2007 Survey Results: What Homeowners Want From Their Windows

For a second consecutive year, consumers interested in window replacement projects have cited energy efficiency as the top factor motivating them to replace their windows and the single most important quality. According to results of the Parkersburg, W.Va.-based Simonton Windows Second Annual House of Windows Sweepstakes survey, respondent interest in energy-efficient windows has risen during the past year.

More than 25,290 results were analyzed by Ventura Associates Inc., a research company in New York, N.Y. The online survey was conducted in conjunction with the Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford® television show as part of the registration process for a sweepstakes.

"Conducting this entry survey for two consecutive years gives us solid information on the mindset of the consumer regarding window replacement issues," says Chris Monroe, vice president of marketing for Simonton Windows. "Once again this year, the single stand-out issue was energy efficiency. Results show that the importance of energy efficiency has grown for consumers in the past year, with a greater percentage citing energy efficiency as the main reason motivating them to replace windows (72 percent in 2007 versus 69 percent in 2006) and as the single most important quality of their windows (71 percent in 2007 versus 66 percent in 2006).

"When asked how important it was to them that their windows were ENERGY STAR®-rated, 88 percent of respondents answered either 'extremely important' or 'important.' That high rating shows us a strong awareness of the ENERGY STAR program with consumers in conjunction with windows. It also shows that people are making a strong connection between energy efficiency issues and the products used in the construction and long-term care of their homes."

When given several options for answering the question, "What is the single most important quality of your windows?" in the 2007 survey, maintenance-free came in second place (after energy efficiency) with 11 percent, and security came in third with six percent.

What Homeowners Know About Windows
While choosing windows for the home can sometimes be a complicated process that requires research on the part of the homeowner regarding frame styles, glass options and warranties, a growing number of homeowners feel comfortable in their knowledge. According to the survey, 72 percent of respondents say they know what they need to look for when choosing windows for the home. This number is up five percent from the 2006 survey results.

"Between the wide variety of home improvement television shows, radio programs, web sites, magazines and literature, education on windows is at a very high level right now," Monroe says. "Especially with the constant interest in environmental and energy efficiency issues, it's not surprising to see a jump in awareness for homeowners in this area from one year to another."

Survey respondents who live in coastal areas (21 percent of participants) can still use more knowledge on code and insurance issues related to impact-resistant windows. Only eight percent of respondents in the 2007 survey report that they are aware of code requirements for the geographical area where they reside. Sixty-four percent said they were not aware that some insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners who have impact-resistant windows in their homes.

"Coastal homeowners need to be especially vigilant about window education," says Monroe. "In some hard-hit areas like Florida, installing impact-resistant windows may not just provide homeowners with a discount on their insurance, but it may be mandatory. In some cases the use of impact-resistant windows can help a homeowner retain their insurance. Tested to meet Dade County codes, many impact-resistant windows like our StormBreaker Plus products, are a 'first line of protection' for the home against severe weather conditions and hurricanes."

Homeowners Not Planning on Window Replacements
According to both the 2006 and 2007 survey results, a majority of the respondents have no plans to replace their current windows (66 percent in 2007 compared to 68 percent in 2006). While respondents understand the energy efficiency benefits of newer replacement windows, more than 50 percent admit to having windows that are more than 16 years old.

"2007 survey results show that 32 percent of respondents believe windows should be replaced every 30 to 50 years in a home," says Monroe. "That's simply too long of a time frame to expect windows to be working effectively in the home. Most manufacturers and building professionals recommend evaluating windows on an annual basis. And, after two decades, homeowners should strongly think about replacing windows to gain the newest and best energy efficient features currently available in the marketplace.

"Windows are like all other products--including roofing, siding and appliances--their usefulness wears out over time. An average homeowner needs to plan on replacing windows between the 20 and 30 year timeframe in the life of a home to gain the maximum return on their investment."

The sweepstakes survey was conducted in the timeframe of February through early April, 2007 at the www.dannylipford.com web site. Sixty-three percent of respondents were female and 37 percent were male.

Compare Results from the 2006 and 2007 Surveys

What's the single most important quality of your windows?
Noise Reduction - 2.7% (versus 4.4% in 2006)
Aesthetically Pleasing - 3.5% (versus 4.2% in 2006)
Impact Resistant - 4.6% (versus 4.7% in 2006)
Security - 6.3% (versus 8.3% in 2006)
Maintenance Free - 11.4% (versus 12.3% in 2006)
Energy Efficiency - 71.4% (versus 66.1% in 2006)

How important is it to you that your windows are ENERGY STAR®-rated for your area?
Not very important - 2.3% (versus 2.3% in 2006)
I didn't know windows could have an ENERGY STAR rating - 9.1% (versus 9.9% in 2006)
Important - 37.8% (versus 39.8% in 2006)
Extremely important - 50.5% (versus 48% in 2006)

If you could replace your windows tomorrow, what would be the main reason for your motivation?
Want impact resistant windows to protect my home - 8.5% (versus 9.5% in 2006)
Want a newer, updated look to my windows - 8.5% (versus 8.4% in 2006)
Want windows that are easier to maintain - 10.6% (versus 12.6% in 2006)
Want windows with more energy efficiency - 72.4% (versus 69.5% in 2006)

Are you comfortable in knowing all that you should about the details to look for when choosing your windows?
Not really, I could use some more information - 27.9% (versus 32.8% in 2006)
Yes, I know what I need to look for - 72.1% (versus 67.2% in 2006)

If you live in a coastal market, are you aware of the codes that your windows are required to meet?
Yes - 8.2% (versus 5.8% in 2006)
No - 13.2% (versus 18.3% in 2006)
I do not live in a coastal market - 78.6% (versus 75.9% in 2006)

Are you aware that some insurance companies offer a discount to homeowners who have impact resistant windows in their homes?
Yes, I am aware - 35.9% (versus 31.9% in 2006)
No, I was not aware - 64.1% (versus 68.1% in 2006)

How often do you believe windows should be replaced in a home?
Every 10-20 years - 20.5% (versus 23.2% in 2006)
Every 20-30 years - 47.1% (versus 49% in 2006)
Every 30-40 years - 19.5% (versus 16.4% in 2006)
Every 40-50 years - 12.9% (versus 11.4% in 2006)

How old would you say your windows are in your home?
1-5 years - 6.6% (versus 7% in 2006)
6-10 years - 11% (versus 12.4% in 2006)
Don't Know - 12.9% (versus 15.4% in 2006)
11-15 years - 15.3% (versus 12.5% in 2006)
16 years or older - 54.2% (versus 52.7% in 2006)

How many windows do you currently have in your home?
8-10 windows - 17.4% (versus 20.8% in 2006)
20+ windows - 20.8% (versus 18.9% in 2006)
16-20 windows - 30.3% (versus 28.4% in 2006)
11-15 windows - 31.4% (versus 31.9% in 2006)

What are the window frames made of in your home?
Fiberglass - 0.3% (versus .8% in 2006)
Vinyl - 15.5% (versus 14.3% in 2006)
Don't Know - 20.3% (versus 16.7% in 2006)
Aluminum - 23.8% (versus 28.2% in 2006)
Wood - 40.1% (versus 40% in 2006)

If you plan to replace your windows, when would you expect to do this?
1-6 Months - 3.4% (versus 4.4% in 2006)
6-12 Months - 7.5% (versus 7.3% in 2006)
1-2 Years - 11.9% (versus 12% in 2006)
2-5 Years - 11.1% (versus 8.1% in 2006)
No plans at present time - 66% (versus 68.2% in 2006)

Respondent's Gender:
Female - 62.7% (versus 64.1% in 2006)
Male - 37.3% (versus 35.9% in 2006)

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