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Andersen Windows Match replacement windows to your home's style with the Andersen Home Style Library.

Andersen's Home Style Library

Selecting replacement windows for the home is no easy matter. In addition to the different materials, window types, hardware and glassware options, a homeowner must also be able to select a window that matches the home's existing style.

What window is going to look best with in a Craftsman Bungalow? Or Tudor-style home? How does a homeowner even know for sure what style home they have? What kind of window will best invoke a desired home style?

Andersen Windows has the answer to all those questions in their new Home Style Library, an online tool that determines not only a home's style but also which replacement windows (from Andersen, of course) will best fit that style or desired style.

The tool itself is free and is marketed not only to homeowners but also to architects and builders who will doubtless save time browsing their options by choosing windows by style.

Cool tool. Fun to play with even if you're not in the market for new windows.

Note how a child's head can become trapped in the shade, posing a strangulation hazard.

Re-announcement of Roman Shade and Roll-Up Blind Recall

An additional 3,200 Meijer roman shades and roll-up blinds were recalled by the firm and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently. This on top of a previous recall of some 240,000 back in March of 2010.

The blinds and shades pose a strangulation hazard to children. With the roman shades, strangulation can occur when a child places his/her neck between the exposed inner chord and the fabric on the backside of the blind. With the roll-up blinds, strangulation can occur if the lifting loops slide of the side of the blind and a child's neck becomes entangled on the free-standing loop.

Consumer who own these shades or blinds -- sold under the "Innovations" and "At Home with Meijer" names -- should stop using them immediately and contact the Window Covering Safety Council for a free repair kit. The products can also be returned to Meijer for a full refund.

Solar Shutters don't just keep the sun out -- they turn it into energy for the home.

Wonder Shutters

Shutters that save money? That's not a hard one to figure out. Close the shutters in the summer to cut down on heat gain and reduce cooling costs. Open them in the winter to do the opposite.

Ah, but wait. The PV Solar Shutters from Plug n' Save Energy Products are no ordinary shutters. Featured in the upcoming IBS 2011's nextBUILD home, these stylish window accessories have solar cells built in that convert sunlight to electricity.

Not only will the shutters be keeping the sun out on hot days, they will be producing electricity to help cool the home.

One of the coolest aspects to the Solar Shutters is the fact that the average homeowner can install them. The shutters themselves connect to a "grid tie inverter" which plugs into any wall outlet, changing the current from DC to AC and matching the buildings existing electrical system.

One 2' x 3' Solar Shutter goes for $400, which isn't cheap, but considering a shutter can conceivably produce 500 Watts/hr on a sunny day (or 21,000 Watts/week, which becomes a $336 savings per year if energy costs are $.30/kwh), you're talking about potential payback in a little over a year.

No wonder it's a feature in nextBUILD.

Would you buy the Solar Shutter?

A demonstration on how easy it is to get tangled in the cords. Photo courtesy of the CPSC.

More Roman Shades Recalled Due to Strangulation Death

It is with great sadness that we inform of the latest CPSC product recall. Close to 500,000 roman shades and 28,500 roll-up blinds have been recalled due to a strangulation risk. Sadly, this latest recall of Hanover Direct, Inc. shades and blinds comes after the death of a 22-month old child, whose parents found him hanging by his neck from the outer pull cords of the shade.

This is a terrible tragedy and one that underscores how important it is for families with toddlers to pay careful consideration to the purchase or ownership of potentially dangerous window treatments.

The roman shade and roll-up blind recalls have been non-stop over the past year. Is it simply time to do away with them altogether?

Please take the time to review the recall to determine if you need to replace your window treatments with something safer.

Simonton's How To Videos teach basic maintenance for your home's windows, like adding weatherstripping and caulking.

Increase Your Window Know-How

Don't know your way around your own windows? Don't sweat it. Simonton has you covered. The well-known window manufacturer has assembled a smart little How-To library of videos demonstrating the various techniques homeowners should know when it comes to their windows.

We're talking routine maintenance tasks, mainly, although some of the jobs are a little more complicated. A balance replacement in a double hung, for example, earns an "Advanced" rating, while a lock adjustment for a patio door is only moderately difficult.

Of course all the videos apply to Simonton products, but I think homeowners with different brand names in their homes will still find enough similarities in the products that the videos retain a great deal of usefulness.

Thanks, Simonton, for this helpful and free resource.

Replacing a screen in a metal frame requires a screwdriver, new plastic tubing, and new screen material.

Weekend Project: Repair Your Screen Windows


It's time to remove your screen windows and doors and replace them with storm windows for the chilly winter months. But before you tuck your screens in your garage or attic to hibernate until next spring, take a look to see if any of them are ripped or damaged. If they are, you may want to take an afternoon this weekend to repair them so that they're all set for reinstallation next April.

This article and video will tell you how to repair a small rip, repair a larger rip, replace a whole screen in a metal frame, and replace a whole screen in a wooden frame. None of these processes are too difficult or require particularly esoteric tools: depending on what kind of repair you're doing, you'll need replacement screen, a screwdriver, cement, a C-clamp, and a sewing needle with fishing line. So take some time to repair your screens before putting them away you'll be glad you did come next spring.

Three new products have been recalled by the CPSC.

CPSC Recalls Shades, Trampolines, Cribs

Three more products found around the home have recently been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"Alexander Designs" brand drop-side cribs--sold exclusively at JCPenny--were recalled due to suffocation and fall hazards. Over 11,000 units have been recalled. See the CPSC page for recall details.

160,000 Bravo Sports Trampolines were recalled as incorrect assembly can lead to the bending or breaking of the top rails and legs, which can cause the partial collapse of the unit. At least four injuries have been reported so far. You can contact Bravo Sports for revised assembly instructions or replacement parts by going to their website.

Lasty--and not surprisingly--another type of Roman Shade has been recalled. This time it's Green Mountain Vista and about 200,000 of their roman shades, recalled due to child strangulation risk. More info on that specific recall can be found on the company website.

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