Pella Windows and Doors — Squeaky, leaky expensive windows!
Spring, 2005 -- moved to our former rental house and paid $16,964.47 to Pella for new casement windows (doesn't include installation/finish labor and material costs). These windows replaced old double-pane sliding windows and newer outside storms. Casement windows were recommended because they were expected to provide maximum sealing when closed and offered "enclosed" blinds. We wanted triple-pane windows (the equivalent of doubles with storms), but later found we had double-pane ones (not obvious to the eye and little difference in price). We've had frost formations between "sealed" glass panes, bugs entering around locked windows, warping of a few frames (causing terrible noises when opening/closing during humid weather), and cold air coming inside from between "sealed" panes. However, we have NO problems with the 10-year-old spare room cheap side-slider we did not replace (doesn't even have a separate storm). The salesman claims we wanted double-pane windows to "save money" -- simply not true -- our contractor was present during the ordering and remembers distinctly that triple-panes were specified. We used top-quality oak wood for all the finishing, and wanted beautiful, new maintenance-free windows for our retirement residence. Technicians have come promptly after our calls and have done what they can to adjust, replace seals, etc., but they differ on opinions about whether or not the triple-panes would have prevented our cold air and frost problems. Funny -- we had no frost and cold air issues with the old windows/storms when tenants closed them properly during cold weather. We understand that these windows are a new design. Pella should have stuck with their former design -- we've checked out several homes with older Pella windows and they don't have such problems -- no frost by the blinds and no extremely cold or drafty interior frame/crank/lock areas. We'll see what the next "solution" is when the tech(s) come back, and we're considering having the gas company do an energy-saving review/recommendation on these "energy efficient" windows. In the meantime, we're trying tape and foam tubing in the worst areas, being grateful that we haven't seen any rain leakage, and trying to stop worrying about where water goes when frost melts. We've even stopped complaining about one small, high deep-set casement unit downstairs that opens from the top down for blind maintenance (in lieu of side-to-side), placing and our heads so close to the suspended ceiling that we can't reach down in to clean or dry off the melted frost -- we have to wait until it's warm enough to crank the windows open and climb up into the flower box outside to get into it comfortably. There is a cable that one tech offered to show us how to remove for wider opening inside, but that would lay the window down against the wide sill and add to the chances of our messing up the sliding locking mechanism of an already ill-sealed window. We'd rather just live with it, but feel that we should have been told initially that windows of that height would operate differently than taller ones when the blinds were enclosed. When we are ready to replace our really large living room windows, we'll probably just go to our local hardware store -- it would be likely be a less expensive and more efficient way to get quality windows.
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