Did you freeze through this bitter winter?

  • New doors are not only energy efficient, but they can improve your home's curb appeal.

    New doors are not only energy efficient, but they can improve your home's curb appeal.

  • Sliding-glass exterior doors can be made in custom sizes.

    Sliding-glass exterior doors can be made in custom sizes.

  • Iver Johnson Sr. purchased Sahara Window and Doors in Mount Prospect about 10 years ago.

    Iver Johnson Sr. purchased Sahara Window and Doors in Mount Prospect about 10 years ago. Courtesy of Sahara Window and Doors

  • American Thermal Window and Sahara Windows and Doors carry nine window lines, including Marvin and Pella.

    American Thermal Window and Sahara Windows and Doors carry nine window lines, including Marvin and Pella.

By Jean Murphy
Daily Herald Correspondent
Posted4/6/2019 6:00 AM

We just suffered through a shockingly cold and windy winter and if you weren't as snug and warm in your home as you wanted to be those terrible days and nights, it is probably time to consider making upgrades to your home.

Old, ill-fitting and poorly insulated windows and doors can definitely threaten the health and comfort of your family during both bitterly cold winters and brutally hot summers. Do you honestly want your home to only be comfortable during spring and fall?


If your answer is "no" and you were horrified by the energy rating you got on your last gas bill, you should probably start thinking about making replacements. If you can't afford to do all the replacements at once, do it in order of where you felt the worst drafts on our coldest days.

Windows and doors also give both visitors and passers-by their first impressions of the home and a glimpse of the homeowner's personality. Eye-catching bay, picture and other specialty windows add personality to a house while also keeping heated or cooled air inside where it is supposed to be. They improve a home's indoor air quality and save the owner money in the long-run, said Iver Johnson Sr., owner of American Thermal Window of Chicago and Sahara Window and Doors of Mount Prospect.

"Window manufacturers are continually upgrading their products," he said. "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."

Johnson, a former Chicago police officer, has been providing windows and doors to Chicago-area homeowners through his American Thermal Window Co. for 38 years and a decade ago he acquired Sahara Window and Doors, too.

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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.

The combined company is very discerning when it comes to product selection, Johnson said, carrying nine window lines, including Marvin and Pella.

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

He also cautioned that homeowners shopping for replacement windows and doors need to do their homework before choosing someone to supply those new windows and doors and then install them. When you contract with a company it should have a long track record and high standing on rating services like Angie's List and Yelp.

"You can't purchase those ratings. They have to be earned. We have been awarded with the Angie's List's Super Service Award for several years in a row 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.


It is important to note that all of the company's 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 always arrive in company trucks and the average installer has a minimum of 10 years of experience, Johnson said.

American Thermal Window and Sahara Window and Doors also offer 58 different 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, to meet building codes, such as a door between the garage and a home, must be metal and the showrooms also sell those.

Johnson's two companies also offer and install custom patio doors. Designer glass, custom sizes and designer grids are readily available. Steel security storm doors are also part of the inventory for unbeatable protection, as are garden windows for growing plants, windows with blinds between the panes and fashionable doors with decorative glass options.

Sahara and American Thermal also have a good following with condominium and townhouse associations because the company attends association meetings at no charge. The two showrooms also offer a wide variety of fire-rated windows and doors for mid- to high-rise residential buildings and commercial properties.

Delivery takes three to six weeks, depending on the order's complexity. 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 an undue temperature drop, even in the middle of winter."

"At American Thermal and Sahara, we understand what it is to own a home, so we are easily able to relate to our customers," Johnson said. "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!"

The American Thermal Window showroom is at 5304 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago and Sahara Window and Doors is at 150 S. Main St. in Mount Prospect.

"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 www.americanthermalwindow.com or www.saharawindowanddoors.com.

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