California Wildfires Cause Major Disruption to Door and Window Dealers

From a Milgard dealer who lost his home, to disruption of delivery schedules and employees having to endure severe environmental conditions, the California wild fires are having real effects on the door and window industry.

Labeled the “Camp Fire,” California’s latest wild fire has been one of the deadliest in history. While USA Today reports that the fire has finally been contained, since November 8, 2018, it spread from Butte County, Calif., across 150,000 acres, claiming at least 85 lives along the way, with another 249 still listed as missing. In just 22 days, total destruction includes 19,000 homes and buildings—including one door and window dealer’s home.

Natasha Ramsey, a regional marketing specialist for Milgard Windows and Doors, who’s based in Simi Valley, Calif., reports that some of the company’s dealers had to close for several days, because their homes and offices were so close to the fire. One Milgard dealer even lost his home. Milgard’s facilities were not harmed by the fire, and were able to remain open, but not without disruptions.

“[The fires] affected our delivery of product to dealers in the fire zone,” says Ramsey. “We had to delay some of our routes for up to a week due to this.”

In Chico, Calif., “The skies were black and we couldn’t work,” says Lori Lash, owner of Lash’s Glass. “The air quality was horrible.” Chico is approximately 15 miles from the city of Paradise, Calif., which, according to news reports, was more or less destroyed.

Lash says that many jobs went on hold and the company had to close early during the height of the Camp Fire. She housed a number of people who were impacted personally and let them use her yard. She also housed chefs who came to the area in order to help feed Paradise citizens left homeless. In the midst of the tragedy, Lash also turned to giving people free auto glass, which she provides in addition to flat glass.

“This is going to be an ongoing thing that won’t be over for a while,” says Lash.

In Southern California, the Woolsey fire has also done severe damage to homes and businesses. Travis Shields, project manager at Oakstone Glass Corp., located in Thousand Oaks, Calif., says people who work for the company were evacuated from the area. He says there hasn’t been an overwhelming request for repairs, because most of the buildings and homes affected were completely destroyed.

Much of the area couldn’t be accessed until this week, Shields says. His company has received a few calls about residential and institutional buildings that have broken windows caused by the heat of the fire.


DIY Window and Door Weatherproofing

DIY  Window and Door Weatherproofing

According to the Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your heated or cooled interior air; that’s energy and money down the drain. A little weatherproofing goes a long way, and the good news is there are some super easy and inexpensive ways to reduce drafts around windows and doors.

Weather stripping

With a variety of easy-to-apply options to choose from, weather stripping is one of the easiest ways to cut drafts around windows.

Pressure-sensitive, adhesive-backed foam tape is probably the most common, affordable, and simplest weather stripping to apply. Pick a warmer day to apply it as the adhesive forms a stronger bond at a temperature of at least 60°. Clean and dry the top and bottom of the window sashes. Then simply cut the tape to the lengths needed and apply.

It usually lasts up to five years. If older weatherstripping is falling off, deteriorating, or if the foam has lost its resilience and no longer springing up to fill the gap, it’s time to replace. And don’t forget to lock your windows for a tight seal!

Vinyl V strips are effective for sealing any gaps between window sashes and frames, on both the top and sides of a wood window frame. One side attaches to the window frame and the other side folds in when the window is closed. They are also simple to install with their adhesive backing.

Similar to adhesive-backed foam tape, felt strips are another weatherstipping option that come in rolls of varying lengths, widths and color. It is usually nailed in place, but there are also adhesive-backed versions. EPDM rubber weatherseal tape is a slightly more expensive option but more durable than foam weather stripping.


Adhesive-backed foam tape and felt strips are an easy option for doors too, but the better way to go is a metal flange with a vinyl bulb that is screwed inside the door frame. It takes a little more effort but is much more durable on a door that is open and shut many times a day, and the seal is better.

Complete your door weather stripping with a door sweep. Sweeps go on the bottom of the interior side of an in-swinging exterior door to seal the air gap between the door and the threshold. There are two main types, u-shaped sweeps that slide under aluminum or steel doors and metal strips that screw, nail or staple to the door bottom.

Spray foam and caulk

Foam and caulk may be more intimidating for a beginner DIYer but with a little prep and a steady hand, they are both good options for cracks and gaps around (not inside) window and door frames. For cracks 1/4 inch wide or less, use paintable water-based latex caulk for most surfaces and silicone-based caulk for metal and glass surfaces. Silicone caulking cannot be painted. All caulking periodically needs to be reapplied, especially if the window area is subject to expanding and contracting.

Expanding foam is good for large, accessible gaps because with the long nozzle the foam can expand to fill areas you can’t reach by hand. The key of course, is to not overfill as the foam hardens quickly and is very hard to remove, so take it slow and steady.

Thermal curtains and blinds

Thermal curtains are much thicker than ordinary ones and some have tie-backs to hold them against the wall, further blocking air infiltration. Curtains should reach to the window sill or floor, be hung close to the window, and cover the entire window. When drawn during cold weather, the Department of Energy estimates they can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 25%.

In winter, close all draperies at night, but open them during the day if the window receives direct sunlight. Additionally, make sure any drapes or curtains (and furniture, too) are not blocking air registers to allow for free circulation of heated or cooled air from your HVAC system.

Pleated, or honeycomb, blinds are another energy-saving window treatment option. Single honeycomb shades add an insulation value around R-2. Double-layer honeycomb shades can reach R-5, blocking up to 62% of heat transfer through windows. More translucent colors that allow some natural light to enter can be used with thermal curtains for even more energy savings.

Draft stoppers

This decidedly low-tech option is also the most flexible. Plenty of cute draft stoppers can be found online for $10 or less, or you can make your own by filling a long sock with quilt batting or polyester fiberfill, and adding some popcorn or dried beans for weight. Simply put your draft stopper at whichever door or window sill that needs a draft blocked.

Whether you do it yourself or hire someone, taking a little time to weatherproof your windows and doors before the really cold weather sets in will pay off big time in comfort and savings.


Tesla Model 3 Owners Report Frozen Door Handles That Keep Them Locked Out [News]

Tesla Model 3

Winter is hardly kind on any car, but the Tesla Model 3 is reportedly experiencing a major problem in cold weather. 

Electrek reports that Canadian owners in Quebec, specifically, are having issues with the door handles, windows and charge ports as a cold wave sweeps the region. Currently, Winter Storm Avery is rolling through the area, dipping temperatures down into the 20 degree (Fahrenheit) range.

Here’s the problem: the Tesla Model 3 has door handles that sit flush inside the door. Normally, you press one end of the door handle, and the other pops out. Then, you can pull on the exposed door handle to actually open the door. The windows are supposed to roll down slightly as you open the door as well.

However, in freezing whether, the handles are difficult to actually pop out. In the video below, Electrek Editor-in-Chief Fred Lambert has the same problems with his own Tesla Model 3. He filmed his issues after letting the car sit outside on a brisk, 20-degree day.

Lambert notes that owners in the Northeast also have the same issue in cold temperatures. Despite preheating the car before trying to unlock it, the door handles didn’t budge without tremendous effort. He did manage to get the front driver window down enough to open the door. However, it reportedly won’t go up and down properly anymore.

Happily, Tesla did tell Electrek that they’re looking into the issue. In the meantime, one workaround for those who are having issues getting into their Tesla Model 3 is to preheat the cabin for a longer period of time. We’ll see how the issue progresses as the Model 3 heads through its first winter with owners.