A.B.E. Doors & Windows Blog

30 October 2018
DIY Decor: Spooky Silhouette
DIY Decor: Spooky Silhouette

  

If you’re looking for a simple easy-to-put-up and easy-to-remove Halloween decoration that’s fun for the whole family, look no further than a spooky silhouette. You can make them in a variety of ways such as painting black shapes on plain paper or cutting something out of cardboard. You can put together a spooky silhouette with anything you have lying around and are limited only by your own imagination.

If you’re not the artsy type, you can take the guesswork out of it by tracing something you find spooky. You can trace your arms to make the clawing hands of the damned, stencil a loved one into a shambling mummy or pointy witch, or trace a bat, cat, or rat. If you’re artistically inclined, you can draw, paint, or cut whatever you like. The secret is to make it dark enough that it shows well through whatever window or door you plan to hang it behind.

Once you have the silhouette, all you have to do is secure it inside someplace visible from the street. Tape some clawing hands to your front sidelights or a scary face in the glass of your entrance door. Put up a witch cooking over a cauldron in your kitchen window, spooky ingredients optional. Your entire house becomes a decoration when you choose to put up silhouettes in your windows and doorways. Best of all, since it’s just paper and tape, it’s easy to remove and install.

Have a Spooky Halloween!

 

19 October 2018
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

 

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week has begun.  The CDC's theme is Lead Free Kids for a Healthy future.  Even with all the warnings and education, the United States still sees over half a million children with high levels of lead in their blood work.   If not treated, the child's behavior and development abilities can suffer.  Education and testing are the two best weapons we have to eliminating this problem.

 

 Know Your Facts 

Up until 1978 lead was added to paint to help maintain color, increase drying time and combat moisture.  It wasn't until 1977 that the government stepped in and banned it's use in paints for the home and on toys.  In 2009, the EPA started requiring any remodeling project in which the home or business was built before 1978 to be certified.   This meant all work was to be completed by someone who was trained to conduct lead safe work practices.  Even with these new precautions, as of 2018, 37 million homes and apartments still contain lead-based paints. 

 

Is Lead Present in My Home?

If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance lead-based paint was used.  Before you start thinking you need to buy a new home, let's go over the steps you can take regarding testing and ensuring your families health 

Visiting your doctor and getting a simple screening for lead in your bloodwork is the first step.  If the results are higher than what is a normal reading, then finding the source in your home is your next priority.

As you examine your home, you want to be looking for areas that have deteriorating paint that may be creating peeling chips and dust.  It is the traveling dust, as is clings to shoes, clothing and feet & hands that is harmful.   Small children in the home are more susceptible to these dangers because they may still be crawling and placing their hands and objects in their mouths.  Don't forget to examine window sills and older painted toys. 

If you discover an area that you are concerned about, your next step is to get the area tested.  You can choose to test the area yourself by looking for a kit that checks lead levels in the home. Make sure you follow the instructions and wear gloves or protective eye-wear if the instructions need you to gather paint chips.

You could also hire a professional to test your home.  Although this method has a higher price tag, these technicians will do a thorough job and can provide you with a wealth of knowledge regarding various treatments should high levels be discovered.  

If your home should come up negative (heavy sigh of relief), but your lead levels tested high, look to older homes or businesses that you frequently visit.   They could be the source and should be examined as well. 

 

Treatment and Beyond

 

If lead is discovered in your home, there are several options for the homeowner.  Most times just sealing the area with an encapsulated material (not just brushing over with regular paint) is a safe, effective fix.  Keeping your home clean and dust free, encouraging shoes being taken off before walking through the house and cleaning toys that frequently go into a younger child's mouth are all excellent measures to take.  Eat well!  Studies have found that children that have healthy diets absorb less lead. 

 

If the area is extremely troublesome, contacting a professional to see what options are available is your smartest choice.  Ask about grant programs that may be able to assist in costs or providing materials. 

 

Treatment to remove lead in your body usually involves a medicine that helps carry away the lead in your urine. However, consult with your doctor to see what treatment is best for you and your family. 

 

Stay Informed

The CDC and EPA have a wealth of information that is just a click away.    We will include a few websites at the end of this blog.  Teach your older children and new moms about the dangers of lead poisoning.  Know the symptoms of lead poisoning and seek out early treatment. 

 

A little bit of knowledge goes a long way.  We look forward to the year we don't have to write a blog about lead poison prevention!  Let's all work on this together.

 

Resources

 

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/nlppw.htm

 

https://www.epa.gov/lead/understanding-inspection-risk-assessment-and-abatement

 

https://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead#exposed

 

https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/infographic-lead-drinking-water

 

09 October 2018
Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark
Creaks & Squeaks

 

I love October. The changing seasons, the crisp weather, the pumpkins, the hot apple cider. It’s my favorite time of year, especially since I have the house to myself. Standing at the kitchen counter, looking out at the decorated yard, white-sheet ghosts swaying in the breeze where they dangle beneath the pruned trees is just the greatest.

Then, from behind me, I hear it—a long low creeeaaak.

It’s like something out of a horror movie and it sets all the hairs on my arm on end. Goosebumps prickle the back of my neck despite the mug of hot cider in my hands. I turn, half-expecting to see some monstrosity from the Black Lagoon creeping in through the front door.

It’s not.

The door creaks merrily as my husband closes it behind him. He takes off his hat and gloves with a huff. “We have got to do something about that,” he mutters.

I crack a smile. “You should hear the garage door.”

Together, we walk through the house and stand in the garage. Pressing the button on the wall produces a volley of rattling, clanking, creaking, and groaning as the garage door rolls up and comes to a stop above our heads. A few leaves blow into the open garage.

“I guess we can return that CD of spooky sounds that you bought for Halloween,” my husband says. “We don’t need it.”

I chuckle. “I don’t think that’s necessary. I’ll just run up to A.B.E. Doors & Windows and buy a can of garage door lube.”

The wind howls outside, squealing a loose hinge on a shutter on the front of the house.

“Come on, that’s not going to work on all these squeaks and creaks,” he says. “That’s only going to fix the garage door.”

“Not true,” I tell him. “You can spray their lube on almost any moving part. It’ll fix the creaking door, this squeaking garage door, and that squealing shutter.”

“Sounds great,” he continues. “I’ll wait for you here.”

I nod and finish my cider. “Perfect. While I’m gone, you can call the Ghostbusters to take care of that.” Idly, I gesture over his shoulder.

He goes still, his back straight and wide eyes focused on me. “What? What’s behind me?”

Creeeaaak!

03 October 2018
You, Me, & Insulation: Part II
Head to Head: Argon vs Krypton Gas

You, Me, & Insulation: Part II

Head to Head: Argon vs Krypton Gas

Now that cooler weather is upon us, it’s time to think about turning on the heat. Now, the glass you have in your window is responsible for keeping the heat in and the cold out once the weather starts changing. But glass in and of itself is not really that helpful. There are a lot of factors that go in to making the glass unit insulated. Today, let’s talk about the gas that fills the space between the panes.

Let’s think about this, the main component of your window is the glass, just like the main part of a pool is water. You might have glass, but without the gas, it’s not very insulating. Just like a pool isn’t very much fun without the water. Keep that in mind.

If you have an older window, you most likely have single pane glass. Single pane glass is equivalent to asking someone to walk from one end of a pool to the other when it is empty of water. Pretty easy, right? It’s just as easy for the cold to come in to your home as it would be for you to walk across an empty pool.

Now, new windows primarily have double pane insulated glass units with argon gas in between the panes. Argon gas would be like filling the pool up with water again and asking someone to walk across the bottom. [Walk, not swim.]

At the top tier, krypton gas would be like filling the pool with Jello. Krypton gas has the highest insulating factor and will accomplish the most by allowing the least amount of transfer. Now that you’ve got a pool full of Jello, how about throwing an End of Summer Party!

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