Monthly Archives: September 2013

Home Security Checklist

Here are several tips to keep your house as secure as possible:

  • Keep the shrubbery around your house trimmed. If the bushes and hedges are overgrown and tall, it provides the criminals with a perfect hiding place. You could even consider replacing them with thorny bushes or plants that deter people from walking through them. Also trim back trees so no one can climb the limbs into second floor windows/doors.
  • Keep the exterior of your home well-lit. Burglars prefer to work in the dark so they cannot be easily seen. Installing motion light sensors helps to keep these unwanted visitors away and also help you to enter your house quicker at night rather than fumbling for your keys in the dark.
  •  Get to know your neighbors. People are more likely to look out for their friends. Neighborhood watch programs are excellent at deterring crime. If your neighborhood doesn’t have one, consider starting a program in your community.
  • Make it seem like there is someone home at all times by using light and sound. Automatic timers and motion detectors can be great tools for people who are on vacation or are otherwise going to be away from their home for an extended period of time.
  • Rather than hiding an emergency key under your doormat, leave one with a friend or neighbor so it will not be easy for a potential intruder to find.
  • When you are going on vacation, have someone come over to bring in the mail and newspapers so they do not pile up and alert burglars to your absence.
  • Make sure you have locks on all your doors and windows.
  • Invest in a home security system. A home alarm that goes off when someone enters your home uninvited is one of the best ways to scare away intruders.
  • Keep your garage closed whether you are at home or not. This way, it will not be as obvious to burglars whether or not there is a car inside.
  • Document and insure your valuables so that they can be tracked and returned more easily if they are stolen
  • Be diligent about your home security. Do not slack off when it comes to protecting your home and your family. Be consistent and thorough.
  • Use bars on low level or otherwise easily accessible windows

Image

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Home Energy Efficiency Checklist

Listed below are several actions you can take to make your home more energy efficient. Save some money and save the planet!

 Image

To Do Today

  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands.
  • Start using energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers.
  • Survey your incandescent lights for opportunities to replace them with compact fluorescents (CFLs). These lamps can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents. The best targets are 60-100W bulbs used several hours a day. New CFLs come in many sizes and styles to fit in most standard fixtures.
  • Check the age and condition of your major appliances, especially the refrigerator. You may want to replace it with a more energy-efficient model before it dies.
  • Clean or replace furnace, air-conditioner, and heat-pump filters.
  • If you have one of those silent guzzlers, a waterbed, make your bed today. The covers will insulate it, and save up to one-third of the energy it uses.

 

This Week

  • Visit the hardware store. Buy low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and compact fluorescent light bulbs, as needed. These can be purchased from any hardware or home improvement store. CFLs are now sold at some drug stores and grocery stores.
  • If your water heater is old enough that its insulation is fiberglass instead of foam, it clearly will benefit from a water heater blanket from the local hardware or home supplies store. (To tell the difference, check at the pilot light access (gas). For an electric water heater, the best access is probably at the thermostat, but be sure to turn off the power before checking.)
  • Rope caulk very leaky windows.
  • Assess your heating and cooling systems. Determine if replacements are justified, or whether you should retrofit them to make them work more efficiently to provide the same comfort (or better) for less energy.

 

 This Month

  • Collect your utility bills. Separate electricity and fuel bills. Target the biggest bill for energy conservation remedies.
  • Crawl into your attic or crawlspace and inspect for insulation. Is there any? How much?
  • Insulate hot water pipes and ducts wherever they run through unheated areas.
  • Seal up the largest air leaks in your house—the ones that whistle on windy days, or feel drafty. The worst culprits are usually not windows and doors, but utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Better yet, hire an energy auditor with a blower door to point out where the worst cracks are. All the little, invisible cracks and holes may add up to as much as an open window or door, without you ever knowing it!
  • Set your thermostat back (forward) when you can accept cooler (warmer) conditions. This generally includes night time and whenever you leave your home for several hours. Many people find it easier to use an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the thermostat based on your time-of-day instructions.
  • Schedule an energy audit for more expert advice on your home as a whole, or learn how to conduct your own by visiting the Home Energy Saver Web site. A directory of available energy audit services by state is available at RESNET.

 

This Year

  • Insulate. If your walls aren’t insulated, have an insulation contractor apply blown-in insulation (cellulose or fiberglass) to the walls. Bring your attic insulation level up to snuff.
  • Replace aging, inefficient appliances. Even if the appliance has a few useful years left, replacing it with a top-efficiency model is generally a good investment.
  • Upgrade leaky windows. It may be time to replace them with energy-efficient models or to boost their efficiency with weather-stripping and storm windows.
  • Have your heating and cooling systems tuned up in the fall and spring, respectively. Duct sealing can also improve the energy efficiency and overall performance of your system (warm-air furnace and central air conditioners).

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Home Service Checklist

Maintenance Schedule

 Consider following a schedule for maintaining your home. A schedule will serves as a reminder of the inspections and maintenance you should perform each month and each season.

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” was never more appropriate than when it comes to maintaining your home.

On the following pages, I’ve put together some maintenance pages that you can print out and use as regular checklists around your home. Use this maintenance schedule as a guide for maintaining your home.

A general maintenance schedule lists tasks to perform once a month or as needed. Seasonal maintenance schedules list tasks to perform in the spring, summer, fall and winter.

Many items listed on the schedules should be inspected as recommended but will need only occasional, if any, maintenance. You will soon develop a feel for what tasks should be performed when.

 Image

General Maintenance

 

Perform every month or as needed

 

Safety

__ Inspect fire extinguishers to insure they are fully charged.

__ Check automatic garage door opener’s safety reverse.

__ Test smoke detectors.

__ Test Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters.

 

Heating & Cooling

__ Clean or replace air filters when the system is in use for heating or cooling.

__ Vacuum heat registers, vents and radiators.

__ Listen to your system for unusual noises.

 

Appliances

__ Drain water from the bottom of the water heater.

__ Grind ice cubes to clean garbage disposal. Flush with hot water and baking soda.

__ Clean dishwasher strainer and spray arm.

__ Clean range fan’s grease filter.

__ Clean frost-free refrigerator’s drain and drain pan.

 

Plumbing

__ Pour water down unused drains.

__ Clean debris from sink and tub drains. Inspect tub drain’s rubber seal. Rinse.

__ Clean faucet aerators and shower heads.

 

 

Spring

 

Exterior

__ Inspect roof materials & roof flashings.

__ Clean & inspect gutters & downspouts.

__ Have a chimney sweep clean & inspect chimney after burning season ends.

__ Inspect & clean siding.

__ Inspect vents, chimneys & other protected areas for bird & insect nests.

__ Clean window & door screens. Repair or replace damaged screens.

__ Inspect weather-stripping around doors, windows & garage doors. Repair as necessary.

__ Inspect caulking & re-caulk as necessary.

__ Inspect foundation for cracks, moisture & insects.

__ Clean debris away from home, utility equipment & other structures.

__ Trim trees & shrubs away from home.

__ Inspect wood decks, steps & rails for loose or damaged boards & raised nails.

__ Clean space between boards on wood decks, walks & steps.

Heating & Cooling

__ Have heat pump or air-conditioning system serviced before cooling season begins.

 

Appliances

__ Inspect water heater’s temperature pressure relief valve for signs of leaks or discharge.

__ Replace smoke detector batteries. Vacuum around smoke detector & its sensor.

 

 

Summer

 

Exterior

__ Clean & lubricate garage door hinges, rollers & tracks. Tighten screws.

__ Inspect paint & sealant on exterior & garage doors, particularly along bottom edge.

 

Interior

__ Inspect walls & ceilings for cracks, bows, sags & leans.

__ Clean & seal tile grout.

 

Appliances

__ Tighten garbage disposal’s drain connections & fasteners.

__ Inspect dishwasher for leaks.

__ Clean range fan blades & housing.

__ Clean & test refrigerator door gasket.

__ Vacuum refrigerator coils.

__ Clean clothes washer’s water inlet filters. Inspect hoses for leaks.

__ Vacuum lint from clothes dryer ducts & surrounding areas.

 

Plumbing

__ Inspect sinks & plumbing shutoff valves for leaks.

__ Test toilets for stability & inspect for leaks.

__ Inspect caulking around sinks, showers & bathtubs. Re-caulk as necessary.

 

Electrical

__ “Exercise” circuit breakers.

__ Check for frayed appliance cords.

 

 

Winter

 

Exterior

__ Inspect roof after large winter storms.

__ Inspect gutters and downspouts during a rain storm for leaks.

__ Keep gutters clean of ice and debris.

__ Check for drafts along doors and windows. Caulk and repair weather-stripping if necessary.

 

Appliances

__ Tighten garbage disposal’s drain connections and fasteners.

__ Inspect dishwasher for leaks.

__ Clean range fan blades and housing.

__ Clean and test refrigerator door gasket.

__ Vacuum refrigerator coils.

__ Clean clothes washer’s water inlet filters. Inspect hoses for leaks.

__ Vacuum lint from clothes dryer ducts and surrounding areas.

 

Plumbing

__ Inspect sinks and plumbing shutoff valves for leaks.

__ Test toilets for stability and inspect for leaks.

__ Inspect caulking around sinks, showers & bathtubs. Re-caulk as necessary.

 

Electrical

__ “Exercise” circuit breakers.

__ Check for frayed appliance cords.

 

 

Fall

 

Exterior

__ Inspect roof materials & roof flashings.

__ Clean & inspect gutters & downspouts.

__ Inspect siding.

__ Inspect caulking & re-caulk as necessary.

__ Inspect foundation for cracks, moisture & insects.

__ Clean debris away from home, utility equipment & other structures.

__ Trim trees & shrubs away from home.

__ Inspect wood decks, steps & rails for loose or damaged boards & raised nails.

__ Clean space between boards on wood decks, walks & steps.

__ Drain water from outdoor faucets & pipes. Remove & store outdoor hoses.

 

Heating & Cooling

__ Clean ceiling fan blades.

__ Clean bathroom exhaust fan grills & fan blades.

__ Have heating system serviced before the heating season begins.

 

Appliances

__ Inspect water heater’s temperature pressure relief valve for signs of leaks or discharge.

__ Replace smoke detector batteries. Vacuum around smoke detector & its sensor.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Storm Water Management Sets An Example in Lower Moyamensing

In the Lower Moyamensing section of Philadelphia, the Water Department has implemented their latest storm water management project. Including three local elementary schools, this project will help educate kids and the community on the importance of rain water run off and where it leads.

This project, as of now, will plant 21 trees and install under ground water infiltration trenches. These trenches will collect rain water and more water will be absorbed by the tree roots rather than sent to our sewer system. Not only will these trees provide a benefit for the community but also create much needed shade around school zones. Here’s some photos of the project so far from lomophilly.org.

Image

Image

Jenks Elementary is said to be planting 18 trees around the perimeter. Our Lady of Hope School will plant one tree while Key Elementary plans for two trees. This is just the beginning of a city wide project that needs to be expanded to all neighborhoods. This provides an example and learning benefit for these elementary school kids in hopes to make a greater impact in the community in which they live.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Headache for Queen Village Parents May Be Relieved

In  Queen Village, parents are having trouble finding decent and reliable child care for their infants and toddlers. These families have joined long waiting lists to deal with limited options when it comes to days, activities, food and education for their children. A headache for many residents, there is a shortage and demand for childcare.

At 420 Bainbridge Street, this 4,000 square foot location used to be the Life Management Medical Center. You will soon see Natalie Renn open her second location of The Giving Tree Infant and Toddler Center…if the license comes through. Her first location was specifically for daycare and preschool in the Logan Square area of Philadelphia.

logo-infants(Image Source: thegivingtreedaycare.com)

Their focus and mission is to provide exceptional child care for infants and toddlers under trained and professional supervision. Natalie trains her employees to focus on early childhood development, communication techniques, sleeping strategies and eating patterns.

They will offer a variety of learning and physical activities including; baby and me yoga classes, an inside mini gym, a backyard for play, trips to local playgrounds and parks. Just a few weeks away, they’re expecting to open their doors October but were talking about a license from the Department of Public Welfare. Hoping we do see them open soon, we need more Natalie’s in Philadelphia!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Broad and Washington May See Some Changes.. We Hope!

Recently, a new proposal was heard for the huge vacant lot that sits at Broad and Washington, on the edge of Bella Vista and Passyunk Square. Remember the days of tents and Cirque du Soleil? Elisabeth Garson, a freelance creative director started with a big idea last year. A large scale, outdoor food and flea market with music and activities from March through September.

This proposed project “The Philadelphia Arts Market”, will host craft and flea market vendors, Philly’s favorite food trucks, a stage for local musicians, designated fitness areas and more. The mission is to create weekend ‘must-do’ activities for locals and visitors. Businesses can become engaged through sponsorships and funding while this attraction will be targeting families, young and old. This space is to be viewed as a weekend hot spot making use of this abandoned, eye sore lot.

Phila-arts-market

(Here’s a rendering from Passyunkpost.com)

Two alternate sites were mentioned in case this proposal is denied; one at Columbus and Reed and the other at Columbus and Oregon. Broad and Washington seem much more centralized that we are excited to follow this proposal. We hope to see this space transform into a weekend landmark for these neighborhoods.  To view more information on Elisabeth and her proposal click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Magic Beyond the Gardens Gala This Saturday

This Saturday, September 21st you can join your local art crowd at the Philadelphia Magic Garden to celebrate their 5th annual Magic Beyond the Gardens Gala. From 6-10pm you can help support this annual fundraiser by purchasing a ticket and enjoying live music, dancing, a silent auction, food and an open bar. The silent auction will offer prizes to several high praised establishments in Center City. Located at 1020 South Street,  squarely between Bella Vista and Washington Square West, this event is expected to draw a crowd of near 300 locals and inspiring artists and supporters.

Image(Image Source: phillymagicgardens.org)

Philadelphia’s Magic Garden has been educating individuals of all ages for years. Offering workshops, education programs and self-guided walk throughs, this event will feature founder and artist Isaiah Zagar. So join in the fun this Saturday and help support local businesses, keep artists thriving and educate our community on the importance of art and self expression. For more information and tickets click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized