A.B.E. Doors & Windows Blog

14 February 2019
The Origin of Valentine’s Day
The Origin of Valentine’s Day


If you’re anything like me, you’re of the belief that Valentine’s Day was invented by candy companies and bored housewives. I personally camp out with all the beleaguered husbands and boyfriends, watching the weeping masses pass by the heart-frosted window panes. In the interest of giving my outlook some support, I investigated it this year.

I was under the impression that Saint Valentine was some kind of brave soul who went around marrying people who weren’t allowed to be wed back in the Dark Ages. Or that the mystical saint helped lovers elope or stood in the face of someone with a lot of power to fight for the right to love-who-you-love. Several books and articles later, I am disappointed to learn that Saint Valentine was not a romantic—if such a person even existed at all.

Scholars and historians have actual records of three different Saint Valentine’s dying around February 14th. The first died sometime in the third century with twenty-four soldiers and that’s about all we know about him. The other two are, most likely, the same person with some changes to the story. The second Saint Valentine was most likely out to convert pagans to Christianity and performed a miracle which restored the sight to a Roman aristocrat’s daughter. Unfortunately for him, the Roman emperor didn’t like that and had his head chopped off.

The most likely truth of the holiday is only a little further off from what I already believed. Someone did make up Valentine’s Day, but it isn’t who you might think…

Geoffrey Chaucer, author of ‘The Canterbury Tales,’ made the connection between February and the mating of birds. Apparently, in Chaucer’s day, English birds paired off to lay eggs in February. Soon, the European nobles began sending love notes to each other while the birds and the bees got started. Shakespeare also joined the idea by writing of a lovestruck Ophelia calling herself Hamlet’s Valentine. Englishmen and women began using February 14th as an excuse to write poetry for their beloveds.

As the centuries went on, the commercialization began. Mass-produced cards and smarmy poetry hit the shelves. Cadbury and Hershey began to market ‘Sweets for Your Sweetheart.’ Even though the origins of Valentine’s Day remain as elusive as love itself, at least we live in a time when people aren’t being beheaded for it.

01 February 2019
Back in the Day: Rolodex
Back in the Day: Rolodex


Here at A.B.E. Doors and Windows, we have a pretty big age gap between our employees. Our youngest team member is twenty-one and our oldest, Jim Lett Sr who first started the company in 1974, ranks as our oldest. This leads to some comical ‘Back in my Day’ stories.

Today’s blast from the past: the Rolodex!

After our managers emerged from the time capsule that is our basement storage, they had not one but two Rolodexes. One was a cheap knockoff and the other was the genuine article. I had forgotten just how big they were in this day and age of smart phones and Google.

The Rolodex was invented in 1956 by Hildaur Nielsen who worked for Zephyr American, a stationary company in New York. If you didn’t know, the Rolodex was patented to hold specially-designed index cards which would contain contact information. Some companies even cut out the middle man and started printing their business cards so that they fit right into the Rolodex.

Believe it or not, the dated Rolodex was actually an improvement on something similar called the Wheeldex. Zephyr American also manufactured the Autodex which was spring-operated to automatically open to a selected letter, Swivodex which was an inkwell that did not spill, and the Punchodex which was a paper hole puncher. As you can see, they had cornered the market on all things office related that ended in “Dex.”

In today’s age, only the name Rolodex has survived. I know a few people that still refer to their contacts [in their smart phone] as a Rolodex. However, considering the amount of dust we had to knock off ours, I’d say they’re a relict of a bygone age.

21 January 2019
Leave the Chilly Weather Outside...Tips for a Cozy Home
Leave the Chilly Weather Outside...Tips for a Cozy Home


Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth.

~Edith Sitwell


“Put a sweater on!”…Was that ever your parents response when you told them you were cold?  It's only now, as a seasoned homeowner, that I realize they kept the thermostat low so their monthly electric bill would not shock them when it arrived.  Keeping those cold drafts from creeping into your home is a challenge this time of year.   Let's explore some ways to keep the warmth in, so you don't have to wear 5 sweaters at one time! 


About 25% of your heat escapes your home via the roof, so examining your attic or any crawl space is important.   If you've had any water leaks or work done to your roof this past year, you should also check to make sure mold is not present in the insulation as well.  As time progresses, insulation does settle and becomes less effective, even the foam type can condense as the years go by.  A good rule of thumb is to have between 10 and 16 inches of insulation in these spaces.   If your assessment comes up short, the do-it-yourself-er can head to the home store and purchase the additional material needed.  If you don't feel confident walking around the rafters, see if a friend can recommend a company to assist you.






18 January 2019
It's Cookie Season!
It's Cookie Season!

It’s that time of year again and A.B.E. Doors and Windows is of two very different minds. Ninety percent of our employees [and customers] are delighted to see the return of Girl Scout Cookies. Meanwhile, our office manager, Shannon is in mourning for the next nine weeks. Being a troop leader and with two children in Girl Scouts, Shannon looks at the time between January 17 and March 10 with dread. For her, it’s a time of freezing her buns off at cookie booths and making endless change for $4.00 boxes. For the rest of us, we’re delighted to see the return of our favorite flavors.

Now, depending on how much you travel, you might have noticed that some of your favorite cookies have different names from state to state [especially right here on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey]. Girl Scout Cookies are produced by two different bakeries, Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Smart Cookies. Depending on the region you live in, and therefore which region of Girl Scouts you support, will depend on which bakery you find yourself in supply of cookies for.

Thin Mints are the only Girl Scout Cookie that both bakeries supply. After that, each cookie has a different name between bakeries. You’ll find Samoas and Caramel Delights, Tagalongs and Peanut Butter Patties, Do-Si-Dos and Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Trefoils and Shortbreads, Savannah Smiles and Lemonades. Both have Smores as well, but the cookie itself is extremely different between bakeries—ABC’s is chocolate covered while LBB’s is more of a sandwich. Little Brownie Bakers has an exclusive cookie called the Toffeetastic while ABC has Thanks-a-Lots.

Girl Scouts began selling homemade cookies as early as 1917. They used to make sugar cookies with their mothers, package them in wax paper, seal them with a sticker, and sell them door-to-door for as little as twenty-five cents. In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in electric and gas company’s windows. One year later, they became the first to sell commercially baked cookies. In 1951, with the boom of suburbs and malls, the first Girl Scouts began to set up tables in malls to sell cookies. As the flavors evolved in 1978 so did the packaging. It became uniform and depicted photos of Girl Scouts in action. In 1979, Saul Bass created a logo for Girl Scouts which began appearing on all the boxes and promoting the benefits of Girl Scouting.

Selling cookies not only allows Girl Scouts to raise funds for themselves to use throughout the year on troop activities. It also allows them to learn key skills for business and life. Now, we’re sure that you’ll find Shannon at some booth in the greater Lehigh Valley area in the next nine weeks, but if you’d like to make sure she never gets a break, go ahead and stop by the A.B.E. Doors and Windows showroom for instant cookie gratification. We support Girl Scout Cookies!


31 December 2018
It's Tradition: Pork and Sauerkraut
It's Tradition: Pork and Sauerkraut


It's Tradition: Pork and Sauerkraut
There’s nothing I like better than a tradition mixed with a little superstition. I personally can’t celebrate the incoming New Year without the memory of my grandfather’s voice proclaiming, “We have to have pork and sauerkraut or this year’s going to be an unlucky one.” As a kid, I had no idea what he was getting at, but the tradition has persisted in my family. After all, who doesn’t want the coming year to be a fortunate one?
It was only recently that I was able to figure out what all the superstition was about. It’s a combination of Pennsylvania Dutch and German roots. While it has a lot to do with the way the harvest [of cabbage aka sauerkraut] and butchering seasons fell around the holidays, it also has a fun idea behind it.
The lore is that a pig roots forward in search of food while a chicken scratches back. In other words, it’s an instruction to look forward to the New Year rather than back at the old one. According to my grandmother, eating any poultry for the New Year will cause all your happiness to fly away with the feathers. The trick behind getting everyone to eat sauerkraut is that it’s green like cash money. [I’ve never found sauerkraut to be green unless it’s gone off so I think that one is more of my grandfather getting us kids to eat our odd-smelling vegetables.]
So, here in Pennsylvania, our New Year’s Celebration has a unique smell. Whether you can get behind our tradition or have a fun one of your own, have a Happy New Year!
26 December 2018
Twas the Night Before Christmas... Why Can't I Get In?
Twas the Night Before Christmas... Why Can't I Get In?


It’s that time of year again. We’ve put up our tree, our wreath, our many [many] lights. The tree is lit, the house is lit, the whole neighborhood is lit. It’s nice to admire our beautiful handiwork from the front yard. It’s nice to come home after work to our beautiful well-lit house. It’s nice to—hold up… Why isn’t the garage door opening? Why isn’t the remote opening the door? Guess the universe wanted you to have a little more time to admire your beautiful decor.

Just when you thought you were finished fighting with the lights… Truth is, all those beautiful holiday decorations can play havoc on the garage door opener. It runs on a radio frequency and all kinds of things that you wouldn’t expect can suddenly interfere with your remote opening your door—anything from a new refrigerator to that darling inflatable Frosty in the front yard to your neighbor’s new surround sound. Radio waves can travel pretty far, run into plenty of things, and then stop.

So, if your remote suddenly stopped working [or started working very sporadically], you might want to evaluate what changed inside your house. Try unplugging a few of those new decorations. If you still can’t get the remote to behave, come on down to A.B.E. Doors and Windows, where we can test the frequency your remote is sending and you can admire our lights while you wait.

You have enough to worry about with the holidays coming. Let us take care of the garage!

16 December 2018
Safe Home - Safe Travels: Tips for Both This Holiday Season
Safe Home - Safe Travels: Tips for Both This Holiday Season



“There's no place like home.”~~~Dorothy-The Wizard of Oz


According to AAA, the time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve will see the highest number of people traveling. Over 93 million people will be making their way to visit loved ones near and far. Unfortunately, this time of year also sees an increase in home break ins. Let's not let that information deter you from leaving your home. A little planning and common sense will ensure your home and your family stay safe during this busy time of year.

 Safe Home  

Although it may be tempting, don't broadcast your travel plans on social media. You never know who may be following your page. Let's not give any criminal a heads up to your activities.  Those pictures of you and all the cousins wearing matching PJ's can wait till you return.

 The use of lights on a timer inside the home is an excellent deterrent, as most burglars will look for signs of no one being home.  


16 November 2018
Get Your Garage Prepped for the Winter Months
Garage Organization

 Did the recent snowfall catch you off guard?   Don't worry, there is still time to get your garage prepped and ready before old man winter really comes to town.  After you shovel out from this storm, keep up the momentum and make the simple changes listed here so you are ready for the next one. 

Prep and Organize

Once you have cleared your cars and any other large items out, give your garage a good sweeping.   You'd be shocked at the amount of debris you track in over the summer months.  Check the exterior for any holes or areas that critters could come in and find a warm home over the winter.   Plug them up so you don't find any chewed cords or items come Spring.  Examine windows or doors for air leakage and consider applying some weather stripping to keep those seals tight.  This is important if you have a door that connects from the garage to your home to keep those pesky drafts out.

This is a great time to examine the track, springs and mechanics of your garage door opener.  Make sure nothing is in the way of the beam that stops the door in case of an emergency.  We don't suggest you attempt to fix the springs yourself.   The tension on this item is high and accidents can occur in seconds.  Seek out a professional if you think an area needs adjusting.

05 November 2018


We’ve all been there—it’s Thanksgiving and the dining room table is positively packed with boisterous family and friends. It never seems to matter how big your table is or how many extra chairs you bring in from the garage. Between the delicious food and the visiting bodies, there is just never enough space.

While we’re talking about space, let’s talk about what to expect when you get a new garage door. Now, garage door installation is actually done from the inside. The garage door is put together like a puzzle, starting from the bottom and working up one section at a time as each panel is fit into the track. As a result, our technicians need enough space to rotate and lift the length of the door. They also need access along the sides to install the track. If your track is not accessible due to clutter, our technicians are forced to try to install your door on an angle, which isn’t a great idea for a myriad of reasons.

We all use our garage for storage, be it extra chairs for the holidays or tools for lawn care. However, before you have your new door installed, you might need to take a look at your garage and remove some things that will be in the way. If your garage is stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey, if you can’t fit your car in your garage, then our technicians won’t have room to install the new door either. Before you get ready for the holiday or a new install, make sure everyone has the room they need.


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.

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?”


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!

17 September 2018
You, Me, & Insulation: Part I
Head to Head: Polystyrene versus Polyurethane

 You, Me, & Insulation: Part I

Head to Head: Polystyrene versus Polyurethane

Now that winter is on its way, it’s time to talk shop. There are two important questions you need to ask yourself. First, what is the relationship between your garage door and your home? Second, what is your relationship with insulation?

If your garage and your home have a close relationship i.e. they share a wall, you should seriously consider getting an insulated garage door. Insulating your garage door will keep your garage warmer in the winter. It will make your door more rigid and strong. The insulation can also quiet your door during the opening and closing process. There really is no down side.

Now, let’s talk about insulation and you. Garage door insulation is measured in R-Value. The higher the number, the better the insulation factor. The most common insulation materials are polystyrene and polyurethane.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance broad, polystyrene’s ease of manufacturing makes it the less expensive option. However, the thickness of the polystyrene will directly affect the insulation value in your door. You can usually expect to see an R-value of 10 on a two-inch-thick garage door. If your budget is a limiting factor, polystyrene can be a good choice at its price point.

When it comes to being a lady, polyurethane comes at a higher density and a higher price point, but its worth every penny. Since polyurethane bonds directly to your garage door, it increases the door’s stiffness and makes it much more resistant. Since it fills all the cracks and crevices like Botox, it also works to quiet the metal-on-metal rattling of the door. Comparatively, on a two-inch-thick polyurethane door, you can expect to see an R-value of 18 which is an 80% percent increase.

No matter what kind of relationship you’re looking to have with your garage door, A.B.E. Doors and Windows has got you covered.

How to Identify and Repair a Leaky Window Seal
How to Identify and Repair a Leaky Window Seal


Your home's windows....they connect you to the outside world, are sources of natural light and  help protect your home against the outside elements.  Unless you live in a very old home, most of your windows probably contain two or three panes of glass, with an open space between the panes.  The industry refers to them as IGUs (Insulated Glass Units) and they are designed to regulate the temperature in your home.   This is achieved by filling the glass panes with an inert gas, like argon or krypton, which are good insulators.  The gas is held in by an air-tight seal.  Unfortunately, some seals do fail.  Let's discuss the why's, how to detect and most importantly, getting them fixed.


Several things can contribute to a leaky seal:

·       The age of the window and how often it is used in the home.  

·       If you reside in a climate that experiences extreme temperatures or harsh weather.  

·       Mistakes made during installation or during the manufacturing process.  







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