RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Summer's Coming: 5 HVAC Maintenance Tips

April 13, 2016 2:21 am

Maintaining your HVAC system throughout the year can spare you the inconvenience of a breakdown, especially during periods of extreme weather.

“Homeowners need to have their heating and cooling equipment properly maintained to keep it running smoothly,” explains Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). “Doing so will help central air conditioning and heat pump units last at least 12 to 15 years.

“Spring is a great time to think about getting service before hot weather arrives and the rush for maintenance is in full swing,” Yurek adds.

To keep your HVAC running efficiently through the summer and beyond, the AHRI recommends the following tips.

1. Clean your outdoor condensing unit occasionally by spraying it with a water hose. Do not use a pressure washer.

2. Ensure air vents inside your home are not obstructed by furniture. If air cannot circulate freely through the vents, the air conditioner will consume more energy.

3. Hire a technician for professional maintenance. The service should include inspection of the belt, electric terminal, evaporator coil, ducts, oil motor, refrigerant and thermostat.

4. Remove any grass, leaves, weeds or other debris that may have collected on the outdoor condensing unit. Debris on the unit's fins will block airflow and reduce its efficiency; one of the most common offenders is grass clippings thrown by the lawn mower.

5. Replace the air filter if it’s dirty, or according to the manufacturer's recommendation, to keep dust from collecting on the evaporator coil fins. In most cases, the filter and coil are located in the basement of the home (sometimes in the furnace) within the air handler. Be sure to turn off the power to the air handler before swapping out the filter.

“Following these steps to ensure your units are running as efficiently as possible can help offset HVAC costs through the summer months,” says Yurek. “Heating and cooling account for about 48 percent of the energy used in homes, making it the single biggest energy-consumer for homeowners.”

Source: AHRI

Published with permission from RISMedia.


8 Tips for Eleventh-Hour Tax Filers

April 12, 2016 2:15 am

Scrambling to file your taxes before this year’s deadline? Don’t let the time-crunch result in incorrect information on your return, says Greg Rosica, contributing author to the “EY Tax Guide 2016.”

“It's easy to make mistakes when you are rushing,” Rosica says. “If you waited until the last minute, you're not alone. Take a deep breath and start thinking back on personal life changes that occurred over last year, such as a new job, marital or family status, or large purchase. Think about any major decisions you made that can have tax implications. Most importantly, look at last year's return and make sure you have similar documents to support any of the deductions or income you include this year.”

Rosica advises eleventh-hour tax filers follow this checklist:

1. Check your math, or input the numbers if you use software to file. Be sure that your Form W-2 and all Form 1099s, as well as your Social Security number, are correct.

2. Confirm that you signed and dated your return and entered your occupation. If you are filing a joint return, be sure that your spouse also signs as required.

3. Check that you’ve claimed all of your eligible dependents, such as elderly parents who may not live with you.

4. Attach all copies B of your W-2 forms to your return in order to avoid correspondence with the IRS. If you received a Form 1099-R showing federal income tax withheld, attach copy B of that form, as well.

5. Retain for your records any health coverage tax forms you received (1095-A, 1095-B or 1095-C) from the IRS to prove you have health insurance and aren't required to pay any tax penalties.

6. If both spouses work, look into whether a married filing separate return is more beneficial than a joint return. If you are single and have a dependent who lives with you, consider the possibility that you might qualify for the lower tax rates available to a head of household or surviving spouse.

7. If you worked two or more jobs, see if you can claim a credit for any overpaid Social Security taxes withheld from your wages.

8. Keep copies of all documents you have sent to the IRS.

Taxpayers also have the benefit of additional time to file this year, adds Rosica.

“If you like to wait until the very end, you're in luck this year,” Rosica says. “Due to April 15 coinciding with a Washington, D.C., holiday this year, the deadline for Form 1040 filing is extended to April 18.”

Taxpayers in a bind have other options, as well.

“You can also request an automatic six-month extension if you feel you need more time to prepare your return,” Rosica says. “The extension gives you until October 18, but you can file any time before then. However, you still have to pay the IRS your estimated tax bill by April 18.”

Source: EY

Published with permission from RISMedia.