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.
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!
You've heard the phrase, “When one door closes, another one opens”. What if we tweaked it a bit to: 'When one door or window closes....it's time to re-purpose!” There is so much charm in the patina of an old door or window. Keep your eye out at yard-sales, flea markets and thrift stores to score a great find. Look for wood that is still solid, don't worry too much about peeling paint, that can lend some character to the piece or be repainted. We recommend asking the age of the door or window, items before 1978 may contain lead paint, which can be hazardous. If you proceed, wear goggles and gloves if sanding and consider using the item more as artwork that won't be handled. We choose several DIY projects.....a few simple ones and several that might take an afternoon to complete. Be inspired by looking at things in a new light.
1.Just a few modifications will give you a sweet little seat to put on your boots and store away your kids gloves and hats. Choose a solid, not hollow, door for this project. Sand and paint the door a cheery color or allow the older paint to stay. You can take measurements to add a bench or small shelf. Some decorative hooks for purses, coats and scarfs complete the look.
2.Look for a slender door or even an old cabinet door for this project. Sand, stain and paint as you choose to match your décor. A trip to the hardware store can provide you with legs that can be simply attached with mounting hardware and a few tools. If the door has a key hole or interesting knob, leave it on for some pizzazz.
3.A paneled door works best for this design. The panels are cut out and attached to the back of the door to make the shelves. Hinges and hardware can be left on for added appeal. When sanded and painted this idea would work well in a child's room or library.
4.An older window frame can be used in lots of clever ways throughout the house. If you can find an old 6 paned window simply paint with chalkboard paint and utilize it as a weekly memo board or menu. A large four pane window can show off family pictures or beautiful prints from an antique book. In this example, sheet music and birds combine for a lovely look. Even finding a window frame with no glass can be used as a unique frame for artwork.
Many of these projects and other DIY inspiration can be found on Pinterest and the internet. We hope you can always look at something in a new light and transform it into something functional.
Are your windows dripping with condensation? Cooler temps outside reek havoc on the inside of windows causing poor visibility, peeling paint and when left untreated.....rot and mildew. This article will help you understand why windows do this and how to prevent it.
Let's start with why this happens. Windows themselves don't cause condensation, high humidity does. Condensation occurs when water vapors come into contact with a cooler surface. Your homes humidity levels are increased now that winter is here. Gas and propane release moisture when burned, so heating up your home contributes to the excess moisture. Other factors that can contribute to more moisture are: fireplaces, a large grouping of plants, pets and our day to day activities. If you own an older home you may not experience elevated levels of humidity because older homes tend to be a bit draftier. This enables your home to “breath”, thus removing some of the moisture. Newer homes, even with more energy efficient windows, can be subject to condensation as well. Materials such as wood and concrete can release moisture in the home for up to 12 to 18 months, depending on the area you live in.
There are several solutions to controlling the moisture in your home. The first step is to determine the humidity level in your home. An electronic hygrometer is an inexpensive purchase that can calculate levels in all areas. Your home should be measuring around 40% humidity. If readings are higher, then a dehumidifier is a great choice if the affected area is one room or a particular space. Make sure you choose the right size for your room for maximum efficiency. If you are finding that most windows in your home are prone to condensation, then it may be time to examine your exhaust system. A new fan motor or the installation of a timer to achieve the necessary air flow may help the overall area of your home.
If you are finding that neither of these solutions are helping your windows or you notice areas that are already effected with peeling, mildew or rot, it may be time to examine the window and surrounding area. A.B.E Doors and Windows carries Anderson and Provia windows that offer you a wonderful selection to match your budget and homes décor. Our knowledgeable team is ready to assist you and make sure your home is well cared for.
By now, most of you know that Energy Star ratings are an integral way to gauge the quality of a window's thermal and energy efficiency, and we are proud to provide dozens of models that receive the highest Energy Star ratings. Among these, we are especially proud of our line of ProVia Endure windows, which can be seen here .
Two things that make ProVia Endure especially smart solutions as replacement windows involve obscure, but incredibly important, factors in the estimation of an Energy Star rating, these factors being "air infilitration" and "condensation resistance."
Air infilitration denotes a measurement of how much exterior air flow passes through the window pane, thus decreasing internal temperatures. Factory-tests conducted by ProVia ensure that all their windows exceed the industry standard for this measurement before they are released on the market.
Condenstation resistance denotes the material ability a window has to avoid condensation formation, which is a function of ambient humidity. Just like the case of air infiltration, laboratory tests on condensation resistance are performed on all ProVia windows before they are sold and installed by ABE Doors.
There are many ways to save on energy costs during winter, and purchasing replacement windows, such as ProVia Endure, through ABE Doors is just one way among many. Please call, return to our site, or visit our offices for more helpful tips on saving money during the winter seasons.
It’s that time of the year. Christmas lights make the holidays festive and bright, but they come with their own safety and fire risks. Follow some important safety and energy-saving tips and have a happy holiday season with your family, neighbors and friends.
Before you hang outdoor Christmas lights, decide what you're going to work on first and gather everything together. This is where having a helper comes in handy. Start with bushes, then trees, any windows, the doors and finally the roofline.
Decide on the type of lights that work best and most efficient. Light-emitting diode, or LED, Christmas tree lights emit a bright, vibrant light that uses 80 percent less energy than conventional tree lights. They are also longer-lasting and stay cooler than traditional bulbs because they don't have a filament.
Another option is energy-saving bulbs that use around a quarter of the electricity of standard bulbs and last up to 12 times longer. When you shop, look for government and industry-approved energy-saving logos to find the most energy-efficient products in either option in addition to rebates.
Make sure your holiday lights are secure enough to withstand heavy winds and that you use UL approved extension cords specific for outdoor use and look for lights rated for indoor/outdoor use.
Do not allow plugs and cords to sit in puddles and snow.
Use a non-conducting fiberglass or wooden ladder when working with strings of lights, and stay clear of all overhead wires.
Never let light bulbs touch flammable materials such as plastic or dry grass and leaves.
You will probably not run into the same problems that Griswold had to deal with, like stapling your cuff to your house and nearly falling off a tall ladder, but following safety guidelines can make sure you and your family stay safe and get to enjoy this time with those you care about.
Cooler temperatures are quickly approaching and we’ll be seeking warmth and shelter indoors. Keep the cold air out by making sure your homes are well insulated, especially your windows. Leaky windows may cause colder nights and it can really impact your energy bills. Weather you live in a home or small apartment, it’s always a good idea to save some money, here are few things to consider to do just that.
You can determine if you have drafty windows by holding a lit candle or incense around the windows to determine where the leaks are coming in. There are a few temporary things you can do to insulate your existing windows if you are on a budget.
Add weather stripping or caulking around the window sides and sashes can help eliminate the cold air coming in. There are DIY window shrink wrapping that can be applied on each window. Storm windows are always a great option to have layered protection against the elements. Available for purchase at most retail stores are insulated window treatments or coverings.
All of the above can help with temporary fixes until you are ready for a permanent fix that will eliminate your drafty breeze. New purchased and properly installed energy efficient windows can reduce air infiltration which will bring comfort to you and your loved ones, as well as reduced heating and cooling costs, tax incentives and increased value of your home.
You’ll find that you have several options to consider when selecting what type of windows you should use in your home. Before selecting new windows, determine what types of windows will work best and where to improve your home’s energy efficiency. It’s a good idea to research and understand what energy performance ratings you need for your windows based on your climate, home’s design and window orientation.
Quality Replacement Windows give your home a fresher look, easier maintenance, and added Energy Efficiency. A.B.E. Doors & Windows has a wide selection of Windows for your home remodeling or construction project to get you ready for those cold winter months.
There are many things around us that require regular maintenance like our car, heating & air units, garage doors and the list goes on. The correct operation and maintenance of your windows will ensure that they will perform as expected for many years to come. Here are a few tips to help protect your investment.
Wash windows regularly, avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives on the windows as well as the window hardware. Use a damp cloth with an approved cleaning solution.
Security alarms are a great addition to any home. Be sure to check your warranty to confirm what is covered, applying adhesives to attach your security sensors can damage your windows and void certain parts of your warranty.
Be careful with nails and screws around your windows, you can damage window frames, weather stripping and reduce energy efficient performance.
If you paint or stain the window frame, make sure to keep up with regular maintenance as needed to ensure windows work properly.
Keep sharp tools away from your windows, especially to clean them, like razor blades or steel wool, they can damage your windows. Keep your windows clean by using safe non-chemical cleaners.
Safety tip if you have small children, do not remove operational levers and handles off the windows to keep your little ones from opening them. This is a safety hazard and could prevent your ability to exit your home quickly should there be an emergency.
We feel an informed customer is our best customer. We hope you find the information above on window care and maintenance helpful in keeping your windows looking beautiful and performing well for years to come.
The goal of National Window Safety Week on April 3-9, 2016 is to help families realize the importance of windows as an escape route in an emergency and to learn to protect against accidental falls. Take some time this week to go through the window safety checklist. If you find you are in need of replacement windows, call A.B.E. Doors & Windows at (610) 398-2430.
Window Replacement offers a way to reduce heating costs while improving energy efficiency that is actually fun - by allowing consumers to re-make their homes while
saving on long-term monthly costs. A.B.E. Doors & Windows provides numerous Window Replacement options and our friendly staff would love to discuss any specific questions you may have. In the interim, we've gathered a few “fun facts” and “window trivia” to help you imagine your new, energy-efficient, home...
The habit of putting things off runs deep in a lot of us. But the good news is that sometimes a few hints are all it takes to get us moving on something important.
Here's an example - what should a homeowner look for in deciding it's time to replace the windows? Here's a list of telltale signs.
- You see moisture fogging up the glass between panes.
- Panes are loose in the frame.
- You're feeling drafts around the windows.
- On really cold or windy days, the cold seems to be penetrating right through the glass.
- The sashes show signs of rot.
- Weatherstripping is torn, damaged or missing altogether.
- The window is hard to open or close.
Very often, windows that need replacement will show more than one of these problems. That's when it's time to call in a reputable replacement window company for a look.
Replacement windows are designed and built to knock out the kinds of problems we've listed here. They usually incorporate multiple panes, often with protective coatings and super-insulating gas between those panes. Their frames have built-in baffles to help retard air infiltration. The windows function the way they were built to for many, many years. And they're made to greatly limit the maintenance that's an unavoidable part of trying to keep old wood-framed windows in decent shape.
If you're seeing those warning signs, it's time to stop procrastinating. ABE Doors and Windows will be glad to inspect any windows and suggest appropriate improvements. Call us today at (610) 398-2430 for a no-charge consultation.
As of early August, Remodeling magazine published The 2014 Remodeling 550.After hosting surveys and collecting data, this article lists the biggest remodeling companies in the United States, based on each individual company’s sales, jobs, and prospects.A.B.E. Doors & Windows has been ranked #124 nationwide for Replacement Contractors – or, rather, companies that focus mostly on exterior home components, such as windows and doors.We are very happy to have made such an exclusive list along with the great year of business productivity that 2014 has provided us.A.B.E. Doors & Windows looks forward to creating even more opportunities to better serve our customers within the Lehigh Valley.
We are happy to have been notified that A.B.E. Doors & Windows has been recognized in Window & Door Magazine’s national 2014 Top Specialists rankings.According to the publication, the Top specialists list is Window & Door’s first effort to identify the largest independently owned specialty window and door companies in the United States, based on sales volume.In light of celebrating our 40th anniversary as an independently owned and operated business, we are honored to have been recognized nationally and published as a Top Specialist.A.B.E. Doors & Windows is excited to continue moving forward, especially as we transition into the second generation of our company.As we gain a much grander perspective of all that is to come in the future, we look forward to continuing and expanding upon the services that we offer to homeowners and businesses in the Lehigh Valley.
Of all the businesses that will be founded in 2014, we can confidently predict that only a fraction will still be around in 2054. And if we look 40 years in the other direction, back to the spring of 1974, we'll find that only a relative handful of businesses begun then are still with us now. One of those companies is ABE Doors and Windows. This June, we celebrate our 40th anniversary serving the consumers of the Lehigh Valley. It seems timely to pause and consider what's helped get us here.
The company was started by a student just finishing his Business Administration degree at Bloomsburg University. Jim Lett, president of ABE Doors and Windows, says he wanted to open a business of his own - and the business found him. "I called home one day," he said. "My dad was selling building materials. He said one of the customers he represented, the Gordon Cellar Door company, needed someone to install their doors in the Lehigh Valley."
"It was just a casual conversation, but that's how it began. I wrote Gordon a letter and they wrote back to get me started. I worked out of my bedroom and my parents' garage - I had a lot of help from them."
With brothers helping with installations and his mom answering the phone while he was out on jobs, Jim replaced old wooden basement doors with modern steel versions. To free time for sales and estimating, he brought on his first full-time employee, Richard Miller, who's still a top salesman at ABE today.
Jim branched out into other products. The Frantz garage door company needed coverage in the Valley. Jim flew to their headquarters in Sterling, IL for a crash course in the product, working with their field installation crews. He met the district manager of Perma-Door through his brother Bob's involvment in Boy Scouts, and signed on with them just as steel entry doors were replacing wooden doors for residential applications. "People always say you need a good business plan," Jim says. "My business plan was hard work, good luck and taking care of the customer after the sale."
Year by year, with his wife Janet playing a vital role in the business, ABE kept expanding. The product line added patio doors, storm doors, commercial/industrial garage doors and garage door repairs. The emphasis for four decades remained basic: handle quality products, delivering quality installation and service.
In particular, ABE has emphasized customer care. "If there's a problem, we want to take care of it immediately," Jim said. Today ABE continues to put service in the forefront, maintaining up-to-date factory training certifications among its skilled staff. "We hear from consumers who say the people who installed their doors and windows won't answer their calls or are just our of business. The difference is, they know we'll be here," said Shannon Seng, office manager. Mark Rapchak, general manager, said, "A big thing in service is employee longevity. Average tenure here is almost 17 years, which helps us realize Jim's vision of pleasing customers no matter what."
A new generation of ABE personnel is moving the company into the future, among them Business/HR Manager Jim Lett II, son of the founder. "How we do going forward comes down to putting the customer first. If we're going to meet or exceed their expectations, we'll need to offer quality products - but we can't do it without really excellent workers."
The Lehigh Valley Home Show, sponsored annually by the Lehigh Valley Builders Association, is always a welcome sign that spring is here. This year, when homeowners gather on March 28, 29 and 30 to see what's on display at Stabler Arena, the harshness of the winter should make attendees even more eager and excited than usual. ABE Doors and Windows is just one of hundreds of exhibitors who'll be on hand. We all know what a slog it's been getting through one of the nastiest seasons in years. Many homes around the valley can benefit from some improvements going forward. Keep in mind that a new door can have a truly transforming effect on any home. A beautiful garage door, patio door or entrance door can make a tremendous difference, not only visually but also in the way you feel about your home as the nicer weather comes in. Please note that 2014 show hours have changed. The new hours are Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. That gives plenty of time for visitors to take in this year's big event. It's our privilege to invite you to Booths S068-070 and S083-085, where we'll be presenting a range of door and window products that may be just what you need to truly improve your home and banish those lingering cold-weather blues.
Among the many factors that make replacement windows attractive and affordable is this: In almost every installation, there's no need to change the size of the window opening. That's important. If the opening dimensions did have to change, that would make it a job for a general contractor. It might affect the structural integrity of the wall, and it would probably mean a much more complicated, expensive project. Window replacement as we do it is simply a matter of figuring out what the new window will be - size, design, construction, materials and so on - then removing the existing window and refitting with the new one. The wall is normally unchanged. Of course, that doesn't mean you're limited to the same kind of window that's already in place. Some people want to switch from a twin double-hung to a sliding window, or a casement type that hinges outward. Others might want to replace a plain picture window with a smaller picture window flanked by casements left and right. Maybe the customer fancies a new bay or bow window. Whatever the choice, (and no matter which manufacturer), the window is custom fitted at the factory to the opening it will fill. Even bay or bow types are delivered as single units, so there's no new construction needed at the installation site.
Lead Safe Work Practices – what are they and how do they pertain to homeowners everywhere?On April 22, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 Lead-Based Paint Renovation Repair and Painting Rule became fully effective.The EPA issued this law, stating that “federal law requires contractors that disturb paint surfaces in homes, child care facilities and schools, built before 1978 to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.”Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust that can be toxic to humans and animals.Lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around our homes, including paint, ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, solders, gasoline, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics.Though lead is especially dangerous to children under six years of age, it is also harmful to adults and can pose many health dangers.Before taking on any home renovation project, it is important for any homeowner to educate themselves in Lead Safety and make certain that any company they hire to assist in any future home renovation project is federally qualified to honor and abide by EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rules (Rule 40 CFR Part 745).A.B.E. Doors & Windows is an EPA Certified Renovator and we pride ourselves in providing our customers with proper and professional installation and service.Our company and staff recognizes the significant dangers of lead poisoning and are compliant in following all Lead Safe Work Practices to assure each of our customers comfort and security.To learn more about Lead Safe Work Practices, please visit www.epa.gov.
For more than a hundred years, the Better Business Bureau has provided guidance and assistance to the American consumer. Today's BBB rates businesses on a scale from A+ to F, while offering accreditation to those who qualify. The Bureau also sets standards for business practices, and supports the efforts of businesses to respond to any complaints that may arise in the course of regular work. ABE Doors & Windows earned BBB accreditation on July 14, 2008, and has maintained it ever since. On the BBB's ratings scale, ABE holds the highest rating: A+. The Bureau identifies no government actions against ABE, and reports no issues related to ABE's advertising program. For a look at the relevant web page, visit http://www.bbb.org/washington-dc-eastern-pa/business-reviews/windows-installation-and-service/a-b-e-doors-windows-inc-in-allentown-pa-50001077. To be accredited and top-rated by this respected American institution is, of course, a substantial honor to ABE and all its employees. But we believe that what matters far more than our pride in these recognitions is what they mean to our customers. While the ratings and accreditations issued by the Better Business Bureau do not constitute specific evaluations or endorsements, countless consumers have been guided by them through the years. The good name of the BBB is such that businesses who achieve their ratings and accreditations have often been patronized by consumers. And if any difficulties arise, the good offices of the Bureau contribute strongly to fair resolutions for all. We believe that ratings from the Bureau are a legitimate consideration when choosing any business - and ABE Doors & Windows is no exception.
One of the most common questions and concerns that we address around this time of year is whether or not we are able to perform product installations in the frigid months ahead.And, yes, we do! It is a well-known fact that things expand in the summer heat and contract in the freezing winter, but, by using forethought and taking proper precaution, we are still able to complete most types of installation during this cold season.We use silicone caulk that is rated for lower temperatures.We also plan each installation before arriving at the job site, in order to do our best in minimizing the amount of time the house is exposed to cold air.We prep each opening so our installers can replace an older product with the newly ordered product and have it fit right into the opening, without leaving an opening in the home longer than absolutely necessary.We also back our work up with a 5-year workmanship warranty that we offer on every installation that we do.The only time that we may need to push back any type of installation is if we should experience severely inclement weather that can cause unsafe working conditions and jeopardize the safety of our crew and the well-being of the home.In order for us to perform jobs that require the removal and reinstalling of pre-existing siding, it is crucial that temperatures be above freezing.By following these extra steps with care, winter weather is not an issue for our team of certified installers!
When we think about the "green" impact of the products we sell, the first thing that comes to mind is energy efficiency. And that's important - to the individual homeowner and to our society at large. The government's Energy Star program estimates that homeowners replacing single-pane windows with double-pane models can save between $126 and $465 a year, depending on where they live and how many windows are involved. Those savings, multiplied over many homes, also contribute to resource conservation and limit the production of greenhouse gases. But that's not the only way that wise window selection can help promote a better environment. Andersen Corporation, one of our flagship vendors, has for several years carried a content certification proving that their products contain a prescribed quantity of recycled materials. It's a feature that's worth considering when you buy. Of course, it's great to recycle. It keeps tons of materials from being wasted in landfills. But it only really helps if we close the loop by finding ways to use that recycled material. And that's what programs like Andersen's do. The certification, issued by the third-party firm Scientific Certification Systems, proves that specified Andersen products contain a minimum recycled content between 3% and 24%. The recycled material includes pre-consumer recycled glass and wood fiber in the form of Fibrex, which is a structural composite material. Much of this is reclaimed directly from the company's manufacturing plant operations. Keep all this in mind when you're thinking about replacement windows. The right decision can make an environmental difference. If you'd like to discuss this, call us at (610) 398-2430.
September is here and Fall is quickly approaching!Autumn welcomes the start of the new school year; and much of our focus is set on making sure that students (as well as ourselves) are supplied with all the required tools to be best equipped for achieving success.In the often hectic and frantic hustling of change, it is easy to forget to take into consideration exactly how the changing of seasons will affect the home that we live in – one of our most beneficial means for basic survival.According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home -- typically making up about 54% of your utility bill.”On average, it has been determined that a home can lose up to 30% of its heating and cooling energy through air leaks around doors and windows.Such an essential and costly necessity makes it only beneficial to take every precaution to make certain that your home is not costing you empty and purposeless dollars.
Have you found that any garage doors, exterior doors, and/or windows have developed significant drafts over time? With each year that passes, prestigious product manufacturers within the United States (such as Raynor, Provia, Soft-Lite, and Andersen) are constantly putting to use the latest and most innovative technological testing and designs to create much more efficient and homeowner friendly replacement products.The garage doors, exterior doors, and windows that are available today provide more quality than anything that was ever available years ago.So many homeowners have fallen prey to relying on the use of home improvement “Band-Aids” – home-store bought weatherstripping and seals, caulk, door draft stoppers, applying plastic around drafty windows, etc. – which oftentimes only offers a temporary solution to an ever worsening problem and prolongs the inevitable.Specializing in all things doors and windows, we can attest that updating any problem product on your home is a beneficial and educated investment – saving you from much distress and lost money, in the big scheme of things.By considering replacing these specific products, any homeowner will gain a greater peace of mind – knowing that they are installing products that meet Energy Star qualifications and will provide for them with protection from the outside elements for many years to come.
If you find that you are interested in the replacement of any garage door, exterior door, and/or window in your home, please feel free to visit our showroom for more information or reach out to us to schedule a free estimate.
Windows are a character defining feature on any home. One of the biggest mistakes that a homeowner can make, when replacing windows, is choosing a style that is wrong for the style and period of the house. The Old House Guy (www.oldhouseguy.com), a website dedicated to educating homeowners on their older homes, offers suggestions to guide them through proper restoration of their historic properties. They explain that during the 1700's and into the mid 1800's, a double-hung window sash would be composed of smaller, true divided lites. The upper and lower sash could have 6, 9, or 12 window panes in each sash. As technology improved, larger panes of glass became available. Houses constructed after the Civil War (Victorian architecture) would most likely have two window panes in the upper sash and two window panes in the lower sash. The Colonial Revival style of architecture would have six window panes in the upper sash and one large window pane in the lower sash. Although the late 19th century offered double-hung windows with one solid pane in both the upper and lower sashes, the type of window was dependent on the style of architecture at the time.
Soft-Lite has announced that they now offer Simulated Divided Lites for its vinyl windows and patio doors. These Simulated Divided Lites (SDLs) offer homeowners the opportunity to achieve a visual replica of the historically classic design of divided lite windows, at a more cost-efficient price. The SDLs are made by applying contoured grids during the production process to the outside of both the interior and exterior panes of glass. The grids are then permanently adhered to the glass with an incredibly durable adhesive. SDLs are available on Soft-Lite Elements Windows and Kingsroyal Glide Sliding Patio Doors. Products with Simulated Divided Lites are available with all of Soft-Lite's high-performance Low-E glass systems and are offered in all of Soft-Lite's interior and exterior color options. This is an exciting advancement for Soft-Lite's product line and will surely offer homeowners even more personalized home renovation opportunities that properly compliment the style and period of their home.
28 May 2013
The ENERGY STAR Advantage with Andersen and ProVia
To be selected as a vendor for ABE Doors and Windows, a manufacturer must demonstrate top quality in every aspect of its products, procedures and services. The need for this speaks for itself: Unless we pass along the best goods and services from the manufacturer, we can't meet the standards we set for ourselves.
You'll see an important element of this in the ENERGY STAR ratings carried by two of ABE's premier manufacturers, Andersen and ProVia. In our industy and beyond, both are recognized as pacesetting providers - and both are dedicated to the environmental benefits provided by meeting ENERGY STAR's stringent requirements.
The ProVia website puts it this way: "Since 2002, our engineers have worked closely with leading agencies in the industry like ENERGY STAR that dedicate themselves to environmental responsibility. We work hard to produce professional-class doors and custom replacement windows that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR criteria and proudly display the distinctive blue label on our products."
Andersen's involvement in environmental issues is no less intense. In 1999, it was the first window manufacturer to be named an ENERGY STAR National Window Partner of the Year. This year, Andersen received the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence distinction, awarded to firms that have been Partner of the Year three or more times in a row. (ProVia has won Partner of the Year and Sustained Excellence awards on multiple occasions.)
From a customer standpoint, ENERGY STAR has real importance. More than a mark of quality, it registers the kind of manufacturing that delivers legitimate energy savings in real-world installations. ENERGY STAR products can help us all conserve fuel and release less greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Offering such products is good for our customers and our world. ABE IS proud to be part of the effort.
Spring is in the air, and people all over the Valley are getting serious about home repair, renovation and improvement projects that have languished for a long time. And that means, we believe, that this year's Spring Home Show at Lehigh University's Stabler Arena, sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Builders' Association, is going to be a well-attended, exciting one.
We're going all out this year, and we hope you'll make point of stopping by, April 5 through 7. (We'll be there Friday 6-10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at booths S068, S069, S070, S083, S084 and S085.) Prime examples from every product category we sell will be on display - windows, entrance doors, patio doors, storm doors, and beautiful wood and steel carriage-house garage doors by Raynor.
The real showstopper, though, is a fully operational Liftmaster 8550 garage door opener - one of the premier models on the market today. This unit features MyQ technology, the impressive cutting-edge application that lets you control all aspects of operation remotely from any smart phone. Another cool aspect of this operator is its ultra-quiet direct-current motor. Equipped this way, the door starts and stops slow and smooth, without any extra jerks, vibration or racket.
To support our show presence, we're offering our loyal customers a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card in the ABE Doors and Windows Facebook Sweepstakes. You don't even have to leave the website to enter - just click over to homepage and use the link there that says Enter to Win. You'll see how to qualify for our May 1 drawing just by reviewing us on Google, liking us on Facebook, or checking in on Facebook when you visit our showroom. No purchase is necessary to win.
A.B.E. Doors & Windows is proud to carry a quality product that is recognized time and time again for its superior design. Soft-Lite Windows have been awarded the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient mark in 2013. This program is an extension of ENERGY STAR that is designed to recognize the most energy efficient products within their category . To comply, windows must meed a u-value rating of < or equal to a .20. Soft-Lite's Elements, Pro, and Barrington windows were all recognized as meeting these ratings.
What does this mean to a homeowner who is looking to replace their windows? Soft-Lite's windows are thermally efficient and have been proven to be very effective at increasing energy efficiency and reducing air infliltration. THis gives you the peace of mind that you have one of the most efficient windows made on the market today.
We are pleased to announce that energy efficiency tax credits on windows, entrance doors, and patio doors are available again. As of January 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 has been reenacted to allow homeownersto claim up to $200.00 for windows and up to $500.00 for entrance doors/patio doors. Window & Door Magazine, a publication of The National Glass Association, stated that "the bill reinstates the 25c tax credits that expired at the end of 2011 and extends them through the end of 2013." Homeowners are allowed to claim 10 percent of the total cost of the prorduct (not including labor) and can only receive a lifetime tax credit limit of $1,500.00.
As we grow older, most of us develop a mellower feeling about the holiday season. We may no longer have the same eager excitement that animates children as Christmas morning approachs. But however we mark the holidays, chances are that we are still warmed by memories and still enjoy the presence of those we care for most.
A businessperson's view of the holidays has another dimension. This season brings, to folks like us, a time to reflect on our many blessings - and the proper gratitude that we feel for them. That gratitude extends in many directions. And here at our company, it reaches out powerfully to the people we serve.
Every associate here understands how imporant the trust and loyalty of our customers are. We see ourselves as belonging to a community of service - with our valued customers at the center. Without their understanding that we will always do our best for them, there would be no company.
The holidays come just at the moment when days are shortest, bringing the promise of a gradual return to warmer sunshine and renewed growth. So it's only appropriate that we should look ahead with a wish to all our customers and associates for the best of times, now and in a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
11 December 2012
Renovate now with special financing from Keystone Help
In a recovering economy, some homeowners put off household improvements they want and need, thinking that trends will make next year a little better. Fortunately, an option is available for many customers at ABE Doors and Windows to enable purchases now that will improve the appearance, function and value of their homes for years to come.
Financing is available for many homeowners though the Keystone Help Home Energy Loan Program. Since 2006, Keystone Help, a program made possible in part by the Pennsylvania Treasury Department and AFC First Financial Corp., has been backing energy-saving home improvements.
Keystone Help is an attractive program. It makes special low-interest loans available to Pa. homeowners who purchase home improvements through approved contractor-dealers - like ABE Doors and Windows. It applies to ENERGY STAR and other qualifying home improvements - like almost all of the doors and windows we sell.
Among the other conditions:
- Fast action on loans with unsecured financing, in amounts between $1,000 and $10,000.
- Low fixed rates and fixed monthly payments.
- No lien is filed on the home in connection with the loan.
- No home equity is needed, and the program is open to new homeowners.
- The loan involves no points, fees or closing costs.
- Homeowners can take up to 10 years to repay. There's no penalty for prepayment.
You do need good credit and a demonstrated ability to repay, and the loans are offered only for work on primary residences. Conditions are compliant with current Keystone Help Program. Terms and conditions are subject to change. If you're one of the tens of thousands of Pennsylvania homeowners who qualify, it can be a fast, simple way to finance beautiful new doors and windows for your house. To learn more, visit www.keystonehelp.com or phone us today at 610-398-2430.
Remote garage door controls are such familiar contributors to home convenience, safety and security that we scarcely give them a thought. The same is true of access keypads. Still, these highly reliable products do fail once in a while - and when that happens, it's important to know where you can find help.
Problems with these devices generally come from one of three causes. One is the item simply wearing out. Another is battery failure. The third is an issue with the device's coding.
Fortunately, ABE Doors and Windows is geared up to meet any such difficulties. We stock or can quickly order any needed hardware items - batteries and actual remotes, keypads or other system components. If the problem is related to control coding, our staff people have the know-how to help.
Often our skilled associates can troubleshoot problems over the phone - just call us at 610-398-2430. We also have reprogramming instructions for most of these products. Check in with us first, and we may be able to give you the answers you need directly, or send you directions via e-mail or regular mail. If you prefer, bring your remote to our showroom at 6776 Hamilton Boulevard in Allentown, and we'll work with you on the spot. We understand that you rely on these products - and we make it our business to get them working again as quickly as possible.
When homeowners consider ratings on replacement windows, air infiltration is often overlooked. That's not surprising. Currently this information isn't placed on windows - yet it is an important detail in assessing how well they'll perform.
Manufacturers do provide U values to help buyers gauge window performance. That's a helpful measurement, and it should be considered whenever you think about a window purchase. But it doesn't tell the whole story. If a window isn't doing a good job of preventing air infiltration, rooms can feel cold and drafty. Windows made without today's high-tech airlocks, weatherstripping, and air-trapping baffles won't deliver the comfort you want.
Infiltration is measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. The industry average for new windows is .30 CFM where the wind load is 25 miles per hour. A traditional wood window protected only by weatherstripping comes in at .23 CFM. Standard vinyl windows carry a somewhat better air infiltration rating of .15 CFM.
If you want really exceptional resistance to infiltration, we recommend our flagship windows from SoftLite. The popular, mid-line Bainbridge window is rated at .07 CFM - and the premium Elements window allows only .01 CFM of air leakage per minute.
To put that in perspective, you could install 23 Elements windows and have only as much air infiltration as a single wood-framed window would allow. Think about that seriously before you purchase a window that's not really built to limit air infiltration. You won't experience the same comfort with a window that leaks a lot of air. That's another reason we encourage you to call us first at 610-398-2430 anytime you're considering replacing your windows.
For the last few installments of our blog, we've been looking at some of the things homeowners can do to get ready for what's predicted to be a much tougher winter than the one we sailed through last year. Here's one more aspect of that subject to consider: weatherstripping.
For entrance doors and garage doors, making sure that the weatherstripping is undamaged and properly installed can make a difference every day you're heating your home. (It helps when you're air conditioning the house in hot weather, too.)
We recommend that you start with a simple visual inspection. Just check out the door frame and take note of any weatherstripping that has come loose or isn't in good condition. We especially recommend paying close attention to the material at the bottom of your garage door.
If you need to replace some or all of the weatherstripping on your doors, stop by our office in Wescosville. Weatherstrippping isn't universal, so you can't really get a good result by just picking up the first thing you find at a big box store. The good news is that we stock the correct material for many types of doors, and often can provide just what you need. The best idea is to bring along a sample from the door you're servicing.
When you have door problems that look like more than simple home-handyman repairs, we'll be glad to help. Just call our office at 610-398-2430 and ask for Terry in our service department. If you really do need a new door, you're already on your way with the region's installation leader. The colder days are right aroung the corner, so phone today.
One of the most impressive developments in windows in recent years has been manufacturers' ability to combine graceful traditional appearance with serious technological advancements. These days, you really can have a window that looks like 1919 and performs like 2020.
Our top-of-the-line Soft-Lite double-hung windows provide an excellent example of this. Several collections make these windows highly versatile in terms of style, and also very affordable - Elements, Bainbridge and Barrington.
At the heart of their technical superiority is the Super Spacer, the world's only 100-percent foam, metal-free warm-edge sealing system. Super Spacer blocks the heat escape path, providing one of the best thermal performances in the industry. It also minimizes condensation. The windows also derive great strength and durability from a Kevlar-reinforced k-beam composite sash rail.
The Elements line, as one outstanding example, benefits from intensive research and development. The resulting Dura-Sill treatment and special Elements sashes incorporate interlocks, air locks, weather stripping, water barriers, and diversions that maximize energy efficiency. Elements windows are at the top of their class in this important feature. They directly reduce energy bills for any homeowner who chooses them.
The same is true of all Soft-Lite double-hung windows, which deliver easy cleaning, classic looks, durability and energy efficiency at each budget level. Contact ABE Doors and Windows now at 610-398-2430 to talk to our skilled experts about the windows that perfectly fit your home and lifestyle.
If you're reasonably handy, there's plenty that you can to to keep your garage door working great through one season after another. We'd like to share some of those simple actions - but first, a couple of things you should never do.
If there's any problem with the safety stop mechanism on your automatic door, call a professional right away. This is a situation that can damage your car and even cause personal injury. Even more important: hands off the powerful high-tension springs that control the door. A sudden release of these springs can be extremely dangerous. Leave everything related to these components to the pros.
What you can handle yourself starts with visual inspections - look over the whole system. If a track or other part is bent or otherwise damaged, have it replaced at once. You should be able to spot tracks that are out of alignment, another common problem that needs prompt attention. Failures in these components can lead to more serious and expensive repairs. The same is true of cables - anything frayed or worn should be checked and replaced by your service technician.
Remove any leaves or other obstructions from the tracks or moving parts, and wipe out the tracks with a household cleaner. Use a penetrating oil such as WD-40 (citrus-based solvents also work) on the tracks, rollers, hinges and latches. Wipe it all off, then apply light lubricating oil to the same parts. On garage door openers, apply the same oil to the chain. Lubricate the system at least annually.
Check the door's weatherstripping - if it's damaged, jammed or missing, adjust or replace it. Older wooden doors without such protection at the bottom should first be sealed or painted - then you can add weatherstripping if you wish.
Finally, check all nuts, bolts and fastenters. Tighten any that have loosened. Remember, something that looks wrong may well be. If you have any concerns, call ABE Doors and Windows at 610-398-2430. Our friendly, expert technicians will be there soon to check things over.
People ask "How are you doing?" so often and so casually that it seldom means much. For a service-oriented business, though, it's a serious question. And the answer matters greatly to the company's success.
A while back ABE Doors and Windows sought a way to measure our performance with customers. The best help we could find came from a company called Guild Quality. It's their business to survey the customers of participating firms after projects or services are completed. Guild Quailty then compiles and posts the results, along with customers' candid opinions.
The survey company is objective about this. You accept when you sign up that they're going to put the results online for all to see. Unless you think your report card's going to be pretty good, it's probably not something you want to try.
We're happy with the results. We come in at 98 percent or better for most measurements, including "Professional & Organized," "Value," "Communication," "Sales Knowledge," and "Schedule." Ratings for "Clean and Safe" and "Construction Quality" are perfect 100s. And the overwhelming majority of our verbal evalutions are also very positive. Take a look.
So that's the answer to "How are you doing?" Pretty darn well - but always with room for improvement.
To those of a certain age, 1988 isn't so long ago. There was a lot going on - the Calgary Winter Olympics, Anthony Kennedy's Supreme Court appointment, the release of the hot new Windows 2.1 by Microsoft.
It was also when we hired one of our best people, technician Bob Blickley. Bob celebrated his 24th employment anniversary lately, and we gave a little thought to what it means when a company has a good record of employee retention.
In the first place, it probably means they're hiring wisely, choosing people who are smart and steady. It also suggests that the company is treating those people well: compensating them fairly, looking after their health and family needs, honoring their intelligence and ability, and making sure that a decent and safe workplace is maintained.
ABE Doors and Windows is proud of a strong history of finding and keeping excellent employees. We did some calculating, and found that the average tenure here is 15 years. Eleven employees have been here longer than that. In today's workplace, longevity like that is rare. We think it shows that we look out for our workers and treat them with the respect they deserve.
Our thanks and congratulations to Bob - we value his skill and dedication and are grateful for his loyalty. As someone who started with us fairly young, he could remain part of the ABE family for many years to come. We certainly hope so.
With summer heating up big time, many homeowners are thinking about the benefits of insulated glass windows. And no wonder. In an old house - and even some newer ones - the windows may be single-pane types that were installed decades ago. Or they may be multiple-pane installations using out-of-date technologies. Windows like that don't do enough to prevent the transmission of heat. As a result, they wind up increasing air-conditioning energy costs (not to mention heating in the cold months).
Insulated glass windows are another story entirely. They are double-pane or triple-pane types, with special insulating spacers separating the panes. Some windows will contain insulating gases such as argon or krypton between panes; many will also feature low-emissivity coatings.
The upshot of all this: choose your windows carefully, taking advantage of current technologies, and you'll receive a bunch of important benefits. Insulated glass windows help you keep a steady temperature in your house. The interior of your house gains less heat in the summer with these models, and retains heat better in wintertime. And that means year-round savings of energy and money.
Nor are these the only benefits of today's high-tech windows. Insulated windows reduce the formation of condensation on the inner surface. And they do a much better job than old-fashioned windows at keeping street noise to a minimum.
At ABE Doors and Windows, we'll be glad to consult with you - there's no charge, of course - to find exactly the right windows for your home. We handle many sizes, styles and varieties. Call us today at 610-398-2430 to take the first step.
Remote control garage door opening is so valued - and so widely used - that most people who own garages consider it a practical necessity. Today, there's a fresh technological take on garage door openers. A new generation of controls builds on their safety and convenience in a big way, offering breakthrough capabilities directly from your computer or smart phone.
Our top-of-the-line offering is the Liftmaster® 8550 garage-door operator. This is an opener of the highest quality and reliability, with belt drive and DC battery backup. Even in a power outage, its safety and security capabilities are unaffected.
But its most innovative feature is built-in MyQ™ technology, an advancement that enables you to open, close and monitor your garage door from any intelligent electronic device, anywhere in the world. MyQ's versatile control also enables you to turn lights on or off remotely. Yet another useful capability: it tracks and reports on every action taken, so you'll always know when the door has been opened or closed.
With carefully engineered soft start and slow stop, the Liftmaster 8550 is exceptionally quiet. It's ideal for homes with a room above the garage - or anywhere homeowners appreciate a little less noise. Call us today for more information at 610-398-2430.
Today's well-engineered, carefully constructed garage doors are very safe products. Still, the doors are the largest, heaviest moving objects in most homes. As such, safety demands proper maintenance and correct use. It's especially important to make sure that kids are aware that garage doors are not toys.
June is National Home Safety Month, and the industry organizations DASMA (Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association) and IDA (International Door Association) have also declared it Garage Door Safety Month. It's a great time to think about keeping your garage doors operating properly and safely. Here are some dos and don'ts that can help.
DO a periodic visual inspection. Check the springs, cables, rollers and all other visible parts for signs of wear or damage. If you suspect a problem, have a trained technician take a look.
DO operate the door only when you can see it, keeping it in sight until it opens or closes completely.
DO test the reversing mechanism monthly. A properly functioning garage door reverses direction as soon as it encounters an obstacle. If that's not happening, call a technician and have it fixed.
DO test the force setting monthly. Stand outside the path of the door and try to hold it up as it descends. It should reverse easily; otherwise call a technician.
DO test the door balance monthly. Close the door and disconnect the operator, then lift the door. It should open smoothly with little resistance. If not, have a technician check it.
DON'T let kids play with the door's transmitters or remote controls.This is an especially important rule. Keep all controls away from children. Mount wall controls high, out of reach of small hands. And make sure your kids know that they should never play with the garage door.
DON'T try to repair spring assemblies yourself. They're under extreme tension. Working with them can be very dangerous for anyone but expert technicians.
DON'T stand, walk, duck or run under a garage door when it's moving.
DON'T put your fingers - or any body part - in or near the door's section joints, hinges, tracks, springs, or other parts.
ABE Doors and Windows is fully committed to keeping garage doors operating safely at all times. If you have a safety question or concern, call us now at (610) 398-2430. We'll be glad to discuss the situation, and can provide prompt help if you need it.
As a leader in residential sales, installation and service, ABE Doors and Windows is very familiar to consumers around the valley. A part of our business that may not be quite as well known is our commercial/industrial sales and service division. But this group is just as important to those who rely on it. The commercial/industrial division delivers every day on the individual needs of our business and government customers.
The market here is broad - retail and wholesale corporations, service companies, local municipalities, warehouse operations, industrial plants and more. They need quality products, foolproof installation and round-the-clock access to expert service. With ABE Doors and Windows they get it all.
According to Gary Conrad, commercial/industrial sales and service manager, his customers need a range of doors and accessories as varied as the products and services they provide. "We do garage doors, roll-ups, rolling service doors, rolling steel fire doors, counter doors for kitchens, dock shields and shelters, and much more," he said. "We also install as retrofits a lot of steel-framed hollow metal entry doors."
"ABE Doors and Windows is a long-established distributor for Raynor Garage Doors and Cornell Iron Works, which build commercial sectional doors and rolling door products, respectively," Gary said. "We also represent other leading manufacturers of doors and accessory products."
In new or retrofit installations, he said, several critical advantages guide customers' selection of ABE Doors and Windows. "They're concerned about the quality of the products. They want a very service-oriented provider. They need good lead times, and with us they get same-day service and 24-hour emergency service."
"We try to put ourselves in the customer's place," he said. If there's a problem with a door not closing, it can't wait a few days." Getting there promptly and handling things correctly the first time makes all the difference.
Earth Day - born April 22, 1970, when 20 million American citizens took a united stand and became consciously dedicated to creating permanent change that would protect and preserve the world that we live in and thrive from - has become one of the largest civic observances in the world. Since 1990 Earth Day has gone global, and this year more than 1 billion people in 192 countries took part in the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day 2012 focused on uniting communities in their efforts to spread awareness and make positive eco-friendly changes in order to mobilize the Earth.
We, here at A.B.E. Doors & Windows, are always striving to better ourselves - whether it is professionally as a business serving others within the community, or by personally challenging ourselves to learn from our experiences and willingly accepting positive change in order to grow. We have taken an active interest in educating ourselves and fully support the fight to create a clean and healthy environment. Since 2008, we have been diligently recycling all of our paper, aluminum, plastic, and glass products on a weekly basis. Within the last month, we have also decided that we will be going paperless, wanting to conserve paper-use and diminish waste. In order to do this, we have purchased high speed scanners and are transferring every paper document that passes through our office onto the computer. Not only does this eliminate clutter, but it makes all documents easily accessible. Now, when we ask our customers to provide their mailing address, we are also giving them the option to share with us their email address as well. Online communication is not only a faster method of communication than mail delivery, but it is convenient for both parties and will greatly decrease the amount of paper that we use over time.
These changes, though they may seem insignificant in comparison to all that is taking place every day, are just another positive step forward in making our business and community a better place. Being conscientious about caring for our environment is much bigger than A.B.E. Doors & Windows: it reaches out and encompasses the world around us. We are just a small piece of the puzzle; but when we are combined with the many other individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments, who are working to protect and preserve our earth, it truly radiates hope for future generations to come.
For sheer visual impact, a photo in a catalog or online can't match what happens when you see one of our great-looking doors installed. You can't get the same sense of how smoothly it works, either, without seeing for yourself.
That's why we recently expanded the display area at ABE Doors and Windows' Wescosville Headquarters. The new section opens up space to feature three of our very nicest patio doors, and we think you should check them out.
The star of the show is the ProVia gliding patio door. This big, beautiful model includes internal mini-blinds. It's a feature that gives you ideal control over room daylighting, and the blinds never need cleaning because they're sealed inside double-pane glass.
You can also see graceful, opulent Frenchwood doors in real wood from Andersen. The hinged type is a true French door. The gliding model provides the same look, but its sliding structure saves space.
Whether you're already planning a patio door installation or just thinking about a change that would transform your home decor, you really should take a look at these doors - in person - before you do anything else.
A.B.E. Doors & Windows is pleased to welcome Ellen Rauch as the newest addition to its family. Working for us on a temporary basis since January of 2012, Ellen was made a permanent member of our office staff on April 9. As a Customer Service Representative, Ellen is fully enjoying her work experience thus far:
"I'm absolutely thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be a part of a company who embraces and embodies teamwork and strives for greatness always. It's truly a blessing to work amongst co-workers who genuinely care about assisting others and are personally driven to always provide the best quality of service possible. I honestly don't consider my employment with A.B.E. as just a career - each day is unique and offers new opportunities for me to utilize every single one of my skills in interacting with and assisting others. I love that my realm of work engages and challenges every aspect of my being, and I am excited to continue experiencing new things, learning from them, and growing stronger as an individual and profesional. I am honored to be a part of something so much greater than myself, and I am thankful for all that A.B.E. Doors & Windows has given to me thus far."
Ellen, who just celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday yesterday, is now our youngest employee and will be utilizing her passion for writing by regularly contributing to both our Facebook page and blog. Outside of work, Ellen's interests include music, movies, reading, and pop culture. She also enjoys volunteering within the community and has recently become involved in taking both kickboxing and acting classes.
We congratulate Ellen on her dedication and hard work thus far, and we look forward to seeing what her future holds within A.B.E. Doors & Windows.
A better look for your house might be part of preparations to sell it - or it might just reflect your desire to improve the home you see every day. Either way, replacement entry doors offer an effective, immediate way to ratchet up the curb appeal of your place. A new door draws the eye in a striking visual focus - and you can select exactly the level of cost that works for your budget.
You can accomplish something similar, though probably to a lesser extent, with a new garage door installation. New doors of either variety purchased from and installed by ABE Doors and Windows can accomplish the feat in short order.
That impressive new entry door might feature new glass details, great-looking hardware, a fresh configuration of double doors, or a transom. The garage door could be one of our carriage-door styles, single or double. The color and design options for either type are practically unlimited - and the change in the look of the door makes a huge difference.
If you want to upgrade the look of your door without replacing it, several options are available. Consider repainting/refinishing, changing an associated light fixture, selecting new locks and hardware (inciuding a knocker, doorbell button, house numbers and letter slot) or adding a brass kick plate. For a really transforming change, though, nothing beats the fresh look, first-class factory construction and professional installation of a door from ABE Doors and Windows.
Nigel Andre of Whitehall is a carpenter and technician for ABE Doors and Windows. If he's ever working on an installation at your house, you'll notice him primarily as a hardworking member of our skilled and dedicated team.
But there's another side to Nigel. Wherever he goes, day in or day out, he's also a staff sergeant in the Army National Guard. Our company salutes his service, which now stands at twelve-and-a-half years between active duty and time with the Guard at home. And we're also proud that ABE Doors and Windows does everthing possible to help him meet his military responsibilities.
There was a time when soldiers might remain in the Guard or Reserves for years without being called to active service. In recent years, though, these components have been tasked with a more active role in national defense. "There's times when I have to go at the last minute," Nigel said. "And the company's always been great about it."
Under federal law, employers must keep jobs open for soldiers called to service. It's possible, unfortunately, to obey the letter of the law and violate its spirit. Some employers look for unfair ways to dismiss an absent soldier. Nigel has had to take action for soldiers under his command when other employers tried to cut them loose while on duty.
That hasn't happened with ABE Doors and Windows and it never will. "I'm just very appreciative," Nigel said. "The company has been very supportive, very understanding."
Our company has been recognized by the Army National Guard for this support. We appreciate that, but from our standpoint what really counts is the willingness of our people to stand up for our country. Helping them out when deployments come up is the least we can do.
13 March 2012
Warming Up: ABE Doors and Windows at Stabler’s 2012 Spring Home Show
With the economy showing signs of rebounding at last, and dozens of exhibitors sharing their very best, the 2012 Spring Home Show at Stabler Arena figures to be a memorable one. The curtain rises March 30 on the three-day event, and ABE Doors and Windows will showcase outstanding products at two separate displays.
Booths R188/189 in Rauch Field Hall are devoted to garage doors. They feature a full-size carriage-house door in natural wood. Booths S069/070/084/085 in Stabler Arena show off a variety of our best products. Look for the Andersen patio door, ProVia entrance and storm doors, Andersen and Gorell windows, plus a cross-section of a Raynor garage door.
At the show, we'll be telling visitors about our spring sweepstakes - a chance to win a $50 Visa Gift Card. The ABE folks manning the booths will explain the three ways to enter: write a review on Google, like us on Facebook, or check in on Facebook during your visit to the show or to our home location showroom. Official rules are available at http://www.abedoors.com/sweepstakes/rules.cfm. The contest ends May 31. No purchase is necessary to win.
The recession means that several years' worth of pent-up demand is simmering among homeowners who've delayed improvements they've had in mind. We're excited to be at the show with the information people need now that they're ready to move ahead - and we'll be glad to arrange a free estimate for anyone who's interested.
When you arrange home repairs or improvements, you'll probably ask about the contractor's experience, capabilites, price range and delivery schedule. A question that homeowners often neglect may be even more important: "Do you have liability and accident insurance?"
Many small operators work on a wing and a prayer. They hope nobody will get hurt on the job at your house, and they don't bother with insurance. But hope is no substitute for real protection.
At ABE Doors & Windows, we accept the need to protect our workers and our customers. That's why all our crews are covered by a million dollars in insurance. This is nothing more or less than behaving responsibly toward the people who keep us in business.
In Pennsylvania, a contractor can't be certified without meeting the state's insurance requirements. If you hire someone without certification, they may lack insurance, too. Why take the chance? There are many reasons to go with ABE Doors & Windows - and the fact that we carry substantial insurance coverage is a big one.Whoever you use, ask about the contractor's insurance coverage and have him or her prove it to you by showing a certificate of insurance before the start of the job.
For the tenth time in the last 11 years, ABE Doors & Windows has been named to Who's Who in Business in the Lehigh Valley.
We've once again been chosen as the Who's Who Leader in the Door and Window Replacement category.
Sponsored by Lehigh Valley Style Magazine, the Who's Who in Business Survey bills itself as the region's only statistically accurate survey of consumer preference. Conducted by Polk-Lepson Research Group, an independent market research firm from York, Pa., the survey identifies the region's leaders in a variety of business categories as determined by Lehigh Valley residents. And that's why we're especially proud of the selection.
"What makes these Leader selections significant," said ABE Doors & Windows President Jim Lett, "is that consumers make the choices. That tells us we're doing well with the audience that matters most - the people we serve in the residential door and window markets."
WDDA Names Jim Lett Member of the Month
Jim Lett, president of ABE Doors & Windows, is honored in January as the Member of the Month by the Window and Door Dealers Alliance. It’s appropriate that he should be selected as the WDDA’s first honoree. His sense that window and door dealers nationwide needed a coherent voice made him an early participant in the project that developed into the alliance. And it’s his belief today that the alliance has provided that unified voice and much more.
“WDDA fills a need that went unmet for years before it was organized,” Jim said. “It’s a great source for relevant information and a terrific forum where dealers can exchange views and experiences. We believe no other organization is really looking out for the interests of dealers in our industry in this way, and we at ABE Doors & Windows support it strongly.”
Doing it on your own – up to a point
Like many WDDA members, Jim is accustomed to making things happen on his own. ABE Doors & Windows started off immediately after Lett finished college as a company that installed steel cellar doors. Before long, his growing firm was handling garage doors, entrance doors and a wide variety of windows – in short, a full line of attractive, high-quality products. In the process, ABE Doors & Windows had grown to be a top regional dealer and installer.
But there’s only so much any one company can do by itself. Lett saw the importance of an industry organization providing new strength, reach and capabilities that would benefit every member. As such, he was an enthusiastic early participant in WDDA.
Strength in numbers
As a prime example of the alliance’s value to its members, Lett cites its work concerning safe work practices for lead paint. He’s a firm believer in the importance of EPA’s continuing dedication to lead safety. ”We all want everyone to be safe,” he said. “I think it’s also important that EPA should be able to enforce these regulations in a fair way, so that everyone is able to compete on a level playing field.” He believes that the WDDA’s efforts in this field contribute to helping promote true competitive balance.
Beyond representing member interests in legislative and rule-making situations, Lett says, WDDA helps make dealers’ work easier and more successful in many other ways. He values the alliance’s development of training and educational resources, and enthusiastically supports its work around meetings, trade shows, seminars and publications. In all these ways, he believes, WDDA is helping shape the professional character of the door and window industry, making it better not only for dealers and installers, but also for vendors and end users.
“It’s a special honor to be chosen,” said Lett. ”This organization does important work on many fronts. I couldn’t be prouder to be recognized as someone who’s contributed to its efforts.”
The wind is howling and it's a blustery day today in the Lehigh Valley. It's time to start thinking about tips for staying warm this winter.
Here you'll find strategies to help you save energy during the cold winter months and keep warm!
1. Call A.B.E. Doors & Windows!
Most importantly, if you haven't already done so, contact A.B.E. Doors to look into energy saving Windows and Doors. This can be the most effective means for staying warm and reducing your energy costs. Contact us for your Free Estimate Today!
2. Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun
Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
3. Cover Drafty Windows
Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
4. Adjust the Temperature
When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10°–15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
5. Find and Seal Leaks
Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
6. Maintain Your Heating Systems
Schedule service for your heating system. Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently.
7. Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace
Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney. When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly—approximately 1 inch—and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
8. Lower Your Water Heating Costs
Water heating can account for 14%-25% of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F).