RE/MAX 440
Dale Joy
dalejoy1@verizon.net
Dale Joy
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880
Skippack  PA 19474
PH: 610-584-1160
O: 610-584-1160
C: 215-460-5153
F: 267-354-6852 
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Turkey Day Plumbing Tips

November 21, 2013 4:09 am

The day after Thanksgiving is the single busiest of the year for many plumbers. Big holiday meal preparation and cleanup can lead to a lot of unwanted waste in the kitchen drain and garbage disposal. Also, holiday house guests who require additional clothes washing, showers and toilet flushes put a strain on household plumbing.

"Often, the case is that a house already has partially clogged drains that go unnoticed, until holiday guests arrive and overwhelm the system," said Paul Abrams, Roto-Rooter representative. Hectic houses full of people and frantic hosts quickly and easily lead to plumbing problems throughout the holiday season. "Even more problematic is that virtually every traditional Thanksgiving dish is a supreme drain clog culprit," Abrams continued.

Thanksgiving hosts can avoid a visit from their plumber over the holiday weekend by following these clog-preventing tips:

-Never pour fats or cooking oils down drains. They solidify in pipes. Instead, wipe grease from pots with paper towels and throw in trash.
-Avoid putting stringy, fibrous or starchy waste in the garbage disposal. Poultry skins, celery, fruit & potato peels, for example, cannot be sufficiently broken down.
-Make sure the disposal is running when you put food into it. Don't wait until it's full to turn it on.
-For homes hosting weekend guests, it's a good idea to wait ten minutes between showers so slow drains have time to do their job.
-Never flush cotton balls, swabs, hair or wet wipes down a toilet. They don't dissolve and will cause clogs.
-Try to address any plumbing problems before the holiday and before guests arrive. However, in holiday emergencies, don't hesitate to ask up front about extra holiday service fees. As always, know your DIY limits. Often, minor plumbing problems turn into plumbing catastrophes if not handled properly.

Source: Roto-Rooter

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Balcony Glazing Saves Energy and the Environment

November 20, 2013 4:09 am

A glazed balcony is often promoted as a cozy extra room or a natural extension that connects an apartment and the outside world, no matter what the season or weather. Glazing is also considered a well-founded solution as it improves living comfort and décor possibilities. Likewise, glazing is known to reduce maintenance and repair needs. More rarely is the glazed balcony regarded as semi-warm space, or a draught lobby that passively stores solar energy.

Does balcony glazing save energy?
The impact of energy savings arising from balcony glazing has now been studied. According to this study, glazing results in the heating energy savings of 3.4–10.7 percent in an 861 square foot apartment, the average value being 5.9 percent. This is of significance due to constantly increasing energy costs.

Glazing pays off
It is relatively inexpensive to provide the balcony with glazing. Studies show that the glazing’s procurement price is paid back within 15–25 years through its energy savings of about 6 percent, depending on the shape and location of the balcony.

Carbon footprint caused by balcony glazing
According to a recent study, the total carbon dioxide load produced by the manufacture, transport, installation, maintenance and final recycling of balcony glass panes amounts to about 441 pounds of carbon dioxide. The annual energy savings resulting from balcony glazing correspond to about 110 pounds of carbon dioxide. Judging from this, it takes, on average, only four years to compensate for the glazing-induced carbon footprint through energy savings arising from balcony glazing.

Carry out an eco-action and make use of the many benefits in balcony glazing.

Source: lumon.com

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To Prevent or Ease Arthritis, Put Down the Sugar

November 20, 2013 4:09 am

Mentioning sugar and arthritis in the same breath: what's up with that? Consider this: The U.S. has more than 78 million obese adults, according to the National Institutes of Health. A report compiled by researchers at GlobalData estimates that by 2022, the U.S. will have the largest population of overweight people worldwide. But that's not our only health crisis. More than 50 million Americans have arthritis—and many of them are obese. In fact, aging and obesity are the chief causes of arthritis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A report in the November 8, 2013 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report notes, "The increase in arthritis definitely has to do with the aging of our population, but it's also potentially linked to the obesity epidemic." The report found that almost one-quarter of U.S. adults—52.5 million—have some form of arthritis. The report predicts 67 million Americans will have arthritis by 2030, and obesity could be the cause of this surge.

Although aging can't be stopped, the impact of arthritis can be decreased. Losing weight and exercising are some keys to fighting the disease. One company actively working to stem that tide is Stevia First Corporation. Stevia First is focusing on growing and processing the stevia plant in a whole new way, so that it provides a tasteful alternative sweetener for food and beverages with no bitter aftertaste. In other words, the company is aiming to give people the satisfying experience they crave without any of the guilt or potential side effects.

The market for an all-natural sweetener is expanding so quickly that Credit Suisse reports that over the next 5-10 years there will likely be a significant reduction in sugar consumption and a marked increase in the role played by high-intensity natural sweeteners in foods and beverages.

Source: Stevia First

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Energy Efficient Lighting Tips

November 20, 2013 4:09 am

Days are getting shorter, the weather outside is getting cooler, and the holiday season is right around the corner. During this time of year, people are spending more time indoors, cranking up the heat, and using more lighting throughout their home, which ultimately leads to higher energy bills. Porch.com is helping homeowners reduce their energy bills by simply choosing energy efficient light bulbs.

When it comes to energy efficiency, Porch.com CEO Matt Ehrlichman states, "People don't have to invest a lot of time and money to make a difference. Little changes such as switching to energy efficient light bulbs add up. In fact, an average American house can save over $200 per year by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED."

For those who have not switched over to energy efficient light bulbs, Larry Lauck of the American Lighting Association recommends investigating different lighting options. "Only around 10 percent of the energy in old style incandescent light bulbs goes towards lighting, with the remaining 90 percent of energy spent on producing heat," he says. In fact, the wasted heat produced by just 34 incandescent 60W bulbs producing 850 lumens of light each would be enough to cook your Thanksgiving turkey at 350°. It would take a whopping 258 LED bulbs, also 850 lumens each, to waste the same amount of heat.

When considering energy efficient lighting options, Lauck advises that the first thing homeowners do is identify the lights in their home that are on for a significant amount of time. For many people this could be porch lights or outdoor lighting, which are best suited for LED's as they have the greatest energy savings and last over 20 years. For indoor lighting, kitchens and bathrooms typically use a large amount of lighting energy and are areas where homeowners could save both energy and money by switching to energy efficient lighting.

When considering lighting options in a kitchen or bathroom, Lauck encourages homeowners to talk to a professional because unlike old-style incandescent light bulbs, which all have a universal warm yellow hue, energy efficient light bulbs come in an array of colors ranging from cool to warm hues. Professionals can speak to color temperature, dimming features, and energy efficiency to help homeowners choose the right light bulb for their space.

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Cranberries Have Health-Promoting Properties

November 19, 2013 4:06 am

Cranberries are more than a holiday favorite, given their remarkable nutritional and health benefits. A new research review published in the international journal Advances in Nutrition provides reasons why these tiny berries can be front and center and not just a side dish. The review authors conclude that cranberries provide unique bioactive compounds that may help reduce the incidence of certain infections, improve heart health and temper inflammation.

"Hundreds of studies show that the bioactive compounds found in cranberries improve health," said lead author Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS, Director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory and Professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. "For example, the polyphenols found in cranberries have been shown to promote a healthy urinary tract and exert protective benefits for cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions."

Cranberry Health Benefits Extend Beyond Urinary Tract Health

The authors cite data that shows the cranberry may improve cardiovascular health by improving blood cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure, inflammation and oxidative stress. Cranberries have been shown to help support endothelial function and reduce arterial stiffness. Together, these benefits may promote overall health and functioning of blood vessels to help slow the progression of atherogenesis and plaque formation, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

Need Fruit? Eat More Cranberries

While all fruit contributes necessary vitamins and minerals to the diet, berry fruits offer a particularly rich source of health-promoting polyphenols. Because of their tart taste and very low natural sugar content, sugar is often added to cranberry products for palatability. Even with added sugar, cranberry products typically have a comparable amount of sugar to other unsweetened fruit juices and dried fruit products. Additionally, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans asserts that the best use of calories from added sweeteners is for improving the palatability of nutrient-rich foods, as is the case when adding sugar to cranberries. As an additional option, non-nutritive sweeteners are used to produce low calorie versions of cranberry products. Americans can help increase their fruit intake by incorporating cranberries and cranberry products into their diet and there is no need to wait for the holidays – cranberries can be enjoyed year round – fresh, frozen, dried, or in a juice or sauce.

"While we look forward to more research to better understand how cranberries affect our well-being and longevity, we know that including cranberries and cranberry products in a healthy diet is a great way to increase fruit intake," said Dr. Blumberg.

Source: www.CranberryInstitute.org

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How to Look for Possible Tornado Damage

November 19, 2013 4:06 am

Residents should be very careful when returning home following the severe tornadoes that struck the Midwest over the weekend. Once it is safe to do so, homeowners should carefully inspect their homes for possible signs of tornado damage, and pay particular attention to the following areas:

• Look for wall cracks in spots where there were no cracks before. Cracks of a quarter inch or more are signs walls may have shifted or settled. Look carefully around windows and doors because these are typically the weakest spots in a home's construction.
• Make sure to closely check rooms not regularly used.
• Look outside for physically visible, new cracks in the home's foundation. Look inside for changes in the levelness of floors. Changes in the level of the floor could be signs of a lift in the home's foundation.
• Inspect plumbing. Look closely around the water heater and/or water softener for signs of water leaks that did not exist before. Flush all toilets, turn on all of the water faucets, and check connecting pipes for any leaking water.
• In the days or weeks after a tornado, check walls and ceilings for water stains or yellowing that did not exist before. It could indicate damage on the roof.
• Carefully inspect the outside gutters. Damaged gutters could cause water damage inside the home long after the actual gutter damage occurs.

Source: Allstate

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Statistics Highlight the Need for Preparation and Caution in Holiday Decorating and Entertaining

November 19, 2013 4:06 am

Lights, candles, action! Brightly lighted decorations, elaborate meals and large gatherings are all part of traditional holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, these seasonal traditions also cause an average of 230 home fires each year, with an average of 4 deaths, 21 injuries and $17.3 million in property damage.

"Christmas tree lights and candles are just two of the holiday traditions that increase the likelihood of a fire starting in your home," says Rick Isaacson, executive vice president of Servpro Industries, Inc. "There are about three times as many cooking-related fires on Thanksgiving Day and almost twice as many on Christmas Day as there are on non-holidays. It only takes a single distracted or careless action to turn a family get-together into a tragedy."

Homeowners can help keep their homes and their families safe during the holiday season by understanding the dangers and taking some simple, commonsense precautions.

Holiday Cooking Fire Facts
• Thanksgiving Day has three times the average number of reported home structure fires involving cooking equipment.
• The two other peak days for cooking-related fires are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips
• Supervise items on the stovetop. Fifty-eight percent of kitchen fires involve ranges; homes with electric cooktops have a higher risk of fire than homes with gas cooktops.
• Keep flammable items - potholders, packaging, wrapping, wooden utensils, loose clothing - away from the stovetop.
• Don't let lack of sleep or alcohol consumption affect your ability to concentrate on preparing the meal.

Holiday Decorating Fire Facts
• Half of all holiday decoration fires start because the decoration is too close to a heat source.
• On average, 32 candle fires are reported each day. December is the peak month for candle fires.

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips:
• Keep all decorations away from heat sources like radiators, portable heaters, and fireplaces.
• Use flameless candles.
• If you do use traditional candles, burn them in sturdy candleholders, well away from drapes and other flammable materials. Never leave them unattended and never allow them to burn down to less than one inch in length.

Christmas Tree Fire Facts:
• 50 percent of live tree fires occur between December 22 and January 5.
• 31 percent of tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
• 14 percent involve decorative lights.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips:
• Keep live trees well watered to reduce the chance of a fire.
• Check wiring on lights for breaks and wear, replace worn strings and don't exceed manufacturer guidelines for connecting multiple strands of lights.
• Don't leave tree lights plugged in when you are away from home or asleep.

Source: www.servpro.com

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Tips to Capture Mood, Splendor of the Season with Lighting

November 18, 2013 4:06 am

(Family Features) As decorations are hung this holiday season in preparation for entertaining family and friends, consider creating ambiance using lighting in the main social rooms of the home, including the kitchen, dining and living rooms. Beyond the trimmings, presents and other jolly adornments, it is essential to have the proper lighting to enhance the glow of the holidays and adjust the mood of a room.

Here are some tips to make sure the lighting in every room in your home is properly outfitted to create an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for the holidays and beyond:

Use higher quality light

Lighting helps set a mood in a room. When choosing the type of light needed for a room, consider whether you want a soft light or crisp bright light. Use lighting that can filter out dull yellow rays and provide clean, beautiful light that brings out the vibrant colors of the holiday season – making reds appear redder and whites whiter – to make the colors in your holiday wreaths and decorations pop.

Layer the lighting

Instead of relying on one type of light source, layer your lighting by using a mix of light sources at different levels, to create a flattering ambiance. The effect of layered lighting in the living room highlights architectural details, like the festively decorated fireplace and mantel with evergreens and holly berries. Ambient lighting from recessed fixtures with dimming control in the kitchen allows flexibility to adjust as needed for cooking and baking during the day to entertaining guests in the evening, or for spending late nights wrapping presents.

Additionally, the holidays would not be complete without cozy, intimate gatherings around the dining room table with family and friends. Layered lighting applied around the dining room table can set the mood so you and your guests can comfortably enjoy the turkey dinner with all the dressings.

Keep energy efficiency in mind

Select energy-efficient lighting – such as CFLs and LEDs – for optimal energy savings. This is especially important in rooms where the most time is spent with the lights on in order to see the biggest energy savings impact. Many energy-efficient alternatives of today mirror the light quality of the traditional incandescent bulb, providing the warm glow and dimming capabilities.

Do your homework

Savvy homeowners should do a little research before purchasing light bulbs to ensure compatibility with their fixtures. Be sure to match up the bulb shape and application, choose the appropriate lumen, or brightness level, and review the light bulb packaging for dimmable options.

Make this holiday season a cheerful occasion, and don’t rely on overhead lighting alone to deck your halls and walls. With a layered approach and a little lighting know-how, you’ll create the welcoming and warm atmosphere perfect for family, friends and good cheer.

Source: GE

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Tips for Marriage-Minded Customers Seeking out the Perfect Diamond

November 18, 2013 4:06 am

With so many fine jewelry stores, it can be difficult to pick out an engagement ring. King of Jewelry recommends purchasing fine jewelry only from a store that offers diamond certification from top gemological institutes, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the nation's top diamond grading resource. The benefit of having an independent agency grading diamonds is that they are objective and unaffiliated with any particular retailer, so customers are assured their diamond quality is actually a genuinely fine gemstone. Loose diamonds sold are graded based on their cut, color, clarity and carat weight - sometimes referred to as the "4 C’s" of diamond evaluation. In more detail, these mean:

Cut. The diamond cut is mainly a matter of the buyer's preference, as there are 12 main cuts of diamonds. These include the most popular, the round brilliant cut, as well as other cuts and shapes that appeal to different women, such as the princess, oval, heart, radiant, emerald, pear, marquise, Asscher, triangle, cushion and other small accent cuts like baguette.

Color. Diamond color, or lack of color, is an important factor in determining its value. The diamond's presence of color is judged on a graded scale. "D" represents a rare, natural colorless diamond, and the spectrum continues to the letter "Z," indicating a presence of color.

Clarity. A diamond that has perfect clarity is incredibly rare and valuable, because it must withstand tremendous heat and pressure, and usually this results in a variety of internal inclusions and external blemishes. The GIA has six categories in the diamond clarity scale, from flawless under 10x magnification to included diamonds, which are obvious to the naked eye and affect the transparency and brilliance of the stone.

Carat. Perhaps the most well-known of the "C’s," carat is a measure of the stone's weight. Diamond price always increases with carat weight, but price is also determined by the previous 3 Cs, because two diamonds of equal weight may have very different values.

Source: King of Jewelry

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Energy Efficient Window and Door Installation Tax Credits Expire December 31

November 15, 2013 3:57 am

If you have been considering an upgrade in windows and doors to make your house more energy efficient, now is the time according to the experts at Green Light Window Films. Several tax credits are set to expire on December 31, 2013. Turning some of your last minute home improvement and energy efficient upgrades into a reality sooner rather than later may be a good idea.

The tax credit is part of a provision in the recent "Fiscal Cliff" Legislation that has created a tax credit opportunity for window films installed in residential structures. Under the legislation, the qualifying credit is 10 percent of the film cost with a maximum total credit of $500. The new policy is retroactive to January 1, 2012 and expires December 31, 2013.

Individuals that should be considering the installation of solar window film on their home's windows would be those that are experiencing higher than desired heating and cooling bills, fading to floors, furniture and artwork, or those that are looking to add privacy to their windows. Window films also block 99.9 percent of harmful UV rays from the sun. This is significant for homeowners looking to protect their families, or those that have been diagnosed with any form of skin cancer.

Advances in window film technology have produced products that are optically clear. The traditional dark window tint is still an option but not always the best solution.

For homeowners interested, calling a top quality window film company as soon as possible is recommended in order to avoid scheduling problems that would prevent you from taking advantage of this program and the tax credit expiration date.

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