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Check around windows and doors to make sure that the caulk around the framework has not dried and cracked. If it has, remove the old caulk and reapply a paintable latex caulk.

Your October Home Assignment

Find Air Leaks & Save Energy

October is a great time to tackle all of the outdoor and indoor home improvements by sealing up all of those cracks and gaps that will cost you valuable energy dollars. If not addressed, small spaces can turn into a large hole in the side of your house, so spend a few bucks wisely on supplies and potentially save hundreds of dollars this season.

Indoors

Start by checking the exterior walls of the house by feeling around the windows and doors for drafts. If you are having a hard time locating the drafts, light a stick of incense and hold it by the window and door frame. If the smoke is wavering, you may have an air leak.

Remove all of the outlet covers on the exterior walls, place a pre-cut foam gasket on the back side and replace the cover. This will give you a nice tight seal and stop the air from coming in and out. If there is a large open void around the receptacle, you can fill those in with expandable foam.

If you find air leaks around the windows but notice it is coming in where the window moves up and down within the sash, you have the option of temporarily sealing that window shut for the season to stop that draft. Look for temporary caulk that’s removable and make sure not to seal all windows shut in the event one needs to be opened during an emergency.

By placing a pre-cut foam gasket on the back side of the outlet cover, this will give you a tight seal to stop the air from coming in and out.
By placing a pre-cut foam gasket on the back side of the outlet cover, this will give you a tight seal to stop the air from coming in and out.

Outdoors

Same thing goes for the outside of your house. Check around windows and doors to make sure that the caulk around the framework has not dried and cracked. If it has, remove the old caulk with a blade or a caulk softener and then spray the opening with bleach and water solution to kill any mold that might be growing back there. Let the area dry thoroughly and reapply a paintable latex caulk.

Check around windows and doors to make sure that the caulk around the framework has not dried and cracked. If it has, remove the old caulk and reapply a paintable latex caulk.
Check around windows and doors to make sure that the caulk around the framework has not dried and cracked. If it has, remove the old caulk and reapply a paintable latex caulk.
Fall leaves resting on the roof and in open style gutters.

Tackle Home Improvement This Fall

Steps to Take This Fall in Oklahoma

It is important to take a few steps to prevent any home breakdowns. It’s time to check off any last minute home improvement tasks and we are here to help you with our handy list of home maintenance chores for this fall.

1. Clean and repair the siding. After a long summer, siding can become dirty or mildewed. This month is a great time to use a pressure washer to clean it up and inspect for more serious problems. If your siding has seen better days (think missing, bent, or cracked pieces), consider replacing it.

When power washing on wood or vinyl siding, set it at the lowest pressure setting to ensure it does not damage or remove paint from the siding.
When power washing on wood or vinyl siding, set it at the lowest pressure setting to ensure it does not damage or remove paint from the siding.

 

2. Make sure windows are sealed tight. All double or triple-pane windows should have a tight seal around their perimeter that separates the individual panes of glass and traps inert gas between them, providing a break between the temperatures inside and outside your home. If you notice that your windows are frequently foggy, that’s likely a sign of a failed seal.

3. Change the air filters and tune up the furnace. This one really should be a maintenance task you do every month. Dirty air filters can lead to higher energy bills and irreparably damage your HVAC system.

4. Inspect the roof and gutters. It’s generally fine to wait until most of the leaves have fallen in autumn to clean out the gutters and downspouts, but giving these areas a quick visual inspection now is a good idea. Pull out any sticks or other debris blocking the gutters, and make note of any worn-out seals around vent pipes and chimneys.

Make sure to take precautions when climbing ladders this fall when attempting gutter and roof maintenance.
Make sure to take precautions when climbing ladders this fall when attempting gutter and roof maintenance.

 

If you do not feel comfortable on a ladder, or have a home of two or more stories, hire someone to do a quick inspection for you. Schedule any needed repairs now so that your home will be buttoned up for the changing seasons.

For your free LeafGuard® Gutter or GAF® Roofing estimate contact us at LeafGuard® of Oklahoma today. 918-827-7900

Window installation is a relatively minor home improvement job and professionals are extremely skilled at replacing just the window.

Common Window Installation Myths

Don’t let window myths scare you.

While purchasing new windows is not the most glamorous of home improvement jobs, it’s probably one of the smartest. So, why don’t you have new windows? It’s probably due to the fact that you can think of more reasons NOT to make that window purchase, than reasons for it. And that’s partly due to the myriad of myths that are scaring you away. Here are seven common myths that shouldn’t.

Window installation is a relatively minor home improvement job and professionals are extremely skilled at replacing just the window.

Myth #1 – You cannot replace windows during the winter

One excuse that you shouldn’t use in not getting new windows, is that it’s too late. As in, “its December already, it’s getting cold and we’re better off waiting til spring when it’s nice out”. Nice try. Turns out the professionals are good. Real good. Most home window installation jobs are done in a day! Just one! Depending on the size of the window, each window opening is only truly open for 10 minutes each. Yes, your home might be chilly that day, but it’s well worth it.

Myth #2 – Windows don’t really have a big effect on home energy efficiency.

Most people will acknowledge that windows play a role in their home’s energy efficiency, but many don’t realize just how much.  According to many experts estimates, around 30% of your home’s energy is lost through your windows and doors.  A number that doesn’t seem all that high, but the costs add up.  A window upgrade will assuredly lessen your energy bill and improve the value of your home.

Myth #3 – Triple pane doesn’t perform any better than high quality dual pane.

This myth should simply be filed under the category of, DO. YOUR. RESEARCH. Depending on who is selling you your windows and when, knowing the different options out there is key.  Arguments could be made for purchasing a high quality dual pane window over a triple pane window, but it all boils down to what you are looking for.  Chances are, triple pane is going to be a much more energy efficient choice in the long run, but again, do your research.

Myth #4 – Lifetime warranty means you are covered for life

This might not be a reason why you haven’t made the decision to upgrade your windows, but make sure you’re on the looking once you start shopping.  Many window retailers will promise the moon in order to make the sale and they frequently throw around the words “lifetime warranty” a bit too loosely.  Make sure you are reading the fine print on this one as “lifetime” is never exactly what it seams.  Ask questions and provide your salesperson a scenario or two in order to see if they know their own guarantee.

Myth #5 – You can install them yourself

We live in a world where you can find the instructions for how to make and do most things online.  Watch a youtube video or two and we get the feeling like we can do anything.  Fix the plumbing, install a new backsplash or refinish an old dresser.  Installing your new windows is probably not one of them.  Window professionals are highly trained and have the one thing you do not.  Experience.  Plus, installing a window incorrectly defeats the purpose of upgrading.  A poor install job can lead to cracks and poorly sealed window frames.  Lets let the expert get this job done.

Myth #6 – You should replace all of your windows at the same time

This particular myth may be one reason most people shy away from upgrading their windows.  The task and toll it takes on your back account may seem daunting.  The truth is, you should take a close look at your current windows and pick the worst ones out and get an estimate for just those in the worst shape.

Myth #7 – Window installation is likely to harm or disturb the structure and look of your home.

A concern for many people, especially those with older homes is losing the charm that comes with their century-old woodwork surrounding their windows.  Fear not.  Window installation is a relatively minor home improvement job and professionals are extremely skilled at replacing just the window!  Many window stores will provide options for wood windows that will match what they are replacing.

In Oklahoma, it’s just as important to have strong, storm resistant windows just as it is to have good gutters. Both systems must be installed correctly and have high quality construction so they will last longer and protect your home. Please reach out to LeafGuard of Oklahoma if you have any questions about your home

Windows carry the burden of keeping homes toasty and warm throughout the winter. If the seal on your window sash has broken, it won’t perform as well as it could.

Check Your Window Sash Seals Before Winter

Here are a few tips to help you check your window seals before winter.

Perhaps you noticed that your home was a bit draftier than normal this past winter. Maybe your heating bill was just a little higher than average, even though you’ve been keeping your thermostat at the same temperature. You might just have a broken window sash seal. Windows carry the burden of keeping homes toasty and warm throughout the winter–and that is a big burden! If the seal on your window sash has broken, it won’t perform as well as it could, and you’ll be living with (and paying for) air leaks during those cold months. How do you know which window it is that has a broken seal? Here are a few tips to help you check your window seals, so you know exactly which window needs to be replaced or repaired before winter.

Windows carry the burden of keeping homes toasty and warm throughout the winter. If the seal on your window sash has broken, it won’t perform as well as it could.

Image via inspect360.com

First, what do you mean by window sash seal?

The window sash is the part of the window that actually slides open. There are really two different seals associated with the sash: the seal between double paned windows that keeps your windows insulated, and the weatherstripping on the side jambs and the bottom of the sash. Both seals affect how well your sash keeps your home warm during winter months.

Double Paned Seal

Most windows these days are double paned, meaning that they have two panes of glass on each sash. In between the panes of glass there is an insulating gas, usually Krypton or Argon, that helps to create a buffer between the cold air on the outside pane of glass, and the warm air on the inside pane of glass. If the seal has broken and the insulating air has escaped, your window is as only useful as a single paned window and storm window combination. The bad news: there is no way to repair this kind of seal. Once the seal has blown, the only thing you can do is replace the window. Consider your heating cost against the cost of a new window.

Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping typically comes on all new windows these days. However, it gets worn out and needs to be replaced. What weatherstripping does is create a tighter seal between the moving parts of your window. It’s a flexible material that adheres to the side jambs and bottom of the sash. It’s an added barrier that keeps out those drafts. The good news: weatherstripping is easy and inexpensive to replace if it’s worn out.

Ways to Check your Window Sash Seals

Most of the time your windows will just tell you that something is wrong. There are a couple other things you can do if your windows look fine, but you suspect that they’re less effective than they used to be.

  1. Observe

Once the weather is getting cooler, you might notice condensation or moisture between your double paned windows. If you see condensation between panes, this is a sure sign that the seal has blown. This means that the added insulating gas between pane has either escaped or settled at the bottom.

Weatherstripping can come loose after a handful of years. This can happen during any season, and you would be able to see it coming off the sides or the sash.

  1. Ice cube Trick

If you suspect that the seal between your window panes as blown, but you haven’t seen any condensation or moisture, you can try the ice cube trick. Basically all you need to do is rub an ice cube on your window for a few minutes. If the inside of the window pane fogs up–meaning you can’t wipe off the condensation–then the seal has blown, and your only option is replacement. Here’s a video showing how to do this.

  1. Candle Trick

This trick will help you check the performance of your weatherstripping if you can’t tell if it’s loose. It’s pretty simple and commonsense. On a windy day, close your window and lock it. Locking your window actually helps it seal better. Hold a candle up to the sides and bottom of your window. If the candle flickers, it’s time to replace your weatherstripping.

Well performing windows do so much for your home, and so do your gutters! Once you’re done checking your windows, check out LeafGuard’s maintenance-free gutters.

Without well maintained gutters water can seep into the basement, causing mold or mildew, and can damage the structure of your home.

Home Projects That Protect Against Water Damage

Don’t let water damage your home.

Even if you know next to nothing about being a homeowner, you know that water damage in your home is serious. Any kind of excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and mildew growth, which not only looks disgusting, but can be hazardous to your family’s health and the integrity of your home. Water enters the home in one of three ways: through structures and materials, such as a foundation; through air; and by heat transfer. At Leafguard®, avoiding water damage is our bread and butter, and we’re here to help you protect your home with info on how doors, windows, and gutters can keep your home safe and dry.

Without well maintained gutters water can seep into the basement, causing mold or mildew, and can damage the structure of your home.

Why do well maintained gutters, windows, and doors keep moisture out of the home?

Doors:

The main way moisture enters through doors is by heat transfer. Moisture forms in the home when there are cold surfaces (such as the outside of a door) that meet with warm, indoor air. Properly maintained storm doors provide a buffer between the cold winter air and your main door to your house–eliminating or reducing a cold surface in the home.

Windows:

Similar to doors, well maintained windows (especially double or triple paned windows) keep the inner window pane well insulated and warm by blocking out cold air. Other ways that windows can keep moisture out of the home is by their basic function: ventilation. Homes need to breath, and having maintained windows that actually work can help air out your home. Lastly, many modern windows are actually equipped with a well that directs rainwater away from the house–like a tiny gutter. How great is that?

Gutters:

Gutters and downspouts route rainwater and other moisture away from your home. This prevents water pooling around your foundation, roof, and fascia (what your gutter is attached to). Without well maintained gutters water can seep into the basement, causing mold or mildew, and can damage the structure of your home.

Suggested Maintenance:

Doors:

Doors are made to withstand the elements, so their maintenance couldn’t be easier. To maintain your door’s aesthetics, keep your doors clean; chip or brush away any loose paint and wash with a mild dish soap. A pressure washer could work to keep doors clean as well. To maintain its function, lubricate all hinges with a silicone spray. If you notice a draft coming in from the bottom of the door, you can purchase or make a draft stopper for a short-term fix. You might want to check any caulking around your door, and add or replace any weather stripping. Not only will that keep you warmer, lower your heating bill, but it will drastically reduce moisture due to heat transfer.

Windows:

Similar to doors, keep windows clean and lubricate any moving parts–the hinges on casement windows are especially in demand of this kind of maintenance. In addition to these basic maintenance tips, it’s extremely important to be an observant homeowner. If you notice any of the following, you’ll need to do some maintenance, repairs, or replacements on your windows:

  • Condensation between window panes
  • Window frame wood rot–press a flathead screwdriver into the frame–if it leaves a mark, you probably have wood rot
  • Loose weather stripping

Any of these above items and you’ll need to call a handyman to take care of the issues.

Gutters:

If you had LeafGuard® Brand, maintenance free gutters, you wouldn’t need to do any maintenance at all! But for the standard gutter, you should clean the goop out of your gutters every spring and fall. Get those leaves out! Pay special attention to the downspout–if leaves are clogging it you can end up with mold or mildew inside your downspout; additionally, water won’t drain properly. Check your gutters for any cracks or holes that could lead to leaks. A leaky gutter is ineffective and doesn’t protect your foundation from water, so this is very important. Lastly, if your gutters are rusting you have incredibly old gutters. Rust grows fast and leaves huge holes in its wake. You’ll want to look into new gutters for sure. All newer gutters are made out of aluminum or vinyl. Better yet, replace those rust buckets with LeafGuard® gutters, and never clean your gutters again!

Decaying windows are a major problem for homeowners; they’re ugly, drafty, and expensive.

Window Repair Tips

Repair your windows before you need to replace them.

Windows are, without a doubt, one of the most important features in any home. They are both aesthetically pleasing and functional…or not. Decaying windows are a major problem for homeowners for several reasons. They’re ugly; peeling paint and rotted out frames look neglected and haggard. They’re drafty; leaking air will leave you feeling too cold or too hot. They’re expensive; paying for air leaks through your utility bill is a waste of money, and can cause water damage as well. Hopefully, knowing the signs of window decay can help you jump on a quick and easy window repair before replacement is necessary.

Decaying windows are a major problem for homeowners; they’re ugly, drafty, and expensive.

Image via houselogic.com

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF WINDOW DECAY?

Because windows are one of your home’s basic needs, you probably want to know what window decay looks like. If you notice any of these warning signs, you should call a professional:

Window doesn’t operate correctly

An obvious sign of window decay is that it just doesn’t work. This can mean any of the following: You can’t open your window for any reason (jammed or painted shut), you can’t keep your window open, or you can’t lock or unlock your window.

Frame shows signs of rot

Wooden window frames are particularly vulnerable to water damage, which can lead to rot. Check to see if your window frame is soft by pressing a flathead screwdriver into the frame. If it easily leaves an indentation, your frame is rotting.

Exterior paint is peeling from frame

Paint condition on and around wooden frames is another sign of water damage. Mold might be imminent if you notice paint chipping, cracking, or peeling on or around your window frame.

Trapped condensation between panes

Condensation on the inside of your window during the winter or on the outside during the summer is not a problem at all; however, if you notice condensation between the glass in your window, you have a problem with your window’s seal.

Although you might feel alarmed if you find that your windows are showing the warning signs of decay, don’t be dismayed. Being an observant and knowledgeable homeowner will save you tons of money in the long run. Window decay can often be repaired if it’s caught quickly.

REPAIR OR REPLACE?

So you’ve noticed that your window has an issue. That does not always mean that your window needs to be replaced entirely. In fact, more often than not, your window can be repaired for a fraction of the cost of a replacement window. Additionally, if you home has vintage charm and original windows, replacing those windows can actually lower the value of your home. Clever salesmen will tell you that any little problem will need a replacement window–don’t believe them. Always lean towards repair before you jump into purchasing replacement windows.

Wood Rot:

Window frames with a small amount of wood rot should simply be repaired–you can use epoxy to patch rotten spots. But, If you happen to have a lot of wood rot (for example, 75% of your window frame is rotten), you should replace your windows.

Broken Glass:

If you have relatively inexpensive vinyl windows, just go ahead and replace the window. It’ll be cheaper than purchasing a replacement pane and paying for installation. However, if you have custom or original windows, then pay the extra to repair.

Broken Seal:

If your seal is broken (you notice condensation between panes), repair. A replacement sash, as opposed to a replacement window, is your best option.

Windows that “just don’t work”:

Most of the time a faulty window can be repaired. A decent handyman should be able to repair a window that isn’t functioning up to par.

At LeafGuard® of Oklahoma, we wish that your windows could be maintenance-free, like our clog-free gutters, but, sadly, that’s just not the case. Keep an eye out for warning signs of window decay, and act fast! Although not every problem can be repaired, we hope that untimely replacement windows are not in your future.