FAQ’s

Q: Why should I buy custom replacement windows?

A: Because custom windows fit perfectly. Stock windows, like those used by builders or sold in lumber yards, are available only in certain sizes. Since most window openings are not the same “standard” size as stock windows, you’ll be left with several inches of open space around the entire window. Carpenters generally fill this space with gypsum board or oversized molding. This reduces your viewing area and detracts from your home’s beauty as well as having extra wall space to patch, paint and decorate. Custom windows are designed, engineered, and manufactured to fit your home’s size, style, and appearance without reducing your viewing area.

Q: Can I install custom-made windows myself?

A: Yes, but the better question might be, “Should I install custom-made windows myself?” Professional installers have all the necessary equipment to do the job right and ensure there are no air or water leaks. Measuring the size of the window is also extremely important. If your measurements are off by as little as 1/8”, a custom-made window will not fit correctly. We strongly recommend that you let a professional do the job for you.

Q: What’s the difference between vinyl, wood, and aluminum windows?

A: New Generation uiPVC – the strongest, most advanced vinyl for windows – provides the best combination of convenience and long-lasting beauty. It never needs painting and won’t show scratches, unlike aluminum or wood windows.

Vinyl is also a better insulator. It doesn’t conduct heat or cold like aluminum – a major source of lost heating/cooling energy. And it doesn’t swell and shrink like wood when temperatures change. So vinyl maintains its shape, saves your heating/cooling dollars, and stays warmer to the touch.

Today, over 65% of replacement windows are vinyl (according to Ducker Report 2010). A window made of vinyl doesn’t mean its superior. The design, engineering, and manufacturing of the window all help distinguish a poor window from a superior window.

Q: I’ve heard window corners can separate and leak air. What’s the best way to put windows together?

A: Windows (and doors) are the #1 source of a home’s energy loss, and a lot of heated or cooled air can be lost through the frame (see R-factors under “Energy Efficiency”).

Most wood windows are put together with staples; most vinyl and aluminum windows are screwed together and then caulked. The day they leave the factory, most windows are perfect. But construction methods can make a big difference soon after installation.

Look for windows in which frame and sash corners are joined in the sturdiest way possible. The most durable process we’ve found is a technology called ‘pinch’ fusion welding.

Q: What is pinch fusion-welding?

A: Pinch fusion-welding is the latest technology in window construction. It utilizes intense heat and specialized equipment to bond the corners of a window’s sash and frame into a single unit. Pinch fusion-welding results in a stronger, more stable window. It’s more energy efficient because the corners remain fused and airtight for the life of the window – an important element to look for in a window’s warranty. Both the interior and exterior of the window’s corners are clean and smooth, without bulky ‘flashing’ or overlap, a result of old welding techniques. Pinch fusion never needs caulk so they’re virtually maintenance-free.

Q: My old windows used putty to hold the glass in place. Is there a better way?

A: The use of putty for window glazing has, for the most part, been phased out. But many window manufacturers still use two-sided tape to hold their glass units against the window sash. Thermal King utilizes a state-of-the-art process called silicone autoglazing. This method securely and permanently bonds the insulated glass unit to the sash frame and provides increased durability, energy efficiency and maintenance freedom. Manufacturing window sashes and insulated glass units as a one-piece unit is just one of the ways you’re ensured of worry-free windows.

Q: What are cam locks and ventilation locks?

A: Cam-action thumb-turn locks are traditionally used on double-hung windows. They reduce drafts by tightening the sashes together. More importantly, cam locks improve security. Manufacturers mostly use one lock as a cost savings at the expense to customers in security and efficiency. We recommend (and provide as standard) two pick-resistant locks on double-hung windows 25” or wider, and on sliding windows with heights of 25” or more. Ventilation-limit locks are stops in the sash which permit windows to be opened partially while retaining security. They add safety advantages in homes with small children. Be sure to look for them on windows as you shop around. Ventilation-limit locks are a standard feature on all Thermal King double –hung windows. Thermal King’s ventilation-limit locks pass force-entry resistance test as a Grade 10.

Q: I understand aluminum is sometimes used to reinforce vinyl windows?

A: it is true, some manufacturers use metal to reinforce their windows. However, Thermal King’s double-hung windows feature InterForce II high-performance internal fiberglass reinforcements. These reinforcements are actually stronger and far more energy efficient than those made of metal.

Q: Are Thermal King’s windows Energy Star qualified?

A: Yes. All Thermal King windows are Energy Star qualified in all climate zones. Energy Star is a voluntary partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency and window manufacturers. Energy Star qualification should be one of the factors you consider when choosing a replacement window. (Energy Star qualification is based on NFRC certified product ratings).

Q: What is a U-factor? Can it help me choose a better window?

A: The U-factor is a standard measure of heat transfer through an entire window unit. The methods for measuring U-factor ratings were developed by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) at the request of the US Dept. of Energy and the Federal Trade Commission. The lower a U-factor, the better the window’s insulating ability. (A window’s U-factor is the reciprocal of its R-factor; they both measure its insulating ability). Look for windows with low U-factors and high R-values.

Q: What R-factors are considered acceptable?

A: The higher the R-factor, the better the energy efficiency. And as with any measure of energy efficiency, it’s not so much what’s considered acceptable, as what’s acceptable for you. Thermal King fills every window frame with patented R-Core (pre-expanded high-density solid polyurethane insulation). The same type of insulation used in many refrigerator/freezer doors. This process of utilizing pre-expanded insulation eliminates voids and settling that can reduce the effectiveness of other insulating methods. This also increases per linear inch of R-factor of a vinyl window frame from less than one to 7.14. To get maximum energy efficiency, it makes sense to choose the window frame filled with pre-expanded high-density solid polyurethane insulation.

Q: What is “warm edge” technology and how does it affect thermal efficiency?

A: Warm edge technology gives windows strong, long lasting, thermally efficient insulated glass. Thermal King’s standard Energy Edge glass spacer system reduces thermal transfer around the glass perimeter by utilizing a unique U-shaped channel to separate glass panes and interrupts the natural flow of heat to cold. For the ultimate in insulated glass technology, Thermal King offers the optional I-Core spacer system. I-Core, a third generation warm edge spacer system, contains no metal and is the highest performing spacer available today.

Q: Is window glass all the same?

A: Definitely not. Glass is available in a variety of types and colors including clear, gray, bronze, obscure and low-emissivity (Low-E). The type, thickness, number of panes, distance between panes, as well as, the manner in which the glass is connected, all affects the performance of the window.

Q: Is Low-E glass all the same?

A: Definitely not. There are two major types of Low-E glass: hard-coat (tin/pyrolytic and vacuum-deposition (silver/sputter). Both types block radiant heat, keeping summer’s heat outside and winter’s heat inside. And both block the sun’s rays to some degree. But the similarities end there. Always look for windows with multi-layer vacuum-deposition Low-E glass for several reasons. First, silver based Low-E glass has better visual clarity. In fact, silver based Low-E has a “haze factor” of 0.14 – that’s the same as plain glass. The haze factor for pyrolytic Low-E glass can be as high as 1.40. That’s a haze factor increase of up to 1000%. With silver based Low-E, you get almost the same clarity as the clear “uncoated” glass. More importantly, multi-layer Hi R + Plus soft-coat Low-E insulates a minimum of 45% better than hard-coat and Thermal King’s Maxuus 10 package insulates at 65% better.

Q: Why do you use exotic gases in your insulated glass units and are these gases safe?

A: We replace the air between the panes of insulating glass with high-density Krypton gas. This process provides windows with both superior energy-efficiency and sound deadening properties. Yes, Krypton is a safe, odorless, colorless gas that occurs naturally in our atmosphere – in fact, you are breathing small amounts of it right now. Because of Krypton’s density and inert properties, heat and cold are severely restricted from passing through the gas as easily as through air. When Krypton gas is used in a Triple glass system with dual soft-coat Low-E glass, it’s of the most energy efficient windows available.

Q: Can the right glass really reduce furniture and carpet fading?

A: Definitely. Ultraviolet rays are one of the best-known causes of fading. Certain types of window glass can reduce the amount of UV rays that pass through the glass. For example, soft-coat Low-E glass with argon (Hi R+ Plus) blocks 64% of ultraviolet rays – a 42% reduction compared to clear window glass. But research has shown that factors beyond ultraviolet light contribute to fading and damage. So the usual tests for UV transmission may not give you the whole picture (besides, UV rays aren’t all bad – plants need a certain amount of UV light to thrive.) A more accurate estimate of fading protection is called the Krochmann Damage Function. This method, expressed in percentages, measures the amount of all damaging radiation (UV, infrared, visible light, and heat) transmitted through window glass. Thermal King’s system transmits as little as 16% of UV rays and has a Krochmann function of 20%. Conversely, tested Pyrolitic Low-E products showed transmissions as high as 47% with Krochmann percentages as high as 52%.

Q: I want windows that will help eliminate the noise from outside. Is there such a thing?

A: Certainly. In fact, the same features that make a window more energy efficient also reduce noise transmission from outdoors. For instance, Thermal King’s triple glass, krypton gas filled window system, significantly test superior year after year. So, not only are Thermal King Windows the most energy efficient, but also dramatically shut out the noise and hubbub.

Q: Do I have to replace my windows with the same style windows, or can I choose a different style?

A: Thermal King can replace windows with any style, shape and color that suits you. Change from double-hung windows to casements, stationary windows, or a combination. Update your home by replacing a group of windows with a bay or bow window. Add a garden window in the kitchen. A new window style can make you feel like you moved into a new home – use your imagination!

Q: I like the maintenance-free benefits of vinyl, but I really like the look of a wood interior. Can I get a wood grain look on vinyl windows?

A: Wood grain finishes are available with some vinyl windows. Thermal King Windows offer five interior wood grain choices – Natural Oak, Golden Oak, Colonial Cherry, Rosewood and Colonial White – so there’s a wood tone to complement any architectural motif. You’ll find, however, that many manufacturers do not offer wood grains. The needed equipment is quite expensive. The process involves a tremendous amount of technical precision and complex calculations to custom bond the wood grain material to each individual vinyl extrusion. We’ve enhanced this process using new finishing equipment with .002” precision. This results in sharper, cleaner wood grain corners and a better, more beautiful window.

Q: Are interior wood grain finishes durable and long lasting?

A: Yes. Today’s better wood grain finishes are designed for a lifetime of maintenance-free beauty. They’ve proven themselves over time to resist fading, chipping, peeling, and blistering. Be sure the wood grain finish is covered in your warranty. Thermal King Windows are the highest quality wood grain laminate (10 mils thick) and are backed with a lifetime warranty.

Q: What features should be considered standard when I buy replacement windows?

A: Be sure you understand what is considered standard with the type of window you want, and which features are optional and will add to the cost. A cheap price offer always signals a low quality product that has a laundry list of costly options.

Q: What about decorative glass? Is it worth the cost, and what kinds of choices are available?

A: The style of glass you choose will play an important role in the appearance – and the curb appeal – of your home. Look for a window manufacturer that offers you a comfortable range of choices. The more styles you have to choose from, the better you can protect or enhance the value of your home, whatever its architectural style.

Styles and selection will vary with each manufacturer. Thermal King offers a variety of decorative grid choices that add simple elegance or old-world beauty. Options include: Classic Colonial, Perimeter, and Diamond; Narrow Brass; Regal Colonial, Prairie, Perimeter, and Florentine V-grooved glass, and Beveled leaded glass in twelve elegant patterns. We also offer Georgian and Williamsburg grids that match interior wood grains and exterior solid colors.

Q: Are some windows easier and safer to clean than other?

A: Absolutely. We recommend windows that can be cleaned easily from the inside of the house, so you can avoid the dangers of ladders. Look for double-hung windows with tilt-in top and bottom sashes (this feature is not available with many manufacturers). Casement windows should open fully to allow easy, safer, inside-the-house cleaning.

Q: I’ve heard about a new higher-quality window glass that cleans easily and stays cleaner longer than ordinary glass.

A: It’s true. It’s a higher quality of window glass that provides windows you’ll clean half as often and in half the time. When windows do require cleaning, a garden hose and a squeegee or a soft cloth are all that’s required.

Q: Why are some sliding patio doors so hard to roll?

A: This is a common problem with conventional-type rollers. Flat spots develop because all the weight of the door rests on a single point of contact. Soon the ability to slide becomes near impossible and little hope for repair. Thermal King utilizes a ball bearing roller system that enables a door weighing up to 550 lbs, to glide smoothly open and close with just a push of a finger. A mere 8 lbs of force is all it takes to operate once in motion, compared to up to 20 lbs for a standard sliding door.

Q: Aren’t patio doors easy to break into?

A: Thermal King’s patio doors feature a unique three-point locking mechanism which gives you several times more resistance to forced entry than patio doors with a single lock. The triple glass and fiberglass reinforced frame manage a near unbeatable door system.

Q: What’s the advantage to having an exterior key lock on my patio door?

A: Extra security and convenience. This allows you to lock and unlock your patio door from the outside, so you can use it as a primary entrance. Thermal King’s premium patio doors have the optional key lock that activates the unique, multi-point locking mechanism for improved security. Exterior key locks are not a typical option with other vinyl replacement products. However, the brass key lock system is available with all Thermal King patio door sizes and styles.

Q: It seems like the first thing to go wrong with a patio door is its screen. Is yours any better?

A: Yes, the screen is engineered not to break, bow, or warp, and we guarantee it for the life of your patio door system! Most screen frames are 3/8” thick. Thermal Kings is more than twice as thick for added strength, and it’s manufactured to eliminate weak spots that tend to loosen over time. Additional screen mesh options include Aluminum, Pet Resistant, Solar Block and Optimal Viewing.

Q: Aren’t patio doors a major source of energy loss because of the increased glass surface area?

A: Yes, often times they are. However, Thermal King’s windows and patio doors are available with the same superior insulated glass systems. They also feature heavy-duty weather stripping, compression seals, and energy-efficient thresholds.

Q: What kind of warranty should I look for when buying windows?

A: The warranty on replacement windows from any reputable source should:

  1. Be easy to read and understand.
  2. State in writing that it covers your windows for a lifetime.
  3. Cover everything – frame, sash, glass and seal, hardware, and screens.
  4. Be transferable to the next homeowner when you sell.
  5. Be supported by a manufacturer in good financial standing. It’s always wise to check on the company’s financial strength. If it isn’t strong, the company may not honor your warranty claim. Or worse, the company many not be around when you need to make a claim.

Q: What kind of warranty does Thermal King Windows provide?

A: Thermal King’s warranty meets all the points listed. The warranty is actually a double lifetime manufacturer’s warranty, because it’s transferable to a second property owner if you sell your home. It’s our way of telling homeowners that we have absolute confidence in our products, and a commitment as a longstanding and respected leader in this industry. As an added feature, Thermal King Windows Inc. also includes an unprecedented lifetime glass breakage warranty – in case you live next door to a little leaguer.

*see printed warranty for complete details

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