Pella Windows and Doors of Wisconsin Blog

Category: Home Improvement

When you buy windows, it’s easy to spend a lot of time thinking about the style and the look of the window without giving much thought to the type of glass. The type of glass you choose for your windows can have a significant impact on your satisfaction with your windows as well as your home’s energy efficiency. Knowing the differences between the most popular types of glass on the market can help you pick the right window glass for your needs.  

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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 takes pride in being an innovator in the world of windows and doors. We’ve been doing it for decades.

2016 marks 50 years since Pella introduced a groundbreaking idea that’s made life easier and safer for families everywhere. We brought the first between-the-glass blinds to the industry in 1966 with Slimshade®, and we expanded into fabric shades as well as window grilles as the years went on.

Today, you can get between-the-glass blinds and shades in a style you love, and control them with smart-home technology. Keep reading to discover the ways this product makes your life better.

1. Dusting Your Blinds Less Often


The first one is obvious. Shades and blinds that are in between two panes of glass don’t need to be cleaned nearly as often.

You’ve probably noticed that blinds and shades are attractors of dust in your home. When you do clean them, it’s a major pain. If you let things get too dusty, it’s almost impossible to clean around the strings on each individual blind.

With blinds and shades protected between the glass, there is less exposure to dust, sticky hands, and pets than roomside blinds and shades.

Think about all the time you’ve spent dusting blinds and cleaning shades. It adds up. With behind-the-glass options, you’ll be giving time back to yourself.

Between-the-glass grilles make cleaning a little easier as well. That’s because instead of having sections of window to clean around, you have one smooth pane of glass to wipe down.

2. No Cords for Less Hassle and More Safety

The cords used to operate typical blinds and shades can be a significant safety hazard. Specifically, younger children may play with the cords which can be a safety concern.

With cordless between-the-glass shades and blinds, you don’t have to worry about that possibility. Instead of cords, these unique selections operate with convenient sliders on the side of the window frame.

Besides the safety hazard, cords on typical blinds can get tangled and tied up in knots. It can make your home look somewhat unkept. But the handy slider on Pella’s between-the-glass selections is barely noticeable.

3. Protected from Kids

Speaking of kids, having blinds and shades between the window panes keeps those mischievous little hands from pulling them down and destroying them.

Parents know how the story goes. Rambunctious kids will ruin just about anything they can reach. Replacing shades and blinds costs money. Investing in between-the-glass options helps keep your blinds and shades protected.

4. Ideal for Patio Doors

Between-the-glass blinds work for more than just windows. Your glass patio doors are the perfect place to have these installed.

Blinds that hang in front of a sliding patio door make it difficult to get in and out. You’ll find yourself constantly pushing them out of the way, and they get stuck in the door when you close it.

However, when they’re actually inside the glass, the blinds move right along with the door as it slides open and shut. So there’s no need to operate two things when you want to step outside.

5. It’s Easy to Change the Style

This is one of the nicest thing about Pella’s between-the-glass products. They are super-simple to install, so you can switch them out when you want something new.

Pella’s Between-the-Glass fashions for wood replacement windows can be changed by the homeowner thanks to our exclusive snap-in technology. We’ve developed a product that’s literally a snap to install and maintain. Learn more in this video.

You can do this with shades, blinds, and window grilles, all of them are interchangeable. So when you decide you’d like to switch from blinds to fabric shades, it’s not a big deal at all.

6. Available with Exclusive Insynctive™ Technology

It’s easy to see how convenient between-the-glass blinds and shades for windows and doors can be. Now why not take it one step further?

Smart homes are no longer the homes of the future, they are here now, and Pella is leading the way with Insynctive™

This exclusive technology combines security, comfort, and convenience to give you a home that works with ease. With motorized blinds, you can use a remote to open and close blinds with the push of a button. You can also use a smartphone app to control your window shades from anywhere (Provided it is connected to home automation system).

It’s clear that with between-the-glass options and automation with Insynctive™ from Pella, the future of your home looks pretty bright!

Interested in learning more? You can visit one of Pella Windows & Doors of Wisconsin’s four showrooms to learn more and see these products for yourself.

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!

Pella WindowsWhen you spend all winter living in Wisconsin, you’re likely to open up all the windows you can once the temperature gets anywhere near 50 degrees.

Good for you! That’s actually a great idea. Fresh air from opening your windows can benefit your body, your mind, the atmosphere of your home, and your wallet.

Here’s how …

Opening Windows Can Clear Your Home of Indoor Pollutants

When you hear about pollution, you probably picture smoggy skies, car exhaust, and smokestacks pouring filth into the air. However, it’s now well-established that the air inside your home often contains more toxins than outside air.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission states on its website:

“In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.”

That’s bad news for those of us who spend most of our day inside.

One reason indoor air quality is worse is the rate of dilution. If the air outside were an olympic size swimming pool, your house would be more like a thimble of water. Pollutants simply become more concentrated inside a building.

Pollutants released from things like fireplaces, water heaters, gas ovens, and space heaters all get trapped in your home.

Open Windows Can Make Your Home Smell Better

Have you ever noticed how everyone’s home smells a bit differently? Wouldn’t it be great if your home had the fresh aroma of spring? Open a window!

Nobody likes that stuffy house smell, but you’ll notice a dramatic difference when you air things out.

Just as pollutants get trapped inside a closed up home, so can odors. While you’d be hard-pressed to find many people who dislike the aroma of bacon, that smell hangs in the air for a long time.

Regularly opening your windows for short periods of time each day can greatly improve the scent of your home. You may not even need air fresheners anymore! They can add more chemical particles to the air.

Open Windows Can Help You Think and Can Make You Happier

Not only will your physical health benefit from open windows, your mental health could get a boost as well.

Various studies indicate air quality has a profound effect on cognition. For example, a University of Tulsa research project found proper ventilation is important for learning. Researchers say student test scores improved when hot stuffy indoor air was replaced with cooler outdoor air.

“Improving ventilation, bringing in more outdoor air and lowering temperatures in the classroom dramatically improves students’ ability to achieve,” Dr. Richard Shaughnessy of the University of Tulsa told KOTV news.

Fresh air is good for adults as well as kids. The Huffington Post reported on a Harvard study that found poor indoor air quality leads to low productivity among employees.

However, reducing CO2 levels and indoor pollutants produced a dramatic swing in the other direction. Better air quality improved participants’ ability to make decisions, process information, and respond to emergency situations.

Opening Windows Could Save You Money in the Summer

Honestly, when you live in Wisconsin, there are some summers when you’ll barely need to use the A/C. Opening your windows at the right time of day can help cool your house down.

It can get awfully humid in Wisconsin in the summer, so you’ll want to be careful about when you open windows to avoid getting humid air in your home. However, cracking the windows at night when the temperature falls and humidity drops is a good idea.

Don’t Forget About Your Screens! 

Of course, open windows call for screens! Many Wisconsin homeowners are taking their screens out of storage so they can let the fresh spring air into their homes.

Sometimes screens get damaged in storage over the winter. They may not fit tightly into your windows anymore, and screens with tears in them may lead to bugs getting in the house.

Want help getting your window screens back in shape? If you have Pella windows, you can call our service department at 920-321-3467 to let us know what your issues are. We may be able to help you over the phone. If not, we’ll come take a look.

Our technicians can make a service call to your home to try and patch things up or install replacement screens. They can also help with windows that might be sticking or aren’t operating as well as they once did.

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