Saturday, August 4, 2012

baby, it's hot outside.

Oh, how I wish I were singing "Baby, it's cold outside"... even though I hate that song and find it really disturbing.  (Dude, quit being a creeper and let her leave. Who cares if it's cold outside?).  But this is Kansas and the summers suck.  The humidity, chiggers, mosquitoes, and lack of rain have made us all a little cranky.  Since when does a slightly cooler than a desert "cold" front bring us 90+ degree weather?  It's funny how we acclimate to consistent 100+ weather, think it's normal and then get really excited when it's going to "only get up to the 90s today!"  Let's talk energy efficiency.

While I appreciate the changing seasons outside, I don't think you should be able to feel them inside your house.  Back in January, we replaced the remaining old windows in our house.  Let's just say they didn't believe in insulating around windows in the 70s.  In the winter, you could feel the draft in all the windows, especially the one in our bedroom.  Ehren, who sleeps closest to the window would freeze at night because of me hogging all the blankets the drafty window.  Replacing windows is a big investment but it's better than literally throwing expensive energy out the window.

Below, you can see the old windows.  All you can really see is screens, old metal, and windows that look somewhat small.  I feel like these windows really date our house.  The second floor windows each have two windows in them.

We used American Exteriors and highly, highly recommend them.  I went to work in the morning and came home at 4:00 p.m. and had 7 new windows.  No trace of the major project that occurred while I tortured poor innocent 90 year olds with exercise worked.  When I walked in the house, my mouth fell open.  I couldn't believe the difference it made - more glass, less wood and cross-bars, more light, better screens.

What we liked about American Exteriors:

  • Lifetime warranty that transfers to future home owners
  • Each window is customized down to 1/16th of an inch to fit each window perfectly
  • They hauled away the old windows
  • Less expensive than Pella, same or better quality
  • The guy who installed the windows has dogs just like Cozy

Our American Exteriors guy had a great way of explaining how windows are supposed to function: they either keep the heat IN or keep the heat OUT.  Obviously, in the winter, you don't want your heat to be escaping out the windows and heating the neighborhood.  And in the summer, you don't want heat coming into your house and making your AC work harder and longer.

Here's how the new windows looked after installation.  Big difference, huh?

As you can see in the picture, the 2nd floor windows are now single windows (they used to be double windows that opened up and down separately).  Now, to open the new windows, you slide them side-to-side.  It makes the window look much larger.  Plus, it's cheaper to have one big window instead of two small windows.

FYI: Windows are priced by adding [height + width] and is known as "united inches".  So, it's cheaper to do one large window instead of two smaller ones.

2 small windows:  [30(h) + 20(w)] + [30(h) + 20(w)] = 100 united inches
1 large window:  30(h) + 40(w) = 70 united inches

Before: master bedroom window
After: master bedroom window

Before: master bathroom

After: master bathroom
Before: guest bedroom
After: guest bedroom
Before: front living room
After: front living room
It's hard to take pictures of windows, but you get the idea.  More window, less clutter.  Lots of sunlight without the heat.  The windows were our biggest expense yet, but will retain value and save us in energy costs for years to come. 

We also replaced the old thermostat (circa 1976) with a new, fancy, programmable digital thermostat.  We thought about getting a regular digital one, but then we saw this one with wi-fi for the same price (about $100), did the "Tim the tool-man Taylor" grunt and got it instead.  Apparently my husband is a natural electrician and figured out how to set it up without electrocuting himself.  (I will not be explaining how to do this for obvious reasons). 

You may be asking, "why do you need wi-fi on your digital thermostat?"  Well, you can download a smartphone app (or go to the website) and access your thermostat from anywhere.  This has come in quite handy as evidenced by these examples:

Example 1:  We went to Maryland for a week, set the target temperature to 85 degrees to save energy.  When we were in Detroit for our layover, we got on the app to adjust the temperature to a nice and cool 72 degrees - it made hauling in our luggage and taking a nap much more pleasant. 

Example 2:  One of my friends is a home health PT in Lawrence and drives from house to house treating patients, sometimes she needs a place to heat up her lunch or access wi-fi.  We keep our house really cool in the winter and I know she hates the cold.  So, while I was at work, I cranked up the heat for her so it would be warmer when she got there.

Example 3:  Pure laziness.  Who wants to walk all the way downstairs to adjust the thermostat at night when you can do it from the comfort of your bed with a few taps of the finger?  Not us.  Or Cozy. 

Screen shot of our app. 

Just because I like before and after pictures, let's look at the difference between old and new windows:

While new windows and a thermostat aren't as exciting as a new headboard or revamped living room, it's necessary when you buy an older home.  You always hear that new windows will pay for themselves, and they're right!  The next post will be about how Ehren and I insulated our attic ourselves.. talk about a messy job!

P.S. I apologize for being a bad blogger, it's been a busy summer!

1 comment :

  1. It looks so great Jaime! I have never seen a window make-over, it made such a big difference!


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