Considering an Energy Audit? Get Informed

Overconsumption of energy is a problem that plagues many homeowners. Wasting energy can hurt homeowners’ bottom lines and the planet. But many homeowners aren’t aware just how much energy their homes are consuming and even wasting. That’s why a home energy audit can be so important.
Considering an Energy Audit? Get Informed
A home energy audit or assessment investigates just how much energy a home consumes so homeowners can make their homes more energy efficient. Audits identify where energy is being wasted and can offer suggestions to fix the problem.

The U.S. Department of Energy advises that the average U.S. household consumes around 90 million btus in a year. Of the energy used in homes, nearly 50 percent goes to heating and cooling. Water heating, appliances, electronics, and lighting account for the remaining consumption. Consumers can save between 5 and 30 percent on home energy bills by getting a home energy audit and making the adjustments advised by auditors.

There are two types of energy audits: professional and do-it-yourself. Professional auditors will go room-to-room to assess a home’s energy use. Typical testing includes thermographic scans and infrared cameras to determine air leakage and insulation; a blower door test, which depressurizes the home and simulates the effect of a 20 mph wind to find air leaks; and watt meter measurements to test energy usage by various devices throughout the house.

Before an auditor comes to the house, homeowners can make a list of any problems or concerns they want to discuss with the auditor. The auditor also may interview the homeowner to learn about how the home normally runs and can analyze energy bills to determine typical energy consumption. Windows, doors, HVAC systems, insulation, fireplaces, and lighting fixtures all may be assessed during a professional audit.

Even though a professional audit is usually the best way to determine where a home is losing energy, homeowners can conduct their own audits to detect and fix problems. Locating and sealing air leaks, addressing inadequate ventilation, checking that insulation levels and vapor barriers are at recommended levels, and inspecting HVAC systems should be part of any DIY audit. If a heating/cooling unit is more than 15 years old, the DOE suggests having it replaced with a newer, energy-efficient unit.

An energy audit can identify areas around a home where improvements can be made to reduce energy consumption and waste. Upgrading to new appliances, replacing light bulbs, sealing drafts, improving insulation, and addressing moisture and water leaks can be good for the environment and help homeowners save money.

American Awnings & Replacement Windows can help you conserve energy in a variety of ways. We offer many Energy Star qualified replacement window solutions, that over time, will pay for themselves in energy savings. We are also the best source for retractable awnings in Shippensburg, Chambersburg, Hagerstown, and surrounding areas. During the warmer months of the year, a retractable awning can help reduce the amount of sun entering your home, thus saving you money in cooling costs. Contact us today to learn more!

How to Make Your Awning Installation a Success

Before having your new awning installed, there are a few decisions you should make to prepare yourself. There are many benefits to adding a retractable awning to your home. This includes adding to the existing value of your home and creating an appealing and comfortable outdoor environment your family and friends can enjoy. Choosing the right type of awning can easily reduce home energy costs by shielding your home from the elements.
How to Make Your Awning Installation a Success
Below are a few of the most common decisions you should make prior to your new awning installation.

Size Matters

Choosing the correct size of retractable awning for your home is paramount. This will help ensure the appearance of your home remains well-balanced and visually appealing. There are many sizes to choose from, and American Awnings & Replacement Windows can help guide you in your decision making.

Awning Material

Our retractable awnings are available in a variety of materials, all of which have their own unique benefits. Resacril fabrics are an ideal choice for your awning. They have a tighter weave and provide superior water resistance and fabric stability. Resacril fabrics weigh 9 ounces per square yard and are made of 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Sunbrella & Dickson fabrics are another great choice of material. These awning materials are also made from 100% solution-dyed acrylic fiber. This provides an incomparable color brightness. Plus, these fabrics are woven which allows the fabric to be translucent and breathe. Sunbrella & Dickson fabrics also have a flurocarbon finish that repells water quite efficiently.

Choose Your Style

American Awnings & Replacement Windows offers many different styles of awning to choose from including Sunrise, Toga, Little Big, Vario-Volant, Sunpitch, and Sunselect retractable awnings. Click here to learn more about these unique styles and discover which style of awning is the perfect fit for your home.

Need help deciding which options are best suited for your next awning project? No problem! Contact the professionals at American Awnings & Replacement Windows to help guide you every step of the way. Our expert staff will help you make an informed decision, and we will make sure your retractable awning project is a success!

Awnings Reduce Energy Cost & Add Value to Your Home

Now more than ever, we have become more conscious and aware of our environmental impact. The push to become more green in regards to energy efficiency has become a top priority for many of us. Retractable awnings are a great way to reduce energy costs in your home while adding significant value.
Awnings Reduce Energy Cost & Add Value to Your Home
Retractable awnings can help reduce home cooling costs significantly, by as much as 25 percent. By deflecting the sun’s rays, a retractable awning helps maintain cooler temperatures in your home and create an outdoor living space shielded from the intensity of the sun. This in turn helps lower your overall energy costs by using less air conditioning and spending less time indoors during those warm summer months.

Another thing to consider when looking to buy a retractable awning for your home is the impact it can have on your indoor furniture, curtains, drapes, and carpeting. By blocking the sun’s harmful rays from infiltrating your home, a retractable awning can help reduce the amount of fading and damage over time to indoor furnishings. This adds value to your home and is a very smart investment to consider.

Retractable awnings can potentially save you thousands in home energy costs, but they also add a level of comfort and aesthetic to your home than can be enjoyed for years to come. Easily turn an outdoor patio or deck into a comfortable outdoor living area for your family and guests to enjoy. Installing a retractable awning is a cost-effective way to add value to your home without investing the time and money into expensive renovation projects.

Contact American Awnings & Replacement Windows today to discuss the best retractable awning solution for your home or business. We service much of Franklin, Cumberland, Dauphin, York & Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania including Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, and much more. Call 800-532-9098 today for your free quote!

Expand Living Spaces With Clever Ideas

Homeowners looking to add more space to their homes do not necessarily need to make major renovations. They simply have to see the possibilities in outdoor living spaces.
Expand Living Spaces With Clever Ideas
Outdoor living spaces are coveted niches in a home. The American Home Furnishings Alliance says more than 70 percent of American households have outdoor living spaces, and nearly 70 percent of people use these spaces at least once per week in-season. Furthermore, homeowners are increasingly interested in enhancing these spaces to make them more usable and comfortable.

A recent survey from the online home design and remodeling resource Houzz found that more than 4,500 users were planning a landscape update. In addition, 56 percent of homeowners surveyed were making updates to improve their yards for entertaining.
While the creation of outdoor living spaces can cost thousands of dollars depending on the renovation, homeowners have more budget-friendly options at their disposal as well. The following are some ways to create inviting spaces no matter how much square-footage is present.

Revamp a garage or shed

Rather than turning a storage area into a catch-all for items time forgot, clean out the space and put it to better use. For instance, kids may appreciate their own clubhouse away from the main living area. These spaces also can be handy bonus rooms for when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate and backyard guests need to seek shelter. Wall art, curtains, a pendant light, and some comfortable outdoor-compatible furniture can quickly transform a space.

Create a relaxing nook

Whether there’s a ledge, overhang, small terrace, or porch off the house, turn it into a relaxing area for reading a book or sipping a beverage. Use a few outdoor pillows, pull up a small folding table and dress the area with hanging lights and potted plants for a quiet retreat.

Add privacy to a porch

If it’s privacy you covet, install curtain rods and hang lightweight mesh or another translucent material that obscures neighbors’ views without blocking out natural light. Invest in outdoor sofas and chaises to create an outdoor living room right on the porch. If your budget allows, consider closing in the porch as a true three-season room so it can be used throughout fall, spring and summer.

Outdoor living spaces are booming and highly achievable, and many such spaces need not be expensive.

American Awnings & Replacement Windows can also help you create that perfect outdoor living space with one of our many retractable awning options. We have retractable awnings to fit any budget, and our expert staff can install your new retractable awning in no time. Contact American Awnings & Replacement Windows today!

Awnings Can Make Outdoor Spaces More Comfortable

Many homeowners are eager to step outdoors upon the return of warm weather. Outdoor living spaces have grown in popularity as more and more homeowners embrace opportunities to entertain and lounge around in their yards.
Awnings Can Make Outdoor Spaces More Comfortable
Outdoor entertaining areas can be great, but such spaces may go unused when summer sun makes it uncomfortable to spend time outdoors. But a retractable awning can change all that. Homeowners often find awnings can be worthwhile investments that can be beneficial both inside and outside of the home.

Increase usable yard space

Awnings can create privacy and establish boundaries for outdoor living areas. Place an awning over a deck, tables and chairs, or an entire patio area. Some people like to install awnings over a portion of their pools to provide shade for those who want to escape the sun’s rays. Motorized awnings can be retracted with the push of a button, which can help homeowners with physical limitations.

Protect against sun damage

Awnings provide excellent protection against sun damage, as they can shield outdoor furniture from direct sunlight, helping to reduce the chances for discoloration or fading.

Reduce air conditioning costs

In addition to shading outdoor living areas, smaller awnings can be placed over southern- and western-facing windows, shielding interiors against the sun’s rays. In turn, this may reduce reliance on air conditioners.

Expand gardening possibilities

Some plants require very specific light conditions to grow. Awnings can protect shade-loving plants from harsh sunlight and filter the sun for plants that require indirect light. They can be placed over a patio container garden or permanent garden structure.

Add value for buyers

For those who may be selling their homes soon, awning may help them receive top dollar. Today’s buyers want houses that have attractive and functional exteriors, and an awning can provide that competitive advantage over similar homes in the neighborhood.

When renovating outdoor areas, homeowners should not overlook awnings that can make outdoor living spaces more livable.

Window Guards Save Kids’ Lives

The weather is warming and that means windows are being opened to let in fresh air and warm breezes. The advantages to open windows are many. But one particular disadvantage is the safety hazard open windows present to young children.
Window Guards Save Kids' Lives
More than 5,000 American children are injured each year after falling out of windows, says the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Two-thirds of these children are toddlers, and a quarter of all injured are hurt seriously enough to require hospital admittance.

Montreal Children’s Hospital says they treat roughly 10 children a year who have fallen from a window. Due to toddlers’ high center of gravity (a head that is particularly heavy), most topple over and land head-first, which can have devastating effects.

Falls from windows can cause serious injuries and even death. However, the accidents are largely preventable. Many recall the tragic 1991 incident when musician Eric Clapton’s son, Conor, fell to his death from an apartment 49 stories up in a Manhattan highrise. Conor, age 4, allegedly darted past a housekeeper who had left the window open after cleaning and fell out of the window. The song “Tears in Heaven” was subsequently written by Clapton for his son.

Children are often insatiable in their curiosity and desire to see what is happening in the world around them. Goings-on outdoors can be fascinating, and it is not farfetched to see children leaning up against windows and screens to get a better view of outdoors. A window screen can easily dislodge and provides no barrier from a fall.

Parents and guardians of young children should add window protection to the list of safety gear they use to childproof a home. There are many varieties of window guards that attach to windows and provide a measure of security against falls. Some of these safety devices are bars or grills that install into place but can be easily removed by an adult in the event the window needs to be used as an emergency evacuation point. Window gates can be used on larger, swing-out windows to form a barrier for children. There are also locks and latches that restrict how much a window can be opened.

Some areas of the country have made it law to have window guards on second story windows where children under age 10 are in residence, particularly highrise apartment buildings. Even falls from ground-floor windows can cause injuries. It’s important to check with a landlord or with a municipal office about the requirements with regard to window guards.

In addition to the installation of window guards, there are other safety steps that help prevent window-related falls.

  • Keep furniture away from windows. Children can climb on the furniture and have better access to windows.
  • Keep beds away from windows, especially in a child’s bedroom. Children may horse around on a bed and bounce through an open window if the bed and window are not far apart.
  • Routinely inspect the hardware and construction of the window to ensure it is secure. Periodically check the fit of a window guard to make sure it is properly installed.
  • Do not open windows wide in children’s rooms. A few inches is all that’s needed for fresh air.
  • Make sure children know they are not allowed to play next to open windows or to try to climb up to windows.

Surviving a Home Renovation

Homeowners invest large sums into improving their homes to make them more comfortable living spaces or to increase their odds of selling quickly. The Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University predicted U.S. spending on home renovations and repairs to peak at $327 billion in 2018.
Surviving a Home Renovation
Whether one is doing a large renovation or a small remodel, life may be turned upside down during the project. Furniture may be moved out of the room, walls may be demolished, water or electricity may be turned off, and appliances may be missing or not hooked up. Home improvements often drum up dust and disarray. Such projects can try the patience of any homeowner, and things may get worse before they get better.

Even though remodeling can be taxing, the end result is often worth it. Here’s how to look forward to the silver lining and come out unscathed.

Discuss the Project Before It Starts

All family members should be in agreement before the first hammer is swung. Decide on as many details as you can ahead of time and have a firm plan in place. Establish back-up choices for tiles or color schemes in case the items you want are out of stock. Trying to make decisions under duress may result in bad choices.

Do One Project At a Time

It’s tempting to want to improve as much as possible at once to maximize motivation and renovation materials. However, having no place in which to escape the mess can elevate stress levels. Do not think about renovating kitchens and bathrooms all at once, or you will not have any working fixtures for tasks like washing up.

Have Everything In Place

Before demolition even begins, have building materials bought and stored, contractors and subcontractors lined up, and see what you can do to minimize the time workers need to spend in your home.

Expect Delays

In a world where things move at lightning speeds, renovations have not gotten the memo. Home projects take lots of time and will likely take longer if you are doing the work yourself in your free time. Build lots of extra time into the project so you are not disappointed when delays happen — even when you’ve done your best to avoid them.

Plan An Escape Zone

Construction environments can be messy, loud, smelly, and a host of other unsavory adjectives. The chaos that ensues when life is turned upside down can be overwhelming, particularly for the person who spends the most time in the home while work is being done. Build escape moments into the plan and make sure everyone else at home is on board. During the real grind of the project, a night or two at a hotel may be a welcome respite.

Home Safety Checks to Complete Today

A new kitchen or a bathroom remodeling job might be dream projects for many homeowners, but the right home improvement project at a given moment is not necessarily the most glamorous project. Sometimes safety upgrades around the house must take precedence over more popular projects.
Home Safety Checks to Complete Today
Accidents or injuries can occur in any part of the home, but homeowners who take certain preventative measures can greatly reduce their injury risk. The security resource A Secure Life points out that more than 18,000 Americans die every year from injuries that take place in the home. Unintentional injuries account for millions of medical visits each year. Home injuries also are prevalent elsewhere in the world. In the United Kingdom, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reports that there are approximately 6,000 deaths every year that result from accidents at home.

Periodic inspections for potential hazards can keep everyone safe. The following are a handful of ways for homeowners to ensure their homes are as safe as possible.

• Check for sturdy handrails and prevent tripping hazards. Falls are one of the leading causes of home injuries. Falls can be a particular threat for youngsters and the elderly. To help prevent falls, make sure that staircases feature sturdy railings and that there is ample lighting in walkways. Remove obstructions from frequently used paths inside and outside the home. In addition, insert nonslip padding beneath runners or throw rugs.

• Check for frayed wires or faulty outlets. Address any electrical problems around the house, including frayed wiring and faulty outlets. Sparks can lead to fires, and poor wiring may cause unforeseen problems behind walls. Repair or replace any loose or frayed wires on all electrical devices. Be sure that cords do not run under doorways or rugs. Replace outlets that are in disrepair and install ones with ground-fault current interruptors as an added precaution. If small children live in the home, use plastic safety covers over unused outlets.

• Practice window safety. Young children are curious and do not always recognize the inherent dangers around them. Children excited to see the great outdoors may climb up to peer out windows, and open windows are falling hazards. Screens do not offer an adequate barrier against falls. Consider locking windows or use safety bars to guard against falls. Test to see how easily screens can be pushed out, replacing any that do not provide adequate resistance to curious youngsters’ hands.

• Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at least twice per year, and test them to make sure they’re in good working order at least once per month. The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing hard-wired smoke alarms every 10 years. Battery-operated alarms may need to be replaced even sooner. Many carbon monoxide detectors work for five to seven years. Check the back of alarms for a date stamp that indicates how old the product is and when it expires.

Safety checklists are an important part of home maintenance. A proactive approach can prevent both injuries and damage to the home.

Items to Improve Outdoor Living Spaces

The popularity of outdoor living spaces has been growing for years. A 2014 study from the home remodeling and design platform Houzz found that 56 percent of homeowners were making updates to improve their yards for entertaining. Similarly, nearly 60 percent of architectural practices surveyed by the American Institute of Architects in 2016 said outdoor living spaces were popular features in the homes they built.
Items to Improve Outdoor Living Spaces
Outdoor living spaces may also be sound investments for homeowners looking to improve the resale value of their properties. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2017 “Cost vs. Value” report, outdoor living spaces returned between 55 and 71 percent of homeowners’ initial investments at resale.

When planning an outdoor living space, homeowners with ample backyards have much to work with. However, to make the most of the space while simultaneously hoping to get as strong a return on their investments as possible, homeowners should look to create spaces that offer broad appeal and are not too personalized. The following are some popular outdoor living space features homeowners may want to consider.

Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens allow homeowners to prepare more than just traditional backyard barbecue fare. A standalone charcoal grill in the backyard might get the job done, but a built-in gas grill complete with burners and surrounding granite countertop makes for a more functional outdoor entertaining space.

Bars

Indoor entertaining areas often include bars, so it makes sense that homeowners want to include a place to prepare and serve beverages to their guests. Homeowners with room in their budgets may want to install wet bars where they can rinse mixers, glasses and other items needed to prepare drinks for their guests.

Warming Features

Features that can keep homeowners and their guests warm after the sun sets include outdoor fireplaces and firepits. A 2016 survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects found that fireplaces and firepits were the most popular outdoor design element in 2016. Such features can provide a focal point in the backyard while also extending the outdoor living season into autumn and even early winter.

Porch Space

Outdoor living spaces are often found in the backyard, but homeowners with bigger front yards than backyards may want to expand or open their porch spaces to create more space outside. Porch swings and rocking chairs provide a great place to relax, and porch spaces are covered, meaning homeowners can continue to enjoy time outside even when it begins to rain.

Outdoor living spaces are growing in popularity. Homeowners who want to capitalize on this trend can do so in various ways.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Retractable Awning

So, perhaps you’ve just finished building a wonderful backyard deck or patio or are interested in sprucing up your existing outdoor living space. You begin researching retractable awning companies and contractors to make your new deck or patio more pleasant on those hot summer days. But where should you begin? Here are a few things to consider before making your new retractable awning purchase.
Large Retractable Awning in Gettysburg, PA

Overall Aesthetic

It’s important to choose a retractable awning that is both reliable and mechanically sound, but the look and feel of your new awning is just as significant. Make certain that the color and pattern of the awning fabric is compatible with your home’s design. At American Awnings & Replacement Windows, we have many different patterns and colors to choose from. We will work with you and lead you down the path to a beautiful awning that you can admire for years to come.

Type of Awning

The type of retractable awning you choose can make a huge difference. We offer a wide range of styles to suit your specific needs. For example, our Toga retractable awning offers superior protection of the fabric of your awning. The valence can also be removed during colder seasons to help prolong the life of the awning’s fabric. Our Little Big model is an ideal solution for narrower spaces yet still large enough to provide adequate shading. If you’re looking for an awning that can adapt to suit your sun protection needs, our Vario-Volant model would be an ideal solution.
Small Window Aluminum Awning

Warranty & Financing

When purchasing a brand new retractable awning, it’s always beneficial to protect your investment. Every retractable awning that we offer carries a 10 year common sense warranty that is backed by our professionally trained staff. Combined with proper care and maintenance, you can avoid unexpected expenses down the road.

If you prefer to pay for your new awning over time, we also offer 18 months special financing. Click here to learn more about how we can help you finance your next project.