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When I left you, I was extolling the virtues of the Pella sliding doors and replacement windows I had just had installed.  Pella sliders are a no-brainer.  They open and close nicely; the screen is on the inside (so much better), they lock nicely; everything slides well; and they are energy efficient.

But back to my story of selecting windows.

Editor’s Note: For more on Selecting Windows, you may also see our article – Window Shopping.

Old Windows with Ranch Style Trim

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These lovely, *cough* *aaakk*, old windows were done.  I had already replaced two of the four sets of these awning windows 5-6 years ago with Eagle Windows (which is now owned by Andersen).

Now it was time to replace the other two.  One new set would be right next to a previously replaced set, so of course I got a quote from Eagle for these additional windows, and four others.  Two sliders were going to be Pella, no question.

When the Pella salesman came out, I let him quote all the windows . . . mostly because I wanted to see how much more the Pella Windows were.  Pella is pretty much tops in windows, when it comes to quality and durability, so I expected them to cost more too.  The windows I was replacing were Pella, but they were 34-years old . . . time to go – this becomes relevant later in the saga.

Shock and Surprise – the Pella windows weren’t really that much more.  On some windows, Pella was considerably less expensive.  For a few dollars difference, why not go with all Pella?  It’s a better window.  These are the ProLine Series window.  As long as they would look the same, and I was assured they would – again another point which will be relevant in  a second.

White clad wood windows, nothing fancy.  Eagle Window Pella Window Awning Window ComparisonNotice anything different?

  • Handle placement on the side with Pella rather than the bottom on Eagle.
  • Lock on bottom on Pella rather than on the side, and is only flush when closed – not when open.

This is not what I call “will look exactly the same”!!!Yikes graphic source unknown

As I began to look at this new handle placement (see handle placement in first picture of existing Pella window), I started to review what my light control / window treatment options were going to be.  Um, this is a bigger problem.  (Here’s a video I shot to help explain.)

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Enter Social Media

But fortunately this is where social media comes in handy.  I happen to tweet with someone from Pella (@Pella_News).  I sent her a private message regarding the issue I was having with the window handle.   The phone rings (kinda cool it shows up on the phone Pella, IA).  I had a very lengthy conversation with Andy Middleswart, the Design Engineer from Pella. An even a bigger deal as he is the guy who holds the patents on the handle I have an issue with.

Andy was very interested in my feedback.  They rarely speak with an actual end user in this situation.  He was very kind, and listened with interest as to how I found his handle and its location problematic.  I was thankful for his time and he was thankful for my opinion, telling me the issues would be brought up at future design meetings.

Long story short:  Many companies care, good companies care.  They want just this type of feedback.  When Pella designed this window handle/location they never thought of plantation shutters like I have.  A big thank you to Pella for being so responsive, and to my local Pella rep for replacing my Eagle windows in this hallway so all my handles match.

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Lesson Learned:  Remember earlier when I said the old windows were Pella?  Note the handle location in the first picture.  I just expected the windows to be the same (34 years later) and have the handle to be where it was then… in the middle.  And this was my mistake in not fully researching the windows.

Off now to decide on my window treatments…

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Lisa Smith is a frequent contributor to BuildingMoxie.com. Her catalog with us contains a couple of Reviews as well as insight into Process and Design. To read more about her exterior design adventures, please see her article – Diary of a Contemporary Railing. ~jb