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Robert Lamoureux: Replacement windows, attic fan

Question #1

Hi Robert,

I read your column in The Signal every week and appreciate all of your advice.

We are in the market for replacement windows in our house of 25 years. I know you have commented on this topic in the past.

What advice can you offer when we are considering installers and window manufacturers? There are so many manufacturers (Anderson, Pella, Milgard, and American Vision, just to name a few), it is hard to know which ones are the best.

If you could make a recommendation on manufacturers and installers, that would be much appreciated. Anything you could offer would be very helpful.

— Eddie D.

Answer #1

Eddie,

I’m a Milgard fan myself, I’ve had nothing but great success with them. The customer service is also very good.

As far as an installer, I would ask the supplier you purchase them from for their recommendation. If you need a supplier, feel free to reach out again. Best of luck.

— Robert

Hi Robert,

Thank you for your work writing The Signal article. I read it weekly and am always happy to learn something from it.

Your experience shows. It seems you have done all kinds of construction work over the years, and I’m happy that you are willing to put your time into helping folks like me who read the article and can be helped.

I live in Canyon Country, in an older home that has a pretty big attic. On each end of the attic, there are louvers, and with the heat that seems to increase annually, I’d like to consider options on how to keep the attic cooler, which then hopefully will help keep the house cooler.

Should I install a whirly-bird on the rooftop, or is there possibly a better solution than that? If you could provide a little guidance, I’m sure we’ll be in a better position for the upcoming summer. I look forward to your reply, I am eager to get this underway to have a better chance at a more comfortable and, hopefully, less costly summer.

— Ilsa M.

Ilsa,

Thank you for your kind words, it is my pleasure to help.

It is a good idea that you’re contemplating this project now, before the true heat wave begins. We are already heading that way and, before you know it, contractors will be booked far out with repairs and installs having to do with cooling.

What I recommend are gable fans. The end “louvers” that you are referring to are gables, and you can have gable fans installed rather than penetrating the roof. Any time you make roofing penetrations, you are risking introducing a leak source to that roof. Yes those installs can be perfectly watertight, and most often are. However, again, there is always a risk, so I usually choose an equal quality resolve that doesn’t carry the risk, if it is viable.

A gable fan can be thermostatically controlled to turn on at whatever temperature you would like, and it will run automatically in the summertime. You’ll need a licensed and insured electrician to install the necessary 110V power for these, but this will be, even still, less costly than doing the roofing work and the annual maintenance that a rooftop install would entail.

You’ll achieve the same results without the headache, and will definitely save yourself by keeping your attic cooler in the summer. Best of luck to you.

— Robert

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]

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