RE/MAX 440
Peter Cerruti
440 South West End Blvd, RT 309
Quakertown  PA 18951
 Phone: 215-429-7273
Office Phone: 215-538-4400
Fax: 267-354-6992 
petecerruti@yahoo.com
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Peter Cerruti

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How to Handle Your HVAC System This Summer

June 16, 2017 12:36 am

If you enjoy the cool, dry envelope of A/C in your home, the folks at at Poughkeepsie's T. Webber Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning offer a punch list to help homeowners hedge against warmer weather while saving money on cooling costs.

If your HVAC system is older than 15 years, it will not be as efficient as units being produced today, and it will cost more to run. Investing in a new energy efficient unit can save nearly 25 percent of monthly energy costs.

If you're not quite ready to invest in a new system, T. Webber offers the following consumer advice to keep any HVAC system working as efficiently as possible:

Replace Air Filters – Clogged air filters decrease performance and make AC systems work harder. Inspect and replace dirty air filters to optimize airflow and to keep an older unit in good running order throughout the summer.

Get an AC Tune Up – An annual maintenance check includes cleaning filters, coils and unit, and checking for foreseeable future problems. This can help the AC run more efficiently keeping utility costs down.

Seal and Insulate – Look for cracks and leaks in your walls, attic, crawl spaces, basement, garage and ceiling. Make sure insulation is intact to keep in cool air throughout the home.

Keep Blinds Closed – Eliminate the sun’s direct path by keeping blinds closed. This can make a difference of as much as 10 degrees.

Keep Outside Doors Closed – Try to minimize cool air loss through outside door openings, especially during the hottest time of the day.

Delay Heat Producing Activities – Run the dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer during early morning hours. This will keep the AC unit from having to work hard during the hottest hours of the day to cool the home.

Give the Oven the Summer Off – Give the oven and stove a break and grill at every opportunity. This keeps the kitchen heat outside and reduces the need to cool it.

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Pipe Problems? How to Avoid These Top 5 Plumbing Headaches

June 16, 2017 12:36 am

With just a little investigating inside and outside your home, you can stave off some serious plumbing problems, and save yourself unnecessary stress and expense. New York City-based Petri Plumbing & Heating, Inc., recommends taking the following steps:

Look for bathroom leaks. Check the toilet for leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If the water in the toilet bowl changes color after 30 minutes, it usually means there’s an issue with the components in the reservoir. Call a licensed plumber to diagnose the problem and repair it correctly.

Make sure tree roots haven’t infiltrated your lines. Rain can cause tree roots to block underground sewer lines. When the weather starts to warm up, tree roots begin to reach out in search of water. Have the sewer lines serviced and inspected before roots grow into the pipes.

Inspect all the faucets. Leaky faucets lead to higher utility bills, so check for moisture around the outside of the faucet. Since faucet leaks may also be hidden from view, be sure to also check under and around the sink for wet spots or warped cabinetry.

Test the sump pump. A simple way to check your sump pump is to pour a bucket of water into the sump pit. The pump should turn on, begin removing the water and turn off automatically when complete. If this process doesn’t happen smoothly, call a licensed plumber to repair or replace it.

Check your hoses. The outdoor hose faucet is susceptible to many problems during the winter, such as freezing and cracking. Look at the outside of the faucet and down the wall of the home to see if there is evidence of a leak. This can not only cause damage to the outside of the home, but also to the foundation if the link is bad enough.

Source: Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

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Tips for Traveling During the Busy Summer Season

June 16, 2017 12:36 am

For many, summer is the season for travel. But with so many folks hitting the road (or air) during the same period of time, traveling during the peak season can get overwhelming, and expensive.

To combat this, Virtuoso advisors revealed their best secrets for traveling successfully during the busy summer season:

Plan ahead to secure the best airfares and avoid squeezing in a last-minute trip during August before school starts, as this is the busiest time. In fact, it is not too early to start thinking about summer 2018 travel.

Stay in the least expensive room in the best hotel, and enjoy the enhanced service, amenities and overall experience at a better price point.

Allow a minimum of two hours between connecting flights. The extra layover time may help you make your plane if summer storms wreak havoc on airline schedules.  

Seek off-the-beaten-path destinations for better value and fewer crowds.

Arrive at the airport a minimum of an hour before boarding, not an hour before departure. This is a newer rule and should be heeded during the busy summer season.

Splurge on a hotel that is closer to the sights and activities you have planned. It will save you precious time and travel costs.

Book economy seats, but use miles to upgrade to business class.

Arrive at your hotel at check-in time (3:00 pm). You will have more options available then to change your room than later in the day after more guests have arrived.

Source: http://www.virtuoso.com

 

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Three Ways to Make Painting Easier

June 15, 2017 12:36 am

If you’ve been procrastinating about a painting project, here are three tips to make the task less daunting and a lot more enjoyable.

1. Pair and sample colors
According to Sara McLean, blogger and Dunn-Edwards color expert and stylist, take the time to pair and sample colors in advance. "Lay your color chips on the floor to see how they pair. Warm hues look great with many hardwoods. Traditional, warm neutrals are an easy starting point to refresh your home's color palette."

Several days before painting day, purchase samples of the colors you're considering and paint large swatches on the wall and live with them for a couple days. "You want to see how the colors look throughout the day, in both natural daylight and your home's lighting. Invite friends over and let them help you decide."

According to McLean, earth tones and nature-based colors are on-trend, like warm browns and milky tans. Light greens and blues are classy, and even some reds and oranges. Many pinks are trending and look great with deep teal greens, turquoises and brilliant blues. Warm grays are starting to trend over cooler shades, and while neutrals are a popular choice, an occasional bold accent wall in a darker or complementary shade can help provide a designer touch.

2. Measure right
Once you’ve chosen your color, it’s important to know how much to buy. Too much or too little are both avoidable predicaments. Know the measurements of the room you’re painting and talk with the paint expert at the store.

If you need more than one gallon, McLean recommends mixing the cans together to ensure the color is consistent. "There can be a slight difference from one can to another, so blend them together for a flawless look."

3. Learn from the pros
Did you know that you should moisten your brush or roller before applying the paint? It will help them pick up and release the most amount of paint. Go online and watch a few YouTube videos for other painting tips from the pros. A little bit of research will go a long way in making your painting project stress free and successful.  

Source: www.dunnedwards.com

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What is Social Jetlag and How Can You Overcome It?

June 15, 2017 12:36 am

We’ve all heard of travel jetlag, but have you heard of social jetlag? Apparently, it’s a thing. The phrase refers to when we skimp on sleep during the workweek and try to catch up on the weekend (or vise versa).  According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in three Americans is not getting the recommended sleep every night, which falls between seven and 9 hours.  A recent study by Sierra Forbush at the University of Arizona, found that for every hour of weekly "social jet lag," there is an 11 percent increase in the chance a person will suffer from poorer health, worse mood, fatigue and an increased risk of heart disease.

"Social jet lag can occur when people 'short' themselves of sleep during the work week, and the natural drive for sleep creates a sleep debt causing people to naturally sleep longer on the weekend," said Dr. Robert Oexman, director of Kingsdown's Sleep to Live Institute. "Conversely, social jet lag can occur when people get the normal amount of sleep during the work week and then choose to stay up later the weekends pushing them to sleep in on those mornings. People often think that if they 'make up' the sleep on weekends there will be no health consequences. Unfortunately, that is not true."

Oexman says the shift in our circadian rhythm on Friday and Saturday nights makes it more difficult to fall asleep at the right time Sunday night making it more difficult to wake Monday morning.

"Any time we shorten sleep we can see the short-term consequences of fatigue, memory issues, increase risk of accidents, changes in glucose metabolism, and increase in inflammation. If it becomes chronic we see a lower immune system, increase risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, and an increased risk of anxiety and depression," said Oexman.

Below are 5 ways to conquer social jet lag.  

Stick to a regular bedtime routine: Maintain the same bed time and wake time even on the weekends.  Participate in the same relaxing activities before bed each night. Take a hot bath or shower. Light stretching and getting ready for bed in a dimly lit room may also help. Shut all electronics off 30 minutes to one hour prior to bed time.  Always allow three weeks for changes in behavior and environment to impact your sleep.

Stay up on Friday: Choosing the occasional Friday as your night out is the best bet. That allows you to recover by going to bed at your normal time Saturday and waking at your normal time Sunday morning. Hit the sack at your regular bedtime Sunday evening.

Sleep cool: Ensure the room temperature is between 65 and 68 degrees. The key is to keep your head out from under the covers and exposed to the cool temperature. Remain thermal neutral by adding or tossing blankets as needed.

Practice deep breathing: Once you're in bed, if your body is still wired from the day, you may have a difficult time falling asleep. When you practice deep breathing, your brain recognizes that you're trying to relax and sends a message to your body to do so.

Light and noise: Your bedroom should be completely dark and quiet. Even a nightlight or bright alarm clock can inhibit production of melatonin, needed to fall asleep and stay asleep.  If your bedroom windows let in a lot of natural light – get blackout curtains or wear an eye mask. Eliminate all noise from the bedroom. If this isn't possible, invest in a white or pink noise machine.

Source: www.kingsdown.com

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How to Buy Athletic Shoes

June 15, 2017 12:36 am

Looking to buy new sneakers or workout shoes? Make sure you pick ones that fit properly, to avoid a myriad of health issues, from blisters to joint pain.

Below are seven tips when buying a new pair of athletic shoes.

Try on athletic shoes at the end of the day. Your feet swell during the day, so trying on at the end of the day will mean your feet are at their largest. You'll get the best fit this way.

Wear the same type of sock that you will wear for that sport.

When the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes.

Your shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. There is no break-in period.

Walk or run a few steps in your shoes. Make sure they allow you to comfortably do what you do when you exercise.

Always re-lace the shoes you are trying on. You should begin at the farthest eyelets and apply even pressure as you create a crisscross lacing pattern to the top of the shoe.

There should be a firm grip of the shoe to your heel. Your heel should not slip as you walk or run.

Source: American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

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Travel Insurance? Is it Worth it?

June 14, 2017 12:36 am

The official hurricane season runs June 1 - Nov. 30, and experts advise considering an investment in travel insurance when heading to destinations in hurricane-prone areas. Some insurance plans now enable travelers to cancel a trip when the NOAA issues a hurricane warning for a particular destination, however, once a storm has been named, it’s too late to purchase hurricane coverage.

According to InsureMyTrip, 75 percent of customers will choose a comprehensive travel insurance policy for summer travel. This policy provides a variety of benefits including medical coverage, emergency travel services, baggage protection, trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage.

Here are some specific ways travel insurance can help protect your vacation investment:

- When common carriers such as airlines and cruise lines cease service due to weather
- When a destination is under a NOAA-issued hurricane warning or alert
- When a hotel, resort, or vacation rental is devastated and made uninhabitable by a storm
- When the home of a traveler sustains destructive storm damage

There is also an optional time-sensitive benefit that allows travelers to cancel a trip for any reason. This benefit includes specific eligibility requirements.

Source: www.InsureMyTrip.com

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How to Avoid Ticks This Summer

June 14, 2017 12:36 am

Time spent outdoors can relax, recharge, and refresh. Time spent outdoors worrying about ticks? Not so soothing.

To help homeowners protect their families and homes from a tick infestation this year, Arrow Exterminators recommends the following simple, proactive measures:

- Maintain your yard. This includes cutting tall grass, shrubbery, bushes and plants.

- Groom your pets such as dogs and cats. Ticks can easily latch onto pets when they are outside.

- Ticks are frequently found on rodents, so make sure your home is clean and rodent-free.

- When spending time outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and if possible, wear clothing light in color so ticks are easier to detect.

- Check yourself and pets for ticks whenever coming in from the outside. If any are found, quickly remove the tick or flea from your body with fine-tipped tweezers.

- Tumble-dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.

- Contact a local pest control professional if you suspect a tick infestation.

Source: http://www.arrowexterminators.com

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How to Create Your Own Outdoor Kitchen

June 13, 2017 12:36 am

An outdoor kitchen sounds like hours of warm-weather culinary fun. But while most of us would love a sleek, state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen, the price tag may not be doable for all. But that doesn’t mean we can’t cook and eat al fresco! Below are 5 tips for a makeshift version.

Grill upgrade. Skip the outdoor oven or stove for a nice grill. To up the versatility of your grill, consider getting a skillet top or griddle. Pancakes, anyone?

Prep space. To make it possible to prepare food in your outdoor kitchen, set up a prep station with an outdoor butcher’s block or table. If you can, place this station near your grill for ease of use.

Consider installing a sink. If you already have a hose hooked up near your outdoor eating area, it may not cost that much to have a sink installed so you can wash up easy. Hire a professional to get a quote.

Add seating. A large outdoor dining table or small cafe table will turn your DIY kitchen into an eat-in space. Looking for a space to hang? A loveseat and a few comfortable chairs will do the trick. Add an umbrella overhead for sunny days.

 Aesthetics matter. To have an outdoor kitchen that looks, well, like an outdoor kitchen, it’s important to tie your aesthetics together. Installing that outdoor butcher’s block? Choose a wood stain that matches your outdoor eating table. Section off the space with potted plants or slate patio floor so the area is clearly defined. String lights overhead for a magical vibe once the sun sets.

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6 Great Foods to Slim Down for Summer

June 13, 2017 12:36 am

Not surprisingly, summer’s bounty of fresh fruits and veggies can be your greatest ally in the drive to shed a few pounds. In fact, according one Harvard study, the right diet can be more instrumental in losing weight than spending extra time in the gym.

Nutritionists at WebMD suggest six ways to slim down – without worrying about portion size – by making the most of summer’s harvest:

Chilled soups – Refreshing and easy to make, broth and veggie-based cold soups like gazpacho or cucumber-dill make a satisfying lunch or can fill you up so you eat less at dinner. Get out your blender and find recipes online.

Watermelon – Since half of watermelon is made up of water, it can satisfy thirst as well as your sweet tooth. Eat as much as you want sliced or diced, turn it into a filling slushie, or combine it with other fruits in a salad.

Grilled veggies – An ample supply of grilled veggies, like onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, asparagus, and mushrooms can be the basis for vegetable pitas, veggie and goat cheese salads, veggie, ricotta and fresh herb pastas – or combine them with eggs in frittatas.

Salads – No recipes required. Just slice, dice and toss a combination of fruits, vegetables, low-fat cheese, and a handful of toasted nuts with some salad greens. Dress with a light raspberry vinaigrette, along with a whole-grain roll, and you have a meal in minutes. Add extra heartiness with canned beans or cooked quinoa.

Low and/or no-cal beverages – Stay full and satisfy your thirst with appealing drinks that shun a lot of sugar. Try a root beer or orange dream float made with a half cup of vanilla frozen yogurt in 12 ounces of diet root beer or orange soda (100 calories) – or 12 ounces of lemon sparkling water mixed with the juice of a lemon and 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, served over ice (35 calories.) A large iced skim Latte from Starbucks is just 110 calories and a white wine spritzer (5 ounces of white wine mixed with three ounces of lemon/lime seltzer water is 120 calories.

Fruity desserts – No need to skip dessert when you can have grilled pineapple, peaches or bananas with low-fat ice cream – or some frozen grapes or cherries.

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