How-Tos https://www.hearthouse.com Fri, 24 May 2019 00:53:14 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Shopping Tips for Colorado Springs Vinyl Windows https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/shopping-tips-for-colorado-springs-vinyl-windows.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/shopping-tips-for-colorado-springs-vinyl-windows.html Shopping Tips for Colorado Springs Vinyl Windows

When you buy a home, whether it’s your first house, or one in a line of many you’ve owned, you’re making an investment. As with any investment you may make, you want to take care of it and not only make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, but also making money on it when possible.

This is why maintaining your home is so important - a well-maintained or updated home can not only help you to make back your money when you decide to sell, but it sometimes can increase the value of the home too.Especially in a city like Colorado Springs where there are wet winters, high altitude, rough winds and dry summers, the maintenance of your home is important because it can prevent further damage and more costs.

Making timely home improvements can lower your energy costs, beautify your home and increase its resale value, but it is important that you search out the best quality materials. For projects like replacing siding or windows, it’s best to talk to a Colorado Springs window contractor to not only get a professional’s opinion, but to learn up front about the various grades of windows and how to know you’ve found a quality material. One home improvement that can get you a good bang for your buck is investing in vinyl windows.

 

Shopping Tips for Vinyl Windows

Even if you’re an expert on upkeep with a house, it’s always good to go to an expert when it comes to something as important as windows. Vinyl Windows are so popular these days because they are an energy efficient solution that works well in almost any home needing a facelift, but there are dramatic differences between windows. They are low-maintenance and usually a top choice when replacing a leaky or rotting wood window, but there are still some issues to get past when picking vinyl windows.

Over time, white vinyl can yellow, colors can fade, and the material can even crack. Usually you can tell the difference in the types of vinyl windows because they are labeled. This shows the different AAMA certifications on the frames of their windows. In order to get the most bang for your buck and keep from having to replace your vinyl windows constantly, there are a few ways to really take into consideration what windows you’re getting.

One of the most important things to think about when buying vinyl windows is to aim for the best quality windows you can get. Yes, sometimes other windows may be more affordable, but the better the vinyl, the more likely your windows will be protected against fading, yellowing and even becoming brittle or splinter-like. The extrusions on the sash and frame should have well welded corners, as well as well-made internal air chambers. Because of the variable climate of Colorado Springs, you want to pick windows with the best quality PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and with the greatest number of chambers, too. Both of these play a factor in efficiency during the colder months.

You should also be ready to assess the glass in the window. A good quality window has spacers between the double panes to minimize heat loss. Certain coatings can help your windows to reflect heat in the summer and keep out cold in the winter. They also help to keep furniture or photos in the house protected from fading due to sunshine.

As with any home project or investment, you really need to take the time to study the warranty and read the fine print. Make sure the warranty covers any potential problems and that it can be transferred to a new homeowner if you sell the home. Also be sure to read that the windows are Energy Star qualified, and that it has been verified by the National Fenestration Rating Council, which will let you know that you can depend on the window’s efficiency and airtightness.

Although choosing a color is more of a fun part of buying vinyl windows, it is still important when it comes to how you’ll care for and maintain your new windows. Colors can fade or go out of style, so keep this in mind when picking what you want. You can order colors to match your exterior paint or to contrast like a trim would. Yellowing can sometimes occur in sunny areas, so if that is something you want to avoid, a white trim facing the sun may not be a good plan. As always, a Colorado Springs window contractor can help you to determine that.

Talk to your window contractor

No matter how much research you may do on your own, it never hurts to seek the help of an expert. If you feel comfortable, ask a few contractors what they’d recommend and sort through the quotes before making a firm decision. Talk to them about how you’ll have to care for your new vinyl windows, if there’s anything you shouldn’t do, and if they could recommend businesses in the area to clean your windows if you decide you’d rather that happen. Your Colorado Springs vinyl windows contractor should be able to answer all of your questions, as well as give you any resources to help you in the future.

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Peiffer22@comcast.net (Scott Barton) How-Tos Thu, 31 Mar 2016 14:28:00 +0000
Tips to Prevent Flooding in Your Colorado Springs Home https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/tips-prevent-flooding-colorado-springs.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/tips-prevent-flooding-colorado-springs.html Tips to Prevent Flooding in Your Colorado Springs Home

With record-breaking rainfall in May, golfball sized hail in June and flooding in streets, yards and parks throughout the city during the past few months, the weather in Colorado Springs has been unusually wet during the past two months.

Although the much needed rain comes with its benefits, like being able to keep your sprinklers turned off or avoiding washing your car because you know it will rain just minutes after you've dried it, excessive moisture doesn't always leave room for celebration.

In an area with many hills for water to run down and low land for water to gather, the potential for a home to flood in a basement or on its ground level is high.

Although it's easy to hope that no flooding occurs and to think you'll just deal with the aftermath if it happens, flood damage can be costly and can happen quickly. With the reoccurrence of rain almost every afternoon, as soon as damage is found it will be vital to fix the problem immediately to avoid further damage, but it would be easiest to avoid flooding altogether by taking flooding precautions. There are preventative measures you can take around your house and yard to lessen any flooding and damage to your property.

Windows and Window Wells

One of the easiest places to prevent flooding and window damage during heavy rain is in a window well or low-sitting window.When a basement has a window, it is accompanied by a window well to allow sunlight and for emergency exit purposes.

The bottom of the well is typically a PVC drain pipe that is capped and then drilled to allow rain or water to pass through. The top of the drain is then covered with large rocks to allow water to flow through but to prevent any blockage or drain clogs.

During the fall or winter months, it's easy to allow leaves, dirt and debri to fall into the window well and to plan to remove it once summer comes, but if the the debri is not removed it can cause a clog in the drainage system and water can build up in the well. This can cause a number of problems and situations. If the windows are not new and sealed correctly, water can leak through the window and into the basement. Mold can form in the window and the wood surrounding the window can rot.

To prevent flooding in the basement through a window well, inspect your basement window to be sure there are no cracks or sealing problems. Be sure to check all window wells for debri and clean them out consistently. Lastly, consider installing a window well cover. The cover will fasten over the window and can be fully covered to keep any rain from entering the well or can be grated to keep debri from falling in.

Gutters and downspouts

Cleaning and maintaining gutters is one of the most inexpensive and important ways to prevent flooding damage. Keeping gutters free of leaves, dirt and debri and making sure that downspouts are positioned away from the house and to an area where the water won't sit can make a big difference in water pooling and damaging the house.

Water can be damaging to a house's foundation so it's good to make sure the downspout is directing water a few feet away from the house and that there is no blockage to keep the water from draining.

Landscaping

Landscaping a yard is a great way to add curb appeal to your home, but it can also be a preventative measure for flooding and rain. A certain slope in the yard or the way plants are set throughout your property can contribute to the flow of water when it rains.

Try to make sure the lawn slopes away from the house. Plant flowers or bushes to block some of the water drainage toward the house.

House Foundation

Moisture in itself can be damaging to a house's foundation but add cracks to the mix and you're asking for some pricey repairs. By addressing any cracks in the foundation of your home right away you can avoid water intrusion such as basement flooding, molding inside of the house, and even unsafe foundation shifts.

Inspect your house for cracks when possible and if you come across any damage, call a professional to get the proper restoration advice.

Sump Pump

Installing a sump pump is one of the most popular and easiest ways to keep your basement floor from filling with water and causing damage. A sump pump pumps the water back to the top of the yard and is quite effective at combating flooding and the nightmares of cleaning and repair that come with it.

There is one caveat, though: for a sump pump to work it must be maintained. A sump pump, like any machine, can fail. It's important to check to make sure the pump is set up properly and is continuing to work.

During extremely heavy rainfall or if it rains for a long time, it's always a smart idea to continue to check to make sure the sump pump is working. Loss of power during a heavy storm is always a possibility, so think about investing in a generator for the sump pump to continue to work through an outage.

Septic Systems

Cleaning your septic system is probably not the first chore on your honey-do list, but that doesn't make it any less important than any other regular house maintenance. Inspecting your sewer and cleaning the septic tank is a good way to avoid sewer backups and clogs, which are common when the systems aren't maintained.

This is the type of chore that seems messy, but could end up much messier if the septic tank overflows into your yard - gross!

Skylights

Inspecting and maintaining skylight windows may seem easy enough, but with the continuous downpour of large hail, it's important to check the windows after storms. Although it isn't likely that the hail will completely shatter your skylight, it could cause small cracks or damage which could potentially lead to leaks and flooding.

If there does seem to be damage, be sure to hire a professional window replacement in Colorado Springs to fix the skylight, which can be quite dangerous to replace on your own. A local window replacement company will be able to evaluate the typical weather in Colorado Springs and suggest options that make sense in this environment, whereas ordering a window online can be confusing and risky.

Even when taking every preventative measure necessary there's still always the chance that flooding can still occur. Flooding can be a small annoyance at first but can cause larger issues like mold, foundation cracks and a ruined yard, which is why it's important to check with your homeowner's insurance to be sure that flooding is included in your insurance costs and to check to see under what conditions you're covered.

Some policies require houses to have sump pump installed as a preventative measure or it won't cover damage costs. If you're unsure about your insurance and all that it entails, talk to your agent and make sure you're covered, just in case. Being a homeowner is a big responsibility and it isn't always easy, but knowing what your insurance covers and taking the preventative measures to avoid flooding issues will help you to keep your home running smoothly.

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Peiffer22@comcast.net (Scott Barton) How-Tos Wed, 08 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000
How to Hire the Right Siding Contractor in Colorado Springs https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/how-to-hire-the-right-siding-contractor-in-colorado-springs.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/how-to-hire-the-right-siding-contractor-in-colorado-springs.html

hardie boardNow that spring is here, homeowners turn their attention to the outside of their homes. Instead of painting the living room or getting new kitchen cabinets, many will decide that this is the year for new siding. Landscaping and flower baskets may be nice, but they cannot hide the fact that siding needs to be replaced. The only problem is that it's hard to sit down and plan out a project like this without a specific contractor in mind.

Many people find it hard to know which contractor they should hire, so they put off the project and wait another year for it to be done. Before deciding on a contractor, it is important to choose the type of siding you want. For example, if you choose vinyl siding, you might choose a different contractor than if you decided on wood siding, or fiber cement.

In Colorado Springs, homeowners are starting to keep resale value in mind when making the decision to improve their home's exterior. As a result, more are opting to install HardieBoard ® fiber cement siding by James Hardie. ®

Why choose HardieBoard® siding over vinyl?

Style – If you are going to invest in new siding, you want it to make a noticeable improvement on your home. While both materials can give your home a clean and "finished" look, Colorado Springs HardiBoard® siding comes in a variety of wood-like textures that can be painted to meet your exact specifications.

Cost – Vinyl siding is by far the most affordable option, but HardiBoard® siding always results in higher resale value for the homeowner. In addition, fiber cement lasts a lot longer than vinyl. Even though it will cost more to switch your Colorado Springs home over to HardiBoard®, it is still less expensive than wood, brick or synthetic stucco.

Durability – While both materials are equally durable, HardiBoard® has a slight advantage in terms of flame resistance and warping. Because both materials are man-made, they are not affected by problems like mold, rot or termites.

Hiring a HardiBoard® contractor

Hiring the right team of professional siding contractors is crucial to your satisfaction with the job, and only intensive research will give you the confidence you need to move forward. Look for a company that has been in business for many years and has a strong reputation in the area. You will want to hire a contractor that guarantees their work and offers repair and replacement services in addition to the installation.

  • Ask your neighbors, friends and relatives for recommendations. A personal endorsement from a satisfied customer is worth much more than a contractor's ad. You will still want to do your own research, but recommendations can shorten the process.
  • Start your research online. This can be much more informative than shopping the Yellow Pages because many professional siding contractors have detailed websites that showcase their work. Study each website thoroughly and make a note of their services and contact names.
  • Consider the pricing estimates you receive from each contractor and see how each of them compares to your budget. You may need to go higher than your budget if the contractor's services are worth it, but don't hesitate to ask for a discount.
  • The siding contractor you select should also remove the old siding at no additional cost. Make sure this is included in their contract and will not be considered an "extra." Also, ask the contractor for details about how their team will clean up the area at the end of each work day.
  • Most siding contractors will provide you with a written contract. This document should include the cost estimate, description of work to be done, payment schedules and a completion date. Read this contract carefully and ask questions about anything that is unclear.

If you want more options for beautifying your home's exterior, be sure to check out James Hardie's complete line of fiber cement siding, including HardieBoard® and HardiePlank® shingles. This material has a richer look, holds color better and dramatically increases the resale value of your home.

Heart House Creations is one of the best known siding contractors in Colorado Springs. In addition to James Hardie® cement siding, they also offer vinyl siding, replacement windows and doors. When looking for professional siding contractors specializing in fiber cement siding, Colorado Springs residents choose Heart House Creations.

Photo Courtesy of James Hardie Siding

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Peiffer22@comcast.net (Scott Barton) How-Tos Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:52:48 +0000
How to Care for Your Home’s Siding in Colorado https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/how-to-care-for-your-home%E2%80%99s-siding-in-colorado.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/how-to-care-for-your-home%E2%80%99s-siding-in-colorado.html

James Hardie Siding 05A lot of homeowners skip this step and prefer to work on a more exciting home improvement, but it is important to clean your home's siding. Clean siding will stay in good repair, which will extend its life much longer. Fortunately, you don't need any special skills to keep your siding in great shape. You won't even need to do it yourself.

Power washing a home may look simple enough but it can be tricky. In fact, if done incorrectly it can strip paint, gouge wood or cause other unforeseen damage. There are plenty of skilled power-washing contractors out there who will happy do it for you. With a bit of preventative maintenance, your home's siding could remain trouble from for 50 years or more.

First - Inspect your siding for damage

All siding: Whichever siding material you have on your home, it will be vulnerable to water infiltration, particularly where the siding butts up against windows, door frames and corner moldings. Inspect the outside of your home for cracked caulk that is pulling away from adjacent surfaces and reapply a color-matched exterior caulk during a dry day when the temperature exceeds 65 degrees.

Wood siding: Check for chipped or peeling paint, and cracked boards and trim.

Stucco: Be on the lookout for cracks and chips.

Brick: Look for crumbling mortar joints.

You'll want to repair any defects before cleaning. The sooner you make repairs, the better you protect your house from moisture infiltration that can lead to dry rot and mold forming inside your walls.

See below section, Repairing Wood, Vinyl, and Fiber-Cement Siding, for instructions on repair.

What is involved in cleaning your siding?

Cleaning your home's siding removes the dirt and mildew that accumulates in the grooves and spaces between shingles. Not only will it protect your investment, a clean house has incredible curb appeal. Some real estate appraisers believe that curb appeal adds between 5 and 10 percent to the value of a home.

How to clean all types of siding

No matter what type of siding you have on your home, it will benefit from annual cleaning to remove grime, grid and mildew. The best time to do this is usually early spring, just after the weather turns warmer. If you choose to do it yourself, cleaning an average-sized home could take two people the better part of a weekend.

Here is the best way to do it:

1. Start with a bucket of warm, soapy water. Mix 1/2 cup tri-sodium phosphate (TSP, available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers) with 1 gallon of water.

2. Divide your siding into 10-foot sections. Scrub each section using a soft-bristled brush attached to a long handle. Work from bottom to top to avoid streaking and rinse often. (For two-story homes, you'll be using a ladder, so keep safety foremost.)

If you don't have the time — or the inclination — you can have your house professionally cleaned for $300-$500. A professional team will use a power washer and take less than a day.

You can also rent a power washer to do the job yourself for about $75/day, but beware if you don't have experience with the tool. Power washers can strip paint, gouge softwoods, loosen caulk, and eat through mortar. Also, the tool can force water under horizontal lap joints, resulting in moisture accumulating behind the siding.

A siding professional has the expertise to prevent water penetration at joints, seams around windows and doors, and electrical fixtures.

Repairing Wood, Vinyl, and Fiber-Cement Siding

Repairs to wood, vinyl, and fiber-cement siding require the expertise to remove the damaged siding while leaving surrounding siding intact. Unless you have the skills, hire a professional carpenter or siding contractor. Expect to pay $200-$300 to replace one or two damaged siding panels or pieces of wood clapboard.

Repairing Brick and Mortar

Crumbling and loose mortar should be removed with a cold chisel and repaired with fresh mortar — a process called repointing. An experienced do-it-yourselfer can repoint mortar joints between bricks, but the process is time-consuming.

Depending on the size of the mortar joints (thinner joints are more difficult), a masonry professional will repoint brick siding for $5-$20/sq. ft.

Efflorescence — the powdery white residue that sometimes appears on brick and stone surfaces — is the result of soluble salts in the masonry or grout being leached out by moisture, probably indicating the masonry and grout was never sealed correctly.

Remove efflorescence by scrubbing it with water and white vinegar mixed in a 50/50 solution and a stiff bristle brush. As soon as the surface is clear and dry, seal it with a quality masonry sealer to prevent further leaching.

Persistent efflorescence may indicate a moisture problem behind the masonry. Consult a professional building or masonry contractor.

Repairing Stucco

Seal cracks and small holes with color-matched exterior acrylic caulk. Try pressing sand into the surface of wet caulk to match the texture of the surrounding stucco. Paint the repair to match.

To repair larger holes and cracks, you may want to call in a pro that's familiar with stucco work. A professional charges $200-$1,000 for a repair job, depending on the size of the damage. Repainting the patch to match your siding will be up to you.

Removing Mildew

Stubborn, black spotty stains are probably mildew. Dab the area with a little diluted bleach — if the black disappears, it is mildew. Clean the area with a solution of one part bleach to four parts water. Wear eye protection and protect plants from splashes. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Photo Courtesy of James Hardie Siding

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Peiffer22@comcast.net (Scott Barton) How-Tos Wed, 02 Apr 2014 11:36:58 +0000
A Guide to Siding Options for Your Home https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/a-guide-to-siding-options-for-your-home.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/a-guide-to-siding-options-for-your-home.html

siding_productsBuying new siding isn't something that most homeowners do very often. In fact, people who buy a new home with the right building materials are never in need of new siding. But aside from curb appeal, what other criteria is used to choose a siding material? Better Homes and Gardens asked this same question in a recent article on BHG.com, "Siding Options for Your Home." Will your choice be wood, vinyl, or another siding option? Read the summaries below and learn more.

Vinyl - In addition to offering siding that resembles cedar boards, vinyl siding companies offer other decorative trim that mimics fish-scale shingles and replications of historic wood clapboard siding. Today's vinyl siding looks better than ever, resists assaults from the wind, and won't rot, dent, flake, scratch, or blister. It can become brittle in very cold weather.

Metal - Steel and aluminum siding, offered in a variety of prefinished colors, is also available in vertical and lap styles. Many brands offer profiles and textures that are almost indistinguishable from wood. Most of today's metal sidings are dent and wind-resistant and require little maintenance.

Solid wood – When properly maintained, wood siding, vertical boards, shingles, and shakes are designed to stand the test of time, and there is nothing like the rustic look of real wood. However, the difficulty of protecting and maintaining wood siding has caused many homeowners to look at other siding choices. Prone to mildew in humid parts of the country, wood also expands and contracts with the seasons, which makes it prone to splitting and cracking.

What are the best woods for siding? Redwood, cedar, and cypress all stand up well to pests and rot, so they can be left to weather the climate in most cases. Just be prepared to re-stain or repaint it every few years.

Fiber cement - This siding is made from a combination of wood fibers, cement, and sand. The resulting material is durable enough to resist termites and rotting, plus it is slow to burn. Fiber cement, such as HardieBoard, makes a lot of sense in harsh climates or near the ocean, where building materials must withstand salt air and winds. HardieBoard siding is also ideal in hot, humid climates, but it can be used anywhere. It's available in a variety of styles and colors. Most fiber-cement products must be painted, which makes them very attractive to homeowners who want a specific color not offered in vinyl. Because they are rarely affected by expansion or contraction and they don't hold moisture, these paint finishes last and last.

Engineered wood and hardboard - Made up of bits of wood that have been bonded together with special resins, these products are particularly effective in moist climates. Hardboard is also treated with fungus repellents and insecticides and they resist termites better than any other wood. Engineered materials stand up well to the harmful effects of the sun, bad weather, abrasion, and chemicals. Products come in both lap and vertical siding styles and they are easy to install. Often considered the granddaddy of engineered wood products, hardboard is usually composed of pressed wood fibers. Shingles can be purchased bare, primed or finished. A knot and grain-free alternative to solid lumber, hardboard resists cracking, splitting, hail, and wind damage.

Brick and stone look-alikes - Real brick and stone surfaces are often perceived as maintenance-free, but masonry requires occasional care. Loose mortar joints must be removed or replaced using a process called "tuck pointing." If you like the look but not the maintenance, brick and stone veneers may be your best option. While true brick or stone walls must rest on a foundation, new thin-brick and manufactured-stone products adhere to walls with mastic or mortar and can be applied right over most existing siding.

Stucco - Many of today's traditional stucco products are formulated with epoxy, which practically eliminates cracking by allowing some surface movement. Stucco is usually applied in three coats, with the final coat tinted or painted.

How long do these materials last?

Vinyl warranties typically range from 50 years to the lifetime of the product's original owner. Most brands of fiber-cement siding are warrantied for up to 50 years as well. Look for similar guarantees for brick and stone veneer products. Metal-siding manufacturers offer warranties that last 25 years or longer. Engineered wood and hardboard siding products usually have 15- to 25-year warranties.

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Peiffer22@comcast.net (Scott Barton) How-Tos Fri, 26 Apr 2013 11:52:21 +0000
Problems Locking Windows? https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/problems-locking-windows.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/problems-locking-windows.html

2 Things to Check

1st - slide window up, do you see this?

Problems locking windows pic 1

- IF YOU SEE THE ABOVE

1) begin by inserting a flathead screwdriver into balance system

Problems locking windows Pic2

2) Rotate 45 degrees so that the 'horseshoe' is parallel to the floor (be careful, as once you have rotated the balance system it will release the tension and the coil will begin to pull the 'horseshoe' up towards the top of the window)

Problems locking windows Pic3

3) once you have rotated the 'horseshoe' slide the balance system up a few inches

Problems locking windows Pic4

4) then rotate it back 45 degrees so that it is perpendicular to the floor

Problems locking windows Pic5

5) Now, slide the window down so that it is even w/ the balance system

Problems locking windows Pic6

6) Tilt the window in 45 degrees so that it is parallel with the floor - this will allow the sash to re-engage with your balance system

Problems locking windows Pic7

7) Once you think the sash is engaged, tilt the window back up into the frame and slide the sash UP towards the top of the window

Problems locking windows Pic8

8) If you see the image below, then you have fixed the problem!

Problems locking windows Pic9

9) If you see the image below, then repeat steps 5-8 again

Problems locking windows Pic4

10) If problem persists, please feel free to call (719)599-9660 for assistance

- IF YOU DONT SEE THE BALANCE SYSTEM LOOSE IN THE SIDE

- If you are having issues locking your window and the instructions above do not help, please call (719)599-9660 for assistance.

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webcontact@pagecafe.com (PageCafe) How-Tos Tue, 22 Jan 2013 16:37:20 +0000
How to “Go Green” With Home Improvements https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/how-to-%E2%80%9Cgo-green%E2%80%9D-with-home-improvements.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/how-to-%E2%80%9Cgo-green%E2%80%9D-with-home-improvements.html

green_home_improvementsOver the past twenty years, Americans have made significant changes in how they view the environment.  They’ve started taking recycling seriously, stopped using plastic shopping bags and started purifying their own water.  Businesses have become “green” by reducing pollutants, making sustainable products and working with eco-friendly vendors.  But what about homeowners?  Have we successfully carried our passion for the environment into our home energy choices?

If you are stuck with a traditional energy company for your electricity, you may have a choice of energy suppliers.  Find out what the options are for selecting one that uses wind power to generate energy.  On the other hand, if you have the option to build a home from the ground up or retrofit an existing building, you will be able to choose green energy products or install solar panels.

Selfish benefits of going green

You may have heard that installing custom cabinetry and granite countertops are the key to adding resale value to your home. However, in today’s housing market the more practical upgrades are making the biggest difference in home prices.  In fact, analysts are starting to advise homeowners to make eco-friendly improvements first, before spending thousands on landscaping, kitchens and flooring.

Many green home improvements are helping homeowners save money on monthly utility bills.  For example, studies have shown that utility bills are the single largest monthly expense in most households.  When a green home improvement can lower those bills by as much as 30 percent, it can save the average American homeowner approximately $500 per year, or even more if you live in a region with extreme temperature changes.  This is real money that can be used to buy furniture, added to the college fund or spent on a tropical getaway.

Sell your home faster

Green homes are known to sell much faster than comparable homes that lack the latest energy efficient upgrades.  When a prospective homeowners knows that a certain home will come with lower utility bills and less dependence on fossil fuels, they will often put that home on the top of their list.

It’s always much easier to buy a home with solar panels or sustainable building products than it is to make these renovations later.  According to the United States Department of Energy and their Office of Energy Efficiency, homes with solar panels are sold twice as fast as homes without them, even in a lackluster real estate market.

Green home building

When you choose to move forward with solar power, it’s important to have a full understanding of how your solar energy supply will be used as this will determine the size of the system you will need to install.  Knowing this ahead of time will save you from disappointment later on when you realize the panels will not produce the amount of power you need.  The amount of power you generate through solar panels may depend somewhat on the weather patterns where you live, but fortunately you no longer need a string of sunny days to keep the system running.

Like any other addition to your property, solar panels must be installed in accordance to local laws.  Be sure you know what these are before you meet with a contractor.  Depending on where you live, the system may need to be inspected to be sure the power system is acceptable. In addition to weather-stripping and insulation, these techniques may reveal the need for new windows or doors.

Making your home more energy efficient

Another important way to make your home more “green” is to have a Home Performance Evaluation performed. Think of it as an inspection of your home’s energy flaws, and as the first step toward improving the comfort and efficiency of your home.  The main reason a homeowner gets this evaluation is to target the source of energy leakages.

Using infrared cameras that can see heat passage, inspectors can find out where additional insulation may be needed.  Another method is to depressurize the inside of your home by using a large fan that causes air to rush into any gap or crack.  Known as a “blower door,” it simulates a strong gust of wind in order to locate potential drafts.

Verify the results

If you ever want to prove to yourself the importance of proper insulation, the best way to do it is by comparing your utility bills.  Look at a full year of energy bills after the improvements are complete and keep them in a file with the old bills.  Being able to show this may enable you sell your home faster one day.

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Peiffer22@comcast.net (Scott Barton) How-Tos Tue, 26 Jun 2012 01:02:26 +0000
Guide to Buying Vinyl Replacement Windows in Colorado Springs https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/guide-to-buying-vinyl-replacement-windows-in-colorado-springs.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/guide-to-buying-vinyl-replacement-windows-in-colorado-springs.html

replacement_windows_colorado_springsBuying replacement windows in Colorado Springs isn’t always easy.  With so many companies competing for your business and so many different types of windows, homeowners often end up paying too much for the wrong windows.  Buying new replacement windows can add a lot of value to a home and are often one of its most attractive features, but beyond that they also provide convenient ventilation, easy cleaning features and superior natural light.  In an older home with inefficient windows, it’s easy to spend 30 percent more for heating and cooling than you would if the windows were replaced.

According to recent home remodeling surveys, homeowners can expect to recoup approximately 70 percent of the cost of the windows in resale value when the windows are replaced on an older home.  But still some homeowners have no idea what kind of windows they need to purchase.  There are several elements that go into a decision about replacement windows, but fortunately there is a company in Colorado Springs that can help.  Heart House Creations has an excellent reputation as a home remodeler specializing in windows, doors and siding.

What are some of the factors to consider when buying replacement windows in Colorado Springs?

  • IG Units are the number of panes of insulated glass that are chemically bonded with a sealant to internal spacer bars.  It is important to ask about the IG units to assess the quality and performance standards of the window.
  • Low-E means the window uses "low emittance" coatings, which minimize thermal radiation by applying a thin coating or metallic oxide layers to suppress the heat flow through the unit.   By blocking much of the heat transfer, these windows are more energy efficient.  Different types of Low-E coatings have been designed to allow for high solar gain, moderate solar gain, or low solar gain.
  • Low Conductive Gas Filled - Argon or Krypton - In a sealed glass insulated window unit, air currents carry heat to the top of the unit and settle into cold pools at the bottom. Using a less conductive gas in this space reduces the transfer of heat between the inside and outside glass.
  • Other factors to consider include the U-Factor, or heat loss rating, the SHGC rating or amount of heat admitted through the window, and the VT, or visible light transmission.

 

Understanding all of these factors will help you make an educated decision about buying replacement windows in Colorado Springs, and Heart House Creations is ready to help you.

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Peiffer22@comcast.net (Scott Barton) How-Tos Thu, 09 Feb 2012 03:32:01 +0000
Window Shopping? How to Find the Best Window Contractors in Colorado Springs https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/window-shopping-how-to-find-the-best-window-contractors-in-colorado-springs.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/window-shopping-how-to-find-the-best-window-contractors-in-colorado-springs.html

window_contractor_colorado_springs

Owning a home isn’t always easy, especially when it’s time to replace windows. Ask anyone who has ever gone “window shopping.” It’s not as simple it sounds, but there are ways to make it easier. Before you buy, you will want to contact the best window contractors in Colorado Springs. As important as it is to choose the right windows for your home, it is even more important to choose the right contractor. A good contractor will install your windows correctly and help you get the most from your new windows.

How do you know which window contractors are the best in Colorado Springs?

In order to find a contractor who you can trust, there are certain questions you need to ask up front.

1) Find out if the contractor has all the appropriate licenses to install windows in your city, county or region.

2) It is very important to get confirmation that your window contractor is bonded and insured to work in Colorado Springs. This will protect you if they have an accident on your property.

3) Be sure to get in touch with your city planning commission to find out if you need any permits. If this responsibility falls on your contractor make sure he is aware of this. In some townships, separate permits are needed for windows and doors.

4) Find as your window contractor for customer referrals in Colorado Springs.

5) Set a reasonable timeline up front for the completion of the project, and ask your window contractor to confirm this in writing.

6) Stay in touch with the contractor regularly and communicate any concerns you may have. It is important that your contractor fully understands what is most important to you in this project.

7) Ask if the windows they sell are certified by the NFRC and AAMA. These two organizations, the National Fenestration Rating Council and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, have produced certain standards for the construction of vinyl windows and composite windows. These highly technical specifications say that the windows must be constructed with high grades of vinyl and/or composite materials, as well as weather stripping, glass and hardware.

The best window contractors in Colorado Springs will be able to answer these questions satisfactorily and give you the assurance you need to move forward with the project. In short, look for window contractors in Colorado Springs who only sell windows from top-rated manufacturers at competitive prices.

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Peiffer22@comcast.net (Scott Barton) How-Tos Sat, 27 Aug 2011 22:23:44 +0000
How to Choose the Right Replacement Windows for your Colorado Springs Home https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/how-to-choose-the-right-replacement-windows-for-your-colorado-springs-home.html https://www.hearthouse.com/blog/how-tos/how-to-choose-the-right-replacement-windows-for-your-colorado-springs-home.html

replacement_windows_colorado_springsIt’s that time of year again; time to break out the ladders, the power washers and the paintbrushes, get out the garden hoses, the saws and the hammers. Home improvement season is upon us, but not every fix-up job can be done by the homeowner. If your home’s “new look” requires replacement windows from a Colorado Springs contractor, you may want to start doing some research.

What are the differences between vinyl and wood replacement windows?

In Colorado Springs, many homeowners were stuck on wood windows for awhile, that is until they got to be too expensive. Now, the average window shopper is looking for vinyl, but the differences don’t stop at price. For some people wood windows are a “must” for maintaining the rustic log cabin look or matching the architectural detailing of their home. While they do look great, wood windows are much harder to maintain and more expensive to install.

Vinyl windows are more energy efficient because of the way they are mechanically fastened and less prone to water and air infiltration. If you are searching for replacement windows for your Colorado Springs home, then you may want to consider vinyl because it stands up better to high elevations and winter weather. While a wood window will absorb moisture, vinyl windows are designed to repel it, which means the window frames will not deteriorate over time. Despite the obvious differences in aesthetics and “curb appeal”, vinyl windows are a better choice for your replacement windows if you live in Colorado Springs.

What kind of windows do I need?

Before you visit with an installer of replacement windows in Colorado Springs, it will be helpful to know what you are looking for. For example, are your current windows single hung or double hung? Double hung windows allow both sashes to open and close, while single hung windows only allow the lower sash to move. Casement windows, on the other hand, operate with a crank handle. If you are looking for a window that is larger than four feet wide, then chances are it is called a bow or bay window.

If you’ve never shopped for replacement windows or met with a Colorado Springs window installer, you may be surprised to learn just how many options are available. You will need to choose the type and the color of your interior hardware, make decisions on grilles, self-cleaning glass, and insulation. Your installer should walk you through each of these options thoroughly, and provide you with a written order sheet that details the type of window you selected.

Once you are ready to move forward with replacement windows, the Colorado Springs window experts at Heart House will be happy to provide you with a comprehensive estimate.

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Peiffer22@comcast.net (Scott Barton) How-Tos Thu, 16 Jun 2011 03:16:40 +0000