RE/MAX 440
David J Feinberg

David J Feinberg
4789 Route 309  Center Valley  PA 18034
Phone:  610-509-4358
Office:  610-791-4400
Fax:  610-791-9575

My Blog

Lungs for Your House

September 11, 2013 2:30 am

Stale air, lingering odors and high humidity can happen in the best of homes and sometimes, simply opening a window can bring relief. When it's mild outside and there is a breeze, opening a window can be beneficial. However, in a hot and cold climate this is not always practical or possible. Leaving a window open in mid-winter will add to your space heating costs, cause uncomfortable drafts and the window may freeze open. You also can't filter the dust out of the air nor can you recover any of the heat that flows out an open window. Sometimes leaving a window open is a security or noise concern. Finally, you can't control how much air enters through an open window or where it goes once it's in your house.

Fortunately, there is another way of bringing fresh air into your home that is energy efficient, secure and highly effective - a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). HRVs are suitcase-sized appliances that typically have one fan to bring in outdoor air and another fan to push out the stale air. Heat is transferred from the outgoing air to the incoming air by passing the two air streams through a heat-exchange core, helping to reduce heating costs. As the two air streams are kept separated, only the heat is transferred to the incoming air. In a sense, an HRV can act as the lungs for your home.

In houses with baseboard or radiant heating, the fresh air from the HRV is delivered directly to the bedrooms and the main living areas through a dedicated duct system. At the same time, the HRV draws stale air from the kitchen and bathrooms and sends it outside. In houses with furnaces, it's not uncommon to find HRVs connected to the furnace ductwork system. The furnace then operates continuously to circulate the fresh air around the house, while bathroom fans and kitchen range hoods provide back-up ventilation as needed. HRVs have multi-speed settings to deal with varying ventilation needs. Automatic controls are available as well to modulate the operation of the HRV as needed.

HRVs are built into energy efficient new houses to reduce air leaks and heating and cooling costs, and to keep your home more comfortable. Cutting down on uncontrolled air leakage also helps protect your roof, walls and basement from moisture damage. However, the better sealed a house is, the more it needs controlled, energy efficient, mechanical ventilation to provide the indoor-outdoor air exchange needed to maintain healthy indoor air quality. By eliminating random air leaks in existing houses and adding heat recovery ventilation, you reduce your heating bills while maintaining as good, or better, indoor air quality.

Installation
Although you can buy an HRV at some home improvement stores, it may be preferable to have it designed and installed by a qualified contractor. It is very important to measure and balance the supply and exhaust airflows to ensure the HRV does not cause potentially create dangerous house depressurization or pressurization problems. This should be carried out when the HRV is first installed and should be checked regularly afterwards by a qualified contractor in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Look for units with lower energy usage and high energy efficiency in the heating season, preferably choosing from those with an ENERGY STAR® rating.

Placement Tips
Deciding where to install the HRV is important:

-The outdoor fresh air intake and exhaust outlet hoods must be carefully located away from dryer vents, vents and air intakes serving fuel-fired space or water heating devices, and windows and doors.
-The intake and outlet hoods must be at certain heights above the ground to avoid being covered by snow.
-They cannot be located under decks as they need to be regularly inspected and cleaned.
-They can't be located in garages or in attics because it is unsafe to get your air from these locations. It is also unsafe to exhaust air into there.
-For fire safety reasons, HRVs cannot be connected to range hoods, cooktops or clothes dryers.

For these reasons, furnace or boiler rooms are commonly used.

While there will always be times when opening a window to allow a refreshing breeze to air out your home is desirable, HRVs offer an effective and efficient way to get the ventilation you need.

Source: CMHC

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Taking out the Trash: Finding a Home for the Hazardous

September 10, 2013 2:24 am

Trying to figure out how to properly dispose of hazardous waste can oftentimes be frustrating. From construction waste to old paint cans, there always seems to be materials sitting around the house because your local town or city won’t accept them with the weekly collection.
Many cities have hazardous waste disposal days, which is usually a great place to start unloading. Another recommended resource is the website Earth911.com. Earth 911 has a searchable directory of drop-off programs for various materials so you can learn the details before loading up. In addition to this site, Consumer Reports’ Home & Garden Blog suggests the following for disposing your junk:

Lightbulbs. Big-box retailers, such as Home Depot and Ikea, often take used compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) runs a website called Lamp Recycle (found at www.lamprecycle.org) that contains a full list of lightbulb-accepting retailers. If you have a plethora of old lightbulbs, don’t just mix them in with the trash. Recycle them properly.

Appliances. Appliances can often be tricky things to get rid of, but there are plenty of options for properly recycling them. If you’re buying new, most retailers will take your old one away (if this is not offered, you should inquire about this before purchasing). Some states have state-run programs for free pickup and/or cash rewards for old appliances, called the Cash for Appliances program. The federal government also has a program called the Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program, which recycles appliances containing ozone-depleting gases. Lastly, some appliances can be tax write-offs if donated to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity or the Salvation Army.

Unused building materials. ReStore, a project by Habitat for Humanity, accepts extra building materials and then resells them. ReStore sells to the general public at a fraction of the retail price, and proceeds help local Habitat affiliates fund the construction of Habitat homes within their communities. It’s a win-win-win for donors, consumers and communities.

Construction waste. The U.S.-government sponsored Construction Waste Management Database website will direct you to recyclers within your zip code that will get rid of your wasted carpeting, ceiling tiles, flooring and more. If you are working on a large, at-home project, keep track of your waste materials and check the website. You can properly dispose of each item with ease and know-how.

Using the Internet as a resource, homeowners can find out how to dispose of many different types of waste, much of which can surely be recycled somehow. Using the aforementioned websites as tools will help you clear out your garage, and may sometimes even put a little cash in your pocket as well.

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A Film to Make You Cozy

September 10, 2013 2:24 am

As cooler temperatures return, many homeowners complain about living spaces that are too cold or too warm. In response to this concern the International Window Film Association offers advice on how to make interiors cozier and save money.

"Sunlight streaming through windows can have a warming effect, but it can also be overdone," said Darrell Smith, executive director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA), a nonprofit group. "The sunny side of a building can become unbearably hot, causing temperature imbalances and health concerns," he added.

"With larger windows to let in more natural light, a popular consumer and commercial trend, there are also problems that arise," said Smith. Examples include glare, fading of furnishings and floors, heat build-up and Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Glass, or new windows do not block UVA, unless they are specially treated and worst of all, UVA rays are widely viewed by medical research authorities as linked to skin cancer. A report in the Clinical Interventions in Aging suggests protecting skin even when indoors.

With window film applied, a home's interior temperature can be made cozier without shutting out natural light. Window film delivers a transparent "solar shield" and can reject up to 80 percent of the sun's heat. In cooler months, some window films reflect room heat and in summer, the home's interior can be cooler and more comfortable. All quality window films will block up to 99 percent of UV rays and reduce the impact of sunlight to cut down on fading and health concerns.

Window film offers a cozy outlook for budget-conscious consumers. For example, a single family home spending $3,000 annually for heating and cooling, will on a broad average basis, potentially see a savings of between $450 to $900 annually after quality window film is professionally installed. Location, weather and energy costs can impact the savings result.

Another bonus of professionally installed window film is its eligibility for tax credits approved by Congress that offer up to 10 percent of the cost of window film installed in 2013, or in 2012 up to a maximum of $500.

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Low Maintenance Fence and Deck Tips to Make the Most of Outdoor Living Spaces

September 10, 2013 2:24 am

Would you be proud to show off your backyard, including the fence and deck? Now is a good time to update and upgrade to a low-maintenance vinyl fence and composite deck.

Homeowners can now create the most comfortable, sustainable and low-maintenance outdoor living spaces on the block. To get the most out of an outdoor space this fall, North Texas Fence and Deck provides the following tips:

Make the deck area into an inviting space for entertaining by adding comfortable furniture like a double glider for that old-time porch swing feeling, and a coffee table to place snacks on. Create separate zones for grilling, dining and lounging. Installing a shading feature like an arbor or pergola can keep the area cool and comfortable.

Outdoor lighting goes a long way toward setting a mood and creating a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere. Homeowners will improve safety and add visual appeal with solar powered lights installed along steps and walkways. Hang strings of energy efficient LED Christmas lights from the arbor and along the perimeter of the fence.

Most wood fence, deck and railing products require ongoing painting or staining and can rot or warp when exposed to inclement weather. Consider rebuilding your deck with low maintenance composite decking and railing.

Upgrade to a vinyl fence for years of beauty and enjoyment without the splitting and warping and constant painting and staining required of wood. These new building products are virtually maintenance-free and can beautifully withstand the elements, leaving homeowners with more time to enjoy it.

Fire pits are becoming a popular and relatively affordable way to create a central gathering spot in a backyard or patio. For larger spaces, a full-size outdoor fireplace might be an option.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can extend the season for your outdoor space and enjoy your home even more.

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Tips for Reducing Allergens in the Bedroom

September 9, 2013 2:24 am

Although most people equate allergies with hay fever and outdoor triggers such as pollen, indoor allergens are also a major problem. Indoor allergens’ effect on sleep is profound - allergy sufferers may experience insomnia or difficulty breathing during the night; plus, allergies can increase the tendency to snore. For homeowners looking to create a more hypoallergenic bedroom, here are a few suggestions:

Bed basics. Look for mattresses that contain natural materials, such as natural latex or foams made with plant-based sources.

Freshen the pillows. Natural latex or synthetic pillows will naturally resist dust mites but should still be replaced every two years. To maintain healthy pillows in between purchases, freeze them overnight to kill dust mites.

Dress the bed properly. Choose a cotton mattress pad to protect your mattress. Opt for organic cotton or natural fiber sheets, particularly those made with sustainable practices, which may also help with allergies and chemical sensitivities.

Clean the air. Some air purifiers may emit ozone, a pollutant that can aggravate allergies, back into the air. Instead, use houseplants to naturally clean the air. Pick plants that thrive on neglect, like spider plants or ivy, and boost their natural metabolizing properties with a plant purifier.

Pick your paint. Select paint with zero volatile organic compound, or VOC, emissions. Among other symptoms, the U.S. EPA advises that VOCs may cause nose and throat irritations, headaches and allergic skin reactions.

Keep it natural. Avoid fragrant sheet sprays, candles and air fresheners that ‘mask’ odors by coating the inside of your nose with a chemical. Try room sprays made from essential oils instead.

Source: www.simmons.com

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Colorful Autumn Additions

September 9, 2013 2:24 am

(Family Features)--A nip in the air and the changing color of leaves can only mean one thing -fall is around the corner.

While dusting off your favorite sweaters and corduroys, don't forget to dress up your home décor as well. Here are some tips from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores to bring the cozy charm of autumn into your home:

Pull in nature. This season is all about celebrating nature's bounty, so bring that celebration home. Pumpkins and gourds of every shape and color make inexpensive additions that brighten any tabletop or mantle. Or, place as many of these beloved squashes as you can on
a bale of hay outside the front door for a display the whole neighborhood can enjoy.

Try transitional pieces. Situated right before the busy holiday season, some fall styles can be eased into both decorating schemes. Rich, wine-colored berries and bittersweet arrangements look wonderful for both fall and winter.

Add new color trends. According to color experts, fall 2013 will be a season filled with vibrant purples, bright blues and dazzling greens. These colors blend perfectly with the autumn décor you already own. Watch as plum hues pop when paired with the traditional fall foliage of burnt orange, copper, gold and brown.

Source: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

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Top Five Natural Food Trends Revealed: Who is Buying and Why

September 9, 2013 2:24 am

New Hope Natural Media and Sterling-Rice Group have released the top five natural products industry food trends in the U.S. market as consumers shift strongly to healthier eating and embrace a renewed focus on health and disease prevention. In 2012, U.S. consumer sales of natural, organic, and functional foods and beverages totaled $94.7 billion of the overall $703 billion food pie. Here are the current five natural food trends:

1. Convenience is King: One-hundred million (or nearly half) of American adults today are single and many of them live alone. Given that so many people are flying solo, we're spending less time in the kitchen. One potentially lucrative (at least in the long term) demographic is the millennials, as they are entering adulthood now and view health, nutrition and branding differently than boomers.

2. Allergen Concerns on the Rise: Six million children have food allergies, according to the Pediatrics Journal. Ninety percent of all food allergy reactions are caused by eight major foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Americans are awakening to their allergies, more manufacturers are creating entirely free-from products so consumers can enjoy without worry.

3. Meat Free Mentality: One-third of Americans now report eating vegetarian meals a significant amount of the time, and 48 percent of U.S. shoppers seek good-tasting vegetarian food, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group's 2011 national poll. Even if they are not full-fledged vegetarians or vegans, a growing number of consumers fall into the "flexitarian" bucket—meaning that they are looking to cut at least some meat from their diets and replace it with plant-based foods.

4. Labeling Goes Local: Seventy-five percent of natural food retailers say local is the most influential product claim in grocery right now. People, seeking to connect with where their food is sourced and support nearby businesses are increasingly seeking this claim. Local is expected to continue to gain prominence over the next three to five years, thanks to forces such as the Slow Food and Slow Money movements, which are effectively spreading the word about the social, economic and health benefits of buying close to home.

5. It's Cool to Care: Driven by passionate entrepreneurs who care as much (if not more) about creating positive change in the world as they do about making money, cause marketing is gaining ground. Food and beverage companies must take on a whole new approach to marketing and branding to win over consumers. By 2018, Whole Foods Market announced that all products sold in its U.S. and Canadian stores containing genetically modified ingredients must be labeled.

Source: Penton

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Survey Ranks Consumer Preferences for New Vehicles

September 6, 2013 2:21 am

Both car and light-truck shoppers ranked Quality/Dependability as the number one factor considered when making a new-vehicle purchasing decision, according to the latest survey from NADAguides.com.

Fuel Economy, cited as the most important preference of both car and light-truck buyers in last year's survey, was selected as the second-most important factor by car shoppers in this year's survey. Light-truck shoppers ranked Brand as number two, one spot ahead of Fuel Economy.

"While higher gasoline prices and stiffer federal regulations have raised the profile of fuel economy over the past few years, the survey results clearly indicate that car and light-truck shoppers are looking for a trouble-free ownership experience above all else," said Jonathan Banks, executive automotive analyst for the NADA Used Car Guide.

Quality/Dependability, Brand, Fuel Economy and Vehicle Design were the top preferences for both car and light-truck shoppers surveyed.

Car Shopper Survey Results
Just like the results from the fall survey in 2012, car shoppers showed a significant preference for Vehicle Design, Safety and Fuel Economy, with an average 69 percent of respondents citing these factors as either important or very important.

On average, 60 percent of respondents shopping for a car rated Versatility/Utility and Power/Performance as either important or very important. Similarly, an average 58 percent of car shoppers rated cost of ownership factors, such as Warranty Coverage, Depreciation and Maintenance Fees, as either important or very important.

Car shopper preferences for Navigation System, Smartphone Connectivity and Driver-Assist Technologies were ranked the lowest by survey participants.

"With the advent of smartphones, particularly with its navigation capabilities, the desirability of built-in navigation systems seems to be waning among those surveyed," Banks added.

Light-Truck Shopper Survey Results
The preferences of light-truck shoppers surveyed were similar to car shoppers when determining the factors that had the greatest influence on their next vehicle purchase, although the ranking of each preference differed slightly.

Safety, Versatility/Utility, Vehicle Design and Fuel Economy rounded out the top-five preferences of survey respondents shopping for a light truck.

Similar to the survey respondents shopping for a new car, an average 58 percent of light-truck shoppers rated ownership cost factors, excluding Insurance Fees, as important or very important. Smartphone Connectivity, Navigation System and Driver-Assist Technologies were ranked by light-truck shoppers as unimportant or very unimportant.

Banks pointed out that only 50 percent of survey respondents shopping for light trucks considered Towing/Payload Capacity to be important or very important. The preference of Towing/Payload Capacity increased in importance for shoppers of full-size pickup trucks and large utility vehicles, while Fuel Economy dropped.

Source: NADAguides.com

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The Hazards of False Alarms and How to Prevent Them

September 6, 2013 2:21 am

The event of a security system's alarm being inadvertently activated, or a false alarm being triggered, is a growing issue in communities throughout the nation that extends far beyond inconvenience. A professionally installed security system is designed to provide its users protection from loss of property, physical damage and even personal injury. However, when local authorities are constantly dispatched in response to false alarms, this not only results in losses of both taxpayer-funded work time and money, but also cultivates a habit of hesitation among law enforcement officials when a real alarm signal is received. In the event of a true emergency, the impact that the high volume of false alarms can have on the appropriate and timely response from law enforcement, as well as on the peace of mind and well-being of a community, has become increasingly problematic.

As a result, to combat the high volume of unnecessary false alarms and in an effort to raise awareness of the wasted law enforcement resources, many cities and states across the United States have begun implementing two different types of false alarm prevention programs.

1. False Alarm Fines: A penalty is issued to users with repeated false alarm responses to a specific property over a period of time. Beyond a fine, this can even lead to placement on a "No Response" list by law enforcement.

2. Verified Response or Enhanced Call Verification: New laws now being enforced by many cities and states require that an alarm call first be verified, either by audio or video, or in some cases, multiple calls to the end user, before law enforcement is dispatched.

Sonitrol has compiled some simple steps to ensure the proper operation and efficiency of an electronic security system. Making sure the security system is used properly and the users are properly trained are the easiest and most essential actions to reducing false alarms. By following these basic procedures, false alarms can be greatly reduced or even eliminated from homes and business:

1. Make sure the security system provider's central monitoring station has current contact information so that the correct and timely notifications can be made.

2. If the security system has motion sensors, keep pets out of the area of protection to prevent unintentional activation of the system.

3. Make sure that the perimeter security of the protected facility is maintained. Repair all loose fitting doors and overhead doors that do not seal properly. Be sure all door and windows are locked when the facility is closed.

4. Be sure that all users are trained on how to arm and disarm the system, as well as how to call and cancel an unintentional alarm. This includes neighbors who have keys to a house while the user is on vacation.

5. Make sure that exit and entry delay times allow enough time to exit the premises when arming the system and enough time to disarm upon entry.

6. Keep the system properly maintained. Obsolete or malfunctioning equipment will add to the false alarm problem.

7. Strongly consider upgrading to newer technology, specifically to a system that offers a verified solution, if the current system is older. Just like PCs and mobile devices, technology in security systems is constantly changing for the better.

8. Make sure that the stand-by batteries are properly charged. If the stand-by batteries, designed to run a security system in the event of a power failure, are not functioning properly, neither will the security system.

9. Make sure that communication lines (phone line, internet, cellular) are in proper working order. Security systems require communication between the premise and central monitoring station to operate properly.

10. During any renovations, please contact the security provider so that they may assist in the modifications of the security system to avoid any problems associated with construction.

Source: Sonitrol

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Mortgage Rates up on Signs of Stronger Economic Recovery

September 6, 2013 2:21 am

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving back up near their highs for the year amid recent data pointing to signs of a stronger economic recovery, as well as positive news coming from the housing and manufacturing sectors.

Findings:

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.57 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending September 5, 2013, up from last week when it averaged 4.51 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.55 percent.

• 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.59 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.54 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.86 percent.

• 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.28 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.24 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.75 percent.

• 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.71 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.64 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.61 percent.

"Mortgage rates edged up this week on signs of a stronger economic recovery,” says Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. .”Real GDP was revised upwards to 2.5 percent growth in the second quarter of this year. In addition, residential construction spending rose for a ninth consecutive month in July. Lastly, the manufacturing industry expanded by the fastest pace in August since June 2011."

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