Window project stalled, need help.

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Window project stalled, need help.

#1 Post by Skeedn »


I am trying to replace the original-build Viking Industries EnergyStar dual-pane argon-filled low-e basic white vinyl horizontal sliders in our 22 year-old home at 7100 ft altitude at the base of the mountains in Colorado Springs due to seal failures.

#1 Need Data for Baseline
I want to make sure the next set of windows are an improvement but I can't find the original window specs even though I have AAMA and Viking ID stickers still on the window. (I have tried Viking (out-of-business), Pella (they bought Viking but say they don't have that data),, and; nobody has any of the original U-factor or SHGC numbers so I have a basis to compare new windows.) Does anybody know the approx. EnergyStar values from 2001 so I can make sure I'm getting something better?

#2 Translating Numbers to Window Comfort (& Double vs. Triple?)
The Viking windows seemed too cold in the winter, too warm in the summer, the air infiltration in our high-wind area was very poor, and of course--the clouded panes obscured our view due to the seal failures. So, I am thinking we want lower numbers for U-Factor & SHGC, a low air-leakage rate, a good warranty, and would like something near 50% VLT. Unfortunately, some manufacturers are saying they will not do argon fill at an elevation higher than 6900 feet, so the U-numbers aren't as good as I hoped, and that sent me down the possible triple-pane path. Then it seemed like the numbers between a good low-e dual pane and a triple-pane aren't much different, so I'm not sure whether triple-pane is worth it. I like the idea of thin-triple, but they are hard to find. Only one company near us (Alpen) makes them and the numbers are great, but the cost is quite high. At our altitude, the sunlight is intense; we currently let the winter sun in the house for heat, but then in the summer we have to block out all the south and west windows because we don't have AC. I am hoping a good window (either double or triple-pane) with balanced low-e could reduce the need for both? Recommendations??

#3 Sticker Shock and Finding Value
Our window budget is modest since we still need to do new siding or stucco over siding due to the wind and UV damage on the exterior. However, I am looking for a good value (ROI), not just cheapest price. We are replacing 18 windows (some are larger-sized and 2 are clerestory) and 2 sliding glass doors, and do not need fancy stuff... just good white vinyl windows. The first few quotes gave me sticker shock. Then I went the other direction, but then I worry about having buyer's remorse for the next 20 years. The window numbers on paper only tell so much... I need advice from those who are familiar with the real-world performance & longevity of windows.

Here are the quotes I have (all are dual pane except as noted):
Alpen Thin Triple Zenith: $47,000 U=.21 SHGC=.28 VLT=? AI=? R=4.8 Krypton filled with breather tubes
Alpen Thin Triple Tyrol: $43,500 U=.15 SHGC=.24 VLT=? AI=? R=6.7 Argon filled with breather tubes
Pella 250 Series: $44,000 U=.27 SHGC=.29 VLT=.55 AI<=.3 R=3.7 Argon filled with breather tubes
Champion 8200 Series: $43,000 U=.28 SHGC=.21 VLT=.50 AI=? R=3.6 Argon filled with breather tubes
Soft-Lite Classic Plus: $30,500 U=.27 SHGC=.22 VLT=.49 AI<=.11 R=3.7 Argon filled with breather tubes
Simonton 6200 (HDepot): $26,750 U=.30 SHGC=.34 VLT=? AI=? R=3.3 Argon filled with breather tubes
Alside Ultramaxx TripleP: $26,000 data unknown
Milgard V450 Series: $25,500 U=.27 SHGC=.29 VLT=.55 AI<=.3 R=3.7 Argon filled with breather tubes
Alside Mezzo Series: $21,500 Climatek Therm D-Elite unknown data
WindowWorld TripleP 3000:$21,000 U=.29 SHGC=.20 VLT=? AI=? R=3.44 Air filled IGUs
WindowWorld DualP 5000: $17,500 U=.32 SHGC=.33 VLT=? AI=? R=3.125 Air filled IGUs

I would prefer to stay in the $25k range for windows, so Milgard is my current favorite, but I'm not sure if the Soft-Lite is a better value and worth the extra $$? Or is there another window I should be considering (no frills but solid performer)?

Thanks for any help you can give on these items!
Last edited by Skeedn on Tue Aug 29, 2023 12:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Window project stalled, need help.

#2 Post by Windows on Washington »

Goodness me...that is a bunch of quotes and a bunch of different materials.

What do you want is the larger question?

I think you got the thermal data on the Alpen swapped as well. Milgard makes a nice window and I wouldn't touch the WW, Pella,...and probably the Simonton.

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Re: Window project stalled, need help.

#3 Post by Skeedn »

Wish list includes windows that:
* won't have seal failures (or at least a good warranty to replace them)
* are better than the current Viking windows in keeping rooms warmer in winter and keeping the wind out
* windows that allow some winter sun in to help warm the house without letting in too much summer sun (no AC)
* look decent (no old clunky thick frames)
* cost is fair--good value--"bigger bang for the buck"--paying for performance, not the brand name--no buyer's remorse for the next 20 years

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Re: Window project stalled, need help.

#4 Post by WindowsDirectCinci »

Not to complicate matters more but there is a very good dealer near you in Lafayette,BlueBird Windows & Doors. Sounds like he may be a good fit for what you’re looking for and has multiple product options. I know he will do you a good job.

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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2023 3:54 pm

Re: Window project stalled, need help.

#5 Post by Skeedn »

Thank you for the responses.

I believe the Window World windows are made by either Simonton or AMI per the WW specs requested; I don't think you can specify which windows you get. Good to know to move on from those.
Glad to hear the Milgard is a good window. Wasn't sure how much better Softlite was for the increased price.

Also-- I will check out Bluebird Windows & Doors. Thanks for the recommendation!

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