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Tips for Home Ownership and other Life Problems

Window Replacement Tips

“If you plan to replace part or all of your home’s windows in 2022, be prepared for a lengthy wait. Supply-chain problems have afflicted numerous firms, including those that manufacture and install new windows. According to Chad Kleis, vice president of sales at Window World, a manufacturer and installer based in Wilkesboro, N.C., your project will take 3 to 5 months from the moment you sign the contract until your windows are completed. “We won’t see project timelines return to 8 to 10 weeks, which is more usual for our business until 2023,” he says. What do you get in exchange for your perseverance? New windows will certainly make your home more pleasant by making it quieter and less drafty. Many contemporary double-hung windows are easier to clean and maintain than older windows with storm windows and combo screens.

They can help improve the all-important curb appeal of your home. Learn about replacement window materials, types, and features, as well as price concerns and how to find a qualified installation, in this buying guide. Check out our replacement window ratings, which are based on scientific testing, to assist you in selecting the best option. Find the Best Window Replacements What to Expect on the Market Standard, large white synthetic frames that scream “replacement window” are no longer the only option for budget-conscious shoppers. Some manufacturers are developing vinyl windows with wood laminate finishes to accommodate budget-conscious clients who desire a wood look.

They also make composite frames, some of which are composed of fiberglass and others from a mix of wood and plastic. Solid wood windows, on the other hand, are becoming a niche market. More design options are available with new colors, particularly for the external portion of the window. Replacement windows with black exterior frames are becoming increasingly popular, according to Anthony Carrino, vice president of design at Welcome Homes, an online design-build firm based in New York City. “Making your windows jump off your facade with black provides both depth and aesthetic intrigue,” he explains.

Another popular tendency is to install windows without muntins, the vertical and horizontal grids that provide the appearance of a full pane of glass being divided into portions in the Colonial style. “Homeowners are looking to increase their glass area and get a more contemporary aesthetic,” Kleis explains. “This gives the customer a welcoming atmosphere with a lot of personality.” Important Shopping Factors Considering the Pros and Cons According to national estimates from Remodeling magazine, a vinyl window replacement project was among the top five house improvements in terms of return on investment in 2021. According to Remodeling, 69% of a window replacement job is recouped in the selling price. New windows can also help you save money on your energy expenses.

According to the US Department of Energy, replacing clear-glass single-pane windows in a single-story, 2,000-square-foot home with new Energy Star certified windows can save a homeowner between $101 and $583 per year. Storm windows or double-pane windows can save you anywhere from $27 to $197 each year. Your real savings will be determined by your local climate, utility bills, and other factors. (The federal tax credit for newly installed Energy Star windows ended in 2021, and Congress has yet to renew it.) Replacement windows, however, are not for the faint of heart. According to Thumbtack, an online local-services marketplace, the average cost of replacing one window is $500 nationwide. And the cost of replacing all the windows in a home ranges from $8,245 to $17,645, including labor, permits, and disposal; your exact cost may vary depending on where you live, the types you select, and other considerations. Even with the possible savings and rewards, it’s a significant investment. If your current frames and sills are still sound and square, replacing them will save you money on materials and labor. They’re also known as “pocket replacements,” because they’re designed to fit inside your current frames. You’ll need entire replacement windows, often known as “new construction” windows, if your frames are too old and deteriorated.

The frame, sill, jambs, and, in most cases, a nailing flange, which secures the window to the outer wall around the opening, are all included. Locating a Reliable Installer If your windows are fitted poorly, they won’t give you the look or feel you want. Professional installation is essential, particularly if you have an older home with shifting window frames that are no longer squared up at the corners. Many major window manufacturers provide training and certification to installers for their particular kind of window. If a problem emerges later, using the same contractor for purchase and installation eliminates any ambiguity about who is responsible for correcting it; the window seller cannot blame the installer, and vice versa.

Get many quotes and check for certification from the American Window and Door Institute or Installation Masters on the internet. Any bid you receive should contain information such window brand and model, number of windows, size, and type, as well as any optional features. Installation details should be recorded, as well as labor and material expenses. While contractors frequently have favored brands, you should not rely on them to choose your windows for you. For more information on which replacement windows perform best to keep your house pleasant and dry, see our replacement window ratings. What Different Window Materials Say in Our Tests We put double-hung windows to the test for wind and rain resistance. (Single-hung windows aren’t tested because they’re less common.) We subjected the windows to strong, wind-driven rain and winds of 25 and 50 mph at outside temperatures of 0° F and 70° F, working with an outside lab. As our scores demonstrate, there are considerable variances between brands.

Consumer Reports puts both vinyl and composite windows to the test. Some all-aluminum windows are still available, but their popularity has dropped as vinyl has become more common. Our experiments reveal that neither the material nor the price of a window frame guarantee performance. For example, superb vinyl-frame and composite double-hung windows perform better than more expensive wood windows. In fact, the highest-rated wood window in our tests performs on par with a vinyl window that costs half as much.

Here are some window materials to think about.

Wooden Structure

This is the most expensive style of window frame. The whole thing is made of wood. The exterior is covered in aluminum or vinyl, while the internal wood can be painted or stained. These surfaces shield the exterior wood from the weather, preventing rot and insect infestation. They also save money on upkeep because they never need to be repainted. Many wood windows come in a range of exterior colors, allowing you to match the decor of your home. Frame in vinyl They’re usually the cheapest—and they’re usually white. However, certain models have only a few external and interior color options, including wood-laminate finishes. Because most vinyl frame windows cannot be painted or stained, keep this in mind if you wish to match the external paint color. When compared to all-wood frames, vinyl frames have fewer hardware possibilities.

Composite Structure

Fiberglass or a combination of materials are used to make these frames, which are normally in the mid-price category. They usually do not require painting or staining. They could have solid wood, laminated wood, or plastic with incorporated wood fibers in some areas. The combination is commonly utilized to provide the appearance of solid wood windows while making the underlying structure more sturdy. Fiberglass windows are manufactured by inserting fiberglass needles in plastic, making them tougher and stiffer than vinyl. The Glass Menagerie: Window Types The amount of panes, how the windows are hinged, how they operate, and how much ventilation they provide are all factors to consider.

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Here are some examples of the many categories. Windows with two sashes In homes built in the 1980s and after, this is the most prevalent form of window. Full screens are perfect since the lower inside sash slides up and the higher outside sash slides down, facilitating air circulation. Because you can tilt the sash on any of the windows we tested, double-hung windows are simple to clean. If you plan to install a window air conditioner, they’re also a good alternative, but most currently have a pretty high sill trim that may require extensive shimming to stabilize the air conditioner. In our tests, some double-hung windows kept out more cold air or water than others. This is especially vital if you live somewhere freezing and windy, like Chicago, or somewhere rainy, like the Pacific Northwest.

Other kinds

Windows with Awnings

They open outward and are hinged at the top. The sash, like casements, presses against the frame and closes quite securely. Windows with Casements They provide an unimpeded view despite being a tiny area of the market. They’re hinged on one side and open outward with a crank. Casements allow for optimal ventilation and simple cleaning when fully open. Because the sash locks snugly against the frame when closed, they’re usually more airtight than double-hung windows. Window air conditioners, on the other hand, cannot be put in casement windows. Windows were repaired. These are utilized in situations when illumination is vital but ventilation is not. They’re airtight and come in a variety of shapes and textures, as well as ornamental glass accents and textures.

Windows in the Hopper Style

They’re hinged at the bottom and can open inward or outward, the polar opposite of awning windows. Windows with only one sash Although they appear to be double-hung, only the bottom sash moves. (As a result, they usually cost less.) To keep cold air and wetness out, the top sash is sealed. Purchasing Video For additional information on how to pick the ideal windows for your home, as well as helpful shopping recommendations, see our buying guide video below.

Brands of Replacement Windows

The most popular window brands are Andersen, Marvin, and Pella. Many notable window manufacturers sell multiple brands, including Andersen and Marvin, which sell some lines solely to authorized installers, and Lowe’s and Home Depot, which sell multiple lines. Compare windows by brand using these profiles.”

Fence Maintenance: Summer Tips

Fence maintenance and repair is a yearly or semi-annual task that most people avoid. They love their fenced yard but they don’t like to maintain the fence. This problem leads to deterioration of the fence. The structural integrity and lifespan are depleted by putting off the task of yearly fence maintenance. “Don’t be on the fence” about annual maintenance. If you invest your time and money by installing a fence system that requires minimal maintenance, it need not be a bothersome task. Some fence material and styles require more maintenance than other fence types. Choose the fence style and material that suit your budget and your property.

Fence repair and maintenance cost varies from as low as $100 to as high as $500. Skilled DIY (Do-It-Yourself) homeowners might be able to tackle tough maintenance and repair jobs. If you do not want to tackle this job, hire a skilled fence contractor to perform the yearly maintenance task. Of course, it will increase your fence maintenance budget. However, it is worth the extra cost to achieve the best results. An unsightly or poorly maintained fence system detracts from curb appeal and decreases property value. A yard always looks nice when a fence has a fresh coat of paint or is properly stained and sealed to prevent that weather-worn look. If a vinyl fence is what you have, this type of fence still requires maintenance though much less than other types of fence materials. A quick refreshing spray and replacement or repair of the fence panels and hardware improves a poorly maintained vinyl fence system.

Fence Company – San Antonio Fence Pros.

Each type of fence material whether it is wood, vinyl, or chain link, requires annual or semi-annual maintenance. Your goal should be to protect your investment and increase your property value. An annual maintenance plan will help you to achieve your goal. If you have a wood fence, check the panels and hardware and properly finish or seal the fence. A coat of new paint will greatly improve the appearance of your wood fence. Check the fence for wood rot caused by fungus and inclement weather. Replace loose boards, damaged panels and gates, and repair or replace loose hardware. Vinyl fences should be spray washed with a garden hose or power washed. Replace damaged panels, gates, and hardware. Vinyl fence material is paintable. If your fence is looking dull, consider brightening your fence with a new paint color. Chain link fences can be painted or repaired. If your chain link fence is vinyl coated, to replace damaged sections of the fence, you may be able to match the vinyl color. Check for loose hardware. Replace damaged top rails, posts and check for loose fence ties. Replace worn privacy slats with those of a new color. Look at annual fence maintenance, not as a dull chore, but instead as a chance to increase your curb appeal. Improve your property value by giving your fence an annual makeover. Your yard and your fence will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Chimney Maintenance: Smokin’ Tips

During the cold winter months, many homeowners like using their fireplaces and chimneys without giving any thought to annual maintenance and repair. On a cold winter evening, the smell of a wood fire coming from a brick fireplace makes one think about chestnuts roasting over an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose as mentioned in The Christmas Song sung by Nat King Cole. During the holidays, hanging Christmas stockings on the mantle and burning the old-time Yule log isn’t much fun if the fireplace and chimney cannot be used.

Some homeowners perform annual chimney cleanings but they do not thoroughly inspect the fireplace and chimney. This type of maintenance neglect often leads to expensive fire damage and loss of human life. Annual chimney cleaning and maintenance can save thousands of dollars. Within a few hours, and spending about $300, by adding a chimney cap and sealing the bricks and crown, the life of the chimney is extended.

The best way to perform chimney and fireplace maintenance is to hire a trained professional called a chimney sweep to perform a certified cleaning and inspection of the fireplace and chimney. However, a skilled DIY homeowner can perform some of the annual maintenance tasks by learning useful maintenance tips. Learn the parts of the fireplace and the chimney in order to be informed about proper operation and maintenance.

Fireplace maintenance and repair tips:

To avoid a possible house fire, perform annual maintenance on the fireplace and chimney system. Annual cleaning of the fireplace and chimney will help to avoid creosote buildup, carbon monoxide, and avoids a house fire. Millions of dollars in fire damage can be avoided and human lives can be saved by performing annual maintenance and repair tasks. Inspect the fireplace for cracks and repair damaged mortar joints. Repair cracks, missing mortar, loose bricks, and broken mortar joints. Inspect the damper, flue, and vents. A poorly operating flue can lead to soot and creosote buildup and noxious fumes.

Chimney maintenance and repair tips:

Approximately 61 house fires in the U.S., on a daily basis, begin with a dirty or poorly maintained chimney. When the creosote buildup in a chimney reaches a ¼ inch or more buildup, have it cleaned. Monitor the chimney’s mortar joints for cracks. This is where deterioration begins, water damage occurs, and mold can grow. Water damage begins with cracks inside and outside of the chimney near the crown, cap, and chimney flashing. From the top down into the chimney water and moisture damage continues. Use mortar mix and a pointing trowel to repair chimney cracks. Better yet, hired a trained professional tuckpointer to repair and seal the cracks. Ensure that chimney flashing gaps are sealed and replace damaged flashing, caps, crowns, and vents. Water mixing with creosote buildup becomes acidic and causes rusting of the damper and speeds up the deterioration of the brick and mortar within the chimney and fireplace. Remove bird and squirrel nests from the chimney cap. Make sure there is a mesh cover, or chimney cap, and keep it clear of nests, leaves, and debris. A chimney cap prevents rodents from entering the home, keeps out moisture, and protects the roof from burning embers and starting a house fire. Be safe and perform annual fireplace and chimney maintenance.

Winter Pest Control Tips

During the cold winter months, pests like to find a way into your home. Similar to humans, pests, such as rodents, dislike cold temperatures. They will find any route possible to invade your home. Sneaky pests find every nook and cranny to hide. Rodents are troublesome pests that eat paper, insulation, material, food, and wiring, causing big problems inside your home. Mice, rats, and squirrels like to invade attics and cellars to chew on items stored in your home. Squirrels will even chew on plastic. Protect your family because rodents pose a health risk. 

Most people use natural methods, mouse traps, or chemical products to remove rodents. Never store dangerous chemicals within the reach of children or pets. Purchase baited mouse traps that are available at most retail or hardware stores. Natural pest control is a safe alternative to use. Acquire a cat, though, all cats are not effective mousers. Various types of mouse traps allow for catch and release. Purchased traps include glue or sticky, baited and electric mouse traps that can be purchased at most large retail stores. 

Using internet research, you will discover many creative do-it-yourself (DIY) methods of trapping mice, rats, and squirrels. Year-round pest control requires work. Whether you prefer natural methods, chemicals, or traps, to rid your home of rodents, take preventive steps to eradicate your home of the pesky critters. Seal off all entry points and replace worn-out weather seals or weather stripping. Replace worn door sweeps. Seal up cracks and crevices in your chimney and basement foundation.

Inside the house, remove clutter and don’t allow trash and old newspapers to collect. Outdoors, ensure that garbage cans are tightly sealed and stored away from your home’s entrance doors, windows, and all air vents. Seal around all types of pipes, ducts, and vents. Tightly seal all gaps, cracks, and crevices where rodents can find entrance routes into your home. Mice are attracted to food so keep appliances and counter surfaces clean and free of food residue. Seal all food in containers. Remove clutter, oily rags, and newspapers which are fire hazards that attract rodents. Clear out storage boxes or regularly check them to deter all types of pests. Check the attic and basement for old clothing, paper, rags, and old furniture, and other items stored in your home. Rodents will hide in and chew on these types of items. Rodents will eat the wiring in a car. Repair and replace damaged screens and check all vents. Check the attic vents and the chimney cap because squirrels and mice can use them as entry routes. Replace damaged caps and install screens to keep out rodents like mice, or squirrels, and even raccoons from creating a nest in your chimney. Fix damaged window screens and put screens over vents to deter rodents. Remove clutter and old rags. Remember that half of the battle of pest control is diligent prevention and maintenance of your home, basement, attic, and garage. Prevention is the best method to deter rodents.

Hot Solutions for Your Furnace Problems

If you want to be warm and cozy during the winter season, maintaining your HVAC system is very important. An HVAC system includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. You want to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer seasons. The furnace is an integral component of an HVAC system. Avoid a chilly home by hiring an HVAC expert to perform annual maintenance on your HVAC system. When you least expect it, lack of proper annual maintenance will lead to furnace problems and higher than normal heating bills. During the frigid winter months, a furnace will quit working and it will cost you money to fix avoidable problems. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night to discover that the furnace has quit running and your home is very cold. You want to maintain a warm home to keep your family healthy and your home’s pipes from freezing and bursting. It sounds scary. But, if the water pipes freeze and burst, it will flood a home. This situation causes even bigger problems and expensive repair bills. Avoid an emergency by performing annual or semi-annual maintenance and keep your furnace and your entire HVAC system in smooth-running condition. 

Common problems with a furnace are a malfunctioning motor, dirty furnace filters, clogged air ducts, poorly functioning thermostat, normal wear and tear, and electric ignition issues. If your HVAC system has an old gas furnace, there might be pilot control and ignition issues. With older gas furnaces, the pilot on a gas furnace can go out causing the furnace to stop working. Modern gas furnaces do not have standing pilot lights.   But, that is not to say that modern gas systems are without ignition issues. Problems that you cannot fix yourself could include faulty wiring, ignition issues in gas furnaces, or computer board failure (modern HVAC systems). Older furnace systems can have belt or blower problems. Both old and new systems have faulty safety switch problems. If the furnace fails to turn on, there could be a failing ignition system. With gas furnaces, old or new, burner cleaning and adjustment is necessary to keep the furnace running. This is the reason that HVAC maintenance is tantamount to keeping your home toasty warm during the cold winter season. 

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Check for a tripped circuit breaker or a malfunctioning thermostat. Even new thermostats can fail. If you can’t find the problem yourself, consider hiring an expert HVAC service technician. Finding and hiring an HVAC company and a good HVAC technician is an important part of performing annual HVAC maintenance. Be sure to hire a reputable HVAC service technician by checking on certifications, references, and credentials. Always check on references and ask contractors for customer referrals, too. Don’t leave anything to chance. Ask about the contractor’s service performance, and if the previous jobs were completed. Your home’s HVAC system is important to keep your home in good running order to protect your family and keep everyone healthy

Tree Trimming and Pruning: Benefits

One of the most common requirements in the world of tree maintenance is trimming and pruning.  Trimming ensures that the tree maintains an aesthetic appeal, grows in a manageable condition in line with the available space and enhances the quality of the area in which it grows.

Search Google for a leading provider of tree trimming service in your area.

Pruning your trees on a regular basis keeps them healthy and beautiful. There are many different tree trimming methods for different species of trees – and for how you want your trees to grow.

Some benefits of trimming and pruning are:

  • Providing more light on your lawn so that your grass can grow?  If so, your trees may need to be elevated and thinned.
  • Are large tree limbs growing over your house?  We can prune the trees back or remove them so that they do not interfere with your house or structure.
  • Do your trees need general clean-up?  We can prune out dead, hazardous and crossing tree limbs to keep your trees growing strong and healthy.
  • Clearing of space and enhancement of airflow in a given area.
  • Greater access to sunlight.
  • Increased opportunities for the tree to grow in a healthy manner as decaying/infected parts are removed.
  • Enhancing the safety of tree zones by reducing branch weight, thereby making them lighter as well as less obstructing to nearby houses and electricity wires, reducing accident risk and exposure.
  • Aiding in the beautification of landscape.

You have the benefit of choosing from a variety of tree trimming options such as thinning, pruning and crowning etc.

Most arborists will be happy to walk your property and discuss short and long term tree pruning and tree trimming programs.

Most tree trimming services guarantee customer satisfaction. You will be amazed at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ difference in your tree zone. Their expertise allows you to see the aesthetic and functional potential of trees and landscapes.

You can consider tree trimmers as your external decorators…really, if you have a patch of land with trees (or stumps!) on it and wish to make it look better or enhance its utility–tree trimming is the tree service for you. Do your research and find a reputable tree company to meet your needs. There are many tree services out there that are merely looking to line their pockets with your hard earned money. Ask around and do your due diligence. You can often find a great tree service by simply asking your friends or neighbors. Good luck!

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