Pella Windows and Doors of Wisconsin Blog

Category: Doors

The warehouse at Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin recently participated in a Kaizen initiative to improve current facility practices for organization and damage prevention. Kaizen, which means making something better in Japanese, is a continuous improvement program for all company processes.

Earlier this year, Pella corporate facilitated the Kaizen event here in Green Bay, WI. The weeklong event was created to reduce product damage throughout the company, from shipping the products directly from Pella, Iowa, to facilities in Wisconsin, and later to the customer. Although Pella currently operates with low damage rates, there are continuous efforts to improve overall customer satisfaction to lessen potential dissatisfiers. For this improvement effort, a four-person crew was tasked with making the changes in the warehouse over a span of only one month.

The Kaizen crew first analyzed how they were receiving parts in Green Bay from corporate to determine where the damage was occurring, whether it was due to the packaging, caused in transit, or by storage practices at the facility. The packaging made it difficult to detect minor damage until the products were unpackaged at the customer project site, proving problematic for installation schedules and timelines. At the Green Bay facility, the task team reviewed how products were handled and stored once delivered, and Pella corporate explored options for improving their packaging. The result was the development of a new racking system to store and protect products. Dedicated areas were created to store specific products in select bins with dividers to prevent the windows and doors from tipping, slipping, or being stacked on one another.

Since implementing the new practices, a Kaizen 30-60-90-120 day follow up procedure was set into place to review and analyze the changes made, ensuring that progress was made. Overall, the desired results were achieved for continuous improvement, and the new methods added an extra level of structure and confidence to daily tasks at the Green Bay facility.

At Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin we have a commitment to continuous improvement, to Kaizen, and to providing the best products and services for our customers.

 

-Stephanie Krubsack

Wouldn’t it be great to save between 5-30% on your monthly energy bill ? You may feel an opportunity like this is unrealistic, but it’s actually much simpler than you think.

As a homeowner, you probably have heard of home energy audits and how they help determine the amount and frequency of which your home uses energy. A home energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment, can help you understand your home’s energy consumption, and how excessive energy use can be corrected to make your home more efficient.

Why Should You Have a Home Energy Audit?

Have you experienced an unexplained spike in your heating bill lately, or noticed that no matter how high you set your thermostat, it feels like heat is escaping? A home energy assessment can help identify issues that may be negatively affecting the performance, efficiency, and comfort of your home, including:

  • Drafty rooms
  • Continuously running heating & cooling systems
  • Dry indoor air during colder months

Not only is an energy audit helpful in diagnosing energy inefficiencies in your home, it can also pinpoint areas where a bit of home improvement could help save you money in the long run.

Energy Audits Provide Comfort Without the Cost

Midwest winters can be chilly, and any Wisconsin resident would agree that heating bills are quick to rise as temperatures continue to drop. A home energy audit can offer ways to prevent heat from escaping your home, and can also provide you with tips on how you can save more by consuming less energy throughout the year.

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to sell your house in coming months or are trying to find ways to make simple home improvements on a budget, a comprehensive energy audit may help you succeed. When conducting a home energy assessment, an auditor can identify areas in your home where a bit of home improvement can help to:

  • Improve ventilation
  • Promote indoor air quality
  • Reduce interior drafts

Simple home improvements may save you hundreds of dollars in energy bills. For example, installing additional insulation in drafty areas of your home, like the attic or basement can save you between 10%-30% annually on heating and cooling costs.

In older homes especially, insufficient insulation and unsealed doorways can cause drafts in your home. You may notice that one room of your home feels significantly warmer than others, while other areas are downright cold. An energy assessment can help address the cause of temperature variances, such as inadequate insulation or drafty windows, and provide a report with home improvement solutions that can help add comfort to your home.

Schedule Your Home Energy Assessment Today

Are you ready to improve the energy efficiency of your home, all while saving a few extra dollars.

As energy costs rise, the renewable resource program continues to work with residents and businesses to put energy-saving plans into action. The program works with local energy audit companies to offer improvement suggestions and cash incentive opportunities.

Focus on Energy also offers whole-home improvements and heating and cooling assessments for low-income families. For qualification information or to apply, click here.

For more information on scheduling your home energy audit, call (800) 762-7077.

Save Money with ENERGY STAR® Replacement Windows and Doors

ENERGY STAR® is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that rates and promotes various appliances, equipment, and electronics with exceptional energy efficiency in order to help people and businesses save money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

To promote the efficiency of your home, Pella products have energy efficient options to be ENERGY STAR® certified. This means our products can help save your home energy while still offering the features you’re looking for. Our windows and doors are designed to withstand the elements outside while keeping your home cozy on the inside.

If keeping your house warm during the winter wasn’t hard enough, keeping it cool and comfortable during the summer can be even more difficult. We have some well-known tips (as well as some not-so-well-known) to help keep you from getting burned on your utility bills this summer.

Before we get into the tips, you should first assess your utility bills and conduct a home energy audit to identify how and where your house is losing energy. What energy source do you use most of and how do your winter heating and electric bills compare to the previous summer? If you don’t know where to start, the U.S. Department of Energy has some tips on ways to best assess your home’s energy use.

Heating and cooling your spaces account for about half of an average home’s energy costs; your water heater pitches in another 18 percent.

The reality is, you have the most to gain (and lose) over the long-term if your home isn’t optimized to keep you cool. This isn’t just hot air.

study from the National Association of Home Builders found that “Home buyers report being willing to pay an additional average of $7,095 in the up-front price of a home if that saved them $1,000 annually in utility costs.”

Conducting an energy assessment will help put you on the proper path when you want to replace your windows to keep your home cool.

1. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate (and Seal)

Insulation is important in the summer too. Adding insulation to your home can be a cost-effective way to help keep your home’s interior cool during the summer and warm during the winter.

You can accomplish this with additional insulation (fiberglass, cellulose, etc.) in your attic. You can find some help on where to start through the federal government’s Home Energy Saver energy calculator. By entering your zip code and various facts about your home, it will help determine how much you could save by adding upgrades, like insulation, to your home.

It’s not a bad idea to add insulation to seal your ductwork, too.

2. Upgrade Your HVAC System, Appliances, Windows and Doors

It might cost you up front, but upgrading your old HVAC system, appliances and even your windows and doors to ENERGY STAR® certified products can help you save on your energy billsover the long-term.

Homeowners could expect to see as much as $101-$583 in yearly energy savings when replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows from Pella. That equates to a decrease of 1,006-6,250 pounds of carbon dioxide, or 51-317 gallons of gasoline per year.

In fact, Pella Corporation was named a 2016 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year winner through its continued innovation of new ENERGY STAR certified products.

To start the research process, the ENERGY STAR website has plenty of information on all the products and appliances to help you choose.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency can help you save money when buying new products.

3. Clean HVAC Filters and A/C unit

Dirty filters block airflow and can cause your system to run for longer periods of time, and keep it from operating properly.

You might now be asking, “How frequently should I change the filter?” Well, there are some things you should consider first, as some filters are recommended to be replaced monthly; others as little as twice a year! You can often find the replacement recommendations on the side of your furnace filter. It’s a good rule of thumb to replace a filter every three months. But if your filter’s dirty, it’s best to just replace it.

Once you’re done cleaning or replacing the filter, turn to cleaning your outdoor air conditioner unit. Regular cleaning can help to minimize maintenance, and cools the air more efficiently. The best part is … it’s free!

4. Turn Down Water Heater Temperature/Turn Up Thermostat

Hot showers feel great when the temperatures start to drop. But a change of your habits and the turn of a dial can help you save money on both your energy and water bill.

Turning your water heater down may help you save you money each month. And, you could also save money by turning up your thermostat in the summer too.

5. Invest in Smart Home Technology or Alternative Energy Sources

Investing in smart home technology can give you a better idea of what your energy consumption is on a day-by-day basis and help you optimize its usage.

Smart thermostats are a good place to start. Having already established that turning your thermostat up while you’re away from home can save you on your energy costs, a smart thermostat does it for you, automatically.

Automatic, or smart thermostats, allow you to set your HVAC system to operate at your convenience. Many pair with home automation systems and your smartphone or tablet, giving you the power to control your home’s climate when you’re away.

6. Close Windows, Doors, Blinds, Shades and Drapes During Day, Open at Night

Similar to the tip of turning up your thermostat during the day to reduce energy costs, another tip is to close your windows, blinds/shades/drapes during the day.

It might seem counter-intuitive to close your windows, restricting fresh air from entering your home, but by shutting your home’s windows and their treatments during the hottest times of the day and turning your thermostat up (or off), it keeps the cool air inside your home and keeps the hot air out.

Then in the evening, when you get home from work, either open your windows to let the cool night air inside or turn your A/C back up.

Products, like Pella’s Insynctive™ technology, allow users to program the opening and drawing of blinds and shades, limiting the amount of sunlight that heats a home’s interior during different times of the day. Please note, in order to use this type of technology, it needs to be connected to a home automation system.

7. Use Fans to Circulate or Exhaust Air

Use the fans that you have in your home, be they ceiling, oscillating, floor or box fans, to help circulate or expel air from your home’s interior or attic.

Air conditioners cost a lot of money to operate, compared to ceiling fans, which come in at about five cents an hour.

Using whole house fans or solar-powered attic fans can help exhaust hot attic air from your home, thereby keeping it cooler.

8. Cook Outside vs. Inside

One of the best things about the summer months is spending time outside. So why spend time inside cooking on the stove or in the oven when you can do it outside? Grilling outside will help keep your home cooler.

Can’t cook outside? Using a microwave or toaster oven consumes far less energy and gives off little or no heat, compared to an oven or stove that will increase your home’s interior temperature.

Click here for some great summer recipe tips from Country Living.

9. Add Landscaping

Being smart about reducing your energy use inside your home can extend to your yard, specifically landscaping.

Do you have trees or shrubs that can shield your home from the sun?

Landscaping does more than just improve your home’s curb appeal. Landscaping can reduce your heating and cooling costs, too. It’s best to understand what your climate can support before you invest in your landscaping project, taking into consideration wind, shade and temperature.

10. Renovate Your Basement

The one place in your home that maintains the most consistent temperature throughout the year is your basement – if you have one.

Basements are almost always underground, or partially underground, which helps keep them cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter.

They can be used as a heat sink, circulating the cooler air through your house.

Because of its temperate air, it’s also a cool place (get it) to hang out. So maybe it’s time to start that basement finishing project you’ve been putting off for so long!

Don’t forget to give Pella Windows and Doors of Wisconsin a call for all of your windows and doors needs. Our committed team of experts will have the answers for all your home design questions.

Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin is proud to work with some of the best builders in the state.

Our partners are completing amazing homes for people in Wisconsin all the time. If you like looking at beautiful houses, we’ve got some that will make your jaw hit the floor.

Check out these eight projects from Wisconsin builders and architects that we found on Houzz.

1. Ellington Two-Story Home – Korndoerfer Homes

Korndoerfer Homes in Milwaukee has been building beautiful residences in Wisconsin since 1926. This model home is called the Ellington. It features a spacious layout with five bedrooms and a lookout lower level. Check it out!

Photos by Korndoerfer Homes

2. Cedarburg Farmhouse – Henderson Group

It’s amazing how a home can be transformed when you put it in the right hands. Just look at the before and after pictures detailing what the Henderson Group did to this old farmhouse in Cedarburg. It went from worn out and kind of creep to a country home that’s completely cozy. The wrap around porch is incredible!

Before

After

Photos by Henderson Group, Inc

3. Frank Lloyd Wright Style – Belman Homes

No other name in design and architecture is more recognizable than Frank Lloyd Wright, and it takes a talented builder to pull off his style. Belman Homes did a fantastic job calling on his muse when they created the Rockwood plan.

In addition to the eye-catching exterior, this model features a contemporary kitchen and graceful lines throughout the entryways.

Photos by Belman Homes

4. Karalyn House – Cypress Homes

This floor plan from Cypress Homes is ideal for family living. The Karalyn House is an open concept, split bedroom ranch. It boasts a spacious kitchen as well as a sun room and mud room.

Photos by Cypress Homes, Inc.

5. Rustic & Modern in Suamico – Wisconsin Log Homes

The folks at Wisconsin Log Homes effectively combined two looks in one with this charming project. It’s rustic – with large wooden beams on the ceilings. Yet modern – with trendy white trim and kitchen cabinets. Plus, Pella windows let natural light splash throughout the home!

Check out the rest of these project photos here.

6. Scray Hill Home – Gmack Development

This sprawling, country-inspired home from Gmack Development is located near De Pere, Wisconsin overlooks the city from atop a ledge. Arched windows add elegance to the exterior. Inside, you’ll find bright white cabinetry and out in the backyard is a large patio that’s perfect for entertaining.

Photos by Gmack Development, Inc

7. Waukesha County Lake House – Design Group Three

For this project involving Design Group Three, the original home was removed from the foundation for a complete rebuild. The result was a shingled, cottage-style home that’s perfect for lazy summer days by the lake.

We especially enjoy the loft as well as the view from the roof of the boathouse, which became an outdoor seating area.

Photos by Design Group Three 

8. River Pointe Two-Story – Dickinson Homes

Our last home on this list isn’t quite Wisconsin. It’s from Dickinson Homes in Iron Mountain, Michigan. But Pella Windows & Doors frequently works with builders in the Upper Peninsula as well. We even have a sales representative, Joe Dost, dedicated to that region.

This house is a classy, custom-designed, craftsman home featuring modular construction. One of the most stunning areas of the house is the two-story great room featuring a coffered ceiling, dark wood floors, and lots of natural light coming in through the windows.

Photos by Dickinson Homes 

Get More Great Ideas on Houzz!

If you enjoyed these photos and started getting some great ideas for your own projects, make sure you join Houzz! And, don’t forget to follow Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin.

Whether you’re building homes or living in them, constructing a new house, or remodeling your current residence, we hope you’ll turn to and trust Pella to help make it beautiful with our windows and doors.

When you live in Wisconsin, it’s common for homeowners to plan projects around the seasons. And, it’s widely known that construction picks up in spring, however, there are plenty of reasons to begin your home improvement projects before the ice begins to melt.

1. Project Scheduling Can Be More Convenient

Home improvement may not be top of mind during the cold winter months but January through March can actually be the ideal time to begin your home improvement project. For contractors, business typically slows down during this time of year as fewer job bids are being presented. This may mean faster scheduling and quicker turnaround time for you. You may also get more individualized attention since many builders aren’t juggling as many projects.

2. Product Prices May Be Lower

Winter is a great time to take advantage of low prices and discount products. As the year comes to an end, many manufacturers run special offers to liquidate their inventory from previous seasons and reduce their existing stock in order to make room for products in the upcoming year.

3. No Need to Worry About Clean Up

Concerns of dust, fumes, and work areas with limited ventilation or space may cause some homeowners to wait until spring to remodel; however, current technologies and clean-up methods exist to control these problems. Fans with negative pressure, strip doors and curtains, and sealed heat ducts can help contain dust and filter debris in construction areas.

4. Approvals for Build Permits May Be Easier to Obtain

Government agencies can be less busy in winter, which allows contractors to obtain necessary permits quicker. The sooner your contractor obtains the proper permits, the sooner they can begin working on your home.

5. You Can Plan Your Projects Around Vacations

If the reasons above aren’t enough to persuade you to get a head start on your home improvement project, the thought of leaving for a relaxing family vacation and coming back to an updated, new room or space should be the incentive needed to schedule your renovation project.

Get Started On Your Next Home Project Today!

Are you ready to dive into your next project this winter? Let Pella Windows and Doors of Wisconsin help! From selecting the proper window and door styles to recommending the right materials and finishes for your home, our expert team is here to help.

Contact us or give us a call today at 1-800-242-1008 for answers to all your home design questions.

Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin offers many attractive window fashions that can be made to order.

From our convenient between-the-glass blinds and shades to distinctive cellular shades featuring a honeycomb design, you can select coverings for windows and doors that meet your needs and your style.

However, it’s always fun to add some extra personality to your home, and windows provide a great opportunity to do just that.

Here in Wisconsin the Door County peninsula is a special part of our state –  offering its own distinctive atmosphere. Many people comment on how Door County interior decorating is rustic yet warm and inviting.

You don’t need to own a cottage to give your home that Door County-feel. If you’re up for a DIY project, we found five ideas to give your windows and doors a picturesque makeover.

1. Shutters on the Inside of Your Home

Courtesy: Betsy Speert

You need some carpentry skills to do this one on your own. Luckily, Donna does give detailed directions on how she created her wooden gate screens.

She points out how she purposefully gave the tops of the gates a curved shape to “add some architectural interest to an otherwise very square window frame.”

Beyond vertical blinds and valances, you might think there isn’t much you can do to dress up sliding glass patio doors.

This idea from designer Betsy Speert’s blog brings a common exterior window dressing inside!

She installed plantation shutters with hinges on patio doors leading from a bedroom to an outdoor pool at her home in Florida. The two sets of shutters can open like French doors, and the blinds can be opened and closed to let in light or to get some privacy.

If you have a patio or deck off of your master bedroom, a simple remodeling project like this can add a lot of character.

You can use this same idea on windows! Get some advice on installing interior shutters from DIYNetwork.com.

The easiest way to do this is to find a set of slatted shutters that are the right size, and use a series of simple hinges to attach them together. This gives you an accordion-style screen allowing the shutters to stand up on their own while also making them easy to move around.

2. Folding Wooden-Gate Screen

Here’s a similar idea with an even more rustic feel. Donna from Funky Junk Interiors explains how to build-your-own folding gate screens for an interior window covering. This is a project she’d been planning for awhile.

They remind us of doors to a barn, vintage boathouse, or a larger version of a charming, picket white fence. It’s definitely a very specific style, but if you like that summer cottage look, this is to die for! These screens are not attached to the wall, but moved into place when she wants privacy.

You need some carpentry skills to do this one on your own. Luckily, Donna does give detailed directions on how she created her wooden gate screens. She points out how she purposefully gave the tops of the gates a curved shape to “add some architectural interest to an otherwise very square window frame.”

3. Window Boxes to Get the Cottage Look

Courtesy: Lowes.com

Window boxes bring the outside of your home to life – especially if you have a green thumb and can grow some beautiful plants and flowers in them.

Most people tend to install window boxes that match their home’s exterior trim and shutters. However, for a bold look, you can choose eye-popping, contrasting colors instead.

Watch the video above for instruction on how to build your own window boxes.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/ERk8gnermcU

4. Corrugated Tin Interior Awning

Using corrugated tin indoors is a super a creative way to bring a rustic, farm or industrial look to the interior of your home.                                                                                This design would look really fantastic with wood blinds of any color! It involves building a simple awning frame to the size of your interior window and attaching corrugated sheet metal, which is similar to what you would find on an outdoor chicken coup or a barn.

Ashley Turner from Shanty 2 Chic got this idea from her favorite salon and then built the tin awning herself to dress up the windows in her son’s bedroom. It gives her son’s bedroom a unique look that will be sure to impress.

Want to give this project a try? Ashley has detailed instructions on how to build the awning as well as how to take shiny corrugated tin and make it look weathered. Just visit her blog to see all the details.

5. Top of Window to Floor Curtains & Drapes

The first four DIY projects in this article are going to require some carpentry skills. Of course, a much easier way to express some personal style with windows and patio doors is adding some simple curtains or drapes.

This interior decorating idea is affordable, too. And, if you buy your own fabric, you’ll be able to find the perfect patterns and colors for your home. Kristi at Addicted 2 Decorating says she never buys store­ bought drapes and curtains. That’s one of her designs above, and you can see more on her website.

Keep in mind, there is a ”proper way” that designers suggest to hang your drapes to give them the most visual appeal. Keep in mind, there is a right way and a wrong way to hang your drapes. It’s more about going with what you feel is right and what works with your home.

First Things First …

Before you can decorate, you should make sure you have quality windows and doors along with blinds and shades. Whether you’re planning a big remodeling project or constructing a new home, Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin has the products you need to help build the house of your dreams.

We are happy to offer no-cost consultations. So connect with us soon to talk about your window and door projects!

Building a new house is an exciting and life-changing decision. To be able to create a home all about you is something homeowners dream about. Do you want big bay windows overlooking the river? Do you want an island in the kitchen for entertaining? Do you want a smart house using Insynctive technology to add safety and peace of mind?

There are endless options, so how do you ensure you’re on the right path? To make the process go as smoothly as possible, here are a few things you can do now if you plan to build a house next year.

Explore home inspiration platforms

We all have an idea of our ultimate dream home. So this is the time to not shy away from those innermost desires. Your needs and wants can be hard to describe, and sometimes you don’t even know what you want yet. There are social platforms that exist for this exact purpose. You most likely know about Pinterest, a place for home decor ideas, DIY projects, and more. But a newer platform, specifically designed for home building, décor, and renovation is Houzz.

On Houzz you can search specific keywords like “dark brown hardwood floors” or “double entry front doors.” Photos from professionals including designers, architects, builders, and suppliers like Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin, are then displayed for users to look through and save for inspiration.

Think beyond the house structure when setting a budget

This is the time to settle on a general number you’re looking to spend on building a new home, which should be based on what you can afford. When doing this, you will need to budget for enough to pay a general contractor, taxes, the foundation, roof, dry walling, etc. But as you plan, go beyond these initial costs.

For example, after you build a beautiful kitchen, you’ll need appliances. When picking out custom-trim windows, you will need shades or blinds too. Go through all costs beyond just the structure of your new house to help you plan for all expenses. And a bonus tip: there are homebuilding apps that will help you stay on track and organized throughout the process. Home Design 3D helps you map out your entire home including furniture so you don’t forget those next-step items. Construction Cost Estimator will help you plan out how much your inspired ideas will cost. Then, Mortgage Calculator by Quicken Loans will help plan out your finances.

Use free resources from home builder associations

Local homebuilders associations can offer many more resources than just the Parade of Homes events once a year. And these Parade houses are usually available online after the shows if you are interested in looking through homes in a certain neighborhood.

There are also lot listings, builder profiles, building permit information, and home financing resources. With local homebuilders associations, they are specific to the area where you’ll be building your home, so you can have peace of mind that you have the most relevant and current information.

To find local information in your area, visit the Wisconsin Home Builders Association.

Connect with local experts

By reaching out to local builders, general contractors, architects, and suppliers early in your planning process, you can make valuable connections that’ll help you put your dream team together.

With over 80 years of experience in the industry, our Pella team knows a thing or two about the homebuilding process. Stop by any of our four showrooms and we’ll help you choose the best doors and windows for your new home, or help with any other questions you have. We can put you in touch with our network of local Wisconsin partners including homebuilders associations, general contractors, city chambers, architects, and more.

When it comes to building a new home, it’s better to be as prepared as possible. It’s a long journey that requires your full investment, and if you put forth the effort in planning ahead, you’ll be that much closer to enjoying your new home with no regrets after construction is finished.

So kick start your home building process and get planning!

To connect with our sales rep team, visit our main web page at PellaWI.com or call 877-319-0957. We look forward to hearing from you!

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