Old man winter is coming, and for most of us that symbolizes rising utility costs, too. One way to keep these costs down is by insulating the windows in your home. By doing this, you will be able to retain more heat and potentially pay lower energy bills in the process. In this blog, we will go over different options on how to insulate your windows for winter.
If you think your windows may require more serious maintenance, seek professional help by contacting your local Mr. Handyman. Stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs by calling 877-256-3376 or request service in your area.
Window Insulation Film – Window insulation film is a plastic shrink film that is applied to the indoor window frame with double-stick tape. You will need a hair dryer to shrink the film and remove wrinkles. Window insulation kits can be found at your local hardware store or online. Typically these are priced between $10 – $15.
Door snake – A door snake is a draft stopper. They are placed in front of the bottom of the door where the draft sneaks into your home. There are a variety of different styles and shapes available. So finding a style you like that fits your door shouldn’t be hard to find, especially online. Typically these are priced between $15 – $30.
Caulking – This is probably the most common from of winter window insulation. It is low cost and relatively easy to do. Caulk can be found at any hardware store. Simply caulk the inside and outside of your window casing. For best results, you should also consider weatherstripping with caulking. Typically for both of these items combined, you can expect to pay between $15 – $30.
Rubber Weather Sealing – Rubber weather sealing uses rubber strips that are designed to cover any gaps or cracks in your window frame. Simply cut the strips to fit your window dimensions, then peel and stick rubber strips to the frame of the window to keep out drafts. These can be found at any hardware store or online. Typical prices are between $10 – $15.
Heavy Curtains: Heavy vinyl or linen curtains are a good way to help insulate your windows and reduce drafts from entering your home. This option, however, doesn’t come cheap. Curtains like these can range anywhere from $100 – $300.
The winter months have fast approached us. But before the coming cold months truly set in, make sure your windows are properly sealed. If your windows are not properly maintained, you will soon have a seriously drafty house. But how do you know when your windows need to be replaced completely, or if it’s a simple sealing issue? In this blog post, We’ll teach you how to evaluate your current window situation as well as some DIY quick fixes to reinforce your current window seals.
One of the easiest way to identify a failing window seal is condensation or fog between your glass panes — you’ll know right away that your situation is pretty severe and your windows could be at risk to break. To catch improper window seals earlier, look at your window gaskets, which are also known as blown seals. If you’re unfamiliar with window gaskets, they are the rubber seals that cushion the glazing and provide weather protection. If they looked cracked or worn in certain areas, then you can most likely fix them yourself. To replace all or some of your window caulk, follow these easy steps:
- Cut out your existing caulking with a razor blade; This will ensure the new caulking will go on smoothly.
- Place a tube of silicon rope caulk in a caulking gun: cut off only a small portion of the tip of your silicon caulk.
- Run your caulking gun along the edge of your window and smooth out with your finger.
- Let dry!
Tip: If you live in a harsh climate, you can also seal up the seam of your sliding windows. This will give you double protection in avoiding a drafty window. The seal will naturally fall away once you start opening the windows in the summer.
If you feel that your window caulking doesn’t currently need maintenance, but you still want to install some extra protection against draft, noise, bugs or dust, try installing v-seal weather stripping. Here are a few basic steps for DIY installation:
- Use a damp rag to clean your window thoroughly
- Cut stripping to the desired length
- Apply strips to the inner and outer sash of your windows (you’ll need stripping on the bottom of the inner and the top of the outer) by peeling back the protectant layer of the sealing and pressing the strip down making sure the “v” is facing down.
Tip: If your house still feels drafty, you can purchase a window snake to protect against additional cool air. You can buy one here.
Your house should now be draft free and ready to take on what winter has in store! If you think your windows may require more serious maintenance, seek professional help by finding your local Mr. Handyman here. Stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs by calling 877-256-3376 or request service in your area.
Looking at keeping the cool air out while staying extra warm this holiday season? Or maybe you are looking to save a little money by being more energy efficient. Either way installing interior storm windows is a great way of insulating your home and lowering your heating bills. Here are a few additional benefits to consider:
- Adds value to your overall home and will not impact the outside appearance of your home.
- Preserves integrity of pre-existing windows. This is important to many home owners especially those that live in a historic home or a condominium.
- More affordable than repairing or replacing current windows that are letting in cool air.
- Easy to install and are available at your local hardware store.
Interior storm windows can range from inexpensive plastic sheets to more expensive multi season glass units. Glass storm windows offer better visibility and longevity then those that are plastic. However, plastic storm windows are better for those that live in apartments, condominiums, or are on a tight budget. Plus they still deliver cost savings and get the job done.
Storm windows are available for most types of windows and are generally a better choice then exterior storm windows when it comes to creating a buffer zone. Here are a few reasons why:
- Money, money, money. Exterior storm windows are much more expensive than interior storm windows. If you can afford exterior storm windows you might want to consider investing in new energy-efficient windows instead.
- Interior storm windows are easier to install and remove then exterior storm windows.
- Interior storm windows are also easier to keep clean and maintain since they are not fighting the outdoor elements like exterior storm windows.
Keep your family warm and consider installing interior storm windows. Not sure where to start? Let Mr. Handyman help you! Stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs by calling 877-256-3376 or request service in your area.
As we near the cold, winter months there isn’t much you can still plant before the first frost shows up. However, if you’re itching to do some gardening, October is a great month to plant herbs because they will still have time to develop before the first frost. And because herbs don’t grow deep roots like many other plants, they don’t require a substantial place to live. Which is also why herbs are typically grown in pots. In addition to making great potted plants, they also are great hosts for rain gutter gardens.
We love rain gutter gardens for a few reasons: they are inexpensive, they require minimal space — making them a great option for all the city folk out there– and they can also be incredibly innovative and creative.
Rain gutter gardens are inexpensive and there are a multitude of colors, materials, and sizes to choose from. Check out all the various types of rain gutter accessories that Home Depot offers here. Make sure to also purchase an end cap set for each individual “garden” you plan to make.
Gardens made from rain gutters also require minimal space compared to traditional gardens. If you’re tight on yard space, you can still build a rain gutter garden. All you need is a wall, fence, or post to hang your rain gutter gardens. They are exceptionally efficient, and you can host them wherever they will have the best sunlight — you will not be restricted by where your yard lives. In addition, if you have a problem with pests, raccoons or other animals getting to your gardens, hanging or mounting your gutter garden on a wall will help avoid this issue in the future. For a great DIY tutorial on a hanging porch gutter garden, click here.
Lastly, rain gutter gardens can be extremely innovative and creative. You can use them to create a vertical living wall, an efficient watering system, or an artistic expression. Watch this video for a great step-by-step tutorial on building a DIY vertical garden using rain gutters. And for other rain gutter garden ideas, check out this blog post.
Whether it’s this fall or next spring, DIY rain gutter gardens make a great practical and unique addition to any home. For professional assistance with your next in-home repairs or DIY weekend project, find your local Mr. Handyman by calling 877-256-3376 or request service in your area.
Cleaning gutters is mostly viewed as an overwhelming task. The thought of climbing a ladder with an accompanying bucket and manually scooping out leaves from a gutter just doesn’t appeal to most. Is there a way to get around this? The answer is….yes, there is! In this blog, we will talk about the (little known) ultimate DIY gutter cleaning tool. This tool requires a little work and allows you to clean the gutters effectively. All without climbing on a ladder or manually scooping out leaves!
The tool we are talking about? None other than a customized PVC attachment to your water hose! This unique attachment allows you to spray out leaves and debris without climbing a ladder! Below are step by step instructions and video by Howcast.
Step 1: Cut 2 lengths of pipe
Cut 2 6-inch lengths of pipe from the 10-foot section with your saw.
Step 2: Glue the short sections
Use PVC cement to connect the 2 small sections to one of the 90-degree elbows.
Dry-fit the sections together before gluing to make sure they fit snugly.
Step 3: Connect the other elbow
Join one of the ends of one of the small sections to the other 90-degree elbow with PVC cement.
Step 4: Connect the long piece
Connect the remaining 10-foot section of PVC pipe to the open end of the 90-degree elbow to form a long, J-shaped hook and glue a solid end cap to the short end of the hook. Then drill 3 1/8-inch-diameter holes in the cap.
Step 5: Attach a hose adapter
Glue a threaded adapter onto the opposite end of the pipe and attach your garden hose.
Step 6: Clean the gutter
Place the short end of the hook inside your gutter and then turn on the water. Walk around the house holding the long end of the hook and three high-pressure streams of water will shoot out of the holes you drilled, cleaning the gutters.
Would you rather have someone clean your gutters for you instead? Let Mr. Handyman take care of the gutters this year! Stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs by calling 877-256-3376 or request service in your area.
Drought problems can wreak havoc on any garden. If you have drought problems where you live, or if you are looking to cut your water bill, consider adding a rain barrel system to your home. Rain barrels are a simple way of collecting non-chemically treated rain water for other uses such as your garden. Also, homeowners can place the barrel under a down spout to direct water into the barrel increasing the amount of water caught. It doesn’t get much better than that!
A typical wood or plastic rain barrel will hold anywhere from 40-80 gallons of water. On average this will be enough to keep any garden growing. Another option for homeowners are flexible water tanks. These tanks can hold up to 5,000 gallons and are often called “onion tanks” or rectangular “pillow tanks.” These types of tanks are recommended for low and wide spaces like underneath a deck or crawl space.
If you are motivated to start collecting rainwater here are a few items that you will need to make your system successful:
- You need to invest in gutters if you don’t already have them on your home. Gutters are an essential part in directing your downspout to the barrel to collect water.
- The rain barrel or tank. You can purchase a pre-made barrel for approximately $100 or a do-it yourself kit from you local hardware store starting for around $50.00.
- A screen to filter out leaves, pine needles, or any other debris found on your roof. Simply mount a removable screen to the top of the barrel or at the bottom of the downspout. And remember to keep your gutters clean. Clean gutters will cut down on debris and clogs to your rain barrel.
- A lid to protect your rain barrel from mosquitoes breeding in the water and to keep other small animals and children out of the barrel.
- Last but not least, you will need a distribution device. Attach a spigot with an on/off valve or a short hose to the bottom of the barrel. This will allow you to access the water and use where needed.
Looking to get started? If a drought busting rain barrel system is right for you think about contacting the locally owned and operated Mr. Handyman in your area – were ready to help you cross of this home improvement project from your to-do list.
Most of us know that this is the time of year to clean gutters. What most of us may not know is how to clean gutters safely. Every year, there are far too many cases of personal injury (including death) and property damage from individuals unsafely gutter cleaning. In this blog, we will include several tips to stay safe while cleaning your gutters this season. We urge all of our readers to follow (and share) these safety tips to prevent damage to your property and a trip to the emergency room.
The easiest step (and probably most overlooked) is to let someone know you will be using a ladder to clean your gutters. Having someone keeping an eye on you can help reduce the risk of going unattended in the event of injury or prevent injury all together.
Use a safe and sturdy ladder with shelving that can hold a five-gallon bucket to collect gutter debris. Make sure to secure the bucket with a lanyard. It is generally recommended that a four-legged stepladder is used for a single-story home and an extension ladder is used for a two-story home. The ladder should be inspected for loose parts (notably screws and bolts), dents, and defects before climbing.
Still overwhelmed about cleaning the gutters this season? Let Mr. Handyman take care of your gutters this year! Call now at 877-256-3376 or request service in your area.
Protect Your Hands
Wearing the proper work gloves can protect your hands from sharp debris, animal waste, dirt and other hazards. Rubber and cotton gloves are not recommended as they are too thin for the moisture and sharp debris that is commonly found in gutters. A thick suede glove is preferred due to its durability and flexibility. Leather gloves can be less maneuverable and can shrivel up after being wet.
Wearing protective goggles prevents most eye injuries. Mice, birds, frogs, wasps and bees are a few of the different animals and insects that can be living within the debris. You also want to mentally prepare yourself to see an animal and/or insect to avoid startling yourself and falling off a ladder or roof.
Watch Out for Power Lines
This should go without saying but do not attempt to clean gutters where power lines are exposed or may be loose. If the power line appears to be damaged, do not attempt to repair it; instead, call a licensed electrical contractor to fix it. Repair all hazardous electrical wiring before cleaning out your gutters. Certainly, do not attempt to clean gutters under wet conditions with any exposed or loosen electrical wires. Lastly, avoid using a metal ladder near power lines when gutter cleaning. A fiberglass ladder is a better safety solution in this situation.
Getting out of the bathtub or shower can be a difficult thing for some of us. According to a recent study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, more than 43,000 children 18 years and younger in the United States are treated in hospital emergency departments annually for injuries occurring in a bathtub or shower. On an average, 370 persons of all ages sustain injuries from bathtub/shower daily in the United States, according to the National Safety Council. There is a solution to help solve this glaring problem. Grab bars.
Grab bars are often associated with hospitals and public restrooms. Don’t let that perception fool you. Having a grab bar installed in your bathroom can be the difference between safely getting out of the bathtub/shower or heading to the emergency room. Grab bars help prepare you for those slippery steps getting out of the bathtub or shower. Most associate bathroom falls with the older population but getting in and out of a bathtub/shower isn’t easy, regardless of age. Younger people suffering from an injury (sore knee, sprained ankle, broken toe, etc.) face an extreme amount of difficulty getting out of a bathtub or shower.
Grab bars reduce the risk of a fall by offering support while getting in and out of the bathtub or shower. Installing a vertical grab bar inside your shower 18 to 24 inches from the shower head can help in safely entering and exiting the shower. When installing a grab bar for someone with an injury or disability, have that person help you find the best location. Wall-mounted grab bars typically are more stable than tub mounted bars. That’s if they are installed properly into walls that are in good condition, Tub-mounted bars attach directly on the bathtub, so you have to be cautious as they can easily detach when used incorrectly.
Keep your family safe and prevent bathroom falls by installing a grab bar. Not sure where to start? Let Mr. Handyman help you! Stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs by calling 877-256-3376 or request service in your area.
Drip drop, drip drop. A leaky faucet is an annoying problem that will only get worse. Fortunately this is a problem that can be inexpensive to fix. Before you get started here are a few troubleshooting tips:
- Know what type of faucet you have
- Determine the severity of the leak and the source
- Make sure the faucet is tightened properly
- Take the faucet apart and inspect the O ring or washer
- Obtain replacement parts if needed
- Install new parts or new faucet
The cause of most leaky faucets can be fixed by replacing the O ring or washer. If this is the source of your problem you want to make sure that you prepare for the job before you start with the following steps:
- Shut off the water
- Cover sink with a towel or rag to catch any loose parts
- Make sure you have the proper tools
- Layout the parts
- Inspect and replace O ring or washer
- Put faucet back together and test
Tip: Take the O ring to your local hardware store to locate the correct size to make sure it is an exact fit.
Need help with your leaky faucet? Let Mr. Handyman take care of that for you! Stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs by calling 877-256-3376 or request service in your area.