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With the second Polar Vortex of the season bearing down on Minnesota and the rest of the Great Plains, Black Label Services LLC wants to remind homeowners to use safety when heating their home. We also offer some tips that will help you not only protect your home from weather-related issues, but also yourself.

As families turn to alternative heating sources out of necessity or to avoid the rising cost of fuel, they should take the following precautions:

• Use caution with portable space heaters. Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the winter months, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. About two-thirds of home heating fire deaths are caused by portable or fixed space heaters.

• To prevent fire, place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets and people.

• Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed. Don’t leave children or pets unattended near space heaters.

• Drying wet mittens or other clothing over space heaters is a fire hazard.

• Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are working properly and replace batteries as necessary.

• Have your chimney connections and flues inspected by a professional and cleaned if necessary prior to the start of every heating season.

• Use a sturdy fireplace screen when burning fires. Burn only wood.

• Do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.

• Always operate portable generators outdoors. Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring — leave that work to a professional electrician and buy a generator designed for that purpose. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Connecting a cord from the generator to a point on the permanent wiring system and back-feeding power to your home is an unsafe method to supply a building with power.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.

• Don’t overload your electrical outlets. Be careful of extension cords that present hazardous walkways.

Prevent frozen pipes

Now is the time to protect your house pipes from freezing and bursting. Preventive action may make all the difference.

• Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.

• When the temperature is very low outside, let the cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes or pipes in exterior walls. Running water through the pipe — even at a trickle — helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing.

• Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

• If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.

Protect yourself

Avoid unnecessary exposure to the cold. Be aware of both the temperature and the wind chill when planning outdoor activities. When you prepare to go outside in severe cold weather, remember the following:

• Most of your body heat is lost through your head so wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears.

• Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.

• Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.

• Get out of wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider or soup. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol if you expect you or someone you are trying to help has hypothermia or frostbite.

• Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.

• Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.

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Is it time to replace your windows?

by Joe Dvorak on January 13, 2014

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Keeping your windows clean and in working order is a necessary chore for all homeowners, especially those who live in older houses. The National Association of Realtors recently reported that new windows offers the biggest return-on-investment when selling a house. So, a well-maintained house demands a much higher price than one in a simply fair condition.

So, when do you know when it’s time to invest in new replacement windows? The look and condition of your windows offer immediate hints as to whether or not it is time to replace your windows, but there are other clues that you can look for as well.

Warm & Cool Spots: Finding a warm spot on the window frame on a hot day, or a cool spot on a cold day, means that the window is not properly insulating the house and allowing air to pass through to the inside. It’s been shown that on sunny, 80 degree days, the exterior of a building can reach up to 150 degrees, which can easily pass into your home, increasing your energy costs. If you discover a warm or cool spot in your window frame, it is probably time for some new replacement windows.

Window Frames: Older window frames tend to deteriorate and get softer, letting more air leak into your home. An easy test is to check the softness of the wood with a flat-blade or blunted screwdriver. If the screwdriver can be easily pushed into the wood, then that is a sign that the wood is decaying rapidly and replacement windows are usually needed.

Frost or Ice Build-Up: Frost and ice commonly forms around windows that are older and have poor insulation or use poor thermal material. These problems permit a too-quick transition from hot to cold air, which causes condensation. Too much condensation can cause water to run off the window pane onto the frame, staining the wood or even the adjoining walls. This can cause mold or mildew, so it’s important to attend to this problem as soon as possible.

Window Appearance: The appearance and general condition of your windows is one of the first things that you should look for and one of the most obvious signs that new replacement windows are needed. Check for chipping, deterioration, or water stains on or around the exterior and interior of the window. Peeling paint is a hint as well, since it is caused by moisture traveling through windows, making the frame to expand or contract.

Window Operation: As mentioned before, look for air leaks in the frame or condensation and fogging between glass panes. Be sure to also test each window by opening and closing it to make sure it functions properly. Windows that are swollen so much that they cannot be opened, or windows that need a prop to stay open, are in need of replacement.

Window Age: This may sound strange, but windows that have a style that is outdated or doesn’t fit in with the rest of the house are usually in need of replacement, even if they seem to be working properly. If you have tried to fix them by purchasing replacement parts, and the parts are difficult or impossible to find at a hardware store that is giving you a sign that your windows are older and need updating.

Caulking: Telling the difference between a properly placed and well-done caulk job and one that is deteriorating can be a difficult task. However, there’s a simple test that makes it easier. While you stand outside traveling around the entire exterior window frame with a flashlight, have someone stand inside the window. If this person can see light coming through the frame, then caulking failure is likely and air infiltration and energy loss is occurring as well.

Rotting: Once windows begin to rot it is very difficult to stop it from traveling. Therefore, it’s imperative that you check your home regularly for signs of rotting, mold or mildew. Rot can spread from one surface to another, so also check the walls around your windows as well.

Exterior Noise: Old windows generally mean poor insulation, which creates openings that allow drafts and outside noise into the interior of the house. One great trick for finding small openings like this is to hold a lighted candle in front of a suspected spot and watch to see if it flickers. If it does, there’s a leak and unwelcome outside air is being let in, causing energy loss and unwanted heat transfer.

Black Label Services LLC can help you determine the replacement window option that is suitable for you and your home. Call us for a free consultation and estimate today!

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Five winter remodeling projects to improve your home

January 3, 2014
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Home improvement projects aren’t just for the spring and summer months. There are a number of home improvement remodeling projects you can do during the winter. During the winter months you’ll want to mainly focus on the inside of the house for your remodeling projects. Here are the top five home remodeling projects you can […]

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Home improvement projects to battle the Cabin Fever blues

December 22, 2013
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If you’re dreading the long months of cold weather ahead and the thought of being stuck inside, consider curing cabin fever with some fun, easy and rewarding home improvement projects. When choosing projects to tackle first, Joe Dvorak, president of Black Label Services LLC, suggests focusing on ones that will increase your property value, save […]

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Some things are best left to professionals

December 9, 2013
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The rooftop on your house is an essential component to the overall structure, and to the value. Proper maintenance will help keep up with the roof’s structural integrity and keep your house standing strong. The lifespan of the roof lasts between one and a half and two decades. Beyond that point it takes roof assessments […]

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Replacing windows is a smart, energy-saving and money saving investment

November 25, 2013
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Everywhere across the nation there is a wave of increasing energy bills, caused by rising oil prices, inflation, drought and the increased demand of energy. Whatever the reason for the growth, it is impacting all of us. Knowing all of this, saving money by conserving energy is a very smart investment. One great way to […]

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Beware of unlicensed contractors!

November 16, 2013
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When hiring a contractor, homeowners should beware of anybody that is unlicensed. Oftentimes, these contractors are known as “Chuck in a Truck.” They swoop into neighborhoods hit hard by storms and go door-to-door offering their services at greatly discounted rates. While licensing isn’t necessarily a measure of competence, it does imply a certain level of […]

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Signs that it’s time to replace your windows

November 4, 2013
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Trying to figure whether you should repair or replace your windows? Here are telling signs that new windows are the answer. In some cases, you may be able to hold onto old windows. However, if you’re experiencing serious issues with their structure or efficiency, it’s a telling sign to update them ASAP. Years of use […]

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How double-glazing windows will help reduce your energy bills

October 27, 2013
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Do you know what double-glazing is? If not, you are missing out on an excellent opportunity to not only make your home look more stylish and comfortable, but could save countless dollars in heating and electricity charges. Double-glazing is a newer trend in energy efficient window designs that has become available to modern residential window […]

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Shoreview

February 8, 2013
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Shoreview Home Remodeling Remodeling your home is a big decision. Whether you need to renovate due to storm damage or whether you want to renovate in order to give your home a more modernized look, the team at Black Label Services can help. We are a group of professional tradesmen that are licensed and experienced […]

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Savage

February 8, 2013
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Savage Home Remodeling When you think of renovating your home you may get a picture of dust covering all your furniture, strangers tramping mud and dirt all over your floor and a house that is in shambles for months. No wonder you have been putting your remodel off! Fortunately, this is not the case when […]

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Chaska

February 8, 2013
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Chaska Home Remodeling Black Label Services is a locally owned and operated renovation company comprising of licensed and experienced professionals that love what they do. If you are considering any repair to your home, renovation, upgrade, extension or complete remodel, then our team at Black Label Services can help you. We provide our services to […]

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Chanhassen

February 8, 2013
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Chanhassen Home Remodeling Black Label Services is one of the leading names in home remodeling in Chanhassen. We have helped countless homeowners realize their home’s full potential by undergoing a renovation, repair or remodel. Whether you are looking to fix a leaking roof, want to upgrade your kitchen or are hoping to lower your energy […]

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Prior Lake

February 8, 2013
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Prior Lake Home Remodeling Black Label Services is a leading name in home remodeling and renovations across Prior Lake. If you are thinking about remodeling your home, then we can certainly help. Not only do we specialize in kitchen, bathroom and other room design, but we also offer complete exterior restorations to older homes and […]

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Fridley

February 8, 2013
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Fridley Home Remodeling Looking to remodel your home? There are a number of different ways to go about this task. You may choose to DIY or you may choose to work with a professional. If you want assistance with any renovation or remodel, then you have come to the right place. Black Label Services is […]

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Oakdale

February 8, 2013
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Oakdale Home Remodeling Black Label Services is one of the top names in home remodeling in Oakdale, MN. If you are looking for a way to protect your contents and your family, to modernize your home or to make more room in your house, then we can help. We have been helping homeowners across Oakdale […]

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Brooklyn Center

February 8, 2013
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Brooklyn Center Home Remodeling When it comes to remodeling your home, we know how stressful this time can be. However, it doesn’t have to be. Rather than battle with renovations yourself, leave your house in the hands of the professionals. Black Label Services can help you with every aspect of your remodeling project and transform […]

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Andover

February 8, 2013
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Andover Home Remodeling Black Label Services is a locally owned and operated Andover home remodeling company that offers affordable and attainable renovations. There are so many different ways you can update the look of your home and truly enjoy what your property has to offer. Many homeowners we talk to love their house and are […]

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Roseville

February 8, 2013
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Roseville Home Remodeling Black Label Services provides high quality renovations, repairs and remodeling for homeowners across Roseville. If you have been contemplating a renovation, then now is the time to act. Prepare your home for all the seasons and give yourself a fresh new look for your interior and exterior with our wide range of […]

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Inver Grove Heights

February 8, 2013
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Inver Grove Heights Home Remodeling Looking for a remodeling contractor in Inver Grove Heights? Then you’ve come to the right place. At Black Label Services we provide high quality renovations and remodels to homeowners in Inver Grove Heights. We are a team of the most experienced and professional tradesmen across Minnesota. We have been brought […]

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Richfield

February 8, 2013
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Richfield Home Remodeling If you are looking to remodel your home in any way, then Black Label Services can help. We pride ourselves in offering exceptional quality, value and service on all renovations to homeowners in Richfield. We are a team of professional and licensed tradesmen that are passionate about remodeling. We would love to […]

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Shakopee

February 8, 2013
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Shakopee Home Remodeling Looking for a quality home remodeling contractor in Shakopee? Look no further than Black Label Services. We provide you with exceptional state of the art home renovations and remodels that will have you enjoying your home on a whole new level. Whether you feel like your older home could use a facelift, […]

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St Louis Park

February 8, 2013
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St Louis Park Home Remodeling Black Label Services is a team of professional designers and contractors dedicated to transforming your house into something special. We offer a wide range of home remodeling and renovation solutions to homeowners across St. Louis Park. Our values lie in exceptional quality and services, honest and affordable quotes and guaranteed […]

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Edina

February 8, 2013
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Edina Home Remodeling If you are looking to update the look of your home then a renovation is most likely in order. Black Label Services offer high end renovation and remodeling solutions for an affordable fee. We specialize in helping homeowners across Edina create the perfect design for their property. Regardless of whether you want […]

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Apple Valley

February 8, 2013
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Apple Valley Home Remodeling At Black Label Services remodeling homes is our passion. We love helping our clients select the right design for their kitchen or choosing the right material for their siding. We love transforming their homes into something that they never expected and we especially love seeing our client’s faces once the job […]

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Lakeville

February 8, 2013
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Lakeville Home Remodeling Looking to renovate your home? If you are ready to take the plunge and modernize your home, then you have come to the right place. Black Label Services is proud to help you explore your home remodel options and implement a renovation plan that will not only modernize your home, but will […]

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Minnetonka

February 8, 2013
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Minnetonka Home Remodeling Feel like your kitchen is too small? Not happy with the outdated look of the bathroom? Need another bedroom? Looking for a bigger outdoor living space? If this is the case, stop checking online for houses for sale and instead consider renovating the one you have now. Renovations are the easier and […]

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Blaine

February 8, 2013
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Blaine Home Remodeling There are a number of reasons you may be considered a renovation. You may want to sell your home in the near future and are looking to add value to the property; you may wish to update and modernize the look of your home; you may need to repair something that has […]

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Burnsville

February 8, 2013
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Burnsville Home Remodeling You’ve worked hard to buy your home. Whether you have just purchased a house or whether you have it paid off in full we understand the importance of your property. We are experienced Burnsville home remodeling contractors that strive to help you transform your home into a palace. Let us help you […]

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Maple Grove

February 8, 2013
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Maple Grove Home Remodeling Black Label Services is a top home remodeling company helping homeowners across Maple Grove. If you have been considering a home remodel or if you have experienced damage to your house then Black Label Services are here to help. We offer a wide range of exterior and interior renovations and remodels […]

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