Andersen High Performance Conversion Kit

monikacSeptember 11, 2010

Please comment on any drawbacks/cons to the Andersen High Performance Conversion Kit. How does the installed product stack up to, say the 400 Series Woodwright® Double-Hung Insert Replacement window? I'm looking to replace all 22 of my house's 21-year old Andersen 200 Series Narroline® doublehung windows. The Double-Hung conversion kit, which includes standard Tilt-Wash sashes, liners and retainers, converts an Andersen Perma-Shield® Narroline® doublehung window to a Tilt-Wash window. Reported benefits to the owner include: High Performance Low-E glass; tilt-wash convenience (allows cleaning of both sides of the glass comfortably from inside the home); and the Andersen 20/10-year limited warranty.

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Did you end up using the Anderson Conversion kits on your windows? If so, did they perform as you had hoped? We also have 21 year old Narroline windows which are still in extremely good shape as far as the frame goes but are somewhat drafty around the sides and bottom of the sashes. One or two are also starting to get the center condensation problem that plagues some older Anderson units, and we're hoping this isn't a sign of things to come. We were considering replacing them in stages with fiberglass replacement windows, starting with the 5 large windows in the master bedroom and bath. That space juts out from the main house and gets a lot of wind and cold in the winter and sun in the summer. If these conversion kits worked out it would save us a lot of money up front, plus we like the looks of our windows now far better then the heavier frames of the replacement units. I realize the result won't be as good as a total window replacement, but the cost is about a third and I doubt we'd ever even begin to get our money back with extra energy savings from the fiberglass replacements.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 9:12AM
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The conversion kit is basically what some professionals like to call a "sash Kit".

You probably wont' see a big performance increase in the air tightness around the sashes, but the increase in glass efficiency will increase dramatically due to the upgrade in LowE/Argon coatings.

As far as cost savings, you have to look at your budget and determine that. A vinyl or New fiberglass window will be more efficient overall then wood sash replacments. But like you said, you could save some money with sash replacements and probably be pretty happy with that.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 9:23AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


Most Andersens that I see stay relatively tight.

If the window is otherwise okay, you will be better served (in most cases) by air sealing and insulating your home and save more money.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Thanks for the follow-ups. We're leaning toward installing the Andersen conversion kits with the optional SmartSun Low-E4 glass. We'll start out with the 5 windows most in need and see how we like the product before continuing.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 9:50PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

What are you looking for out of the glass upgrade?

Better energy loss prevention, sun control, etc?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 8:10PM
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"If the window is otherwise okay, you will be better served (in most cases) by air sealing and insulating your home and save more money."

I would certainly disagree. The Narroline series relied on passive jambliners[simply fins that stick into grooves in the sash but do not push against it], while the Conversion Kits utilize the same active jambliner the TW[Tilt-Wash] series does-i.e. it is always pushing against the sash no matter where the sash is.
I haven't had anyone be anything but pleased with the Conversion Kit after we installed them[hundreds, if not thousands]-the trim doesn't need to be disturbed & the new units seal up much better, resulting in feeling much warmer but something that surprises me is they often comment how much they cut down on outside noise over the Narrolines.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

You are entitled to "certainly disagree" but you would still certainly be incorrect.

Windows are not the dominant pathway of energy loss in most homes and certainly not when the windows being considered are already double pane and a more modern design.

If the customer is looking to replace the sashes for a more updated look or because they want some solar control via the Low-e, it is a wise investment and makes sense.

If the customer was after total energy efficiency improvements, that is not the first thing to be done by any stretch. These are not really points of opinion either.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:16AM
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On what basis do you state that I'm incorrect? I've been working with windows for many years, and have been an Andersen service tech in particular for the past 11+ years.
Windows happen to be quite inefficient in the scheme of things-when you look at a VERY good window being an R-Value of maybe 4(approximate for a CK with std LowE glass), and the walls & ceilings are significantly higher than matter how you parse it, 1/2" of airspace between two panes of 1/8" glass are just not going to be able to keep out cold/heat the same as 5.5" of blown in insulation.
In addition, the windows the OPer is referring to would be from approximately the 1989 vintage. The only major thing that changed in the run of NLs from 1968 until last year when they stopped production is the glass. So if we were to use your premise as a guide-we're using a window from 1968, because you are claiming the glass doesn't make that big of a difference. That's 45 years ago, we've come a LONG way in all things beyond the glass as well.
If you know a lot about the industry in 1989, you know that spacer technology has come a long way since then, and LowE is able to make full use of the argon now as opposed to back then. Also, the CK comes standard with LowE4, and all options are rated even higher. When you consider that a double-pane glass unit is rated roughly a .49 U-Factor(roughly 2 R-value), but jumping to a LowE unit brings that down to a .25(roughly 4 R-value), wouldn't you see where I get my disagreement with you?
If you also look at the rest of the post, I explain the difference between the jambliner system of the NL and the CK series.
But the bottom line is, I'm not just going off of basic physics & numbers, which support replacing them with the CKs-I am also going off of what our customers say & experience months & years down the road. Especially what they say about the comfort & utility bills.
I agree, they aren't really points of opinion-a house built in 1989 is very very likely to be as insulated as it can be without tearing out all drywall & redoing it. There is actually very little 'sealing' to be done in a house that modern, either. Have you ever looked at the thermal image of a house in the dead of winter? I can tell you this-it's coolest around windows & doors. So it comes down to making sure that the big culprits for energy loss-windows & doors-are as up to date & well-designed as possible.
But if you still think you're right, I'd be interested to hear your position-and not in a facetous way, I like to have discussion about something others disagree on.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


My point and contention was that if the windows are tight (i.e. airtight) replacing them to go from and R-2'ish to an R-3.5 is a poor investment.

If you think about it in terms of your home, a home with a bunch of windows (30 or so at 3'0 by 5'0') would still only be impacting the R-Value of 450 square feet and only by about 175%.

For pennies on the dollar, you can easily double and sometimes quadruple the R-Value of the attic (the dominant source of heat loss in the home via radiation) over a much larger (usually +1,000 square footprint).

Windows are a source of energy loss in the home but your average 2x4 wall is not anywhere near an R-13 by the time you figure on the thermal bridging of the framing.

Windows are a weak point in the wall assembly but the customer is still much better served in upgrading other areas before ripping out a good double pane window to replace it with another double pane unit that has Low-e/Argon.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 8:24PM
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Convert away. Just be careful and follow the installation instructions. A display I did several years ago was very tight after the install, probably because I....well you know.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


Where are you based out of?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 8:32AM
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