The problem is that people selling replacement windows have a product that people can touch and feel, and see after they are installed. This is sort of like solar panels, or even a new car – you can show them off to your friends – unlike the more important stuff that you can’t see – like duct sealing, air sealing, attic insulation, and lots of other things, most of which fall into the category of Home Performance. But most of those things aren’t cool, or sexy, or even visible after they’re installed.
It’s the same reason some people will spend a lot of money on granite counters and fancy appliances but won’t spend anything on better insulation or more efficient HVAC systems. If you can’t see it, it doesn’t matter. Except when they start getting really big electric bills – then they start looking for ways to save money. That’s when those window salesmen swoop in and convince them that their windows will “pay for themselves” in a year. It’s too bad that home performance isn’t as sexy or as easy to sell as those fancy windows (or granite counters). Maybe some day enough people will understand that fixing up the important things is a better investment in efficiency than windows (and granite counters). In the meantime, we will have to put up with the promises we get from window replacement contractors.