Posted on: July 30, 2014
Summertime is the time of year when most Americans take vacation. Over 60% of us, in fact, take our vacations in July or August. On average, we are gone for about 2 weeks per season.
That said, it is extremely important to protect your house and belongings when you are gone. Thieves can case your neighborhood, looking for houses that appear vacant and can even be as bold as ringing the doorbell to see if you are home. There are a few sensible steps to make sure your house is protected when you are way, below are a few of them:
1) Never post your vacation dates and plans on social media, and if you do, make sure your privacy settings are set so just your trusted friends can see your posts.
2) Before you leave, make sure all of your doors and windows are locked and that your ground floor curtains or shades are pulled.
3) Invest in a home security or camera system if you leave your house unattended regularly. There are now low-cost options that can help protect your valuables.
4) Make sure it appears as though you are home. Keep outdoor lights on, illuminating your property enough to deter burglars. Set some indoor lights to timers in different rooms. Leave a television or radio on, or set it to a timer, as light to moderate sound will make thieves second guess a break in.
5) If you go on an extended trip, schedule lawn maintenance. Nothing says vacant property like an overgrown yard.
6) Have a trusted family member or neighbor check on your house every day or two and report back to you. This will ease your mind in addition to appearing like you have company if someone is watching you house.
7) Don’t forget to have your neighbor or family member pick up your mail and newspapers. Burglars also check mailboxes to see if letters have been piling up for some time.
If you follow some of these simple suggestions, it will go a long way in protecting your property and easing your mind so you can enjoy your rest and relaxation. Happy Summer!
Posted on: July 10, 2014
Yesterday afternoon our Realtors gathered at our Chestnut Hill offices for our Annual BBQ. Everyone enjoyed good food, drink and conversation. It was sunny with blue skies, see below for a couple pics. Happy summer!
Posted on: July 3, 2014
About five months ago as we were cursing the icy air and abundance of snow, we longed for the carefree summer months. Well, they are here and they’re HOT! It’s hard to keep things in perspective when you’re sweating through your t-shirt, but, try to enjoy the summer months as best as you can, because right around the corner is…you know.
We were searching the web for some effective ways to keep the house cool during the summer months while saving energy and we found this great list below via Care2.com. Enjoy!
1. Reduce the cooling load by employing cost-effective conservation measures. Provide effective shade for east and west windows. When possible, delay heat-generating activities such as dishwashing until evening on hot days.
2. Over most of the cooling season, keep the house closed tight during the day. Don’t let in unwanted heat and humidity. Ventilate at night either naturally or with fans.
3. You can help get rid of unwanted heat through ventilation if the temperature of the incoming air is 77 F or lower. (This strategy works most effectively at night and on cooler days.) Window fans for ventilation are a good option if used properly. They should be located on the downwind side of the house facing out. A window should be open in each room. Interior doors must remain open to allow air flow.
4. Use ceiling fans to increase comfort levels at higher thermostat settings. The standard human comfort range for light clothing in the summer is between 72 F and 78 F. To extend the comfort range to 82 F, you need a breeze of about 2.5 ft/sec or 1.7 mph. A sow-turning ceiling-mounted paddle fan can easily provide this air flow.
5. In hot climates, plant shade trees around the house. Don’t plant trees on the South if you want to benefit from passive solar heating in the winter.
6. If you have an older central air conditioner, consider replacing the outdoor compressor with a modern, high-efficiency unit. Make sure that it is properly matched to the indoor unit.
7. If buying a new air conditioner, be sure that it is properly sized. Get assistance from an energy auditor or air conditioning contractor.
8. Buy a high-efficiency air conditioner: for room air conditioners, the energy efficiency ratio (EER) rating should be above 10; for central air conditioners, look for a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating above 12.
9. In hot, humid climates, make sure that the air conditioner you buy will adequately get rid of high humidity. Models with variable or multi-speed blowers are generally best. Try to keep moisture sources out of the house.
10. Try not to use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is operating. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder.
11. Seal all air conditioner ducts, and insulate ducts that run through unheated basements, crawl spaces, and attics.
12. Keep the thermostat set at 78 degrees F or higher if using ceiling fans. Don’t air-condition unused rooms.
13. Maintain your air conditioners properly to maximize efficiency.
14. Install white window shades or mini-blinds. Mini-blinds can reduce solar heat gain by 40-50 percent.
15. Close south and west-facing curtains during the day for any window that gets direct sunlight. Keep these windows closed, too.
16. Install awnings on south-facing windows, where there’s insufficient roof overhang to provide shade.
17. Hang tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside the window during the summer to stop 60 to 80 percent of the sun’s heat from getting to the windows.
18. Apply low-e films.
19. Consider exotic infills in your windows, a new technology that fills the space between panes with krypton or argon, gasses that have lower conductivity than air, and which boost R-values.
19. Provide shade for your room A/C, or the outside half of your central A/C if at all possible. This will increase the unit’s efficiency by 5 percent to 10 percent.
20. Clean your A/C’s air filter every month during cooling season. Normal dust build-up can reduce air flow by 1 percent per week.
22. Turn off your A/C when you leave for more than an hour.
23. Several studies have found that most central air conditioning systems are oversized by 50 percent or more.