Category Archives: green tips

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Go Green with Tri-State Home Improvement

Tri-State is committed to the communities we serve and to our environment. Our goal is to reduce the waste associated with home improvement projects to make both our neighborhoods and Earth more beautiful and sustainable for years to come.

One easy, but effective, way we do this is by recycling doors. During a new door installation, our team of professionals determines whether an old door is in good enough condition for recycling. If so, it is delivered to the Quad Cities Habitat for Humanity where it will be available for others to use on their home improvement projects. This donation helps Habitat for Humanity provide strong and stable homes that build strong and stable communities.

In addition to recycling at our local Habitat for Humanity chapter, it’s also important to us that Tri-State works with suppliers and manufacturers that are committed to providing environmentally friendly products for your home.

It doesn’t stop there. Our commitment to the environment lasts long after our truck pulls away. Tri-State professionals install energy efficient solutions that positively impact your energy consumption and bills.

We’re proud to provide quality, lasting products for your home that work to keep inside air in, and outdoor air out. That means you’ll be comfortable keeping your thermostat lower and because your HVAC won’t be working overtime. This, in turn, reduces the amount of energy your home uses which helps the environment by reducing power plant emissions from burning coal, crude oil and other fossil fuels.

Whether you want to learn more about our commitment to the environment or you’re ready to get started on your home improvement, contact us today to start the conversation over a free, in-home estimate!

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The three ‘R’s of home improvement

Tri-State is more than just windows, siding and roofing—we are a complete home improvement company. Tri-State can do some heavy lifting when it comes to your home’s exterior, but don’t miss out on our professional help with the interior, as well!

Re-think your curb appeal

Never underestimate the power and importance of curb appeal. Not only does curb appeal add value to a home, but it also demonstrates a pride of ownership. For simple exterior upgrades, consider refreshing your home’s landscaping by updating your walkway, front door or mailbox. These are all great, low-cost ways to add style and personality to any home. But if you’re really interested in taking your curb appeal to the next level, consider replacing your home’s windows, siding or roofing. Tri-State offers a wide variety of home renovation products that will make any home stand out from the crowd.

Re-style your bathroom

Remodeling a bathroom adds value to any home, and small cosmetic changes can re-style your bathroom in a big way. For simple bathroom upgrades, try replacing bathroom countertop accessories or adding fun and colorful pictures to brighten up the room. If you want to make your bathroom appear more elegant, think about installing a pedestal sink or replacing your dated countertops with marble or granite. Switching up your bathroom sink or countertops is an excellent way to update the entire look and feel of the room—without breaking the bank. Contact Tri-State to find out how our professionals can help!

Re-fresh your kitchen

Refreshing a kitchen’s décor is easier than most people think. Beyond making sure appliances work well and look good, updating cabinets, countertops and light fixtures can dramatically increase a kitchen’s aesthetic appeal. When it comes to creating value in the kitchen, replacing cabinet doors and countertops is a great way to update a kitchen’s overall look. Switching out dated light fixtures will brighten up the kitchen and make it more inviting, as well. Find out how Tri-State can help you add value to your kitchen by contacting our professional team today.

When it comes to home improvement, a little effort goes a long way. Making simple upgrades over time is the perfect solution to improving a home’s visual appeal and increasing its value. Remember, Tri-State is here to help! Whether you’re looking to make small home improvement changes or to remodel, Tri-State has the products and services to turn any homeowner’s dreams into reality. Visit our website for a free estimate today.

Four DIY cleaners to make your home sparkle

DIY cleaner

Did you just update your home’s exterior? Get your interior shiny and new to match! With just a few basic ingredients that are probably already in your home, you can create a variety of cleaning solutions for all the surfaces inside your home.

 

Keep a canister of all-purpose cleaning wipes

Mix 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup water with 1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol and 1 tsp baking soda. Add 1 tsp mild dish soap for additional stain-fighting power. Cut a roll of paper towels in half and place them in a recycled plastic container.

Remove the cardboard tube and cut a hole in the lid of the container to feed the center of the towels through. Then pour the cleaning mixture over the towels and let them soak. Voila! You have a homemade canister of cleaning wipes!

Spray streaks away

This homemade glass cleaner is incredibly easy, and Hank loves the scent, too! For sparkling windows and mirrors, mix 1 cup water, 1 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup lemon juice and pour into a spray bottle.

Apply with paper towels for crisp, clear glass! (Bonus points if you have easy-to-clean windows like those from Berkshire!)

Polish your wood

Never underestimate the effect of newly-polished wood when it comes to a beautiful home.

For glowing wooden furniture, mix 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1/4 distilled white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Store in a sealed plastic container, and be sure to shake before use.

Apply with a soft cloth and wipe clean!

Snow-clean your rugs

Unless you can make snow, this isn’t technically DIY, but it sure beats other methods! Originating in Scandinavia, snow-cleaning is a perfect way to clean and deodorize rugs during Midwestern winters.

In temperatures well below freezing and with a few inches of fallen snow, acclimate your rug to the cold by letting it hang outside for about half an hour, then lay it face down in the snow and beat it with a broom. Then flip it over, beat it again and sweep the snow away!

The freezing temperatures kill bacteria to eliminate odors, and beating the rug loosens dirt that is brushed away during the final sweep.

 

Tri-State knows the value of a home, both inside and out, and our team is dedicated to making sure you’re in love with the look and efficiency of your home! For an exterior renovation to match your indoor deep cleaning, schedule a FREE estimate with Tri-State today!

Smooth ways to save this winter

Winter makes everything rougher: the roads, your skin and especially saving money. Hank has your back during the rough months with some winter energy-saving tips revolving around your windows, heating systems and actions.

Windows

  • Cover windows using plastic film or sheets and install insulating window dressings like heavy drapes or cellular shades.
  • Open curtains during the day to let in sunshine and the heat it brings, then close them at night to help insulate and trap the heat inside.
  • Seal leaks with weatherstripping or caulk. Drafts can enter through gaps in windows, doors and fireplaces.
  • Install high-efficiency windows that can reduce costs through insulation.

Systems

  • Install a programmable thermostat to turn down temperatures during working or sleeping hours.
  • Have your furnace inspected for efficiency and schedule appropriate service and maintenance.
  • Replace filters regularly to ensure high function and efficiency of your furnace.
  • Regularly clean ducts and vents in heating systems, fireplaces and stoves for maximum efficiency.

Behavior

  • Keep your thermostat set as low as is comfortable. Wear layers—and socks!
  • Be intentional about turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use.
  • Unplug electronics when possible. Even turned off, they can draw energy.
  • Put Christmas lights on a timer and use high-efficiency LED bulbs in displays to limit energy costs during the holidays!

 

No matter your energy-saving goals this winter, Hank and the Tri-State gang are here to help! Use our online contact form to ask us any questions about the insulating, energy-efficient options available for windows, siding and roofing!

Hank’s top 5 tips to save on your utility bills this winter

Howdy folks! Hank the Squirrel here.

Winter has always been my favorite time of year. The demand for power, however, has led to some pretty nutty utility bills in the past. That is until I started working at Tri-State Windows, Siding & Roofing!

The crew taught me plenty of handy, energy efficiency tips that can help you out in your home as well. Read on for my top five tips to save on your utility bills this winter!

Set your programmable thermostat wisely

There’s no need for your home’s thermostat to be set at a cozy 70 degrees while nobody is home. Program your thermostat to lower a few degrees while no one is home, and raise up again 15 minutes or so before everyone’s return.

Control light usage

It gets dark out much earlier during winter, but that doesn’t mean your electric bill must suffer because of lighting needs. Practice simple habits such as turning off the lights when leaving a room, using compact fluorescent bulbs and utilizing your dimmer switch to help keep electric bills in check!

Switch off or unplug devices when not in use

Electronic devices left plugged in drive up your energy bill even when not in use. Keep items such as televisions, computers and cell phone chargers unplugged when possible to avoid unnecessary charges from your energy company.

Seal your windows and doors

Air leaks around your home’s windows and doors create a place for cold winter air to sneak its way in, and the warm air you pay for to escape.

Save money and energy this season with a temporary solution of sealing air leaks with weather stripping. Or invest in a permanent solution, such as installing energy efficient windows. Energy Star qualified windows, for example, can save you up to $465 a year on your energy bill.

Add blown-in insulation in your attic

Adding blown-in insulation in the attic improves heating and cooling energy efficiency. In winter this means helping keep the warmth you pay for in, and the cold you don’t want out.

Although blown-in insulation never needs to be replaced, new insulation should still be added every six years for optimal thermal resistance. Contact Tri-State Windows, Siding & Roofing today for help choosing and installing the blown-in insulation best for your home!

Four tips for eliminating cold air drafts in your windows and doors

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Drafty windows and doors are a lose-lose for homeowners during winter. Not only does cold air from the outdoors enter your home, but the heat you pay for escapes. This is especially bad news when you don’t have warm furry coats as back up like my squirrel pals and I do!

Protect your home from cold air drafts and high energy bills this season, with these four tips from Tri-State Window, Siding & Roofing.

Seal your windows and doors

Weather sealing is a broad description for a variety of different methods of plugging up holes at the bottom or sides of a home’s windows and doors. Adhesive backed weather stripping foam is one of the fastest easy to apply. Check out other helpful weather-sealing methods here. 

Grab a hair dryer and some insulating film

Insulating film is a transparent, plastic film applied to glass windows to reduce heat transfer. In winter, this film helps keep the cold air out and warm air in. Read the directions carefully before attaching to avoid damage to the film or your hair dryer!

Decorate your home with thermal curtains

Similar to insulating film, thermal curtains help shield cold air from entering your home via windows. Plus, most of them do a good job of blocking out the light so you can sleep in on Saturday morning. 

Treat yourself to new, energy efficient windows

Replacing windows with energy efficient double-paned windows can shrink a home’s heating bill up to 15 percent. Tri-State Windows, Siding & Roofing installs ENERGY STAR windows that qualify for tax rebates if they are installed by December 31, 2013.

Contact us for a free estimate today.

Learn more about energy efficiency and the steps you can take for a greener home by clicking here

Hank’s Winter Home Checklist: 10 things to tackle in your ‘tree house’ before the cold sets in

1.  Test-run your heating system

Set your thermostat up to 80 degrees. You should hear the rumble of your furnace and feel warm air coming up from your vents within a few minutes. If not, you can troubleshoot the problem here.

2.       Get your chimney inspected

This should be performed by a professional annually to make sure it is functioning properly. A chimney sweep may be necessary to safely enjoy it throughout the upcoming chilly months.

3.       Insulate exposed piping

Insulate exposed pipes with foam or electrical heating tape. Common locations include garages, attics or basements. Without it, they can freeze or burst – leading to one costly plumbing bill.

4.       Turn off water supply to outside faucets

Exterior faucets should have a separate shutoff valve. Be sure to turn it off before the cold weather hits to prevent it from freezing!

5.       Check for air leaks in your windows and doors

If you can feel cold air coming in through your closed windows or doors, the quickest fix is rope caulk or weather stripping. This helps keep the heat inside your home, and the cold air out. The permanent fix is replacing old windows with new energy efficient ones. Click here for a free estimate.

Now through December 31, 2013, Federal Tax Credits are being awarded for consumer energy efficient upgrades – including roofing, windows and insulation.  Click here for more information about this program, and here to get your free estimate from Tri-State Windows, Siding and Roofing.

6.       Inspect your roof

Check for missing or damaged shingles, as well as flashing. Leave this job up to the pros unless you really know what you are doing. Click here to schedule a free estimate.

7.       Put patio furniture into storage

This increases the life and quality of your furniture for the springs and summers to come.

8.       Wash and seal your deck

Power wash and spray a fresh coat of water sealer on your deck every year to two years to prevent fading or damage. This can be a great DIY project to do on the weekend, or a professional service you can pay for.

9.       Insulate your hot water tank

Maintain low energy costs this winter with an insulating blanket. You can buy one at any home improvement store.

10.       Clean gutters and downspouts

Give your gutters and downspouts a thorough cleaning before the end of the fall season. Wet leaves that remain in these areas add significant weight and volume once frozen – and increases the risk of damage to your home.

Tri-State Windows, Siding and Roofing can install gutter covers on your home to make them hassle free. Click here to get your free estimate.

Learn more about energy efficiency and insulation on our website!

Until next time, folks!

Hank

Blown-In Insulation

Winter is around the corner, and we squirrels aren’t the only ones who have to prepare for the colder weather! And seeing as you folks aren’t as gifted at growing thick fur coats as I am (although I do know some of the Tri-State crew to be an exception) I have an even better idea on how to stay warm!

Blown-In Insulation is a GREAT way to help keep your family warm and cozy in the coming months. Read on for my list of the Top 5 Benefits to Blown-In Insulation.

1. It’s Adjustable:

R-Value is the number signifying the strength of your Blown-In Insulation. Depending on the type of room, age of your home and region of the country you reside, the recommended value differs. With Blown-In Insulation, it is simple to adjust this value according to your individual needs!

2. Made of virgin materials:

Folks prone to allergies, perk up your ears. Blown-In Insulation is made of hypoallergenic material resistant to the fungus and mold often found on other forms of insulation. Breathe happy, my friends.

3. Tighter fit and seal:

The Blown-In technique allows for a tighter fit and seal in the crevices between the beams and wiring throughout your home. In other words, Blown-In Insulation cuts down on air leaks and keeps your energy costs down.

4. Fast and clean:

In comparison to other methods of insulation installation, the job itself can be completed far more quickly, and produce much less dust.

5. Extremely energy efficient:

Perhaps the greatest advantage Blown-In Insulation has over its competitors is it never settles. In other words, the big fluffy insulation you buy now will look the same a decade from now – forever maintaining its initial R-value. This makes it extremely energy efficient and cost efficient for you.

Estimates from Tri-State Windows, Siding & Roofing are ALWAYS free! Contact us today for yours.

Over and out –

Hank

5 ways to weatherize your home in the fall

GAF, 5 ways to weatherize your home in the fall

As the leaves around my tree house begin to change, I am making sure my home is weatherized for the upcoming cold temperatures, and you should too. Here are five ways to make sure your home is ready for fall and winter.

1)      Inspect your roof

Inspect your roof from top to bottom. Damage during summer storms could have happened without you even noticing. Get on top of your roof or use binoculars to thoroughly check to see if your roof has any damage. Locate and stop the problem now before the snow starts falling.

2)      Check for air leaks

It is also necessary to inspect your windows and doors. Check for gaps between the weather-stripping and your windows as well as missing or damaged caulk. These small gaps can create air leaks and ultimately let the cold winter air in- bur!

3)      Replace old windows

New technology such as gas filled double pane windows keep your home insulated more effectively than old single pane ones. The gas, usually argon or krypton, has a higher resistance to heat flow than air—meaning it will keep the warm air in during the winter more efficiently.

4)      Winterize your outdoor faucets

Close any shut-off valves that are connected to your outside faucets, and then turn the outside faucet on to drain the line. This will rid the line of any water so that it doesn’t freeze when the temperature drops. If it does freeze the pipe could burst!

5)      Check the chimney

Even though you might not use your chimney a lot, it is still necessary to check it for damage and hazards. Inspect your chimney for creosote—a flammable by-product of burning wood. The best way to have your chimney inspected is by a chimney sweep.

Remember, in home estimates are always free. Click here to schedule one today.

 

SUMMER CHECKLIST FOR YOUR HOME

 

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Ah, sweet summer! I was getting squirrely waiting around for this nice weather to finally get here.

A season filled with endless pool parties in the backyard, cookouts on the porch and family road trips, I know that before any of this summer fun can begin, I’ve got some prep work to do.

You know the type of prep work I am talking about folks… jogging off the extra nutty bar weight packed on during hibernation, sharpening front  teeth on pebbles to better crack open nuts and waxing off that bushy tail that so often grows wild and unruly during the bitter winter months.

But did you know that your home also has a checklist to get summer-ready?

Lucky for you, I’ve sketched it out:

Clean Out Gutters, First and Foremost

When gutters are no longer able to direct the flow of rainwater away from the home due to dirt and debris, water will begin seeping underneath the house and weakening its foundation. Improper gutter maintenance can also lead to problems such as water invasion into the basement, damage to the siding and windows of the home and unsightly mud splash stains against the lower portion of the house’s outer walls.

Additional Green Tip: Utilizing a rain barrel to collect water drainage from gutters great way to save on costly water bills in the summer. Rain water is the best option for lawn and garden vegetation maintenance, as it does not contain any of the chemicals found in public water supplies.

Wash Windows

Having clean windows give your home an instant boost in appearance and lets in more light. It also prevents the buildup of grime, which prolongs the pane’s life span. In areas where there is a lot of pollen, snow and rainstorms, or factory emissions, routine maintenance is especially important to consider.

Additional Green Tip: Green methods for cleaning windows and walls, such as those used by Tri-State Windows, Siding and Roofing, are not only better for the environment, but are actually more efficient than many non-green methods. The high-quality windows we sell help save you on energy costs by reducing the conduction of heat at the edge of glass for superior insulation, thermal performance and longevity.

Trim Trees

With that being said, summer rainstorms can easily crack the branches off of trees. Trimming back the ones that grow closest to your home is a great way of ensuring against future damage to your roof and siding.

Check for Siding and Roof Damage

The snow, ice, and harsh storms from earlier in the year can wreak havoc on the siding and roof of homes. Checking for any signs of damage is important to keep your house in tip top shape.

Additional Green Tip: A simple and attractive way to reduce your heating and cooling bill is to add modern vinyl siding to the outside of your home. The vinyl options we offer for our clients is different from older alternatives because we use high-quality insulation as our backer.

Remember, the most effective and safest method of completing any of these tasks is always through a trained professional. Make your appointment at Tri-State Windows, Siding at Roofing today by clicking here.

SQUIRREL-A BONGA! Here’s to summer,

Hank