Home Improvement Projects - DIY and Tips

Many windows on today’s homes – especially the older ones – are simply not very energy-efficient. What’s worse is that many older windows do too little to maintain the temperature in your home, too little to keep you and your family comfortable. For most of us, however, replacing our drafty windows with high-performance windows represents a considerable investment. We need to know that replacing our windows is an investment that will pay off.

Long-Term Savings

Just about everyone knows that modern windows can help save energy, but few of us know how that translates into savings on our utility bills. As it turns out, you can save quite a lot. According to a 2009 report, homeowners could save a minimum of $27 per year by replacing a single-pane window with an energy-efficiency rating-equipped window. For an average home, that comes out to about $400 dollars a year in savings.

Of course, your actual savings may differ based on the type and number of windows replaced, your local climate, and a variety of other factors. That said, quality replacement windows are expected to last decades. Your total savings over the years is almost certain to be substantial – well more than enough to pay for your window replacement.

Immediate Tax Incentives

Even if you know that replacing your windows is a shrewd long-term investment, it’s still a considerable expense. Thankfully, Uncle Sam can help. There’s a federal tax credit available to help with the cost of window replacement. Qualifying for this tax credit isn’t that difficult. For starters, you don’t need to replace all the existing windows in your house. You just have to use Energy Star-rated windows to replace the old ones; the tax credit covers a specific percentage of the total costs.

Hallmarks of Energy-Efficient Windows

Let’s say that you’re sold on the idea of installing more efficient windows on your home. You’re probably wondering how you can tell if a new window is highly efficient or not. The key to answering this question is understanding some of the factors and metrics that can illustrate the efficiency of a window; here are some of those:

  • U-Factor: This term expresses the insulation value of windows. The lower the U-factor, the better the window provides insulation and resists heat flow; an energy-efficient window might have a U-factor of 0.50 or lower. Renewal by Andersen windows – which feature an effective insulating material as well as low-E glass – are a good example of a window with a low U-factor.
  • Low-e Glass: This glass comes with a colorless coating, which reflects away heat-producing, long-wavelength infrared light, but allows short-wavelength light to pass. Low-e glass keeps the heat either outside your home – or in and contributes to a window’s U-factor.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): This figure expresses how much heat a window blocks; the lower the figure, the more heat is being blocked. In cooler climates, letting more heat through may be desirable; in warmer places, windows with a higher SHGC might save the most energy.
  • Air Leakage: An air leakage rating indicates the amount of air passing through the window assembly gaps, as measured in cubic feet or air passing thorough a square foot of window. The lower the rating, the better; a rating close to 0.1 would be excellent, while a rating of 0.3 would be fair.

Other less technical things to look into are the number of glass panes employed by the window. Single pane glasses are easy for light to penetrate and pass through. Generally, double- and triple-pane windows increase a window’s total energy efficiency. The frame construction type, gas variant between panes, and usage of glass tinting and coating should also be considered.


If chosen wisely, windows can be a wise investment. New windows can increase your comfort as well as the curb appeal and value of your home. And the energy cost savings provided by modern windows can greatly offset the initial expense of installation. If you’re deciding whether or not to install new windows, you’ll want to take every factor into account.

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If you’re like a lot of other homeowners, you would probably like to replace your windows. You’ve imagined what your home would look like with a stylish upgrade that you would enjoy every day. But let’s face it: Windows can be expensive – a lot of money to spend just to improve the appearance of your home.

But if you’ve been trying to justify replacing your windows, you’re in luck. Enhanced appearance is just one of the many other benefits that modern windows can provide. Let’s look at some of the other benefits that windows provide – you may just find that a window replacement is more practical than you knew.

Better efficiency

If your home was built more than 20 years ago, its original windows were probably made of single-pane glass. Single-pane windows can often freeze open or shut, and they have very low insulation. With the cost of utilities rising seemingly every year, replacing your old windows with newer, more energy-efficient ones could have a significant impact on your energy costs. With energy saving features such as argon gas between panes and heat-reflecting coatings, new windows can cut down your annual energy bills by up to 25%.

Noise reduction

If you live near a busy street, school, airport or child care center, and you have old windows, the chances are that noise can be at high levels in your house. Replacing your windows with laminated or dual pane glass can reduce transmission of outside noise into your home. Moreover, new windows will also reduce the amount of noise that comes out of your house. You can play loud music without worrying about the neighbors complaining.

Improved safety

Many modern replacement windows offer enhanced home security. Many feature multiple locks and are designed to protect against forced entry. If you have old windows that are hard to open or get stuck, they could pose a safety risk in the event of a fire. If you have a family with small children, the additional safety that new windows can provide may be worth the investment.

Easy cleaning and low maintenance

Having to paint the frames of old windows can be a time-consuming or costly affair. But new replacement windows with vinyl-clad or aluminum-clad exterior trims don’t need to be painted; Renewal by Andersen windows, made with Fibrex, combine the appearance of wood and the easy care of vinyl. Want even easier cleaning? Consider new double hung windows with tilt-in sash designs that allow you to easily clean your window from the inside.

Added comfort

Old windows are not just inefficient – they’re uncomfortable. They can let in cold drafts, or even leak – allowing water to come into your house and leading to mold and mildew. With new and efficient replacement windows, you can sit back and enjoy the comfort of your home without worrying about leaks or drafts.

Protection for your furnishings

Windows can let in ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause the fading of artwork, furniture and carpets. Replacement windows employ glass that can block up to 95% of the sun’s UV rays; this energy-efficient glass can extend the life of your furnishings and carpeting while it saves you money on utilities.

Increased home value

There is a practical side to improving the aesthetics of your home. A more beautiful home can command a higher sale price. New windows are a widely-desired home upgrade that improves a home’s form and function and comfort. If and when you elect to sell your home, your new windows can command a premium that can help offset their original cost.

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Homeowners living in areas plagued by regular power cuts understand the frustration associated with being left in the dark. From spoiled foods in the fridge to making alternative arrangements for meal preparation, this creates a huge need for a reliable stand-by power source – a generator.

If you’ve used a generator during a power outage, you know that running long cords to connect household devices can be inconvenient. That’s why so many homeowners opt to install transfer switches that allow generators to connect to the electrical panel; this enables devices to be powered using the home’s usual electrical system.

A transfer switch provides a practical way to draw power from a generator safely and efficiently. They allow homeowners to conveniently select appliances to keep running using the generator in the event that power goes out. The switches are available in different sizes to match various applications. Technicians can offer expert advice on the right switch for a particular application.

How transfer switches work

The switch monitors the utility line’s incoming voltage, allowing it to quickly detect interruptions to normal electrical supply around the clock. The automatic transfer switches signal the generator to start running once power is cut. The switch cuts off the utility line when the generator is running at normal speed.

This limits the inconvenience of power cuts because the supply is restored quickly. While the generator powers up home appliances, the switch continues to monitor the state of the utility line. It performs the re-transferring of power load to the utility line if it detects that normal a steady rate has been restored. Any subsequent utility loss triggers the same process during the course of the day or night.

System installation

Transfer switches are fitted inside the home (typically close to the main power panel) and act as breaker boxes; they connect to the electrical panel and the majority of essential circuits, such as your furnace, air conditioning, refrigerator, water heater, and more.

The installation also incorporates a power inlet box designed to operate as an outlet. The fixture is fitted outside the house with a cable connecting it directly to the transfer switches. In some cases, technicians may install a power cable that is directly connected to a junction box adjacent to the transfer switch. In such a setup, a cord (with a plug) is then wired into the junction box.

Recently, several alternatives to manual transfer switches have become available. For example, the Interlock Kit performs the same function as a manual transfer switch, but is easier to install. Whether you plan to use an Interlock kit or a transfer switch, a licensed electrician should perform the installation.


Once the generator, junction or power inlet box, transfer switch and wiring are installed, the system is ready for operation. The generator is plugged into the power inlet box. If the inlet box is connected to a junction box, then the power cord is linked directly to the switch.

It is important to note that all toggle switches must set to off position during this procedure. When everything is set, it is time to start the generator. Gas-powered generators cannot be run from the indoors due to toxic fumes. Once the generator is operational, the user can simply select the circuits or appliances to run using the transfer switch.

One more thing to remember: To avoid overloading the system, it is vital to keep track of all connected circuits and appliances. You’ll want to know the wattage your generator produces as well as the requirements of everything you plan to connect. Just make sure your devices’ requirements don’t meet or exceed your generator’s capabilities.

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An increasing number of seniors are making the decision to remain at home instead of moving to a nursing home or assisted  living facility. Many of these individuals prefer to stay in the comfort and familiarity of home, while receiving help from a senior care assistant. As a result, many homes are being renovated in order to accommodate seniors who have decided to age in place.
A number of homes, especially older ones, are not designed to meet the needs of seniors. Many of these homes have pathways that are difficult to navigate, steep steps, and small doorways. Some homes also have certain necessities on different floors that require climbing the stairs several times a day, causing strain and potential injury for the senior. This could exacerbate chronic conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis. Additionally, it could make the space unlivable for seniors who use wheelchairs and walkers.

Fortunately, these challenges are being met by contractors, senior care therapists and appliance vendors. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders has collaborated with the AARP to create an Aging-in-Place Certification program. This is designed to accommodate the changing needs of the elderly population. Below are some tips that can help to make a home more accommodating to the wants and needs of seniors:

senior-home-safetyFirst-Floor Access

Typically, relocating as many necessary items and appliances to the first floor as possible is the most essential large-scale, long-term renovation project. Putting on additions or transforming existing rooms into bathrooms, bedrooms, and laundry is ideal when renovating for seniors. Doing so eliminates the need for seniors to carry weighty objects around and climb the stairs multiple times a day.

Existing half-bath and kitchen waterlines will ease the process of building more accessible facilities. Some toilet and shower designs are dangerous for seniors and can cause slips and falls. However, well-designed areas on the first floor can help to prevent serious accidents. First-floor access is critical for seniors who want to maintain their independence. The existing waterlines could also assist homeowners in moving their washers and dryers to a more accessible space.

Whether or not the entire first floor is reorganized, the kitchen and bathrooms should be renovated in order to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. These key areas should be designed to facilitate efficient work and independence. Aging in place should be about making the home fun and easy to use. Anything that lowers the energy expended to complete a task is a wonderful idea.

Facilitating Independence

In homes where structural changes are impossible and necessary amenities cannot be relocated to the first floor, there are still options to make the home more senior friendly. Wheelchairs, stair lifts, and even elevators can be installed to increase the mobility of  seniors. These devices can be costly to purchase and install; however, they typically negate the need for other expensive renovations. In addition, they enable users to safely access the different levels of their homes. This is a major concern, especially during natural disasters like tornadoes.

Low-entry or roll-in showers are also ideal for facilitating the independence of seniors. They are ideal for seniors who are afflicted with joint problems like arthritis and also great for seniors who have to use a wheelchair. Installing a comfort-height toilet with an in-wall tank will serve a similar purpose. These amenities are comfortable for just about anyone to use. Additionally, they free up valuable corridor space for individuals who use walking aids.

Ease of Access

Front door and back door access should also be a major part of a renovation project for seniors. He or she should be able to enter the home easily from the garage and do so even if mobility decreases. Building a ramp enables wheelchair access and makes walking easier; therefore, this should be considered during the renovation project.

These tips can be used to make the home much more accommodating to the needs of seniors who have decided to age in place.

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You can never be too careful in taking care of your carpet and upholstered furniture. No matter the degree of caution that you employ in safeguarding your home, the life of your upholstery is simply not that predictable — especially if you have kids who treat couches as trampolines and would jump around on one whenever there’s an opportunity. And then there’s the typical household member or friend that comes to visit every other day and prefers to eat while propped up on the couch. Household pets can do as much damage as well. Lastly, there’s the inevitable effects of wear and tear that can turn new furniture upholstery into ugly-looking rags. Even if you live alone, accidents can still happen.

But that doesn’t mean you’re totally helpless when it comes to your upholstered furniture and carpets. Below are some of the things that you can do to help you deal with all sorts of damage that your upholstery will take in its lifetime.

carpet-cleaning2Vacuum Cleaning

Don’t let dirt and dust to accumulate on your upholstery for more than a week. Vacuuming should be at the top of your house cleaning list — with the help of a vacuum cleaner and upholstery attachments, you can remove all types of dirt, dust, and grime in the hard-to-reach corners of your living room furniture. This also gets rid of any pet hairs that are stubbornly stuck on the surface and corners of the sofa.

Timely Action

The key to removing a stain from coffee wine, and all sorts of other beverages spilled on your carpet or furniture is to clean the stain immediately while the stain-causing chemicals found in the beverages have not yet set in. Doing so will increase your chance of getting a permanent and ugly stain on your carpet or couch after a spill incident.

Most homeowners make the common mistake of rubbing and scrubbing the stains off on the upholstery fabric because they don’t realize that this actually spreads the stain instead of removing it. This is a mistake that has ruined the fate of millions of upholstered furniture all over the world. The appropriate thing to do is to blot the stain by laying a fresh rag on it and pressing down so that it can absorb the spilled liquid in the fabric.

Take the time to learn the different types of cleaners that are available for removing stains in fabric. There are cleaners that are specifically effective in removing coffee stains or wine stains from silk, cotton, or any furniture fabric. Stay away from using general all-purpose fabric cleaner to avoid accidentally causing damage to your furniture even more.

Aside from the type of stain
and fabric, you should also take into consideration the color of the fabric and its age. If the upholstery is made of old fabric that requires preserving, it’s advised that you let a professional upholstery cleaner or carpet cleaning company to do the cleaning for you. If you’re undecided on what fabric cleaner to buy, check the care tag that’s attached to the carpet or furniture to know its material composition and washing instructions. Below are the washing instructions commonly imprinted on fabric tags.

S – For dry cleaning only. Keep away from all types of liquid cleaning solutions.

W – Clean only using liquid-based fabric cleaners.

X – For professional cleaning only. Vacuuming and light brushing is allowed. Any other self-cleaning methods is highly discouraged.

WS – For cleaning with water-based or water-free cleaners only, depending on the type of upholstery fabric. Self-cleaning is allowed.

Even if you’re certain that you have the right fabric cleaner with you, something could still go wrong. There’s the possibility that the fabric will suffer from irreparable damage while reacting to the chemicals found in that cleaner. To avoid this costly mistake, always do a test first by cleaning a small and inconspicuous portion of the fabric with the cleaner and see how it reacts.

By following the guidelines above, you can preserve and maintain your much-loved and priceless upholstered furniture and add many more years to its life.

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If you want to get into serious home improvement projects, you will have to know a thing or two about home improvement in general and this home improvement blog is just the place where you should start! Here are all the things you should know about home improvement!

You Can Mask A Problem, Until You Get Around To Fix It

In the event that the issue in your house is not very enormous, maybe you could simply cover it. As such, if there is a scratch on you woodwork, maybe you could cover it with a mat or other furniture. This is the manner by which the issue won’t be in-your-face, however it won’t be determined either. Notwithstanding that, a few issues shouldn’t be unraveled along these lines, and they could conceivably in peril your wellbeing and/or your wellbeing.

You Have To Get Proper Tools And Equipment

On the off chance that you have to make home repairs, or on the off chance that you have to take up a home change ventures, however are unwilling to do as such, I would propose that you supplant just what is vital. As it were, you don’t need to supplant your whole restroom in the event that one lavatory tile is broken or harmed. There are truth be told courses in which you can supplant just the harmed tile without bringing on any further harm to whatever is left of your restroom. Essentially, this can happen to your hardwood floors, so it’s a smart thought to dependably have some extra material with a specific end goal to supplant the harmed tiles or floors.

Finding A Professional For Home Improvement Projects

Regardless of how enormous or little your home repair is whether you can’t settle the issue all alone maybe it’s for the best that you employ a contractual worker. A contractual worker will have the capacity to settle your issue for you, yet notwithstanding that they will do that in the most ideal way. I get is that many people would prefer not to spend a considerable measure of cash on contractual workers, however in the event that it will increase the value of your home, enlisting a temporary worker is the best thing you can do.

Slick Exterior Is Often What People See

In the event that you simply put some exertion into continuing everything in any event seem slick it will turn away the consideration of the general population who are taking a gander at your home. You can simply enhance the presence of your home by utilizing only a couple touchups, and spare cash on home repairs.

 Urgent Home Improvement Projects

Obviously, however in the event that settling something is dire, ensure you do as such immediately. Try not to hold up, on the grounds that the more you hold up the more awful it can get. Additionally, as it has been already said, if the issue is jeopardizing your wellbeing or your wellbeing it must be altered as quickly as time permits.

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