A.B.E. Doors & Windows Blog

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!

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.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 September 2018
Now Hiring - Garage Door Installer and Carpenter/Door & Window Installer

Are you interested in a career as a garage door, window, or door installer with a locally-owned business that takes care of their employees?

Look no further. At A.B.E. Doors & Windows our mission is to "Treat Employees, Customers, & Business Partners As You Would Want to Be Treated." We have committed to this mission by offering our employees an abundant benefits package that includes paid time off, paid holidays, medical benefits, retirement 401K, and more.

23 August 2018
What should I ask when choosing a Window Company?
Choosing the right company.

 

Today's homeowners are fortunate when it comes time to make a repair or do some remodeling to their homes.  There are probably several companies in the vicinity of the home to choose from to get the job done.  A quick search of window replacement companies in the Lehigh Valley area produced over 25 results!   How does one choose the right company for your needs?  Here are some things you should be thinking about when choosing a window company or anyone that may be doing work in your home.

 

 

 

 

16 August 2018
Did You Know? The Bilco Company
Did You Know? The Bilco Company

 

Bilco is not a style of basement door. It’s a brand name, just like Kleenex is a brand of tissue. However, Bilco has had such successful branding that people now call their basement doors by the brand name instead.

The Bilco Company has served the building industry since 1926 and basement doors are the very first product we ever installed back when Jim Lett, Sr first started A.B.E. Doors and Windows in 1974. We find the Bilco Company to be a pioneer in the development of specialty access products. With their network of factory-trained representatives, they are always ready to keep us on top of our installs and assist us in making our customers happy.

It’s not just their customers that the Bilco Company cares about either. Bilco has been working to reduce their impact on the environment as well. They have an Environmental Policy in effect currently that works to use natural resources as efficiently as possible, minimize the generation of waste, and source their materials responsibly from environmentally conscious vendors and suppliers. They also have ongoing efforts to utilize recycled materials, use natural lighting in their manufacturing facilities, and replace welding equipment with more energy-efficient machines.

So, when you purchase a Bilco Brand basement door, you not only get a quality product, but you also are making an environmentally conscious decision not only for your home, but for the planet you call home. A.B.E. Doors and Windows is proud to partner with Bilco in bringing you the best we can offer.

31 July 2018
Welcome Bart!
Welcome Bart!

 

Coming to us from Martin Guitar, we are pleased to introduce Bart Buschi as A.B.E. Doors and Windows’ new Commercial Sales Representative.

Bart joined our family in June and we have found him to be bright and proactive, eager to learn and happy to help. He has successfully taken over the commercial sales department, handling bid work, customer queries, and estimates. We are confident that Bart will continue to take on his new responsibilities with the same enthusiasm and professionalism he had shown us so far.

Bart’s knowledge is enhanced by his Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and six years of experience marketing high-end musical instruments. He likes to spend his free time working on cars and motorcycles, really anything with an engine in it. He also loves playing and building guitars, which he has done for the past ten years. “I am very proud to become a member of the well-recognized and distinguished team at A. B. E. Doors & Windows,” says Bart. “It’s funny how I used to have fun in garage bands, now I have fun selling garage doors.”

Please reach out to Bart via email at [email protected] or call him directly at 610-417-2651. He is looking forward to assisting you.

19 July 2018
How Secure is Your Garage? Tips to Prevent a Break-In
How Secure is Your Garage? Tips to Prevent a Break-In

 

How Secure is Your Garage?  Tips to Prevent a Break-In 

When thinking about the security of your home don't forget your garage.  An often, overlooked area, your garage is just as susceptible to theft as your home is.  Whether your garage is attached or a separate structure, follow these guidelines to protect its contents and deter break-ins. 

Seems like a simple tip: but keep your garage door closed at all times.  Even the safest neighborhoods can be targets for criminal activity.  Don't allow anyone walking or driving by get a glimpse at the contents or easy access to any entry door to your home.

Keep all access doors in your garage locked.   All doors should have deadbolts and should always be locked during the day.  If you have a service door that is not frequently used, consider adding a security bar or door jammer for added protection. 

Don't let crooks get a peek at all your tools and toys.  Cover up windows with a curtain or translucent film that allows light in but obscures the view.  Statistics show that there is less motivation to break into an area that you can't see into. 

If your emergency release pull can be accessed through a window take some measures to make sure the cord is not dangling.  Some criminals use a method called “fishing” by inserting a wire and hooking it around the cord.  A simple pull and the door is released.  Just make sure the cord is still accessible to you in case of an emergency.

A well-lit area is probably the best deterrent for mischief.  Motion detector lighting is a smart choice.  It attracts attention when it goes off and saves you on energy when not activated.  Spotlights are another great option if you have a detached garage.   Position them to illuminate the door and the walkway into your home.   If there is an area that you can't see before exiting the garage, consider installing an effective mirror so you can see if anyone is lurking about.

Make the most of technology available to you.   The MyQ accessories and app lets its users monitor the status of their garage door.   If coupled with security system cameras you would be able to view areas of your garage and see who is coming and going.  It can also notify you when the door has been activated or tell you if the door has been left open accidentally.

Additional safety garage tips:

*Install a smoke detector in your garage & keep a fire extinguisher handy.

*Install additional lighting in the garage to prevent tripping and accidents.

*Never store chemicals or propane in your garage.

Take some time this week to look for and address weak areas of security in and around your garage. 

17 July 2018
Storm Door Blues
Storm Door Blues

 

I love summer—the barbeques, the pool parties, the warm weather, the windows and doors all open to enjoy the beautiful breeze. Summer is my favorite season. However, there’s one thing I dislike about summer and that is trying to utilize my storm door.

I love the look of a full view storm door and I like how it protects my front door from the elements, but I dislike taking the glass out and putting the screen in. I’m not a fan of storing the glass or screen while one or the other is not in use. I’m always worried that I’ll drop the glass or bend the screen.

The self-storing storm doors with those pinch-in finger latches are a major frustration for me, as well. I always seem to lose my grip and send it crashing into the bottom of the track. Or else I happen to break a nail trying to pinch it into position.

However, I’ve learned that there is a cure to my storm door blues and that solution lies in Provia’s Spectrum storm door. In the Spectrum, the screen is stored on a roll so that I can simply raise or lower the sash in accordance to how much ventilation I desire. I can even vent the bottom so my cat and dogs can enjoy the breeze. When I’m finished, I just close the sash and the screen rolls back up. There’s no storage, no pinch tabs, no hassle.

I’ve been told there’s no cure for the summertime blues, but I believe those people have yet to experience the Spectrum storm door. I just love it!

29 June 2018
Scavenger Hunt: Screens
Scavenger Hunt: Screens

 

Whether you’ve just moved in or you’ve just noticed, if you’re missing a screen for your window or patio door, you’re in for a scavenger hunt. Unfortunately, all screens are specific to the manufacturer in their parts or they way they slot into the product. Some patio door screens are top hung and some have bottom rollers. Some window screens clip in, some are spring loaded, some have latches that push into the frame from the inside—just to name a few.

If you find that you’re in need of a screen, it’s best to know the manufacturer or dealer of the window or door. Once you find out who made your product, the hard part is over. You can go directly back to the manufacturer or a dealer in your area with all the information you’ve gathered and ask for a new screen.

However, if you still have the frame of the screen, they can always be re-screened. Bring the screen in to us and we will reuse the existing frame by removing the old spline and replacing the torn or damaged screening with brand new screen. Often times, that can be easier than totally replacing a screen.

18 June 2018
Your Glass Is Grass
Your Glass Is Grass

 

 

It’s that time of year again. Lawn mowers are mowing, weed whackers are whacking, landscapers are landscaping, and glass is getting broken by all the flying debris. If this has happened to you, you have a few things to consider depending on the age and type of window you have.

The two most popular windows these days are vinyl and wood. Most of them have some way to replace the damaged glass without the need to replace the entire window, frame and all. Some wooden windows have a glazing compound that holds the glass in place. In that case, the old compound can be removed and a new piece of glass can be installed with fresh compound. Vinyl windows usually have a glazing bead that holds the glass into the window frame. When the glass breaks, the bead can be removed, a new piece of glass can be installed, and you can go on your merry way.

Glass is put together in a unit similar to a sandwich with the two panes of glass as bread on the outside and argon gas like the meat between them. If only the outside pane breaks, you would still need to replace the entire glass unit because the argon gas will have escaped. The gas is important because it increases the insulation value of your window. It’s kind of the most important part of the sandwich, just like the meat.

In some cases, you might notice that your window isn’t broken but appears to have moisture between the panes of glass. This is caused by seal failure which means the seal has broken down over time or has a small crack somewhere that has allowed the gas to escape and moisture to enter. Again, it’s time to replace the glass unit.

If your glass was broken in such a way that it damaged your window frame, you might be looking at replacing the sash or even the entire window. That’s where we come in. So, take a look at your situation and decide what you’re looking for. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

14 June 2018
Garage Door Safety
Garage Door Safety Month

 Garage Door Safety

June is Garage Door Safety Month.   Each year over 7000 people in the U.S. will suffer from minor accidents, like getting pinched, via the garage door.  Around 2200 people will be injured from the door falling onto their car or themselves.  We don't want to see you fall into these statistics.  Please make some time this week to check your garage door for potential hazards.   Follow our advice to make sure you and your home are safe. 

Keep yourself and others safe: 

*The summer months mean more activity in and around your home.  Make sure children know the dangers of placing fingers in or near the garage door.  Teach them not to go too close to a door that is rising or closing....no games to see who can get in last.  Children should not have access to remote controls or the panel inside the garage. 

*Everyone who does use the garage door should know how to operate the emergency release lever.  Hold a brief drill session and let everyone take turns releasing and then reattaching the lever. 

*Every month or after any adjustments to the door or operator are made, the safety reversal system should be tested.  The door should reverse on contact with any object that gets in the way of it's path.  There are two ways to test this function:

         ~ With the door fully open, place an object that can give under pressure in case the system should fail. A roll of paper towels is a smart choice.  Place this object in the center of the doors descending path.  Press the control push button to close the door.  The door should reverse when it makes contact with the paper towels.  If the door does not reverse, adjustments are required.

          ~ Open the door and then place a cardboard box large enough to block the path of the safety reversing sensors in the path of the garage door.  Press the control push button to close the door.  The door should not move more than an inch and the garage door opener lights will flash.  Again, if the door fails this test, your sensors need to be adjusted. 

Now is also a good time to clean the sensors with a damp cloth and remove any surrounding debris that may get in the beams line.  Hopefully your garage door passes both tests successfully.  If not, our skilled technicians are on call to make any repairs for you. 

 

*Always open your garage door before starting your car.  Carbon monoxide fumes can accumulate very quickly in an enclosed space.   If your garage is used for other things like a workshop or exercise area you may want to consider adding an exhaust fan to help circulate the air.  

 

 

*Mark your calendar to inspect your garage doors cables, springs and track as least once every three months.  If you find an area that needs repair, call a professional to fix the problem.  Do not try and make the repair yourself.  Many people have sustained injuries from cables and springs that have flown off unexpectedly. 

Keep Your Home Safe: 

*Don't be tempted to leave the garage door partially opened.  This is an open invite to critters or potential thieves to enter your home.  Even a brief summer shower can penetrate a small opening, soaking items that may be stored on the floor. 

 

*Don't leave your car remote in a visible place in your vehicle.  Stow it in a safe place or consider getting a key fob remote.

 

 

*Use your phone to its advantage and consider getting the MyQ app to monitor your garage door. Get notifications if your door has been left open or to see the doors activity, also convenient if someone is locked out of the house. 
 
*If a vacation is in your future, make sure a trusted neighbor knows you are gone and can alert you to any unusual activity around your door.   Deter thieves by disabling your automatic garage door opener by cutting the power while you are away. We do not recommend installing pad locks to the track.   You may forget they are there and end up opening the door upon coming home and ruining the entire system.  
 

 

We hope you will make some time this month to ensure your garage door is safe and sound. If we can be of any assistance in repairs, please call us. Have a safe and happy summer!

31 May 2018
Infrareds: Safety Is Smart
Infrareds: Safety Is Smart


We've all been there. You're leaving for work and you hit the button to close your garage door. It starts to go down a few inches, then suddenly reverses. The lights flash on the opener like there's a party you weren't invited to. You try again—same result. What the heck?

Here's the deal—safety is smart, flashing strobe lights and all. Your garage door is the largest moving object in your home and it can do some serious damage to you, your car, your kid, your trash can, or whatever else is underneath it when it closes. To avoid crushing deaths, infrareds became mandatory in 1992 under federal law.

Infrareds act like the bouncer at the club, watching the door and making sure it's safe to close. They're a pair of small boxes mounted a few inches above the floor, making constant eye contact with each other like a couple of co-dependents. If something comes between them or breaks the beam, they tell the opener that it isn't safe to close the door. That might seem silly until you remember that your door can weigh more than two-hundred pounds. You don't want that to come down on top of you, right?

Fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on your perspective—the infrareds are a little over-cautios. They can tell the opener that it isn't safe to close the door for a multitude of reasons. If anything, and I mean anything, obstructs the infrared beam, the door will not close. That could be something as big as a car or as small as a leaf. If you have an antique door from the 1800s, all the rattling during opening and closing can throw the infrareds out of alignment too. If you bump the infrared accidentally with a rake or a trash can, they don't automatically reset themselves and will remain out of alignment until you step in to straighten them out.

Once you've checked the perimeter and you can't find anything blocking your infrareds, it might be time to call in the professionals. However, if you've just gotten home from work or you need to leave, you can override the safety feature by holding down the inside wall button [not the button on your remote]. This tells the opener that you are physically standing there and that it's safe to close the door.

I hope I've told you something that can help you get to work on time or allowed you to head out for the weekend. Now, go forth with your new knowledge and new bodyguards. Remember, safety is smart and hurting yourself is not.

21 May 2018
Dress up Your Windows this Summer
Dress up Your Windows this Summer

 

Window box planters have been making appearances on houses since ancient times.  The Romans used terracotta versions for growing foods and plants for medicines. As window boxes made their way through Europe, they used such materials as wire & hay, wrought iron and tin.  The modern versions seen on homes today showcase beautiful blooms that delight the eye.  

Consider these guidelines when adding window boxes to your home. 

Your window box should match the length of your existing window and should not exceed 25% of your windows height.   Examine the area and make sure it can support the box you choose plus the weight of the dirt and flowers.  Consider the amount of sunlight this area receives, this will determine the type of flowers you plant. 

Window boxes come in a variety of materials, each with pros and cons to take into consideration.  

Metal - strong and durable, but can dent easily and rust.

Fiberglass - does not rot and can be painted to match your home, but is pricey.

Wood – easy to customize, but is susceptible to rot and insect damage.

Terracotta – readily available, not a good choice for colder climates.

Plastic – lightweight and inexpensive, less durable. 

If you are handy with your power tools, you may want to build your own planter.  Popular Mechanics has an easy to follow guide here: https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a12323/4318527/ 

If you want to think outside the “box”, an old drawer can be refashioned to hold flowers or several pails lined up make a sweet presentation. 

                                            

You have several options when it comes to installing your window box. 

 

Brackets are a smart choice for many different styles.  They are easy to install and convenient if you need to remove the box for cleaning or for winter storage. 

                                        

 

 

If the window box will be a permanent fixture to your home, utilizing a cleat system gives you more stability, plus the box can still be removed for cleaning or storage.  This video gives you easy step by step guidelines: 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji6jkO79C6M 

 

If you are renting your home, employing D-rings & hooks designed to go under vinyl siding is a great solution.   Attach the D-rings to your planter, position your hooks and your box is ready to hang and fill.  This method is best for light window boxes.

 

 

                         

 

 

When you choose your flowers, keep in mind the amount of sunlight they will be receiving. Start with younger plants that will root well. Zinnias and marigolds are very tolerant of the heat, while impatients and fuschia need shade. Pansies and petunias are a great all around choice. A composition of flowers or vines that trail over the edge makes for a pleasing display. Choose a potting mix that contains peat or other ingredients that help to maintain moisture. Arrange your plants 2 to 5 inches apart so there is room for growth. Water daily and prune plants as necessary.

An herb garden is a fun idea for a window near the kitchen. Fill it with herbs like rosemary, oregano, thyme or mini pepper plants that can be used in cooking over the summer.

                                              

Enjoy your window box and the pizzazz it brings to your home!

 

 

 

 

 

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