Today I reponded to a forum article and I thought I would make it my latest Blog post. The Forum’s initial question was: MGM vs Simonton. I got a little long winded and my posts were deleted: that which follows was my response. If you want to go to the initial thread here it is: Window forum.
As further background one of the forum participates took issue with the claim on our webpage that energy star replacement windows can save in the range of $600 on your utility bills. I reviewed the page and I agree with his position and the sienna webpage page has been changed. Since my comments were deleted, I’d like to thank the forum member for bringing it to my attention–enough said.
Anyway, if you want to get an idea of the potential money that can be saved by installing the latest technology associated with today’s windows, I created a payback analysis of Low-E glass vs. clear glass. Here is a direct link to the analysis: Payback analysis. It makes one big assumption and that is: that the average temperature differential between the outside of the home and the inside is 20 degrees. I think this is reasonable, but it is by no means scientific. This is a generic analysis and will generally apply to anybodies window that is designed with 3/4 overall insulated glass. If my analysis can “hold water” then one should absolutely specify Low-E glass on any window considered.
Energy loss in the home is a function of the wall insulation, the ceiling insulation, the windows, as well as the efficiency of the heating and cooling unit. Just for discussion, if the walls are not insulated and one were to assume that over 75% of the heat loss from the home is via the inadequately insulated walls, then replacing the windows will absolutely not be the best place to spend your money that you have reserved for energy efficiency projects.
Regarding the initial subject of this post: “MGM vs Simonton”, I’ll respond by saying that Simonton produces an excellent product. The engineering on their windows is sound and Simonton’s tradition is to service the customer and provide quality product. That is also MGM’s Mantra. At the consumer level, my advise is to vett out your immediate supplier. In my mind this is more important than anything. If the window is manufactured to the best tolerances, the window is only as good as the installation. I would recommend that the consumer ask for references regarding installation and I would recommend that the consumer actually follow up and contact those references.
I graduated in Mechanical Engineering thirty years ago from Vanderbilt. Our company has some product that was initially designed by Veka Extrusions and I designed most of our new construction product. Our 4600 series was designed by Veka Extrusions. By the way, a lot of the initial engineering on Simonton windows was done by Veka Extrusions. IMHO Veka did an excellent job of optimization of materials vs performance. All design is a compromise.
Almost all new construction product in the USA is designed with 0.062 inch wall thickness. Most of the replacement market is designed with 0.075 wall thickness. The 0.062 standard has been fully vetted by time in the field, which is the true test. Our new construction product has been installed in the field since 1985, which was our initial entry into the uPVC market. There is nothing wrong, IMHO, with 0.062 wall product. The 0.075 standard in the replacement market was initially a step down from European standards where the norm is for the wall thickness to be 0.125 inch. I personally love the 0.125 inch standard, but you will be hard pressed to find such a beefy window in the USA.
The average consumer can best use average wall thickness as a barometer to the quality of the design. If the initial design started out with 0.075 inch walls or better, one can reasonably assume that top quality was on the top of the priority list of the design criteria. However, a window is only as good as the following three points: (1) Design, (2) Industrial Engineering statistical quality control at the factory, and, probably the most important–(3) the installation of the window. I realize that I am have been redundant in my emphasis of the installation of the window: but it is worth the risk of boring the consumer–poor installation is the number one quality problem associated with our windows.
MGM vs Simonton. My answer: you can’t go wrong with either one, BUT I AM BIASED.
P.S. most of the genesis of the intial engineering on most of the fenestration product in the USA comes from the engineering talent of three of the largest uPVC extruders in the North American market:
Almost all window manufacturing companies in the USA did not design the product. And for that matter they did not fund the NFRC and Energy Star reports. Most of that funding has come from the extruders. Our company extrudes our uPVC so we have funded all these reports. We have tried to make our reports transparent and I post the actual report on our website under the “technical information” tab that is located throughout our website. The listings are not there for all our product, but we are trying and we are continually trying to post this information as it is available.