Start Spring Cleaning Early

Start Spring Cleaning Early

Increase Energy Efficiency in the Older Home You Just Bought

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Now that you have moved into the older home you have recently purchased, you’re likely looking for affordable ways to make some improvements so the place stays comfortable and performs better for you throughout the years. Energy efficiency is an important consideration to make, as older homes tend to leak air and provide poor weather protection, especially during the hottest and coldest seasons of the year. For this reason, it’s a good idea to consider focusing on home-improvement projects that will increase energy efficiency within your home. This is a great way to save some money on power and help ensure that the belongings in your home are protected from outdoor elements. Here are a few easy things you can do to increase your older home’s energy efficiency as well as decrease your energy costs throughout the year: Landscape with Trees Landscaping with trees is an excellent way to increase your property’s value by up to an impressive 20 percent while providing some extra weather protection for your home year round. Plant your new trees near windows, patios, and porches that get direct sunlight during the day and in front of your exterior HVAC unit. Make sure you know how large your trees will get upon maturity before planting them so you can plant them far enough away from your home that their branches won’t break off and hit the roof as they age. Deciduous trees are an interesting option because they retain broad leaves during the summer that will help shade your home from unwanted heat. In the winter, they lose their leaves and allow the sun to heat things up without wearing out your HVAC system. Consider planting Japanese maple, dogwood, and magnolia trees. Seal Up Your Air Ducts Because your home is older, the chances are that its air ducts are leaking in various places, and that decreases energy efficiency, compromises air quality, and puts extra wear and tear on your HVAC system overall. Because of this, it’s a good idea to inspect the ducts throughout your house and wrap any areas where leaks are apparent or where the ducts look worn out. Use duct tape to wrap the ducts where some extra support is needed. Don’t forget to check air ducts in spaces where you don’t spend a lot of time, such as in the attic and basement. If you find any air ducts that are completely ripped or so worn that it’s tough to make your duct tape adhere to them, you’ll need to call in a professional to do an inspection and make some replacements where necessary. You can then go in and seal any ducts that didn’t have to be fully replaced. Replace Your Windows Replacing the old windows with newer Energy Star–rated options is one of the most effective ways you can increase the energy efficiency within your home. Energy Star windows will keep unwanted air flow from entering your home to improve energy efficiency and reduce your power bills throughout the year, and that means that your windows will help lower your household’s overall carbon footprint. Your new Energy Star–rated windows will also protect your home’s flooring, walls, and furniture from harmful UV rays. After your new windows are installed, consider applying insulation film to them for additional energy efficiency...

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4 Questions To Ask Before Replacing Your Windows

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Deciding between repairing and replacing your windows can seem like a tough call to make. While there are certainly advantages to upgrading your windows for esthetic reasons, it may ultimately be necessary when a repair isn’t doable. If you’re unsure about what to do, here are four questions to ask yourself when deciding if a replacement is in order. Are your windows single pane? Single-pane windows are quite common in older homes. And while you may want to maintain that old charm by foregoing newer windows, there are a few things to consider. First, single-pane windows are not very energy efficient. They let in a great deal of heat in the summer and welcome cold drafts in the winter. Single panes tend to be better suited for garages and storage sheds where insulation isn’t as important. Second, if you live in a cold climate, replacing your single panes with double panes can save you up to 24% on your fuel costs in the winter. Those who live in hotter parts of the country are looking at up to 18% savings in the summer. Add in some extras for a more high-end double-pane window, and you could save as much as 50%. These numbers indicate that going from single to double pane may be worth it in the long run. Are your windows rotting? Rotting window frames cannot be ignored. But the issue here is whether or not to repair or replace. If you decide to repair, you’ll need to consider that it’s a project requiring a full commitment from start to finish. Begin by removing all of the rotten wood with a chisel or other preferred tool. After this, you’ll need to build up the window in multiple stages using epoxy, then pack and shape the damaged area. Next, in order to have a flat surface, you’ll have to sand then file down the frame. Once everything is dry, a final stage of filling in holes with a patching compound is required, and within three days, you’ll paint the frame for maximum protection. If you only have one window suffering from rot, you may not consider this to be a difficult task. But when it’s required of every window in your home, it may be time to think about replacing those windows. Do your windows get stuck easily? If you find yourself shying away from opening those windows to let in fresh air because they get stuck, nailing down the cause will help you decide if it’s time for a replacement. First, heat and humidity can cause wooden windows to get stuck. And often the only thing to do is to wait for the weather to change. At that point, an option is to sand down the frame so that it will be easy to open year round. Second, dirt and grime may have accumulated in the channel, requiring you to gather multiple tools to break the seal and clean out the debris before adding a little lubrication. Third, certain parts of your window may have simply worn out and need to be replaced. Unfortunately, this may not work, you might have trouble finding the right parts, or you may find that no matter how often you clean those windows, they just keep returning to a jammed state. When this happens,...

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Sliding Glass Door Sticking? Try These DIY Fixes

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A sliding glass door can be a convenient and attractive way to get out onto your patio or to your pool. Over time, however, you might find that it’s more and more difficult to open and close the slider. Sometimes a failing frame is to blame, and other times the track is the problem. If you can’t get your door open or shut at all, it’s best to call a glass door repair and replacement company, such as Cheaper Window Glass. If it’s just sticking a bit, however, try these do-it-yourself fixes first. Clean the Track The most common reason that a door starts sticking is that dirt and other goo collects on the track that the door slides on. Rather than enabling smooth sliding, debris makes for a bumpy, sticky ride for the sliders. Cleaning the tracks regularly will help prevent a problem, but if your slider is already sticking, just vacuum them out, then use warm, soapy water on a rag to clean them now. Push both doors open to one side to do half the track, then push them both to the other side to clean the other half. Use an old toothbrush or a butter knife to clean out any crevices that your rag can’t reach. Dry thoroughly with a dry cloth and see if that makes it easier to slide the doors. Lubricate the Track If the track is already clean, try spraying it with a little WD-40 or other lubricant. Just squirt a little bit on one track, then move both doors from side to side to distribute it. A silicone-based product won’t attract as much dust and grime later, so look for silicone in the ingredients list. Also, a little goes a long way; you don’t want to get lubricant on the floor or the patio because it’s slippery, so just use a tiny bit and then add a bit more if needed. If you don’t have any silicone spray, try using a bar of soap or a candle to provide temporary lubrication. Rub it on the tracks and see if that works to make the doors slide more easily. Again, use a light hand, as clumps of soap or wax will just gum up the works even more; you should not be able to see the thin layer you apply to the tracks. Adjust the Rollers Have your sliders always been a bit difficult to roll? It’s possible that the rollers are keeping the door a little too low for smooth sliding. Depending on the type of door you have, you might be able to adjust the rollers without removing the door. Try opening the door and looking at the edge that usually touches the wall. If you see a small hole, look inside and see if you can find what looks like a screw. Use a screwdriver to turn the screw just a quarter turn clockwise and see if that helps or makes it worse. If it makes it worse, try turning a half turn counter-clockwise. (The direction that your door is facing will impact which way you need to turn the screw.) If you can’t find the holes or a quarter turn does not make a difference, it’s possible that the doors need to be removed in order for...

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Prepare and Protect Your Siding from the Stresses of Summer with These Five Tips

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Many homeowners choose vinyl siding such as James Hardie siding because it’s virtually maintenance free. However, it still requires a bit of maintenance, especially if you want to keep it looking great for years to come. And although you don’t have to paint vinyl siding like you do wood, you may want to make efforts to protect it from the summer’s heat and the harsh rays of the sun. Here are a few tips on summer maintenance for vinyl siding: 1. Don’t pressure wash your siding. The warm weather of the summer is the perfect time for doing a range of outdoor chores, including washing your siding. However, if you want to protect your siding and ensure it will last as long as possible, you need to approach this task carefully. In particular, don’t use a pressure washer. Unfortunately, when you shoot water from a power washer at your house, the strong jet of water can drive into the small gaps between the pieces of siding. As a result, water gets behind the siding, and the locked-in water can create mold and mildew, which ultimately can ruin your siding or spread to other parts of your home. 2. Scrub your siding gently. Instead, make a gentle mixture of vinegar and water and use a soft-bristle brush to scrub your siding. Start at the top. This allows dirty water to roll down into the areas you haven’t cleaned yet. After gently scrubbing the siding, use a sponge and warm water to rinse off any remaining residue. Annually washing your siding helps to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime, keeping your siding looking great and helping to resist damage. 3. Learn how to make inconspicuous repairs. While you are cleaning your siding, make sure to survey it and look for damaged pieces. In particular, you want to find pieces with holes bored into them by bugs or birds, pieces that have started to rot or crumble around the edges, and other types of visible damage. Removing a piece of siding is relatively easy. Simply slip the siding removal tool between the two pieces of siding and pull the tool down and out toward you. Then, use the claw part of your hammer to remove any nails. Unfortunately, if you replace the damaged piece with a new piece of siding, it won’t blend in. In most cases, your existing siding is likely faded by the sun. Instead of using a new piece, find an old piece of siding in an inconspicuous part of your house. Place that faded piece of siding where you removed the damaged piece. Then, put the new piece of bright, unfaded siding in the inconspicuous spot. 4. Take steps to avoid thermal deformation. Unfortunately, in some cases, siding can buckle when it’s hit by extremely hot heat. This can happen if light bounces off a window and reflects onto your siding. If you see any long, slightly slanted places where the siding has bubbled, the culprit may be light bouncing off your window. If possible, check on the siding throughout the day. At some point, you are likely to see the light reflecting on it. Depending on how the light is hitting your vinyl siding and where it is coming from, you may be able to stop...

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3 Signs You May Need To Replace Your Sliding Glass Door

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Your sliding glass door may have provided you with years of service, so why is it suddenly misbehaving on you? These products have more potential failure points than you might realize, from the rubber that seals off the space between panes to the rollers that allow for smooth motion. Some of these issues can respond to a simple sliding glass door repair, while others may require you to replace the door completely. Here are three scenarios in which you might need to consider sliding glass door replacement. 1. You See Fog Between the Panes When your sliding glass door shows fog and the weather report doesn’t, you’re looking at a problem with the the door’s double-pane construction. These two panes of glass are typically separated by a small space which is closed off to the outside world with rubberized gaskets along the edges. This design provides stronger insulation against outside sounds and temperature changes. Drying agents called desiccants are placed within this space to keep humidity out of it. When the vacuum seal against the outside world has been breached, the desiccants can no longer control the moisture level between the two panes — and you get condensation in the form of fog. What can you do about this problem? You might be able to subdue your fog problem temporarily by having a technician push additional desiccants into the space between panes. This will keep the space dry for a while, but eventually the fog will return as the desiccants are overwhelmed by humidity. If you really want this problem fixed once and for all, you have to invest in a sliding glass door replacement. 2. You Love the Incoming Light, But You Hate the UV Many homeowners rely on their sliding glass doors to brighten the living room or den with a generous helping of natural light,. This is especially important if the room is difficult to light artificially for whatever reason (high ceilings, insufficient socket placement and so forth), or if natural light is needed for activities such as painting. Unfortunately, all that beautiful light has its ugly side — namely, ultraviolet rays. UV exposure not only poses a threat to human health by promoting skin cancers and cataracts, but it can also fade your expensive furnishings, upholstery and artwork. Yes, you can draw curtains over blinds over your glass door, but then you lose the light you crave. How can this dilemma be dealt with? There are two possible solutions. One is to cover your sliding glass door with a clear UV-blocking window film. This approach saves you the expense of replacing the window glass, but cutting the film precisely and applying it evenly can prove challenging if you’re not naturally skilled at DIY projects. You may also have trouble finding a single sheet that will cover your entire pane of glass — and if you do, you may have even more trouble handling it. The easier (if costlier) option is to replace your current glass with low-E glass. Low-E glass has a special UV-blocking layer built right into it, and you can get it in either tinted or clear varieties. 3. Your Sliding Door Doesn’t Slide A sliding door that doesn’t slide is nothing but a window, and that’s a major problem if yours provides...

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Five Risks And Tragedies You Can Avoid By Repairing Or Replacing Your Damaged Windshield

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If you have dings or cracks in your vehicle’s windshield, you should repair or replace them as soon as possible. Repairing or replacing a broken windshield is not exclusively an aesthetic issue. Rather, the choice can help you avoid a lot of very serious and potentially even deadly risks. Here is a look at just some of them: 1. Shattering Glass Most windshields are made of two transparent pieces of glass with a layer of vinyl resin in between them. That layer of vinyl holds the glass in place in the event of a collision, and it stops it from shattering. However, if that layer is not intact, it can no longer perform this essential safety function. Even a small chip can extend into the resin layer of your glass, and if you crash when that is present, you no longer have this built-in safety feature protecting you. Instead, your windshield may simply shatter, spreading glass and injury throughout your vehicle. 2. Collapsing Roofs A windshield that has been compromised with cracks or chips doesn’t necessarily shatter. In some cases, these windshields just pop out of place. When that happens, your roof may collapse. When deciding whether or not you want to prioritize your chipped windshield, remember that windshields aren’t just for looking out of. They also help to hold up the roof of your car, and in most cases, the newer your car, the larger a role the windshield plays in its structural support. 3. Crashing Due to Sun Glare In other cases, cracks and chips in your windshield don’t just lead to related structural issues, but rather, they make it hard to see. Long cracks can interrupt your field of vision at any time, and chips, depending on their location, can make it hard to see obstructions, pedestrians or other drivers. However, the biggest risk is when cracks combine with the sun to create a blinding glare. Cracks as well as streaks and dirt can make it hard to see out of a window, but when the sun shines on these things, it can become even harder to see. In fact, sun glare causes many accidents every year, and if you hit someone due to being blinded by the sun bouncing off a chip in your windshield, you are liable for the accident — you cannot blame the sun. 4. Spreading Damage If you have a chip on your windshield that you don’t repair, in most cases, it will get worse. As hot and cold weather expands and contracts your vehicle’s windshield, the chips are likely to spread and get worse. That means that what starts as a small chip in the corner of your windshield can turn into a large crack that can lead to any of the issues discussed above. Small chips or dents can be fixed relatively easily, but if you wait until the damage spreads, you may have to pay for an entire windshield replacement. That can get expensive compared to just taking care of the chip right away. 5. Being Ticketed and Fined In addition to the safety issues that accompany cracks and chips in your windshield, it is also illegal in many places to have a cracked windshield. You likely won’t get pulled over and ticketed from a small chip, but...

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3 Ways Professional Window Cleaning Can Brighten Your Day

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When was the last time you cleaned your windows? The odds are good that it’s one of your least favorite chores – window cleaning is so unpopular that the words “I don’t do windows” are a well-known punchline. You may even question whether cleaning windows is necessary – it’s so hard to get them clear and free of streaks or haziness, and often they seem to look dirty again the next day. However, window cleaning is important, and it doesn’t have to be the chore that you think it is. Take a look at a few ways that hiring a professional window cleaner can improve your home and bring a little sunlight into your life. Improve Your Mood With Window Cleaning Sure, wiping down your windows yourself isn’t exactly a mood lifter, but having your windows cleaned can actually give you a boost if you’ve got the blues. Why? Because clean windows allow more sunshine inside, and exposure to sunlight increases the level of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has a direct effect on mood, appetite, sleep, and memory. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression. Many people experience a type of seasonal depression in the wintertime that’s thought to be related to the decreased exposure to the sun during that time of year. However, if you spend a lot of time indoors, relying on artificial lights, you could experience similar drops in serotonin levels. Dirty or foggy windows that don’t let a lot of light through won’t help the matter. If you’ve been feeling down, having your windows cleaned in order to fully allow the light to shine in may be just what you need to break out of the doldrums. Save Money With Window Cleaning You’re probably thinking of window cleaning as an added expense, not as a way to save yourself money. First of all, though, window cleaning isn’t as expensive as you may think. Residential window cleaners typically charge by the pane. The average cost is as little as $2 to $7 per pane, with an additional $0.50 to $5 for cleaning each window screen. You may pay an additional $3 to $5 dollars for windows on a third or higher story of the home. Those prices are pretty reasonable. But how can window cleaning help you save money? It’s simple. Windows that are properly cleaned and washed are more energy efficient. Have your windows washed in the late fall or early winter, before the temperature drops far enough that you need to turn on your furnace. Your cleaner windows will allow more light and heat into your home, keeping it warmer when you need it the most. When you can rely more on the sun’s heat to warm your home and less on your heater, you’ll save money on your energy bills. Catch Home Repair Problems Early With Window Cleaning Who do you think is more likely to notice the early signs of window frame or shutter damage: you, while you’re rushing to get through a tedious chore that you don’t like to do very often, or a professional that spends time every day looking at all kinds of windows and who is taking their time to do a stellar job? Professional window cleaners are familiar with all kinds...

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Whimsical Wedding Decor: Unique Ways To Upcycle Old Windows After Replacement

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Planning a wedding is both exciting and stressful. From the initial cost of booking the venue to ordering invitations and buying the dress, it is easy to have overwhelming emotions and high expenses. If you are currently planning your wedding, it is important to find ways to save money. Considering Americans created an estimated 251 million tons of trash in 2012 alone, recycling old building materials into unique decorations after window replacement is a great way to cut costs.   If you want a whimsical wedding that includes romantic lighting and rustic decorations, consider using old windows and shutters. Using this guide, you can upcycle old windows into inexpensive wedding decorations. Romantic Lighting Your wedding should celebrate love with hints of romance around your venue. While many brides opt for professional lighting systems for their elaborate celebration, multiple fixtures of subtle lighting adds a romantic touch to your special day. To create unique light fixtures with old window frames, complete the following steps: Gather a variety of window frames and remove the glass of each frame. Be sure to wear work gloves and safety goggles to protect your eyes from glass shards. Use a hammer to break out the glass. Using the back of the hammer, remove the leftover glass pieces from the corners. Sand down the entire frame with fine sandpaper. Apply a coat of paint to each frame and allow to dry overnight. If you prefer a rustic look, leave the frames in their original state. Attach a hanging bracket on each end of the frame. Loop the hanging chain through the brackets. Loop multiple strings of battery-operated lights through each window frame. Be sure to connect ends, as needed. Using the attached bracket and chains, hang the lighted frames from various areas of your venue’s ceiling. Rustic Art A rustic-themed wedding is one of the most popular trends in the industry today. Centered on distressed wood, barn receptions, and DIY decor, the benefits of a rustic wedding are easy to see.  Thankfully, you can enhance your rustic theme with art upcycled from old windows. Here are a few options to consider: Backdrop – Create a backdrop using window frames and shutters. Arrange window frames and old shutters in mismatched patterns on a wall of your venue. Attach to the wall with nails or wood screws. Leave the materials in their existing distressed state to complete the rustic look. Ask guests to hang greeting cards or well wishes on the shutter openings for a whimsical display. Photo Gallery – Window frames make great frames for photos. Gather photos of you and your future spouse as babies, children, teenagers, and as a couple. After cleaning the glass panes, attach photos to back of the panes using small drops of clear glue. Use multiple windows to create a large photo gallery that is enjoyable for guests of your reception. Reception Signs – Entertain your guests with rustic signs at your reception. After cleaning and drying the glass panes, add messages using acrylic or enamel paint in colors that match your theme. Add humor with messages such as, “Eat, Drink, and Be Married” or “Buffet, Booze, and Bad Dance Moves!” Ceremony Signs – Use your windows to create signs for your ceremony. Use paint to stencil a traditional message on...

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