Who Repairs double-glazing when it goes wrong?
In an ideal situation and provided the product is still
under guarantee – it’s
the responsibility of the service department of the company who supplied
you to undertake repairs.
However it’s often the case that the original supplier is no longer
around or the faulty windows are out of guarantee. In these situations
consumers will often find themselves dealing with a rather “special” repairperson – often
referred to as the Double Glazing Doctor or Window Doctor or more often
the Double Glazing Service Engineer.
These individuals have to be familiar with a wide range
of double glazed windows and composite door products. Arguably, they are the
This short article explains a typical day in the life
of a Double Glazing Repairman. It’s an excellent insight to the double-glazing industry
and frankly it’s of equal value to both people seeking repairs
and anyone starting out on the road to buying new double glazing.
7.31 am – First Call of
I’m not usually up and working this early but this customer insisted
in seeing me before going to work. Problem: existing windows are around
12 years old and have “cockspur” handles that have become
rather loose over time. This is because many of the little plastic
catches that the handles located on when sealing had dropped of / been
lost over time. This meant the windows felt loose / wobbled when supposedly
locked. Fortunately I carry a good quantity of these catches me with
me and they are an exact fit. Takes about 20 mins to fit 7 catches.
I also lubricate and generally clean the handles. Cost to customer £60.00
They seem happy – but wanted to pay me by credit card – even
though on phone I explained I do not take credit cards.
8.29 am – Breakfast at Jane’s Café
My next appointment is not until 9.45 am – so it’s time for
breakfast at my favourite café. Jane reminds me that I have still
to give her a price for a new upvc back door and window. I don’t
really do replacement work but for Jane I will make an exception. Measure
up window and door and promise to telephone tonight with a firm price.
9.45 am – call No 2 – replacement of “failed” double
glazed sealed units
Replacing broken down or failed sealed units is perhaps the No1 thing
that I do. The units are considered failures whenever condensation
appears between the two panes of glass. Many people think we have some
tool that will dry the unit out – but frankly there is no realistic
alternative but to replace the failed sealed units. There are 7 sealed
units to replace here (a big job – usually its just one or two
units at a time) Three of the units are toughened glass – so it’s
a little more expensive because of this. The job takes an hour. Total
cost to customer £390.00. Customer is happy – they did have
much larger quotes. My min charge to replace a single sealed unit is £70.00
(Webmasters note: If you suffer from condensation on
your windows – and
its not within the sealed units – you may find the following
article of interest: http://www.windowstoday.co.uk/condensation.htm)
11.45 am – Call No 3 – Customer
having trouble locking back door
After replacing failed sealed units this is perhaps the next most common
repair. Basically the back door (uPVC) has dropped meaning that the
bottom of the door catches ever time someone closes the door. There’s
also a bit of a gap at the top and a draft! The reason the door has “dropped” is
most likely because the door was never “toed and heeled” correctly
when installed. Customer explains that the door never really worked properly
since it was installed 18 months ago. Unfortunately the “man and
van” operation that installed it seems reluctant to come and repair
their faulty workmanship – despite their so-called 10-year guarantee!
Anyway, I remove both sealed units and “toe and heel” the
door properly. This does the trick and the door now works fine. A couple
of catches in the locking mechanism have also been broken (no doubt due
to door not closing properly) and I replace them at same time. Cost to
customer £60.00. Unfortunately I must point out to customer that
I cannot offer any warranty on this type of work – in my experience
because the door was not installed correctly to start with, it’s
likely that future problems may occur. Took an hour to do this – which
is about as twice as long as I would have hoped. Still, the customer
did make a rather nice cup of tea and a sandwich!
(Webmasters note: for a detailed explanation of “toeing and heeling” visit:
1.30 pm – call to give estimate on replacing
faulty sealed units
Most times I give a fairly accurate estimate on telephone and then
just visit customers to do an accurate measure. This customer however
me to call in person and quote. It appears the original suppliers
of the double-glazing are no longer in business. They had bought
a company who in my opinion was notorious for a “cheap product
and cheap prices”. Of course that particular company is no longer
around and that’s why I’m being called in. As soon as I
arrive the potential customer is on the offensive – moaning and
generally running down the whole double glazing industry. It
would appear she thinks we are all con men! Of course this is not true but
it’s not an uncommon reaction from people in this situation.
In particular she wants to know how she can claim on her 10-year guarantee.
I explain that the guarantee (which was not insurance backed) died
when the company went out of business. She does not like that! She
goes on a bit to say the least! Anyway I give my firm quote - £210
to replace a total of 5 sealed units. She says she will let me know!
I am of course sympathetic to the her plight but I do think its rather
unfair to take it out on me. I’m not sure she has yet really
accepted in her mind that she will only get this work done if she
pays for it! Sometimes I feel like a Double Glazing Agony
the visit has been a WOT (waste of time). I wish her well.
2.30 pm – Fit replacement hinges on upvc
This customer had trouble getting her upvc window to seal / be draft
proof whenever she closed it. Basically the top friction hinge had
twisted and now ever time she closed the window there was a gap of
bout 10 mm. A fairly simple job to fix – I removed the hinge
and replaced with new one. I also replaced the bottom hinge (that was
not broken) as I always find its best to replace both hinges at the
same time. This is an easy job on upvc windows, which are fixed to
the frame using screws. If the window had been aluminium it can be
sometimes more difficult as the hinges are sometimes “riveted” in
place. Cost to customer £45.00 inc two new hinges. Time taken – 40
3.45 pm – Repair to back door
This call was supposed to have been for the repair of a recently
fitted back door. However when I get there I discover the door
is not yet
fitted and what the customer really wants is someone to fit a upvc
double glazed door that they bought from a DIY store. Apparently
they had intended to fit themselves but never got around to it?
not really the kind of work I’m looking for and frankly I’m
rather annoyed they got me out on false pretences. Sometimes I think
I should have a min., call out fee but I don’t charge one – which
is I guess why things like this sometimes happen to me. I give a quote,
- £160.00 –, which I think, surprises them. They will
let me know!
4.45 – Final Call of the Day – Estimate
for Conservatory roof repair
Very nice couple – and a very nice cup of tea! Their existing glass
roof has a failed sealed unit within it, meaning that when they look
up there is condensation visible. I only do work like this when I have
a second pair of hands available and for this type of work I team you
with Kevin – an old work colleague of mine who is now also a double
glazing service engineer. Replacing a sealed unit in a conservatory roof
is not an easy job and its reflected in my price - £560.00. The
job will include replacing the rafter capping and gasket, which will
also most certainly get damaged when replacing. The customer accepts
my quote and I book the work in for 3 weeks time – subject to
confirming with Kevin.
And that’s it – just another
typical day in the life of a Double Glazing Repairman.
The above article is intended as a “comment” on a service
engineer’s typical day. It is based on the experiences of a number
of service engineers.
Attention – Double
Glazing Service Engineers. We are always looking for feedback and experiences to review / include
in this section
expand it. If you have something interesting to add please email it