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Budget friendly windows that you can still get a good blower door test with

dpilot83 | Posted in General Questions on

What kind of blower door test can I get with a mid grade Anderson/Marvin/Pella?

I saw a Matt Risinger show where one of the builders he was interviewing was getting 0.5 ACH50 with Jeld-wen double hung windows. Seemed pretty astounding to me.

27 minutes in on the following video is where they talk about that.

So far I have gotten bids from Alpen, Inotech and European Architectural Supply. Quotes range from $57K to $91K for “Passive house grade B windows” as categorized by Emu.

Still waiting on quotes from Marvin and Jeld-wen. My builder thinks Marvin will be close to $31K. If he’s right and if I can still at least get a good blower door with that price range of window, that’s pretty hard for me to pass up.

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  1. Expert Member
    DCcontrarian | | #1

    One thing to look at is just cutting down on the number of operable windows. Fixed windows are going to have better seals. It used to be the norm to have all of the windows in a house be operable, there's really no need for more than one in each room.

    1. Patrick_OSullivan | | #2


      In addition to the air leakage being better with fixed, they're also cheaper. I saved quite a bit by going with mostly fixed in my house (over 15% savings for each fixed window). I have no regrets about where I put fixed windows. In fact, I know there's at least two operable windows that I should have done as fixed.

      1. Expert Member
        DCcontrarian | | #3

        And you can use the money you save to make the operable ones nicer.

  2. nynick | | #4

    I did a cost comparison between Shuco, Alpen, Marvin (double glazed) and another European company. Marvin was the least expensive. I was able to get Alpen, the least expensive of the other 3, down to about 22% MORE than Marvin by having about 25% of the windows non-operable.

  3. andy_ | | #5

    Have you considered casements instead of double hung? They typically will seal better.
    I've had people extoll the wonders of their European windows and what they were really impressed by was just the fact that they were casements and not double hung. That's not to say that you can't get some really nice European windows, just that a lot of the time you can wind up comparing apples to oranges. Andersen makes a budget friendly casement that's pretty good and can be sourced from the orange box store with a good discount if you time it right and haggle a bit.

  4. Eric_U | | #6

    I'm no window expert but I've done a little bit of shopping for the house I'm about to build. I'm going with 3ftx5ft Andersen 100 casement windows. They are only about $650 a pop which is much better than the $1100ea for the Marvins and Pellas I found. Andersen's website has a ton of pdf specs if you look at the Pro section of their website, though unfortunately they just list ALL of their windows as "<0.2 cfm". Is that 0.19 or 0.02, we'll never know. Marvin advertises "as low as 0.02cfm" I think, so do with that info what you will.

  5. dpilot83 | | #7

    Good info Eric_U

    I got my Alpen quote down to just under $54K by making a few of them fixed windows and then realizing that the quote for white was accidentally quoted as black. We want white windows and going to white knocked the cost down a lot.

    Got a Marvin quote for almost $80K for double pane and almost $90K for triple pane. I found that to be very surprising. Seems fairly likely that we go with Alpen now.

    What is a 3’ x 5’ Anderson 100? Is that several double hung windows together or a big casement or what? Seems like a smoking good deal for the area.

    1. andy_ | | #9

      Andersen 100 is the series, 3'x5' is 3 feet by 5 feet, and I don't know about Eric, but I think that's referring to a single casement window unit.
      I bought a bunch of that exact window a few years ago and they were great. When you consider the cost, they were amazing for the price. As I mentioned above Home Depot sometimes has promotions on Andersen and if you ask the sales person in the window department to run the quote past their "bid desk" in Georgia they'll come back with an even cheaper price. I hate to push anyone towards buying from HD, but sometimes the cost difference just is too much to ignore. I think my window package came in around $10,000 total with Andersen 100 with the combo of deals while Marvin was about 60% higher, and the high end windows weren't even close to working with my budget. This was a few years ago so of course, YMMV.

  6. nynick | | #8

    My Alpens were delivered this morning. Very heavy, white, Tyrol. Make sure you factor in Sales Tax and Delivery. The Delivery alone was $4K from Colorado to CT.

    I ordered about 30% non-operable. You can also order low SHGC for no extra cost. I ordered my sunroom and south facing windows this way. Don't forget the tempered glass for certain areas of your home.

    We're very excited to finally have them onsite. They look pretty good but none have been installed yet.

    1. nynick | | #14

      We installed the Alpens this week. What a nice window with a nice operation. My GC was impressed.

  7. matlockjeffries | | #10

    Take a look at Enerlux triple panes. Fiberglass, seem to be similar quality if not a bit better than Alpens (without the need to crimp and remove the argon altitude expansion tubes). Very happy with mine. Casements are rated for infiltration at 0.02.

  8. n2dirt | | #11

    How is the pricing on the Enerlux?

  9. walta100 | | #12

    My blower door test came in at 1.5

    70% of my window count is double hung Silverline but the 6 biggest windows are Pella casements.

    The Silverline’s do leak air when the blower door is running and the Pella do not.


  10. Deleted | | #13


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