If you’re looking to save money on your utility bill, I would highly recommend replacing your windows. Sure, you might not be able to afford to, but as the salesman told us, you can’t afford not to. It’s a lose-lose situation.
The salesman approached my wife in BJ’s, which is a price-club warehouse store where you pay money for an annual membership, in return for which you have to keep spending money there to justify paying the membership. I was there, too, getting new eyeglasses. (I get my glasses at BJ’s. They’re cheaper, but you have to buy 36 pairs.)
He asked my wife, “Does your house need work?” and my wife said, “Yes,” because you never know who reads my articles.
“Well, we’re going to send someone to give you a quote,” he said.
He happened to get her at a good time, as this was right in middle of the winter, just as we’d gotten our highest heating bill ever. We’d paid a bajillion dollars in heat that month, because it was apparently our turn to sponsor Passaic. So we needed to do something.
The salesman came to our house two nights later. He called beforehand to make sure that both of us would be there, because the #1 excuse he gets, on a regular basis, is, “My spouse makes all the financial decisions, and she’s not home.” He showed up at our house with several boxes of siding samples and mini windows, and proceeded to take up our entire night, explaining the various benefits of his company’s windows and siding and roofs and doors and insulation. We couldn’t get rid of him. I think he thought he was moving in. He definitely brought enough luggage. His main sales technique was, “Move in until they buy something.”
Then he sat back and said, “So, do you want to sign up?” and he clearly expected us to discuss it privately with him sitting right there, inflating his mattress.
So after a few attempts at communicating entirely through eye movements, my wife and I decided to get our windows replaced. Truth be told, we need more than just windows, but we’re pretty sure windows are our biggest problem. All of our windows are leaky, and all of our heaters are directly under our windows, so we know exactly where all our warm air is going. And none of our windows quite fit the holes they’re in. Apparently, our house was built before the invention of windows. There were just these big gaps in the wall, and at some point someone had installed windows by hiring a paperboy to throw them on from the street. Some of them missed the holes entirely.
And yes, we’d done things to keep out the cold. For example, we had one window in the living room, right behind our couch, that had a huge draft coming in through the bottom. So we took one of our couch blankets and used it to line the bottom of the window. We either used it to cover the draft, or we fought over who got to wear it because of the draft. Occasionally, guests would pick up the blanket, wrap it around themselves, and go, “Boy, this blanket is freezing!”
So we chose to get our windows replaced, especially once the salesman explained that the new windows would let in absolutely no air. If we kept them closed for too long, we’d run out of oxygen. So we decided that we’d see how much the new windows would save us on our heating bill, and then decide whether we’d do more work based on that.
On top of that, the guy said, the windows have a lifetime guarantee. Our house doesn’t even have a lifetime guarantee. Some day our house is going to collapse, iy”H, and these people will come by and hand us new windows.
It was kind of expensive, but the idea was that we were going to be saving money because we’d no longer be heating the neighborhood. Though we figure the neighborhood’s going to be upset. And it could be worse, the guy pointed out. He then sat there while our eyes glazed over and he showed us about a hundred examples of companies that would install the same windows for more money than he would. He didn’t bring us any examples of companies that could do it for less than he would, so I guess there aren’t any.
So then we asked, “When’s the soonest we could do this?” because our whole point was to start saving money, and we couldn’t do that until they actually replaced the windows. And he said, “Erev Pesach.” But not in those words. And we said, “Um, when’s the next date?”
Then he told us our couch blanket was freezing.
But in the end, the new windows we got are definitely much nicer than the ones we had. For example, the screens lock. I don’t know what people are breaking in to steal. The most expensive thing in the house, by far, is the windows.
But I do have to say—ever since we installed these windows, we’ve been paying way less in heating. At some point during the winter we were paying hundreds of dollars a month, and ever since we installed these windows, in May, we’ve been paying almost zero. Zero. I would seriously recommend it.
Though that could just be the lack of oxygen talking.
By Mordechai Schmutter
Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected]