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How Much Money Can Energy-efficient Windows Really Save You

Some homeowners are reluctantly putting off the decision to replace their windows because they’re not sure if they will recoup their initial investment. Still others are putting the decision off until they see what’s going to happen with the economy.

Is replacing your windows with energy-efficient windows really worth the investment? How much money replacement windows will save a homeowner depends, of course, on numerous factors. At the top of the list is the type of window you choose and there are plenty to choose from. There are single-panes, double-panes, and triple-panes. There are coated and uncoated windows. There are windows with hard coating and windows with soft coating. There are windows will gas filling and there are windows without gas filling. Some windows are filled with Argon, some are filled with Krypton. Decisions. Decisions. Where does a savvy homeowner begin?

You don’t need to be Einstein to deduce that dual-paned windows will save a homeowner more money on their energy bills than single-paned windows. But does the same hold true with triple-paned windows? Will triple-paned windows save you more money than dual-paned windows? Here’s what Energy Star, a government agency which promotes energy efficiency, says: “All energy efficient windows have at least two panes, but not all double-paned windows are energy efficient. Twenty years ago, double-paned meant energy efficient; today, advanced technologies have enabled the development of windows that are much more efficient than traditional clear-glass double-paned windows.”

Just as a dual-paned window is much more energy-efficient than a single-paned window, so also a triple-paned window is much more energy-efficient than a dual-paned window. But what are some of these “advanced technologies” that Energy Star is referring to?

There are four things to look for when choosing an energy-efficient window:

1. The layers of reflective glass coating.
2. The type of reflective glass coating.
3. The type of gas used between the window panes.
4. The U-Value of the window.

Once you find a triple-paned window that is manufactured by a reputable company, you have narrowed the playing field considerably. Now you need to consider whether the window panes are coated, how many layers of coating the manufacturer uses, and the type of coating they use. Some windows are coated with a reflective coating, while others are not. By selecting a window with coated glass, the coating will reflect unwanted cold in the winter and unwanted heat in the summer, thereby reducing your fuel costs and saving you money.

But not all reflective coating is created equal. Also bear in mind that most window manufacturers only coat one pane of glass. Few window manufacturers are willing to go the extra mile by coating two panes of glass. Naturally, this will increase the initial cost of the window. Nevertheless, this extra coating will usually pay for itself in savings many times over. Once you have found a triple-paned window that coats two panes of glass instead of just one, you will have eliminated most of the windows on the market. But your search for optimal energy efficiency is not quite complete yet. Patience, dear reader; we’re almost at the finish line.

The next thing to consider is whether or not the window manufacturer uses hard coating or soft coating. Soft coating is much better because it is more reflective. So why doesn’t every manufacturer use soft coating on their windows? Again, soft coating costs a little more. But investing a little more for soft coating will usually pay for itself many times over.

Insulation can be further improved by placing inert gas between the panes of glass. Some manufacturers use Krypton, most use Argon. Again, Krypton costs a bit more than Argon, but the extra savings that come from Krypton gas is well worth it.

The exact energy efficiency of a window can be scientifically measured by a trained window expert. It’s a smart idea to have a trained professional measure the energy efficiency of your current windows. Some say, “I don’t need to replace my windows. My home is just a few years old.” That may be true. However, some homebuilders try to cut costs by installing cheap windows that are not as energy-efficient as they could and should be. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Have an expert measure your windows for energy efficiency. Usually, there is no cost or obligation for this free service.

Once you’ve checked around and are ready to get a free estimate on your windows, be sure to ask the representative for the exact U-Value of the window you are considering. The official standard of measurement for energy efficiency is called a U-Value, also known as a U-Factor. The lower the U-Value, the more energy-efficient the window is. Here is a sampling of a few popular windows and their U-Values:

Alside (Vinyl): 6000 Double Hung 0.30

Alside (Vinyl): R601 Double Hung 0.33

Andersen (Wood): Woodwright (Low-E & Argon) 0.33

Preservation: 9001/P601 0.30

Anderson (Wood): A series Double hung 0.31

Marvin (Ultrex): Integrity (Low-E & Argon) 0.29

Marvin (Ultrex): Infinity (Low-E & Argon) 0.29

Pella (Wood): Proline (Low-E & Argon) 0.32

If you are considering replacing your windows with any of these popular brands, be sure to ask the representative these four following questions:

1. Do you use multiple layers of soft coating on two panes?
2. Do you fill those panes with a gas?
3. (If yes) Do you use Argon or Krypton gas filling?
4. What is the U-Value of your window?

The answer to the first three questions ultimately determines the U-Value of the window. Therefore, question number four is the most important. The U-Value will tell you how energy efficient a window is and give you an idea of how much money you’ll be able to save on your energy bills. The lower the U-Value, the greater a window’s resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating value. One window, though not as well-known as Andersen, Pella, or Marvin, has been able to achieve an incredibly low U-Value precisely because they follow the criteria mentioned in this article. Consider, for example, the U-Value of the Bristol Window, manufactured by Winchester Industries in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania:

Bristol (Reinforced Vinyl, overall window U-Value with Krypton): .18

Bristol (with Alpha-10): .21

According to the company’s literature, this particular window has been known to cut homeowner’s energy bills in half, though the exact savings will naturally vary depending on a wide variety of factors. A window expert can test your windows to find out whether or not they need to be replaced and calculate approximately how much money you will save if your windows do need replacing. By comparing the amount of money a window costs with the amount of money you will save, simple math will determine whether or not it is cost-efficient to replace your windows.

Another thing to consider is a window’s warranty. While most windows are only made to last for approximately 10 years, Bristol windows come with a transferrable 50 year warranty. That’s a huge difference. Instead of replacing your windows 5 times over the next 50 years, you can save additional money by only replacing your windows once.

Look at it this way: The government is giving you a huge head start. One thousand five hundred dollars is nothing to sneeze at. Now consider all the money you will probably save in the meantime. Often, the savings alone will pay for the windows within a few short years. It’s smart to have an energy expert help you do the math. If you still live in a home with energy wasting windows, you will pay for windows whether you replace them or not. The question is, would you rather pay extra money to your utility company for energy-deficient windows? Or would you rather invest in your home’s future value while dramatically reducing your energy bills by replacing your windows with energy-efficient windows? The choice is yours.

Save Money By Learning How To Install Kitchen Cabinets

The very first thing that I suggest that you do is familiarize yourself with the new design. Study the new design and imagine what the new room will look like when you are finished with the remodel.

In doing so, you will feel more comfortable about yourself and the installation process. Always make sure that each and every cabinet that you hang or set is plumb and level. This is probably the most important aspect of a kitchen installation.

You need to make sure that you get this step right. Something that most people do not understand is that installing cabinets is more difficult than what they think. Fastening the cabinets and drawing lines on the walls where the cabinets go is just the tip of the iceberg. Just slapping the cabinets against the wall and fastening them in place without taking your time is going to create a haphazard looking kitchen. Many times I have had carpenters tell me that my line of work was easy until they were presented with a kitchen install and they quickly realized how complex it can get.

When it came down to it, they had some serious problems and had no way of figuring out how to move ahead. It was not long until they understood that installing kitchen cabinets and actually knowing how to correctly install them was two totally different things. This does not mean that you cannot do it yourself or that you need to be good with woodworking, it is just that there are some things that you need to understand about installing kitchen cabinets correctly.

The very most important part of a kitchen install is to make sure that each and every cabinet is installed level and plumb. For instance, you are going to have the countertop fabricator come out and make a template for the top and he sees that the base cabinets are not straight or even have humps and dips in between them. He will more than likely advise you that he cannot make the template due to the errors in the installation, pack up his stuff and make a return trip later once the mistakes have been taken care of. Unless the base cabinets are flat and level to suit them, the installers of the top will not place the tops on the cabinets.

You will find that choosing a solid surfaced top is going to be very unforgiving in that it will not conform to the cabinets surface, making it imperative that you get the base cabinets flat and level. Making sure that the cabinets are perfectly installed will make for an easier job all the way around.

By making costly mistakes during the installation, you are basically wasting the money that you would have saved by installing the cabinets yourself correctly.

Find Extra Storage Space With Kitchen Carts

If you are having problems finding extra storage and work space in your kitchen, you will want to look into kitchen carts. When I got my first kitchen cart, I expected to have a little extra storage space, but I was amazed at exactly how much can fit into these. My kitchen is small and the first cart I bought was one of the smaller styles. It had a cabinet, which I used for my kitchen towels and a basket that I kept my spices in. I also put some hot plate pads in there and had room for more things. The drawer was the perfect place for all my boxes of foil, wax paper, parchment paper, baggies, etc. I can now find them easily with just a glance. The shelves hold my favorite cookbooks, a large steamer pot that was taking up way too much room in my other cabinets, my clock radio and a few other things.

The work space on top was just what I needed for all my chopping, blending and mixing needs. Because they are on locking wheels, I can get everything ready and then move it to the stove and prepare that dish without having to run back and forth. It saves me so much time and energy! They come in all types of styles, colors and sizes. You will have no problem finding one that is perfect for your kitchen. Some are made entirely of wood, with many different colors of stain, while others have stainless steel tops or granite tops. There are also kitchen island carts that are perfect for anyone who doesnt want a stationary one, or wants one thats easier on the budget. The microwave kitchen carts are so useful and make great gifts. I got my niece one for her dorm room and she loved it. As you can see, there is truly a kitchen cart for everyone.

Besides the extra storage and work space, the other fabulous thing is that these carts are so pretty and stylish. They give your kitchen a certain charm that other storage units just cant. They also come in white, black, red and other colors. The first one I bought was all white and I decided to paint it to match a color in my wallpaper. It looks great and adds a splash of color to my kitchen. There are so many advantages to kitchen carts that they are truly a multi-tasking addition to your kitchen. If youre like me, and need extra storage and work space, try one out. Youll be as hooked on them as I am!

Create The Beach Theme Kitchen Of Your Dreams With These Easy Tips

You probably spend a lot of time in your kitchen, right? I know I do. Use some of these simple kitchen accents to turn the heart of your home into your very own seaside sanctuary! We’re not talking complete kitchen renovation here. Just a few decorative, yet functional, accessories to give your kitchen a “beach house” feel without breaking the bank.

I suggest starting with one or more of the most vital kitchen accessories to create the largest impact on your space: salt and pepper shakers, kitchen towel sets, and a cutting board. Not only will you see these the most, you’ll also utilize them the most.

Cutting boards are available in all forms, big or small with various patterns. The ones I love the most are the tempered glass cutting boards that remain on your counter permanently for a special decorative accent. Also you can choose wooden cutting boards constructed of artisan bamboo. Including or not including a shore-inspired pattern, bamboo surely displays a tropical feel anyway.

A kitchen towel can be for everyday use or it can be for appearances only. They make great room accents and come in a wide variety of styles and colors. You can focus your kitchen theme around your towels, whether they be reminiscent of the ocean or the tropics, and you can get coordinating potholders and such. You might even pick up a matching apron to wear next time you’re cooking those lobster tails!

Far and away, the most often utilized thing in the majority of kitchens is salt and pepper shakers. Rather than putting them out of eyesight in a cabinet someplace, you should use them as part of your decor. Keep your beach them salt and pepper shakers ready and displayed on your oven, table, or counter. Palm trees, blue crabs, lighthouses, flamingos, etc. – you may locate a design all highlight all coastal kitchens.

Building And Construction Costs In South Africa

BUILDING COSTS (Overall rates per m excl. VAT)

The following building and construction rates are provided to indicate the current square meter costs of a range of basic or common buildings in the construction industry.

Rates are approximate and vary according to the specifications of the project. Rates should be used with extreme caution and used only as a estimated indicator as these differ from area to area. Information is not stated specifically and the lowest industry standard specification is implied.

Preliminaries are included in the price but external works excluded. Escalation to start and during construction, professional fees and finance costs are excluded.

Residential Developments GASH (good address, small home) housing by Contractor/Developer R 2 550 – 3 200 Duplex houses/apartments R 3 600 – 4 200 Luxury (cluster) houses R 5 000 – 6 800 Retirement centre R 3 600 – 4 200 External works and services R 550 – 780

Office Developments Underground parking basements including foundation R 1 650 – 2 300 Commercial office park development on basement (with AC) R 2 950 – 3 650 Prestigious office development on basements R 4 700 – 7 200 External works services and landscaping for low rise developments R 550 – 780 Retail Developments Value centre type retail R 2 200 – 2 900 Convenience strip shopping centre R 3 100 – 3 700 Regional shopping centre with enclosed malls R 5 200 – 7 300 External works paving and services R 550 – 780 Industrial Developments Warehousing with 6 m height (over 2 000 m) including ablutions R 1 400 – 1 950 Medium duty factory building with 8 m height (over 2 000 m) R 1 750 – 2 300 Attached office buildings (no AC) R 2 700 – 3 200 External works, paving and services R 550 – 780 Leisure Developments Thatched game lodge accommodation per m R 3 700 – 4 800 Budget type hotels per room R 390 000 Luxury hotels per room R 1 380 000 External works and landscaped environment per m R 850 – 1 100

Desert Landscaping

If you live in an area where desert landscaping is a necessity, you
may only see large lawns at the golf course. Cities and counties that
discourage those lawns and some will even pay you to remove them when
the sole purpose is to conserve water.

Water is a valuable asset and a green lawn is not
even a necessity. If you live in an area that is experiencing a drought
it will be worth your effort to contact a landscape professional. They
know the area, and know which plants are indigenous and you will easily
be able to maintain them in a natural environment.

There are
many ways to conserve and many ways where your plants will thrive in
sandy soil. When you add heat and wind to that mix the need increases
for you to find the correct balance between nature and your water bill.


Hedges and natural plants like cactus and yucca will be an added
benefit because they do not need a great deal of water, and many
flowering plants like lilies and poppies fall in that category as well.
Often you can plant the flowers in planters where the water is absorbed
directly onto the roots with no waste.

Another way to beat the heat and water consumption is to have the landscape
professional install timed irrigation drip systems. They only water at
precise times, like early morning or evenings and you have no runoff and
no evaporation in the heat of the day.


Stone pathways surrounded with those indigenous plants create beautiful
yards with perennials like oleander, bougainvillea and even juniper.
Install small window planters inside or out that conserve as well and
you still have the benefit of beautiful living flowers in your dry
waterless space.

A few basic options you need to follow in order
to sustain the long summer months will be to water in the early morning
or late afternoon after the sun has retreated. Try to check to see if
your plants even need water by checking the soil. Some plants only need
watering weekly especially in the fall and winter months. Others go
dormant in those months and need no water.

If you have a great
deal of concrete for walkways or driveways, remember those areas reflect
the heat instead of absorbing it. It’s actually hotter in those areas,
and may even raise the temperature around your home. A little common
sense goes a long way and when you hire a professional landscaper you’ll
be dollars ahead.

Some Of The Cleaning Instructions For Kitchen Drain

The instructions to be observed minutely

Firstly, the food and the debris that is clogging the drain should be removed and then the kitchen drain should be cleaned and deodorized. The food blocking the pipe should be removed with the hand and some of the instructions how to deodorize the drain are as follows:

The drain should be run with hot water such that any formation of bacteria in the drains can be removed. The hot water should be let down the pipe for about 15 seconds, otherwise there is every possibility of burning the hand. But as in most of the cases the pipes are made of plastic so too hot water can damage the pipe so extreme care should be taken.

A teaspoon baking soda should be used after the use of the hot water. Most people use the baking soda to reduce any kind of odor caused by the drain. This is one of the most common steps which should be used by the people.

Several additional cleaning solutions can be applied if the smell is too much. A cup of cleaning solutions should be applied and suggestions are there that at least half an hour should be waited and then the drain should be rinsed with hot water. Bleaching powder can also be applied in the kitchen sink to reduce odor, but it should be applied in a well-ventilated area.

If the above instructions do not work in the Kitchen sink drain cleaning procedure than a strong solution should be used. Most of these strong solutions are available at some of the local grocery shops.

The customers can also use the following steps for the grease trap cleaning and when a grease trap is cleaned properly ample amount of money can be saved by the customers. Some of the steps for the cleaning of the grease trap are as follows:

The lid of the grease trap should be detached gently with a pry bar. But this process should be done very slowly otherwise serious damage may occur.
Secondly, the grease parts should be inspected properly where re-installation of the process is done.

A measuring stick or a wooden dowel should be inserted into the grease trap so that the grease and oils marks the dowel. Thus, any kinds of debris can be removed from the trap.

With a small bucket the debris should be removed from the grease trap and the solidified waste should be separated. Hence, with these easy steps the grease trap can be cleaned by any individual and with some suggestions from the experts.

Wet Space Flooring Options

Wet rooms are expanding quickly in recognition across the country as far more and a lot more folks are recognizing their rewards and aesthetic appeal. These sorts of rooms are excellent for smaller sized properties and for people who are remodeling and wish to add a 2nd rest room. What can make these rooms wonderful is their flexibility and capacity to transform a small space into a thing that seems to be larger due to the fact of the open room that this sort of configuration produces. With wall mounted fixtures and toilets to keep the floor obvious and wall many mounted shower heads, practically the complete volume of the place is left open, maximizing the visual size of the space. Not only this, but these bathrooms can be beautiful when the right flooring is set up. The flooring style opportunities are vastly enhanced due to the extra, unobstructed floor room obtainable to perform with.

Following the area is sealed to avoid leakage, a method called tanking the up coming decision a home owner has to make is to start selecting flooring designs. There are many options for wet space flooring. The most widespread option that designers make is for classic ceramic tile or the newer river rock look. Tile is effortless to clean and seems great. It can also be lower to craft intricate and beautiful mosaic designs. 1 downside about tile flooring is that easy tile is slippery. When selecting tile for a bathroom such as this, home owners really should opt for tiling that has a minor bit of texture to offer some traction. River rocks, in attractive designs, are becoming far more common and provide far more texture and far more secure footing than the easy ceramic glazes. Either choice, even though, has grout lines that can be a source of leaks in the potential./p>

One more substitute for a wet area floor is vinyl. Vinyl floors are quite durable and supply superb traction, aiding to avoid towards slips and falls. Vinyl is also warm below the foot, not like tile. Also, they offer a bit more drinking water resistance than tiles considering that there are no grout lines by way of which h2o can seep. Vinyl options come in a range of colors and patterns, some of which even mimic tile models. Finally, these kinds of floors are often less pricey.

The most noticeable aspect of this sort of bathroom is the flooring, nevertheless it is frequently overlooked. House owners who are pondering about remodeling or adding a bathroom to their house should take the time to fully discover all their choices because the choice can make or break the look of the place.
wet rooms

What is the best kitchen flooring

The kitchen can be a big challenge to bring on floors. On the one hand, the floors must be comfortable enough to get over long maturities. On the other hand, however, the floors must be resistant to stains and a high degree of foot traffic. The right kitchen flooring requires a little maintenance and can also be used with the demands on it by a modern kitchen. Spills and accidents often happen that a strain on each floor is installed, that in the kitchen area. To prevent serious problems, and future maintenance costs, it pays to install the right kind of flooring to begin with.

Wood flooring is traditionally seen in the kitchen floor, but it can lead to high maintenance costs. Wood aborbs moisture, allowing it to warp and crack over time. When a wood floor absorbs too much moisture it can end up cupping or coronation, to create an unsightly and uneven surface. The only solution to this problem is to define the bow section of sand, or rip the whole floor and start over again. Neither of them are very attractive options, and the many hours and one thousand U.S. dollars. While a properly maintained and finished wood flooring May resist these problems, wood flooring is certainly more prone to suffer from them.

Other options are reliable and Pottery slate tiles. Tiles and slate does not absorb moisture, and not suffer from warping or cracking. As a relatively rigid materials, they experience little expansion or contraction.

Slate and ceramic floor coverings are available in a wide range of colors and shades. Slate and ceramic floors are also very slip resistant, so that they can build a safer surface for use in the kitchen as well. Wood floors can be slippery, especially if it has been exposed to moisture. When you will be using slate as a kitchen surface, be sure to go with a low gloss or destination point for the slip extra protection.

Laminate flooring is also another viable option in the kitchen. To achieve that hardwood look without the maintenance issues, laminate flooring can be a great alternative. Laminate flooring is easy to install, affordable, and highly resistant to both water damage and stains.

Laminate flooring is also designed to provide a much more pedestrian traffic and pressure. The kitchen is a heavy burden for land, and should be treated as such. Choosing the right type of flooring gives homeowners lasting durability, low maintenance costs.

Earning a Bachelors Degree at an Interior Design College

Students can earn a bachelors degree from an Interior Design
College. A good school will provide the student with the ability to
apply their creative ideas and techniques to professional interior
design. These areas of interior design are planning, designing,
equipping and furnishing commercial and residential interior spaces.

The
student at an interior design college will learn the principles of
computer application drafting (CAD) and graphic techniques. In addition,
the student learns the effects of interior lighting, acoustics, color
coordination, integrating systems, furniture and furnishings. However,
that is not all, interior design also covers such things as textiles,
textile finishing’s, the history of interior design and the various
different period styles. Lastly, the student should expect to learn
about basic structural design and building codes and inspection
regulations. In addition, how the regulations apply to residential and
commercial interior design.

Several well qualified Interior Design
Colleges and schools offer the student a well-rounded curriculum that
enhances the student’s creativity along with the human factor of
interior design. Students need not only learn about the creative aspects
of interior design. The business side of interior design and how to
deal with clients, is also an important topic to be studied. Without
people, the interior designer has no work.

The typical interior
design student is creative, energetic and curious. Interior design is a
creative and quite varied career. No two designs are the same, the
designer needs to use a variety of techniques and methods to create a
desirable living space that pleases their client.

Interior Design College will arm the student with
insight and knowledge to prepare them for an exciting and profitable
career in Interior Design. The interior designer's ultimate and main
goal is to transform plain generic areas into beautiful and creative
spaces that meet the personalities of the interior designer's clients.

An
Interior Design College in the United States offer four-year
baccalaureate degrees in Interior Design. Universities offer the same
type of program. Some colleges offer Interior Design as a stand-alone
program only. Students may pursue a Masters degree in Interior Design
but this is much less common. You will find students that pursue their
more advanced degree in a related design subject such as fine art or
industrial design.

Interior design college institutions have
expanded beyond the traditional classroom or studio based instruction.
Online degree programs now are being offered in interior design. The
online programs are just as comprehensive as the studio-based programs.

It
would be beneficial for the student to attend an Interior Design
College that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design
Accreditation, the primary accreditation agency for interior design
education programs in the United States.