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5 Must-Do Fall Home Improvement Projects to Cut Your Heating Bills

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, doors, Glass Block, Windows

5 must do fall home improvement projects to save heating costs | Innovate Building Solutions Cleveland and Columbus Ohio

I stepped out of my hotel room in Columbus yesterday with a short-sleeved shirt (I’m still in a summer mind-set). The wind was blowing. It was cold, breezy and 56 degrees. I thought, “Why didn’t I check the weather on my phone this morning? Does the summer have to blow by so fast?” I suppose that was Mother Natures’ way of saying to me, “Hey Dude – you live in Ohio. The one thing constant about the weather here is it’s going to change!”

Unfortunately, the decline in temperatures is also joined at the hip with higher bills from the oh-so-friendly heating company. Before the utility company gets you (and I) with high heating bills, now is the time to do the right home improvement project this Fall before you get a bad news bill delivered into your mailbox this Winter.

If your home is not very energy efficient (OK –if we’re keeping it real you’d say it leaks like a sieve) think through which of the following 5 must-do Fall home improvement projects need to be on your list. If you don’t think about this now, you could get stuck with “Joe’s-Quick-And-Dirty Home Improvement Company” whose been on the Angie’s List – naughty list instead a reputable high-quality replacement window and door contractor to do your job.

Must-do Fall Home Improvement Project #1 – Start at the beginning – your front entry door

Want the best return on your home improvement investment this Fall? The top ROI is (as it seems to be every year) the front entry door. Each year the Cost/Value study conducted by Remodeling Magazine finds this the best home improvement project to get the biggest bang for your buck. If you want to make a bigger splash in style and energy efficiency a fiberglass entry door with an insulated foam core is the ticket. Add sizzle and make your home architecturally correct with a decorative glass package which can complement your home whether it is Craftsman style, Mid-Century modern, transitional or whatever!

Fiberglass front entry doors with decorative Craftsman style glass and sidelights | Cleveland Window Company and Clear Choice Window - Cleveland and Columbus Ohio

If you want a simple plain door to keep the cold out – the steel entry door is utilitarian, functional and a sound investment.

Must-do Fall Improvement Project #2 – The “fog collector” – your sliding patio doors

Why is it that the sliding glass patio doors are a magnet for fog, difficult to open and close and are the flimsiest doors in your house (almost begging vandals to say, “come right in?”). Aluminum sliding patio doors and early generation vinyl patio doors were not made for your families rugged use today.

With advancements made in low E (low emissivity glass), more durable frames and even insulation inside of the frame – today’s patio doors don’t resemble your Grandpa’s of yesteryear. If you want to not only improve energy efficiency but add style as well – converting to a French patio door system is a nice upgrade.

Sliding vinyl framed patio doors | Cleveland Window Company and Clear Choice Windows Columbus Ohio

Must-do Fall Home Improvement Project #3 – The deteriorated bathroom window

Perhaps the second ugliest (I’ll get to the #1 ugliest window in project #5) window in the house is your bathroom window. In many 50+ year old homes this window was not designed for the way you use it today.

If you have a tub/shower unit in your 5’ x 8’ bathroom you know what I’m talking about. There is a window which opens up and down (also called a double hung) smack dab in the middle of your shower. You’ve often wondered, “why the heck did they put a wood trimmed window (which of course now is deteriorating badly) in the middle of my shower?” Well, back in the day, this window wasn’t in the middle of someone’s shower – it was in the middle of someone’s bathtub (back in the old days people took more baths than showers). So today – with you and your family using the space as a shower, this poor wood (or metal) framed window has deteriorated beyond belief. The question becomes – how do you get a window which will work (and last) in the middle of your shower?

Here are the 3 best solutions (in no order):

  • Obscure glass vinyl replacement windowA vinyl window can take the beating of the constant shower water and it is custom-sized to fit the size of your opening.
  • Casement style acrylic block window This crank open window gives you the privacy of a “glass block” style unit, but unlike the glass blocks it fully opens. It is more expensive than the blocks – but has the benefit of full operability allowing you to not invest in an exhaust fan to get humidity out (and keep mold away).
Casement style high privacy acrylic block window in a tile shower with decorative glass block walls | Innovate Building Solutions

This casement style acrylic block window fully opens providing air flow into and out of this walk in glass block shower

  • Glass block window with an air vent – Using a Protect-All style glass block bathroom window with an air vent you’ll get a high-privacy, hard to break window which is perfect for a first floor bathroom. It also can get air flow into and out of the shower with a hopper style air vent (which is usually placed near the top).
Protect all glass block bathroom window in a high privacy Icescapes pattern with an air vent | Innovate Building Solutions

This exterior view of the glass block window shows the high privacy Iceberg pattern for this 1st floor window

Must-do Fall Home Improvement Project #4 – The big-old front picture window

The picture window – usually the largest window in your home – practically begs for your attention. It is one of the first things people see and it’s your “window” (yes – bad pun intended) to take in the good (and bad) things going on outside. If this window (or window frame) is cracked, fogged (or the storm window on the outside screams out like Jeff Forxworthy would say, “You know you’re a red-neck when you’ve got an old ugly half-falling off storm window on the front of your home”) perhaps it’s time to replace your picture window.

What’s nice is a picture window can be much more than just a big-old non-operable window on the front of your home. Have you thought about what it could be like if you had some windows (usually crank out windows or double hung windows) on the side of your fixed picture window which would open so you could get fresh air into your living room? Don’t be limited by the design of your existing window. Think outside the box (‘er window in this case) and open up to the possibilities of a not only more energy efficient new window – but one which adds more function and style as well (and gets rid of your “junkyard-dog” storm window also).

Picture window in Cleveland with 2 double hung windows on the sides | Cleveland Window Company and Clear Choice Window & Door Columbus Ohio

Must-do Fall Home Improvement Project #5 – The “no respect” basement windows

Is there anything less sexy in your home than your basement windows? These bug-infested lower level guys have been the red-haired-stepchild from day-one. The builder slapped the cheapest junk down there they could get away (they figured – nobody really looks at these windows anyway – slap in something cheap). Now you’re stuck (or are you?) with these windows.

Most metal basement windows have rusted frames and the wood windows have deteriorated since they absorb moisture and are partially in the ground (it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out lower level wood windows exposed to water around your foundation are destined to fail).

The best – most-cost effective – way to tackle basement windows is to use glass blocks. They are thick, durable and 10x more energy efficient than your existing windows. If you want to kick these replacement basement windows up a notch use the premium Protect All basement windows. They are constructed with vinyl spacers between the blocks both vertically and horizontally which makes them 22% more efficient than a standard mortared glass block window. In addition, there are no mortar joints between the blocks to maintain (there are only 1/8” slim silicone joints).

Protect all glass block basement window for lower heating bills and improved privacy and security | Innovate Building Solutions

Conclusion

After looking at these 5 fall home improvement projects which one needs to be on your list this year? Choose the one which you think will give you the biggest bang for your remodeling bucks. If you want to know more (or give us your 2 cents worth) about these 5 ideas (or others which should have made the top 5 list) comment below or call us.

Can I (or a member of my team) help you further?

We would love to help you with your Fall home improvement needs (whether you live in Cleveland, Columbus – or anywhere in the country). For a free no-pressure estimate on vinyl replacement windows, entry and storm door call Cleveland Window (216-531-4118) or Clear Choice Window & Door (614-545-6885). For glass block basement or bathroom windows call Columbus Glass Block (614-252-5888), Cleveland Glass Block (216-531-6363) or for nationwide supply of Protect All glass block windows Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888.

Get more remodeling tips by following me on Twitter @Mike_Foti or my company @InnovateBuild. I’m looking forward to connecting with you.

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Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

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