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

Cut Costs at Home with a Natural Air Conditioner

May 13, 2015 12:39 am

Cutting costs through improved energy-efficiency continues to be a priority for homeowners. Did you know there is a natural air conditioner that can save help you save big in cooling costs?

A mature shade tree can block up to 90 percent of solar radiation, which translates to a significant reduction in home cooling costs, according to the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). In fact, computer models devised by the U.S. Department of Energy predict proper placement of as few as three shade trees will save an average household $100-$250 in energy costs each year.

The TCIA recommends planting deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your home, where the sun’s rays are most intense. For homeowners in temperate climates, deciduous trees with high, spreading crowns should be planted to the south of the home to provide maximum summertime shading. Those in colder climates should avoid this step so as not to block winter sun. Trees with crowns lower to the ground are more appropriate to the west, where shade is needed from late afternoon sun.

For protection from storm conditions throughout the year, opt for slow-growing trees which tend to live longer and have deeper roots.

Tree shrubs and groundcover plants can also shade the ground and pavement around your home. This reduces heat radiation and cools the air before it reaches the home’s walls and windows. Use a large bush or row of shrubs to shade a patio or driveway. (Note: Shrubs planted close to the house will fill in rapidly, but avoid allowing dense foliage to grow immediately next to a home.) Plant a hedge to shade a sidewalk, or build a trellis for climbing vines to shade a patio area.

No matter what you decide, be sure to consult a certified tree care professional before planting or removing trees and other plantings on your property.

Source: TCIA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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6 Plumbing Maintenance Checks

May 13, 2015 12:39 am

Routine maintenance can save homeowners thousands in potential repairs, especially when it comes to plumbing. There are several steps homeowners can take to check for red flags in their plumbing systems, says Patricia Bonacorda of Spartan Plumbing. She recommends these conducting these six maintenance checks at least once a year.

Lint Trap – It may seem unrelated to the plumbing system, but lint buildup can block the drain of your washing machine if left unattended. Clear your lint trap (typically found on the internal recess of the unit) or hire a plumber to install a wire trap filter to improve drainage.

Supply Hoses – Inspect hoses that connect to appliances, such as your dishwasher, icemaker and washing machine. Look for bulging or other signs of leakage. If you spot a leak, make repairs or replace with a stainless steel hose immediately.

Sinks – Hard water deposits can clog the faucets in your kitchen and bathrooms, reducing energy-efficiency. If you notice mineral buildup, unscrew the screen at the tip of the faucet (the aerator) and soak it in vinegar overnight.

Toilets – Conduct a DIY litmus test by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tanks of toilets in your home. If the water in the bowl changes colors after a half an hour, call a plumber to assess the problem.

Water Heater – Check the thermometer to make sure the temperature is lower than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Increase the longevity of your unit by draining a few gallons of water from the tank to eliminate corrosion-causing sediment.

Sump Pump – If your home’s basement is protected from flooding by a sump pump, test the unit by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. It should activate automatically and shut off when the job’s done. For an added layer of protection, install a flood alarm.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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