources to make them look appropriate, as well as staff to maintain them. And guess where all these costs are going to come from?

In reality, the mobile approach actually works better for the homeowners. Whereas in the showroom your project may get assigned to whoever is there that day, with mobile, a project consultant is assigned specifically to your job. They will be the person responsible for your entire project and are a fulcrum between you and the window company. Project consultants also carry a variety of samples so you can play and interact with the windows. If you are still unconvinced and want to see how a window looks installed, you are better off asking to see a completed project in the neighborhood. If a company isn’t shy about the quality of their work, they won’t have a problem finding a local project to show you.

But the biggest reason to have the consultation appointment at your house, is because that’s where the windows will be installed! A knowledgeable project consultant will be able to see the problems that need to be resolved, where the areas that require most attention are, and maybe even advise you on a few windows that don’t need to be replaced just yet. This way you can feel safer about the quote you’re given, and know that the price won’t go up once the time to measure the windows comes.

Support local business
A lot of the time the decision to go with a local business is about pride and investing into the place you live. There’s no doubt that Alberta has been going through some trying times in the last year, and buying windows out of province while local companies suffer may seem too cruel for some.

But in reality, just like a window that is made in Ontario, the majority of the window’s parts in Calgary is often manufactured in the United States and then assembled locally. Out of town companies still employ local installers, supervisors, and staff. While the manufacturing may not be in the city, these people are just as much from Calgary as employees in the local companies.

And while the economy will surely bounce back in the next couple of years, supporting a company with the worse product today, hardly helps stimulate the kind of honest, quality business most homeowners want in their city.

Check out:
Find Out The Cost of Replacement Windows
How To Pick A Window Company
One Thing You MUST Know Before Scheduling A Window Replacement Quote

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