Turn To Tara: Low-E windows raise safety concerns

Posted: Updated:

A window battle heating up in Hastings has pit neighbor against neighbor - and could have legal consequences well beyond the Hudson Valley.

Jeanne Meldrim says her dream home in Hastings has been under attack for two years – by her neighbor’s energy-efficient windows.

She says a few years ago, her neighbor installed the Low-E windows that are designed to keep heat inside in winter and outside during the summer.

Meldrim claims the windows act like a lens, focusing concentrated amounts of sunlight into her home – and even melted her siding.

She says it’s not the property damage that has her most concerned, it’s her family’s health.

“One day I went outside and I was doing work along the side and I looked up and I caught beam in my eyes. I had spots. After consulting with an eye doctor, I had temporary retinal damage,” she says.

Despite the issues, she says her neighbors refused to replace the windows, and there isn’t much the village can do about it.

The family hired an attorney and top engineer, who conducted a full forensic investigation that determined the windows did cause damage to the home.  The investigation found that projecting rays had temperatures exceeding 170 degrees.

She’s now taking the case to court.

Meldrim’s neighbors and the window manufacturer would not discuss the situation with News 12. The village manager told News 12, “The windows are compliant with the International Residential Code, as well as the NYS Supplemental Code for building both of which the Village Building Department follows.”

Despite the safety assurances, News 12 discovered similar complaints of solar distortion being made all over the country - and going back several years – including multiple allegations that Low-E windows have even sparked fires.

The National Association of Home Builders has reportedly received hundreds of similar complaints. It says one option for homeowners impacted is to offer to pay for a window screen for a neighbor to minimize the reflection.

 

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