Summer Heat Can Bring Higher Electric Bills, Here’s How to Save:

Florida is known as one of the best vacation spots! It is also known as the Sunshine State which for Florida homeowners means higher electric bills to overcome the heat and humidity. Here are some ways to enjoy the Florida sun, stay cool, and save money!

1. Invest in shades or curtains that help to block heat from entering the room.

2. Make sure to set the thermostat so that when you are away during the day the air conditioner is not running. There are some great thermostat options that can be set to start cooling your home an hour before you return. These thermostats also allow you to control the temperature from your Smart phone. So if you are taking a trip and notice your air is running, you can turn it off!

3. Raising your temperature and using a fan uses less energy and therefore less cost. There are even energy efficient ceiling fans that help reduce costs even more.

4. Replacing your lightbulbs with energy efficient lightbulbs will often produce less heat which helps to keep the room cool.

5. Turn your water heater to 120 degrees. This helps to save money and also prevent burns.


Why Vinyl Windows are Best!

Our friends at Soft-Lite bring us our blog post this week : 7 Reasons Why Vinyl windows are the best!

  1. Vinyl windows are maintenance-free. Wood windows require periodic refinishing.
  2. Superior vinyl windows made out of virgin vinyl will out-last wood and metal windows. Wood windows deteriorate over time and metal windows separate. Soft-Lite’s vinyl windows are warranted for a life-time.
  3. Vinyl sash and frame corners are air tight once they’ve been welded. It is difficult to make wood and metal corners air tight because they are mechanically joined. Even if they are caulked, the caulking deteriorates over time and begins to leak air.
  4. Vinyl can’t rot like wood can. Wood windows always run the risk of developing moisture deterioration. If the finish breaks down and moisture seeps into the window, it can develop warping, discoloration, poor fit and finally, rotting.
  5. Vinyl windows by Soft-Lite offer ease of operation, sliding up and down via their smooth-action balance systems.
  6. Vinyl windows by Soft-Lite always out-perform their wood and metal window equivalents in air infiltration performance. That’s because vinyl is so much more forgiving to the engineers in charge of designing energy efficient windows. The engineers can design interlocks and air barriers right into the vinyl extrusions a lot easier than in wood and metal. In addition, the multi-chambered extrusions allow for foam insulation to be inserted, further increasing the energy savings of a home.
  7. Vinyl windows come with more color options. Due to an innovative PVC coating technique, SureCoat™ Standard Exterior PVC Bond Colors, the exterior of vinyl windows can be colored any color under the sun! Soft-Lite offers 14 standard colors and unlimited custom colors. In addition, the interior of Soft-Lite windows come in white, beige, brown or woodgrains. Soft-Lite’s wide array of color choices is a homeowners dream.

A1 Windows and Doors is a proud factory partner with Soft-Lite.

The Nitty-Gritty of Spring Cleaning

There’s pollen still falling, bees buzzing, and butterflies beginning to take flight – it’s Spring and the time to get to the nitty-gritty of spring cleaning.

The easiest way to begin is to first make a list of what needs to be cleaned and what you want to accomplish. Spring cleaning is the time to clean the parts of your home that there is not always time to clean, but necessary to maintaining your home. Below is a list of extra items to tackle and clean that is not necessarily a part of your weekly chores.


  • Clean inside and out of cabinets.
  • Clean the fridge and freezer: drawers, shelves, and side door
  • Dusting on top of cabinets (if they do not reach to the ceiling)
  • Wiping baseboards, under cabinets, and the walls


  • Re-caulk around toilet, sink area, and bath tub
  • Clean tile, baseboards, bathroom door, and surrounding wall


  • Clean baseboards and walls
  • Dust fan blades
  • Wash curtains/dust blinds

Living Room/Dining Room

  • Clean walls and baseboards
  • Dust light fixtures and fan blades

Exterior of home

  • Wash the siding of your house.
  • Check irrigation around your home (the rainy season is approaching!)
  • Wipe down porch
  • Re-mulch around plants
  • Check if paint, siding, and/or trim needs some repairing

Spring cleaning can be a daunting task but also accomplishing. Doing the extra tasks once, if not twice a year, will help with savings as you maintain the quality of your home from year-to-year.

Spring Cleaning? Organizing Your Home is a Good Way to Begin

Life gets so busy that the home can quickly fill up with clutter. Taking the time to organize can really help to relieve stress, make the home feel bigger, cleaner, and help the homeowner fully relax and enjoy the home. Before tackling such a huge project, it’s important to think and process before the job potentially becomes overwhelming.

Below are some helpful tips for organizing the home:

  1. Tackle one room at a time, perhaps start at the front of the home and work your way back. Once you’ve decided on the first room, grab a notebook.
  2. Jot down the problem areas in the room and what you want the room to really function as. Perhaps you have a formal dining room that you don’t necessarily use as the dining room because your family primarily uses the “breakfast nook,” but you realize it would be nice to have an office. Write down ways to clear furniture (either donation, garage sale, or using it somewhere else in the house) and how to make it functional for your family’s needs.
  3. Once you’ve written your plan, start tackling. Sometimes it’s helpful to have 3 boxes plus a trash bag- one for items you will keep, one for donation, one for a garage sale, and of course the trash bag.
  4. Give each room time. It may take one room per weekend or if you have help, you may be able to tackle a good portion of your home over a few weekends.
  5. Make sure to donate the items you plan on donating and if you have enough items for a garage sale, have the garage sale soon.
  6. When thinking of things to keep and get rid of, think about whether you have used it in the past year. For example, if you do a lot of crafts and have held onto some old dresser knobs for 2 years because you might actually need them one day, but have yet too, it may be time to donate or sell them at the garage sale.
  7. Once all your hard work is finished, remember to celebrate, breathe, and relax in your now splendid and organized home.


Spring is Here, Let’s get Gardening!

Springtime has arrived and so has the time that many homeowners begin planting for the new season. It is important to know the soil around your house to decide if it’s best to plant in the ground or create a raised bed. There is such a wide variety of what a person may want in their garden: vegetables, fruits, butterfly plants, plants that attract bees, plants that are low maintenance and even plants that need some more care. Other considerations are how to keep little critters out of your garden and if you are planting vegetables, and if you want it to be wholly organic (something to consider if thinking of using pesticides).

There are are plenty of sources available to help with gardening facts and information. The link provided is a great place to start:

University of Florida: Gardening in March

Whether you are gardening as a hobby or for curb appeal and aesthetics of your home, now is a great time to enjoy the cool weather and the beauty of Spring.

Parking in Downtown St Pete

Downtown St. Petersburg is bustling prime place to be on the weekends. There is always so much to do with multiple events spread throughout the week- from the Saturday Morning Market, festivals, marathons, restaurants, museums, and many more events. With the Grand Prix preparations, it can make it challenging to quickly find parking. So be sure to plan accordingly. Whether  you are visiting or live in St. Pete, finding a great place to park to enjoy all these events is important.

There are parking meters along the streets (most require payment on the weekends, some do not) and parking garages. There is the Sundial garage (formerly Bay walk) that is  the mostly frequented, but more garages have opened up with the increasing amount of downtown visitors. From the South Core garage between 1st Ave South and Central Ave to the 2nd Ave N Lot. offers a map that can easily be viewed on your computer and also an option to print a map with other helpful information.


Here are some helpful links to assist you in navigating Downtown St. Petersburg

Discover Downtown St. Pete

Printable Map of Downtown St. Pete Parking

Going Green Saves Green

Finding ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency is an essential goal for every homeowner. Upgrades in appliances can make a difference. Things like energy-star rated dishwashers and washing machines all do their part. If your home has a natural gas connection, switching to a gas dryer and tankless water heater can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of those appliances vs electric.

As long as your home’s structure allows it, you can hire a company to spray foam insulation in-between the walls and also insulate the attic. Replacing old leaky windows with quality windows – double or triple pane – can help keep cool air in and hot air out. Old aluminum sliding glass doors can let all your AC’s hard work out into the Florida heat. Replacing them with new Energy Star rated sliding glass doors from A1 can make a world of difference to the comfort of your home. As an added bonus, installing hurricane impact windows and doors can also qualify you for discounts on your homeowner’s insurance. To top it all off, TECO and Duke Energy offer credits for installing energy efficient upgrades. All of this adds to big savings for the homeowner.

Enjoying Florida Nature in St Petersburg


View of downtown St. Pete from Lake Maggiore Trail

Whether you are visiting or a St. Pete native, Boyd Hill Park is a beautiful place to be. Especially this time of the year. The butterfly garden is in full force with monarchs and other lovely butterflies. The garden has its own charm with fairy houses and an inviting pathway for a closer look.

There are many options for walking paths with charming surprises along the way. Bridges that take you to astounding views of Lake Maggiore and downtown St. Petersburg, a variety of art sculptures, birds of prey, and even the old bridge known as the endearingly as the “Troll Bridge.”

Once finished, you can explore some more inside and learn more about Florida nature.

Boyd Hill

The Education Center of Boyd Hill Park in St. Petersburg, Fl

Boyd Hill is a beautiful and peaceful place to be, especially this time of the year when the weather is cool and there’s always a light breeze.

Adding Light to Home Renovation

Network TV offers viewers a smorgasbord of home improvement shows like Property Brothers, Income Property, and Holmes Inspection. Just watching walls being moved, foundations repaired, subfloors patched, and a new kitchen installed can inspire a homeowner to renovate. Alongside the main event kitchens and bedrooms, there are the details that really tie a renovation together. Nothing makes a new kitchen pop like beautiful French Doors opening onto a new patio, or new vinyl colonial style windows accenting a traditional front door.A1Windows_FRENCH_door1So as you watch these shows and begin planning the next upgrade in your home (be it the kitchen, master bathroom, or adding curb appeal) don’t forget about the importance of the windows and doors. Our Energy Star rated vinyl windows are an essential part of any home improvement project. Installed by A1’s team of AMAA Certified Master Installers, you can be sure they will stand the test of time, and the test of Florida’s harsh weather. Make your home feel brighter, cleaner, quieter, and the electric bill a bit lower with some new windows from us here at A1 Windows and Doors.