How to Fix Condensation in Double-Pane Windows


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Most experts agree that condensation or fogging inside of a double-pane window technically is not a fixable problem—at least not in the sense that your window can be restored to its original level of performance. Presently, there are two different ways to deal with condensation: either replace the window (you can usually replace only the glass unit and not the whole window) or hire a local company to drill holes in the outer pane, clean the windows from the inside and install one-way air vents to help prevent future condensation. 

If your condensation problems are in a sliding glass door or a window that is likely to have tempered glass (for example, if the window has more than 9 sq. ft. of glass area and is less than 18 inches above the floor), your only option is replacement. This is because it’s essentially impossible to drill tempered glass without breaking it. You should assume that all doors with double-pane glass areas large enough to fit a 3-inch sphere through them are made with tempered glass (or in some cases, laminated safety glass). 

Replacing Double-pane Windows

Double-pane windows, also called “insulated” or “thermal” windows, are made with two panels of glass sandwiched over a spacer and sealant, creating a space between the panes that is filled with air or with a gas, usually argon or krypton. It is this sealed space that gives the window most of it’s thermal performance. The spacer may also contain a desiccant material to help absorb and moisture in the air within the sealed space. Condensation in a thermal window typically indicates a failure of the seal between the glass panels and/or saturation of the desiccant.

Because a breached seal allows fresh air and water vapor to enter the window space, a condensation problem simply becomes a function of nature. Condensation is also a sure sign that gas-filled windows are no longer so. And since there’s no way to re-seal an insulated window, replacement of the glass is the only option for restoring maximum thermal performance, in addition to solving the condensation problem. As mentioned, most glazing on insulated windows can be replaced as a unit, which saves you the expense and remodeling work of replacing the entire window, frame and all.

If your windows are still under warrantee, the first step is to contact the supplier or manufacturer, since replacement may be free. If the warrantee has expired, it’s still a good idea to consult with the manufacturer to discuss the recommended replacement options. Many local glass companies can also fabricate new window units in any size.

While insulated window restoration companies may claim that their processes can restore most of your window’s thermal performance (in addition to eliminating condensation), these claims remain hotly disputed.

Restoring Insulated Windows

The only way to rid a thermal window of condensation is by removing the moist air in between the panes and replacing it with dry air. And there’s a professional service based on this very technique. Thermal window restoration or repair companies come to your house and drill a small hole (3/8-inch or so) at one top and bottom corner of the affected window. They spray various liquid solutions onto the inside faces of the panes through the top hole and suck them out through the bottom hole. Once the window is clean and dry, the holes are sealed with little vent plugs that allow air and water vapor to escape the window cavity but don’t let them back in.

Will this process work for your windows? It might. Or it might not. There are numerous consumer accounts in both directions. In any case, restoration companies commonly claim that their process costs 1/3 to ½ as much as glass replacement. And don’t even consider a service that doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee.

Deciding Which Way to Go

This can be a tough call, and you should examine your options carefully. If you decide to try restoration and it doesn’t work, you won’t really devalue the window further, since it has already failed. On the other hand, if the restoration isn’t satisfactory and the company doesn’t make good, you’ll be out the cost of restoration and will still be faced with paying for new glass. Of course, if thermal performance is a high priority, replacement is clearly the best option. 

Easy season: Fall gardening spells success

Favorable fall conditions mean growing cool weather crops is comparatively easy, with less watering and care needed for a successful garden. Cool crops will start out strong, growing quickly and then slow their growth as days become shorter and cooler. You’ll also need to work less to protect your garden from pests, as both insects and animal populations will taper off in fall. And since weeds will germinate less frequently and grow slower, weeding won’t be a time-consuming task. Finally, more rain and less sun and heat mean you’ll need to water less.

If you’re ready for gardening success, now is the time to grab that hoe, break some ground and get growing. Tips to get you started:

Pick your plants

Start with transplants, rather than seed. A shorter, gentler growing season means you need to get started right away. Many local garden centers will have a selection of transplants from producers like Bonnie Plants that will grow well in your geographic region. Transplants will be six weeks old and give you a jump start. You’ll be able to harvest sooner than if you start from seed and skip the volatile, sometimes unsuccessful, seed-starting process. Bonnie’s transplants come in earth-friendly biodegradable pots, making planting easy, preventing transplant shock and sparing the use of much plastic. As the pot biodegrades, it’ll add nutrients to your soil, too.

Choose cool crops that your family likes to eat. Popular fall favorites include:

* Lacinato kale -A cold-hardy vegetable, kale leaves sweeten after frost. Kale is a super food, and Lacinato leaves extend excellent health benefits, lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer and decreasing inflammation.

* Early dividend broccoli – Many greens love the fall, and broccoli is no exception. Plant stalks 18 inches apart and get ready for an easy, hearty harvest. Broccoli is high in fiber and calcium.

* Cabbage – The quintessential fall vegetable, Bonnie’s hybrid cabbage grows large, round blue-green heads. From salads to stews, cabbage adds a punch of flavor and nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, and plenty of fiber.

* Romaine lettuce – Romaine packs a big punch with more vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients than other popular types of lettuce. Rich in fiber, vitamin C and beta-carotene, romaine is especially good for heart health. Space transplants 18 inches apart.

Once you know what you’ll be planting, it’s time to get the ground ready. Remove any garden debris from the past season’s garden and remove weeds before they go to seed.

Size up your soil. Loosen compacted soil, fluffing it up with a garden fork. Soil test and amend if necessary. Adding a 2-inch layer of bagged compost is always good practice. You can also spread a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, according to labeled instructions, for added nutrients.

Plants will need an inch of moisture per week, either through rain or supplemental watering. You might want to consider raised bed planting; beds are easy to build or buy and allow you to start out with good quality soil. Plus, you’ll bend less come harvest time.

Position your plot and let the sunshine in. Most vegetables need full sun – at least six hours per day. Finally, don’t fear frost. When frost threatens, cover plants with floating row cover, cold frame or a cloche. Or, you can grow fall veggies in a container and move pots to a protected location on frosty nights.

Whether you’re working in the backyard, a raised bed or in containers on a deck, you’ll see how easy and successful fall planting can be. Start now to ensure you enjoy a healthy, plentiful and fulfilling fall harvest. For more tips on fall gardening visit www.bonnieplants.com.

Autumn edibles: Tips for fall gardening and second plantings

(BPT) – People choose to garden for many reasons: Food is fresher and tastes better. It’s a healthy hobby that exercises the body. It saves money. Numerous reports show an increasing number of homeowners are growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.

As summer’s end nears, you may think gardening season is over. The good news is with a few strategic tips, you can keep your green thumb going and enjoy a plethora of autumn edibles for months to come.

Step 1: Select second plantings

Second plantings are the plants you use for the latter part of the gardening season. Late summer is typically the best time to plant these varieties. Call your local extension offices or access information online to find regionalized planting schedules and recommended plant varieties.

The length of the fall season and when the first frost will likely hit are important considerations when selecting second plantings. Keep in mind that fast-maturing vegetables are ideal for fall gardening and they should be planted early enough to reach maturity before the first frost arrives.

Popular second plantings that yield a delicious late fall/early winter harvest include broccoli, lettuce, turnips, collards, carrots, peas, radish, spinach, leeks and beets. Some people even claim root vegetables and cole crops like kale and turnips taste better after the first frost.

Step 2: Prepare your garden space

If you plan to use your current garden space for second plantings, remove the early-season plants that are done producing. Add those plants to your current compost bin or create a new compost pile with easy-to-use, stylish options from Outdoor Essentials. Wood-slate bins blend well with the outdoor aesthetic and the design allows oxygen to circulate and facilitate the composting process.

Next, prepare your garden space. Elevated garden beds are growing in popularity because they look great anywhere in your yard or on your patio, and are easy to move if necessary. Raised garden beds from Outdoor Essentials elevate the plants so gardeners don’t have to bend over and risk injury. They are ideal for fall because gardeners can regulate the temperature of raised beds with ease. On hot days, move or add a shade netting to protect plants from the heat; when frost is a threat, cover the entire bed for protection.

While you’re getting your hands dirty, fall is the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs. A little outdoor work now and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers when spring arrives next year.

Step 3: Enjoy the harvest

Tend your garden daily for the best results – it may just need a quick check for pests and proper soil moisture. Typical benefits of late-season gardening include fewer bothersome bugs and the soil has better water retention.

As plants grow, pick the fruits and vegetables and enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty. If your plants become crowded, pluck a few out to help remaining plants grow roots and increase the harvest yield. You may be surprised just how many cool months your plants provide you with fresh, delicious produce.

Fall is a great opportunity to keep gardening momentum alive. So get started and decide what second plantings are best for your space. In as little as 30 days you could be eating the freshest, most flavorful vegetables you’ve ever had, all while under the gorgeous autumn sun.

Financing: Advice for Homebuyers

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Financing: Advice for Homebuyers

This YouTube channel, provided courtesy of Chase, offers the ins and outs of mortgages, how the loan process works and how to select a lender. Worthy of viewing regardless of whom you select as your lender.

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The top home decorating trend: Infusing natural elements into the decor

(BPT) – Nature is bringing a breath of freshness into home decorating, but it’s more than just incorporating flowering pots or opening windows. The latest home decorating trend features natural elements in the textures and finishes of furniture and accessories, giving homeowners an elegant – and often calming– result of blending nature and home living into a beautiful space.

“We really want to see the handprint of nature in our homes now,” says Elaine Griffin, New York interior designer and author of Design Rules. “Organic in the home is huge. It’s one of the biggest trends for the year, and it’s going to stay with us for a while.”

Bring this elegance into your own home with the following decorating suggestions from Griffin:

* Bring exotic looks into your kitchen with new cabinets that go beyond the basic oak or cherry woods. Griffin suggests using rosewood or zebra wood – woods formerly reserved for custom furniture. And as both new construction and remodeling projects embrace the open floor plan concept, cabinets are visible from several rooms, which makes it a style upgrade not only for the kitchen, but for adjacent spaces, as well.

* The latest furniture design trends also reflect the growing popularity of organic materials and textures, Griffin says, whether it’s a table tops left in the natural oak wood finish, or driftwood incorporated into furniture or accessories. The pale gray coloring of driftwood, combined with honey or pale colors used on other furniture or the walls is opening up spaces – moving away from the darker colors.

* The natural look isn’t just for the kitchen and living areas; it’s also perfect for the bathroom. Robern vanities and mirrors featuring Digital Wood harness the warmth of six different wood species using high-definition scans that are printed on the backside of the glass surface. The result: an easy-to-maintain material that won’t be affected by the humidity or heat commonly found in bathrooms.

“What’s genius about these new finishes from Robern is that they used the best technology to create a convincing representation of real wood that you couldn’t typically use in a bathroom,” Griffin says. “Plus, the collection has so many wood prints that you can get one that matches your bathroom style.”

* The era of matching all fabrics, styles and materials in a room has shifted into combining elements of all into a beautiful room setting, Griffin says.

“All great rooms need a mixture of finishes for furniture, with something that’s painted, something that’s wood, something that’s a metallic gold leaf, something that’s ceramic,” she says. “That’s the secret to professionally styled rooms.”

A trend to consider: the Belgium-influenced neo-industrial style, which brings a softer, natural yet industrial touch to rooms. “It’s a soft industrial. It means you’ve combined the wood elements with metal. And that metal could be gold leaf,” Griffin advises.

Creating warm, comfortable surroundings infused with a sense of eco-elegance is why the natural elements trend has been so embraced. About to embark on your own remodel or home refresh? Be sure to explore how bringing natural elements– whether they’re salvaged materials or realistic pretenders– into your decor can enhance the ambiance of the room.

Five swimming pool myths that are all wet

From the belief that it costs too much to operate a pool to the misconception it will go unused, myths about pool ownership abound – and they likely dissuade some homeowners from making this valuable home improvement. If you’ve been considering adding a swimming pool to your outdoor environment, here are five common myths that simply don’t hold water:

Myth: Pools are too costly to install.

Reality: A swimming pool is a significant home improvement investment, there’s no denying it. However, the cost of a pool will depend on many factors, including the size of your yard, the dimensions of the pool and the materials you choose. When compared to other significant discretionary expenditures such as a family vacation – which costs the average family nearly $4,800 for one week of fun each year – a pool can be a high-value investment that pays for itself in just a few years. Of course, finding the right installer is key to a positive, cost-effective purchase. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) offers an online member locator to help consumers find an APSP Certified Professional in their area.

Myth: It’s difficult and costly to maintain a pool.

Reality: Long gone are the days when operating a pool pump could cost almost as much as running your central air conditioning during the summer. Pool pumps and filtration systems are more energy efficient than ever, saving money on electricity costs. Plus, improvements in filtration system and purification chemicals mean you’ll need less product to keep a pool sparkling throughout the summer. In fact, when it comes to pool maintenance, 63 percent of pool owners say maintaining correct water chemistry is no -trouble at all, according to an APSP survey.

Myth: Pools are not energy efficient.

Reality: Modern pool pumps require much less electricity to operate than you might think. Energy-efficient pumps can use up to 30 percent less power to operate. When compared to other household sources of electricity consumption, swimming pools are a small percentage of a home’s overall energy use. What’s more, these systems can be even more cost effective when solar powered. Accessories can help conserve energy, too. For example, using a solar cover on an inground pool when it’s not in use can help the water retain heat and keep debris out of the pool, which means less work for the filtration system – and you.

Myth: A pool won’t enhance my home’s value.

Reality: Buyers like homes that have swimming pools: Among people who purchased a home with an existing swimming pool, an eye-opening 78 percent said the presence of the pool contributed to their decision to buy the house, according to the APSP survey. Depending on where you live, a pool may enhance your home’s appeal to prospective buyers even more – especially if you live in a region with very hot summers or a year-round temperate climate.

Myth: If we get a pool, we’ll never use it.

Reality: People who own pools say they spend a lot of time in them, and it’s quality time. Seventy-six percent of pool owners say they are extremely or very satisfied with their pools. They also consider it a great place for gatherings, and believe that having a pool entices their family to spend more time together in their own backyards. Owners say they use their pools for relaxation, entertainment, celebrations and exercise, and 96 percent say they are satisfied with their pools.

To learn more about how fun pool ownership can be, visit the APSP’s website at www.apsp.org.

Easy ways to incorporate timeless style into your home

Start out small
If the idea of transforming a large room into a traditionally styled one seems overwhelming, start on a smaller scale, like in the master bathroom. Keep the cabinets and counters neutral and add some glamor with the wall and accent colors. Favored shades in traditional decorating are jewel tones, like topaz and golds; deep reds and rose quartz; marine blues and vibrant greens. Use accessories like embroidered towels, bronze or iron bath accessory ensembles and potpourri bowls as the perfect finishing touches.

Another great way to add traditional flair to your bath is with elegant and elaborate fixtures. Look for a faucet with unique and detailed design elements, like the new Weymouth bathroom collection from Moen. From the European-influenced decorative script on the porcelain inlays to the refined top finial, this collection definitely stands apart. And just because you’re incorporating stylish, traditional items, doesn’t mean you have to skimp on modern functionality or features. You can reduce water usage by up to 32 percent, thanks to a water-saving aerator. Tie the whole space together by selecting an Old World finish, such as Oil Rubbed Bronze, and you’ll create a traditional suite that’s comforting and classic.
 
Difference in the details
One of the best ways to add traditional style throughout your entire home is with architectural details, like moldings, chair rails or ceiling medallions. It’s easier to add these elements than you may think – and at a reasonable price. Peel and stick crown molding from Easy Crown Molding allows you to add the luxurious look of custom molding to your home. In less than one hour – and without tools – you can complete an entire room. Simply pick your desired trim style and width and get started.

Lush fabrics are also key to achieving a traditional look and feel in these spaces. But, don’t be afraid of the elegance found in traditional decor. Silks, satins, velvets and brocades are going to be your go-to fabrics for pillows and upholstered furniture. Be sure to stay away from solids – mixing coordinating patterns, like florals, stripes and scrolling, add even more richness. Don’t forget to make a statement with your windows, too – hang draperies that are full and heavy, and be sure to tie them back with ornate tassels for a look that is unmistakably traditional. It’s often easy to find great traditional pieces at affordable prices at department stores like Macy’s or Target. From pillows to curtains, bedding and even furniture, your local department store is one of the best places to start your traditional search.

Bringing traditional styling to your home is much easier – and accessible – than you think. With the right updates and additions to your space, you’ll achieve a look that’s timeless and refined. For more information about the new Weymouth collection from Moen, visit moen.com.