Advice for
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This is Harry.

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Harry works for a FENSA Approved installation company. He's on a mission to help professionalise installers and protect homeowners across the UK, so he started this advice column

Harry's advice

A single pane in the...

Dec 23, 2010, 06:59 AM by FENSA



In the summer it was so nice, ahhh the summer, you know that period of the year where we can wear shorts. Oh it seems so long ago…But we did have a great summer, the sun shone, the air temperature was reaching some record highs in certain places, and we all got a little burnt…Oh didn’t we? Well some of us may have done….But it all seems so long ago now doesn’t it?

I remember some friends inviting us over, and when we arrived I noticed just how nice it was to have their rather classic looking old French doors wide open at the back of the house, how refreshing it was to “let the air in” (an older saying, but its great)  and then to be able to walk out into the garden from their lounge. Ahh the summer. I know not all of us are that lucky to have French doors opening into a lovely garden, but you get the picture I am trying to paint here. Well back in those summer days, it really wasn’t a concern to my friends that those ageing French doors were getting rather old, that they were single glazed doors, and that, to top it off, were starting to let a draft in once closed. To be honest, in the summer I think the draft was a welcome feature of the old doors. But like many of us, they just wanted to enjoy the summer and put off replacing the old doors and windows with new double glazed ones…

However, the summer has come and well and truly gone, and all of a sudden we find ourselves in a real cold snap. Usually this means a bit of frost and most of us moaning about the cold and how it may have an impact on the garden. How many times do you hear “it’s all a bit sudden, the plants will be in shock and will probably die off”. But, this time I mean a real cold snap, after all, my phone informed me this morning that outside my lovely bedroom, it was actually -10c. That’s cold for just outside London! Anyway, I digress; the point is that those lovely old French doors my friends have, are now a real pain in the bottom shall we say. My friends really do have something to moan about now. It seems any sort of heat they generate in their lounge is lost through the windows and doors, that their old French doors now allow what feels like an arctic gale to blow through the room, and that they now find themselves not using the lounge at all (though they have the largest heating bill you can imagine).

To be honest, I don’t feel sorry for them though. I did tell them to get those doors and windows replaced….Well ok, I do a little. But, I didn’t want to say …”I told you so…”

What they should have done is replaced those French doors in the summer when it was quite easy to do so. Ideally they should have had all the single pane doors and windows replaced with double glazing. FENSA fitters make all this easy for you; the FENSA certificate means you don’t have to go through local building control either. If they had only contacted a fitter sooner, then they wouldn’t be so cold right now, and wouldn’t be paying the earth to try and heat certain rooms…



So what have we learnt from today’s tale? Well a number of things:

  1. You won’t always want a draft in your lounge

  2. Loosing heat from your house is only really good in the summer

  3. A cold draft in a room = a no go zone in the winter

  4. It’s expensive to heat rooms with drafts in them

  5. Single glazed windows and doors are massive heat losers

  6. It’s easy to replace doors and windows, especially with a professional FENSA fitter

  7. Cold home = friends only visit in the summer


To finish off this post, all I can say is, “don’t make the same mistakes” as my friends have. If you have a cold draft in your room (even if you find it in the summer), or think your windows let out too much heat, then do something about it quickly. Find a FENSA registered fitter and get them to come and have a look at your windows and doors. Potentially, windows and doors can be the biggest heat losers in your home, and in cold snaps like the one, that’s uncomfortable to say the least, and makes it rather expensive to keep your home warm…

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What to check before appointing an installer

Check that you use a FENSA Approved Installer but also check the following:


  • Ask family and friends who have used installers about their satisfaction and whether they got a FENSA certificate.
  • Check the installer's references by talking to their previous customers.
  • Get at least three quotes and check you are being quoted like for like.
  • Cheapest is not always best and good contractors are always in demand.
  • Check the warranty on the installer's work and ensure they have enough insurance to cover their warranty. Domestic glazing installers that are registered with a competent person scheme like FENSA are legally obliged to provide warranty insurance to cover your installation should the company cease to trade within the life of the warranty.
  • Get quotes, timeframes and the fact that you will get a FENSA certificate all in writing. A proper written contract with an agreed completion date will help prevent confusion later on
  • If the company requires a deposit, ensure they offer deposit indemnity and get proof or a receipt for any deposits paid. The deposit should not exceed the indemnity value of the installer's deposit protection insurance. Some less reputable companies may ask for cash upfront to secure a 'one time only offer' or 'special deal'. You're very unlikely to get your money back if there is a problem later unless you take out a deposit protection. If you do pay for goods upfront costing more than £100, use a credit card so you can claim against the credit card company if anything goes wrong.
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