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Tips for Child-Proofing Windows

I've always known the story behind Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven." His four year old son was running around a New York City apartment and ran straight out an open window, and died. Hearing the song has always made me sad, but there was something in the back of my head saying "how could they let that happen?"

Now I have a two year old who loves standing against and looking out our third floor apartment windows (when they're closed). And with the weather getting nicer, I can see how an accident like the Claptons' could take a second. I can't even listen to that song anymore without tears running down my face.

This week is Window Safety Week and Simonton Windows® has sent the following tips for all age groups:

Tips for Toddlers and Young Children
• Windows and young children are not a good combination. Make sure to keep furniture (especially cribs), or anything children can climb, away from windows.
• Children should never be left unsupervised around open windows.
• Play areas in a child’s room should be focused either in the center of the room or against a solid wall, rather than near windows.
• For ventilation in rooms with toddlers and young children, open the top sash of Double Hung windows so that children cannot reach them while keeping the bottom sash (closest to the floor) closed.

Tips for Teenagers
• Don’t allow teenagers to paint shut or nail shut windows. Every window in the home must be operational in case of an emergency.
• Decorative lights should never be nailed or attached to window frames in bedrooms.
• Never allow teenagers to crawl out of windows to sit on the roof.
• Don’t permit children or teenagers to “pop out” screens to hang flags or other items out of the window.

Tips for Young Adults
• Outdoor decorative lights should never be nailed to window frames or hung over windows that might need to be opened in case of an emergency exit.
• Once you become a homeowner, make sure to plant shrubs, grass and place “soft landscaping” items like bark and mulch directly underneath windows to help lessen the impact should someone fall out the window.
• If you’re ordering new windows, make sure to order them with multi-point locks to help provide more protection against intruders and make it more difficult for curious young children to operate.
• When painting the exterior of the home, do not “paint shut” the windows.
• Teach children that window screens are there only to keep insects out of the home. They cannot sustain the weight of a child or pet pushing against them.

Tips for Older Adults
• As people get older, the act of pushing up to open a Double or Single Hung window may be more stressful on the back and hands. Easy-to-operate windows, such as Casement windows require no lifting action. The crank-out system with a side-hinged sash opens outward for ventilation.
• For those senior homeowners looking for a smaller crank-out window style option, consider Awning and Hopper windows. With Awning windows, the sash is hinged on top and the window cranks out and upward. In a Hopper window, the sash is located on the bottom and the window easily cranks outwards.
• Slider windows are also a great option for older adults. Slider windows glide effortlessly from side to side, so there’s less strain on arms or back muscles to operate them. Slider windows provide great views with either 2- or 3-lite configurations and allow for maximum ventilation in the home.
• Make certain to purchase windows with sturdy, easy-to-operate locks to secure windows in the home.
• For added security, consider ordering impact-resistant glass in windows.
• For ease of maintenance, order windows with vinyl frames. With vinyl window frames you never need to worry about upkeep such as the scraping and repainting aspects you have with wood frames. Vinyl windows resist rotting, decay, insect infestations and provide years of effortless beauty in the home.

The installed sump pump.

Basement Waterproofing | Installing a New Sump Pump

At long last, my parent's days of shop vacuuming the basement-flooding water away are over.

That's right--they've installed a sump pump.

Pictured here, the unit's installation came only days after the end to the most recent spate of flooding to hit their Durham, NH, community. Although nothing like what the folks in Rhode Island are facing, my parents' own well-documented war against the water has cost them many sleepless nights over the years.

The pump is rated to extract 40 gallons per minute, which is hopefully more than they'll ever require. The cost for the job was $1400, installed.

Still to do: purchase and install a standby generator. As you'll see, the pump plugs into a distant wall outlet via an extension cord. The plan is to have an electrician continue the basement circuit over to the pump so the extension cord won't be needed, and then to properly size a generator to ensure that the pump--as well as the fridge, well pump, and a few other circuits--keep power during an outage.

Currently my folks are looking at generators distributed and installed by a company that deals Winco generators, primarily what they call the "New Englander Edition," a Winco with a Honda engine. I'd love to get some feedback on Winco's products to pass along to my folks.

Got a standby generator for you home? If so, what brand do you have?

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