RE/MAX 440
Tom Loughridge
tloughridge@remax440.com
Tom Loughridge
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie  PA 18944
PH: 215-453-0913
O: 215-453-7653
C: 267-716-0920
F: 267-354-6868 
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Step Up Your Energy Efficiency This Winter

November 12, 2014 12:58 am

Days are getting shorter, the weather outside is getting cooler, and the holiday season is right around the corner. It is 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, the world’s home improvement network, advises homeowners to reduce their energy bills by choosing energy efficient light bulbs.

“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,” says Matt Ehrlichman, CEO of Porch.com. “In fact, an average American household can save over $200 per year by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs.”

For those who have not switched over to energy efficient light bulbs (compact fluorescent lights [CFLs], light-emitting diodes [LEDs], and halogen incandescent light bulbs), 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,” says Larry Lauck, American Lighting Association.

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 degrees Fahrenheit. It would take a whopping 258 LED bulbs, or 850 lumens each, to waste the same amount of heat.

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. Both are best suited for LEDs as they have the greatest energy savings and last over 20 years.

When considering lighting options in a kitchen or bathroom, Lauck encourages homeowners to talk to a professional. 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.

Source: Porch.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Safely Prepare a Thanksgiving Meal

November 11, 2014 1:34 am

(Family Features) One of the most memorable moments at any holiday dinner is when the turkey is brought to the table. Make sure your holiday meal is a special one by following these simple tips for preparing your turkey safely.
  • Don’t unwrap a frozen turkey before thawing.
  • Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours per 5 pounds in weight. For example, a 20-pound bird takes four days to thaw. Thaw it faster by covering with cold water in the sink and changing the water every half hour per pound of turkey.
  • Refrigerate the turkey as soon as it has thawed or cook it immediately.
  • Lay a tent of foil loosely over the turkey to prevent over-browning.
  • Never partially cook a turkey. Always cook it completely once started.
  • The turkey is done when the meat thermometer is 180°F and the stuffing is 165°F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, look for the red stem to go up on the pop-up timer. Press a thumb and forefinger into the thick part of the drumstick to see if it feels soft or wiggle a drumstick to see if it moves easily.
  • For easier carving, let the turkey stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
Source: Rhodes Bake-N-Serv

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Three Winter Home Upgrades That Add Resale Value

November 11, 2014 1:34 am

According to the Appraisal Institute, homeowners should take steps to winterize their homes in order to reduce energy costs, increase comfort in cold months and improve resale value.

“With the fall season coming to a close, now is a great time for homeowners to consider making seasonal updates to their properties,” says Appraisal Institute President Ken P. Wilson, MAI, SRA. “Not only can these types of home improvements make the cold weather manageable, many can provide a nice return on investment in resale value.”

The Appraisal Institute encourages homeowners to focus on three main updates this winter: windows, exteriors and furnaces.

Adding vinyl or wood windows to a home can have an average payback of nearly 80 percent, according to the Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. Vinyl and wood replacement windows have a higher projected return on investment than many other home improvement projects, including a bathroom addition, family room addition, garage addition or roof replacement.

That same study found that a combination of interior and exterior replacement projects retained the most value in home improvements. For example, a minor kitchen remodel returned nearly 83 percent of homeowners’ original investment, while a wood deck addition returned more than 87 percent.

A furnace doesn’t just provide heat and comfort during cold months, but proactively tuning or replacing a home’s furnace can alleviate issues when considering resale. According to Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 18 years. Homeowners should keep this timeframe in mind when debating servicing versus replacement.

Homeowners should contact an appraiser before deciding on any winterization projects. “A qualified, competent appraiser can make recommendations about which updates will likely provide the most impact on resale value, as well as how to not exceed community norms for the local area,” Wilson says.

Source: Appraisal Institute

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Hot Home Color Trends for 2015

November 11, 2014 1:34 am

(BPT) – It’s a strategy interior designers often use to create stunning rooms that wow the instant someone enters them: the use of creative color. Homeowners looking to deliver impressive interior style can take cues from what will be the trendiest hues of 2015 and beyond.

Homeowners can convey a variety of emotions in their favorite rooms by embracing different color palettes. From the sweet charm of pastels, to the comfortable ambience of neutral tones, to majestic deep and bright tones, 2015’s top color trends include:

Dreamy tones – Fantastical pigments like teal, charcoal and eggplant evoke a sense of wonder. Escape the everyday and recharge with dream-like shades in the master bedroom. Pair them with crisp white trim and opulent gold or zingy citrus accessories.

Frosted pastels – Soft blues and greys replace traditional pastels. For high contrast in the living room, combine these muted colors with striking accents, like ebony fireplace tiles or mauve window treatments.

Vibrant hues – Set the stage for lively conversation in the kitchen with energetic, attention-grabbing pure shades like red, blue, or orange. Balance brightness with grey on adjoining walls.

Nuanced neutrals
– Weathered, rustic colors, like pea green and copper, bring a dusty earth palette to a whole new level. Marry function and comfort in the guest bedroom with a mix of sandy beige and soft burgundy in the guest bedroom.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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7 Kinds of Toys to Avoid This Holiday Season

November 10, 2014 2:10 am

As leaves begin to turn and pumpkin patches spring up on every corner, it is a clear sign the holidays are approaching—and with them, the annual predictions of toys that will be ‘hot’ this season.

But full-time Mommy April McCormick, who blogs on parenting for first-time Moms and Dads, suggests (with tongue only slightly in cheek) that certain types of toys should be strictly avoided if you wish to maintain a peaceful household:

Toys that make annoying noises—Kids love them, but the police car or fire truck that belts out screeching sirens on command may have a hidden agenda designed to send parents to the loony bin.

Toys with sensors that go off when you walk by—Try sneaking out of your child’s room after a marathon effort to get him to sleep when some watchful robot in the corner of the room senses your footsteps and bleeps him back into wakefulness.

Toys with teeny tiny parts—If they don’t end up in your child’s mouth or in the dog’s mouth, they will surely turn up to inflict mighty pain every time you step on them barefoot.

Toys that are part of a set or collection—Warning: you will then have to buy every style, color and special release in the collection and then look out for the next hot set of collectibles.

Ride-on toys your kid can’t manage alone—Do not buy a trike or bike until she’s old enough to ride it on her own. Otherwise, you risk major back pain from leaning over for hours at a time until she is able to master it.

Children’s books you do not love—Better pick one you won’t tire of. If it becomes his favorite, you will be asked to read it a minimum of 10,000 times.

Toys that require assembly of more than three parts—(Think Barbie’s Dream House and related.) Three pages of instructions you can’t make sense of is enough to drive you to drink. Sometimes the empty carton the thing came in is more fun than the toy, anyway.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Five Steps to Finding Your Philanthrophy

November 10, 2014 2:10 am

(Family Features)—Whether it's the busy mother who spends her weekend volunteering at a local women's shelter or the young girl raising money for hungry children thousands of miles away with her lemonade stand - women who do good deeds are everywhere.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women continue to volunteer more often than men across every age group and educational level. With so many devoting their time and energy to giving back, it's easy to find and learn from the many female mentors hard at work in your own community.

While the enormous generosity of an accomplished philanthropist may seem inconceivable in your own life, there are countless ways to give back. Here are a few ways to offer your time and talents for the good of your community and beyond.

Start small
Taking on a volunteering opportunity can be daunting - especially with so many charitable groups to choose from. While other obligations may keep you from giving as much time as you'd like, remember that every hour you can give is appreciated by everyone involved.

Look locally

A great place to start the search for volunteer opportunities is in your own back yard. From the animal shelter down the street to the local food pantry, helping out in your area strengthens community involvement and also helps you meet others and build contacts that could help you down the line. Check out the many online resources available that fit potential volunteers with opportunities that exist in their areas, such as volunteermatch.org, volunteer.gov and serve.gov, as well as many others.

Find meaningful jobs
Be sure to take some time to think about your own personal interests and hobbies before searching for volunteer opportunities. Do you have any social issues that you feel passionately about? While your daytime job may not allow you to pursue such passions, a volunteer position may be the ticket.

Make it a group effort
Do you have friends and family members who share the same interests and willingness to help others? If you do, gather them up for one of the many opportunities that exist for groups. This not only allows each member to experience the gift of volunteer work, it also builds camaraderie among the group.

Balance your obligations
While you may wish to jump into your new endeavor right away, be sure to review your schedule carefully before overcommitting yourself. Many organizations will allow you to work a limited schedule and gradually build more hours over time until you are more comfortable or available.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Ways to Keep Tires Safe during Wet Fall Weather

November 10, 2014 2:10 am

In order to stay safe during stormy weather this fall, here are 3 safety tips for driving on wet roads:

Reduce speed - When roads are slick, stopping distances are longer than usual. In fact, stopping on a wet road can take up to four times longer than on a dry road. So, to keep yourself and your passengers safe, take your foot off the gas when the rain is coming down.

Keep a thick tire tread - Wear on a tire or poor drainage on the road will lead to an inability to move water out of the way fast enough, often causing a loss of control when steering. In fact, the primary function of tread on a tire is to divert water from beneath the tire to improve traction and avoid hydroplaning. Tires become unsafe when the tread is worn down to 1/16th of an inch. When tread is worn down, it can also make a tire more susceptible to a puncture caused by debris and road hazards.

Invest in a tire protection system - A tire is most reliable when it is properly pressurized and protected from punctures. One of the best ways to ensure this is through tire sealant. In addition to its ability to prevent flats by coating the inside of tires with a gel-like coating that's six times stronger than steel, the tire protection system helps to maintain tire pressure. The product lowers tire operating temperature, thereby helping tires to keep their set-point pressures by eliminating porosity air loss.

Source: www.ride-on.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Best Ways to Stay Healthy when Flying

November 7, 2014 2:01 am

Ebola cropping up on American shores has spawned a wave of fear and concern. But as health experts remind us, the dread disease can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is symptomatic. As such, Ebola need not be of great concern to the average airline traveler.

But picking up cold and flu germs on an airplane is a commonplace complaint.  Yahoo! Travel experts provide these tips for staying healthy when you fly:

Wipe your seat with antibacterial wipes – Bacteria hides, and chances are the flight crew did little more before you boarded than get rid of the trash from the last flight. Ignore the funny looks you get and use those wipes on your seat, arm rests, and backrest.

Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty of fluids in-flight helps prevent a chain reaction that leaves you prone to catching something nasty in the very dry air on planes.

Don’t trust the restroom water – Not even to wash your hands. Planes fill up their water tanks wherever they are serviced, and since you don’t know where that might have been, stick to antibacterial wipes and bottled drinking water.

Use only packaged blankets and pillows – Who knows what germs might be lingering in blankets and pillows used by previous passengers? Those that have been laundered are wrapped in plastic, so if the ones you are offered are not wrapped, use your sweater or jacket instead.

Get your travel shots well in advance – It takes seven to 10 days for a shot – whether it’s a simple flu shot or a hepatitis A vaccine for third world travel – to build immunity. Don’t wait till the last minute to be inoculated.

Don’t touch – The more surfaces you touch on a plane, the more likely you will pick up germs. Keep your hands to yourself – or invest in some thin cotton gloves.

Think about wearing a surgical mask – If you’re not in Asia, this could be a tough sell, but wearing one could dramatically reduce your chances of picking up germs from the passenger next to or around you.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Five Ways a Power Outage Can Cost You Money

November 7, 2014 2:01 am

Despite increases in their frequency and severity, many people who have never experienced a power outage still view outages as merely inconvenient. But they are more than inconvenient; they leave homeowners unable to live life as normal. Research shows that in any given month millions of Americans could be without power, with or without a major storm.

Beyond disrupting everyday life, a power outage lasting just a day or two could cost a homeowner several thousand dollars.

Extended power outages can impact your checkbook in many ways:

Lost refrigerated and frozen goods. The USDA recommends throwing away refrigerated foods stored for more than two hours at over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, because refrigerators and freezers can't stay cold without electricity. For a family with a full-stocked freezer and fridge, that means a loss of at least $200 in tossed food.

Damage to your home.
Without power, sump pumps can't run, putting homes at risk for flooding, and fans and dehumidifiers can't operate to help dry out a wet basement. A power outage during a severe storm can destroy basements and pose significant hazards to homeowners. Basic costs to pump out and thoroughly dry a basement lightly flooded with clean water can start between $500-$1,500 and increase to $2,000-$10,000. But a flooded basement can be prevented, even during the most severe storms, with a home backup generator.

Expenses from staying at a hotel or eating out. If you don't have heat or running water, you might have to move the family into a hotel for a night or two. Add restaurant tabs to that and you've lost another couple hundred dollars.

Additional costs for short-term goods. If you choose to remain in your home, you will need to invest in batteries for radios and flashlights, coolers to store food, and ice to keep that food cold. Incidental costs can range from $200 to $500.

Loss of income. Depending upon the impact on your home and family, you might have to spend a few days away from work. If you work from home, you stand to potentially lose your entire income during a power outage.

Having an automatic home backup power system can help to avoid these costs, and other costs, related to power outages.

A few essential precautions you should take in preparation for severe weather is to stock up on items, like food and water, and make necessary fixes, like boarding windows. Listen to a NOAA battery-operated weather radio for critical information from the National Weather Service. Also, avoid using electrical equipment and telephones. You should use battery powered TVs and radios instead.

Source: www.generac.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Know When to Hold or Pitch Common Household Items

November 7, 2014 2:01 am

Every few weeks, I question whether it's time to pitch out certain household items. While many things we use around the home including most food items have expiration dates, are they really a valid indicator that the item in question is obsolete?

A recent post at grandparents.com responds to that concern with a list of the top 10 household items you should replace. So if you are wondering if it's time to pitch or hold onto certain things around the house, consider these particular items:

Sponges - Filled with bacteria and mold, they're the top source of germs in your home, according to WebMD. To prevent your sponges and scrubbers from becoming encrusted with microscopic filth, swap them out every month or as soon as they begin to have a bad odor. Preserve them on a daily basis by throwing them in the dishwasher - the heat will kill germs and keep your family healthier.

Herbs & Spices - Old bottles of dried herbs and spices won't hurt you, says nutrition expert Janet Brill, there are no health concerns, they simply lose their potency. Seasoning purveyor McCormick these guidelines for shelf life:
  • Ground spices: 3 to 4 years
  • Whole spices: 4 years
  • Leafy herbs: 1 to 3 years
  • Bottled seasoning blends: 1 to 2 years
Faded color and loss of aroma are two other ways to identify old herbs and spices.

OTC Meds - Follow the "spring cleaning" rule, says Marjorie Phillips, Pharmacy Coordinator for Georgia Regents Medical Center and member of the FDA Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. Once a year, around the same time, throw out all expired prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

Expiration dates guarantee that, with proper storage in a cool, dry place, the drug will retain 90 percent of its original potency until that date, she says. Afterward, the medication may have degraded enough to lose potency or, even worse, contain harmful degradation-related byproducts.

Tetracycline is one drug whose byproducts can cause injury if it's been sitting around for too long, but Phillips recommends checking with a pharmacist about individual meds. Medication doesn't magically stop working on the expiration date; it's just safest to follow that guideline according to Phillips.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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