A New Way To Think About Your Wheel Chair Accessible Home Improvements

A New Way To Think About Your Wheel Chair Accessible Home Improvements

Your home should be a place in which all of your family members and friends can relax. If you or someone else in your family needs special home accommodations for a wheelchair, you may need to remodel to make your home more comfortable. It is possible to make your home accessible while also maintaining your design and style preferences. The Americans with Disabilities Act offers guidance for people to make their homes more accessible. Here are some ways that you can modify your home to make it easier for people who have disabilities.

Entryways

It can be hard to enter a home for a person who uses a wheelchair. For most people in wheelchairs, the first barrier that they face are steps leading up to the front door. A way to solve this issue is to install a wheelchair ramp. It is a good idea to choose a professional to install your ramp in order to make certain that it is done correctly and is safe.

Doorways

Doorways may present additional barriers to people who use wheelchairs. All of your doors should be wide enough for wheelchairs to easily roll through. The ADA suggests that people might want to have doorways ranging from 32 inches to 48 inches wide. Choosing levers instead of knobs will make it easier for people to open the doors. A terrific option is to install pocket sliding doors because they keep the doorways free from barriers.

Bathrooms

The first rooms that people commonly choose to remodel are bathrooms. The ADA recommends that bathrooms have a turning radius of 5 feet to accommodate wheelchairs. Roll-in showers with flat bottoms should be installed. Shower grab bars should also be installed as they are important for ensuring safety in the bathroom. There are many different grab bar styles that you can choose. You’ll want to install them at lower heights for good accessibility. Non-slip surface materials are important, and your toilet and sink are important as well. Try to keep your sink open, and choose a toilet that is between 17 to 19 inches tall.

Kitchens

Making the utilities in your kitchen accessible is one of the biggest challenges. Like bathrooms, kitchens should have a turning radius of 5 feet, making U-shaped kitchens optimal. Appliances and countertops need to be lower so that the kitchen is barrier-free. There should be plenty of clearance under the countertops and the sink for legs and feet.
In your kitchen, the smallest details can make the biggest difference. For example, cabinet pulls and slow-close drawers can make your kitchen much easier to use for people who have disabilities.

Other areas

In addition to all of the areas that we have already discussed, there are some others that you shouldn’t forget, including the following:

  • Closets may need to be changed to make them accessible by
  • lowering rods and installing pocket doors
  • Large furniture that blocks access in hallways should be removed
  • Smooth, durable flooring should be installed.
  • Paths to entryways should be smooth.
  • Light switches, thermostats and outlets should be reachable.

While it may seem like a daunting task, creating an accessible home may be accomplished so that all of your family and friends are able to enjoy it. By making some modifications, you can create the welcoming environment you desire. To schedule a consultation about remodeling your home, contact us today.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages Of Solar Energy?

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages Of Solar Energy

Solar energy is a leading way that people are moving towards living green. Many homeowners who have good access to sunlight are choosing to install solar panels on their homes instead of opting to use expensive energy from their electric companies. If you are thinking about installing solar panels on your home, there are advantages and disadvantages of doing so that you should be aware of so that you can make a more informed decision.

Understanding solar power

When people use solar power, it is created by converting the sun’s energy into electricity. Solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electric energy that you can then use to power your home. Most home solar systems use photovoltaic cells to convert the sunlight into usable energy.

Advantages

The most obvious benefit of choosing solar power is the benefit to the earth. There are also a number of added benefits of solar panels.

1. Solar energy is renewable

At our current rate, the world will someday run out of oil. The U.S. consumes one-quarter of the world’s oil while only producing 3 percent. Unlike oil, the sun is a renewable energy source, and its output should remain dependable for a minimum of 40,000 years.

2. Solar power can be free after installation

While the installation is expensive, solar panels cost very little after the initial cost. The panels do not have movable parts, meaning that they are unlikely to be damaged. This means that you can expect minimal solar panel repair bills.

3. Solar power is good for the environment

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each household emits an average of 20 metric tons of pollution every year. If you install a solar power system, you can eliminate up to four tons of carbon pollution each year. While one home doesn’t really affect the global pollution problem, collective efforts around the world can help.

4. Solar panels offers a good return on investment

Installing solar panels offers a good return on investment. Studies have shown that solar systems offer better returns than do five-year CD accounts in almost 90 percent of the U.S.

5. Solar panels may offer tax incentives

In the U.S., there is a move toward making greener choices, and some states offer people who install solar panels some tax incentives for doing so. The incentives vary from state to state, and not all states offer them. You can determine if your state offers tax incentives by going to energy.gov.

6. You can sell the excess solar power that your panels produce

It is common for solar panels to produce more energy than is needed. Electric companies will pay people who have excess energy, which should factor into your return on investment. It also helps to reduce air pollution and to reduce energy costs for everyone.

7. Solar panels increase the values of homes

Installing solar panels raises the value of homes. If your home is in an area that is undergoing rising electricity costs, your home will likely see an even bigger increase in its value.

8. Solar panels are quiet

Solar panels make absolutely no noise, unlike such things as an HVAC system or a window air conditioner. This means that you can sleep better.

Disadvantages of solar panels

While there are many advantages to installing solar panels, there are also some disadvantages with doing so.

1. Expense of installation

Solar panel installation is expensive. On average, U.S. homeowners can expect to pay from $9,800 to $15,000 to install solar panels.

2. Sun requirements

Homes need to have a lot of sunlight in order to use solar panels. For places that do not have much sun, they may not make sense. Some homeowners use adjustable mounts to track the sun’s arc each day.

3. Bulkiness

It is important for your home to stay warm at night in the middle of the winter. When the sun goes down, solar panels use batteries that have charged up throughout the day. The batteries may be bulky.

4. Solar panels may need repairs

While repairs are rarely needed, it is important for you to understand what can cause damage and their potential costs. Weather damage is the primary cause of needed repairs, including damage from hail, wind and severe weather conditions. If the damage is very severe, it can cost a few thousand dollars to repair your panels.

The move toward living green is only increasing. Solar panels continue to be on the forefront of environmental choices for homeowners. If you want to learn more about installing solar panels on your home, call us today.

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient With A Metal Roof

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient With A Metal Roof

When your home is energy efficient, it will be cooler while also allowing you to enjoy lower utility costs. Installing a metal roof on your home can greatly impact your energy use while giving you a roof that may last for 50 years or longer. Metal roofs have become increasingly popular because they are highly durable and cost-effective. They are lighter in weight than asphalt and other roofing materials and are less likely to sustain damage from hail. Choosing to install a metal roof on your home can provide you with a fast return on your investment with ongoing energy savings for your roof’s life.

What is a cool roof?

Cool roofs are roofs that help to keep interior temperatures lower. They are typically light-colored or white, and they are designed to reflect heat rather than absorbing it. They have high solar reflectivity and thermal emittance. Since metal absorbs little heat and releases it quickly, it is ideal to use as a roofing material. On the other hand, asphalt roofs absorb heat, which leads it to build up rather than being released.

There are other features of cool metal roofs that help to keep the interior temperatures comfortable. They have protective coatings with a number of different reflective materials that work to help with deflecting the sun’s rays. The highest reflective coatings that are used can help to reflect as much as 90 percent of solar radiation away from your home.

Cool roofs, Energy Star & LEED ratings

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program allows cool roofs to be rated as Energy Star. For this rating, a roof must be a cool roof that helps to reduce heat effects. Steep-slope roofs must have a minimum solar reflectance of 0.25 when they are first installed. After three years, the minimum must be at least 0.15. Low-slope roofs must have a minimum reflectance of 0.65 when they are first installed. After three years, the minimum must be 0.50.

LEED certifications are also used to help you to determine your home’s energy efficiency. The LEED certification is granted by the Green Building Council. Builders and designers earn points toward LEED certification by using certain designs and materials that meet a specified Solar Reflectance Index, or SRI. Cool roofs are materials that earn points because of their energy efficiency and because they are recyclable. Steep-slope roofs must have a minimum SRI of 29 for LEED certification. Low-slope roofs must have a minimum SRI of 78. The roof must also cover a minimum of 75 percent of the surface area not counting skylights, equipment and parapets.

Sustainability

Most metal roofs are made out of steel, a highly sustainable material. It is 100 percent recyclable and may be made out of as much as 95 percent recycled steel. Using recycled steel to create new steel takes just 25 percent of the energy that it takes to create virgin steel.

Discounts and incentives

If you install a metal roof, you may receive a discount on your homeowner’s insurance because of its fire resistance and durability. You can also expect your utility bills to be reduced by as much as 40 percent each year. Finally, you may be eligible to claim tax credits for installing a metal roof.

Variety

Manufacturers are able to create cool roofs in the shade you want although light colors or white will be needed to obtain the highest solar reflectance. The roofs can be formed to look like a traditional shake or asphalt roof. You can also choose to use the standing seam style because it sheds water well and is perfect for an installation of solar panels.

Installation

You will need to make certain that the professional who you are considering is one who has the expertise that is required to replace your roof with a cool metal roof. Installing metal roofs requires specialized skills. The company you choose needs to be knowledgeable about metal roof materials, local codes and the standards in your area. It is possible to install a metal roof on top of shingles if it is needed because the metal roofs are light in weight.

As people have become more aware of the environmental impact structures can have, new green-living initiatives have been instituted. A metal roof is something that you should definitely consider for your home.

Why Metal Roofs Have Become So Popular: What you need to know

Why Metal Roofs Have Become So Popular What you need to know

Metal roofs have grown in popularity over the last few years. Metal roofs are most popular among peple in their 20s and 30s as well as those who are building or purchasing homes valued at $100,000 or more. Some of the reasons metal roofs are so popular may actually surprise you.

Life Expectancy of Roofing

One of the reasons metal roofs are becoming more popular is what is known as the roofing cycle or the life expectancy of roofing material. Despite the warranty on many types of asphalt shingles, the average roofing cycle for that type of roofing material is between 17 and 18 years. A tin roof that is installed properly can last between 40 to 50 years while galvanized steel can last as long as 60 years.

Cost of Roof Replacement

The cost to replace a roof is another reason why people are switching from asphalt to metal. If you plan to remain in your home 20 or 30 years, a metal roof is a good investment. Although it may cost more initially, the fact that it will not need to be replaced as quickly as other roofing materials makes it a better investment.

Energy Efficiency

Metal roofs are more energy efficient than other types of roofing material. Some homeowners report savings of as much as 20 percent on their energy costs after installing a metal roof. A metal roof that includes integral air space adds even more efficiency to your home. This also means you can reduce your carbon footprint as reducing energy dependency helps the environment. Metal roofs may also be made from recyclable materials, further increasing benefits to the environment.

Home Value

During the recent housing market downturn, homeowners with residences that required less maintenance were able to sell their home more quickly and at the price they wanted than those with homes that required more maintenance. Because metal roofs require little maintenance, they add value to your home, helping you justify a higher price than with other types of roofing materials.

There is no question that each home and homeowner are unique, so it is important to understand as much as possible about metal roofs before you make the decision to install one. You can learn more from the knowledgeable, helpful customer service staff at TriCounty Exteriors. Contact them by phone at 215-322-0110 or complete the simple form online if you are considering a metal roof for your home or business.