Replacement Window Warranties
|Replacement Window Warranties|
|Warranties for Replacement Windows|
|A good, all-encompassing warranty can ensure a safe replacement window purchase.|
Checking out the terms of a replacement window warranty is as important as assessing the window itself.
Replacement Window Warranties
Buyers of replacement windows are covered by the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which obligates manufacturers and sellers of consumer products, including replacement windows, to provide customers with detailed information in writing about warranty coverage for the product. There are, however, a wide range of warranty options of which replacement window consumers should be aware before they make their purchase.
Manufacturer and Company Warranties
Most replacement window manufacturers offer a ten to twenty-year limited warranty on their window product. Homeowners must ascertain exactly what is covered under the warranty. It's also a good idea to learn about the manufacturer, its policies and the company that is selling the windows before the purchase is made. A company warranty may be significantly more or less comprehensive than the manufacturer's warranty. This is an important consideration for a consumer since obtaining parts or service from a local company can be easier and less time consuming than getting parts or service from a national manufacturer. Conversely, a store, even if it carries the same name as that of a national manufacturer, is not necessarily the agent of the manufacturer and does not automatically undertake the commitments of the window manufacturer regarding a replacement window's parts or service. Many consumer advocates suggest that a consumer purchase the window through a company that has its own product guarantee in place, in addition to the manufacturer's guarantee. Even if the terms are the same, it's often easier to deal with a local company than to wait for a national manufacturer to take care of a problem. Manufacture warranties generally cover parts. They address the actual window unit for a stated period of time for any repair or fault. A company's product guarantee reassures the consumer that the store will act on the client's behalf in the event of any replacement window product failure. This ensures that the homeowner won't have to wait for a grievance to wind its way through the manufacturers' bureaucracy before it is repaired or replaced.
Warranty Vs. Guarantee
A warranty promises that the manufacturer or company that is selling replacement windows will undertake any needed repairs or replacements on those windows for a stated period of time. A guarantee goes beyond the actual product to address the performance and quality of the replacement window. Companies with strong, comprehensive guarantees include these guarantees in their marketing materials because they assure the consumer of full customer service after the purchase. A window company that has confidence in the window products that they sell can offer a comprehensive guarantee of performance because they rely on the manufacturers whom, they believe, sell products that will support that claim. .
Components of a Replacement Window Warranty
Replacement window warranties can cover parts, service and labor as well as glass breakage.
A manufacturer's warranty, whether it's a "full," "double" or "limited" warranty is the manufacturer's promise to provide any parts required to fix a replacement window product that falls under its warranty. However, service and labor are not always included in that warranty. The manufacturer supplies the replacement for the broken part and the homeowner pays for a service tech who fixes it if service labor is not included in the warranty. If the homeowner bought the window through a company that supplied its own guarantee, that guarantee may cover the cost of service labor.
Glass Breakage Warranty
A warranty for glass breakage is offered by some manufacturers. These warranties can cover a wide range of incidental glass breakage incidents including if the glass breaks because something falls through the window or if something hits the window. The wording on the warranty will explain exactly what the warranty covers. Glass breakage warranties generally include acts of God and acts of Civil Disobedience. The warranty will also specify whether service labor is included in the warranty.
Sensitive Window Components
The most common failure in multi pane windows is the seal on an insulated glass unit. Once the seal no longer closes properly the window will fog up between the panes which can cause a drastic reduction in window's R-value and may oxidize the low-E coating. This will turn the coating into a high-E coating that will absorb heat rather than reflect it. Panes can actually become deformed and bow inward as the gas fill escapes from between the double panes.
Many of the bigger window manufacturers have been in the business for over half a century but 80% of the window market is dominated by smaller companies. It's important to look at a window company's history because a lifetime warranty will not mean much if the company goes out of business in a few years, as happens periodically with small window companies. Consumer advocates suggest that homeowners choose replacement windows that carry a minimum 20-year warranty on the insulated glass. In addition, homeowners should review the warranty before making a window purchase, observing for sections on non-prorated warranties, fully transferable warranties, non-glass component warranties, exclusions, finishes and labor and installation limitations
Fully Transferable Warranties
Most companies which specialize in window replacements offer a warranty on parts and service. The window may have a transferable warranty to cover any needed work by non-manufacturer-employed handymen and general contractors. A transferable warranty means that if the house is sold, the warranty will transfer to the next owner for the duration of the warranty. A transferable warranty on the replacement windows is an asset to the sale price of a home. The presence of a fully transferable warranty is a good indication that a window manufacturer is standing behind its product.
Non-Prorated warranties cover the entire purchase price of a window for the term of the warranty. Consumer advocates question why a quality window would need such a warranty clause and suggest that any window that carries a prorated warranty be examined more closely.
Non-Glass Component Warranties
Consumer advocates suggest that any window hardware carry a minimum 10-year warranty since the window isn't worth much if the crank, lock or other hardware does not perform properly. Hardware replacement should also be considered regarding the ability of a window manufacturer to stock replacement parts well into the future.
Labor and Installation
Most warranties don't cover the cost of installation or any problems arising from installations unless a certified representative of the manufacturer originally installed the replacement window unit. If a remodeling company or other window company supplies the installation, that company's warranty should cover the installation.
It's important to check the exclusions in a window warranty. A "Lifetime Warranty" may end up with so many exclusions that it basically covers almost nothing. Exclusions may include "Acts of God," environmental factors (salt spray or high humidity), glass, hardware and finishes.
Some window manufacturers cover a window's finish but most don't. Exterior coatings and finishes on cladding are the most likely finishes to be covered under a warranty. The warranty may become void if the houseowner paints or refinishes the exterior finish, especially on aluminum-clad and vinyl units. Before undertaking any such work the homeowner should review the warranty and decide whether he wants these changes to be included.