Around the house: a good window film for saving energy | Way of life

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Dear Ken: We have two large windows in a veranda which gets quite warm, and we want to know what you think about window film? Does it last? Is it good for privacy? – Cheryl

Reply: It is especially good for saving energy. It can help reflect heat indoors in the winter, saving money on heating – and outdoors in the summer, lowering your cooling costs. You can apply it yourself if you have a little help and a lot of patience. The process is basically like in an automobile: cut it to the approximate width, apply a soapy film to the window, slip it in place and finally, scrape off the water.

There are indeed some privacy benefits with this stuff, but they’re not 100%. Although reflected sunlight prevents people from seeing indoors during the day, at night when you are backlit with indoor lighting, you will be visible to strangers.

This film is long-lived, to a point. Since it is mostly installed on the south and west facing windows, it eventually breaks down. Another thing: most window manufacturers will not honor their warranty on newer windows after installing the film. So if this is your case, check with the window company first.

Dear Ken: I have deep window wells and need to cover them. What type do you recommend? – Iris

Reply: Look for an adjustable style. They’re usually high-strength aluminum and have a nifty slatted-like sliding track arrangement, so they can be adjusted to fit virtually any shape of window well. Check your options on grate.com

Another idea is to have blade covers constructed from regular 2 inch by 2 inch or 2 inch by 4 inch redwood planks. Alternatively, a good welding shop can make steel grates from expanded metal. In either case, it’s important to create window coverings that can support the weight of anyone who is likely to be standing on them, but light enough that occupants of rooms below ground level can push them out of the way. way to escape.

If blowing snow and leaf intrusion is a problem, you can add these clear plastic dome coves if you like, but only after you’ve created a sturdy platform underneath!

Dear Ken: The previous owners put a layer of scum on our patio, and it is now coming off in pieces. We would like something new on the patio. Ideas? Do we need a jackhammer? I hope not. – Margin

Reply: When this material starts to come off, it is quite easy to finish the job. I bet a few well-placed hits with a little sledgehammer will finish it off. There are many choices for your patio. You can use natural slab, glued with a suitable mastic (avoid tiling, because it is too slippery). How about using brick or synthetic pavers? They can be installed without glue or mortar and covered with fine sand. It really is a great pattern in our climate, as they are free to roam and move in response to temperature and other stresses.

Dear Ken: How do I cover spike damage on my 5 year old cedar siding. I’m trying to sell the house and some of the siding looks terrible. -Larry

Reply: You can buy some of the same coating and use it to create “plugs” to hide the damage. Using an appropriate diameter hole saw driven by a hand drill, cut out the bird holes and replace them with a plug of the same size cut from the new wood. Use a little wood glue (the brown stuff) to hold it in place. Once you’ve applied a drop or two of the stain to match the rest of the house, you’ll have created a virtually invisible patch.

Do your best, but keep in mind that raw cedar siding is a rustic-looking natural material, so a buyer won’t expect it to be flawless as if it were. , say, furniture.

Dear Ken: I have smoke alarm problems. Suddenly there is steam coming out of the bathroom. I changed the batteries to no avail. What can I do? – Richard

Reply: Have you tried swapping it out for a different smoke detector from another part of the house? It can help. Also, it’s a good idea to use canned air – like you blow a computer keyboard with it – to gently propel dust and cobwebs out of the detector itself.

Otherwise, it looks like you need to ventilate the bathroom a bit more. Make sure to use the bath fan while showering. This will not only keep the alarming water vapor away from the smoke detector, but also discourage mold growth in the shower stall / tub itself.

If all else fails, you will need to relocate the detector. It would be relatively easy for an electrician to pull a wire from their existing box to a location further down the hall and away from the bathroom.

Dear Ken: There is a weak spot in the ceiling under the shower area. No water pipe is leaking. After that ? – Of the

Reply: Leaky showers require more detective work than any problem around the house. The most likely culprit is the shower head. Unscrew the pipe that disappears into the wall and add a generous layer of Teflon on the threads before reinserting it.

If the leak continues, let’s move on to the walls. Even the smallest pinhole can leave enough water in the wall cavity to cause a problem underneath. I would fill in the walls and re-caulk the right angles in the corners of the enclosure and the edges of the tile where it meets the shower base.

The drain may also need some attention. Unscrew it can apply a generous dollop of silicone around the edges then reinstall it.

Finally, do you have a shower door? They may be the cheapest protection in these circumstances, especially if teens are lounging in the endless showers they prefer.

If neither of these approaches works, you have a leak in the drain and waste pipes in the shower. A plumber will need to drill an access hole in the drywall to complete the repair.

Ken Moon is a home inspector in the Pikes Peak area. His radio telephone show airs at 4 pm Saturdays on KRDO, FM 105.5 and AM 1240. Visit around the house.com

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