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How to Prepare for a Stormy Weekend

stormy weekend

Stormy weather can be unpredictable (as you may have noticed from the one that hit the area last night). At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we know that’s not the end of it and we’re here to offer some tips on how you can prepare for a stormy weekend:

Make food plans.

If you lose power because of a storm, it’s always a guess as to when it will be back on, and you can only go so long without lunch or dinner. Make some dinner plans for if your power isn’t back on by a certain time: opt for take-out (just be sure to stock up on menus) or have some grill-friendly food on hand that you can cook without an electric stove. No one likes going hungry during a storm!

Have some flashlights ready.

Strong storms mean you may lose your light sources, so stock up on flashlights and the batteries for the flashlights. (Make sure you know what kind they take.) You can also grab some candles to keep common areas lit.

Get yourself a game.

Can’t watch television? Computer’s dead? How about a good old-fashioned game to pass the time? Buy a fun family one and save it specifically for a stormy day. You can grab a board game like Sorry or Scrabble or go for a classic game like Charades or 20 Questions.

Buy a few hand-held fans.

Summertime storms could mean no air conditioning and at P.J. Fitzpatrick, we know no air conditioning can get brutal. While they may not be as comfortable as AC, hand-held fans can help keep you cool until your cooling system is back up and running.

Charge your devices.

You never know when you’re going to need your phone, tablet, or laptop, so keep a good charge on them if you’re expecting a storm. You can also look into solar charging system that you can power up during the sunny hours and then use if you lose electricity.

Call P.J. Fitzpatrick

Since 1980, our home improvement company has been helping homeowners throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond prepare and recover from storms. Give us a call and we’ll inspect your roofing, siding, gutters, or any other part of your home you think may be susceptible to a bad storm. And if you experience damage, our 24/7 specialists are here to fix whatever is needed.

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5 Signs That You Should Replace Your Windows

replacement windows

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we know it may not be easy to tell when you should replace your windows. If your home is more than 15 years old, we recommend checking the condition of your windows as a general rule of thumb – they’re not different from any other element in your home that needs replacing after years of use. Here are some signs that you may need new windows:

They’re difficult to open and close

If you have trouble opening and closing your windows, try cleaning off any dust and debris that may be around the window and lubricate any hinges with a non-solvent silicone-free lubricant. If they’re still difficult to open and close or if they get stuck in the up or down position, they may need replacing.

Outside noise is louder than usual

If you notice that your home has become noisier than usual, the culprit may be your windows. Over time, windows can warp and allow small gaps to form, which is where outside noises like traffic or construction can flow through. This is a sign you may need new windows.

They have condensation/frost/cloudiness

Do you have double-paned glass windows? If so, do you often find condensation or frost inside the glass? Are your windows still cloudy no matter how much you clean them?Unfortunately, this means that the seals between the glass panes may have failed. When a seal fails, it allows moisture between the glass, which leads to condensation or frost. If this is a recurring event, your windows aren’t insulating your home like they should and you may need to replace them.

You can feel drafts

If you feel significant cold or hot drafts coming from your windows, you can try replacing the weather stripping, but over time, it’s likely to fail again. Your best bet may be to invest in a more reliable style and brand of window.

The cost of your energy bill is rising

Have you noticed lately that your energy bill is going up every month? While you may chalk it up to the changes in the weather, there could be another culprit: your windows. If your windows are drafty, it means they’re letting out your warm or cool indoor air and letting in the air from outside. This compromises the temperature of your home and forces your air conditioner or heater to work harder in order to keep the temperature steady; a harder-working HVAC unit means a costlier energy bill.

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we carry a high-quality, affordable line of Andersen replacement windows that are perfect for any home. If you think your windows might need replacing, give us a call and set up an appointment.

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4 Reasons to Install Skylights or Sun Tunnels

skylights

If you’re someone who enjoys lots of natural light in your home, you may want to consider installing a few skylights and/or sun tunnels – especially in areas that are dark and could use a friendly burst of brightness.

A skylight or sun tunnel’s natural light gives you consistent illumination and also is beneficial (both mentally and physically) to the human body. It can enhance your mood, lower your blood pressure and reduce stress. In addition, skylights and sun tunnels add many benefits to your home. For example:

Energy Savings

Installing skylights or sun tunnels can help you save money on your energy bills and make your home more energy efficient. Not only can they help eliminate heat transfer, but they can also serve as a source of solar heating during the winter months. When looking for skylights and sun tunnels, look for ones with low-e coatings. These coatings help keep your home insulated.

Clean Air

If you install skylights that come with screens and can be opened, you’ll be able to enjoy home ventilation and a breath of clean air in each room. Clean air can help keep you healthy by reducing the constant dust, dirt, and dander that is constantly circulated through your HVAC system. Because sun tunnels are round and give the illusion of an electrical light, they can’t be opened.

Ambiance

Skylights give you the opportunity to transform any living area into one that’s open and organic. They also reduce glare and give you ample amounts of light that can help highlight your furniture, decor, wall color, and more. On the other hand, sun tunnels give you the look of a round recessed light, but with all of the benefits of natural sunlight.

Privacy

When you think of windows, you probably don’t think of privacy, but skylights and sun tunnels give you the opportunity to add natural lighting while still keeping your room private. Traditional New Jersey windows offer neighbors and passers-by an easy view of what’s inside and in order to block it, you must use curtains or blinds. With skylights and sun tunnels, however, you don’t have to worry about people being able to look in.

For more information on how to install skylights or sun tunnels in your home, call the window experts at P.J. Fitzpatrick at 1-888-446-6492.

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A New Way to Keep Your Roof Cool?

Our Pennsylvania roofing company recently found an interesting article from Society for Science that talks about an 18-year-old’s clever idea for keeping your home’s roofing cool in order to save on cooling costs…

In the summertime, roofing shingles can reach temperatures of more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit – especially if they’re dark in color. Since roofing shingles absorb heat, it means that your home underneath is subjected to high temperatures and will need more energy from your air conditioner to cool down.

South Carolina student Jesseca Kusher has come up a way to keep roofing shingles cooler and therefore keep your home cooler: a shingle coating. This thin coating helps shingles reflect the sunlight instead of absorb it in order to stay cooler. And with cooler shingles, you’ll have a cooler home and lower energy bills.

Kusher experimented with several different coatings including graphite, gypsum, and mica. She painted the different coatings onto different colored shingles and after they were dry, she heated them (along with plain, unpainted shingles) up under a sun lamp until they were at least 164 degrees F. After measuring the heat emitted by each shingle, Kusher concluded that the shingles coated with mica were the coolest (only about 137 degrees) while the ones coated with graphite and gypsum were around 145 degrees.

In addition to keeping roofing shingles cooler, this new coating could also keep urban air cooler. Cooler air could help counter the heat that radiates from buildings, cars, and machines in the summer time as well as lower ozone production.

If Kusher’s invention gets some funding, we may see a new way for homeowners to keep their homes cooler in the future.

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6 Ways to Improve Your Outdoor Entertaining Area

outdoor entertaining area

It’s summertime, so let the outdoor entertaining begin! If you’re looking forward to hosting a graduation party, barbecue, anniversary, birthday party, or any other event, you’ll need an outdoor area that’s ready for entertaining. At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we have a few suggestions on ways to improve your area to make it guest-ready:

Walkways

When homeowners think about outdoor entertaining, many forget the simple element of making the area accessible. Walkways are an inviting way to lead people to and from your home and can make the space much more friendly. Whether it’s a walkway from the driveway to your back yard or one from your back yard to a garden, a walkway can add a touch of appeal.

A Patio

While it doesn’t have to be huge, a patio (or deck) is one of the most crucial things you can have in your back yard for entertaining. A patio gives you an area to set up chairs, a grill, tables, games, and more. It also gives all of your guests a central area to mingle.

New Siding

When you think “entertaining area,” you probably think about the actual area where you’ll entertain, but what you’re forgetting is that your home is the backdrop for any event you host. That means if your siding is old, outdated, or damaged, people will notice. Make sure your home looks stunning to your guests by updating your siding. At our Maryland siding company, we carry a wide array of materials, colors, and styles to fit your vision and your budget.

Lighting

The lighting fixtures inside your home are probably up so that they add focus to an area, so why not do the same outside your home? If you like to entertain outdoors, strategically placed lighting can add to the ambiance and make nighttime activities more fun. Try adding small lights underneath your deck railing, along walkways, and in dark corners. You can also accent your landscaping with cleverly placed spotlights.

A Fire Pit

Everyone loves sitting around a fire on a warm summer night – especially if there are s’mores involved. Create a cozy area for your guests to gather by creating a fire pit. You can either build one right into the ground for convenience or buy a stand-alone one and place it anywhere you’d like.

Landscaping

Like siding, your landscaping is the backdrop to any event you host. If your back yard is lacking in shrubbery, talk to your local nursery specialist about what kind of trees or bushes to buy and where to put them. With the right type of greenery, you can create mini “escapes” that add character to your home and entertaining area.

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How Insulation Can Improve Your Air Conditioning

Even though it’s still May, you’ve probably turned on your air conditioner by now in order to cool down. While your air conditioner may be in great working order, did you know that there’s something that can help it work even better? It’s called Radiant Barrier insulation by eShield.

This type of home insulation can not only insulate your home to keep it warm, but can also insulate it to keep it cool. It has a reflective quality that helps reverse the impact of heat and protects your home from three different heat types: emission, conduction, and convection. Emission heat refers to heat transfer by the sun while conduction heat refers to heat transfer through contact and convection heat refers to heat transfer through movement of hot air.

During the summertime, emission heat has a major impact on many homes; any drafty areas that are present let in hot air from the outside and let out cool air from the inside, making your home comfort level uneven. With a protective insulation, however, these drafty areas will be protected and your home will stay cool with its very own heat “shield.”

Energy Savings

While Radiant Barrier insulation can help you and your family stay cool, it can also help you save money on your energy costs. When your home retains its cool air, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep it at a comfortable level. This means that you won’t have to run your air conditioner as much and in the end, it’ll help save you money. You also won’t be producing as many emissions as before, which means you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and live a greener lifestyle.

Want to stay cool and save money this summer? Our customer service is open 24/7, so give us a call and set up an appointment!

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Make It a Green Home Improvement

green home improvement

These days, many homeowners are looking to be environmentally friendly and reduce their carbon footprint. While you may not think of going green when you think of home improvement, there are plenty of ways to complete a home project while still being environmentally friendly.

Materials

When considering the materials for your home improvement project, invest in ones that are environmentally friendly. Look for Delaware siding, shingles, windows, gutters, and doors that are made from recycled material, are recyclable, and/or meet energy efficient guidelines. You’ll not only save money on your energy costs, but you’ll also reduce your carbon footprint when you choose not to buy materials that are environmentally irresponsible.

Manufacturers

These days, many manufacturers (like the ones that we’re associated with) have been taking steps to make their products and their company more environmentally friendly. Whether it’s because they recycle their unused materials, harvest their wood from managed forests, or manufacture their products using minimal resources, choosing a green manufacturer is a great idea.

Installation

While materials and manufacturers are two important parts of a green home improvement project, the home improvement company you choose for your installation is also important. You’ll want to choose a company that not only works with green businesses, but also one that practices green habits. Turn to the experts at P.J. Fitzpatrick and we’ll make your home improvement project as environmentally friendly as possible.

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5 Home Improvement Projects to Do Before Selling Your Home

home improvement

Are you thinking about selling your home? Before you do, consider making some updates to it in order to boost your chances of making a sale. At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we can help you decide which home improvement projects could be beneficial. For now, we suggest considering:

Window Replacement

Many homeowners tend to pass up the idea of replacement windows and instead choose to update their home in other ways (such as repainting or replacing shutters). What many don’t realize, however, is that replacement windows can make a huge difference in the look of your home. Our experts can help you choose a style that will make your home pop and give it an extra boost of curb appeal.

Minor Bath Remodel

A minor bath remodel can do wonders for your home if you’re trying to sell it. Bath solutions like replacing your tub, tile flooring, toilet, sink, and vanity can give your bathroom an entirely new and updated look – not to mention a payback of around 100% (which means it’s well worth the effort).

Landscaping

One of the first things a potential buyer will notice about your home is the landscaping, so make sure it’s well-placed and healthy. Plant some trees to give your home privacy from your neighbors and add homey appeal by hanging decorative planters on your porch or deck. You can also plant flowers that complement the exterior colors of your home to tie everything together.

Wood Deck

If you’ve always thought about building a wood deck in your back yard, now would be a great time to do so. According to HGTV’s Front Door, a 16×20 ft. pressure-treated wood deck with a simple, appealing layout can give you a payback of up to 90% and can give your home a great element of design.

New Front Door

Installing a new front door can have a major impact on the curb appeal of your home. By replacing your old one, you’ll not only make your home look newer, but you’ll make it more inviting and make a good first impression on potential buyers.

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6 Ways to Reduce Your Allergies

seasonal allergies

Unfortunately it’s allergy season, and many of us here at P.J. Fitzpatrick are suffering from the sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose symptoms that come with it. In addition to allergy medication, there are ways to help you reduce your allergies at home, such as:

Replacement Windows

If your windows are old and drafty, they could be letting in seasonal allergens. In addition, drafty windows can allow warm air into your home and cause your air conditioner to work harder in order to keep your home comfortable. We specialize in replacement windows for Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania homes that can not only reduce your allergies, but save money on your energy bills.

Use Your Dryer

If you’re someone who likes to dry their clothes outside on a clothing line, refrain from doing so during the springtime. Pollen can collect on your clothing and make allergies worse, so use your clothing dryer instead.

Change Your HVAC Filter

Your HVAC filter is working hard to eliminate dust, dirt, and allergens from the air that you breathe, so keep it clean by changing it on a regular basis. While it’s common to change it every three months or so, you may have to change it more often during the spring and summer.

Vacuum

If you have carpeting, pollen can easily settle into it and stick around for you to kick up and breathe later. Make sure you vacuum your carpet on a regular basis to remove any airborne particles. If you have area rugs, it’s a good idea to remove them and store them in a closet until allergy season subsides.

Leave Your Shoes

When you wear shoes outside during allergy season, they can easily collect pollen, which can then be brought into your home. To prevent more allergens than usual, leave your shoes outside or take them off and leave them at the door before you walk around your home.

Dust

Just like pollen can settle into your carpeting, it can also settle onto your furniture. Before you vacuum, be sure to thoroughly dust surfaces like tables, lamps, couches, chairs, shelves, and more to remove as much pollen as possible. Anything that you knock down onto the floor will be vacuumed up.

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Spend Your Tax Refund Wisely

home water damage

If you haven’t already gotten your tax refund check for the year, you should be getting it soon. But before you decide to spend it on a new motorcycle or a family vacation, think about another way you can use it: for your home.

You home is an investment. It’s a place where you and your family spend a lot of time, a place that keeps your safe, and a place that you can go to no matter what. Why not use your tax refund for a home improvement project that it needs?

Right now at P.J. Fitzpatrick, we have plenty of spring discounts and specials going on in addition to our monthly specials – just call us and ask about them! The springtime is the perfect time to put a little love back into your home and make an investment that’s sure to pay you back when the time comes.

Energy Efficiency

Make your home more energy efficient by installing some new Infinity by Marvin windows. Their Ultrex fiberglass is built to be stronger and longer lasting than many other window materials, and it’s made from a silica sand base, which makes it environmentally friendly. These windows can help you save money on your energy bills by creating a strong seal to keep your heat or air conditioning from leaking out. They also offer 30% more glass area, so you’ll have an even better view of your surrounding area.

Another way to make your home more energy efficient is with new doors. Like gaps in old windows, gaps in old doors can let your home’s heat or air conditioning out and let the cold or hot air from outside in. In addition, garage doors that are under-insulated can cause your home to be too hot or too cold.

Repairs and Prevention

If there’s a part of your home that needs repaired, but you’ve put it off because of financial reasons, now is your chance to make it right.

Roofing is one of the main issues we see at P.J. Fitzpatrick. If your roof is missing shingles, has flashing damage, is rotting, is leaking, or needs another repair, putting it off will only make it worse. Let our experts perform an assessment and see what needs to be done in order to make your roof a sturdy, reliable form of protection now and for the future.

Just like roofing, other areas of your home that need repaired will only get worse as time goes on. Don’t wait – act now and prevent a bigger problem in the future.

Renovations

If you’re thinking about selling your home, there are several ways to invest our tax refund and increase your home’s value. For one, a brand new bathroom can be a great selling point. Whether you want to replace your bath tub, convert your tub to a shower, or replace your vanity and toilet, our experts can complete many bath projects in just one day.

Siding replacement is also a great way to give your home a fresh look and increase its curb appeal. We offer the best siding materials in the industry in various styles and colors, so we can make your home look as good as new.

Don’t spend another tax refund check on something spontaneous. Instead, make a smart investment in your home. Give us a call today to get started.

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