RE/MAX 440
Cheryl Goedeke
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie, PA   18944
Phone: 267-664-2288
Office Phone: 215-453-7653
Fax: 267-354-6833
email: cheryl@remax440.com
Cheryl Goedeke

My Blog

Hard Water: Bad for Your Home and Wallet

October 9, 2013 3:00 am

(BPT)—Nearly 90 percent of American homes have hard water - water containing high levels of calcium and magnesium, according to The U.S. Geological Survey. The hardest water is commonly found in the states that run from Kansas to Texas as well as in Southern California. Hard water on its own is bad enough, making it difficult to wash clothes and dishes and leaving scaling on your pipes and showerheads as well as nasty brown rings in your sinks and toilets. However, it is also costing you money.

Research by the Battelle Institute found that with hard water, showerheads lost 75 percent of their flow rate in less than 18 simulated months and could not maintain the required flow rate because of scaling.

Water heaters are also negatively affected by hard water. When using softened water, researchers found that all the water heaters tested maintained 100 percent efficiency over a simulated 15-year lifetime, but with hard water, the gas and electric heater efficiency dropped by 25 percent - an incredible loss in energy resulting in significantly higher costs. In the case of the new instant tankless water heaters, hard water caused them to completely fail to function because of plugged-up scale, or mineral build-up associated with hard water, after only 1.6 years of simulated use - about a tenth the normal life of the appliance.

Another study conducted for the Water Quality Research Foundation assessed the impact of water hardness on automatic dishwashers. Soft water was up to 12 times more effective at cleaning dishes than increasing the amount of detergent used. Researchers also found that for washing machines, the most important factor in removing stains was water softness. Reduction of water hardness was up to 100 times more effective at stain removal than increasing the detergent dose or washing with hotter water.

You can take steps to eliminate the source of the scaling with a salt-based water softener. In order to make hard water into soft water, you have to remove the calcium and magnesium. The only way to do that effectively is with a salt-regenerated water softener. These work by running the incoming hard water through a resin filter that traps the calcium and magnesium in the water, as well as any iron, manganese or radium ions and replacing them with sodium ions. Magnetic and other non-salt based water softeners do not remove these harmful hard minerals.

Do-it-yourself water testing kits are available at most hardware stores, or you can have a water treatment professional do the testing. The Water Quality Association's website lets you search by company name, state or ZIP code to help find a professional in your area to handle the testing.

Eliminating hard water minerals delivers significant benefits in terms of the efficiency and maintenance cost of appliances and plumbing. From a budgeting perspective, using less detergent and energy can add up to real savings for families and individuals. Plus the harder these machines have to work, the faster they wear out and need repair or replacement, representing another very significant expense for homeowners. For more information on water softening, visit water-softening.org.

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Fall House Cleaning: Chores to Do Now

October 8, 2013 2:57 am

Everyone talks about spring house cleaning – a time to freshen up your living space to get it ready for fresh air and sunshine. But, advises a staffing supervisor for Molly Maids cleaning service, a clean house requires a fall cleaning routine as well:

Deep clean the closets – Sort out your wardrobe and clean out clothes closets. Donate whatever you are unlikely to wear again to make room for seasonal purchases.

Get rid of expired medicines – Check the medicine cabinet for expired meds and last winter’s leftovers. As you dispose of them, make note of things you need to buy, such as bandages, antiseptic creams or over-the-counter cough syrup.

Clean out the fridge – Dig deep for tired or expired foods, clean the shelves and organize the fridge. Remember to replace that old box of baking soda with a fresh one to guard against odors.

Clean the carpets – A little elbow grease now will get you ready for holiday entertaining. Deep clean summer’s grime out of your carpets or hire a professional carpet cleaner with equipment that may dig deeper than you can.

Clean ceiling fans and ceiling light fixtures – Open doors and windows all summer have likely left them coated with dust. Clean them thoroughly now that the doors are closed.

Wash the windows – Washing them inside and out may be a pain, but winter can be depressing enough without having to look through dirty windows.

Shine the silver – Before Thanksgiving is the best time to get out the polish and get your silverware ready for company.

Check the gutters – Autumn means gutters are full of falling leaves. Clean them out now with a special hose attachment that has a hooked end to get down into the gutters. Look into attaching “hoods” or “helmets” to the gutters so you won’t have to worry as much about cleaning out leaves in the future.

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The Delayed American Household

October 8, 2013 2:57 am

According to a recent report by the Census, married couples with children account for only 19.6 percent of all households in the U.S. The new figure represents a drop of 4.5 percentage points from 2000 when 24.1 percent of all households in the U.S. were married couples with children. The share of total households in 1970 was 40.3 percent.

As the share of households that include married couples with children decreased, one-person households and other household types rose. The share of one-person households increased from 17.1 percent in 1970 to 27.5 percent in 2012.

The dramatic decline in married households with children is due in part to delays in household formation. Researchers point out that Americans, on average, are waiting five years longer to get married when compared to 1970. Additionally, Americans are waiting longer to have children. The average age at first birth in 2006 was 25 compared to the average age at first birth age of 21 in 1970.

While delays in household formation place downward pressure on the demand for single-family homes, the increasing share of those living alone places an upward pressure on the demand for rental units. Trends in new multifamily construction suggest builders and developers may be taking delayed household formation into account. The share of multi-family homes built for rent increased from an historic low of 47 percent during the third quarter of 2005 to above 90 percent in 2013. Additionally, the size of units built for rent remains relatively small when compared to owner-occupied units. The median size of rental apartments was 1,081 square feet in 2012.

In fact, builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market are at all time highs. In the second quarter of 2013, the Multifamily Production Index MPI increased nine points to 61. The (MPI) is measured on a scale of 0 to 100 so that any number over 50 indicates that more respondents report improving conditions than worsening conditions.

Although builders and developers appear to be well positioned to take advantage of the trends in household formation, it is important to recognize that delayed household formation does not mean these household are not eventually formed. Instead, many individuals will eventually marry and have children or form other household types.

Other household types (family and nonfamily) increased from 12.3 percent in 1970 to 23.9 percent in 2012. Other family households include one-parent families, about half of all respondents in 2012, with the remainder being families that include an unmarried householder and relative(s). The share of households that include couples without children has been remarkably stable, near 30 percent.

Source: NAHB Eye on Housing

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Maximizing Kitchen Space for Holiday Entertaining

October 8, 2013 2:57 am

The holidays are right around the corner, which means that people all over the country will be preparing for the upcoming season’s many festivities, which usually center on food. And, for those who choose to host holiday parties, this also means a renewed focus on the heart of the home where food is prepared, guests congregate and the after-dinner coffee is brewed – the kitchen. Inevitably, this is the time of year we also start wishing we had that perfect “Martha Stewart” kitchen to showcase when our friends and family come over to celebrate.

When entertaining in small spaces like apartments, being creative with the kitchen and coming up with unique organization and storage solutions can make a big impact. Below are a few tips and tricks to maximizing kitchen space as we prepare for holiday entertaining.

Holiday Cheers!
Toasting to the holiday season can be difficult if there isn’t a convenient place to store the wine. An under-the-cabinet wine rack is the perfect solution to this storage problem that will also double as a great decorative piece for the kitchen. This way the wine is on display, organized and easy to access when entertaining.

Prep, Store, Dine!
Adding a free-standing kitchen island can serve multiple purposes. Not only can you use it for meal preparation, as well as for storage, but add a few stools and guests can also use it for additional dining space or keep you company while you’re cooking.

Forget the Mistletoe
Instead of hanging mistletoe from your ceiling, consider your pots and pans! These easy-to-reach pots and pans racks look great and provide extra room in kitchen cupboards to store all of your holiday entertaining pieces.

Deck the Shelves with Pops of Color
Empty wall space is like a blank canvas – there’s so much you can do! Build a few shelves to store and display kitchen accessories. This allows you to have utensils within reach, remove unnecessary counter clutter as well as get creative with pops of color that can be tailored to any holiday.

Source: Apartment Guide

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Don't Leave Fur Kids Behind During the Zombie Apocalypse

October 7, 2013 2:54 am

Although the predicted zombie apocalypse is most likely unfounded, if it is indeed fact and not fiction, it can't hurt for parents to prepare on behalf of their fur kids as well. With Halloween just around the corner, this is the perfect time to put together a survival plan, beginning with the following checklist from Petco to ensure pets make it through the night with their brains in tact.

The basics. Store things such as water, food (human food and pet food), a flashlight and extra batteries, portable food and water bowls, pet medications, etc. in a Bison Pet Scamper Dog Pack so Fido can get out the door quickly with his survival kit in the event of an attack.

Travel safe. For those frantically attempting to escape the zombie attacks via a vehicle, be sure to strap pets in safely to avoid injuries. Doggy seatbelts, car harnesses, crates, etc. are necessary to keep pets secure and harm-free during a bumpy ride.

Escape in disguise. Help pets blend into the zombie crowd by dressing up in a Petco ghoul or skeleton costume. As the old adage goes, "If you can't beat them, join them."

Stay physically fit and mentally alert. Only the strong and the smart will survive, so be sure to keep pets in top physical condition by exercising with them regularly and giving them food puzzles to keep them mentally sharp.

Keep calm. Zombies can startle pets and instinct may tell them to run for their lives, but it's important for pets and pet parents to stick together! When battling the zombies, keep a heavy-duty and reliable leash on hand. Also, to help cats and dogs stay calm, swaddle them in a Thundershirt, which will soothe them under stressful circumstances so they stay emotionally happy.

The zombie apocalypse can happen at any moment. Prepare for the worst!

Source: Petco

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5 Tips for becoming a More Energized Morning Person

October 7, 2013 2:54 am

Most people train themselves to leap out of bed when the alarm clock sounds in the morning or at the call of a crying baby – but many have never learned to embrace the early-morning wake-up.

“Morning people are rarely understood by those who prefer to sleep in,” noted a San Francisco psychologist. “They seem to start the day with a cheerful energy their opposites can’t seem to fathom.”

But there are ways to ‘trick’ the subconscious into getting more in tune with natural circadian rhythms, so that you get to sleep earlier and more easily and wake more rested and ready to tackle the day.

From a recent panel of behavioral therapists, here are five tips to help it happen:  

Open the curtains – Natural light helps regulate your body clock. Before you go to sleep, open the curtains or blinds in your room so that you are awakened by natural sunlight. Then open the curtains in other rooms so you have as much natural light in your house as you can get.  

Eat a good breakfast - Fueling your day with something healthy and tasty will give you the energy boost you need after having fasted through the night. It can also make getting out of bed less of a chore and more of a reward. Play around with quick and easy granola or muffin recipes that you really can look forward to.

Get outside early - Now that you're awake, it's time to soak up as much sun as you can. Walk or bike to work if you can, or make some time early to increase your exposure to natural light and increase your energy level.

Dim the lights at night – Less exposure to artificial light allows your body to power down and sync with the sun. After sunset, turning off as many lights as possible will help you relax into bedtime.

Power down early – Not only does the exposure to light keep your body awake, but the movement and activity on screens can keep your mind busy when it needs to be quieting down for bed. Turn off your electronic devices once the sun has gone to bed – and resist the urge to watch TV in the bedroom.

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Plant and Prepare Your Lawn for Spring

October 7, 2013 2:54 am

Most gardeners can't wait for spring to arrive so they can get outdoors and plant. But experts know fall is the perfect time to plant trees, shrubs and bulbs while tackling essential lawn care projects that will prepare your yard for a burst of growth next spring.

While soil temperatures remain warm - actually warmer than in the spring - air temperatures start to cool in the fall, creating the perfect setting to get outdoors and plant in pleasant, moderate weather. The cooler air temperatures also mean less stress during planting of trees and shrubs, while providing them a head start to develop root systems, acclimate and rest before spring's rush.

While fall offers the only time of year to plant spring-blooming bulbs, you don't have to wait until spring to add a burst of color to your yard. Pansies and mums thrive in abundance during autumn, complementing changing leaf colors in beautiful yellow, orange and red hues.

Also consider planting frost-tolerant vegetables in your garden such as:

Carrots: Try short or round varieties with rocky or heavy soil. Look for yellow, white, and purple selections for variety.

Beets: Known for their intense coloration, entire beet plants - roots and leaves - are edible. Try growing a sampling of striped, golden, and red beets. Beets can be roasted, pickled or sauteed.

Kale: Edible varieties of kale are just as hardy as their ornamental counterparts, which are widely used in pansy beds during winter. Try pretty "Red Russian" or tasty "Lacinato" for a calcium-packed treat.

Onions: An everyday kitchen ingredient, pungent onions are a garden staple. Whether growing white, yellow, or red, harvest early for immediate use or wait for bulbs to mature and dry them for storage.

Lastly, make sure your yard is able to withstand the stress of winter by maintaining lawn care in the fall. Start by aerating, which allows greater movement of water, fertilizer and air, to stimulate your lawn. Aeration also speeds the decomposition of grass clippings and enhances deep root growth. Then, apply the last main fertilizer feeding of the year and seed to avoid any bare spots in winter. Finally, lower your mower's deck for the last cutting to reduce disease potential during wet winter weather and to make raking leaves easier.

Source: Lowe’s

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How-To Reduce Lyme Risks This Year

October 4, 2013 2:48 am

(BPT) - Colder weather's arrival means homeowners across the country brace themselves for the battle against bold, foraging deer. But with recent reports that Lyme disease - transmitted by ticks that live on deer - is even more prevalent than health officials once thought, keeping deer away from your backyard is not just a cosmetic or financial issue any more. Your success at deterring deer could directly affect your family's health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. Only about 30,000 of those actually get reported to the CDC. Many more likely go undiagnosed since Lyme symptoms can mimic other ailments and even disappear altogether for a time. Lyme disease is now the most common tick-borne illness, according to the CDC, and its health consequences can be severe.

Lyme disease is named for the river-side Connecticut town where it first emerged in 1977. A number of children in the area began exhibiting arthritis-like symptoms, a hallmark of the disease. A bull's-eye target-shaped rash at the bite location may be the first indication that a person was bitten by a tick carrying Lyme disease, but not everyone will see or develop the rash. Symptoms such as joint pain, headaches, neck stiffness and heartbeat irregularities may get mistaken for flu or other illnesses.

In the northeast, mid-Atlantic and north-central states, deer ticks carry the disease. On the Pacific Coast, blacklegged ticks (who also like traveling on deer) spread Lyme disease, the CDC says.-

Year-round, especially during fall and winter, you should check your own body, children and pets for ticks. Deer ticks are often so small you won't even feel their bite, so visual inspection is important. If you suspect you've been bitten, talk to your doctor right away.

The CDC says that reducing your exposure to ticks is the best defense against contracting Lyme disease. While you can't vaccinate your family against Lyme disease (the vaccine maker stopped production in 2002, citing lack of consumer demand), you can "vaccinate" your backyard against deer that carry Lyme-bearing ticks. Keeping deer away from your backyard can help reduce your chances of encountering ticks in your home environment.

Look for a proven effective, natural deterrent that has been independently tested, like Bobbex Deer Repellent. The topical foliar spray uses taste and smell aversion ingredients to deter deer, moose and elk from browsing and causing other damage to ornamental plantings, shrubs and trees.

As part of your deer and Lyme prevention efforts, keep these facts in mind:

Prevention is easier than cure - in both cases. Even after treatment with antibiotics, 10 to 20 percent of Lyme patients have symptoms that last for months or even years, the CDC reports. Once deer move into your yard, they can be difficult to evict, and they can cause hundreds of dollars in damage. It's easier to keep deer away - and avoid Lyme altogether - than to rectify the problems created by deer and the ticks they carry.

-A single whitetail deer can consume 8 to 12 pounds of foliage a day.
-Home remedies rarely work for keeping deer away, and trying to treat Lyme on your own can have severe health consequences. Untreated -Lyme disease can cause arthritis, severe joint pain and swelling, and even chronic neurological problems such as numbness, tingling in the hands or feet and short-term memory problems, the CDC says.
-Even though many plants, bushes and trees will lose their leaves during fall and winter, it's important to continue applying deer repellents year-round. Remember, deer forage aggressively when food becomes scarce. Fall and winter are the times when they're most likely to enter your yard - bringing their disease-carrying cargo with them while ravaging your foliage, trees and shrubs.

Source: www.bobbex.com

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Make Your Home Safer for Your Family

October 4, 2013 2:48 am

(Family Features)—Filled with mesmerizing trinkets and gadgets—your home is a new and exciting world for your small child to explore. But this new world can introduce serious and sometimes surprising safety issues that many parents do not realize are risks.

Hidden concerns in common household devices

As your children happily toddle around your home, they may come in contact with unknown safety issues scattered throughout. One issue you may not have considered is coin lithium batteries, about the size of a nickel, which can be found around most homes in everyday items like remote controls, keyless entry devices for your car, sound-enabled books and a variety of health and fitness devices. Because many of these devices are not regulated as children’s toys, the battery compartments often are very easy to open. Children are naturally drawn to these devices, as many include buttons that are fun to play with and push.

The danger of these batteries is very real. If a coin-sized lithium battery is swallowed by a small child, it can get caught in the esophagus. The battery can react with saliva and cause a chemical reaction that can lead to severe injuries in as little as two hours. Unfortunately, many parents do not know about the issue. In fact, a recent survey showed 62 percent of parents reported being unaware of the risk associated with coin lithium batteries.

Spread the word

In an effort to help keep children safe, Energizer and the National Safety Council are working together to educate parents and caregivers on the steps they can take to help prevent these injuries.

“We know parents and caregivers are constantly thinking about their children’s safety, but we want to bring awareness to an issue still unknown to many families,” said Amy Heinzen, Program Manager of Grants and Strategic Initiatives for the National Safety Council. “Coin lithium battery safety needs to be top of mind and we hope parents will take the time to learn about the issue with these four simple steps to help children be safe.”

In case of emergency

If it is suspected a child has swallowed a coin lithium battery, it is important to go to the emergency department immediately.

For more information on child safety and coin lithium battery safety, visit nsc.org, www.energizer.com, www.TheBatteryControlled.com and www.poison.org/battery.

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Easy-to-Install Window Trim Options

October 4, 2013 2:48 am

On the “what’s in and what’s out” list for homeowners, naked window exteriors are definitely out. Easy-to-install decorative accents like mouldings, window crossheads and shutters are now trending for homeowners across the country.

“With so many options for enhancing window exteriors using lightweight polyurethane products, even the most novice do-it-yourselfer can change a window exterior from boring to beautiful in a short time,” says Niki Decker with Fypon. “If you can use a tape measure, a hammer and a caulk gun, you can transform your window exteriors!”

Options for homeowners to use include:

Crossheads – Decorative crossheads sit on the top of a window and add a regal look. They can be plain or detailed with keystones in the center to draw attention or detail trim along the length of the crosshead to suit traditional home styles. There are also crosshead arches and eyebrow crossheads that provide a softer, curved look when installed above a window.

Pediments – Stylish and eye-catching, pediments also sit above windows. From curved and peaked sunbursts to triangular peaked caps, acorn and rams head styles, pediments are the most dramatic way to draw attention to your window exteriors.

Pilasters – Not all window enhancements sit on top of the window unit. Usually intended to flank the sides of entry doors, pilasters can also be cut down to run vertically up the sides of windows. Pilasters can be smooth and plain, or have a “fluted” recessed design. They generally have plinths at the top and bottom to balance out the window design and add style to the window surround.

Mouldings - Perhaps the easiest way to surround a window is with flat or decorative trim and plinth blocks. This quick project requires no miter cuts because the plinth blocks are put in all four corners of the window exterior and butt up to straight cuts of smooth, paintable trim pieces. Many homeowners use this technique as a “starting point” and then add in other elements such as pediments and shutters to create their own personal window statement.

Shutters – Another popular way to draw attention to the sides of windows is to add a set of decorative shutters. Available in louvered and raised panel styles that are smooth and paintable, shutters provide the perfect way to carry an accent color throughout the exterior of your home. Or, timber shutters in board, plank and louvered styles can be stained to imitate the look of wood on a home without all the maintenance hassles of real wood.

Window Panels – To add depth to the look of a window, flat and raised panels can be added below the window unit and then enclosed entirely with trim. Window panels tend to fill in space between the bottom of the window and the ground, helping the windows gain more presence and focus on a home exterior.

Pot Shelves – Available in both timber and stone styles, a pot shelf is placed below the bottom window sill. Oftentimes they’re used to balance out an entire window surround with a finished look.

Source: Fypon, LLC

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