What to look for in replacement windows

The windows on your home have an impact on both the interior and exterior of a home. They are designed to shield it (and you) from the elements and filter out noise. Therefore, purchasing new windows can not only enhance the look of your home, it can also make it quieter and less drafty. Additionally, new windows are easier to clean and maintain than older models.

There are two different types of replacement windows. There are those wherein the original frame can be used and there are new construction windows that include a new frame. If you choose to use the existing frame, it must not be warped or rotted. In this case, the windows would come with new sashes, side jambs, and trim.

If you need to replace the frame along with the window, there are three main types to choose from. They are vinyl, wood, and fiberglass. Vinyl is the least expensive, usually comes in white, and cannot be painted. For more of a selection, you can choose wood or composite. This allows you to pick a style that matches your home and paint it whatever color you choose. Fiberglass is relatively new to the market. They do not need to be painted, but can be if you choose. While they are made with fiberglass needles embedded in the plastic to make it stronger and stiffer, there are not many brands available.

Once you have decided on a frame type, you must then determine the number of panes each window should have, how they are hinged, how they operate, and how much ventilation each window will offer. The two most popular styles are casement and double hung. Casement windows are similar to doors in that the glass is hinged on one side. In order to open them, you must use a crank. They provide excellent ventilation and are easy to clean. However, you cannot place a window air conditioner in a casement window.

Double hung windows are also easy to clean and allow for window air conditioners. To open, the lower inside sash slides up and an upper outside sash slides down. Therefore, they provide improved air circulation. Double hung windows are a better choice if you live in a cold, wet climate as they have been proven to be better out keeping out chilly air and rain. You can also choose single hung, where only the bottom opens, awning, hopper, or fixed windows for when you only want light and not air.

Regardless of the window style that you choose, be sure to enquire as to the Energy Star rating, as well as whether or not it has both a low-E rating and argon-filled glass for high efficiency. Bear in mind that while the cost may be significantly high upfront, you will save on your energy bill and over time, the windows will end up paying for themselves. If you find that this is not the case, you may also want to look at replacement doors and how they can help improve the living conditions in your home.

 

When to get replacement windows

Windows provide a great deal of security for your home, just as much as they provide a wonderful view of outside. However, windows are not meant to last forever. Knowing when it is time to replace your home’s windows is important because, even if you buy the best brand name windows in the world, they are still going to eventually break down and need to be replaced. The truth of the matter is that once you hit the 15-year mark with windows, it is time to think about and look into potentially having them replaced. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that you are wasting money on energy costs or potentially doing damage to your home or the furniture in it.

Aside from age, there are a number of other factors that can lead to the need for replacement windows. These include the fact that you want to improve the energy efficiency in your home, they are hard to open and/or close, or you insulate with plastic. In addition, new windows may be in order if your windows frost, you feel a draft, or the noise from outside is no longer muted.

While painting your windows closed is a great way to insulate your home, it is also a fire hazard. If you or your family are unable to open the windows to climb out during a fire, it could lead to disaster. The same is true if you use plastic as insulation in the winter. While it keeps the cold air out, it also keeps the fire department out as well. It will take them longer to get to you or a family member if there is something preventing them from getting the windows open.

The opposite is also true. If you have trouble closing a window, it is the perfect way to feed a fire. Yes, you will be more likely to get out, but you will be unable to close it and prevent the fire from getting the oxygen it needs.

One of the biggest reasons why people choose window and door installation is to save money on their energy bill each month.  While caulking and weather stripping can help, new, energy efficient windows can not only decrease your electric bill by up to 25%, it is also a huge selling point when you go to sell your home. In addition, there may also be tax savings available to cover some of the replacement costs.

If you live in a colder climate and your windows frost in the winter, you need to be aware that this is an indication that there is a problem. Older windows are usually made of no more than one sheet of glass that is wedged within a sill. It may already be fragile from many years of temperature changes, as well as from gravity pulling the glass downward. This can result is shattered glass during the next cold snap. New windows have two panes with a small gap for temperature moderation.

 

Steps to permanent behavior change

Everybody has a behavior that they would like to change. Whether it is to eat healthier, quit smoking, or reduce the amount of stress encountered, there are certain steps that should be taken in order for the behavior change to become permanent.

 

The first step in eliminative bad habits is one that most people are not even aware that they take. It is called precontemplation and is the stage wherein the negative conduct takes place. At this stage, you or someone you love drinks too much, gambles beyond their means, or engages in other bad acts. There is no thought or risk assessment given.

The next stage, called contemplation, is when serious consideration is given to changing and eliminating the bad behavior. It is not always known what causes a shift from precontemplation to contemplation. It could be anything from a comment by a doctor or friend, to a trip to the emergency room for life-saving treatment.

Regardless of what gets you to move from the first stage to the second, the contemplation stage contains obstacles that often cause people to get stuck at step two. If this happens, you need to find and activate a motivating belief or another way to think about the value of the change being contemplated.

The next step is known as both determination and preparation for action. At this stage, one begins to acknowledge and accept that a problematic behavior that they have needs to be changed. This is the stage where cigarettes and junk food are thrown out and gym memberships are purchased. This is also the time in which those looking to adjust their actions for the better will see a doctor for a complete health assessment.

Family and friends can provide assistance by encouraging the individual to seek professional help. However, the person with the problem must be the one to take the first step in altering their conduct. This may seem like the hardest step to take.

Once you or a loved one is ready, then action can be taken. Wisdom, in the form of behavior, finally manifests. There is no more smoking, there is salad eating and exercising, and change is made.

After a considerable time of action, one can then move into the final step or stage, which is maintenance. At this time, the behavior has been successfully changed and the person who has done so is reaping the rewards. This is when one continues to go to the gym or continues to eat well. Maintaining a new behavior is the most challenging part of any behavior change because, in order to do so, one must truly be happy. This is because unhappiness is often what led one to partake in the behavior that needed to be changed.

Relapse is the final stage and while it is optional, it is quite difficult to avoid and should, therefore, be looked at as part of the process and not as failure. As this will enable you to return to the desired behaviors quicker and not simply stay with the dangerous or unhealthy ones.

How to determine if your radon abatement is not working

Whether you moved into a home with radon mitigation or you installed it because tests showed that the levels were above safe levels, one of the most common questions is how to know if the system is continually working.  This is important because no one wants to pay all that money and end up with lung cancer, because it did not do what it was supposed to.

 

Radon is a gas that is produced from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium. Exposure to high levels is the second leading cause of lung cancer and results in over 20,000 deaths a year. Therefore, many people go to great lengths to keep themselves and their family safe from this danger.

The best way to know if your system is working correctly is to do a test to find out what the radon levels are in your home. Regardless of whether or not you have a radon remediation system or not, you should test the levels in your home every two years. Radon test kits are both cheap and easy to use. You can get them at your local home improvement center. If you are not comfortable doing the test on your own, you can hire certified radon measurement professionals to do it for you. However, this may be more costly.

Another option is to purchase an electronic radon monitor. They give ongoing readings and some have built-in alarms to let you know if radon levels have increased to unsafe levels. Called a manometer, they can have a light or audible alarm, as well as instructions to assist you in understanding how to interpret whether or not the system is on and running. However, monitors are not available for passive radon abatement systems because there is no vent fan. Therefore, you may have to either purchase a long-term test or test every three months.

If testing shows that the levels are high, even with a system installed, you, or a professional, should make sure that the exhaust has been placed correctly. It should be at least ten feet above the ground and two feet higher than any window, door or other open space that is less than ten feet away from it. It should also be placed far away from any mechanical intake like an evaporative cooler in order to ensure that the radon does not reenter the home.

Finally, be sure that you have the right system installed for your home. The type of foundation that your house has is the determining factor on what should be installed. In addition, if additions have been made to the home, then more than one system may be needed. Test in different areas of the house or call a professional for assistance.

If your levels are high, you may need to contact a professional to come out and determine what the issue is and make the system work correctly. No matter what you, do not rely on the original radon test result or what someone told you it was. Also, do not just assume that the system is working, it could be a deadly mistake.

 

The importance of driver safety to fleet management

Fleet vehicle accidents are cost almost twice as much as the average workplace injury.

Therefore, if your business is involved in logistics in any manner, it needs a fleet safety program.  While a generic safety program is better than none, it is far more effective to specifically design a program for your company and your fleet’s specific needs.

 

A driver safety program establishes the policies and procedures that are needed to help ensure a safe work environment for employees. It can also help to protect your company from incurring liability as a result of vehicle accidents.

Since the road is one of the most dangerous places for your employees, and there are no guarantees that an accident will not happen, establishing a formal and ongoing program of screening, testing, inspection and training is essential.  This is true for any company regardless of the size of the fleet of vehicles.  In addition to improved safety, a formal fleet safety plan can provide a number of other advantages including increased employee satisfaction and improved fleet efficiency.

 

An effective fleet safety program should be comprehensive, up-to-date and instituted as a part of your company’s safety culture.  It should be thorough enough to reach every employee who gets behind the wheel of a company vehicle for any reason.

 

In order to be successful, there are a number of factors that should be included in your business’s fleet safety program.  They include:

 

  • Identification of all drivers. You should know everyone who drives for your business, even those employees that use personal vehicles.  This will make you fully aware of the extent that non-owned vehicles have on your company.
  • Leadership support. Upper managerial support of the program can help to ensure that the program is used.
  • Background checks. Through screening and by selecting drivers carefully you can create a team that is both reliable and safe.  If your drivers are not safe, then your long-term safety record is at risk.  It is best to establish clear hiring standards and a thorough screening process that is required for anyone who drives on company business.
  • Defensive driver training. By ensuring that all drivers have access to information on safe driving strategies and techniques, including instruction in defensive driving, it ensures that all drivers understand vehicle safety policies and procedures.
  • Driver management. This is essential in helping to ensure that drivers are following fleet safety rules and driving safely this can be done through GPS tracking.
  • Accident management. By managing accidents when they occur, you can help to mitigate the costs associated with it. This also helps you to understand company exposures and therefore give you the ability to reduce the potential for future losses.
  • Written policies and procedures. This allows those in charge of fleet management to create expectations that are clear and consistent.
  • Preventative maintenance. By establishing a plan for necessary repairs and maintenance you can help reduce costly, unexpected breakdowns. You also help drivers avoid accidents due to faulty equipment.

How the loose diamond trade works

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and while loose diamonds have been around for centuries, it is important to find out from your jeweler the journey that yours took before landing on the piece you are currently looking to purchase.  The money you spend should go for good, like health care and free schooling, not to fund wars and other atrocities.

 

For example, it has been said that diamonds that come from the countries of Sierra Leone, Angola, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC have been said to fund civil wars and rebellions by people who oppose legitimate governments and desire control over the area’s lucrative diamond industry.

These rebels go from town to town and diamond mine to diamond mine.  They terrorize those that live there and force them to mine for diamonds.  Many people were killed, mutilated, or forced to leave the town they called home.  By 2002, when the violence in Sierra Leone came to an end, more than 20,000 people endured bodily mutilations, about 75,000 murders took place, and nearly two million people were displaced.  An additional two million people in other parts of Africa were killed due to their involvement in the diamond trade.

 

These diamonds, known as conflict or blood diamonds led to the creation of the Kimberly Process that helped to regulate the industry and reduce the number of these tainted diamonds to less than one percent of those being mined, sold, and traded around the world.  Now, it is believed that much of the revenue goes towards healthcare and education.

 

A diamond can be mined in several different ways.  One way is known as open-pit mining.  That is when the diamonds are near the surface or covered by a thin layer of sand and gravel.  There is also underground mining.  It is more difficult.  There is also horizontal marine mining wherein a crawler uses flexible hoses on the ocean floor to bring diamonds to the surface.  Finally, there is vertical marine mining wherein a large-diameter drill allows for greater depth and brings diamond-bearing gravel to the surface

 

Once diamonds are mined, they are sorted by weight, color, and clarity.  They are then sorted again by gem quality, industrial quality, and boart or low quality.  The diamonds are then sent to a manufacturer where they are then cut, smoothed, and polished before the clarity is rechecked.

 

The stones can then be sold to either jewelry manufacturers or to diamond wholesalers.  Jewelry manufacturers set the diamonds into finished pieces of jewelry, like an engagement ring, and those pieces to are sold to jewelry retailers.  Diamond wholesalers then turn around and sell the diamonds to diamond retailers.  The diamond retailers are then free to sell them as loose diamonds that can be set in custom engagement rings or other pieces.

 

However, you choose to purchase a diamond, in a setting or loose, be sure to ask for both the Kimberly Process certification, as well as the GIA certification.  This will ensure that you get the most for your money and that good things happen with it.

Benefits of hiring a house cleaning service

Probably the number one advantage to hiring a home cleaning service is piece of mind.  You feel better knowing that help is on the way and that everything will get done.  Moreover, you know that your house will always be clean even if you cannot do it yourself.

 

Another advantage to hiring a house cleaner to help you is that your family, as well as yourself, will be healthier.  When your house is clean there is less bacteria, mold, dust, and dander, if you have animals.  Each of these substances can cause people to get sick or have allergies or asthma.

 

When a professional cleaning service cleans your home, they do it with expertise and experience that comes from the professional training they receive.  Therefore, you know that it is not only cleaned, but cleaned well.  It will not only be done to your satisfaction, it will go beyond your standards.

Those who have hired others to keep their homes clean report that they have more free time and are able to do other things.  While you may not be able to go out Saturday night because you spent your money having your home cleaned that afternoon, you will be able to finish the book or watch the series you have been meaning to get to. You will find that you are more productive than ever. You may even feel a sense of accomplishment for getting things done that you never thought you would.

 

Another thing that you can do when someone else cleans your home is to invite people over.  Now that you have the time, you no longer have to be embarrassed about the way your home looks.  You can host whenever you choose to without having to explain away the mess that encounters those who walk through the door because it will not be there.

 

Hiring a professional cleaning service becomes a bit more cost effective when you take into account the fact that by cleaning your appliances you are keeping them in good condition and therefore avoiding the high cost of repairing and/or replacing them early.  Not only that, but when an appliance breaks, it becomes a major hassle that no one wants to deal with.

 

When someone else cleans your home and the clutter is removed, you will feel better and will probably begin to work on other aspects of your life that need to be cleaned up.  You will feel more in control, as well.  That is because when your surroundings are in order, you feel as if your life is more in order.  If not, you work to make it so.

 

If you are unsure as to whether or not you are the type to hire a cleaning service, ask around.  After you get some recommendations, check them out on the internet and set up a few free estimates.  You do not have to have them do all the work.  You can hire them to do the ones that seem to take the longest and start from there.  In no time, you will be hooked.

Best way to clean blinds

Many homes have blinds on the windows because they are not only an economical choice; they also come in a vast array of styles and colors.  However, what also comes with blinds is the necessity of cleaning them.  There are several methods to choose from, depending upon how dirty the blinds are and what they are made from.

 

First and foremost, one of the easiest ways to keep any and all blinds clean is to dust them regularly.  In a downward motion, take a dust cloth or duster and wipe them.  This should be done weekly unless you live in a construction zone or with many animals.  If that is the case, you may want to wipe them down more than once a week.

To add more oomph to cleaning, you can spray your custom blinds with some window cleaner and then wipe it off.  Another way to clean your blinds using window cleaner is to place your hand in an old sock or cleaning glove.  Spray the sock or glove with the cleaner and then place each blind between your thumb and fingers and move toward the wall.  You can also use a solution of vinegar and water or furniture polish if you have blinds made of wood.

 

Another way to clean your blinds is to use the vacuum.  This method is even easier than using a duster.  Simply connect the dust brush connection and wipe down both sides of the blinds.  Again, this should be done in a downward motion so that the blinds do not become detached or broken.

 

Many times when you first move into a new place or if you live near an airport or have blinds in your kitchen, the blinds seem to develop a black film on them.  In order to get this off, you have two options.  The first is to place old newspaper or an old sheet beneath the window.  Then get a bucket of soapy water and a sponge.  Wipe down each blind with the soapy sponge.  Then, wipe with plain water and let dry.

 

The second option for getting blinds that have not been touched in a while clean is to take them down off the window and place them in the tub.  Run hot water and add dish soap.  Then, Let them sit for an hour or so.  Next, drain the dirty water and rinse the blinds off under the tap or with the shower head.  You can also use a clean wet sponge to wipe them off.  Then, either hang them in the tub or wipe them dry.  You can also place a sheet or old newspaper under the window and hang your blinds on the window to let them dry.

 

If fabric blinds are your window treatments, you can wipe them with a dust cloth and vacuum them with the dust brush, if they are especially dirty, you can either take them to the dry cleaner or put them in the washing machine.  You would have to check with the manufacturer to determine which one is best.