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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Window Shopping

Had I known that the EPA was going to make lead removal mandatory when replacing windows I would have replaced them before June of this year. Before July 6th, households were able to "opt out" if they didn't have any small children or pregnant women living there. Any home built before 1978 is now subject to these new rules. Naturally, my house was built way before 1978, in the 1957, to be exact. I don't have small children who chew on paint chips (never did)and I won't be getting pregnant any time soon, so would have preferred to opt out. Unfortunately our government has decided that is not an option so now I have to pay through the nose if I want to make my home more energy efficient. With our government inefficiency at work, it's no wonder small businesses are struggling, and people are saving money instead of spending it.

Depending on the company I go with, the $1,500 rebate wouldn't even cover the lead removal costs in my home -- I have 19 windows that I wanted to replace. Now, my windows are not falling apart, and only the front one is "leaking internally" which is why I began the window replacement process. For the lead removal, I have been quoted an additional $36.00 per window from one company to $125.00 per window from another. The $125.00 company said the minimum it would take to replace my windows would be two to three weeks of work because of the lead removal requirements. The other one said one week.

One of my requirements is that the windows must be installed by Thanksgiving. They both said they could do that, but I didn't believe one of them because in the next breath he said if I ordered them by Friday it would take 7 weeks for them to be delivered. That gives three days for them to be installed if we got on the schedule immediately. I don't think that's going to happen, especially when I was told it would take two to three weeks minimum to install!

I asked about the possibility that this new regulation would be repealed and was told that in fact the National Assn of Home Builders had indeed filed a suit against the EPA for dismissing the "opt out" clause. No decision has been made yet. I wondered if it would be wise for me to wait it out to see the outcome. The one window guy that came this morning told me he has 11 customers who have chosen to wait. Since he quoted the $125 more per window I can understand why!

We haven't even bothered calling any of the companies who send ads claiming a new window installed is $189. We figure it's bull or a really crappy window. Now mind you I don't need hurricane strength but I would like a decent window. Naturally all the features I prefer cost more, like tilt in windows, night locks, half-screens, and inserts. The inserts are actually placed between the glass panes so they won't be like my wooden ones are, always in need of paint. Look how easy they look to clean...

Windows tilt in for easy cleaning. Pictures, Images and Photos

All the windows we've looked at are vinyl and pretty much look the same. Frankly, I'm sick of researching them. I am waiting to hear the last bid before I make any decision, but I can tell you it won't just be by the price. I'm going to go with my spidey sense. I have full control on the decision because my husband finally admits that his choices usually turn out poor. I'll take the heat on this one. Sheesh, and I thought shopping for a pocketbook was exhausting!


  1. Don't you just love the EPA? I could speak volumes about them right now, but I won't. I don't think you'll do well with this problem but I might be wrong.

  2. Justin thinks we need new windows, but I am hesitant to replace ours. Since our house was built in 1890 we have the antique glass windows, opened via pulley system .. and should the pulley rope be broken, held open by a good stick or something. I truly do love the antique windows.
    But, I can tell there is lead paint on the outside trim. I've had people argue with me about there being lead paint still in the house. There MAY be, but this house has been renovated several times since it was last painted with lead paint. It isn't a worry or concern of mine.
    This is one of those times where I think what sounded like a good idea is really a pain in the rear in the end. (pardon slight pun) I think you ought to be allowed to opt-out.
    AND, for what it's worth, I got a similar lead-freak-out schpiel from one contractor we got an estimate from. So .. it's now crossing from just windows into housework as well. I imagine, had we hired him, our house would be covered in a giant tent right now and they'd be wearing Haz-Mat suits, trying to work through the dreaded lead that lurks beneath.

  3. My home was built in 1987 so this was not a problem for us. Actually since we had them installed in May I don't think I even knew this regulation was going to be in effect. Good luck; I know this is a pain. We were amazed at the price differences, which ranged from something like $5,800 to $21,000. We did not go with the lowest price nor the highest.

  4. Cheryl, it won't be the best outcome but hopefully it'll be good enough. Whatchagonnado?

    Carrie, I'm sure your house does have lead, even if it's not exposed. You know how many layers of paint we have? Supposedly they go all the way down to the wood and measure. If there's even a dust particle of lead, dum dum dum! Call Hazmat. It's absurd. We also have to replace windows at the Brooklyn house. I'm curious to see the difference.

    Anita, you're lucky you escaped! I had no idea either or I would have jumped earlier.