Looking After Your Home (and Yourself) During the Winter Months

In the cold months between September and March we see a large increase in customers wishing to protect their homes from the cold weather. People tend to find weaknesses with their old windows and doors during these seasons; whether they be cold draughts, condensation, or faulty locking systems.

Everyone will begin to feel the cold seasons as the nights begin to get longer and the rains and winds begin to pick up. Fortunately there are lots of little things you can do to ensure that you, and your home are prepared. Here we have compiled some of our favourite advice to help you out…

– Get your central heating system and boiler checked.

– Sweep and clear all gutters, drains and chimneys (also check for broken roof tiles).

– Check loft pipes are properly insulated and ventilated. Remember to ensure some heat is flowing around these pipes to prevent freezing.

– Make good use of lights, preferably on a timer, to deter any potential burglars.

– Check fencing, gates and locks to ensure all are secure.

– Wear an extra layer of clothing (several thin layers are better than one thick one!)

– Draw your curtains as soon as it gets dark to stop heat escaping.

– Keep internal doors closed, keep the heat where you need it.

– Eat well! Warm food with lots of carbohydrates should do the trick.

In regards to Home Improvements there are 3 main factors to bear in mind when purchasing products to protect your home in the winter; the Energy Efficiency of the product, its Insulation Properties, and how it will aid with Securing your home…

Energy EfficiencyAFTER (1)
The Window Centre installs A rated energy efficient double glazing as standard. This year we updated our glazing system further – combining it with new Super Spacer® technology – greatly improving energy performance, durability and reducing condensation.

We have also introduced A+ rated triple glazing to the borough; ideal for those homes demanding the most energy efficient and insulated environments, as well as for properties on busy roads, under flight paths, and those simply trying to lower their energy bills further.

Every opening window we install features a guaranteed 10-point high-security locking system to keep unwelcome intruders out, whilst our beautiful composite front doors are all aluminium-reinforced and secured with multi-point locks and hooks.

At The Window Centre we take special care in purchasing and installing products that meet the highest specifications in these key areas.

Anyway; here’s to a successful and happy 2015 to everyone!


Marketing in the Glazing and Home Improvements Industry

National versus Local

Nationwide companies; such as Anglian Home Improvements (2013 turnover £208million), Everest (£145million) and Safestyle (£110million) spend large proportions of their revenue on marketing and advertising. Their marketing is generally focused on television, internet and radio advertising; but they also use direct marketing methods such as leaflet dropping and activity around installations. These nationals tend to also have heavily information-orientated websites; which are often promoted via PPC (Pay Per Click) adverts on search engines and banner advertising.

The local industry tends to be more competitive (whilst competing with the nationals it also contends with other construction/home improvement companies); however it also requires less expensive marketing techniques; and receives a much better ROI on marketing.
This is based on a number of assumptions. Firstly, local companies have less overheads. There is no need for costly nationwide television or radio advertising, nor a need to cover as many members of staff, meanwhile economies of scale mean the local companies tend to have much tighter control on all aspects of the operation; from installation to customer service and sales (for which the national companies are often vilified).

Secondly, there are relatively low barriers to entry to the market; essentially anyone can purchase windows or doors from a supplier and fit them themselves (providing they have the know-how and equipment) and this makes for a competitive environment at local level.

There has been a noticeable shift towards the internet and digital in many aspects of the Home Improvements industry; and marketing is largely at the forefront of this shift. Whereas in previous years local firms could rely on recommendations, word of mouth and traditional media to gain customers, nowadays the internet is playing an ever-growing role in this mix.
Reviews are posted on the internet; disgruntled customers are more likely to post bad reviews than pleased customers are to post positive ones. The Internet is now our biggest lead source if we believe that the majority of people who are attracted by other leads, say leaflets or recommendations from friends, are highly likely to want to find out more about us and what we do. The internet is their first stop.

Recent Posts to Everest’s (Fit The Best) Facebook page:

Social Media, whilst brilliant for interacting with our customers, can often backfire if your customer service and installations are not up to scratch. Everest's Facebook page receives many complaints - and in the meantime requesting everyone to 'direct message' instead of publicly posting doesn't seem to fix the problem... customers want people to know when a product doesn't do what it says on the tin, or a company fails to live up to its promise.

Social Media, whilst brilliant for interacting with our customers, can often backfire if your customer service and installations are not up to scratch. Everest’s Facebook page receives many complaints – and in the meantime requesting everyone to ‘direct message’ instead of publicly posting doesn’t seem to fix the problem… customers want people to know when a product doesn’t do what it says on the tin, or a company fails to live up to its promise.

A desire for ever more energy-efficient windows and insulated homes coupled with our current climate of expensive energy bills, volatile weather and environmental consciousness have created a strong, and growing demand for triple glazing in the UK.

This demand has sparked debate within the industry and its customers over the benefits and disadvantages of that added glazing pane; and does it offer value for money? On April 10th  ‘The Triple Glazing Question’ will be raised at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.

As a local window installation company, serving the North West of London, we have seen over the last year (2013/2014) a large increase in demand for triple glazing (currently around 20% of our installations are triple glazed).

So what is driving this demand? Triple glazing is certainly not a ‘new’ product, indeed it has been used for decades in Scandinavian countries and areas of similar, colder climes. From our point of view there can be several broad reasons for this demand.

Environmental changes are no longer the stuff of conspiracy nor media scare, but the proven irrefutable present and future; we need look no further than the recent UN report stating the impact of climate change to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible“. Or the Winter flooding which crippled much of the South West months back. The system also offers big improvements in sound insulation, making it especially desirable, from our experience, on busy roads, under flight paths or near railway lines.
It is not hard to imagine that, as a home-owner, the opportunity to future-proof your house against adverse weather; whilst doing your best to reduce your impact on the environment, would factor into your decision about your home improvements.

Energy  bills are increasing, energy complaints have tripled between 2013 and 2014, energy-efficiency is on everyone’s lips whilst the large energy providers are having to explain themselves to the government. Indeed the biggest selling point of triple glazing are its Eco-credentials; easily performing with an A+ Rating and with U-values (an industry measure of heat transfer across a material) around the 0.7-0.8 region [an insulated wall has around 0.3 whilst standard double glazing sits at around 2.0]. The question is as to value people place on this additional energy efficiency and money saved, which brings us on to…

Money. Always a big factor in home improvements, not only in terms of products and quality, but the main reason our industry is so competitive at a local level. by its very nature triple glazing is more expensive; It is larger, heavier and takes more materials and time to make. Because of this, and additional training needed, it takes longer to fit (I can safely say from personal experience you need no gym membership if you are unloading triple glazed units every day!) All this adds up to a more expensive product, and again it comes down to the value you place on triple glazing’s additional benefits to standard double glazing. Currently we are running a 50% OFF deal to encourage customers to upgrade and the large increase in orders we have had can probably be attributed to this.

Cross section of our triple glazing and its technology

Cross section of our triple glazing and its technology

The way we see it ‘The Triple Glazing Question’ will be in favour of triple glazing, and rightly so; the final argument would likely be centered around the long-term benefits of the system, which makes its value, and return on investment higher than double glazing. It would be nice to see some strong opposition, but we imagine with the line up of speakers, which includes triple glazing installers and many manufacturers and component producers looking to benefit from higher triple glazing demand, any opposition would be thin on the ground.

If you would like to know more, visit the Triple Glazing section of our Website website  or The Triple Glazing Question Site