Preparing Your Home for a Storm

Home Repair

It’s on the weather channel, it’s a storm, and it’s headed your way.  Is your home ready?  Especially when it comes to nature, certain events can seem overwhelming and totally out of your control.  While you may not be able to change the forecast, you can take measures to prepare your house.  Handyman Matters has helpful insights for equipping your home for a storm.

  • Step 1:  Landscape

There should always be a clear path leading from the entrances and exits of your home.  This means pruning trees and removing potentially problematic branches.  It also means laying down some preparatory rock salt (if needed), and removing any potential obstacles.  Additionally, check your gutters and downspouts to see that they’re functioning correctly – you don’t want water build up or any flooding.

  • Step 2: Bunker

You don’t necessarily need a storm shelter, but you and your family do need to find a safe meeting spot within the home.  An ideal safe spot would be on the lowest floor (preferably in the basement), with no windows, and without any shared walls with the outside.  This will be the place where you wait out the storm.

  • Step 3: Stock Up

Turn your safe space into a true bunker by stocking it with the emergency essentials.  Think non-perishable foods; back up essentials like medications, batteries, and first aid; and lots of water.  The ratio is one gallon per day per person.  You also want to stash a change of clothing – layers in case it’s cold – and sturdy shoes.  If you have any animals, remember to keep some of their basics in the room as well: food, leashes, and a carrier.  Lastly, trash bags are a must to keep things from getting too gross.

  • Step 4: Heating

Think about the heat sources in your house if you’re facing cold weather.  More specifically, think about the heating that doesn’t require electricity to function.  If you’re in a rural area, a backup generator may be a great investment for your home so you don’t have to worry.  If you’re in a city, think smaller, less noisy, alternatives. Does your home have a wood burning stove or fireplace?  If so, stock up on wood.  If not, consider getting some battery powered space heaters to store in your safe room.

  • Step 5: Lighting

Anything that does not require electricity will fulfill this need: candles (just have the fire extinguisher nearby), battery powered/solar/crank lanterns or flashlights.  There’s a blackout light that’s especially handy in weather related scenarios because it’s a light that stays plugged in, and only turns on when the power is out.  Place these around your home so you can easily navigate through the dark during a blackout.

  • Step 6: Emergency Gear

The last items to consider keeping in your safe rooms are the ones that may come in handy in inclement conditions.  Chainsaws may be necessary to cut apart fallen trees blocking exits. Shovels for the snow, a fire extinguisher for unexpected fires.  Finally weatherseal tape is great for sealing cracks in your home as they happen during a specifically rough storm.

  • Step 7: Reinforcements

When a storm hits, the last thing you want is a leak in your home.  Reinforce your home by making sure it has a secure roof, sturdy walls, and sealed windows.  If you have a crack – now is the time to fill it.


Handyman Matters is here to help you prepare for the everyday and the unexpected.  Don’t wait until the day-of a storm to try and prepare your home, think ahead, and save yourself time and money.  For help weather proofing your house, give us a call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.





6 Ways To Transform Your Home This Halloween

1. The House Has Eyes!

Haunted House

Teeth and eyes are spooky cut-outs to put over your front door.


2. Killer Silhouettes! 
Haunted House

Cut out black contact paper in the shape of a murderer to create terrifying shadows at night!



Haunted House

Oversized spiders create an especially chilling effect crawling down taller houses.  Add spiderweb spray to really put the look over the edge!


4. Skeletons Are Breaking In!

Haunted House

A fun twist to the classic skeleton decor is arranging them to look like they’re breaking in!


5. It’s Not a House, It’s A Mouth!!

Haunted House

Teeth, pink porch lights, and a chalk tongue to transform your home into the jaws of death!


6. Cannons!

Haunted House

Your house turns into a ship with the help of painted poster tubes.


Handyman Matters is here for both your small and large home needs.  Need help changing your porch lights or putting decorations on your roof?  We can do that! 866-FIX-MY-HOME

How to Replace Basement Windows

Installing your own replacement basement windows is a great way to save money, especially when you’re in the process of remodeling your home.  With the right supplies and tools, it is possible to replace a basement window in under ten minutes.

Measure the dimensions of both your old windows and the replacement ones to be certain the new window will align perfectly.  An improperly fitted window can cause a variety of problems.

When removing the old window, use a dry towel or a brush to sweep away any debris that might have settled around the area.  This will help ensure that your new window fits properly and seals to prevent drafts, leaks or any outside moisture from escaping into your home.

  • First, install your replacement basement window’s molding on the inside. Make sure that it’s properly seated so that it stays stable during the next step.
  • Next, install your window and molding from the outside.  Push the window in place from the outside. If you notice a small gap of 0.5 inches (1.27 centimeters) between the molding and the window, don’t be alarmed. This is normal and will happen.
  • At this point, take the window back out and begin adding caulking.  You should start by caulking the windows on the inside, following the instructions that your replacement basement window provides.
  • Then place the window back in the frame. If you need to adjust how the window is situated, use shims to keep it level. Once you’re satisfied with how the window appears on the inside, secure it in with screws in the way your window’s instructions specify.
  • Next, caulk the outside of the window.  Do this to prevent any air or water leaks around the outside of your window.  This can be the difference between a dry and a flooded basement in the summertime.

Saving a few dollars by installing your own basement window and gaining a bit of window installation experience can be more than worth it.  But if that’s more of a challenge than you want to undertake, you can always call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or go to enter your zip code above to find a location nearest you to arrange for a professional to do the job for you.




Choosing the Right Doors and Windows for your Home

Just about any home renovations made today will be made with energy efficiency in mind. Whether you’re trying to save the earth, or just a little money, green is an increasingly practical option. The US Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy costs of the average home, and much of that energy is wasted on heat the seeps out of old fashioned windows and doors, or battling with the heat from the sun beating down on single-paned windows. Upgrading to modern windows and doors can save quite a bit of money on climate control, as well as improve the comfort in your home.

Just about any home renovations made today will be made with energy efficiency in mind. Whether you’re trying to save the earth, or just a little money, green is an increasingly practical option. The US Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy costs of the average home, and much of that energy is wasted on heat that seeps out of old fashioned windows and doors, or battling with the heat from the sun beating down on single-paned windows. Upgrading to modern windows and doors can save quite a bit of money on climate control, as well as improve the comfort in your home.

  • Windows

Older windows can cause a huge amount of wasted energy when it comes to heating and cooling your home. In fact, just the heat lost through the windows of an average home accounts for 10-25% of its heating costs.

New windows are designed with this problem in mind, and they have been improved in several ways. For one thing, they are double-paned, and each pane is coated with a UV protective film. This will reduce the strain on your air conditioner, especially in the hottest months of summer. In between the panes, a low-emissivity gas is injected, which will further insulate and slow down the transfer of heat.

  • Doors

Traditionally exterior doors have been made from wood, which is not a particularly good insulating material. This means that it allows hot and cold air to pass in and out of your house, regardless of how hard your air conditioner or heater is working.

If efficiency is your priority, consider a steel or fiberglass skin with a foam insulation core. These doors will slow down the rate of heat or cooling transfer between the exterior and interior, and some will be five times as insulating as its solid wood counterpart. Another advantage of these new doors is the magnetic strip that is often built in, which will serve as weather stripping and create a tighter seal against the outside.

If your home has a sliding glass door, you’ll want to keep in mind the same information used when shopping for energy efficient windows. If the door opens, you’ll be losing energy, but you can reduce the amount of waste by choosing the right product and ensuring that it is installed properly.

Author Info:

Frank Newhouse is a freelance writer who enjoys helping other homeowners save money and reduce their environmental impact. He currently writes for Air Conditioning Florida which helps people in the Orlando area stay cool by locating the air conditioning services they need.


Window Energy Efficiency

Homeowners are always on the lookout for ways in which to increase their home’s efficient use of energy for the dual purposes of lowering heating and air conditioning bills and in an effort to go green.  Some improved window designs currently being offered these days will block the heat that can leak through the glass, and that will reduce your heating costs considerably.

For a small upgrade cost per window you can choose double paned windows that are several times more efficient than the standard windows that are offered by builders. These newer style windows actually use a specialized gas that is sealed between the panes and it will help lower the transfer of heat through the panes and also it will reduce drafts.

Upgrading these windows now will allow you to reduce your heating and energy bills and will pay for itself a number of times over the life of your house. Also changing these windows out for more efficient models when the home is being built is a lot less expensive, since the window frame is still exposed.

Window placement is also important. Energy efficient homes will often have larger windows on the side of their building that receives the most sun to allow them to take advantage of sunlight, thereby reducing electricity bills for lighting. To help you with your lighting requirements, skylights also can be easy to install and can be fairly inexpensive, as well. By using this natural light for your home you will have to have fewer lights on during the day and can reduce your energy consumption considerably.


Improving Your Home’s Value and Energy Efficiency with Shutters

Exterior window shutter protect your home from extreme weather. They insulate your home, and wooden exterior shutters are an attractive addition that adds value to your home. Exterior shutters also provide protection from vandalism and crime. Finally, exterior wooden shutters are built to last, and custom exterior shutters will look great on your home for decades.

Back in the day, shutters were invented because they protect from the sun and the elements. Custom wood shutters protect against high winds and freezing snow and hail.

Is your home on the receiving end of unwanted guests with names like Andrew, Hugo, or Wilma? If you live in a hurricane-prone area, think about installing exterior shutters. These top-hinged shutters can be closed tight against your windows in advance of a hurricane or tropical storm, thus protecting your home from water damage and broken glass.

If you don’t want to freeze next winter, operable panel exterior shutters are a good choice if they’re made from hardwood. Real hardwood has a high “R-value,” which means it resists heat flow better than other building materials. Installing wood exterior shutters – and keeping them closed in the winter – can insulate your home from heat loss. And you’ll save money on your heating bills!

Not only do exterior wood shutters lower the cost of heating and cooling your home, they also protect your draperies, furniture, and carpet from sun damage. Louvered shutters, which have slats laid across the frames with spaces between them, are a great way to cool your home in an environmentally friendly way.

Exterior shutters can add a touch of character to a house. What kind of home do you have? Bungalow, American Craftsman, Mediterranean Revival? Make sure and choose the style of custom exterior shutters that will fit your house’s architecture.

The windows to your home ought to be a reflection of your style too. Solid wood shutters are available in a wide variety of styles and materials, and will make any home they adorn stand out. Wood exterior shutters function as an excellent accent to your home’s style. Custom wood shutters add oomph to so many architectural styles and can be customized to suit any taste.

Because the wood used to construct exterior shutters is durable yet soft, the pieces can be carved into many different shapes and sizes. The wood you choose for your exterior window shutters will depend on the climate in which you live.

No matter where you are, you’ll want to purchase high-quality hardwoods. Options include poplar wood, teak wood, mahogany wood, cherry wood, cedar wood, maple wood, and oak wood. An excellent choice is Spanish cedar, a hardwood with natural resistance to moisture, decay, fungus and insects.

When you choose custom wooden shutters from a whole-cut piece of hardwood, your shutters will be less likely to have cracks, low-quality joins, thin filler wood, or other inferior milling techniques. Such problems can cause your custom exterior shutters to leak warm air in the winter or cool air in the summer. When wooden exterior shutters are made from a solid piece of wood, they are stronger and more energy efficient.

Get the exact exterior shutters that you want by choosing from custom mouldings, carvings, hardware, and more. Paint your custom window shutters a color that you love! Of course, you can also keep your custom wood shutters unfinished for a rustic look. You can find custom exterior shutters with operable louvers or fixed louvers in a variety of configurations, and they can be crafted from various species of wood, including poplar, cherry, maple, cedar, mahogany, oak, and teak.

Most importantly, make sure your custom exterior shutters fit your windows seamlessly for the best possible energy efficiency, helping you save on heating and cooling costs.


Making a Case for Aluminum Blinds

Many homeowners are turning to aluminum blinds when they remodel.  They provide durability and provide a special ambiance to any location.

Increasingly, aluminum blinds are manufactured with an eye towards color coordination and compatibility with all room styles.  They are available as vertical, Venetian and mini-blinds, and fit as well in a formal dining room as they do in the basement rec room.

They fall into the mid-price range, more expensive that vinyl, cheaper than wooden.  Aluminum blinds are energy efficient, resisting heat loss during cold seasons and providing necessary shade when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.  You can also custom order them for high UV absorption, and they provide a great sound barrier, as well.

The aluminum varieties can easily accommodate windows of all types:  Bay and corner windows and even arched or round ones.  They can be opened or closed the “old-fashioned way,” with a standard cord, or fitted with a battery operated tilt feature.  The motor is quiet but powerful, and with a remote, as many as six window shades can be manipulated with the press of a single button.

Color choices include solids, metallic and matte.   Blinds can be installed with or without toppers and valances, which leaves as much or as little of the window exposed as you prefer.  Whatever look you wish to achieve in a room, aluminum blinds will help you do it.


Making Efficient Use of Your Air Conditioner

If you cool your home or apartment with an air conditioning unit, here are a few tips that will help you make more efficient use of the appliance, resulting in lower energy costs and more efficient disbursement of the cool air.

 Don’t make the mistake of buying a bigger unit with the impression that bigger will automatically be better.  In fact, a room air conditioner that is too big for the area it is supposed to control will perform less efficiently.  Cooling units work better if they are operated for longer periods of time than if they are switched on and off continuously.  In fact, longer run times allow air conditioners to better control the room temperature.


 Change your air filter.  Dealing with indoor air quality most effectively means filtering or cleaning all the air in your home.

 Don’t try to offset your home’s temperature by drastically lowering your thermostat.  The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. 

 Using an interior fan in conjunction with your air condition will spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing the energy usage levels.

 Avoid placing lamps or television sets near your air conditioning thermostat, as it will sense the heat produced by these appliances, leading the unit to run longer than necessary, and at lower efficiency.

 If you have access to the part of the air conditioning unit that is placed outdoors, consider planting trees or shrubs to shade it, but be careful not to block the airflow.  A unit operating in the shade uses as much as ten percent less electricity than one operating in the direct sun.


Consider UPVC Windows to Keep Your Home Safe and Stylish

UPVC windows are manufactured from poly vinyl chloride and contain galvanized steel which is the reason they are perfect for homeowners.  Not only are they highly effective in keeping out the cold in winter, they also are particularly good at insulating the interior of your home.  UPVC will ensure outside noise is kept to a minimum, keep your home warm and cozy, and allows you to save money on heating bills.

You’ll find a wide selection of UPVC windows suitable for every type of new or replacement project, allowing you plenty of options when it comes to choosing quality exterior windows for your home. They are smart, straightforward to fit, require little maintenance and are competitively priced.

Pivot windows are designed for and suited to commercial or apartment buildings. The sash pivots around the central horizontal axis which means you have access to the outside window pane from the inside of the house, making them a safe, clean option for anyone with a property above floor level. Their large clear panes also allow for a lot of light to flow in and the chance to enjoy the views.

Tilting reversible windows are another option for multi-story residential and commercial buildings as they have the ability to reverse 180 degrees outside the building envelope, allowing for full access to the outer pane for easy cleaning. Reversible windows are a safe option for those living on the ground floor of apartment buildings as the glass can’t be removed by intruders; they also incorporate child-safety catches which limit how far they can be opened, preventing young children from falling out of them.

Vertical sliders are a traditional style that offer beauty, durability and low maintenance. If you want to maintain the look of your period property then the classic, stylish looks of Georgian sliding windows, is a good option. UPVC sliding windows have triple seals for excellent draft proofing, an anti-jimmy bar for protection against break-ins and resistant hardware for optimal safety measures, in addition to a slide-and-tilt mechanism for effortless cleaning.

If you are building a new house and about to order the windows, or your home has old timber frames that are in need of replacement, consider UPVC as it offers a vast range of styles, and choice of colors. Whatever your preference, from traditional vertical sliders, tilt-and-turn, pivot and reversible to contemporary styles or energy efficient options, you’ll find lots of information and guidance online to help you make the right choice.

UPVC also provides a higher level of insulation against outdoor noises and is predominantly popular in areas located near to busy roads, motorways or train lines. Window systems are generally guaranteed for up to 10 years and available in a wide choice of colors and finishes to suit any building. UPVC windows are expressly designed for fast, easy production and fitting.

Highly effective against harsh weather conditions, unlike wood, iron and aluminium, UPVC is the clear choice as an attractive and practical way to ensure your family home is safe and secure.


Design Beautiful Windows For Your Home

Though homeowners may not realize it, windows play a pivotal role in the overall décor and atmosphere of their home.

Designed to allow light and air in through solid walls, they are a staple of any architecture.  They serve both practical and aesthetic purposes.  Warmth and safety were the two main reasons why windows were established.  Allowing the sun through the window provided warmth and also provided a means to watch for potential attacks.

Although even standard square windows can act as a design element, many windows are of a unique design and composition.  When establishing the décor for a room, the room layout and the windows are a great place from which to start.  They come in a variety of styles and designs including casement windows, which are cranked to open and close them, gliding windows which slide along a horizontal system, bay windows which feature angles at the wall and ceiling, and sash, round-top and polygon windows, to name a few examples.

Although most come in standard neutral colors like white and beige, more and more windows are featuring a wide spectrum of colors that allow homeowners to design an entire room around the window décor.

The style of the window largely depends on the architectural design of the structure.  A modern home would likely feature contemporary windows with straight lines, few or no panes, and clear glass.  Colonial homes might display many-paned sash windows.  More grandiose dwellings could include windows with stained glass or unique shapes.

When considering what selection works best for you, take a moment to contemplate the primary function of the room in question.  Living room windows are often great décor elements, designed horizontally to allow ample light and to take up plenty of design space on an otherwise empty wall.  In bedrooms, a window will serve a specific area for reading, writing or relaxing.

Ultimately, of course, let your own lifestyle and preference dictate the sort of window that will best complement your household.