5 Ways to Help Your Roof Survive Snow

In 2015, winter storms caused $530 billion in property damage in the US alone. Taking care of your roof can prevent you from contributing to that statistic this winter.

But how are you supposed to prep your home? And what do you do once snow hits?

Today, we’ll go through five ways you can help your roof survive snow this winter. Being better prepared will help you avoid danger and thousands of dollars in damage.

Let’s get into it!

1. Give It a Checkup

When was the last time you took a good look at your roof? Take a walk around your property and bring some binoculars.

Look for any areas where you notice shingles missing, buckling, or lifting. Check your gutters, too. Asphalt granules in the gutters are a sign that your roof is wearing away.

When you’re back in your home, look at the ceiling. Do you notice any dark spots? These could be a sign your roof is leaking.

Have any damage repaired before winter hits to prevent further damage. A weak roof leaves your home vulnerable.

2. Replace Your Roof

Depending on the damage, a small patch repair might be possible. Yet, often it’s safer to repair the whole roof.

Choosing the correct replacement for your home can help it survive snow. Plus, you don’t want to buy a new roof more often than you have to.

Check out our roof buying guide to help you make the right choice.

3. Prevent Ice Dams

An ice dam is exactly what it sounds like—a ridge of ice on your roof that acts like a dam. It stops water from flowing off the roof as snow melts.

The trapped water backs up into your home, causing dangerous problems like mold and rot.

Prevent ice dams by keeping your attic from getting warm enough to melt snow. Make sure it’s well insulated to prevent heat transfer, and remove elements like lighting that could add extra heat.

4. Clear Your Gutters

Leaves and other debris packing your gutters act like ice dams, causing melt water to back up. Get in there and clear out your gutters before snow hits to help out your roof.

You can also consider getting gutter guards. They go over your gutters to allow water through but stop debris from clogging them.

5. Remove Snow the Right Way

Once snow hits, you can do a lot of damage to your roof if you handle it the wrong way.

If you leave many feet of accumulated snow sitting up there, it puts a lot of strain on your roof. It can cause cracks or collapse that put you and your family in danger.

When you do remove snow, do so safely. Mass.gov offers roof collapse and snow removal safety tips so you can keep your home safe.

Snow Survival

Lots of snow is a given in New England. Your roof is your home’s first line of defense.

Make sure that line of defense is strong. That way, you won’t face the dangerous, expensive consequences in the future.

If you need a new roof to prepare your home for snow, contact us. We’re happy to guide you through the process, starting with a free in-home estimate.

5 Signs It’s Time to Get Replacement Windows

Old, Damaged WindowYour windows are at the point that you’re starting to notice how bad they are. On a nice day, you’re hesitant to open them. Maybe they look a little grimy. But when should you actually replace your windows? Most people have no idea when it’s time.

That’s okay! Today, we’ll take you through some common signs that you should let go of your old windows.

Saving money on your energy bills, staying safer, and having a more beautiful home are just a few of the benefits awaiting you with new windows.

But first, let’s take a look at some bad signs with those old ones.

1. You’re Freezing

It’s winter in New England. You’re turning up your heat, but you’re still shivering, especially when you get near your windows.

Your windows might just be old, as we’ll talk about in #2. But they also might have poor seals that are allowing outside air to infiltrate your home. New windows have much better weatherstripping and interlocking sashes, so no more drafts will blow the money right out of your pocket in energy bills.

2. They’re Old

Many old houses come with single pane windows. Single pane windows are the least energy-efficient. With a single pane of glass, especially on a window too old to have an insulating Low E coating, your energy is flowing right through and getting lost.

Feel your glass. Is it freezing cold in the winter? Hot in the summer? Those are signs that you’re losing energy.

Double pane glass adds a whole extra layer of insulation, especially when filled with dense Argon gas.

3. They’re a Pain to Use

It’s the first gorgeous day of spring. You can finally turn off the heat and open the windows, but they’re getting stuck! They’re hard to open, or maybe they won’t even stay open on their own.

Windows are vital for ventilation in your home. On nice days, they offer the perfect free alternative to using your air conditioning system. If yours are hard to use, it’s time to get replacement windows.

4. They’re Damaged

When something completely breaks your window, it’s obvious that it’s time to get a replacement. But what if it’s just a crack on the frame or glass? Can you get away with waiting on new windows?

No. If there’s any damage on your current windows, that makes them vulnerable to worse damage. Imagine if that worse damage comes during a storm, or when a burglar is looking for ways into your home.

Make sure you check for broken locks, too.

5. You Want Replacement Windows

Sometimes, your old windows are just ugly. The frames might be rotting or peeling. The glass might be cloudy and old.

If there are any parts of your old windows making you think it’s time to get new ones, then it’s time.

Great Windows Make a Great Home

Beautiful windows transform your home. They improve your home’s looks, easily function when you need them, and are easy to clean.

Plus, they’ll save you money on your energy bills. How many home improvement projects add a return on investment in addition to improving the overall value of your home?

If you see these signs in your current windows, contact us for a FREE consultation about replacement windows. At AWS, we’re happy to improve your quality of life at home.

Top 5 Ways to Save Money on your Monthly Utility Bills this Winter


A warm and cozy home does not have to mean a high monthly utility bill.  Keep your home comfortable on a low budget this winter!  Try these helpful tips to increase your heat and decrease your bills.

1. Close doors to rooms that you’re not occupying – Trap the heat in unused rooms to avoid travel into a cooler part of the home, like a hallway or a bathroom.

2. Open the curtains – Use solar heat to warm your room.  Keeping the doors shut while allowing the sunshine through will greatly enhance the heat.

3. Use LED lights – Reduce the cost of lighting up your home during the holidays by using LED (light emitting diode) lights.

4. Adjust your thermostat – There’s no need to keep your home at a warmer temperature when you’re not at the house or not awake.  Turn down your thermostat during the day and sleeping hours to lower your monthly heating bill.

5. Add moisture to the air with a humidifier – You may think that adding moisture to your home will result in a colder temperature. That is simply not true.  Moisture actually holds heat better so you can remain comfortable while keeping your thermostat at a lower temperature.

When all else fails; drink some hot tea, wear a scarf and use a heavy blanket at night when you sleep.



Advanced Window Systems, LLC can help you with all of your home improvement needs!  Contact us today for a FREE in home estimate.  1-800-841-6544  Connect with us online too!


Choosing the Right Contractor

Making the Right Choice

Choosing a home improvement contractor can be an overwhelming and tedious task.  Take your time with this decision and do your homework!  Having a better understanding of renovation lingo and being able to interpret estimates will be a major asset when beginning your remodeling project.

The internet can be your best friend!  Be sure to research online organizations such as, Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List before committing to a contractor.  This is a great way to find out what your contractor and/or contracting company has been up to.  Check their rating and read through reviews.  Get to know who you’re hiring before you invite them in your home.

5 Important Questions To Ask:

  1. Is your contractor fully licensed and insured?
  2. Is your contractor EPA Lead-Safe Certified?
  3. What is included in the offered warranty and how long does the warranty stand?
  4. Does your contractor communicate your needs well?
  5. Does your contractor have references that you can contact regarding previous completed projects?

Red Flags To Look Out For

  • If the contractor shows up late without calling.
  • If the contractor doesn’t show you the product that he will be installing.
  • If the contractor doesn’t show a written warranty.
  • If the contractor doesn’t leave a detailed written estimate.
  • If the contractor doesn’t discuss the lead law.

Helpful Online Tips:  For more information, read the 7 Steps on How To Choose the Best Contractor for Home Improvement.

Advanced Window Systems, LLC will be happy to help with all of your home improvement needs. Contact us at 860-829-8044 or 1-800-841-6544 to schedule a FREE in home estimate TODAY!  Connect with AWS!

Summer To Do’s for Your Home

Summer To Do’s for Your Home

Summer is the time for fun in the sun!  It’s also the time to work on some home maintenance.  Take advantage of the nice weather by making some home improvements you that put off during the colder months.  Here are a few projects that can improve your home at a low cost.

Power Wash your Home –

Power washing your walkways and home exterior is a quick and easy way to give a much needed face lift to your property.  Be sure to follow the sprayer’s instructions to prevent any damage.

Autumnwood-01Replace your Siding –

This home upgrade is best suited for warmer months conducive to outdoor work.  There are several grades and colors to choose from.  Add equity to your home with new vinyl siding!

Drain Your Water Heater –

Clear the sediment to get more hot water. Most people never give their water heater a second thought – until it stops working.  One thing you can do to extend the life of your water heater is to drain the tank annually to remove any sediment that may have built up inside of it.  DIY Network

Invest in New Windows –

Old windows can leave you feeling a draft, while new ones can cut your home energy costs in summer and winter.  New windows are a must this summer!

columbus-kitchen-remodeling-contractorsRemodel Your Kitchen –

The ROI (Return on Investment) for this project averages 74 percent for major redos and nearly 83 percent for minor remodels, according to the “Cost vs Value” report published by Remodeling Magazine in 2014.

Contact Advanced Window Systems, LLC for your home improvement needs!  Call us TOLL FREE at 1-800-841-6544 today and schedule a FREE in home estimate.   CONNECT with AWS today!

Real Facts About Window Condensation

Window Condensation

What is Condensation?

It’s beginning to be that time of the year when windows are suddenly the new focus of your child; who wouldn’t take pleasure in carefully tracing their name into the school bus glass, the backseat of the car, or the easily accessible windows in your home, leaving you a lovely fingerprint message to wipe off when noticed. This small delight can be attributed to the condensation left on the glass in cold weather. Though it is easy to think that the type of window is to blame for the foggy appearance and water on the floor, the truth is condensation is the result of excess humidity. Glass is a mere landing place for humidity in which it visibly condenses. Humidity is the real culprit, but the windows themselves get the bad wrap, as humidity will appear on glass first because the surface temperature is the lowest.

There are different ways to reduce the humidity in your home, ultimately reducing or even eliminating the condensation on the windows.

-Increase ventilation in your home
-Run dehumidifiers
-Open windows to allow the moist air to escape or turn on a fan
-Storm windows keep interior glass warmer, and can reduce frustrating condensation
-Ensure basements are kept dry
-Dryers, gas burners, and other producers of moisture should be pushed or vented outside
-Avoid over watering plants, keep them in sunny areas

Here are a few facts that you need to know about condensation before blaming your windows!

-More water vapor in the air means increased humidity indoors. A high level of indoor humidity leads to condensation
-Every day actions such as showering, running the dishwasher, cooking, or doing laundry adds moisture to your home and can increase the humidity. Humidity is essentially just vapor or moisture
-Condensation is primarily visible in cold weather because of the large gap in temperatures between the outside and the inside of your home
-Contrary to belief, more humidity is not necessarily healthier
-If you are remodeling your home or it has recently undergone construction, there is likely to be an increase in condensation due to the moisture in the building materials
-Condensation can be only temporary if there is a drastic change in temperature, construction, or during a change of season.
-New windows may lead to increased condensation due to the fact windows are now tight and not letting humidity escape to the outside.
-The type of window could affect the amount of condensation. For example bays and bows by design restrict air circulation and may be cooler in temperature.
-There are no windows that can completely eliminate condensation, though there are materials that may lessen the amount.
-Recommended humidity:

Outside Temp

-­‐20°F -­‐10°F

0°F +10°F +20°F

Inside Relative Humidity

15 to 20% 15 to 20% 20 to 25% 25 to 30% 30 to 35%

The important thing to remember is that windows are not the actual cause of condensation, but excess humidity is the real source. If you are thinking of replacing your old windows, or want to ensure your home is ready to take on the cold weather, we can help. Give us a call 860-829-­8044 for your FREE in home estimate today.  Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter Too!

What is a Good Vinyl Siding Warranty?

Installing vinyl siding on your home’s exterior is a big home renovation project, so as homeowner, you want to make sure that the warranty associated with this purchase is long lasting and offers the appropriate coverage. 

When it comes to vinyl siding, vinyl soffits and vinyl accessories, you want to be sure that not only the product is covered under manufacturer warranty, but also the service provided by your contractor. Many home improvement companies charge what is called a “TRIP FEE, where you are not charged for the product replacement, but you are charged for the service technician to come to your home and service the product.  Try to avoid this fee.  There ARE companies out there that cover it all!  Take your time and make the right choice for your home!  

What are some possible issues the manufacturer warranty should cover?

  • Limited Lifetime Warranty Manufacturing Defects:   The products that were installed are free from defects in material and workmanship in the course of manufacturing.   The product should be delivered at your home, ready to install!
  • Limited Fade Warranty: The manufacturer should warrant to you, that for a limited time, the products will not excessively fade. 

What are some possible issues the manufacturer warranty WILL NOT cover?

          –    Damage of any kind resulting from improper installation.  This is where your service warranty can play a big role.

–     Accidental damage
          Structural shrinkage or distortion of the property structure
          Lightning, hurricane, tornado ,windstorm, earthquake or any other natural happenings
          Misuse or abuse
          Products that have been altered in any way (i.e. painted, stained, sanded, etc.)

What should your home improvement contracting company warranty cover?

  • Any and all damage due to improper installation.
  •  Any service appointment free of charge (assessment or repair appointments).
  • Any repairs done by the contracting company free of charge.
  • Make sure to choose a contractor that has a service technician available. 

Be sure that the warranty on your new siding is transferable.  This is not a concept often thought of by many homeowners.  However, this is an ideal perk within any home improvement warranty when deciding to sell your home.  Owning a transferable warranty, can increase the resale value of your home and be used as a bargaining chip with potential buyers.

Next to the product itself, the warranty is one of the most important guarantees a home improvement company can provide.  Make sure you know what your warranty covers. Don’t be shy.  Ask questions!

Make good choices and keep your home happy!

Have any questions about vinyl siding warranties?  Advanced Window Systems, LLC would be happy to help!  Contact us at 860-829-8044 or 1-800-841-6544 to schedule a FREE in home estimate on siding TODAY!  Check us out on facebook and twitter too!

Why is Vinyl Siding the Right Choice?

Installing new vinyl siding is a great way to completely transform your current house into a brand new home!  There are many styles, colors and grades of vinyl siding, so doing your research and narrowing down what you like best is a must.

How do I know what’s right for my home?

The world of vinyl siding is vast.  But, that’s a good thing.  Do not become overwhelmed with the amount of available choices.  A reputable home improvement company can inform you about all of your choices and assist you in making the right decision for your home.

What is the difference between 16″ and 25″ siding panels?

The length of the panels used for your home make a big difference in the overall look of the finished project.  Using 25″ panels mean less seams and a more fluid look overall.

What are some benefits to vinyl siding?

Vinyl siding has endless options!  It has the ability to look like cedar boards or wood shingles and comes in a variety of colors in order to match your home’s appearance and your personal style.  Vinyl siding is budget friendly.  It’s not only affordable up front, when installing the product, but it’s also nearly maintenance free, which cuts down on future costs as well.  Other than a good power washing every few years, there is no need to dote over this product.  Vinyl siding is durable and extremely resistant to outdoor elements.  This IS the best choice when renovating your home’s exterior. 

What brand should I choose?

There are many brands of vinyl siding out there.  We recommend Mastic vinyl siding by Mastic Home Exteriors by PlyGem.  The options are endless!  If you can’t find something you love here, you can’t find it anywhere!  Turn your home into a work of art with Mastic.

Helpful Tip:  Choose the brand first and then choose your color.  Not all brands have the same exact colors, so before you fall in love with a specific color for your home, make sure that brand carries it.

What are some kinds of vinyl siding?

Insulated Siding: Mastic’s Structure Home Insulation System offers excellent insulation and increased energy efficiency for your home. Made of a vinyl siding panel with EPS foam (Expanded Polystyrene), the insulated siding prevents heat from leaving or entering your home, decreasing your utility bills. Manufactured in seven different profiles with longer and flatter surfaces, these panels increase the toughness and sustainability of your home.

Traditional Lap Siding: With ten different profiles of lap siding, there are many different textures, shadow lines and colors that will give your home a distinctive visual depth and meet your high expectations. One of the best options, Mastic Quest Lap siding is stronger than regular vinyl and is less likely to buckle or bend after installation, giving your home a unified and clean look that lasts for years.

Vertical Siding: Most homeowners often forget that siding can be installed vertically as well, so this option gives your home a unique look! Vertical siding is used as an accent feature or to create a design on the side of your home. It is traditionally used to create a powerful effect at entryways, low porch walls, gables and dormer windows. Manufactured in five profiles, vertical siding is available in a wide variety of dimensions and design styles.

Shakes & Shingles: If you want your home to have an old, traditional feel to it, then Mastic’s wood shakes and shingles are your best bet! The Mastic Cedar line provides the look of historical American wood without any of the usual maintenance or repair required in standardized wood shingles. Mastic’s excellent manufacturing process prevents the attraction of moisture and growth of wood rot in their shingles, so you get the beautiful appearance sans any problems!

Get the Facts on Vinyl Siding:

  • Investment – Adding new vinyl siding to your home, will add equity to your home.  It’s as simple as that!
  • Recoup 93% on resale of home (Remodeling Magazine – 2014 Report)
  • Adds insulation – New vinyl siding will save you energy.
  • Permanent – Vinyl is Final.  Vinyl is a durable, weather resistant material that will need little up keep.
  • Maintenance Free – Vinyl siding does not require constant care.  Spend more time enjoying your home and less time working on it!

Have any questions about new vinyl siding for your home?   Advanced Window Systems, LLC would be happy to help!  Contact us at 860-829-8044 or 1-800-841-6544 to schedule a FREE in home estimate TODAY.  Check us out on facebook and twitter too!

Why do Home Improvement Companies ask for Both Homeowners to be Present for an Estimate Appointment?

This question is frequently asked by homeowners and understandably so.  This question is not meant to offend anyone in any way.  The reasoning behind it is quite simple and sensible.  When scheduled, a good contractor or sales representative will come out to your home, do a presentation, show samples and talk about pricing.  If there is only one homeowner or significant other present during this vast discussion, all of this pertinent information will then have to be translated from one homeowner to the other.

There are many details that go into choosing the right windows, doors, siding or roofing.  One homeowner may want grids on the windows when the other does not.  One homeowner may be interested in 16′ vinyl siding panels when the other homeowner likes the look of 25′ panels.  These specifications need to be explored and will reflect in the overall price of the project.  Avoid future confusion by fitting this initial meeting into your schedule.  Make it a point to be present!

The Better Business Bureau suggests that all homeowners and/or significant others be present at the time of the initial home improvement estimate appointment.  Their records show that if this collaboration occurs, there are generally less complaints overall.  Everyone is on the same page from day one.  Opinions have been heard and questions have been answered.  The BBB has seen this to be the most efficient way to start the renovation process.

Owning a home is not only expensive, but also time consuming.  Sometimes we need to take the time to be there.  We all have busy lives and can relate to the “there isn’t enough time in the day” mentality.  It seems like we can’t fit one more thing on our never ending To Do Lists.  However, any type of home improvement renovation is relevant and important to involve all homeowners, significant others and decision makers.

Advanced Window Systems, LLC would be happy to help with any of your home improvement needs.  Contact us at 860-829-8044 or 1-800-841-6544 to schedule a FREE in home estimate TODAY!  Check us out on facebook and twitter too!

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Window?

When you’re looking for a new home improvement product, what’s one of the first questions that come to mind?  How much does it cost?  Owning a home can be expensive, so knowing the price is one of the most important pieces of information to have when thinking about renovating.

There are many aspects of a window that factor into the price.  Most window estimates include the removal of the old windows and installation of the new.  But, there are other aspects that a homeowner might not think about.

* What energy package is available?  There are several options to choose from when deciding on an energy package for your windows.  The State of Connecticut requires at least 1 coat of Low E (Low-Emissive) on glass for replacement windows.  The homeowner can also choose other options, such as a combination of Low E and Argon Gas or Krypton Gas or Double Low E and Argon Gas or Krypton Gas.  Be sure to ask your contractor about the differences, so you choose the correct energy package for your home.

* What style of window should I purchase?  There are several styles of windows available.  Double Hung windows are said to be the most common style.  However, there are also sliders, casements (better known as “crank out” windows), picture windows or picture window units, bays and bows, basement hoppers or awnings.  There are also garden windows and specialty windows, like octagon or trapezoid shapes.  Different styles mean different measurements which in turn may mean different pricing. Make sure to ask your contractor which styles may be the best fit for your home.  Everyone wants their home to look good… for a reasonable price.

* What color window should I purchase?  White is typically the most common.  It adds a fresh, new look to any home.  But, there are other options, other than plain white.  Some options may include two tone finish with white on the outside and brown on the inside or reverse, with brown on the outside and white on the inside.  Wood windows are also an option for those who currently have wood and want keep the same look and character of the home.

* Does the glass need to be tempered?  Tempered glass (also called “Safety Glass”) is required in many home situations for one main reason.  It is much stronger than regular glass and does not break in the same way.   Where as regular glass shatters, tempered glass breaks into small pieces, leaving less risk for injury.  According to the International Code Council (ICC), tempered glass must be used for bathroom shower doors, any windows installed in a shower, any areas that may contain a sauna or hot tub, in any barrier walls made of glass or any windows that are within certain inches of a stairway or landing.  Basically, if there is a chance of slipping or falling through the glass, it must be tempered.  Safety first!

* Will my windows cost more if my home has Lead?  If your house was built prior to 1978, your home may have lead base paint.  There is a short lead test, called a “scratch test”  that your contractor MUST do to indicate if lead prevention is necessary.  The cost of your window installation may increase due to lead safe procedures.  Make sure that your contractor is Lead-Safe Certified and knows the regulations and procedures involved in keeping your home safe and sound!

Fun Fact:  United Inch is a unit of measure used by home improvement companies to determine the size of your window.  United inches is calculated by simply adding the width of the window to the height.  For example, a window with a rough opening size of 24″W X 36″H would equal 60 UI.

Advanced Windows Systems, LLC would be happy to help with any of your home improvement needs.  Contact us at 860-829-8044 or 1-800-841-6544 to schedule a FREE in home estimate TODAY!  Check us out on facebook and twitter too!