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Why Allergy Symptoms will be ‘Brutal’ in Spring 2015

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Survive Allergy Season

“It’s going to be the worst ever.” Allergy sufferers hear that comment every year. However, according to experts on the Today Show, conditions actually are ripe for a brutal allergy season in 2015.

A warm fall coupled with a wet and cold winter often causes trees and flowers to produce more pollen.  A higher pollen count means more allergy symptoms for the millions of Americans that suffer each year.  The key to surviving this spring is preparing early.

How to survive allergy season: Build an arsenal now!

It’s easier to prevent a fire than put one out, and that should be the thinking when preparing for spring. Seasonal allergy symptoms are the body’s overactive immune response to pollen in the air. Once this response is activated, it’s hard to turn off, according to WebMD. Allergy pretreatment is one great step toward feeling comfortable this spring.

Top tips for allergy season preparation 

Get an early start: Depending on where you live, the time to start pretreatment with medicine will vary. For folks in the Northeast and Midwest, March or early April is a good time to begin. In the southern U.S., sufferers may want to start taking antihistamines even earlier. Thirty days prior to the usual onset of one’s allergy symptoms is a good benchmark.

Know your enemy: Even if a person doesn’t wish to pursue allergy shots or prescription medications, knowing what causes his or her allergy symptoms is essential to winning the battle. A trip to an allergist can quickly identify which types of pollen a person is most sensitive too. Armed with that knowledge, it’s time to watch the allergy forecast.

Avoid allergy triggers: Allergy sufferers have a large selection of news outlets, websites and apps that report pollen levels – and even what plant species are currently the most active. Checking these daily reports can help one decide if it would better to postpone the day trip to the lake or the stroll in the park until certain pollen counts fall. 

Improve your indoor air: Even when a person’s allergy symptoms are a response to pollen from outdoors, bringing those irritants inside is easy. Pollen sticks to hair, clothes and pets and can infiltrate indoor air. When this happens, even the home offers no respite from allergy symptoms. A whole-home air purifier can trap and remove the majority of airborne pollen before a person breathes it in. 

This spring, control your allergies before they control you. Pretreatment, avoidance of triggers and cleaner air are good ways to start this season off on a comfortable note.

Environment | Healthy Home |

Spring Home Checklist: Your “Honey Do” list has arrived!

2 minute read

Your “Honey Do” list has arrived! Below are some important and relatively easy home maintenance projects you can complete in a few weekends. Print this page out, hang it on the fridge, and check them off as you go.

Home Maintenance “Honey Do” List

  1. Inspect Your Foundation: From outside your house (and inside, if you have a basement), inspect your home’s foundation for cracks.
  2. Look in the Attic: Especially if it’s unfinished, the attic may be a place you rarely venture. However, like the basement, it says a lot about your house. Look for leaks and signs of rodents or bugs. Also, look for mold, which may appear as gray or black stains.
  3. Check the Gutters: No one wants to go out in a storm. But the next time a moderate rain blows through, throw on a slicker and take a quick walk around your house. Confirm that water is making its way to the downspouts and not running off the sides or over the top of the gutter.
  4. Service the Air Conditioner: A spring check of the cooling equipment should be performed each year. Maintained equipment runs more efficiently and last longer.
  5. Use a Pressure Washer: While spring cleaning is going on inside, there is plenty of home maintenance to do outside as well. A pressure washer is a great way to remove algae, mold, dirt, and other stains from a house with vinyl, aluminum, or other engineered siding.
  6. Repair Cracks and Potholes: In cold climates, ice and snow do a number on sidewalks and driveways. Fill in or patch any defects that could lead to injury for you, a loved one, or a passerby.
  7. Inspect Your Deck: Take a look under your deck and make sure there are no rotted boards or broken supports. This could be dangerous when you invite a big group over for a BBQ.
  8. Reset the Patio: Prevent stubbing your toe or tripping your mother-in-law by leveling out raised or sunken bricks. You will need paver sand, a trowel and a level.Home maintenance can also serve as marriage maintenance too.
  9. Sharpen your Lawn Tools: Grab a file and put a nice new edge on the blade of lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and other gardening instruments.
  10. Perform General Indoor Cleaning: Deep cleaning carpets and dusting hard to reach places can remove allergens and other irritants. A whole-home air purifier also helps trap dust and allergens as they travel through the house.

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Allergic to Love!?

< 1 minute read

Bizarre Allergies Around the World


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How is the air in your home?

< 1 minute read


How’s the air in your home?

We tend to think of air pollution as an outdoor problem impacting mostly large cities – and we feel safe and protected inside our homes. However, a recent article by Consumer Affairs says that is far from the truth, especially in newer, tighter houses.

Without improved ventilation, The American Lung Association warns that air in the home can lead to asthma, infections and even cancer.

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Top 5 Ways to Weather Winter Storms

2 minute read

5 Ways to Weather Winter Storms

February started off with a winter storm that delivered hazardous driving conditions and frigid temperatures from Kansas to Michigan; dumping 20 inches of snow in some areas before setting its sights on the snow-weary Northeast, The Weather Channel reports. Use the winter storm safety tips below to keep you and your family protected.

The latest round of snow is a sure sign the 2015 Blizzard season is underway. Homeowners need to prepare for even more winter weather in the coming weeks. Staying safe during a winter storm requires common sense as well as preparation.

Winter Storm Safety: Don’t Get Buried – Prepare Early


While people rush to hardware and grocery stores after hearing a forecast, there is no need procrastinate. It’s a good idea to pick up last-minute essentials such as food, but winter storm safety  requires being ready for every snow event, not just the big one.

Top 5 Winter Storm Safety Tips

  1. Prepare for power failures: Stock up on batteries for flashlights and small lanterns. Also keep candles on hand as they provide light and some heat.
  2. Keep out the cold: Add insulation to water pipes to prevent freezing in a power outage. Increasing attic insulation and investing in new windows also helps keep warm air in and cold air out.
  3. Be ready to stay indoors: February often means spending more time indoors. With the continued heating of the home, dry air can become a problem that leads to decreased comfort, health issues and damage to the home. Humidifiers are the most effective way to add moisture to a home’s air.
  4. Inspect your car: Maintaining tires and batteries are two of the best investments commuters can make in the winter. A hard to turn over engine is a major sign of a failing battery. A battery should be replaced or inspected every 3 years, according to Firestone. To check tire condition, use the penny test. Simply place a penny in the tread. Get new all-season tires if you can see Lincoln’s head.
  5. Shop before the snow arrives: Even in northern parts of the country, homeowners often wait until a winter storm hits to check the snow blower or replace last year’s broken shovel. Purchasing or repairing these items early in the season can keep a family a step ahead when hazardous weather arrives, since stores struggle to keep these items on the shelf during a blizzard.

Winterizing a home and car can reduce the impact of the winter storms that are sure to continue throughout February. Don’t leave safety and comfort at the mercy of Mother Nature this year, prepare today.

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Rising Propane Costs in Winter

< 1 minute read


Rising Propane Costs During Winter Season Hurt Budget

To keep your budget balanced this winter, make note of these cold-weather savings tips from our blog.

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6 Tips for Curbing Propane Prices

2 minute read


Homeowners can’t change propane prices, but they can take control of their energy bills by following some simple tips.

With the 2014 polar vortex still a fresh memory, an early-season arctic chill has already blown over much of the nation, according to CNN. The cold snap – which brought record November lows to nearly every region – has many homeowners thinking about winter energy savings and how they will cope with unpredictable propane prices.

6 tips for curbing propane prices

A frigid and snowy start to 2014 drove up propane prices. Demand increased and harsh winter weather interrupted supply lines. Those relying on electric or natural gas also experienced higher bills. Regardless of the fuel source a home uses, everyone can conserve energy in similar ways. Often, a number of bad habits during winter exaggerate the costs of keeping a home warm.

Keep the lights off:

Not only does it become colder in the winter, it also gets darker. Homeowners should keep lights off in unoccupied rooms, including closets, garages and offices. This also goes for shutting down TVs, computers and other electronics that aren’t in use.

Use a programmable thermostat:

When no one is home, keeping a house at 74 degrees is no more beneficial than keeping it at 58 degrees. For those who don’t want to come home to a cold house, though, a programmable thermostat is the answer. Automatically raise the temperature just before family members arrive home, saving energy without sacrificing comfort.

Lock in service when propane prices are low:

In most cases, it’s best to lock in a yearly rate in mid-summer, when demand is low. Technically, an energy customer could come out behind on the very off chance that propane prices fall later in the season. However, this is rare and purchasing before blizzards hit is a wallet saver if propane prices nearly triple in January – which they did in 2014, according to The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News.

Dress for the weather:

It’s not practical to wear shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter – even inside. Sweaters and thick socks allow homeowners to keep their thermostat setting low while still staying comfortable. Family members should also wear flannel pajamas to bed and grab extra blankets, so the temperature can be lowered even further when everyone is sleeping.

Apply plastic over windows:

According to Popular Mechanics, using clear plastic insulation kits for windows and patio doors is another great way to save money during the winter.

Control Humidity:

A whole-home humidifier can also help homeowners stay cozy and energy conscious this winter. People feel more comfortable at lower temperatures when indoor relative humidity is under control.

While rising propane prices and energy bills will become frustrating this winter, homeowners don’t need to put their bank accounts at the mercy of the weather. With some small sacrifices, new technologies and good habits, families can realize real savings without reducing their comfort in the home.