Windows of Inopportunity

You will be glad to know — or maybe it’s just me — that it wasn’t just me: our one-year-old windows are dysfunctional. Which does not make me glad.

About a month ago, as the weather started cooling down, I started closing our year-old slider windows, intending to lock them down for the winter. Problem: Only one of eight would actually close well enough to lock.

Initially, of course, I assumed it was me, being inept. But then I noticed the top of each window was closer to closing than the bottom, by a difference of a quarter inch. I scanned for any reason for this, but couldn’t find one. I checked the one that did close, the smallest one, in the laundry room, but I couldn’t find any reason for this.

When Branden, my shop teacher, was here working on the garage loft, I asked him to take a look — you know, just in case it was really ineptness on my part and there was something obvious I was missing.

Well, it wasn’t obvious, as it turned out. Branden pushed and pulled, prodded and even took one of the windows out, and nothing changed: the window still wouldn’t close, and the bottom was open wider than the top. He did notice, though, just to compound the mystery, that when the window was wide open the other side was perfectly parallel to the frame.

It was time to contact Dusty, not that I was expecting that to turn out great.

Dusty, our contractor, seems to struggle as much if not more than I do with time management. While this is a relief to know I’m not alone, it doesn’t get anything done around here in good order.

I had complained about a dysfunctional solar tube this summer, and have been waiting now into the wane of October for “fall” to arrive, because that’s when Dusty said he would come take a look at it. In the meantime, Branden and I had gone into the attic and duct-taped the solar tubing into place, while also taping up the one in Lynn’s kitchen, with a two- or three-inch separation in it as well.

So I contacted Dusty about the windows, while also letting him know we’d had a pump failure on the boiler, and he said he would come take a look “next week.”

Two weeks went by with no communication, and I debated going past him directly to “the window guy.”

After I spent this past snowy weekend listening to our now-ever-present wind howl through the cracks where these windows are supposed to close, I sent Dusty a text reminding him of how long ago he said he’d be here.

I got the distinct sense that he was expecting one of two things: 1) That this was yet another attack on his workmanship or 2) I am as inept at closing windows as I sometimes believe. But then I reported that I thought it was a problem with the windows themselves, since no matter where in the house or garage they are, they all have the same problem.

Before he came out here, then, he got in touch with “the window guy,” a guy named Lars whose late mother was one of my dad’s favorite students. Lars was probably not happy to get Dusty’s call, but he knew exactly what the problem was, and he told Dusty to verify it by looking not at the window closure point, but at the bottom of the window where the track is.

Don’t ask me to explain this, but the track is sliding away from the window frame, and somehow this was a production run error that apparently the Infinity line from Marvin Windows didn’t bother to catch before the windows left the factory. And now guys like Lars, who sell Marvin’s product, are dealing with angry customers. We’re Lars’ third complaint this fall, it turns out.

Marvin, or Weather Tech (I have no idea what the relation is), has been sending out technicians to fix the problem, which happily enough does not require a full window replacement. I hope it’s happy, anyway; the first question I asked Dusty was if this “fix” was going to have to be repeated every couple of years. He said no.

Somehow, even though this was a factory error and I’m still not clear how the window track is “sliding” away from the window, it’s a matter of pushing the track back into place and fastening it with a screw or two. Lars apparently feels he can fix this on his own, which will be faster than waiting for the technician, and Dusty said if Lars can’t show up as promised on Friday he will need to at least come long enough to show Dusty what to do.

I have no idea what the warranty is on a repairman three times removed from the company’s official guy. But if the company is sending people all over the country, I’m probably nowhere near the top of the list.

And I’m not holding out a lot of faith in the warranty anyway. While spending two weeks waiting for Dusty to not show up, I kept returning to the internet as if it would fix my problems.

Infinity, like most other brands these days, is very long on pretty pictures and negligibly lacking on substance. It does tout its “limited lifetime warranty,” with no particular emphasis on “limited,” but there should be.

When one eventually finds one’s way to the warranty information, it turns out that “lifetime” warranty is only good if you mail in the card we were never given within 60 days of purchase. Not installation — purchase. Oh, too bad: if you missed your window of opportunity, you now have a 10-year warranty.

Which is extremely limited. When you are unhappy with your Infinity windows, as we now are, they will not pay to have them removed. Or installed. Or shipped back to them. They will pay for the replacement glass. Limited warranty, remember? That’s how we stand behind these windows we’re so confident of.

And we wonder how an entire season’s worth of windows rolled off the production line with failure built into them.

Dusty did ask about the solar tube, which I had to explain turned out to be “tubes,” and I showed him the broken boiler pump, regarding which I have sent two e-mails to Grundfos, where their e-mail form touts their “great customer service” and how they’ll get back to me “ASAP.” Their idea of ASAP and mine are two entirely different measures, it turns out.

It also seemed pretty clear Dusty isn’t inclined to help out, although I did get a tale of how — after our house was done, he said — our plumber went on a massive bender and stopped all of his projects even after ordering the materials, leaving large numbers of people hanging. Apparently our plumber is now driving a delivery truck for a food pantry in California, hopefully having left his drinking behind him.

So now we wait for Friday, to see if either Lars or Dusty actually shows up and then comes the longer wait, to see if this “fix” actually holds the windows in place. Should they ever need replacing, I am infinitely over Infinity.

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