How do I find a good window replacement contractor?
I'm in northeast, USA. Our house is over 80 years old. The heat and cold air pour through the windows and when its windy you can see the blinds and curtains move. I am concerned with energy efficiency, but cannot afford top of the line windows.
My experiences so far:
1. Contractor recommended by neighbor had F rating by BBB and numerous complaints.
2. I checked better Better Business Bureau for contractors with 10+ years in business and A+ ratings.
3. One contractor toured house and when he didn't call or mail estimate, I called. Phones were not working, fax not working and website shut down.
4. Contractor toured house gave instant estimate, but would not answer questions about energy efficiency. I called twice but never heard back.
5. Next contractor: I asked about fogging, energy efficiency and how installation is done. He told me there were wicks between two panes to absorb moisture, but could not answer energy questions.
6. Pella salesman tells me their cheapest windows are $500.00 each, excluding installation.
7. Next contractor tells me their windows are as good as Pella and Andersen, but cheaper because they don't advertise. He said they use "virgin vinyl" other less expensive window manufacturers do not. Stayed forever, but evaded energy effiency questions.
8. I went to manufactures websites of windows recommended by Consumer Reports. The manufacturers do not give direct recommendations. One gave me website that would provide contractor. I entered partial info and asked for e-mail contact only. The contractor the site recommended had and F rating because of over 130 BBB complaints during the past three years.
I wanted windows installed before summer. I'm under alot of stress caring for family member. There are other home repairs that need to be done asap, and I'm having similar problems finding a contractor.