Recent General Posts
Real Christmas Trees are Recyclable
After the holidays, don’t throw your real Christmas tree in the trash or set it on the curb. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes. Here are some recycling options and tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays. Every community is different, but in general, you have these options:
Curbside pick-up for recycling: Many providers will collect trees during regular pickup schedules on the two weeks following Christmas. There are often requirements for size, removing ornaments, flocking, etc.
Take your tree to a drop-off recycling center: Most counties have free drop-off locations. Usually, you may take up to two trees to a drop-off location at no charge.
Yard waste: Cut the tree to fit loosely into your yard waste container.
Tree recycling/mulching programs: Tree recycling and mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. Check with your local department of public works for information. They chip and shred the trees, then make the mulch available for use in your garden. Your hauler will notify you of pick-up dates in your area. Be sure to check with your local hauler.
Nonprofit pickup: Call for an appointment to have a nonprofit organization in your area pickup your tree. Some Boy Scout troops offer a pickup service for a small donation (often $5).
Other Recycling Options
Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management.
Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.
Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.
Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.
Paths for hiking trails: Some counties use shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers.
Living, rooted trees: Get a rooted (ball and burlap or containerized) tree and plant it in your yard. (It's a good idea to dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates.
Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove.
Removing Your Tree
The best way to avoid a mess removing your tree is to place a plastic tree bag (available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up. You can hide it with a tree skirt. Then, when the holidays are done, pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside. Obviously, you will want to remove the stand before recycling the tree. If some needles do scatter inside, it is better to sweep them up; needles can clog vacuum cleaners.
HELPFUL SUMMER PHONE APPS
From kicking back at the best BBQ joint in town to swimming at the beach with friends or road tripping with your family – nothing is better than taking full advantage of a beautiful summer day. Here are some of the best travel apps you can use to make the most of this summer.
Stay organized abroad
Want a perfect trip itinerary without having to spend the time and effort of putting one together? Try TripIt. Forward your confirmation emails to TripIt, and then let their professional planners put together your ideal trip itinerary. You can also share itineraries with your travel companions or family at home. When you’re getting your documents in order and preparing to leave, be sure to look into travel insurance for extended trips or traveling abroad.
Live like a local
You know your favorite places in your hometown, but do you know how to find the best experiences when you’re traveling? How do you know you’ve picked the best destination? With countless reviews from travelers and locals alike, the TripAdvisortravel app gives you the ins-and-outs of almost any destination imaginable. And, since the information is user-generated, you’ll get some unique insights on trip factors you may not have considered.
Protect yourself from pollen, sun and inclement weather
The Weather Channel (Apple | Android)
You can’t control the weather, but this app might make you think it’s possible. Nearly every feature is customizable: set up storm alerts, save locations, get notified when the forecast includes your preferred running weather, set pollen alerts, see the UV index and more. You can also access radar within in the app.
Save on gas
Find the best gas prices as you travel by using GasBuddy. Have a passenger pull up this travel app when you hit half a tank, and then cruise on forward to the cheapest gas around. This strategy may be able to save you a good amount of money on long road trips.
Monitor tides and currents
Tides Near Me lets you make the most of your beach stay by helping you time activities with the tide. Never miss an opportunity for the best fishing, shelling or morning runs, and don’t let the tide trap you at home if you’re staying on an off-road part of the beach. This app lets you keep track of tides and currents in multiple locations, all over the world. And if that’s not enough, the full version is available for a one time price of $2.99.
Travel on the open road
If you want a totally personalized driving experience, the Waze road travel app is one of the most versatile summer apps out there. Be prepared for what’s coming on the road, like potholes, heavy traffic, slow downs, accidents, poor weather conditions and more. With Waze, you can set the speedometer within the travel app to remind you to slow down on those long stretches of highway or if the speed limit changes. You can also set reminders for when to leave, notify friends when you’re running late and have some fun with the many voice options. Combined with regular driving safety tips, Waze can go a long way in ensuring you arrive safely at your destination.
SERVPRO of West Chester Pa. Wishes you and your family a happy safe summer travels.
PREVENT YOUR CAR FROM OVER HEATING
Park in the shade
You can feel the temperature difference between the shade and the sun – and so can your car. Parking in the shade not only keeps you cool, but can prolong the life of your car. No shady spot? Use a sunshade to reduce heat inside the car.
2. Tint your windows
A local dealership or auto body shop can apply tinted windows to help keep your car cooler, and protect your interior from sun damage.
3. Use a sun shade
Keeping a sun shade in the car is helpful because you can’t always guarantee that you’ll find a shaded or covered area to park in. These UV heat shields will keep the interior from getting super-hot, plus it protects your interior from the damaging effects of the sun. You might even consider getting a custom-made sun screen that is designed to fit your make and model of car. These special shades can be more effective at keeping all of the rays out.
4. Get rid of hot air
Closed windows trap hot air, and the glass serves as a conductor that helps heat up the enclosed space. Leave your windows open slightly so the air can escape – and if you have a sunroof, crack that, too. Make sure the opening is not large enough for someone to reach through. If you leave your windows cracked, remember to keep an eye on the weather – one sudden summer storm could lead to a soggy interior.
5. Turn the floor vents on
Most people get in the car and turn the upper vents on “high” to get the air flowing. But you’re actually better off directing the air through the floor vents. Hot air rises, so switch to the bottom vents and put your blower on the maximum setting to push that air out. Then, once the car begins cooling, you can open the upper vents again.
6. Use the fresh air setting on your A/C
Using the re-circulation setting means you’re just moving that hot, trapped air around your vehicle, so that’s something you want to use after your car has had the chance to cool down. Give it 10 minutes or so, then switch over.
7. Keep your eye on the temperature gauge
Located on the dashboard, the device has a needle that should always be pointing toward the center. If it points toward hot, pull over, turn off the engine and let the car cool down.
8. Turning on the heat
Turning on the heat may be the last thing you want to do on a hot summer day, but it can pull hot air from the engine compartment and cool the engine. It won’t fix the underlying problem, but it’s a good measure for long drives.
9. Add engine coolant
This is especially important in hot months. To check the coolant level, open the hood and locate the coolant reservoir. The coolant level is shown by indicator lines on the reservoir. If too low, simply add the appropriate amount of coolant and reattach the cap. Engine coolant is often sold as a 50/50 mix of water and coolant. You can also buy concentrated coolant and mix it yourself.
Safety tip: Never add coolant to a hot engine. Wait for the engine to cool before removing the cap or pouring in coolant.
10. Have your cooling system flushed by a mechanic
Even if you keep engine coolant at the right levels, it will eventually get dirty and need to be replaced. Flushing involves draining old coolant from the radiator, cleaning it with flush fluid and adding new coolant. Mechanics recommend a flush every 40,000 miles, but check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation.
11. Consider replacing your battery
If your car battery is older than three years, it may not be providing the power it once did, so your car has to work harder and can overheat. Your mechanic can help you determine whether you may need a new battery.
If you find yourself in a situation where your car overheats, follow these steps to ensure you and your vehicle remain safe:
- Pull over, park your car and turn off the engine as soon as possible. Let your car cool for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- Open the hood of your car to allow the heat to clear out quickly.
- Once your car has cooled off, turn the ignition to its first position (don’t start the engine). If you see that the temperature gauge is within a normal range and engine fluid levels are sufficient, try to start the engine.
- If the engine makes unusual sounds or it does not start at all, it’s best to stay on the safe side and call for roadside assistance to have your car towed. This will allow for a mechanic to inspect it and make the necessary repairs.
What can cause your car to overheat?
Hot temperatures alone might not be causing your vehicle to overheat. If your car’s cooling systems aren’t functioning correctly, it can lead to serious damage to your engine and expensive repairs. Here are a few common engine problems that can cause your car to run hot that you should know about:
- Coolant: Every car has a cooling system to help keep the temperature of the engine down. If your cooling system has a leak, blockage or pump malfunction, the coolant might not be able to circulate properly. Cooling system malfunctions aren’t just problematic when it’s hot out; very cold temperatures can cause coolant to freeze and prevent circulation.
- Thermostat: Another possible issue could be a problem with the thermostat. A vehicle’s thermostat is responsible for regulating the amount of coolant flowing through the engine. A broken or malfunctioning one can easily cause your car to overheat.
- Low Oil: A car’s oil does more than just lubricate moving parts. It also helps to remove excess heat from the engine. If your vehicle has low oil, it might be causing your car to run hot.
- Radiator Fan: If your cooling fan isn’t turning on or running at the right level, it can case your car to overheat. Radiator fans usually run on electric motors, so any motor mechanical problems can lead to your fan not providing enough cool air flow.
Of course these aren’t the only possible problems that can cause a car to overheat. It’s a good idea to find a reliable mechanic who can diagnose and service your car, and get protection in case your car overheats while you’re on the road. Learn about how Nationwide Roadside Assistance will help to protect you in the event something goes wrong.
Don't Leave your best friend behind ! Traveling with pets.
Is your family pet joining you on summer vacation? Whether you’re traveling in trains, planes or automobiles, these helpful pet travel tips will help ensure smooth sailing on your journey.
Air Travel Restrictions
Many airlines have established travel restrictions for pets to ensure they are not exposed to extreme temperatures while in the holding area (which is not air conditioned), the terminal facility and when being moved between the terminal and the aircraft. Ask your airline of choice if they have a summertime travel embargo preventing pets from flying during the months of May through September.
Arrival, layover and departure airports that have a temperature above 84 degrees will not accept pets. For brachycephalic dog’s breeds (including pugs, Boston terriers, boxers, bulldogs chow chows, some mastiffs, Pekingese, pit bulls, Lhasa Apso’s, Shar-Peis and Shih Tzus) and snub-nosed cats (Burmese, exotics, Himalayans, Persians, British shorthairs and Scottish folds) that restriction is 75 degrees.
Consider a red-eye flight or an early morning departure when temperatures are cooler. Try to avoid layovers, if possible. If your pet is traveling in the cargo bay, choose early morning or late evening flights to avoid extreme temperatures that may affect your pet’s health.
Air Travel Policies
Before booking your ticket, call the airline to make sure you have a clear understanding of their pet policy to avoid any complications upon your arrival at the terminal. This includes necessary paperwork for your pet, crate size requirements and other details. Not only may there be restrictions based on seasonal temperature and types of breeds traveling, some airlines also impose age restrictions.
Delta Airlines announced in December 2011 that they were no longer permitting pugs or snub-nosed cats to board as cargo on any flights. Make sure your pet will be welcome on board the airline of your choice before you commit to purchasing a ticket that may be nonrefundable.
Avoid the Holiday Rush
If traveling during the summer holidays, try leaving a day or two before and after the main rush, and use direct flights whenever possible to avoid accidental transfers, delays or, worse, a displaced pet. Space for small pets permitted in the cabin is limited, so book early.
Pet Lodging Permitted?
If you’re taking a road trip get prior confirmation from hotels and camp sites that your pet is a welcome guest. Don’t presume that information in a brochure or on a Web site has the most up-to-date information.
Usually, hotels have a limited number of pet-friendly rooms which can book up quickly during summer months so plan your trip ahead of time to secure a place for you and your companion.
Don’t Leave Home without These
- Don’t forget to bring your pet’s essentials:
- Litter box/poop bags
- Food, water and treats*
- Food and water dishes
- Leash or harness
- A couple favorite toys
- Pet health certificate (required by airlines, some hotels)
- First-aid kit
- Sunscreen and insect repellent for pets (check with your vet)
- Any necessary medications
- ID tags
- If traveling on an airplane, tape your pet’s picture to the outside of the kennel along with your contact info
*Always bring enough food for your pet plus two extra servings just as a precaution. It’s not ideal to switch up your pet’s diet while you’re traveling as that can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Prepare Your Pet for a Healthy, Safe Trip
A few useful tips before you hit the trail:
- The USDA asks that pets be given food and water four hours prior to check in at the airport. If you’re traveling in a car, avoid feeding pets one hour prior to your road trip to avoid motion sickness.
- Use car safety restraints to protect your pet in case of an accident.
- Don’t ever leave your pet unattended in a hot car. As little as a few minutes in a hot car can result in a catastrophic, life threatening situation.
- Consider a checkup with your pet’s veterinarian prior to any travel to make sure your pet is up to date on vaccines and is in good health. The airline will require proof of this as well.
The Secrets to Selling Your Home Faster and For More $$$!
Help your future buyer imagine living in your home with great staging.
DID YOU KNOW that SERVPRO of West Chester is often brought in to do a last minute deep cleaning for a realtor, property manager or homeowner before the "stagers" come in to transform a home?
According to blogger, Cynthia Biggs, a well-staged listing is a many-splendored thing. Not only does it give potential buyers a chance to visualize your home's design potential, it turns out that staging your space (aka showcasing your home with furnishings) might very well help your home sell faster—and for more money. According to the "Staged to Sell" study released by UpNest, a free website service that allows you to compare multiple agents and real estate quotes, home staging is also a powerful tactic; one that can give you a competitive advantage in today's cutthroat housing market. Still not convinced?
1. Buyers spend 5 minutes in an empty home, but 40 minutes in a furnished one.
Believe it or not, UpNest's research reveals that the homebuyers only spend about five minutes inside of a vacant listing, as opposed to the average 40 minutes they spend touring a furnished one. Translation: a staged home gives prospective buyers the opportunity to get emotionally attached to the space; which undoubtedly leads to quicker sales for higher values.
2. Staged homes sell 87 percent faster.
According to UpNest, over 90% of buyers use internet for their home search. Well-staged homes ensure better images and video tours, which often translates to more buyer interest. In fact, RESA (the Real Estate Staging Association) homes staged before listing sit on the market for an average of 23 days and sell 87% faster than homes staged post listing (which on average spent 183 days on the market). Additionally, another study by the IAHSP (International Association of Home Staging Professionals) concludes that 95% of staged homes sell, on average, in 11 days or less (compared to 90 days for un-staged spaces). It's safe to say staging is a good way to expedite your selling time.
3. . . . and for 17 percent more money.
UpNest's study shows that professionally staged homes have a higher perceived value by buyers than non-staged ones, which inevitably leads to higher offers. Research suggests that on average, a staged home will sell for a whopping 17% percent more than a comparable un-staged space. Additionally, the study says that 69% of buyers will spend up to 5% more in dollar value for a staged home versus an empty one (while 38% will spend up to 10% more).
4. Staging certain rooms can make a difference.
Not so surprisingly, UpNest's study shows that staging certain rooms in a home can have a bigger impact on buyers than others. For instance, research suggests that staging a living room and kid's room makes more of a difference than a staged dining room; while a well-staged bathroom and master bedroom can leave much more of an impression on prospective buyers than a furnished kitchen or guest bedroom.
5. Hiring a professional stager is easy... and worth the investment.
Whether you're a first-time seller or a seasoned agent, UpNest's data overwhelming proves that staging your home before listing is an easy investment that truly pays off. Not only have websites like RESA streamlined the process of finding a professional stager in your area, research shows that when sellers spend around 1% of their home's value on staging, they see on average a 1000% return of investment—yes, 1,000-percent!
If you're interested in having some pre-moving or pre-selling deep cleaning done by the pros at SERVPRO of West Chester, call Jeannie at 610-692-8884. We will give you cost-effective solutions to get rid of odd smells, stains, or if you need drapes and upholstery cleaned, we do it all. Have your dryer and HVAC ducts been cleaned? Ever? Might be time for the SERVPRO of West Chester to give you a hand getting your house ready for the stagers to make it look beautiful. www.SERVPROwestchesterpa.com
Restoration vs. Replacement
Restoration doesn't just save money. It saves time by getting you back in business faster. At SERVPRO of West Chester, our main focus is always restoration versus replacement.
Our efforts will always be to restore items instead of replacing them with costly new versions. Recently, our local university experienced a challenging water damage that impacted several floors, teachers offices and student labs as well as conference space. The water damage occurred on the third floor and everything below it on the second and first floor incurred water damage. Specifically, a heavily used student/teacher conference room was impacted, especially the two very large conference tables. As the University started to look for replacements, SERVPRO of West Chester reached out to our furniture refinisher to see if these tables could be salvaged. The answer was YES, we were able to save the University thousands of dollars by having the table tops redone versus replaced. The University Department Chairman was thrilled especially since it was done in less than a week minimizing the inconvenience to the faculty.
SERVPRO of West Chester has proudly served WCU and the West Chester community for over 26 years. If you come across a water, mold or fire damage situation, or in need of some deep cleaning and restoration support, please call the brand you can trust at 610-692-8884.
Why Happiness Matters at Work
Happiness is a Choice!
Choose Happy at Work.
When you were little, and the teacher asked you what did you want to be when you grew up, bet you didn't say MISERABE!
At every stage in life, unhappiness is not a state to which we aspire. The economy, our jobs, drama in the family or at work can seem like we are on tiny little inflatable rafts in a big scary ocean of fear. So we hold on, not really knowing how to move beyond the unhappiness that has set in. Medical evidence suggests being unhappy at work affects our memory and our capacity to learn while increasing the risk of illness.
So happiness does matter. We all have the capacity to derive pleasure and satisfaction from hard work. Here are a few tips for training your brain for happiness at work.
1. Celebrate Success. Whether it's the achievement of a major goal, or another week that the printer didn't act up, give yourself and your colleagues (and your printer) a pat on the back. This little gesture can make a huge impact in a tense office.
2. Seek Meaning. Happiness at work comes from doing something that gives us pleasure and meaning. If your job currently provides neither, make sure your day or week includes some engagement in activities that do. It could be volunteering, reading something fun and not work related, doing a hobby, taking a course, doing some exercise. Appreciate yourself.
3. Think it. Happiness depends mostly on your OWN state of mind. It's not related to status or income. Find ways to be happy, and work on being happy for others.
4. Express Gratitude and Be Generous. Be grateful for everything that makes your day better, from a colleague's good news, someone's positive nature to sharing your appreciation for the littlest of things someone does.
5. Practice Being Thoughtful. Happiness occurs in the smallest of ways and sometimes when you're not even looking for it. Make it a HABIT to be thoughtful towards others. Give out 3 free compliments a day. If you are the boss, make it a daily habit to give a compliment to everyone you interact with during the day and watch your employees spirits and production rise.
HAPPIER PEOPLE ARE MORE LIKELY TO . . .
* make better team players/employees
* be more creative, confident and productive
* have a strong network of support & allies
* require fewer days off
If you're a boss and you have an employee who is always sick, down in the dumps, leaves work early, calls in sick, comes in tired . . . they're not happy. Don't ignore the signs or them.
The #1 thing management can do is set a tone for happiness and appreciation at the office. It can change your entire culture.
Excerpts from Top Coach International 2009
Use Extension Cords Properly
TEACH YOUR COLLEGE BOUND KIDS HOW TO USE AN ELECTRICAL CORD PROPERLY.
Roughly 3,300 home fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring 270 more. Extension cords can overheat and cause fires when used improperly, so keep these important tips in mind to protect your home and workplace.
- Don’t attempt to plug extension cords into one another.
- Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the device being used.
- Do NOT overload extension cords.
- A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have additional outlets installed where you need them.
- Inspect cords for damage before use. Check for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections.
- Do NOT nail or staple extension cords to walls or baseboards.
- Do NOT run extension cords through walls, doorways, ceilings, or floors. If a cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire hazard.
- Never use three-prong plugs with outlets that only have two slots. Never cut off the ground pin to force a fit, which could lead to electric shock.
- Buy only cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory.
- Do NOT substitute extension cords for permanent wiring.
- Do NOT use an extension cord or power strip with heaters or fans, which could cause cords to overheat and result in a fire.
NOW HIRING! - Have a Great Career With SERVPRO of West Chester
SERVPRO of West Chester is hiring! With our steady growth, it's time to expand our production team.
We are looking for hardworking men or women to join our team. SERVPRO of West Chester (SPWC) has been serving the greater West Chester community for over 26 years! We are locally owned and operated.
JOB TITLE: Production Technician
PRIMARY ROLE: Our SPWC respond to service calls as needed. They perform services as assigned in a friendly, polite manner, always following the SERVPRO production guidelines. Having good communication skills is key. You will be expected to communicate with your crew chief and the customer to make sure the customer's needs are thoroughly met. You will support the crew chief, other production personnel as needed.
You will be expected to present yourself each day with a clean SERVPRO uniform, keep your vehicles, equipment, warehouse and office area clean and in good working order, identifying any issues to your crew chief.
SERVPRO of West Chester has a very successful and proven methodology. Production technicians are expected to perform according to guidelines and work orders. Communications to the crew chief and customers is always polite, informative and timely. Jobs are completed at or beyond customer expectations. Vehicles, equipment and facilities remain clean, orderly and working properly at all times.
We hold the technician responsible for the customer's satisfaction and count on the tech to communicate the status of a job with his or her superiors before leaving the job site. This increases positive results. Showing respect to each customer by greeting them and introducing yourself as well as when you are leaving the site is key. Adherring to leaving the jobsite clean and orderly is paramount, this may mean setting up a staging area, wearing protective booties, and blocking off a room when needed to protect adjacent rooms.
Drug testing and a clean driving record is required.
Interested candidates should send their resume and cover letter to marleyquinn@SERVPROwestchester.com. 610-692-8884.