Monday, December 10, 2018

Winter weatherproofing: Preparing your home to stay safe and save energy

(BPT)The heat will certainly be on this winter. With winter storms hitting many parts of the country early in the winter season, furnaces are plugging away, causing heating bills across the country to increase. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the typical U.S. family spends at least $2,200 per year on energy bills - with nearly half of that going toward heating and cooling.
To help homeowners combat the cost of heating a home during the winter months, Valerie Mastalka, a home heating and energy efficiency expert at Lennox, suggests looking at areas around the house to keep the warm air in and the cool air out.
"There are many simple, inexpensive ways consumers can save money on utility bills this winter, and still stay warm and cozy as temperatures begin to drop," said Mastalka. "By taking the initiative to weatherproof their homes before the start of the cold weather season, homeowners will be able to enjoy a warmer and more energy-efficient house. The little time it takes to make a few quick checks and adjustments can yield dividends in savings and comfort in the long run."
Repair the roof. It's important to inspect the roof to make sure shingles are in place to prevent water from seeping inside the house. Mastalka emphasizes that it can be dangerous to be on the roof once cold weather ensues, so check it out before the onset of winter. If large gaps are found, hire a professional roofing company to repair the problem areas. In addition, avoid covering roof vents or turbines for the winter as this will prevent air from circulating properly through the attic and will reduce the overall energy efficiency of the home.
Dodge the drafts. Air leaks caused by cracks or holes around windows and doors can enable warm indoor air to escape and cold outside air to seep in, preventing you from maintaining a consistent indoor temperature. To identify air leaks in outside-facing walls or doors, try holding a candle near suspect areas to reveal drafts and then seal leaks with caulk or weather stripping.
Mind the (chimney) gaps. To prevent warm indoor air from escaping the home, Mastalka reminds homeowners to keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use; however, always make sure the damper is fully opened before starting a fire. Look for any gaps in the mortar between bricks, as they can allow moisture to build up and compromise the roof's integrity. Also check for soot accumulation in the chimney, and if needed, hire a professional chimney sweep to perform a thorough cleaning before the start of winter.
Don't forget the furnace. Mastalka recommends having your furnace thoroughly inspected by a certified technician. In addition, changing furnace air filters at least once a month and vacuuming the heater vents in the living areas of the home will help keep your heating system clean and running efficiently. If your furnace is more than 15 years old, Lennox recommends upgrading to a high efficiency system, such as one of its variable-speed furnaces, which can save hundreds of dollars on utility costs.
Attend to the attic. The attic is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to heat loss. If you are experiencing high heating bills and having difficulty keeping your home warm, it could be time to add additional insulation to the attic. Mastalka says that attic insulation should be approximately five inches deep. Homeowners can hire a professional or add insulation themselves with portable blowing units available for rental at home improvement stores.
By making a few minor adjustments around the home, homeowners can help lessen safety concerns and reduce the amount of wasted energy - all while staying comfortable during the chilly season. To learn more about home energy efficiency and how you can save money on utility bills during the winter months, visit or

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Why Do You Have A Title Search When Purchasing A House?

What is a title search and why do we need title insurance when purchasing a house? Mark Schreier gives you the reason for this important process.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

'Tis the season to get the home ready for holiday entertaining

Smart tips to prepare the kitchen and dining room for holiday entertaining

(BPT) - As the year winds down, social calendars fill up with merriment-filled gatherings among friends and family. When hosting a seasonal gathering at home, being proactive can help streamline tasks and reduce stress. From whipping up a feast to toasting in the New Year, here are five ideas for getting the heart of the home - the kitchen and dining spaces - ready for holiday entertaining.
Simplify measurements
Chopped veggies and pre-measured ingredients can streamline any cooking adventure and save precious time. Fill the fridge and pantry with ready-to-go items as much as possible and consider smart kitchen enhancements that make measuring a breeze. For example, the Beale MeasureFill touch kitchen faucet from American Standard provides an adjustable set amount of water on demand, giving holiday cooks the precise measurement faster than using conventional measuring cups. Plus, the easy touch on/off feature is ideal when hands are full or dirty; to operate, just touch it with the wrist or the back of the hand.
Prepare meal necessities
To create a holiday table worthy of a magazine spread, prepare all the plates, platters and servingware needed beforehand. This is a good time to take stock of place settings, too. (Important tip: Have an extra setting or two available for last-minute RSVPs or unexpected guests.) Whether it's a buffet-style meal or multi-course sit-down dinner, make sure to have enough serving utensils for everything on the menu, from appetizers to desserts.
Stock all washing spaces
Baking, cooking and entertaining tasks generate dirty dishes for days, so get wash spaces ready with fresh sponges, plenty of soap, drying racks and towels. Rotate between washing and cooking to eliminate a big mess at the end of entertaining. To ease the task of hand-washing large dishes, consider installing a sizable sink that also updates the kitchen's style. The handcrafted Pekoe apron-front kitchen sink from American Standard has a generously-sized single basin to accommodate large pots and pans; plus, the 18-gauge stainless steel material is stain-, heat- and chip-resistant.
Create clean, comfortable spaces
Clear clutter from common spaces where guests will be congregating for refreshments, meals and more. Focus on the dining room where guests will toast to a merry holiday, but don't forget the kitchen for visitors who might want to pitch in or provide good cheer and holiday conversation during last-minute meal preparations. Add extra chairs and seating as well as leaves to extend tables so there's plenty of room for everyone and all the delicious foods that will be served. The goal is for people to feel comfortably cozy without being overcrowded.
Manage multitasking
Multitasking is a must for big entertaining events. While appetizers are in the oven, wash a few dishes. When the main course is simmering, mingle with guests. To maximize time in the kitchen, think about enhancements that allow multitasking with ease, such as the K7 semi-professional faucet with foot control technology from GROHE. Busy or dirty hands? No problem. Turn the water flow on and off with a tap of the foot on an activation plate installed discreetly in the toe space of the kitchen cabinet. This allows more to get done easily, while helping prevent the spread of germs.
Holiday entertaining is simplified with a few modern home updates and smart cooking tricks. By focusing on the heart of the home, everyone will have a joyous season - especially the host or hostess.

Monday, November 26, 2018

How Using The Results Of Your Home Inspection Can Cause You To Lose Your Dream Home

Mark Schreier of Century 21 American Homes Real Estate discusses how using the results of a home inspection as leverage to lowering the agreed upon price can result in losing the deal.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

How To Save Money On Your Property Taxes...

Mark Schreier Realtor with Century 21 American Homes Real Estate discusses the different tax exemptions available through NYS and Nassau County.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Plainview, NY Real Estate Market Report For October 2018

Mark Schreier realtor of Century 21 American Homes Real Estate discusses the Plainview, NY market activity for October 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018

How Will The New Nassau County Tax Assessment Affect Your List Price When Selling Your House?

How will the new Nassau County Property Assessment affect the listing price of your house. Mark Schreier of Century 21 American Homes Real Estate discusses this issue.