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Exterior Renovations Brighten Private Country Home

exterior_renovations

This beautiful country home received a major curb appeal boost with gorgeous exterior renovations from Peoria Siding and Window.

Durable_Entry_Door

We started with a beautiful fiberglass entry door by Paragon. The faux wood grain brings subtle elegance to the entryway.

Faux_Wood_Entry_Door

Two side lites and a door lite illuminate the interior naturally.

Patio_Door

A new Illuminations Patio Door by Preservation will lower the homeowners’ energy bill and allow immediate access to a lush landscape view from the master bedroom.

picture_window

The homeowners’ rotting bay window was replaced with two casement windows and a picture window.

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Fiberglass insulation and EnergyMaxx glass will make the kitchen a bright and warm space for the family to gather.

The home is finished with two double-hung, vinyl replacement windows. The black shutters compliment the home’s elegant entryway


The homeowners are loving their new exterior, and you will to! If you have a home improvement project, we’d like to help. Give us a call at (309) 717-0105 or fill out this estimate form:

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Buy Vinyl Windows for a Green Home

Green_Vinyl_Windows

When most people think of “going green,” they think of recycled materials or reusable products. Actually, “going green” is as easy as choosing products that will conserve energy consumption and save you money. According to the Energy Collective, in the United States residential homes waste 20% of the energy they consume. Much of this energy waste comes from inefficient heating and cooling. As you spend money running your AC or heater, your temperature-controlled air is leaving your home through your windows. Here’s some questions you need to ask when searching for energy-efficient windows.

Will this window curb my energy consumption?

For window frames, the most common materials are vinyl, aluminum and wood. At Peoria Siding and Window, we’re a huge fan of vinyl. That’s because we love products that require little to no maintenance and last a long time. Vinyl is the best material for energy efficiency because it is a poor conductor of heat. When you pay to heat your home, your hot air won’t be leaving through your vinyl windows.

Aluminum, on the other hand, is a great conductor of heat and cold. That’s why many aluminum home improvement products come with the qualifier, “great for mild climates.” Aluminum products are not well suited for Illinois’ extreme temperatures, and will lower your home’s energy-efficiency and drain your pockets. Wooden frames are great insulators. However, they expand and contract with changing temperatures. This creates gaps in your window system that can reduce your home’s energy-efficiency.

How soon will I have to replace this window?

Your window’s durability has more of an impact on the environment than you think. Every time you purchase new windows, the earth’s natural resources must be depleted to create a replacement, and your old window will likely end up in a landfill. Purchase a window that will last a lifetime. Vinyl window frames are known for being more durable than their wooden counterparts because they are impervious to moisture. Plus, the durability of PVC materials gives some vinyl window an edge over other green alternatives. Aluminum windows have the greatest impact resistance, which can be helpful if you live in an area prone to tornados or hurricanes- but their conducive properties can be a nightmare if you live in an area with wide temperature ranges. Wooden windows have poor durability because of their vulnerability to moisture. They tend to rot, warp, expand and grow mold.

What will it take to maintain this window?

Surprisingly, many people don’t consider the cost and labour it will take to keep their replacement window in top condition. Low maintenance windows don’t just save you time and money- they also save the environment. Traditional wooden windows need to be repainted, re-stained and stripped occasionally. Many paints, stains and stripping agents release volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) into the air, which contribute to atmospheric pollutant levels. Instead, but a window that will last forever and won’t take much to maintain. Your wallet and the Earth will thank you.

If you’re searching for green home improvement products, give us a call at (309) 717-0105 or fill out this form. Our experienced sales team will walk you through our expansive product line and all of their energy-efficient features.

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Your Replacement Window Performance Rating Explained

Performance Ratings

When you’re buying a big-budget item, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of information. You want to make sure that you’re getting the value for your money, and that your product is going to last you a long time. When buying replacement windows, the best way to do this is to check for a performance rating or Energy Star certification. Replacing old windows with Energy Star-certified windows lowers household energy bills by an average of 12% nationwide. Energy Star ensures quality by holding window manufacturers to strict performance standards on 5 different categories set by the National Fenestration Rating Council. Standards vary on your climate zone. Here in Illinois we are in the Northern Climate Zone, so those standards have an emphasis on durability and insulation. Luckily, most window manufacturers don’t try to hide their performance ratings and windows come with a label. They look like this:

Replacement Window Label

The label looks confusing, but I’ll explain it to you step-by-step.

Performance Rating: U-Factor

The U-Factor measures your the window’s rate of heat loss. Specifically, it measures the rate of heat flow through your glazing system. U-Factors generally range from 0.25 to 1.25 and are measured in Btu/h·ft²·°. Don’t worry, the units don’t matter much to anyone but the manufacturers. All you need to know is that low U-Factor is preferable because it means less heat loss, which is a good thing! A low U-Factor means better insulation and energy efficiency. Illinois winters can be brutally cold and even a small amount of heat loss can make your home feel drafty. To be eligible for the Residential Energy Tax Credit (worth 10% of the product cost up to $200), your window must have a U-Factor equal to or lower than 0.30 for those living in Illinois.

Take Preservation Window’s EnergyMaxx 10 Elite glass package as an example. Most standard replacement window units  have a U-Factor of 0.48. Our EnergyMaxx 10 Elite glass package has a U-Factor value of 0.17, meaning it performs 65% better than its competitors.

Performance Rating: Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures the fraction of solar radiation that is transferred through your windows. While the U-Factor measures heat leaving your home, the SHGC measures the amount of heat entering your home. This measurement is especially pertinent in cool seasons. SHGC is measured on a scale from 0 to 1 but most windows have a SHGC values ranging from 0.25 to 0.80. A lower SHGC is preferable because it means less heat is entering your home. During a balmy Illinois summer, this could mean using less AC to cool your home.

We’ll use our EnergyMaxx 10 Elite glass package as an example again. Most traditional clear, insulated glass units have an SHGC of 0.50. Our EnergyMaxx 10 Elite glass has a SHGC of 0.17, meaning it outperforms the other glass package by 66%. Less heat enters a home through our windows with a low SHGC, and our replacement window customers will spend less money cooling their home.

Performance Rating 3: Visible Transmittance (VT)

Replacement Window Light

This rating seems straightforward, but it’s not. VT measures the amount of UV energy that your window allows through. VT can also measure how much visible light passes through your windows. This is where it gets tricky. You WANT an abundant amount of light to pass through your windows to give your home that natural, open character. However, UV energy is responsible for the fading of carpets, hardwood flooring, fabrics and furniture. In addition, to much light can cause glare. VT is measured on a scale of 0 to 1, but values generally range from 0.20 to 0.80.

Our EnergyMaxx 10 Elite glass package has a VT of 0.36 compared to a traditional clear glass package VT of 0.55. This means that the house with traditional windows will be brighter, and will also allow more UV radiation to enter the home. The house with the EnergyMaxx glass package will still have an abundance of visible light inside, but will not suffer the same fading damage as the other home.


Peoria Siding & Window has a number of different glass packages to choose from, all with different performance ratings. Make sure that when you’re choosing a replacement window, you prioritize factors like energy loss, heat gain and visible light. If you’re still confused about window performance ratings, don’t worry. One of our salespeople will be happy to talk you through any questions or concerns. Just call (309) 717-0105 to speak with a representative. If you’re looking to purchase new replacement windows, you can claim up to 30% off your home improvement project by filling out this form. We sell windows with an unbeatable performance at a value you can trust.

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4 Home Improvement Tax Breaks You May Qualify For

Tax Breaks

Tax Break 1: Major Energy-Efficient Upgrades

This tax break can save you up to $500 on energy efficient upgrades under the Residential Energy Credits program. However, there’s a lifetime total of $500 on this tax deduction, so be sure to check that you haven’t already met this limit. This tax break is especially relevant if you’ve purchased new energy efficient replacement doors, replacement windows, or a new roof.

  • 10% of the cost of replacement doors
  • 10% of the cost of replacement windows and skylights ($200 cap)
  • 10% of the cost of an energy-efficient roof (excluding labor)
  • 10% of the cost of home insulation upgrades (excluding labor)
  • $300 for a biomass stove
  • $300 for air-source heat pumps
  • $300 for central AC systems
  • $150 for efficient hot water boilers
  • $300 for water heaters
  • $200 for furnaces and fans

Tax Break 2: Green Energy Upgrades

This tax break goes in the personal tax credit category. If you added a renewable energy system to your residence, you’re eligible for a 30% tax rebate for your expenditures. This applies to both main residencies and vacation homes. Some expenditures covered include the cost of on-site preparation, assembly and installation, and piping and wiring to connect a system to the home.

Here’s the best part: there’s no cap on this deduction! If you’re kicking yourself for not going green earlier, don’t worry. This tax credit is available through 2019. Here are some green energy upgrades that qualify for this tax break:

  • Solar panels
  • Solar water heaters
  • Fuel Cells
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Wind turbines

Tax Break 3: Medical Modifications

This tax break is especially relevant to readers that have completed a bathroom renovation with Custom Bath Solutions in the past year. Medical modifications include improvements made to accommodate your home for care of a disabled individual. This person may be you, your spouse or your dependent.

Here’s the catch: the eligible cost of improvement is reduced by the project’s addition in value to your property. So if you spent $40K on medical modifications that increased the value of your home by $10K, only $30K are deductible. If the home improvement project did not increase your property value, the entire cost can be included as a medical expense. In addition, the cost of medical modifications must be more than 10% of your adjusted gross income (or 7.5% for persons 65 and older).

Here are some medical modification projects that qualify for deductions:

  • Lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment.
  • Installing railings, support bars, or other modifications (like a tub to shower conversion) in your bathroom
  • Replacement doors and modifying door hardware
  • Modifying electrical outlets and fixtures
  • Widening interior and exterior doorways
  • Entrance and exit ramps
  • Installing lifts or modifying stairways
  • Modifying fire alarms, smoke detectors, and other warning systems
  • Grading the ground to provide access to the home

Tax Break 4: Reduce Your Capital Gains Profits

In the eyes of Uncle Sam, that is. We would never advise you to sell your home for less than it’s maximum potential. If you make a profit on your home over $250K per individual (or $500K as a married couple), you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes on those profits. However, you can deduct the money you spent on value-adding home improvement projects from your total sales profit.

Let’s say you purchased a new home 7 years ago for $250K and then spent $60K on renovations. This year, you sold your home for $560K and put away your sales profit of $310K. If you don’t include the cost of renovations in your total profit, you can lower your taxable capital gains profit to $250K and keep that $60K you spent on renovations, tax-free.

For your home improvement project to qualify for this tax break, the project had to be an upgrade that increased the value of your home. Repairs projects are considered only “maintaining” the current value of your home and are not eligible to deduct from your total capital gains profit. Here are some projects that are eligible:


For the nitty-gritty details, talk to a tax advisor about which tax strategy is right for you. If you’ve purchased tax credit eligible products from us in the past year, we will be happy to send you a letter confirming your installation. Just call (309) 717-0105 and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can.