The windows in our house are crappy. Complication: high desert climate
October 12, 2014 11:43 AM   Subscribe

We have a nice home, but our house was built in 2007 with a number of "builder-grade" elements, including the windows. When we moved in, a few had issues with some elements of the windows (tracks sliding out, locking mechanisms not working smoothly), and they've only got worse.

I don't know the exact build, but they're AMSCO brand windows, double pane but with much of the build being plastic. Our housing inspector said he was a window installer previously, and some of the issues were simple fixes he could do with inexpensive replacement parts, but some might be more costly. I'll put together a photo gallery of the issues around our house later, but I'd like input from anyone familiar with the issues with these sort of windows (slide up and down on tracks, which can get disconnected, and sliding locks that can pop out of their sockets (?)).

In short: what sort of repairs can we expect from these windows now and going forward, what maintenance and repairs can we do ourselves, and what should we look for in windows for high desert climates (elevation: 5,282 ft (1,610 m), near Albuquerque, NM). We're not thinking of replacing windows anytime soon, but it's a future consideration to improve our insulation and energy costs, as well as the value of the house. Thanks!
posted by filthy light thief to Home & Garden (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It sounds like you're describing insulated tilt sash vinyl windows. They're pretty standard builder grade stuff.

You may have an issue with the windows themselves. Is the seal between panes intact; if not, the glass seems fogged up.

Is the joint between the window and wall properly sealed? If not, you can see a candle flame draw towards or away during windy times, feel a draft.

You should also consider if the windows are shaded from the sun in the afternoons (by overhangs or plantings).

Many factors impact your windows and energy efficiency but perhaps the foremost is comfort, secondary is financial along with environmental stewardship.

Check out for a good summary of the payback on window replacement (short answer: years).

If you feel drafts, then it could be either from the windows themselves or the surrounding gap not being properly caulked, which is an easy fix. Do some homework and research what's actually going on.
posted by mightshould at 3:39 PM on October 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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