It’s the New Year, and you’d like to rejuvenate your home. You’re not going to move walls or build an addition. But you’d like to breathe some new life into what you have. Here are a few easy updates you can do to make your house seem instantly new to you.
Paint a room’s trim.Refresh your main living space by painting the trim. Crisp baseboards and moldings go a long way to revitalizing the whole room. Bright white is a classic color that will complement any décor style.
Replace or recover a piece of furniture. Even one new living room chair or a reupholstered love seat can refresh a room’s look. A new coffee table or area rug will also help change a room’s appearance and serve as a new focal point. Even without new furnishings or upholstery, rearranging a seating group to face a different direction can breathe new life into the room. Consider hanging a wall mirror to create the sense of additional space around a cozy grouping of furniture.
Add fresh accessories. Pillows and throws can quickly change a room’s style by adding vibrant colors or calming neutrals, while also enhancing warmth and comfort. Ceiling-to-floor length drapes hung just outside a window’s width seem to expand the room up and out.
Make your home a little smarter.With a variety of economical smart-home hubs to choose from, it’s easier than ever to take that first step into the world of smart-home living. Look for a hub with do-it-yourself setup and no monthly fees. Download a free app, buy a few compatible light bulbs and a smart outlet strip, and you’ll soon be able to remotely control several appliances within your home. From there, consider a smart deadbolt, garage door opener, home security system and/or thermostat.
Give a small bathroom a new character.Bright-colored walls or bold wallpaper patterns can really make a small bathroom pop. Colors and patterns that would be overwhelming in a larger room work like a decorative accent in the smaller setting. Or go the other way and make the bathroom an oasis of serenity with light blue-grey walls.
Look at lighting with new eyes.Is there an area that could use more light? A warmer glow? Add a lamp to a table in a dim corner to open up the room and show off the objects on the table. Pendant lights aren’t just for dining areas — a stylish pendant fixture hanging next to the arm of the sofa or guest bed is an object of interest as well as a source of light. In the kitchen, install LED strip lighting under cabinets where work surfaces below could use a little illumination.
For more information on remodeling your home, go to our Remodeling Your Home section of the PBA website.
As home builders prepare to excavate any home site, Pennsylvania state law requires contacting Pennsylvania 811 to alert the utility companies of the intent to dig.
When home builders use the PA One Call service before digging for the first time each year, they normally pay a $125 fee. For PBA members, that cost is waived. A $125 savings!
Simply forward your invoice to your local builders association. They will confirm your membership and send your invoice directly to PBA for payment.
You will not receive an invoice for additional use of the PA One Call System in the same calendar year, regardless of how often you use it. Repeat the same process the first time you dig in the next calendar year!
When dialing 8‐1‐1, homeowners and contractors are connected to Pennsylvania 811, the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional underground utility line locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. Pennsylvania 811 encourages area residents to visit www.pa811.org or www.paonecall.org for more information about digging safely.
New Year’s resolutions are a great way to give yourself that extra motivation to start making positive changes in your life. Why not do the same for your home?
As we enter 2019, take a moment and reflect on your home. There’s a good chance that it has some problems, especially if it’s more than 10 years old. It can be all too easy to ignore home issues and let them get out of hand.
Use your New Year energy to kick home improvement into gear. You might even be surprised to find that you and your home have a strikingly similar list of resolutions.
1. Lose Weight
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is losing weight. While it’s one of the toughest for a person to stick to, for a home, it’s surprisingly easy. Homes tend to collect clutter around the holidays, filling up with gifts, decorations, and new purchases. Don’t wait until spring rolls around to de-clutter. Use the first couple weeks in January to throw away, donate, or re-sell home goods that you no longer need. Your home will feel so much lighter and more spacious once you do.
2. Be More Organized
As you work your way through de-cluttering your home, roll with that momentum and take it as an opportunity to get organized. Maybe your home office has become a wasteland of papers, books, and gadgets in the past year. Go through it all. Get rid of things you never use, and recycle all the papers you don’t need anymore. You’ll start the New Year feeling more productive in your clean, de-cluttered workspace.
3. Take Up a New Hobby
DIY projects are the perfect way to update your home for the New Year. Not only do they make your home a little more functional and beautiful on a tight budget, but they can give you a great sense of personal accomplishment. Replacing light fixtures, painting walls, and switching out hardware are DIY projects that almost anyone can do. There are, however, certain projects that are best left to the professionals. Before you pick up a sledgehammer, start ripping up floors, or removing cabinets, consult with a remodeler who can provide some professional guidance.
4. Eat Better and Drink Less
Between parties, family dinners, and seasonal treats, it’s all too easy to overindulge during the holidays. Even your home might be feeling gluttonous - consuming more water and electricity as the weather turns colder. Luckily, there are countless new products - some of which can be installed fairly easily - to improve your home’s energy efficiency. From low-flow water fixtures, smart-home thermostats, and motion-sensing automated lights to Energy Star appliances and double-pane windows, the options are endless. Ask a building professional which features are best suited for your home and budget. Put in the time now, and when next winter rolls around your home will be equipped and ready.
5. Get Out of Debt
A top New Year priority for many is getting out of debt and finding better ways to manage finances, especially after holiday spending. You can start by identifying wasteful spending. Try to minimize or even eliminate it wherever possible, but remember that you can’t cut all the fun out of your budget. You probably have several improvements you want to tackle in your home, but starting on them all at once would be a logistical and financial nightmare. Work with a contractor or remodeler you trust, and let them help you prioritize your needs and wants. Create a plan to address them over time and factor that into your New Year budget. You might also want to check in with a realtor who can help you determine which items on your list will give you the best return on investment, making the improvements well worth the time and money.
It’s no surprise that your list of New Year’s resolutions might look very similar to your home. After all, your home is a reflection of you. With these tips, you can spend 2019 in a more comfortable, beautiful, peaceful and energy-efficient home.
Learn more about which improvements are best suited for your home by contacting a professional remodeler at your local Pennsylvania builders association.
As temperatures continue to drop in Pennsylvania, many homeowners see their energy bills rise. Whether you are turning up the heat or turning on the holiday lights, energy usage tends to increase during these cooler months. Yet, there are many steps you can take — from small adjustments to major modifications — to stay warm and use less energy this winter. Here are a few simple tips to get you started.
Don’t Heat an Empty Home
If household members are at school and work during the day, or you are traveling for the holiday season, adjust your thermostat to limit the amount of wasted heat. While you can do this manually each day, programmable and smart thermostats can automatically keep your house cozy when it counts and save energy when everyone’s away.
The selection of smart thermostats is ever-expanding. Many keep track of how much you would save based on your region, size of home and heating type. In many cases, this investment results in significant savings.
Some utility companies also offer free programmable or smart thermostats to encourage their customers to use energy wisely. Check with your local utility to see what programs they offer.
Control the Air Flow
By sealing air leaks in a home, an average household can cut 10 percent of its monthly energy bill. Use caulk to seal any cracks or small openings on surfaces such as where window frames meet the house structure. Check your weather stripping in exterior door frames and replace any that is deteriorated or cracked.
Sealing windows and doors will help, but the worst culprits are cutouts for pipes or wires, gaps around recessed lights, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Do-it-yourselfers can buy material that expands to fill the gaps and prevent air from escaping.
Once the arctic blast of deep winter appears, many homeowners worry they won’t be able to keep their homes comfortable without their energy bills going through the roof. Luckily, innovations in smart home technology can help you keep your house warm and toasty without breaking the bank.
Smart Thermostat - Among the most popular and arguably the most effective at improving energy efficiency, smart thermostats can learn the temperature preferences of the homeowner and auto-adjust to his or her schedule.
Smart hubs – Just by the sound of your voice, you can control multiple smart-home devices interconnected through a central hub. Most of the big manufactures offer hubs for their various products, but products from different makers can’t always integrate easily with each other, if at all. It’s important to discern your budget and lifestyle. Then it’s easier to decide your home automation needs and identify which products offer the most compatibility.
For more information and tips on how to make your home more efficient this winter, go to https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips.
December 11, 2018
NAHB Chairman Randy Noel
Important Step Forward on Waters of the U.S. Rule
Dear colleagues, I am pleased to announce that the Trump administration today released its proposed new definition for "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) that will resolve years of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. This represents an important victory for our members.
Home Safety Tips for the Holiday Season
Family gatherings and festive celebrations — these are the hallmarks of the holiday season. It’s a time for buying gifts, decorating and traveling.
It’s also a time with its own set of home safety concerns. Holiday lights and decorations brighten the scene as the days get darker, but they can pose fire hazards. Travel, holiday events, and shopping take people away from home more than usual.
Here’s a quick list of safety precautions to help home owners keep their families safe during the holiday season.
· If you have a lot of packages delivered while you’re not home, maybe it’s time for a doorbell security camera. Its app can alert you when there’s activity at the door, so you’ll know when a package comes. And with the camera’s video, you’ll be able to check in any time for peace of mind until you get home.
· Inside your home, consider keeping gifts in a safe place that is not easily visible from outside.
· Ask a friend or neighbor to watch your home if you plan to spend the holidays away from home. You can also request the post office to hold your mail delivery during this time.
· When you’re away from home overnight, put lights throughout the house on timers to turn on and off according to your normal living pattern.
Lights and Other Decorations
· Inspect the wiring on all holiday lights. Ones with worn or frayed electrical wiring should be thrown away.
· Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Also, don't run electrical cords under rugs. Be sure all decorative lights are turned off before you go to bed or leave the house.
· Candles are one of the top causes of holiday-related fires. Place candles and other open flames away from decorations. Never leave burning candles unattended and always supervise children and pets around burning candles. Or, safer yet, consider using battery-operated candles for a flameless decorative glow.
· Be sure to use electrical outlets specifically designed for outdoor use if you use plug-in lights to decorate your house’s exterior, trees or yard.
· Place trees a safe distance from radiators, vents, fireplaces and any other heat source that may dry the tree. Inspect the tree for dryness daily.
· Make sure trees or other large decorations do not block doors or hallways in your home.
· Keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Make sure your family has a fire emergency escape plan. In case of fire, leave your home and call for help from a cell phone or a neighbor’s home.
Taking the time to follow a few safety precautions will help ensure that your holiday celebrations remain festive for your entire family.
Learn more about home safety go to www.nahb.org/forconsumers.
Colder temperatures can take a big toll on your home. Severe winter storms can also knock out heat, power and other services to your home. That’s why it’s important to take a few steps now to prepare your home for the changing weather ahead.
Here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help you make sure your home is the best shelter possible for you and your family during the colder months ahead.
* Ensure you are keeping outside air and moisture from entering your home as much as possible. Insulate walls and attics, caulk and weather-strip doors and windows, and install storm windows.
* Clear rain gutters so they don’t fill with water that could freeze and cause damage to the roof due to the added weight.
* Trim tree branches that could potentially fall on your home during a storm. Hiring a professional is strongly advised, especially if any branches are near power lines.
* Have your heating equipment and chimney cleaned and inspected every year. Ensure there are no openings in the chimney bricks or mortar or flashing.
* Insulate water pipes with foam wrap or similar products to help prevent them from freezing.
* Make sure all your fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside, and the vent openings are clear of debris and snow.
* Learn how to shut off your main water valve in case your pipes do freeze and burst.
* Hire a contractor to check the structural integrity of your roof to sustain the weight of accumulated snow or water.
Important Safety Tips
During the winter, many people use alternate heating and power sources. But doing so can increase the risk of electric shock, house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning if the necessary safety precautions are not taken:
* Keep fire extinguishers around the home, and make sure all family members know how to use them.
* Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawl space or any partially enclosed area. And do not place the unit near a door, window or vent where carbon monoxide could seep indoors.
* Space heaters should only be placed on a level surface and away from heavy foot traffic when in use, especially if pets or small children are nearby. It’s best to have space heaters that automatically turn off when a room reaches the desired temperature or in the event it is tipped over.
To learn more about routine maintenance, energy efficiency, safety and other tips to protect and properly care for your home click here, or contact your local Pennsylvania builders association at www.pabuilders.org/find-a-local.
Longtime PBA member David Eakin from Montgomery, PA passed away on Nov. 8, 2018 at his home surrounded by his family. Dave was a member of the West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association Board of Directors. He worked most of his career as an independent insurance agent most recently as Regional Vice President of Henry Dunn Agency.
David is survived by his wife Gladys Louise (Kahler) Eakin who together would have celebrated 54 years of marriage on December 4, and his children and their families.
A memorial service to honor the life of David will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday November 17 at St. John’s Lutheran “Brick” Church, 196 Brick Church Rd., Montgomery with the Rev. Theodore Cockley officiating. Burial will follow in St. John Church Cemetery. A masonic service will be held at 8:45 a.m. with a visitation to follow from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran “Brick” Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church, 196 Brick Church Rd, Montgomery, PA 17752.
PBA has elected its incoming Senior Leadership for 2019, as unanimously voted on at the November 3rd PBA Board of Directors meeting held on Saturday, November 3 at the Harrisburg Hilton.
The incoming 2019 PBA President is Maria Coutts from Wayne Pike Building Industry Association. Maria is the President of The Coutts Group in Hawley, PA and also serves on the Governmental Affairs Committee, Membership Committee, and Professional Women in Building Committee. She also serves on the NAHB Board of Directors.
Elected to 2019 PBA Vice President is Jon Sukonik of the HBA of Bucks & Montgomery Counties. Having previously served in 2018 as PBA Secretary, Jon will oversee PBA’s activities on both state and national levels, and serve as the liaison to all coalitions and task forces of which PBA is a member. Jon is President of Sukonik Building Companies, Ltd. in Plymouth Meeting, PA.
Continuing her role on PBA’s Senior Leadership team as Associate Vice President is Betsy Dupuis of the Builders Association of Central Pennsylvania. Betsy will lead the Associate Member Committee and other assignments. She is an attorney with Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C. in State College, PA.
Newly appointed to the Senior Leadership team for 2019 include Cindy Cepko from Wayne Pike BIA who was elected as PBA’s new Secretary and Lori Moore Venema from West Branch Susquehanna BA as Treasurer. Cindy will record and communicate all official proceedings of PBA and its Board of Directors, including all reports of committees and task forces. She is with Granite Homes Property Management in Paupack, PA. Lori will have oversight of PBA’s financial affairs and supervise the collection and disbursement of the funds of the Association. She is a licensed CPA and works with Susquehanna Builders, Inc. in Montoursville, PA.
Please welcome our new leadership team for 2019.
The PBA Fall 2018 Board Meeting at the Harrisburg Hilton in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania created positive vibes and great memories as the organization came together for the third time in 2018. Highlights of the meeting’s three days of events included the unanimous passing of PBA’s 2019 budget and the election of next year’s slate of officers, RVPs, and RLOs. The PHRC led in informative seminar on the recent building code changes and the 4th annual Meet the Builder event drew top builders and remodelers together with vendors showing the latest in home building products and technologies.
Meet the Builder
Meet the Builder featured 11 building industry focused suppliers and service providers at a cocktail reception on Friday, November 2 at the Harrisburg Hilton. The event invited PBA’s active builders and remodeler members to socialize, share ideas, and meet large national/regional product manufacturers, suppliers and vendors. Thanks to our sponsors and attendees for a great event!
Code Updates in Seminar
After giving dozens of seminars across Pennsylvania detailing the changes to the UCC Review & Advisory Council Regulations, PHRC gathered their best practices to share with the event attendees. They highlighted specific changes that are causing the most disruption at worksites, what questions that are left unanswered, and some recommendations for future training opportunities at the local level.
Finally, a huge thank you to our partner McConkey Insurance & Benefits for sponsoring the EOC Training Conference lunch and working with our members over the weekend.
PBA Winter 2019 Board Meeting
Mark your calendar for the next Board of Directors Meeting on March 2, 2019 at the Hershey Hotel in Hershey, PA. We look forward to seeing you there!
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