When you decide to buy an older house and convert it to rental office space, you face exhilarating challenges. As a newcomer to the commercial real estate business, even the smallest decisions you make will have an impact on your bottom line. One important choice is to make the building energy efficient for long-term operational cost savings. A key component of your energy efficiency plan is the selection of windows to replace the old, drafty ones in the building. Smart money is on Energy Star certified windows which, along with certified doors and skylights, can save an average of 12% on energy bills. The other important choice about windows is selecting ones that are handsome and compatible with the structure’s architectural features. Your designer and your window installation contractor will be invaluable guides in matching building and window styles. Some of the most popular pairings for conversions include:
Single-Pane, Double-Hung for a Queen Anne Conversion
Although Queen Anne is the official architectural nomenclature for the large, highly decorated houses of late 19th century, well-to-do neighborhoods, they’re often referred to as Victorian houses. Numerous rooms, some with interconnecting doors, on multiple floors make a Queen Anne ideal for tenants who only need smaller office spaces to conduct their business. In many areas, occupants tend to be counselors, consultants and professionals in the mental health field who find the cozy room layouts attractive for their practices.
While the exterior of a Queen Anne dazzles with gingerbread woodwork and fancy embellishments, the windows are notably plain. Replace the old windows with modern, but similarly simple, double-hung single-pane windows that
Sliding Glass and Plate Glass Windows for a Ranch Style Conversion
Widely popular for suburban neighborhoods from the 1930s through 1980s, the layout of a ranch style house makes it a good match for tenants such as independent insurance agencies and accounting firms. What was once the master bedroom becomes the owner’s big office. Other bedrooms become private offices for associates, and the living room with its big, plate glass picture window houses support staff in an open office configuration.
The original picture window was likely mounted in an aluminum frame that developed mold and condensation problems. Replace it with a fresh, new window in a tight-fitting frame that is tinted or treated with a reflective coating for privacy and increased energy efficiency.
Throughout the rest of the house, keep the new windows true to the original plans by installing vinyl sliding glass windows that the occupants can easily open for fresh air and lock tightly when they leave.
Multi-Pane, Double-Hung Windows for a Cape Cod Conversion
Standing in symmetrical dignity with a prominent front entrance and gabled roof, Cape Cod house-to-office conversions are particularly attractive to lawyers and professional practices with an upscale clientele. The windows are a distinctive feature of Cape Cod architectural style and are typically framed by shutters. In keeping with the classic style, choose multi-pane windows that are double-hung for opening at the top, bottom or both.
TIP: As an additional convenience for your tenants, the windows should have a tilt-out feature so the janitorial service has easy access for routine cleaning.
The newly installed windows will help make your converted property look great for the type of quality tenants you want to attract. Additionally, the energy efficiency is a strong selling point on the way to signing a lease agreement that’s beneficial for their future business and your investment returns. For more advice, contact a company like Fischer Window and Door Store.
From checking your plumbing for clogs and leaks to ensuring your roof is sturdy enough to provide shelter, it is easy to see how maintaining your home can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, most homeowners do not place much emphasis on the humidity level inside their home. High humidity not only increases the risk of dangerous mold growth, but it can also lead to home damage, expensive repairs, and high energy costs.
High humidity levels inside the home may stem from a variety of issues. However, understanding how your doors and windows contribute to indoor air quality and humidity levels is smart. Using this guide, you will understand the dangers of high humidity and learn if you need to replace or improve your doors and windows.
High Humidity Dangers
If humidity is high in your home, you may first notice a clammy feel in your house and on your skin. This moisture is not only uncomfortable, but it can also lead to serious health issues while damaging your home.
To test the humidity, consider investing in a hygrometer. Hold the hygrometer in the air at a few different locations of your home. The meter will take a measurement after a few seconds. Healthy levels will be between 30 and 50 percent. If your levels are measuring over 50 percent, humidity is high in your home.
High levels of humidity may irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory system. If mold begins to develop due to the moisture in your home, you may also develop serious breathing issues, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches.
An increased level of humidity can also cause paint and wallpaper to peel, decreasing the look of your home. In addition, your house may have a foul, musty odor.
Signs It Could Be Your Doors and Windows
Inspecting your doors and windows periodically is essential for preventing and correcting a humidity issue.
Start on the exterior of your home and look for gaps between the exterior siding and the doors and windows. If you notice gaps, conditioned air is not only leaking out of your home, but the outside air is also seeping into your home. During the summer, the air from the outside can increase your home’s humidity levels.
After inspecting the exterior parts of your doors and windows, move to the inside of your home. Check for visual gaps between the frames of doors and windows on the inside. Inspect the threshold of each door. If you see daylight peeking through, the gap is also allowing air in and out of your home.
Not all air leaks are visible, so you should also use your hands to feel for air leaks. Move your hands along the sides of the doors and windows. Air moving through the cracks between the frames and doors or windows is a cause of humidity problems.
If you notice visible cracks that are less than ¼-inch wide or feel air seeping into your home, apply a caulking compound to seal up these cracks. The application of caulk will prevent air leaks, preventing any further increase in your high humidity levels. To seal up cracks around doors and windows, opt for a water-based foam sealant. Water-based foam sealants do not expand, so you do not need to worry about the sealant stopping the doors and windows from opening properly.
Condensation on glass doors and windows is also a sign of high humidity. Over time, this condensation can cause the wood frames to warp and rot. In most cases of damage due to condensation and humidity, you will need to replace the frames, doors, and windows.
Replace your old, damaged doors and windows with energy efficient options to restore your indoor air to a healthy, non-humid state while also decreasing energy usage. Less air will leak through these new energy efficient windows, reducing your home’s risk of moisture and humidity. Also, new energy efficient windows reduce energy costs by up to 12 percent.
High humidity can affect your health and the quality of your home, so proper understanding is smart. With this guide, you will learn the dangers of high humidity and determine if your doors and windows are a cause for concern. Contact a company like Statewide Energy Solutions to learn more about energy efficient doors and windows.
Great windows can make a home look and feel great. When choosing replacement windows, it’s good to know what choices you have and how they can affect the appearance and energy efficiency of your home. The following offers several options for your new window replacements.
Single, Double or Triple Pane?
Just as the name implies, single pane windows consist of a single pane of glass. Single pane windows are the most affordable choice, but they’re also an increasingly rare choice for good reason. These windows simply don’t offer the energy efficiency features that double and triple pane windows have. These windows also tend to let in the most sunlight, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences and energy efficiency concerns.
Double pane windows feature two panes of glass separated with a spacer. The gap left between the two panes is often filled with argon or krypton glass to insulate against outdoor temperatures. Double pane windows initially cost more than their single pane counterparts, but the energy efficiency they offer can help offset those initial costs. As NPR’s Cheryl Corley notes, one homeowner reduced her heating bills by $25 to $50 per month just by installing double pane windows.
Triple pane windows add an additional pane of glass, as well as an additional spacer. These windows usually offer U-factors that are up to 30-percent better than double pane windows. In addition, triple pane windows tend to be more durable than their double pane counterparts. On the other hand, triple pane windows tend to be more expensive and heavier than comparable double pane windows. These windows also let in less light than single or double pane windows.
Enhanced Low-E Glass
Single, double and triple pane windows can be enhanced with low-emissivity or “Low-E” coatings. These coatings consist of a thin, transparent layer of metal oxide. When applied to the glass surface, the Low-E coating deflects infrared heat and ultraviolet (UV) rays, preventing them from entering your home. During the winter months, Low-E-coated windows can also help hold heat indoors, preventing extra energy costs that come from combating heat loss.
There are two types of Low-E coatings: passive and solar control. The former allows some infrared energy to pass through, making it ideal for cooler climates where you’ll want some passive heating via your windows during the winter. The latter actively blocks a large amount of infrared energy, making it effective for warmer climates.
If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, tornadoes or high winds, then you may want to consider investing in impact-resistant windows. These windows usually consist of a heavy-duty frame containing impact-resistant glass panes. There are two types of impact-resistant windows:
Check the U-Factor
It also pays to check the energy performance ratings of your new windows. One rating to pay close attention to is the U-factor, as it measures the rate of heat flow through your window. With the U-factor, lower numerical values indicate better performance. In cold climates, you’ll want to look for windows with a U-factor between 0.17 and 0.39. In warm climates, you’ll want to keep the U-factor under 0.30 and pair it with a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) under 0.30.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the visible transmittance (VT) rating. This indicates the amount of visible light that’s able to pass through your new windows. VT values of 0.30 to 0.70 are common for most double and triple pane windows — the more light the window allows, the higher the VT value. Be aware of windows with VT values under 0.40, as these tend to give a grayish tint to your outdoor view.
When living in a crowded family home, it may seem like people are constantly coming in and out of the house. If you have sliding glass doors, then you probably hear that door open and shut multiple times on a daily basis. With this much traffic coming in and out of the home, you want to ensure that the sliding glass door operates as smoothly as possible. By hiring a glass door contractor, you can have four different repairs applied to your glass doors. Each one of these repairs can help with the continuous traffic and last for multiple years. Browse through each of the following repair ideas and see how they can help with your home.
The ease of the glass door opening typically relies on the track that it slides on. Through natural wear and tear, it’s easy for the the track to become clogged, chipped, or warped. In many cases, it’s easier to replace a traditional door track instead of the door. By replacing the track, the door can open and shut a lot easier. It can also supply you with quieter operations. This means that as people come in and out of the house, you will not hear the squeaking or rolling of the door. A new track will be clean and properly lubricated. This can help the door shut faster, allowing you to keep unwanted things like bugs out of the home.
Along with the track, a glass door contractor can inspect and repair the rollers on the door. These rollers glide along the track so that the door can easily move across. Through years of use, oil and gunk can build up in these rollers, making it a lot hard to move smoothly. If the door seems to jam or stutter or as opens, then there is likely a roller problem. A repair workers can use multiple methods to help with this problem. This first is to clean the rollers and adjust their height. Making the rollers lift a little more off the ground may help the roll a lot easier. The rollers may also be completely replaced to improve the performance and reduce noises that come from the door.
Kids, pets, and a lot of foot traffic can easily cause accidental damage to a glass door. A crack or hole in the glass can create security issues and impact the energy efficiency in your home. Instead of covering up the crack or break, glass door repair contractors can replace the glass panels. When choosing a glass replacement, you can choose a more durable material that can withstand the wear and tear that occurs with a lot of traffic in your home. More energy-efficient pieces of glass can also help reduce your energy costs on an annual basis. When glass panels are replaced, contractors will ensure that they are in evenly and the door is leveled with the frame. This can help improve the performance and allows the door to function better.
Automatic Sliding Door Closer
When you have a lot of people coming in and out of the house, a sliding door is bound to be left open. Improve the safety of your home by having a contractor install an automatic sliding door closer. These closers use spring-loaded mechanisms to slide the door shut anytime it is pulled open. This installation can help with the energy efficiency of your home and keep insects out as well. If you have children or pets, the automatic closer can prevent them from just wandering outside when the door is left open. It also makes using the door a lot easier. As you walk through, you can simply let go of the handle and the door will shut properly behind you.
Contact companies like Cheaper Window Glass INC for pricing information and appointment times. You can often get free estimates for a variety of repair jobs.
If you’ve always dreamed of living in a unique and energy-efficient underground home, you may be ecstatic to finally be taking the plunge — literally. However, building an underground home can pose some challenges that aren’t present with more traditional homes, particularly when it comes to installing windows (often the only part of your home with above-ground views). What are the best window options for your underground home? Read on to learn more about the factors you’ll want to consider before making your new window installation selection.
What factors will you need to take into consideration when selecting your home’s windows?
In order to be up to code, all the bedrooms in your home will need at least two methods of egress. This is generally accomplished by having a window and an interior door, although bedrooms with no windows but both an interior and exterior door can also suffice. When it comes to an underground home, this usually means locating all your bedrooms along the front-facing side of your home so that the windows can be exposed to light. Although installing windows near the ceiling may be an option for more submerged rooms, windows that begin more than 44 inches above floor level don’t “count” for egress purposes, so you’ll still need two methods of exit.
You’ll also want to take ventilation into account when placing your windows. For example, locating your kitchen near the back of your home and away from windows could leave you without a way to quickly get fresh air if you leave a pan on the burner too long. You’ll want to do your best to set windows directly across from each other at each end of your home so that you can create a cross-breeze for ventilation.
What are your best window options for an underground home?
Because underground homes are at least partially submerged below the ground’s surface, they’re uniquely energy-efficient. The surrounding topsoil can both insulate your home against heat loss in the winter and keep it cool during the summer, while also protecting your home from wind or hail damage. Choosing energy-efficient windows can save you even more money in the long run by improving your already well-insulated home’s ability to keep climate-controlled air indoors.
Double-paned vinyl windows are one of the most popular options, as they come in a variety of sizes and even shapes (often necessary for an underground home’s unique floor plan). Regardless of how you’d like the final product to look, you shouldn’t have much of a problem finding double-paned vinyl windows that will fit your home. As the name implies, these windows have two panes, separated by a layer of gas that prevents heat transfer and makes them one of the most energy-efficient options on the market. Many double-paned windows can open from either the bottom or the top, allowing easy ventilation. Vinyl windows in particular are also very durable and should last for decades in your new home with only an occasional scrubbing with soap and water.
Are there any types of windows you should avoid when constructing an underground home?
One potential disadvantage of an underground home is excess moisture. Even if you take specific care to waterproof your home during the construction process, you may occasionally be required to use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air and reduce the humidity level throughout your home. Because of this, choosing windows with wooden frames rather than vinyl may not be the best idea. Even if this wood has been treated, it may absorb water and swell, creating gaps around the edges of your window frame once this moisture evaporates and the frame shrinks back to its original size. These gaps will reduce the energy efficiency of your home by allowing in drafts of outside air.