Storm Windows and Energy Efficiency

Energy costs are on the rise and many consumers are looking for a way to save money on their heating and cooling costs. One way to gain better control of these home energy costs is by installing high-quality storm windows.

When temperatures drop during winter, the heat loss in the home through single pane windows can be a major problem for energy saving and utility bills.

Not only do they lower your energy bills, but depending on where you stay, storm windows may be your only option to protect your home and its content in the event of a storm.

Types of Storm Widows

Storm windows can be classified into two main types with several different options to choose from. This includes:

  • Interior and exterior mounted storm windows
  • Fixed, two, and triple track storm windows
  • Glass type
  • Frame type

Interior vs. Exterior Mounted Storm Windows

An interior storm window is mounted onto the inside of a home’s normal window frame or sill. Interior storm windows are best suited to homes and high-rise buildings where the window’s exterior is inaccessible. Only in some cases is an interior mounted storm window the best application.

Generally, exterior storm windows are the best choice. An exterior storm window mounts to the outside of the window sill and offers significant energy efficiency benefits. They can also update the home’s curb appeal with the latest designs installed.

Fixed, Two, and Triple Track Storm Windows

Also known as casement or picture windows, a fixed storm window does not open. Created with one large piece of glass, a fixed window is ideal for protecting decorative windows, stained glass, or any window which does not open.

The two track storm window is one of the most common types of storm windows. Designed with two panes of glass which each have their own separate track.

The first track houses a window pane inside the top half of the frame and a window screen on the bottom half. The inside frame houses the bottom pane of glass. The bottom track can be raised up, exposing the exterior screen. This allows for free air flow when desired. By lowering the interior pane the window will close.

Triple track storm windows operate in much the same manner as the two track,  except that the two panes run along the outside of the tracks while a third track is completely made of screen material. This allows you to achieve air flow from the top and bottom window areas. The triple track storm window, therefore, offers the best air flow.

In general, the triple tracks have the most expensive price tag when compared to the two track. Fixed pain windows which cannot open will have the lowest price.

Storm Window Glass Types

There are many types of glass options available when installing storm windows. The most common glass used is the standard 3/16″. This is available in:

  • Tempered glass
  • Laminated glass
  • Low-E glass
  • Plexiglass

Storm windows are conveniently obtainable in a multitude of options, making them extremely versatile and flexible. Costs are always a major influencing factor when it comes to your choice of glass.

Storm Window Frame Types

Storm window frames are available in aluminum, vinyl, and wood. The most popular storm window frames are made from aluminum. This is partly due to its incredible strength.  Wooden storm window frames have died out, and vinyl frames are still available.

The choice of window frame material can have a dramatic effect on the energy efficiency of a home. A well constructed and correctly installed storm window frame will reduce airflow through the window panes and air pockets.

Reducing air flow is what will help to control the climate within the home. This keeps indoor temperatures stable during the hottest and coldest months of the year.

An added benefit of proper sealing storm windows is it gives homeowners more control over things like dust, allergens, and noise pollution. These are, however, dependent on the style of storm windows chosen.

Weighing up the costs of a storm window installation with the goals for your home in mind will help you budget on a price. To some people, noise reduction is more important than dealing with severe pollen or dust allergies.

Choosing a frame

Will your storm windows be required to open for ventilation or can it be a fixed pane?

Choosing frame designs are one of the most important factors in the process of creating storm windows for the home.

Check the Energy Star Certification

The right contractor and some careful planning will speed up the installation process significantly, but most important of all is to get the genuine product. This is the only way to ensure your investment will be worth it.  Whether working on a budget or focusing on a specific need, storm windows are unlikely to break during a violent storm if they have the window replacement cost right.

Whether working on a budget or focusing on a specific need, storm windows are unlikely to break during a violent storm if they have the ENERGY STAR certification.

Always check for the label on the product and never accept a verbal certification. Windows are an investment in your home and you want to make the right choice, first time.

Why You Should Never Hire an Unlicensed Contractor

It may be tempting to hire an unlicensed contractor who offers a significantly lower quote, but buyer BEWARE.

“You get what you pay” for is no more true and accurate than when hiring a professional contractor. Investing in a contractor for repairs or improvements around your home shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Sometimes, the lowest estimate isn’t always the best. It’s important to consider why one estimate is significantly lower than others. Becoming a licensed contractor usually comes with specific requirements, including:

  • carrying the proper insurance coverage
  • completion of safety and trade-specific education
  • and agreement to participate in mediation and other conflict resolution methods should an issue arise

Lack of Protection

By hiring an unlicensed contractor, and not trusted window replacement pros,  you are increasing your potential risks. The issue with hiring an unlicensed contractor isn’t always the level of quality in their workmanship.

The bigger issue is often times the lack of protection for the homeowner. Financial responsibility for injuries become your problem.

If you want to save on your remodeling or home repair project, hiring a cheaper, unlicensed contractor might be the worst thing to do.

The Proper Protection

We all know that accidents can and do happen. You may be in trouble financially if you hired an unlicensed contractor. Many of these contractors don’t carry proper insurance to cover accidents. An unlicensed contractor’s negligence could cost you dearly.

Unlicensed contractors don’t have without worker’s compensation and insurance. This coverage is essential to protect homeowners when a worker is injured on your property. If your contractor or one of his employees gets hurt, like falling from a ladder, you could be held responsible. This may end up in thousands of dollars in medical bills.

It’s also imperative that the contractor you hire carries liability insurance as well. This coverage can protect you in the event your contractor is negligent and causes damages your property, or worse, someone else’s.

Up To Code

Many repair and remodeling projects will require permits. Unlicensed contractors may not always be willing to follow those guidelines. This can cause serious problems for the homeowner in a number of ways.

If unpermitted work is done, the local municipality could impose steep fines and require the work to be redone. This financial responsibility will fall on you since unlicensed contractors rarely have a bond or liability insurance.

If you decide to sell your home, you’re required to disclose specific information to the buyer too. This includes any repairs and remodeling work done.

If this work was done without permits or isn’t up to code, you could face lowered property value.

The Big Picture

When looking at the big picture, the most important thing to remember is to protect yourself and your assets and to ensure you find trusted contractor quotes before agreeing to any contractors to visit your home or property.

It’s never a good idea to hire an unlicensed contractor. Do your research and make sure your contractor is licensed and properly insured.

Licensing qualifications can vary from state to state and city to city. Ensure that you verify the requirements with your local municipality.

Don’t be intimidated to call and verify your potential contractor’s references of past clients either.

Be sure to ask the following questions before you hire:

  1. How well did the contractor stick to original budget and timeline?
  2. How satisfied were they the contractor’s workmanship and the final results of their project?
  3. How well, and how often, did the contractor communicate with clients during the project?

It’s also essential to ask your potential contractor to provide proof of their liability and worker’s compensation coverage. This will ensure that you are completely covered when hiring someone for your next home repair or remodeling project.

A Guide To Gutter Cleaning and Gutter Covers

Gutter cleaning is an unavoidable chore to most homeowners, even when you have gutter cover. Even though some homeowners will be content with waiting until rainwater stops flowing properly before thinking about cleaning, knowing a couple of tips that will make the process simpler, fun, and a lot safer.

Cleaning your gutters can be easy as long as you know what you ought to do and how to do it. You will also need the right tools and know when to clean your gutters. The right equipment will guarantee your safety and an easy time when doing the cleaning.  Who knows, it might even make you look forward to each gutter cleaning session.

Safety First – Know Your Roof

A strong ladder placed on a firm and level base is the best way up to the gutters. If possible, make it a tall step ladder that won’t have to lean on the roof for support. Remember to stand with your hips against a step and in between the rails for perfect balance.

If you have to get onto the roof, ensure that it is a low pitch roof that is dry. Wearing non-slip shoes and stepping on the railings will keep you safe on the roof whilst protecting delicate sections of the roof.

Going up a ladder and onto the roof could be dangerous. Hiring professional cleaners is always wise if you are dealing with:

  • Roofs that are too steep
  • High gutters on multiple floored buildings

Cleaning Gutters – Following Procedure

Huge roofs with long stretches of gutters can be time-consuming to clean. To cut short the cleaning time, you can use a leaf blower or an on-off high-pressure hose. The pressure hose approach can easily turn messy and should only be used when there is too much murk and dirt in your gutters.

Alternatively, you can don some hard gloves and a plastic scoop to scrape off the debris. If you are expecting some rain, you won’t have to hose down your gutters after using a scoop to get rid of the debris.

Don’t Forget the Downspouts

Obstructions in the drainpipes and downspouts will jeopardize your otherwise perfect gutter cleaning campaign. To detect a blockage, pour some water down the drainpipes and expect it to flow unhindered to the bottom of the drain.

If this doesn’t happen, you might have to push a plumber’s auger, or some stiff rod down the pipe from the top to clear the clog. Flushing the downspout with a garden hose (or a high-pressure hose) to finish up the cleanup.

Gutter Covers Will Make Your Life Easier

Gutter covers will go over your gutter, keeping off all that debris and leaves while letting the rainwater in. They reduce the rate at which the junk accumulates, thereby reducing the number of times you have to clean your gutters. This is good news for people who dread the heights or the whole business of cleaning gutters.

Without gutter guards, you will have to clean in the spring and the fall. Gutter covers break this cycle. Some homeowners can go up to two years without having to worry about gutter cleaning thanks to a gutter cover job.

Other Benefits of Gutter Covers

Other than just keeping the trash out, gutter covers also have other lovable benefits that will definitely elongate your gutter’s lifespan.

Less wet debris in the gutters will reduce rusting. Slower rusting rates will give your gutters a longer lifespan and save you on maintenance.

Gutter guards will keep your gutters clean during those harsh winters too and prevent clogs that could force water to seep into your house.
In some areas, gutter covers also improved safety against brush fire since your gutters will be free of dry leaves that catch and propagate fire faster.
Also, keep in mind that gutter covers will keep pests and other small animals from setting residence in your gutters.

Remember, however, that regular gutter cleaning is inevitable, but with gutter guards, you can postpone this tiresome and potentially dangerous home maintenance chore for longer without affecting your property. They are a small price to pay for less cleaning costs which leave you with a safer roof and fewer gutter blockages.

Questions to Ask About Solar Panels before Installation

Introduction
Solar panels are a natural source of energy that helps for a sustainable world. A true fact is that we often get unpleasing electricity bills and we are more dependent on the fossil fuels which are finite. Therefore, solar panels can be used as an alternative energy source. We find a solar system very useful for a long term use but the starting cost is big. And for this dilemma, we may sometimes get confused about it. The thing is that the local government delivers certain deductions and refund schemes to those who use solar panels. These financial offers and incentives help others make this affordable but certain things should be clarified before installing solar panels.
1. Are they used only in warm places?
The sun powers up these panels. The energy received from the sun can be used for powering up your home. So solar systems can be used in any environment. The larger potential will be the usage of these in sunny areas where this technology can provide greater benefits. Some places that have hot climate could provide even one third of the total electricity consumed in the whole country. Hence,the presence of sunlight is a predominant factor for a more beneficial use.
2. How much investment is required initially?
Go onlne and find 2017 solar panel quotes. Many customers may be disappointed upon hearing the start-upcost of such a system, since the investment may go over $50,000. By considering the future benefits and the available tax exemptions and credits, the initial cost doesn’t seem that much anymore.
3. Do you require a new roof for installing them?
You don’t need a new roof since your existing roof can be used for this purpose. A good domestic solar panel installer or contractor would finish the installation work quickly. You should first check out whether or not the existing roof is in good condition. Making changes in the roof after the installation of the solar panel involves removing the panel and then doing the repairs which is difficult.
4. Will adding the panels increase your property tax?
Since this is a renewable and a sustainable energy system, many states offer tax credits and some local authorities exempt the installations of solar panels from the property taxes entirely.
5. How much can be saved on energy bills?
Savings depends on how much energy can be received and how much needs to be uses. On an average, there will be a 70% reduction in your electricity bill per month. If you pay $200/month on electric power, you will save around $1700/year
6. Does using these panels remove your necessity of being in the power grid?
It doesn’t mean that you can entirely depend upon the solar energy as bad times do come. There are some solar systems that store energy in huge batteries and some people even enter certain programs where they can use energy from the produced solar energy and provide the extra energy back into the grid for certain beneficial credit.
7. Do they require maintenance over time?
These panels don’t have any moving or rotating parts. So this doesn’t require regular maintenance. The rains are only needed to clean the panels. Nowadays these are even equipped with modern software to let you know whether the system has the efficiency to run properly.
Conclusion
Many of you may still have some doubts about solar panels. Get in touch with a solar panel dealer for further information and know more about the installation process, the benefits and the efficiency. If you choose to switch to solar energy, the decision would be a good one in my opinion.

 

written by Jackson clark

article source : http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/questions-to-ask-about-solar-panels-before-installation

Biomass Boiler Estimates And Green Heating Guide

If you live in areas where the weather gets cold you need to have a method of keeping your house warm. Keeping a house’s interior at a comfortable temperature does not mean that you have to harm the environment. It is possible to keep your home warm in a reliable and affordable manner and not have a negative impact on the world around you. Here are several energy efficient heating methods that you may want to consider when it is time to replace your current heating system.
Biomass stoves and boilers
Biomass stoves and boilers can be used to keep a home at a comfortable temperature. Biomass boilers and stoves use fuel such as wood pellets in order to power them. Wood pellet stoves and boilers are carbon neutral. The wood comes from trees that absorb carbon during their lifespan. Wood pellet stoves release only as much carbon as a tree absorbed when it was alive. Stoves provide direct heat to a home whereas boilers heat water that is then used in radiators or in radiant heating systems.
Wood pellets are extremely easy to store, can be produced locally and can even be fed into the stove or boiler by an automated system. This is an affordable and extremely environmentally friendly way to have home heating.
Solar hot water heating systems
Energy from the sun can be used to heat a home. Water travels through tubes set into solar panels. The heat from the sun warms the water and it travels back into the home through the same tubes. The water can be stored in a boiler which is insulated and which keeps it warm until it is needed. It can then be used in radiators or in a radiant heating system exactly like hot water from biomass systems would be.
Heat pump systems
There is a lot of ambient heat being stored in the ground and the water that surrounds our homes. A heat pump transfers heat from the ground or water via tubes filled with coolant. If you dig deep enough, there is a point where the ground contains a substantial amount of heat available on a continuing basis. That heat can be used to warm a home in an environmentally friendly manner.
Only you can tell which system is the most appealing to you. Working with a company that is experienced in installing these systems will ensure that your home stays warm without damaging the world around you.

 

written By Sam Braidley

article source : http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/green-heating-options-keep-your-house-warm-without-harming-the-environment

How Often Should I Clean My Windows

The debate on how often homeowners should clean their windows will always remain open. Actually, you would have asked yourself that question at one point or another.

Although the cleaning frequency depends on many factors, it all boils down to specific circumstances. Here is some valuable information to help you figure out the appropriate number of times you should clean be cleaning your windows.

Frequency of Cleaning

Personal preferences and weather conditions in your location will determine the frequency. It’s fair to say that you can have control over how often you should clear off dirt from your windows based on preference.

On the other hand, you have less control over the weather. As such, you would have to clean the windows more than average recommended twice a year. A classic example is an area that experiences frequent windy conditions. In no time, the wind will carry dust and pollen grains and deposit them on your windows.

Snowy weather conditions also call for up to at least quarterly cleaning of the windows. That is because ice particles can damage your windows if you let them stay there for long.

Living near the ocean also calls for more cleaning due to the salty deposits that stick to windows that can corrode the windows. At the same time, a factory in your area will also mean the same thing – monthly window cleaning!

Cleaning Approach

Cleaning your windows as experts recommend or weather conditions dictate is the starting point. The following are the things you need to note during the cleaning process:

  • start inside then out
  • avoid direct sunlight
  • wash top to bottom
  • wash spring and fall time

The listed approaches present individual benefits, hence the need for you to observe them. Always start cleaning from the inside of the windows. This gives easy access to hidden dirt when you turn to the outside.

Avoiding direct sunlight is essential as it saves you from cleaning drying streaks on the windows’ surfaces.

Always clean windows from top to bottom. Use up down strokes as you move from one side to another. Dirty water will flow from the top down, hence the reason for this approach.

Benefits of Keeping Your Windows Clean

It goes without saying that clean windows create a good and lasting impression. You want to make this type of impression when you are having visitors or prospective buyers in case you ever want to sell your house.

Cleaning your windows will also boost the appearance of your house. Other impressive things are ample lighting and heat into the house. In turn, you will save on air conditioning energy.

The average number of times for cleaning your windows is between two and four per year. However, the weather and your location conditions could call for frequent cleaning.

Other Window Options

Many people still believe that cleaning windows is challenging. You can avoid frequent window cleaning by opting for titanium diode embedded windows. The windows will come at a worthy cost based on their manufacturing technology. With the embedded titanium diode, the windows become self-cleaning. Additionally, the extra layer does not affect the transparency of the windows.

Investing in windows with a layer of titanium diode will ensure you worry less often about window cleaning.

Should I Get Professional Window Cleaning?

Windows allow sunlight to pour through your home, bringing warmth and light in from the outside world. That’s why keeping your windows clean is so important. But who has the time, or energy, to add this to an already long list of chores?

So what can you do? Consider hiring a professional. Let’s take a look at some of the best reasons you should hire a professional for your window cleaning.

The Clock is Ticking

If you are considering doing this yourself, keep in mind the task at hand. This can often be intensively time-consuming, and potentially dangerous. Cleaning your windows, both inside and out can easily take an entire day to complete. As if your to-do list wasn’t long enough already!

Making the call to get a professional window cleaning is a great way to help maintain your home. A professional can get the job done in half the time it might take you to do it yourself. Add in the benefits of improving the quality and overall feel of your home. All with just one phone call.

Irresistible Curb Appeal

Let’s face it. When your windows are clean, your home is much more appealing from the outside. No matter if you are trying to sell your home, or simply taking pride in the beauty of your home, make the most of your home’s curb appeal. A professional window cleaning should be on your home’s list of regular maintenance needs.

Longer Lifespan

Often times, homeowners will only focus on the glass when cleaning windows. So it’s easy to miss small issues and potential problems. When you hire a professional window cleaner, this won’t be a worry anymore.

A trained professional will spot potential problems during cleaning. This can include mold and mildew, even rot. You can avoid any smaller issues turning into even more costly repairs in the future. Clean, problem free windows will last much longer in your home.

Get Rid of the Creepy Crawlies

Insects and creatures love small hidden spaces for their nests. When you have a professional window cleaning, you can be sure there won’t be any creepy crawlies left behind. Professionals can spot and remove these pests that love to hide in sills and behind shutters.

Safety First

Rather than climbing that yourself, let the professionals handle it. When you attempt to clean your windows, you are taking the risk of falling, broken windows, and exposure to cleaning chemicals. When you choose to have your windows professionally cleaned, you won’t have to worry about these types of potential dangers.

A Job Well Done

Calling a professional cleaner for your windows means a job well done. Using a simple ammonia based cleaner and some towels simply aren’t enough. This pushes the dirt in the middle to the corners. Professionals know how to get your windows sparkling clean without the streaks.

Professional window cleaners will use the right products, and techniques, to clean your windows the right way. With the use of unique tools and cleaning solutions, your windows will be clean and crystal clear. This also helps to avoid any accidental damages to the glass and surrounding areas.

Relieve the Stress

So if you are still wondering if you should get a professional window cleaning, the answer is yes! Not only will a professional save you time and stress, you can extend the life of your windows and enhance the curb appeal of your home.

No longer will you have to drag out that heavy ladder and spend all day performing a balancing act with a chore you loathe.  When you hire a professional window cleaner, all you have to do is sit back, and enjoy the view.

 

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10 Important Decorating Tips Everyone Should Know

So you are considering a makeover for that outdated space in your home. Or, you may be thinking about selling your home and looking for ways to maximize its value?

There are countless tips and ideas for keeping up with the latest trends. But how can you get that one-of-a-kind look that showcases your style? To help you get started, here are 10 of the most important decorating tips that everyone should know about:

1. Have a Plan

Proper planning is essential for any project, especially when decorating your home. With proper planning, you can all but eliminate the chances of costly mistakes. After all, you wouldn’t want to start an expensive project only to realize that you’ve under-budgeted or that you’ve made the wrong design choices.

2. Transform and Repurpose

There’s no sense in tossing out a comfortable piece that’s totally functional. Reupholstering that old chair in the corner is a great way to keep enjoying the best seat in the family room. The great new fabric transforms the once shabby seat into a chic and stylish spot.

3. Spend Wisely

It’s always wise to focus your spending. This is wise in the case of window replacement pricing which can be expensive and also need to be considered. In general, you will want to allocate the largest part of your budget for quality furniture. This is because these pieces will last for years despite the normal wear and tear. Changing the smaller touches in the future, like paint and accessories, is less costly and time-consuming.

4. Color In Unlikely Places

Often overlooked, your window trims offer a great opportunity to add a splash of color to any room. The window trim can add a pop of color to make a statement, or tie in an accent color from an unexpected place. Adding some color in unexpected places can really add some personal style.

5. The 50/150 Color Method

No matter what color you choose for your space, you can pair the perfect shades like the pros. Mix one batch 50% lighter than your base paint, and another batch 150% darker. This is a fool-proof method to create the perfect color palette.

6. Make a Great First Impression

For increased curb appeal and a great first impression, paint your front door. You can choose a fun, glossy hue, or a dramatic rich matte to suit your style. Painting the entrance is a great way to catch the eye and make a fantastic first impression.

7. Fix the Fixtures

Reinvent your space by getting rid of dated fixtures. Budget friendly refinishing kits and spray paints can give an old fixture a new lease on life. Hate that old brass chandelier? Give it a coat of satin-nickel or hammered bronze spray paint for a great new look.

8. Atmosphere is Everything

No matter what look you are going for, a stark room with brand new furniture isn’t very inviting. Give your space the look and feel of “home” by adding aromatic candles, eye-catching artwork, and luscious greenery.

9. Bring the Eye Up

All too often, the focus is on filling the room up from side to side. Instead, why not create the illusion of added height in a room by adding things like taller pieces and shelves. This will fill up the top half of the room and bring the eye up to enjoy the full space.

10. Make It Personal

No matter what your style, keep the personal mementos in the plan. Be sure to include what matters and means the most to you and your family. Showcase the things your family loves and allow the design to speak to who you truly are.

Now matter what your personal style or budget, these 10 important tips can help you redecorate your home like a pro. Keep it simple, and don’t try to do everything at once. Keep a level head and move through each room one by one. This can help you stay on budget and keep you focused on the bigger picture.