Todays doors and windows are energy efficient

Leave it to a hot summer like this one (or a cold winter, for that matter) to teach all of us the importance of keeping our homes at the temperatures produced by our air conditioning and heating systems.

Well-insulated windows and patio doors are a key to maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures. But beyond them, there is the insulation provided by window blinds and shades that assist with temperature regulation.

The latest improvement in that area are windows and doors that have integral blinds and shades between the panes of glass, said Iver Johnson Sr., owner of American Thermal Window of Chicago and Sahara Window and Doors of Niles (formerly of Mount Prospect).

"Shades and blinds, whether inside the glass or beyond it just inside your home, prevent the sun from beating in and heating up your rooms on hot days," Johnson said. "They perform the same job on those subzero days in the winter, keeping your rooms comfortable year-round.

"But there are definite advantages to having the blinds or shades between your panes of glass," he added. "They stay clean in that protected environment and they are also protected from the wear and tear inflicted by children and pets."

Homeowners shopping for replacement windows and doors (with between-the-glass shades or not) need to do their homework before choosing someone to supply those new windows and doors and then install them.

"You want to choose a company that makes sure your improvement project is completed to expectation, from the point of choosing the most suitable items with the help of knowledgeable reps, to the installation," Johnson said. "We only use our own very experienced installation crews and almost all of our manufacturers offer lifetime warranties."

His companies carry nine window lines, including Marvin, Anderson and Pella.

"We only offer the best. If it isn't up to our standards, we don't carry it," Johnson said.

"Window manufacturers are continually upgrading their products. Today's windows, which are generally available in wood, vinyl and aluminum, have much higher energy ratings than those being replaced, of course, so they save on heating and cooling costs."

In addition to selling windows, American Thermal Window and Sahara Window and Doors offer 58 door styles with 36 standard paint and stain combinations and more than 200 custom glass options. Custom colors are also possible.

Fiberglass is a common modern choice for outside doors because it is very durable, Johnson said, but his two companies also offer nationally recognized Simpson Doors that are made of solid oak, birch, cherry, poplar and other woods, produced in America. Doors that must be fire-rated, however, (like those between a garage and a home) must be metal and the showrooms also sell those.

Steel security storm doors are also part of the inventory for protection, as are garden windows for growing plants and fashionable doors with decorative glass options.

Johnson's companies also have a good following with condominium and townhouse associations because they are willing to attend association meetings at no charge. They also offer a wide variety of fire-rated windows and doors for mid- to high-rise residential buildings and commercial properties.

It is worth noting Johnson's crews work year-round "because we are capable of doing all of the windows in an average house in a day without causing undue temperature fluctuations."

All installation crews are employed directly by American Thermal Window and Sahara Window and Doors and they are highly trained and held to exacting standards. They arrive in company trucks and the average installer has a minimum of 15 years of experience, Johnson said.

"At American Thermal and Sahara, we all understand what it is to own a home, so we are easily able to relate to our customers," he added. "We strive to make sure our customers receive a positive experience from beginning to end, from their initial phone call, to their interaction with the sales rep and the showroom staff, to their experience with the installation crews. We want nothing but positive experiences, especially after the difficult two-plus years we have all endured!"

Johnson is a former Chicago police officer who has been providing windows and doors to Chicago-area homeowners for 39 years. Both stores have retained their individual names, but the two showrooms function as the same company with identical offerings and crews that skillfully install a variety of products in single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and commercial properties. Johnson's companies put high emphasis on both security and the aesthetics of their products.

Probably because of his law enforcement background, Johnson is particularly concerned about the companies now offering windows and doors that don't allow customers to see products in a showroom, but instead simply send representatives to homes with small samples and photos.

"These companies typically discourage customers from visiting showrooms because they want to visit the customer's home and use high-pressure sales tactics," Johnson said. "They spend two to four hours in the home, bombarding the prospective customer with 'false discounts' and highly insulting and fake promises. And the customer doesn't have the option of walking away. So, we highly discourage customers from dealing with companies that don't have a showroom and instead choose to corner customers in their homes.

"We offer customers both ways of shopping - in their home or our showrooms," he said.

When you contract with a company it should have a long track record and high standing on rating services like Google and Yelp.

"You can't purchase those ratings. They must be earned. We have been awarded with excellent reviews from Google and have an exceptional rating on Yelp. Those ratings reflect the way our customers feel about us. We also have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau," Johnson said.

The American Thermal Window showroom is located at 5304 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago and the new, larger Sahara Window and Doors showroom is located at 6619 W. Jarvis St. in Niles.

"We encourage people to come in to one of our showrooms and see our displays," he said. "There is always someone to serve you."

For more information, call (847) 259-9099 or (773) 774-3131 or visit or

Patio doors can be more energy efficient with internal blinds.
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.