August 21, 2010

Scott Adams on the Travails of Building a Green House (... for people, not plants)

Monique Chartier

Courtesy the Wall Street Journal.

Let's say you love the Earth. You see an article in a magazine about a guy who built a "green" house using mostly twigs, pinecones and abandoned bird nests. You want to build a green home, too. So you find an architect, show him the magazine and say, "Give me one just like this." ...
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APeaking of "Green Buildings" a month or so back Fine Homebuilding did a comparison of fixing your windows and and buying whizz bang replacement windows. They could find little difference. The Univ. of Maine, did a study on them. They found that replacement over repair, saved $40.00 per year. That is not "per window", it is the whole house.

Bear in mind, this is not a comparo of old leaky windows against new replacement windows, it is a comparison of repaired windows to replacement windows.

PS, the argon and other gases used in new replacement windows tpically lasts about 3 years. I understand they can be refilled, I have never meant anyone who could do it.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at August 21, 2010 7:34 PM


Insulated Glass units typically last from 20 to 25 years, IGUs typically carry a warranty for 10 to 20 years depending upon the manufacturer.

Posted by: Sammy at August 21, 2010 11:40 PM

Sammy writes:


Insulated Glass units typically last from 20 to 25 years, IGUs typically carry a warranty for 10 to 20 years depending upon the manufacturer. "

I am reminded of the transmission shops that steam clean transmissions from wrecks and sell them as "rebuilt" with a warranty. Their theory is that the high mileage car it is going into won't outlast the transmission, or the car will be sold before the transmission goes.

I have about 50 Norco windows that were installed about 15 years ago. Many have lost the Argon, this can be told by the moisture between the panes. Norco is gone, or absorbed. Who do I chase for a warranty? Do I need to prove I am the purchaser? Is the warranty "pro-rated", meaning if I am near the end of the warranty do I get anything worthwhile?

I prefer to rely on independent assessments than warranties. They didn't all fail at 15 years, some at 5.

Argon is cheap, why don't they just put a schraeder valve on them, like an air conditioning system?

Without doubt, windows wear out and repair or replacement is needed. I am not convinced that a 1/4" of argon goes a long way in adding to the isulation. It may be playing with numbers as in "energy star" appliances. Look at one of those sometime, the power cords are very short. The "savings" come from less resistance in the shorter cord. But then, you will usually need an extension cord to operate it.

To my mind it comes down to dollars and sense. How long will it take to recover the cost of a $7-800 replacement window?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at August 22, 2010 9:41 AM

Oh, before being too impressed with "inert gas" in the windows, think of the price. I buy tanks of argon mix fairly frequently. $40.00 would buy enough to refill all of my windows about 40 times.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at August 22, 2010 9:47 AM
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