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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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Gas Safety Tips for Cold Season

December 31, 2013 8:30 pm

As temperatures drop, another threat to safety is carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO poisoning can occur as a result of a poorly ventilated heater or a CO leak from another source. Symptoms can include nausea, headaches, paralysis and even death. Remember the following tips to help prevent CO poisoning:

• Have natural gas furnaces checked at least once a year by a licensed heating contractor or SoCalGas.
• Vacuum and clean regularly in and around the furnace, particularly around the burner compartment to prevent a build-up of dust and lint.
• Never store items in, on or around the appliance that can obstruct airflow.
• Most forced-air units have a filter that cleans the air before heating and circulating it throughout the home. Check furnace filters every month during the heating season and clean or replace the filter when necessary.
• When installing a new or cleaned furnace filter, be sure to re-install the front panel door of the furnace properly so it fits snugly; never operate the furnace without the front-panel door properly in place because doing so may create the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Check the appearance of the flame. If the flame is yellow, large and unsteady, the furnace needs to be inspected immediately by a licensed heating contractor or SoCalGas to have the condition corrected.
• Using an unvented gas heater in your home is dangerous and a violation of most states’ Health and Safety Code.
• Never use your oven, range or outdoor barbecue to heat your home because these appliances are not designed for this purpose.
• If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from CO poisoning, call 911 immediately.

Source: socalgas.com/safety

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Prevent Alzheimer's with These Three Foods

December 30, 2013 8:30 pm

The number of Americans with Alzheimer's is projected to triple by 2050. While there isn't a cure for Alzheimer's, certain lifestyle changes can help prevent cognitive decline.

MySilverAge.com recommends three foods that can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's by enhancing brain function and keeping the mind sharp.

1. Oil-based Salad Dressings—Drizzling oil-based dressing on salads can help support healthy brain function. The vitamin E found in oil-based salad dressings is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are thought to guard neurons—the nerve cells that relay information between the brain and the rest of the body—from oxidation, thus preventing or slowing brain damage. Vitamin E has even been credited with delaying the advancement of memory loss in moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer's disease.

2. Beet Juice—It may not be the first thirst-quencher that comes to mind, but recent studies show that beet juice could help fend off Alzheimer's. Nitrates found in beet roots help blood and oxygen flow within the body by dilating blood vessels. In particular, they boost blood flow to the frontal lobes, which helps to prevent dementia. Other nitrate-packed foods include spinach, celery and cabbage.

3. Chicken Giblets—Think twice before tossing out chicken giblets (the neck, heart, gizzards, kidneys or liver). Chicken giblets are actually powerful tools for battling Alzheimer's. The vitamin B-12 found in giblets could keep the brain sharp, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Neurology. And it only takes one cup of giblets to get 228 percent of the recommended daily dose of the vitamin.

Source: MySilverAge

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Small Room, Big Difference

December 30, 2013 8:30 pm

(Family Features) Food and beverage containers, glass, newspapers and other paper items are commonly recycled in households across the nation. But outside the kitchen, living room or office, where many of these items are found, there are other areas where you can find unexpected opportunities to recycle —like the bathroom.

While 7 out of 10 Americans say they always or almost always recycle, only 1 in 5 consistently recycles bathroom items, according to a report commissioned by the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies.

“Because many of our personal care products are used or stored in the bathroom, we wanted to understand if Americans are recycling there,” said Paulette Frank, vice president of Sustainability for the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies.

The study further revealed that 40 percent of Americans don’t recycle any bathroom items at all. Among the reasons cited, 22 percent reported they had never thought about recycling in the bathroom and 20 percent didn’t even know that products in the bathroom are recyclable.

“We saw an opportunity to help reduce waste going to landfills by educating people about the recyclable items they use in the bathroom,” Frank said. “We created the Care to Recycle® campaign to be a gentle reminder to recycle empty containers from the bathroom rather than throwing them in the trash.”

Here is some helpful information about which common bathroom items can be recycled:

• Plastic bottles marked #1 (PET) or #2 (HDPE) containing products such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, baby powder, face cleanser and body oil are recyclable in most communities.

• Plastics marked #4 (LDPE) and #5 (PP) are recyclable but may not be accepted for recycling via curbside programs. Check with your municipality and the Care to Recycle® locator developed in partnership with Earth911.

• Paperboard items such as toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes and cartons for things like medicine, lotions, soap, bandages, etc. can all be recycled in most communities.

Source: Johnson & Johnson

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Fixed Mortgage Rates Little Changed at Year-End

December 30, 2013 8:30 pm

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates little changed as we head into the final days of the year.

• 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.48 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending December 26, 2013, up from last week when it averaged 4.47 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.35 percent.

• 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.52 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.51 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.65 percent.

• 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.00 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.96 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.70 percent.

• 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.56 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.57 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.56 percent.

"Mortgage rates were little changed this week following mixed economic reports. Real GDP was revised upwards to 4.1 percent growth in the third quarter of this year,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. “However, existing-home sales dropped 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4,900,000 in November. Also, new home sales fell 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000."

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Celebrate a Greener Christmas

December 24, 2013 8:27 pm

Although many homeowners may not realize it, the holidays are a prime time of year for energy waste. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, holiday lighting consumes the equivalent electricity of 500,000 homes in just one month.

And from Thanksgiving to New Years, Americans will throw away 25 percent more trash than they typically throw out the rest of the year. Because wasted electricity and extra trash lead to higher utility bills and more environmental strain, many customers are seeking ways to celebrate a greener holiday.

Vivint is providing five holiday tips to save energy at home this season:

• Energy-efficient appliances—A perfect gift this Christmas, energy-efficient appliances use between 10 and 50 percent less energy than their conventional counterparts.
• Home automation—Smart home technology allows homeowners to automatically lock and unlock their doors, control holiday lights remotely, and schedule their smart thermostats all from a smartphone. All of these features save energy, and the smart thermostat alone can save up to $180 a year in energy costs.
• LED light bulbs—LED Christmas lights (and LED lights in general) only use 10 percent of the power needed by incandescent lights and they last as much as 10 times longer. Conveniently, Vivint's Energy Management package comes with 12 energy-efficient bulbs.
• Recycling—Recycling holiday wrapping supplies is a small effort that can make a big difference. In fact, if every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.
• Solar—Installing solar panels is one of the greenest power solutions for any homeowner—and a great green gift.

Thanks to solar's growing popularity, it has also become possible to install a solar energy system with no upfront costs and see huge savings immediately.

Source: www.vivint.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What to Do if Icy Weather Cuts Your Power

December 24, 2013 8:27 pm

With inevitable freezing temperatures in our near-future, it is important to understand what you can do to keep safe and warm when icy weather decides to strike. Oncor has begun preparations for possible icy conditions by keeping an eye on the weather and alerting crews to be ready to restore power. They recommend that consumers follow these helpful tips to stay safe and speed restoration:

Safety
Always avoid downed power lines. Any downed line should be considered energized and therefore, dangerous. Report downed lines immediately by calling the number on your electric bill and stay out of the immediate area. If you are trapped inside a vehicle, stay inside the car. Call 911 for assistance.

Avoid debris that may conceal downed power lines and make sure there are no downed lines before allowing children out to play.

Steer clear of crew work areas. Equipment and energized lines may be in the area that could create a safety hazard. When driving, watch for crews working along the roadways, and obey all traffic signs and directions around work areas.

Don’t attempt to make repairs to any electrical systems or pull limbs off lines.

Be careful when using portable heaters or other supplemental heating. Never place heaters near flammable materials or where they might tip over. Use fire screens to prevent sparks and embers from causing problems.

Exercise extreme caution if using candles during a power outage. Always keep candles away from flammable objects and never leave them burning unattended.

Restoration
If your power goes out, don’t assume the electric company knows. Call the phone number on your electric bill to alert them of the problem.

Leave porch lights on to show crews where power has been restored.

Be patient. When major outages occur, crews focus on restoring power to transmission lines and distribution lines that feed neighborhoods before working on distribution lines that feed directly to homes and businesses. However, be assured that these crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to customers.

To be prepared, keep flashlights, battery-operated radios, and a supply of food and water close by.

If the weather interrupts electrical service, customers are urged to call the number on their electric bill. This line is answered by an automated system designed to handle power outage calls. The most efficient way for customers to report outages is to leave all information on this system.

If icy conditions knock down power lines in your neighborhood this winter season, contact your electric company as soon as possible. For more information regarding power lines and safety, visit http://www.oncor.com/.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Ways to Slash Your Heating Bills

December 24, 2013 8:27 pm

Temperatures are plummeting and thermostats are rising. Some homeowners might not be able to avoid it, but there are many ways you can cut your energy bill this season. From GreenerChoices.org, here are five low- and no-cost moves to help you save money, while staying comfortable and warm at the same time.

1. Add insulation. Adding insulation and weather stripping can slash your annual energy costs up to 30 percent by keeping out the cold and minimizing the stack effect. Start by sealing large gaps around the chimney, furnace flue, plumbing pipes, ductwork, light fixtures and soffits in your attic. Then lay insulation between attic-floor joists and on the hatch or door, or add more if it's already there. Look for insulation that’s become dirty, a sign of air movement that reveals other gaps you must fill. Also insulate ducts running through the attic.

2. Seal up the leaks. Caulking and weather-stripping cracks and gaps around your home are some of the most cost-effective steps you can take to conserve heat. Focus on the attic, basement, windows and doorways. Also check near pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. When sealing leaks, use “no-VOC” or “low-VOC” caulking to minimize potentially harmful indoor gases.

3. Program thermostats for savings. Shave up to 20 percent off your heating costs by lowering the thermostat 5°F at night and 10°F during the day if no one is home. Most electronic setback thermostats let you set different schedules for weekdays and weekends. Some automatically switch from heating to cooling, and many tell you when it's time to change your furnace or air-conditioner filter.

4. Save money on hot water. Insulating hot-water pipes and lowering the temperature on your water heater from 130° to 120° can help you save up to 5 percent on your energy bills.

5. Shorten showers. Showers account for two-thirds of your water-heating costs, so even shaving off a few minutes can help. Replacing a showerhead that’s more than 12 years old with a low-flow model can save up to half the hot water used for showering.

By heeding the advice of these five tips, you can easily reduce your heating bills throughout the entire winter season.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Transforming Your Bedroom into a Stylish, Functional Retreat

December 23, 2013 8:27 pm

(Family Features) In today’s busy, on-the-go world, having a haven to come home to is a must. And for many people, that sanctuary is the bedroom.

“Today’s bedroom is for more than just sleeping,” says Emily Henderson, host of “Secrets from a Stylist” and HGTV’s Season 5 “Design Star” winner. “From working and engaging with media to reading, relaxing and watching TV, we are doing more in our bedrooms than before. But that doesn’t mean we have to compromise great style and comfort.”

Henderson recently shared a few of her designer secrets to help anyone create a peaceful and luxurious haven.

Choose the Right Color Palette
Color really sets the mood for a room. While soft, cool colors and neutrals create a soothing mood, strong colors add drama.

A good rule of thumb when choosing colors is 60-30-10. Sixty percent of the room should be the dominant color (walls), 30 percent a secondary color (upholstery) and 10 percent an accent color (accessories).

When choosing your colors, start with something you love as your inspiration. It can be a painting, a pillow or even your favorite vase. Use that item to build out the perfect color palette for your bedroom.

Beautify Your Bed and Bedding
The Better Sleep Council says that, in general, a mattress set that has been in use for seven years should be replaced in order to give you the best comfort and support possible. If it’s time to replace your mattress, think about upgrading your whole bed. To get the designer look you see in magazines and on websites for your bed, Henderson says you need to choose great bedding, and learn how to layer it.

“Make sure you have tons of textures and layers,” she said. “More than any other room, upholstery is important. In your bedroom, you want everything soft. The key is to contrast textures like wools, linens, cashmeres and knits to make it feel inviting. Remember to keep everything in your color palette to avoid it looking messy or feeling busy.”

Here is her step-by-step guide to layering bedding like a pro:

Start with sheets — Make sure you have comfortable sheets that feel good against your skin. You can choose a solid color or a pattern that complements your bedspread.

Add a blanket — The next layer is a soft blanket. Depending on the season and the climate in your area, you can go with a lighter cotton or fleece blanket, or a heavier wool one.

Top it off — A quilt, duvet or bedspread is the top layer of your bedding and has the most visual impact. It needs to pull together all the layers of your bed and complement the colors of your room.

Accent each layer — Fold the top layer back about a quarter of the way down the bed. Follow with the blanket and the sheet, leaving each layer visible.

Add pillows and accessories — Use larger, European style pillows and shams for a backdrop, your sleeping pillows in front of those, then an accent pillow or two. Add a textured throw or silky quilt folded at the end of the bed for a finishing touch.

Source: www.lpadjustablebeds.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Make Sure Your Home is Air-Tight

December 23, 2013 8:27 pm

Space heating can account for up to 60 percent of most homeowners' energy bills. This is especially true with older homes, which can often be drafty, lightly insulated and may still have older, less energy efficient windows, doors and heating systems. This can add up to substantially higher home heating costs.

One of the best ways to cut down on your bills and keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer is by making sure your home is well sealed. CMHC offers the following tips on how to improve the airtightness of your home, to help you save money, reduce your environmental footprint and make your house more comfortable to live in:

• Air sealing not only cuts heat losses and gains, it also improves comfort by reducing drafts, helps improve the performance of the insulation in your walls and attic by stopping cold winter wind from washing through it, and, it can help prevent moisture build-up in your walls and attic.

• Finding air leaks can often be a challenge. Sometimes they are detectable by feeling for cold drafts in suspect locations. Other times, you may be able to see daylight shining in through unwanted openings. Blackened insulation is often another sign. For a more thorough assessment, consider hiring a qualified residential energy service provider to perform a "blower door" test of your house. During this test, your house is forced to leak, making it easier to find air leakage locations with smoke emitting devices or a special thermographic scanner.

• A blower door test can also tell you the size of the hole all the leakage areas would add up to if they were all located in one location. This is helpful when you want to know how leaky your house is relative to other houses. If a blower door test is done before and after air sealing, you can also find out how much you have reduced the air leakage of your home.

• Some of the more common air leakage points can include ceiling pot light fixtures installed through ceilings into attic spaces, electrical boxes in ceiling and exterior walls; inside to outside wiring, plumbing and duct penetrations; bathroom exhaust fans installed in attic ceilings; older windows and doors; the joint between windows and the surrounding walls; and floor-wall joints.

• Once you have located the leaks, you can use a variety of different approaches to seal them. For instance, leaky windows and doors can be sealed with gaskets or new weatherstripping. Gaps around wiring, pipes and ducts can be sealed with caulking or spray foam. Electrical boxes can be sealed with special gaskets that fit behind the box plate covers. Joints between walls and floors and around the top of your foundation may be sealed with caulking or spray foam depending on the size of the gap. To find out the right options for your home, be sure to consult a contractor with expertise in air leakage control.

• If you are replacing your exterior siding, it's a good time to add an exterior air barrier (and more insulation) that wraps your house in a draft-proof cover from the basement to attic.

• While air sealing is always a good idea, you might have to add mechanical ventilation in the form of a bathroom fan, a range hood, or better yet, a heat recovery ventilation system, to help maintain healthy indoor conditions. Air sealing can also adversely affect the ability of some fuel-fired furnaces, boilers and hot water tanks to safely vent combustion products so an additional source of outdoor air may be needed. Consult a qualified mechanical contractor for guidance on ventilation system options and combustion air needs for your home before you start.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Bad Neighbors Can Reduce Property Values

December 23, 2013 8:27 pm

The Appraisal Institute cautions homeowners and potential homebuyers that bad neighbors can significantly reduce nearby property values.

Bad neighbors can include homeowners with annoying pets, unkempt yards, unpleasant odors, loud music, dangerous trees and limbs, or poorly maintained exteriors. A homeowner or prospective homebuyer should visit a street on several days at various times to learn more about what is happening in the neighborhood. A home’s proximity to a bad neighbor also can impact the rate of potential decline in value.

“I’ve seen many situations where external factors, such as living near a bad neighbor, can lower home values by more than 5 to 10 percent,” says Appraisal Institute resident Richard L. Borges II, MAI, SRA. “Homeowners should be aware of what is going on in their neighborhood and how others’ bad behaviors could affect their home’s value.”

The Appraisal Institute urges homeowners to take the following steps when dealing with troublesome neighbors:

1. Speak with other neighbors. Get consensus when identifying issues, and approach the bad neighbor together.

2. Look up original and updated subdivision restrictions. If talking to the neighbor doesn’t work, see if they’re violating any restrictions. If so, writing to the code office of the municipality and reporting the bad neighbor could spur an investigation into the nuisance. Depending on the offense, a call to the local health department also may be warranted.

3. Hire an attorney. If all else fails, the cost of an attorney likely will be less than the home’s potential loss in value.

“Even though homeowners do have some recourse, it’s important for prospective homebuyers to carefully examine the neighborhood where they’re considering living,” Borges says. “That way they can hopefully prevent any problems in the first place.”

Potential homebuyers also should be aware of a property’s proximity to commercial facilities, such as power plants and funeral homes, as these also can negatively affect a home’s value.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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