Here are two misconceptions in one: first, “Thermal Pane” windows are a brand of multipane windows. It’s sort of like calling all tissue “Kleenex”. Window manufacturers don’t even like it when you refer to their product as “sealed glass”. The proper nomenclature is “sealed insulating glass unit” (particular bunch aren’t they?). The real myth is that insulating glass units are no longer energy savers if the seal becomes disturbed. Insulating values of windows are measured by its “U-factor”. The lower the U-factor the more energy efficient they are. (It’s the opposite of R-values and insulation. Don’t ask me why). A typical single-pane window may have a U-factor of about 1-11. Basic sealed insulating glass with or without a bad seal would be about .50. Add Argon gas and you lower the U-factor to .46. You only lose .04 U-factors if you had Argon gas and the seal was lost, but you still save energy. The problem with a bad seal is aesthetic.
Myth #2 “Old faded aluminum siding will have to replaced.”
This is the old joke, “How can you tell when a salesperson is lying? Their lips are moving.” Back in the 1960’s salespeople said, “Never paint your house again, aluminum side it”. That siding had a “self-cleaning” paint, which we called chalking. After awhile the rain-washed off some of it. Eventually you began to see bare and dull areas of the siding. You also began to notice white streaks on the brick below the siding. That’s the paint coming off. The stains on the bricks can be removed with power washing. The aluminum siding does not need replacing. It can be re-painted! If done properly, (there’s always a catch) you won’t have to re-paint again for a long time. Siding, unlike wood, does not absorb moisture so quality paint can bond better if the siding is first cleaned to remove all dirt, dust, and chalking paint. Don’t paint in direct sunlight, don’t paint above 80-degrees or below 50-degrees.
Myth #3 “A brick house is more energy efficient than a sided house.”
That is absolutely wrong. There is no advantage to brick except that it requires the least amount of maintenance. Eventually, it may need some tuck-pointing, which means replacing some loose or missing mortar. Wood, insulated aluminum, or vinyl are all more energy efficient. Brick is actually a conductor of heat and/or cold. So make sure your walls are insulated.
Myth #4 “There are only two kinds of skylights; those that leak and those that will leak”.
That was very true several years ago but newer skylights from reputable companies now have self-flashings and curbs. If installed properly they should not leak.
Myth #5 “All new 1.6-gallon toilets flush poorly”.
That statement was very true of 1st generation, water saving toilets. Second and even third generation have evolved and work great, Kohler came out with a new toilet with a 3 1/2-inch opening as well as other technology that basically flushes this myth down the drain. Also check out newer ToTo and Crane toilets. They should make you get off your seat.
Myth #6 “Permits only raise your taxes”.
Yes and no. Theoretically, a homeowner needs a permit to insure the work is done properly. The work is inspected by the city to protect the homeowner or occupant. That part is true. But if you finish a basement or add on an addition, it also alerts the city of major improvements, which increases the value of your house so your taxes will indeed go up. What’s fair is fair. If you replace plumbing, a roof, a furnace or do any repairs or maintenance, you won’t be getting an added tax increase for maintaining your property.
Myth #7 “Buying new windows will reduce your heating bills by 30%”.
I’ve heard those commercials and no way will you save that kind of money. I did read the small print in their disclaimer and they stated if the new windows didn’t cut the bills by 30% they would pay the difference for the first year. Big deal; you still lose. You’ll save money and energy by adding insulation (you should have R-49). You’ll also save if you put in a high-efficiency furnace, air conditioner and water heater.
Myth #8 “You’ll save a lot of money if you turn off the lights when you leave the room”.
Of course you’ll save money, but a lot? No way. On average, we spend less than $200.00 each year for household lighting. You can install compact fluorescents in place of incandescent bulbs and save even more money. They use about 1/3 less electricity and they can last up to 10 times longer. But you should still turn off the lights when you leave a room. What! Do you have stock in Edison?