Friday, June 27, 2008

Survivor Windows/Reliabilt gets A for customer service

The replacement sash was waiting for me when I came back from my two weeks out of town.

It didn't include instructions on how to take out the old and put in the new, but with a hint from an online friend we finally got that figured out. I have no doubt that we could have also gotten instructions from their customer service desk, but I didn't call until after they were closed and of course I didn't want to wait until the next morning to do this. What, me? Impatient? Nahhhh.

Once we knew the trick it took me three seconds solo to take out the old, and 3 minutes with Partner's help to put back in the new.

And so while the window really shouldn't have broken in the first place (and we still have no idea why it did), Survivor Windows (sold through Lowes as Reliabilt) gets a solid A for customer service because of their immediate action to send us out a replacement sash without making us jump through hoops, even knowing that the windows were 9 years old and that we didn't have the receipt, and they didn't even challenge me about or ask for pictures to back up my claim that the window broke all on its own, as evidenced by there being zero damage to the screen or inner pane. They would have earned an A+ had they included installation instruction, since it was not at all difficult but it was also not intuitive.

I'm especially happy with their customer service when I compare it to what my dad is going through with MW Manufacturers Windows, also sold through Lowes, to get them to fix or replace a broken window that he bought only a couple of years ago. If I understood his tirade correctly, they're basically saying "oh we don't have that part that broke and we won't replace the whole window so you're SOL."

I'm still no big fan of vinyl windows overall, particularly to replace original wood windows in old houses. I'd still much rather have the windows that were original to this house, and just fix them up and add on good quality storms and screens but the deed was done when we bought the house. But now that I have vinyl replacement windows, it's good to at least know that they're from a company that will solidly back up their product.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

OK, so I crumbled.

Every year I have November 1st as my goal date for turning on the heat. Most years I get close, and I think last year I missed it by just one day, but I really do try hard and if it was just me, I'd make it if I had to wear 15 layers.

I also have a goal date of June 15th before turning on the AC, but it's much more difficult for me to adhere to that one, especially now that I'm at that special age where I carry around my own internal furnace year-round. But add in Delaware's killer humidity and a whole bunch of rain with wind that made opening the windows impossible, I finally caved.

At least we have central air now, on an efficient system, and with a kick-ass good filtering system.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's all about the customer service, baby.

Well, this was quite unexpected and something worth passing along. The window that broke was 8-9 years old, we didn't install it, we don't have the receipt for it, but with one brief call to the company about the window, they are sending us out a totally new sash. Normally they would have me get it through where they were bought, since that's where the windows were purchased and they handle the warranty service on the windows they sell, but since this is an older discontinued model they're sending it to me directly.

Now, as long as it doesn't turn out to be a PITA to install (which I can't imagine it will be), I will call this a good experience and excellent customer service. I've always said that it's not about someone never making mistakes (or never having a product fail), it's how you respond when a mistake is made.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Freakin' POS Vinyl Windows

Night before last I heard some strange POP sound from the vicinity of the laundry room. I investigated and here's what I found:

You can click on the picture to see a close up of the damage.

Of course, I was initially worried that it was someone trying to break in, but inspection that evening and re-inspection during the day yesterday confirmed that nope, no way this was caused by anything or anyone hitting the window, this glass just broke all on its own. It's just the exterior pane of the double-pane window that broke, but the screen is completely undamaged, and it's too far away from the window and much too taught for anything to have gotten through and broken this window without damaging the screen in some way. We poked and pushed on the screen and tried everything to see if we could get to the window without damaging the screen, and it just wasn't happening.

I did at least find out from the PO's where they got the windows (edited - see note at end), so I'm going to stop by the store where they got them from today while running errands and see if they can tell me if the pane can be replaced (since I'm told that on some double-pane vinyl windows they can't) or if I have to replace the whole blasted window.

Grrrrrrrr. What I wouldn't give to have the original windows and some good storms. Instead, I can foresee that within the next decade or so we'll likely be replacing the windows as one by one they fail in some way that, unlike a good wood window, can't be replaced.

Edited note: The store gave me the number for the manufacturer of these windows and it's not yet been confirmed since I wasn't at home to give them the sticker info off the windows, but it sounds like they are going to be covered under warranty even though I'm not the one who installed them and it's been 8 or 9 years since they were installed. Nothing will stop me from wishing I had the original wood windows, but if the manufacturer provides the kind of customer service that so far it seems that they might, I'll at least not blast them by Googleable name.