April showers bring Mayflowers and hopefully a little extra change in your pocket from the Federal government. The average family receives a refund of around $3000. It may not be enough to completely transform the basement into the man-cave of your dreams, but it is enough to do a bit of home improvements that can improve your quality of life and lift the spirits.
We've broken down improvements that will bring the best return in value for your home and divided them into monetary categories in case you have a little, a lot or the whole works to spend. Before any home improvements you should ask yourself how long you will be staying in your current home. That answer should factor into your decision making.
$100 to $500 Budget
•Refresh cabinet hardware
•Service items in your home-hot water heater, HVAC & furnace. Regular cleanings can add up to 10 years of life to these products.
•Insulate the attic or other areas that are letting in cold air or are allowing hot air to escape.
•Paint-whether it's one room or a whole floor, fresh paint can transform and give your space a brand new feel.
$600 to $2900 Budget
• Replace an older front door. One of the easiest ways to give
your exterior a new look. Up to date materials and better
construction, combined with durability and better insulation will
help save on energy bills over time.
• Upgrade out dated appliances. New appliances in the kitchen
are always a great way to boost value and encourage more
family time. If you shop for Energy Star rated products, look for
ones that may have rebates via the government. Double win for
saving money in the short and long term.
• Landscaping – First impressions do matter in housing. A well
maintained yard and trim trees and shrubs can increase a homes
value up to 20%. Curb appeal and an inviting presence are
important factors if you feel your property may be for sale soon.
Outdoor lighting may also be beneficial as it enhances your
•Replacing your garage door. With one of the best return on investments rates-coming in around 98%, a sturdy, eye appealing door is important to home owners.
•Replace older windows. Another smart improvement that is worth the investment. A more energy efficient window will stop air leaks and condensation. Plus, if the window had cracked glass or loose encasing, you will be removing any safety issues.
• Upgrades to the kitchen or bathroom. A new tub and sink are
safe bets for the bathroom. The kitchen will benefit from an
upgraded sink/faucet and new counter-tops. Tile work in either
room can transform walls and floors.
All home improvement projects can be a journey. If you are taking just a few steps or one big leap, we hope your finished venture is pleasing to the eye and improves your home and those that occupy it.
In 1962 the Jetson's cartoon imagined what our homes would look like in the year 2062. Their future included conveyor belts in the home, automated breakfast stations, big screen TV's and video calling. While some of these features have not been realized, it's fascinating to see the evolution of technology in the home.
What does the term Smart Home mean? In layman's terms, it is the ability to control lighting, heating and electronic devices remotely from a phone or computer. If you have been thinking of adding some of these features to your home, let's explore the most common ones and the benefits they may add to your house and lifestyle.
A programmable thermostat allows the home owner to regulate the heat or air conditioning of their home when they are not in it. Utilizing this feature helps cut down on energy bills and in turn saves you money. It also cuts down on human error, like when you are half way to work and realize you forgot to turn down the heat. The ease of reading a digital display means you don't have to pull out a magnifying glass to see those small tick marks. A smart thermostat usually pairs with an app that allows you to make changes remotely. Some smart models learn as they go, memorizing your desired temperatures and can even alert you to needed maintenance.
Alarm Systems/Security Cameras
Making sure your home is secure while you are away is a priority to every home owner. Monitors and cameras, coupled with an app, allow you view anyone that approaches your front door. Imagine being able to alert a trusted neighbor to retrieve that latest Amazon order from your front porch! Some apps can let you know if an alarm has been set off or can sense heat to alert you to a potential fire. Lighting can also be controlled to give the illusion you are home. Date nights become more enjoyable knowing the sitter and children are secure in the home.
One device that is gaining popularity in the smart tech arena is garage doors.
Most people use their garage door as a primary entrance to their home, that's a lot of opportunity to leave it open by accident. Having the ability to check on it and close it remotely lessens the chance of theft and break-ins to the home. If you have multiple car drivers in the family, this eliminates the need for extra remotes. If a delivery needs to be made or a family member is locked out, a quick push on your phone allows for easy entry. A.B.E. is excited to offer smart garage door openers and recommends the MyQ app. Let us know if we can tell you more about these products.
The growing popularity of digital assistants in the home brings things like trivia, news, sports and music to life with a simple command. When used together with music or movie streaming apps, one command can have you watching the latest episode of Stranger Things on your TV or keeping the party rocking with all your favorite BeeGee's hits. These devices can also control audio systems, make a grocery list and set your morning alarm.
Do a bit of research to see what smart device would benefit you and your home the most. The real estate market is just now weighing in on the impact of smart homes and resale value. Employ a reputable company if you are doing a major upgrade. The programming of these devices can be a bit complicated. Once installed, these clever gadgets can help make your day a little less hectic and a lot more fun.
18 January 2018
It's that time of year again!
Garage Organization - what to keep and what to get rid of
It's that time of year again! The urge to purge takes over and we find ourselves looking over our homes to decide what needs organizing and revamping. As we sweep through each room, often times we look at the accumulated stuff and wonder...where am I going to put this now? Then the a-ha moment comes and the answer is “stick it in the garage.” While your garage is a great spot to store certain items, changes in temperature, exposure to the elements and a nosy critter can make it unsuitable for some belongings. Let's go over some of those items and offer a better storing solution.
Changes in temperature can lead to discoloration as well as clumping and possible separation. Plus, the moisture of a cement floor can encourage cans to rust. A better solution would be to transfer a portion of paint-for touch up purposes- into a tight sealed container with the color mix noted in case a full can is needed in the future. Store in a closet that maintains an even temp all year round.
Again, varying temps in your garage can lead to a shorter shelf life and alter the taste of some foods. In Winter, you risk the chance that a frozen can could explode. Reexamine your pantry for areas where storage could be gained. Employ new shelving or an over the door rack that can accommodate cans.
Storage of these items may encourage a family of mice to make your garage their home. Moths and other bugs love to nibble on certain types of fabrics. If you must keep these items in the garage, make sure they are placed in quality, air-tight containers. Keep them off the ground on a higher shelf if possible.
No one wants to run out of propane during a back-yard barbecue. Keeping a spare in the garage is hazardous. Tanks need to be kept in a well-ventilated area free from fumes or materials that could ignite it. Best to keep this item stored outside away from any structure.
It may be tempting to purchase a spare to keep drinks and stock up on frozen items but the unit will actually work harder trying to maintain an even temperature in the summer and winter months, thus increasing your electric bill. There are insulation and heating coil kits available, but do some math first to see what these will cost you over time. The price to store that great sale on frozen food may not be worth it.
That photo album you inherited from your grandparents, when exposed to fluctuating temperatures could grow mold over time and pages can get stuck together. The same applies to any document that may be difficult to replace. Set aside some time to scan important documents to your computer or invest in a fireproof box. Many stores offer photo-scanning services that compile all your cherished memories into one DVD.
As you continue to freshen up your homes this year, take care where you store items in and around the house as well. If reorganizing your garageis in the future, refer back to our blog to learn all the best tips and tricks to reclaim that space for your car again!
15 December 2017
Wrap it Up—Organizing & Storing Your Holiday Decor
We all enjoy the lights, ornaments and merry decorations that brighten up our homes during the holidays...until it's time to take it all down and store it for next year. Let's help you store those items with ease so next year you won't be wrestling with a ball of lights.
Before you begin, examine your storage materials that you currently have on hand. Make sure boxes still have secure bottoms and handles that are strong. Ensure that you have enough containers in case you have purchased new lights or have received ornaments as gifts. The end of the year is a great time to pick up new containers and bins, but you can easily store your treasures with items you already have on hand.
The key to storing lights is all in the wrapping. Start with a heavy piece of cardboard and slowly wrap each strand around it. Each piece can be then slid into a box for storage. Another idea is to wrap them around a heavy duty hanger. When finished, they can be hung in a spare closet or rack in the attic. If you have extension cords that need to be stored, inserting them into a paper towel tube is a great organizing trick. If you have an extensive outdoor light collection, investing in a storage spool is an option. Spools can hold up to 200 feet of lights and are easy to carry and unwind.
A clever alternative to wrapping each ornament in tissue paper is found by nestling them in a cardboard divider. If you don't want to invest in a pre-made container, you can easily make one by using larger plastic cups with cardboard dividers in a storage bin. Smaller trinkets can be stored in egg cartons or clear shoe boxes. As you put away your ornaments, examine them to make sure they are not broken and make repairs if necessary. Now is also a good time to assess your collection and pare down or donate items you have not used in a while.
Wreathes and garland present an interesting challenge in that there is never a box quite big enough to store them nicely. Think vertically on this one and utilize a garment bag. Attach the wreath or garland to a sturdy hanger and slip it into the bag. DIY with a hanger poked through a garbage bag and cinch it tight at the bottom.
Although they come out of the box with ease, getting your artificial tree back in the box is often a wrestling match. Pinterest user Time with Thea used an old bed-sheet as a way to wrap it up neatly. Once in the sheet, it is secured by tying the ends together. For larger trees a pillow case can come in handy to hold the top portion.
Before you stash all your trimmings away, take a look at your storage area. Make sure it is clean, free from any potential water damage and not in an area that heat may damage any of your decorations. Stack heavy boxes on the bottom and allow some room to maneuver items with ease. If you have the space, storing items on the floor they are used on can save time and avoid injuries from carrying boxes up and down stairs.
Congrats! You are all set for next year. Reward yourself with a hot chocolate and don't skimp on the marshmallows.
04 December 2017
An Individualized Touch That Can’t Be Purchased Online!
An Individualized Touch That Can’t Be Purchased Online!
The hustle and bustle of getting ready for the holiday season is upon us—the endless lists of things to do and limited amount of time to complete them.Many of us seek the internet to solve our problems by saving time and money, but what you aren’t purchasing is an individualized touch.
Throughout my experiences as the office manager, I have seen too many times a customer walk through our door needing assistance with a garage door or operator part.They had purchased the part online that was listed on Amazon or Ebay to name a few common sites.This seemed to be their “jackpot.”Pay for the part online and have it shipped directly to them within 24 hours.SOLD!Only to receive the part and deal with the disappointment and frustration that it does not work.Now what?It’s not like you can call the internet and talk to a person to help you.
This is where we have an advantage over an online store.The office staff can help you diagnose the problem and supply you with the correct part.Garage door operator technology has changed so much in the past twenty years.Manufacturers discontinue parts or replace them with universal models that accommodate many products.The next time that you need help with a part, instead of reaching out to Google, call me directly at 610-398-2430, extension 115 or stop by the showroom location.The staff is always available to offer you the “Gift of Giving.”
15 November 2017
Chilly Air, We Don't Care: Tips to keep your home warm this winter.
Chilly Air, We Don't Care: Tips to keep your home warm this winter.
Bundle up! Right now, many of us are taking the necessary steps to prepare for the colder weather ahead. Winter clothes are coming out of storage, heavier blankets are on our beds and hot cocoa packets are at the ready to warm us up. Besides keeping ourselves warm, now is the time to make sure our homes are ready for those blasts of cold air. Let's take a look at your doors and windows and help you make practical fixes to areas that may be letting old man winter in.
Begin by working from the outside in to address areas that may be letting cold air through.
Check the caulk around windows and doors. Over time, caulk can wear and peel away leaving small gaps. As a part of your Fall maintenance, inspect the caulk and replace it or add a new line to repair it.
The North face of your home could benefit from wind blocking features. A decorative fence panel or tall dense shrubs are excellent at deflecting colder air gusts. If changing some landscaping is on the docket for next spring, perhaps consider planting a tree in that area.
Functional shutters for your windows can benefit you all year round. Consider the hardworking Bermuda style, which can protect against the rain and wind in winter and provide shade and allow a cool breeze in summer. The addition of an awning can also assist in deflecting winter gusts.
Moving on to your entryway, let's inspect the following areas of your door for problem spots.
Examine your weather stripping, door sweep and threshold for signs of wear or damage. Your local hardware store can provide new materials, such as foam adhesive strips, that are easily installed and cost effective. Door snakes are another functional, decorative way to block drafts from doors that may not see much use, but still allow a bit of cold air to enter the home, like the basement door.
Most drafts are seen around your windows, but preventing them is easy by trying these simple solutions.
Layering your windows with blinds or shades and then a heavier drape is an effective way to keep rooms warmer. Velvet fabric is a smart choice to use in the winter months. Cotton or linen fabrics with the addition of a lining can also provide an efficient barrier against the wind.
Products like weather stripping and caulk can help create a tight seal between the window and frame. Always inspect and clean the areas to insure a smooth, effective application.
Film insulation kits are easy to use and only require a few additional tools. Kits come with special two- sided tape and a plastic film that covers the window frame creating an airtight seal. This method works well on all shapes and sizes. When winter is over, the plastic film and tape are easy to remove so you can start to enjoy those spring breezes.
If the above solutions have not stopped the drafty areas, then perhaps it's time to consider replacement. Our staff is on hand to discuss door and window options that fit into your budget. We want to help you and your home stay warm this winter season.
23 October 2017
Lead Poisoning: What you need to know to keep your family safe.
Lead is a natural metal that has been deemed toxic to the human body. It can enter the body via the mouth and through absorption in the skin. Once ingested it makes its way through the bloodstream infecting many parts of the body. Common health problems are: decreased muscle growth, poor muscle coordination and speech delay.
Where is harmful lead found?
If your home was built prior to 1978, there is a very strong chance lead based paints were used in the building process. If you renovated a room where lead paint was used, the dust can contaminate the surrounding areas as well as the soil outside your home. Window sills, door frames, railings and porch banisters are all hot spots in the older home. Antique furnishings and painted wooden toys should also be handled with care, especially if you are restoring them.
What steps do I take to remove lead in the home?
If you feel you may have lead in your home your first step is to contact a certified lead inspector. They will perform several safe tests that can determine if lead is present. It is not recommended that you buy a test kit yourself as most are unreliable and can potentially expose you to lead during the collection process.
If a test reads positive, hiring a company that specializes in lead removal is strongly advised. Until the professional removes the paint you can clean up any paint chips, wipe down dusty areas and limit activity in the affected room. Always wear protective gear, such as masks, eye-wear and gloves before treating these surfaces.
What should I do if I feel my family has been exposed to lead?
Children under the age of 6 are more susceptible to lead poisoning because of their natural tendency to place objects in their mouths. Their bodies are also more likely of absorbing the toxins harming their still developing nervous system. Lead poisoning can often be hard to detect until high amounts are present in the body. Common symptoms can include headaches, slow growth in children, abdominal pain, mood swings and trouble sleeping. A simple blood test can determine if lead is present in the body. If you or your child tests positive your doctor will determine the best course of treatment.
National Lead Prevention Week is October 22nd thru the 28th. Take some time to visit the CDC website to learn more about prevention, risks and removal.
As a home owner we can all appreciate a repair that we can tackle ourselves. Besides saving a bit of money, there is a personal satisfaction in looking back at the repair and saying “I did it myself”. This guide aims to address several common window woes and arm you with clear instructions plus a materials list so you go in prepared. With any repair, know your own DIY comfort level. When in doubt, seek a professional's advice.
Materials: Single edge razor blade, Goo Gone/Lift Off, Rags, Work Gloves
Step 1: Wearing work gloves, use your razor blade to gently loosen as much of the residue as possible. Keep the blade clean by wiping occasionally with a rag, if necessary change the blade if it becomes dull.
Step 2: Apply a thin layer of residue remover like Goo Gone or Lift Off with a rag. These mixtures are often citrus based and are non-abrasive. Allow the remover to soak a few minutes and then gently wipe off with a clean rag. A more stubborn residue may need a solvent such as rubbing alcohol to be completely removed.
Step 3: A quick spritz of window cleaner wiped with a paper towel completes the job.
For swelling due to damp weather: Open the window as high as you can. Working gently from one side to the other, place a small block under the window and tap with your hammer. This method avoids harming your window and breaking any glass. Once the window is raised apply a thin layer of Vaseline or rub candle wax on the track. Lower and raise the window until the lubricant works in and you feel the window opens smoothly.
For painted shut windows: Using your putty knife, gently work the knife between the window joint until the window is free from the dried paint. If the paint is really thick applying a solvent may help in prepping the area first. Always test a small area to ensure no damage will occur to various surfaces. When the window is moving again, gently scrap away any paint residue you can.
Removing a Broken Window Pane
Materials:Gloves, goggles, small pliers, masking tape, utility knife, vacuum, old towel
Step 1: Safety first! Before you begin, place a towel underneath to catch debris. Wear goggles, gloves and footwear to protect yourself.
Step 2: Crisscross the area with masking tape. As you remove the broken shards this will help keep smaller pieces from dropping or flying in the air.
Step 3: Remove the larger pieces first. Line your trash bag with some leftover newspaper so glass does not poke through. As you begin to remove smaller pieces you may need to loosen them from the putty with your utility knife. Grasp these smaller bits with a pliers using gentle force to avoid shattering.
Step 4: When all the glass has been removed, use your vacuum to suck up the remaining pieces.
Replacing a Torn Window Screen
This video from ACE hardware store shows you how to repair both small and large tears.
Now that you have tackled your windows, let's keep the momentum going with this excellent piece on ailing doors from Paul Bianchina of the Morning Call. He will have your doors back in swing in no time. Read Paul's article below.
Easy fixes for ailing doors
By Paul Bianchina
If you have some doors around your house that aren’t working quite right, don’t despair. There are a number of quick and easy fixes that will take care of whatever’s sticking, squeaking, swinging or otherwise ailing your doors.
The door binds in the upper corner of the jamb: This is a common complaint, since the weight of the door wants to pull it down at an angle from the top corner, opposite the upper hinge, causing the door to bind against the jamb in that corner.
To fix it, remove one or two of the screws that hold the hinge to the jamb. Replace these screws with new ones that are long enough to reach all the way through the jamb and into the stud behind the jamb; you’ll want to predrill new pilot holes through the existing holes in the jamb to make it easier to drive the screws. These new, longer screws will pull the jamb back up against the stud and take the angle out of the door frame, relieving that pinch point in the corner.
The door binds against other parts of the jamb: First of all, ask yourself when this started happening. Is it only in the winter? If so, it’s probably due to seasonal swelling, which happens when the wood absorbs moisture from the air. Check to see if the door is being directly exposed to moisture, such as a drip from a leaky gutter, or perhaps it’s constantly shaded by overhanging trees and rarely dries. If you can identify the cause of the seasonal moisture, correct it. Be careful about planing a door during the winter — when it dries out again, it’ll be undersized for the opening.
If the binding isn’t seasonal, look for stress cracks in the drywall or moldings around the door. This can indicate settling issues, which may be caused by shifts in the home’s foundation, or simple drying of the wood framing, especially in newer homes. If the settling doesn’t continue and the binding doesn’t worsen, you can relieve the bound area by tapping against the door frame with a hammer and a block of wood, or by removing the door from its hinges and sanding or planing it a little. If the settling is worsening, consult with a contractor or structural engineer.
The door won’t stay latched: If the door won’t stay latched or needs to be pushed hard to get it to latch into the strike plate, first look at the way the door is fitting in the jamb. If you see that it appears to be leaning down at the upper corner, try installing longer screws as described above. Otherwise, it’s a matter of readjusting the strike plate. Site the latch to see where it’s hitting the strike plate, to determine if the plate needs to move up or down. If necessary, coat the latch with lipstick or crayon and then close the door — the resulting marks on the strike plate will help indicate where it’s hitting.
If only a small adjustment is needed, use a small file or a rotary tool with a metal grinding bit and enlarge the strike plate opening as needed. If a larger adjustment is necessary, unscrew and remove the strike plate, then reposition it on the jamb and reinstall it. You may need to chisel the jamb slightly to accept the plate in its new position.
Screws are coming out: If the screws that hold the hinges are coming out of the jamb, or you’ve had to reposition the strike plate and the screws want to go back into the old holes, you need to create new wood for the screws to grab into. This is easily done by drilling out the old screw holes to the size of a standard hardwood dowel, typically 3/8 inch. Apply glue to the dowel, insert it into the hole, allow it to dry, then cut it off flush with the surrounding surface. Drill a new pilot hole into the dowel, and re-insert the screws.
The door swings and won’t stay open: This is caused by a door that’s out of plumb in its opening. To correct it, you need to insert a small amount of shim between the back of the hinge and the door jamb — usually the bottom hinge. Loosen the hinge screws almost all the way, so that you have some play between the hinge and the jamb. Insert a piece of wooden shim or other material, such as small pieces of plastic laminate, behind the hinge, then retighten the screws.
The door latch hits the strike plate: This is caused by a strike cylinder that’s worked loose, or by a loose doorknob. If the strike cylinder that goes into the edge of the door is held in place with a small rectangular plate and two screws, first try tightening the screws. If they’ll tighten and hold okay, that will pull the cylinder back into the door and hold it. If the screws won’t hold, then you’ll need to install dowels as described above.
First, loosen the screws holding the doorknob, so that you have a little play in the knob. Set a block of wood against the strike cylinder, and tap it with a hammer to drive it back into the door until it’s flush with the door’s edge. Finally, securely tighten the doorknob’s screws to hold the knob and cylinder in place.
The door hits the wall: You need to install a door stop. The simplest type is a solid or flexible stop with a screw on one end and a rubber cap on the other, which is screwed into a pilot hole that’s drilled into the door or into the baseboard. Another style is a hinge stop, which is used when you want to stop the door before it can open far enough to contact a stop on a wall. To install this type of stop, remove the top or center hinge pin, slip it through the hinge stop, then reinstall the pin in the hinge. The hinge stop has an adjustable rod that screws in and out to contact the door at different points.
Have a home repair or remodeling question for Paul? He can be reached by email at [email protected].
Carol Burnett immortalized the humble curtain when she wore it, rod and all, during her infamous “Gone with the Wind” parody sketch. With so many styles, colors and lengths to choose from it can become a daunting task. Let's help simplify that process so your windows are the best dressed in town!
Begin by assessing the rooms function. If privacy is the main goal, then choosing a heavier fabric will ensure no one is peeking in. These denser fabrics are also great options for blocking sunlight. If sleeping in on a Saturday morning is your weekly treat, you may want to consider a lined curtain to really block out those early morning rays.
Cotton or linen allow natural light to filter through while letting you to enjoy the view from your window. These fabrics are also easy to maintain, which is a plus if the room sees many an active child or furry pet. If you are concerned with fading, a neutral hue will hold its color longer.
Now that you've chosen your fabric let's move on to length. You may see terms like brushing, breaking and pooling. Brushing means the curtain is slightly touching the window sill or floor. Breaking is when the curtain goes an inch or two on the floor. A curtain that drapes over the floor by more than two inches is pooling. Again, looking at the rooms function will help you decide on length. A well-used room may not benefit from large pools of fabric on the floor.
When measuring, start from the rod to the floor to get an accurate length. Don't forget to account for rings or hardware that may be used to hang the curtain. Many designers hang curtains close to the ceiling for the illusion of added height.
Generally speaking, you want a curtain to be a few inches wider than the window for a nice full effect. In the room’s you are seeking privacy or darkness you may want to choose a curtain that is 3X the width of the window to create a bigger barrier.
Now the fun part...choosing a material or pattern to complement your décor. If your furniture already has a pattern, going with a solid, complimentary hue is a good choice. Patterns and bright colors mix well in a room with classic elements. Make sure your material matches the other fabrics in the room. A light and airy room will not mesh well with wool or velvet. If you find a fabric you love, bring a swatch home and hold it up against the window to see how it looks in the light.
Pull the look together with fun hardware.Curtain rods that have a brushed silver or wrought iron finish can be charming. The addition of finials or using clip rings to hang the curtain add interesting details.A child's room gets an amusing pop when you use something out of the ordinary as a tie back, like a chunky necklace or pretty ribbon.
A great window treatment should provide a balance of function and beauty. We hope this guide will help you choose a curtain with confidence.
You just finished dressing and fixing your hair in the coolness of your home only to become hot and flushed by the time it takes you to hop into your car to begin the day. Don't sweat it.....here's a host of great tips to lower that temperature and keep your cool.
Let there be air flow!
If you are fortunate enough to have a window, install an exhaust fan to help pull the hot air out. If you feel comfortable with the idea, you can open the garage door about a foot to help with circulation as well. Even a well placed box fan can help with air flow if you are doing some tinkering in the garage. Always make sure the garage door is closed and any fans turned off at the end of day.
Don't be full of hot air.
Think of the ceiling of your garage like the attic in your home. Hot air rises and gets trapped in that space. Adding a vent to the roof will give all that hot air a way to escape, thus keeping the overall garage cooler. Insulating your ceiling is an another way to keep that hotter air from coming into the working area of your garage.
If these walls could talk.
They would say “add some insulation to us too”. If you choose this option, make sure to encapsulate the insulation with some wall board material. This would prevent tearing and wear from pets and younger children. Applying weather stripping around an entrance door or the bottom of the garage door will help keep the warmer air out. You could also caulk around a window or door if you saw small gaps in those areas as well.
Consider some shade.
If your garage is used as an extension of your home in terms of living space maybe consider adding an adjustable roll away awning to the sunny side of the garage to keep that summer sun at bay. If you are revamping your landscaping, a well-placed tree can provide leafy shade during the warmer months and the loss of leaves in the winter will allow the sun to peek through and warm the garage...bonus!
Darker colors absorb heat. Painting your garage door a crisp white, beige or cream will help reflect the heat. Another choice is a cool roof system. A more costly selection, these materials help absorb the sun's energy and reflect more heat. Available in the form of paints, tiles and sheet coverings, this option would be more suited to a garage that has been converted to a home gym or living space.
We hope these tips will make your garage a bit more tolerable in the summer months or at least a little less rumpled till you get to work.
The International Door Association has deemed June National Garage Door Safety Month. Your garage door is the largest heaviest moving object in your home. Over 77% of garage door related injuries occur at a person's own property. Keep your family, pets and automobiles safe all year round by following these simple tips.
Every month inspect your garage door and the surrounding mechanics. Look over your cables, springs, rollers and tracks. Look for any objects, such as leaves or other debris, that may be in the way of these areas that would cause a problem. If you hear a lot of grinding or scraping apply a spray lubricant to keep the tracks running smoothly. The average life span of most springs and cables is approximately 10,000 cycles or roughly 6 to 10 years. Please consider calling a professional to replace these items, as they are tension mounted and may cause injury to the do-it yourselfer. Do not operate the door if you feel there is an area that needs repair.
Since 1993 overhead garage doors are required to have auto reverse sensors to indicate if an object is in the way of the door as it closes. Check these sensors monthly by placing a soft object, such as a roll of paper towels, in front of the sensor. If the door does not automatically move back up, check the wires to make sure they have not been chewed on or disconnected in any way. Over time the sensor itself may become dirty, wiping each lens with a soft cloth ensures the beam does not get interrupted. If the beam seems broken it could indicate the brackets have become misaligned. Tightening the brackets may solve the problem, if not, you may have to replace them. If your garage door does not have sensors it may be time to upgrade to a door that does to avoid an injury.
Talk to your children about garage door safety. Encourage them not to play with the opener or the remote. Make sure your opener is placed at a height that small children cannot access. Instruct your kids not to leave bikes or toys in front of the garage or inside where they could get run over. Never open or close the door when kids or pets are close by. If you have older children, teach them how to use the emergency release pull.... make sure you know how to use this as well!
Staying safe extends to when you go on vacation as well. Inform a trusted neighbor of the days you will be gone and have them notify you if they see any odd activity near your garage door. Take remote controls out of your car and keep them in the house until you return. Some newer garage door models have a vacation mode feature that can be activated so your remotes are disabled. Upon your return, simply deactivate this setting from the wall control in the garage and you are back in business.
A little prevention and knowing what to look for can save you and your family from a garage door related injury. A.B.E Doors and Windows cares about you and your home, if you feel your garage door could use a little love please contact us at 610. 398. 2430.
Now that you have spring cleaned your home from top to bottom, let's move your focus outside the home to your garage. Has it been awhile since you were able to park your car in it? If your car does fit, are you tip-toeing around stuff to get to your car door and hoping you don't knock anything over? If the answer was yes to either of those questions, let’s look at some practical solutions that translate well for any garage space.
The first step is to clear out the garage from top to bottom. As you remove items place them into three piles. Trash, Keep and Donate or Sell. Really assess the item...when was the last time you used those roller-blades? If it's been over three years, it's probably time to let it go. Have some bags and boxes handy for the items you donate and make a plan to drop them off later that day. Try not to bring it back into your home or garage. While the garage is empty give it a good sweep. It is also an excellent time to check your garage door opener for wear and tear. Make a note if you see something that needs repairing.
The next step is to sort the items you are keeping. Grouping them into like categories will help you determine how to organize your garage area. Examples would be: toys and sports equipment, lawn & garden, tools and perhaps holiday items. Now that you have your groupings, take a look at the garage space and create different zones for those items. If your garage is attached to your home you may want to designate that space near the door to be used as a pantry or an area for coats, shoes and school belongings.
Utilize vertical and overhead storage solutions to your advantage. A simple pegboard with an assortment of hooks can hold all your tools. A clever trick to remember what goes where is to trace the outline of the tool onto the pegboard! A solid shelf and some sturdy S hooks can help create a sports zone for bicycles, golf equipment and sports gear that may only get used at certain times of the year. When installing any overhead solution, always make sure they do not impede the opening and closing of your garage door.
Wooden pallets and PVC pipe are two inexpensive ways to corral all your long handled garden tools. A small shelf can hold potting supplies, gloves and smaller gardening implements. As you put things away it's a great idea to label things. That way everyone knows where items belong.
You've worked hard. Take a moment to enjoy the fruits of your labor and the reclaiming of your car's parking spot. If you have energy left, lace up those roller-blades and take a loop around the block.
01 May 2017
A.B.E. Doors Mother's Day Contest
Read below for specific instructions on how to enter and win our Mother's Day Contest with a beautiful flower bouquet provided by Dan Schantz Greenhouse & cut flowers.
Whenever a cleaning person is being interviewed for hire in the movies they are always asked what they won't do. Often times the answer is “No windows!” Seeing as this task is going to be on your to-do list, we hope to provide you with some easy solutions to get those windows sparkling in no time.
Gather your tools:
If your plan is to tackle all the windows in the house, gather up all the items you will need so they are at the ready and you are not wasting time searching for more paper towels. We suggest the following:
Bucket, sponges, squeegee, ladder, hose, soft cloth, newspaper or paper towels, vacuum and soft bristle brush.
There are many window cleaning detergents on the market. Pick one you feel has done a good job in the past or consider making one for a more green approach. One solution that gets great raves is 2 cups of water, ¼ cup vinegar and ½ teaspoon of dish soap. Pour that into a spray bottle and you're set.
Window washing is best done in the early morning before it gets too hot out. Too much heat can dry your detergent too quickly which will leave streaks. Do a quick inspection of your windows, door frames and glass to check for wear, cracks or screen damage and make notes of anything that may need repairs.
If you have windows that allow you to wash them from the inside of your home, work from top to bottom. Do the outside of the window first and wipe horizontally, wipe the insides vertically, this way if there is still a patch of dirt or a streak you can tell which side needs extra attention. If your windows are really grimy, consider using one sponge or cloth with some soapy water to get that initial layer of dirt off, then proceed with another cloth with your cleaning solution. Newspaper is one method of drying that does not leave fibers behind. Special micro-fiber cloths are also absorbent as are good ole paper towels.
If you have larger outside windows that need attention, we recommend using a bucket full of warm soapy water....2 gallons to a few tablespoons dish soap. Adding 4 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol can help to prevent streaks, but that is optional. If you are working on a ladder please have someone assist you to prevent falls and injury. After scrubbing clean with your sponge, use a hose to rinse your window. A long handled squeegee is the key to get rid of excess water and make drying a breeze.
Use your soft bristle brush to gently loosen dirt from door and window screens, then wipe down with a wet cloth. Don't use paper towels or newspaper on your screens as they will leave bits of paper behind.
Your vacuum will come in handy by sucking up dirt and bugs from the window sills.
Don't neglect your garage door! Tackle that with your bucket and soapy water and a good rinse.
Enjoy the view.
Make washing the windows a family activity and it won't seem like such a terrible task. Play your favorite tunes, as the day gets a bit warmer the kids may like to get spritzed with the hose a bit. Many hands make for a lighter load. When the chore is done, break out some snacks and lemonade and admire your crisp clear view of the garden.
Over 3300 children are injured each year from window falls. As you begin to open your windows to let the fresh air of spring in, please take a few minutes to make sure your windows are safe and pose no risks for small children. To wrap up National Window Safety Week we offer these guidelines to ensure your family is safe.
Always supervise small children that may be playing in an area that has open windows. Perhaps consider designating a play area that is further away from open windows.
Kids love to climb! Keep furniture away from windows to avoid potential risks.
Never rely on a screen to prevent a fall. Let's keep the bugs out and your sweet children in.
If you have double hung windows, open the top sash to allow for cool air to ventilate the room.
Home stores offer limited opening hardware kits, that allow for fresh air, but limit opening to only a few inches to prevent falls.
Always lock windows when not in use.
Cords are another potential hazard to small children. Keep cribs and furniture away from corded windows. If a long cord is present, wrap it up in a manner that does not pose a risk. The Window Covering Safety Council offers free retro fit cord devices. Please visit their website to learn more and obtain a kit for your window. http://windowcoverings.org/
Mark your calendars to check your windows at least once a year. A few invested minutes could prevent a serious injury. Have a safe and happy Spring!