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Bulletproof Tips For a Healthy Home

Bulletproof Tips For a Healthy Home

You would think that in your house, you control the air quality. The truth of the matter is that all sorts of pollutants can infect the air of your home and increase your risk of respiratory problems and asthma. It used to be possible to feel like you were keeping out all of the world just by keeping the doors and windows closed in your home – but not anymore!

Today’s modern double paned windows and ultra-sealed doors have kept cooling and heating costs down. Unfortunately, these energy saving devices are also increasing the pollution inside of the home. Here are a number of ways that you can keep the air within your home clean and healthy.

Tip #1 – Don’t pick up your dry cleaning as soon as it’s finished. Let it stay at the dry cleaner for a few days. The chemicals used by dry cleaners can be very harmful to humans. Some of them have been shown to cause neurological damage and even cancer. Before you bring your clothes home, ensure that they are 100% dry and free of any cleaning chemicals. When you don’t let the clothes dry, those chemicals are transferred onto your skin and into your lungs. It’s also a good idea to try and use an all-natural dry cleaner. These dry cleaners use non-toxic and ecologically sound dry cleaning methods.

Tip #2 – Leave your shoes outside of your house or in your entrance way. When you walk around outside, your shoes come in contact with many contaminants – even in “clean” places like hospitals. Your daily activities cause the bottom of your sneakers to get coated in dirt, germs and bacteria. Every time you walk around, these particles get mixed into the air that you breathe. If you take off your footwear outdoors or inside the entry way of your house, you lower this risk significantly.

Tip #3 – Maintain proper ventilation in your home. It’s ironic that installing modern doors and windows to give you better control over your home’s temperature can also cause problems. Leaving the windows sealed forces you to breath in many contaminants every day. After you dust or vacuum, the dust mites that get kicked up can’t escape. Smoke and fumes from cooking food and frying on your stove float around your house for a long period of time. Steam from a hot shower can cause mold to form on your walls. You can then breathe it in and get sick. Make sure to open your windows and turn on the exhaust fans when cooking, cleaning or bathing. Give all of the bad stuff a chance to leave your home.

There are many ways to make your house healthier. Remember, coming home to a clean house doesn’t mean that all of the challenges of the world get shut out. Take several steps each day to make your house a healthy, pollution free zone.…

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Tips for Window Glass Replacement

Tips for Window Glass Replacement

Replacing the windows in your home can quickly become a pretty large project. While it may have started by your needing to fix one window, you may have realized that replacing all of the windows in your home can actually help you to save a lot of money and make your home a safer place. If you live in the Vancouver area then you will likely want to look for a local glass company to help you out.

One of the major benefits of window home replacements is that you can save a lot of money on your energy bill. Older homes typically are built with thin glass windows that don’t do much to keep the warm air in your home during the winter and to keep the cold air in during the summer. Because of this, older houses usually end up spending a fortune on their heating and cooling bills. When you upgrade your windows to that of double paned windows with an insulation gas between the panes, then you can rest assured that your house will be much better able to maintain a certain level of hot or cool.

Another benefit of having a glass company come and help you with your window work is that it can actually make your home a lot safer. If you have an older home then chances are the windows may have some cracks or there may be areas that have been damaged that could allow rodents or insects to find their way into your home. Newer windows will ensure that the spaces are controlled and also the thicker glass can be protective against projectiles, weather, and also criminals.

When looking for the right window glass replacement company in Vancouver WA, make sure that you do some research on their websites and ask around to friends and family to see what services they have used in the past. You want to make sure that you are getting the best deal for your money and that you are going to hire someone that will do a good job.

You might also look for someone that does both residential and commercial work and then ask for a list of previous jobs they have done so that you can ask a few references what they thought about the company. This will help to give you a good overall view of what the company is all about and whether or not they are worth going with.…

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Shattered Panes, Broken Windows – A Guide to Glass Replacement

Shattered Panes, Broken Windows – A Guide to Glass Replacement

The only way to keep your belongings and valuables completely safe is to wrap them in cotton wool and ring-fence your house with a projectile-defying brick wall and electric fence. But then again, what sort of existence is that?

Indeed, accidents will always happen and whether it’s a neighbourhood kid booting a ball into your greenhouse or a gale-force wind dislodging an elm tree into your bathroom window, you have to adopt a somewhat matter-of-fact attitude to your misfortune – shrug your shoulders and get on with life.

Indeed, if you are unlucky enough to experience broken windows in your home, your first concern should be your safety. Shattered or broken glass poses some health issues and if you’re planning on clearing shards of glass from the ground, make sure you have thick, padded gloves on to collect the biggest pieces and a broom and dustpan for the smaller pieces.

Your next concern should be the repair. Home glass replacement is an activity that can be lumped in with the likes of electrical rewiring and sink-fitting – it really is best left to the experts, so don’t be a have-a-go hero when it comes to replacing a broken window.

If a window in your home suffers a slight crack, don’t be tempted by the masking tape option either – once a crack is there, the whole pane of glass is weakened and it’s more susceptible to shattering.

If you could choose a time for your windows to break, then that would be the ideal scenario – and you might choose a Monday afternoon when you just happen to be off work: a quick call to the local glaziers and have it replaced in a couple of hours. Fate doesn’t work like that – your windows can break at any time of day, which is why many window glass repair services are operational 24/7.

With some things, it’s really best not to cut corners. If you needed a new fuse-box fitted in your kitchen, the chances are you wouldn’t attempt it yourself and you would go with a reputable electrician who is fully indemnified – if anything goes wrong you could otherwise be in trouble.

The same principles apply when fitting new glass in your home: check that the workmanship is fully guaranteed and that the people installing it are fully covered should anything go wrong. It makes sense and it could save you a lot of money in the long run.…

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Home Security Essentials – Even the Basic Home Security System Will Give You Peace of Mind

Home Security Essentials – Even the Basic Home Security System Will Give You Peace of Mind

When it comes to protecting your loved ones your home security should never be compromised. Sometimes, chains, padlocks, or even fences just aren’t enough because burglars nowadays use sophisticated gadgets to break into your homes.

Just the home security essentials will provide you with peace of mind that your home is protected.

Most burglars are just plain lazy which is one of the reasons they choose the profession they practice.

If your home is protected, even if it is only the bare home security essentials, than most burglars will choose an easier target.

Using the best home protection you can afford for your property and family is a smart move. The cost of owning a burglar alarm has come down so much that it is affordable for almost everyone. It just is not worth the risk to have no protection.

In the United States, a burglary occurs every 15 seconds. Burglary costs homeowners an average of $1700 a year. Quite often people don’t even consider a burglar alarm until something bad happens. Once your home and family has been compromised no amount of protection will ever be able to buy back that sense of security that you have loss. Don’t wait until your family has been violated.

The home security essentials of a basic alarm system include a main control unit, a keypad, siren, door sensors, and a motion detector. The main control unit needs to be installed in a secure location (an area protected by the system). If it your alarm system is hard wired versus wireless than you will want a location that is easy to run all the wires to.

The keypad needs to be located near your main entrance so that you can easily arm and disarm the system. Most homes have two or three entrances and these doors will need to have magnetic sensors attached to them. These sensors will send a message to the control unit when the door is opened.

Since most burglars will enter right through the front door these are imperative to a good home security system.

The indoor siren needs to be in a location where it will have the most impact. Contrary to popular belief you do not want the siren outside the home. In most communities it is illegal to put the siren outside the home. The neighbors will only complain anyhow… they will not come to your rescue. (When is the last time you ran for help when you heard a siren?) Inside the home the siren will have the most effect because if there is an intruder in your home and the siren goes off the intruder will want to leave as quickly as possible. The siren is designed to make the intruder panic and run. The siren will also wake you up if you are sleeping.

The motion detector is the last part of the home security essentials. If you only install one detector than locate it in a popular travel area. In other words, if there is an intruder he might miss some of the rooms in the house but he is bound to walk down the main hallway. Then locate the motion detector in the main hallway. Now if a burglar breaks into your home without coming through a door that is protected than he will eventually walk down the hallway and trip the motion detector thus setting off the alarm.

A higher end burglar alarm system will have windows home security sensors but since we are talking about the home security essentials we are going to be using a motion detector to give our windows home security protection… either way we will know when an intruder enters the home.

The last component in the home security essentials is monitoring. It really doesn’t do much good to have an alarm that just makes noise. The system needs to be monitored. Alarm monitoring can be purchased for less than $30 a month and these trained professionals will notify the proper authorities depending on what type of signal they receive from the control unit.

If you simply cannot afford to have your home security system monitored professionally than program your system to send a message to your cell phone… at least than if you are not home you can call 911 and send the police to your home.

I almost forgot the most important component for home security essentials… the yard sign. I am sure you have seen them: “This home is protected by ABC Security” and you can also use the window home security stickers. This lets all potential burglars know that your home is protected. If money is really an issue and you simply cannot afford to …

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Vinyl Windows For Your Home – 5 Simple Ways You Can Tell If You’re Flushing Money Down the Drain

Vinyl Windows For Your Home – 5 Simple Ways You Can Tell If You’re Flushing Money Down the Drain

Replacing your old, inefficient windows with updated vinyl windows can have a dramatic impact on how much money you send away to the gas and electric company every month, unnecessarily. No one wants to spend more than they have to on anything and with replacement windows, it’s such an easy way to save a lot of money on the ever increasing energy costs. It’s not uncommon for people to see a savings of 30%-40% on their energy bills from the previous 12 months after replacing their old windows.

Most homeowners have a general idea that they may need to replace their windows, but they don’t realize just how bad they have become over the years (or how bad they were to begin with!). Here are the five biggest indicators that you should seriously consider new vinyl windows sooner than later:

Your window frames are aluminum (or any other type of metal). Metal is a natural conductor and it can never be as efficient as wood or vinyl windows. If you have metal windows, go put your hand close to the frame when it’s very hot or very cold outside. You will be able to feel the temperature radiating from the frame. Not good.

You have only a single pane of glass separating the inside of your home from the outside elements. Glass alone is not a very good insulator. In fact, a single pane of glass has an R value of less than 1. (R value measures resistance to heat. The higher the number, the more efficient the product. Your attic is around an R 30.) To get a much better insulation factor, you need at least two panes of glass with some form of dense gas between the panes such as Argon or Krypton. This will provide up to an R12, depending upon several factors, which will make a huge difference in your energy bills every month.

There is moisture in between the panes of glass in the vinyl windows you have right now. If there is moisture in between the panes of glass, this tells you that the seal has been broken and all the dense gas that acts as the insulation has escaped. Now you basically have two single panes of glass, and that’s it. This adds up to slightly less than an R 2 which isn’t much better than having just one pane of glass.

You have no low-E coating on your glass. How can you tell if you don’t have any Low-E coating? If the sun is shining through your windows and it feels as if you’re in sitting under a heat lamp, you don’t have this critical coating on your windows. This basically gives your home the “Green House Effect”. This might be acceptable in the winter as it can help keep things warm, but it is killing your cooling costs in the summertime. Low-E coating can make a dramatic impact on the comfort of your home.

You can feel a draft when sitting in front of a window. I’ve spoken to homeowners who have windows that are less than 10 years old who have this problem. It’s not a matter of how old your vinyl windows are, it’s the quality they are. Most builder grade windows have very poor air infiltration ratings. This means that air from the outside is literally pouring into your home at rates of several gallons per minute. This is huge in terms of money wasted during the summer and winter months.

These are the five major things to look for and are a great indicator that you should invest in some new vinyl windows sooner rather than later. Of course there are many other things to consider and not all vinyl windows are the same so choosing the right one is just as important, if not more important, as deciding to get the work done to begin with.

The world of vinyl windows is confusing and without expert guidance you can get taken advantage of very easily.…

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Home Improvment, How Not To Fix Plaster

Home Improvment, How Not To Fix Plaster

When you are a property manager for you own rentals, you learn a lot about fixing up a place. One day, a tenant called about an issue in his bathroom, he said the ceiling was drooping down a little. So I head over to assess the damage and repair. When I got there, I could hardly get the bathroom door open! The ceiling was hanging down about 2 feet, obviously a slow leak from the bathroom upstairs. I begin by cutting sections of the drywall that’s hanging down, a whole 4*8 sheet by-the-way. I thought I was doing great, I cut small sections and let them drop into a bucket. I was really doing a good job, not one mess on the floor. After about the second time I emptied the bucket, the last cut I made, must have weakened the rest of the ceiling. And here I thought I was removing weight from the board. To say the least, the entire ceiling collapsed on me, I was covered in drywall and so was the rest of the bathroom! Oh well, so much for not making a mess. From there I found what was leaking upstairs and took care of that issue. Now it was time for a new sheet of drywall and a lot of cleaning downstairs.

Well, I got the place cleaned up, at least the big pieces of drywall. Then I got the new ceiling up and got it taped and mudded. Now it was time to let it dry so I could take care of the sanding and painting. I looked over at the window sill, and saw that there was some loose plaster. Well, I thought, I might as well fix that since I’ve got to paint the whole bathroom anyway. And that’s when it got real interesting.

I took my trusty scrapper and scrapped the window sill. Well, about half of the sill fell onto the floor! I really didn’t scrap very hard. After a few more light scraps, I was missing the entire left and lower sill, not to mention a good quarter of the upper sill and even a good portion of the wall. In the meantime, my wife came by with lunch. I sent her to the home improvement store for a gallon of wood putty. (Oh, did I tell you, I was new at the time?) While I’m cleaning up my NEW mess and making the hole bigger and bigger, she runs to the store for me. She asks for a gallon of wood putty, and the guy asks her with a perplexed look “What are trying to do?” Hey, I didn’t know what else to ask for. He sent her back with a big bag of Fix-All. To this day, I love Fix-All! I think I could build a house with it after this situation. OK, now it’s time for the second repair.

Now that most of the wall is missing, it was time to start patching, or as I saw it, building a new wall and sill. I was too cheap to buy the required mesh backing that you should use for this type of project. So I ended up using an entire roll of aluminum foil that I had on hand to fill the 2 foot wide holes. It probably would have helped if I hadn’t ran out of aluminum foil half way through. Hey, I’m trying doing this cheap, remember? I found that while trying to work on the upper horizontal area of the inner window sill, gravity doesn’t help you at all! With no mesh, the goop kept bowing down like a beer gut. So, for the next 20 or so minutes I had to run my trill over it pushing the goop back up into place. Even after it began to set, I still had to trill it again and again over another 30 minutes while I began trying to sanding the ceiling.

All-and-all it went back together OK. After the sanding, cleaning, and painting, it actually looked pretty good. And it’s held up now for over 8 years. Sometimes it’s easier to do a job the right way the first time rather than fix a situation later. This time, I just got really lucky. I’ve long since learned, but sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes! Besides, who said you had to read the instructions?…

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Akron’s Top Home Improvement Project – Six Things You Should Know About Window Replacement

Akron’s Top Home Improvement Project – Six Things You Should Know About Window Replacement

Replacing the windows in your home is one the most popular home improvement projects in the Akron area. The reason is simple–homeowners receive multiple benefits from this one project. In addition to significantly lowering your energy bills, replacement windows will help increase your home’s value, improve the exterior and interior appearance, and eliminate maintenance. However, most people are overwhelmed with process of choosing the right windows for their home. Here are the top six things that will make the process easier.

1. Choose a reputable company-There are lots of resources to help you choose a good company and product. The local BBB is a good place to start. Make the sure the company is accredited by the BBB. Also, Angie’s list is another great resource. You’ll need to be a member, but you can sign up for a few dollars. Look for companies with the Super Service award on Angie’s list-they are the top 5% in the category. Finally, protect yourself and make the sure the company is licensed, bonded, insured, and the workers are covered by Workman’s Compensation. Be sure to ask.

2. The spacer material between the glass panes is the key to performance and longevity-Not all spacers, the material between the glass panes, are created equally. There are three basic types of spacers: Intercept spacers, full box metal spacers, and structural foam spacers known as Super Spacers. Choosing the right spacer will lead to higher performance and longevity for your home improvement project.

Intercept spacers are the most commonly used in replacement windows because they are inexpensive (made of tin) and are easy to manufacture. They are a U-shaped channel in between the glass. Full box metal spacers are square pieces of aluminum. They are also inexpensive to manufacture.

Although less expensive upfront, there is a downside to using metal spacers. Both intercept and full box metal spacers expand and contract, as that is the property of metal, with temperature swings. This expansion and contraction of metal spacers allows for three undesirable things to occur: colder and warmer temperatures around the edges of the panes (18.6 degrees colder than structural foam spacers), a higher occurrence of seal failure (in as little as three years as tested by the National Fenestration Rating Council–NFRC) which allows the gas to escape leading to fogged or inefficient windows, and condensation promoting mold growth.

Windows with structural foam spacers-Super Spacers-perform the best. Developed by Edgetech for NASA, this material prevents the problems associated with metal spaces above. Expect to pay more for these spaces. But the extra upfront cost is worth it.

3. Not all warranties are the same: read them-All warranties are “limited” (i.e. excludes vandalism, acts of nature) and most are “lifetime,” but not all are the same. For example, a limited lifetime warranty from a well-known big brand covers 10 years on the parts and frame, 20 years on the glass and two years on labor. Is that lifetime? There are some companies that do cover every part of the window, including labor. Look for them. If someone is willing to cover the labor for life, then it is a good bet that the window is a high quality window. Also, make the sure the warranty is fully transferable to the next owner. This will make your home easier to sell if the new owner has the peace of mind because it is one costly home improvement project they do not have to do again. Again, read, read, read the warranty. The fine print is the most important. Most information can be found online.

4. Know what window ratings mean-Choose windows that are Energy Star rated for your climate zone to get the most out of your home improvement project. Ratings do vary by climate zones. There are two basic measures used to measure for Energy Star windows: U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). In the Akron area, and across Northern Ohio, the U-factor should be.30 or below (the lower the number the better), the SHGC should be .35 or below.

These ratings are derived from independent testing by the NFRC and are used to determine Energy Star qualifications. The ratings are displayed on a sticker on each window.

5. Choose between vinyl, wood, fiberglass or composite frames and sashes-One of the earliest decisions for our home improvement project is to choose the type of look you want for the windows. Remember, this affects both the interior and exterior. Vinyl is by far the most popular choice for replacement windows. Except for cleaning, they are virtually maintenance free. They come in three basic colors on the inside (white, tan and brown) along with faux wood looks. Many companies also paint the exterior of vinyl …