By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
As thoughts turn to spring, homeowners begin thinking about replacing drafty windows. After feeling the winter weather poke through old windows for a few months, residents consider the energy savings and comfort that are promised by new energy-efficient windows.
Waiting for spring is really not necessary, according to Charles Surber, sales manager of Surber’s Windows and Doors Inc., 2323 Raible Ave., Anderson.
His mother, Janet, has owned the business for 33 years.
“It is a real misconception among clients that they can’t remodel in the winter,” he said. “A custom-fit window only requires the hole to be open for 15 minutes. Trimming the window inside and out usually takes about two hours, but the window isn’t out that whole time.”
Sometimes winter can even be the best time to buy as incentives from manufacturers are available and demand is low. But this year incentives from the government are a plus all year long. The new $500 window/door combination credit is also retroactive to cover last year’s purchases. Be sure to check on the tax credit before making your purchase.
But perceived seasonal restrictions are not the only misconception of the public. Another includes the belief that all windows are created equal.
“Fifteen percent of the windows we replace each year are vinyl replacement windows that were installed less than 10 years ago,” he said. “There is a huge difference in the windows they are selling in a lumber yard and the windows we are selling. We have a lifetime/forever guarantee on our windows. It is like buying a window with an insurance policy.”
Other companies have offered such assurances to clients but later folded — leaving the customer poised to incur the cost of replacing them or repairing problems. Surber points to their company as a mainstay for over 30 years and a solid history of standing behind their work. Part of the reason they are able to make bold claims is that they perform all installations themselves.
“I can take an adequate window and install it to last a lifetime,” said Surber. “You can also take a high quality window and install it improperly and it won’t last. We use our own carpenters — some have been with us 18 years — and I’d put them up against anyone.”
Window quality has interested Surber for many years. High efficiency windows and doors were on his mind and in his store long before “green” became a buzzword.
“We were the eleventh store in the nation rated as an Energy Star Approved Dealer — and we were the only one outside of California,” he noted. “It was because we believe in a great product. My job is to get the client a lower energy bill.”
When called into a home, Surber sometimes finds that the windows are not the problem. He has had clients that asked for new windows and he realized all they really needed was a new door.
“I’m not just selling a window, I’m evaluating the situation to find the right product,” he added. “Sometimes people just want to do a few windows at a time and we talk about whether they have a high heat bill or a high air conditioning bill. From that I can tell what will get them the biggest bang for their buck.”
Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.