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How to Stay Cool During a Heat Wave

heat wave

Even though the phrase “In like a lion, out like a lamb” usually applies to the month of March, we can argue that this year’s July is on its way out like a lion. Over the past several days, we’ve seen a heat wave that makes most of us want to stay indoors and huddle up near the air conditioner. If you’re plans take place outside, however, here are some key tips on how to stay cool:

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Staying hydrated is important in hot weather. When you’re hydrated, your body is able to sweat and naturally cool itself off. If you’re spending time outside in the heat, drink plenty of water, iced tea, and juice to cool your body down and prevent dehydration.

Keep Ice on Hand

Ice cubes can give you immediate relief from the heat. Just apply an ice cube (wrapped in a napkin or cloth to avoid extreme coldness) to certain pulse points of the body and you’ll feel instantly cooler. These points include your wrists, your inner thighs, your neck, the tops of your feet, and the insides of your elbows.

Eat Small Meals

When you eat large meals, your body works harder to digest it and therefore creates more metabolic heat. Instead of large meals, stick to small meals or frequent snacks. When you do eat a meal, try to stay away from large amounts of protein, as protein also increases metabolic heat.

Use an Umbrella

It may not be raining, but an umbrella can provide a nice haven of shade for you no matter where you are. Open up your umbrella when you feel like you’re getting too hot and spend some time out of the sun.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

While a cold beer or soda may sound refreshing and thirst quenching, alcohol and caffeine can both dehydrate the body and increase your metabolic heat (and the effects are twofold when you mix the two, like in a rum and Coke). Instead, try some sparkling flavored water or lemonade to satisfy your craving.

Wear Light Clothing

It should go without saying that lighter fabrics like linen and cotton will keep you cooler than heavier or non-absorbent fabrics like denim or polyester. In addition to light clothing, opt for loose clothing so that your body can breathe.

Resist the Cold Shower

If you get the chance to take a cold shower during a hot day, chances are you’ll want to. While the cold water may relieve your hotness temporarily, your body will compensate for the heat loss afterwards and you’ll actually be hotter than you’d like (especially if you’re back outside). Keep the shower to lukewarm – you’ll still cool down.

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Bath Mobility Solutions for Elderly Individuals

bath solutions

As we age, our bodies become weaker and our mobility declines, making it harder for us to complete some everyday tasks. If you have an elderly loved one in your life that needs a little help getting around, you know that there are some tasks that are tougher to accomplish than others. Many times, the most challenging part of an elderly individual’s day is when they take a shower or bath. Using a shower or bath tub that isn’t designed for mobility can be a challenge – especially when there’s wet, slick flooring involved.

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, our bath solutions can give your loved one the stability they need in order to confidently bathe themselves. Whether you’re looking to replace an entire shower or bath unit or just need some extra accessories, we offer a variety of solutions.

Tubs/Showers

Our walk-in tubs are an alternative to regular bath tubs and are specifically designed to make getting in and out of the tub easy. Instead of having to step over the side of a bath tub, individuals can virtually walk in and close the door. If you prefer a shower, our tub-to-shower conversions can eliminate the hassle of the tub altogether and instead, give individuals an easy-to-use shower.

Safety Accessories

We know safety is a concern when it comes to bathing, and that’s why we carry accessories like shower seats, tub seats, hand rails/safety bars, and handheld shower heads so that elderly individuals can be more confident during their bath or shower. We also offer slip-resistant flooring to reduce the risk of sliding and falling.

Customization

Our walk-in tubs and showers are custom-built, which means we can design a bath solution for a bathroom of any shape or size. We can also include as many or as little safety accessories as you’d like to make your tub or shower perfect for a mobility-challenged individual. If you’re interested in transforming your or someone else’s bathroom, give us a call today to get started.

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8 Small Changes That Can Make a Big Difference

gogreen

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we take pride in being an environmentally friendly company that offers homeowners green products and services. We know that every effort counts, which is why our staff members also work hard to reduce their carbon footprints in their personal lives. We’d like to encourage you to go green and make some small changes to your lifestyle. For example:

Light Bulbs

If you haven’t yet, replace your home’s incandescent bulbs with energy efficient ones like compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. You’ll not only save energy, you’ll save money.

If every American… Replaced one of the light bulbs in their home with an energy efficient one (like a CFL or LED), it would save more than $600 million in energy costs. That’s enough to light three million homes for a year.

Composting

On average, every person generates about 4.5 pounds of trash per day, and much of it is thrown away. Instead, compost your garbage and use it to feed your garden or drop it off at a food waste site.

If every American… Composted his/her organic garbage, we could reduce the amount of annual waste by more than 450 landfills and reduce methane emissions produced by those landfills by about 40%.

Windows

If you’re looking to replace your windows, there are options out there that are more environmentally friendly than others. For example, fiberglass windows use natural resources and are 100% recyclable.

If every American… Chose to install fiberglass windows (like the Ultrex line from Infinity by Marvin) instead of vinyl windows, we would waste 39% less energy on window production.

Water Fixtures

Many of us like to waste water, whether it’s during a long shower or when we leave the water running while we brush our teeth. By installing low-flow shower heads and toilets, you can reduce both your water and energy consumption.

If every American… Replaced their toilet with a low-flow unit that uses 1.6 gallons per flush, we could save around 640 billion gallons of water every year.

Thermostat

If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, we suggest investing in one. They allow you to turn down your heat or air conditioning when no one is home so you can save energy and money.

If every American… Lowered their home’s thermostat by one degree, we could save 230 million barrels of crude oil. That’s how much oil we import from Iraq every year.

Paper

These days, you can pay nearly every bill you need to online, whether it be a credit card bill, electric bill, mortgage, or other statement. By doing this and cancelling your paper bills, you’ll be saving lots of paper.

If every American… Stopped receiving paper bills and statements, we would save up to 800,000 tons of solid waste from being put in U.S. landfills annually.

Grocery Bags

Many grocery stores sell reusable shopping bags for about $1.50 each. By purchasing a few of them and using them each time you go grocery shopping, you could help reduce our consumption of plastic.

If every American… Used their own grocery bag instead of using the plastic ones at the store, we would save anywhere from 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags.

Driving

There are many ways to go green when it comes to driving, from reducing heavy acceleration to changing your air filter on a regular basis to keeping your tires properly inflated. All of these things help save gas and therefore, help reduce carbon emissions.

If every American… Kept their tires inflated to the proper psi, we could save around 2.8 billion gallons of gas a year and reduce carbon dioxide by about 55 billion pounds.

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What to Know About Water Damage

home water damage

Water damage can happen to any home and can be a costly thing to deal with. At P.J. Fitzpatrick, our Pennsylvania roofing company sees many different water damage scenarios on a regular basis, and the worst part about it is that it can be happening without your knowledge.

There are several factors that can cause water damage – some are more obvious (like flooding from severe weather) while others aren’t (like a gap in a window). The most important thing to remember is to be observant. You should inspect your home a regular basis and pay close attention to your basement and foundation as well as your attic and roofing. These areas are the most common areas for water damage.

Water damage can be the result of many different factors, such as:

Gutters

During the autumn season, falling leaves can build up in the gutter and end up clogging it. This can also happen in the winter time when ice forms or even when birds or squirrels create nests in your gutters. When a gutter clogs, water can’t drain properly from the roof and can sit for long periods of time. When this happens, it can eventually seep into your home and cause damage to your ceilings and/or walls.

Shingles

When people think of water damage, they often think of roofing. If you have shingles that are broken or missing, they could be allowing water to leak through the roofing structure and into your attic. This type of leak is often hard to notice, since many homeowners don’t visit their attic regularly or think to check their roof. By the time you notice a ceiling stain, it’s likely that the leak has been going on for some time.

Windows/Doors

One of the more obvious culprits of water damage are old or defective windows. If your windows have gaps in them, they can easily let water in during bad weather and that water can slowly penetrate your walls and flooring (especially if it happens to windows you don’t use often). This can also happen with doors. If your doors are old or defective, their thresholds can get wet and you may not notice the leak until the wooden frame is rotten.

Basements

Basements are often subjected to water damage – especially when heavy storms occur that bring lots of precipitation. (Did you know that every year, flooding averages over $3 billion in U.S. claims?) There are a number of reasons your basement could flood, from improper waterproofing to the slope of your lawn to leaky windows. Determining the problem as soon as possible will help prevent long-term damage.

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, our specialists know what to look for when they look for water damage. If you believe your home may be suffering, give us a call and set up an appointment. We’ll have a professional inspect your home and look for key factors that indicate water damage. After that, we’ll get to work to fix the situation and prevent and future occurrences.

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How to Prepare for a Stormy Weekend

stormy weekend

Stormy weather can be unpredictable (as you may have noticed from the one that hit the area last night). At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we know that’s not the end of it and we’re here to offer some tips on how you can prepare for a stormy weekend:

Make food plans.

If you lose power because of a storm, it’s always a guess as to when it will be back on, and you can only go so long without lunch or dinner. Make some dinner plans for if your power isn’t back on by a certain time: opt for take-out (just be sure to stock up on menus) or have some grill-friendly food on hand that you can cook without an electric stove. No one likes going hungry during a storm!

Have some flashlights ready.

Strong storms mean you may lose your light sources, so stock up on flashlights and the batteries for the flashlights. (Make sure you know what kind they take.) You can also grab some candles to keep common areas lit.

Get yourself a game.

Can’t watch television? Computer’s dead? How about a good old-fashioned game to pass the time? Buy a fun family one and save it specifically for a stormy day. You can grab a board game like Sorry or Scrabble or go for a classic game like Charades or 20 Questions.

Buy a few hand-held fans.

Summertime storms could mean no air conditioning and at P.J. Fitzpatrick, we know no air conditioning can get brutal. While they may not be as comfortable as AC, hand-held fans can help keep you cool until your cooling system is back up and running.

Charge your devices.

You never know when you’re going to need your phone, tablet, or laptop, so keep a good charge on them if you’re expecting a storm. You can also look into solar charging system that you can power up during the sunny hours and then use if you lose electricity.

Call P.J. Fitzpatrick

Since 1980, our home improvement company has been helping homeowners throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond prepare and recover from storms. Give us a call and we’ll inspect your roofing, siding, gutters, or any other part of your home you think may be susceptible to a bad storm. And if you experience damage, our 24/7 specialists are here to fix whatever is needed.

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5 Signs That You Should Replace Your Windows

replacement windows

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we know it may not be easy to tell when you should replace your windows. If your home is more than 15 years old, we recommend checking the condition of your windows as a general rule of thumb – they’re not different from any other element in your home that needs replacing after years of use. Here are some signs that you may need new windows:

They’re difficult to open and close

If you have trouble opening and closing your windows, try cleaning off any dust and debris that may be around the window and lubricate any hinges with a non-solvent silicone-free lubricant. If they’re still difficult to open and close or if they get stuck in the up or down position, they may need replacing.

Outside noise is louder than usual

If you notice that your home has become noisier than usual, the culprit may be your windows. Over time, windows can warp and allow small gaps to form, which is where outside noises like traffic or construction can flow through. This is a sign you may need new windows.

They have condensation/frost/cloudiness

Do you have double-paned glass windows? If so, do you often find condensation or frost inside the glass? Are your windows still cloudy no matter how much you clean them?Unfortunately, this means that the seals between the glass panes may have failed. When a seal fails, it allows moisture between the glass, which leads to condensation or frost. If this is a recurring event, your windows aren’t insulating your home like they should and you may need to replace them.

You can feel drafts

If you feel significant cold or hot drafts coming from your windows, you can try replacing the weather stripping, but over time, it’s likely to fail again. Your best bet may be to invest in a more reliable style and brand of window.

The cost of your energy bill is rising

Have you noticed lately that your energy bill is going up every month? While you may chalk it up to the changes in the weather, there could be another culprit: your windows. If your windows are drafty, it means they’re letting out your warm or cool indoor air and letting in the air from outside. This compromises the temperature of your home and forces your air conditioner or heater to work harder in order to keep the temperature steady; a harder-working HVAC unit means a costlier energy bill.

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we carry a high-quality, affordable line of Andersen replacement windows that are perfect for any home. If you think your windows might need replacing, give us a call and set up an appointment.

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4 Reasons to Install Skylights or Sun Tunnels

skylights

If you’re someone who enjoys lots of natural light in your home, you may want to consider installing a few skylights and/or sun tunnels – especially in areas that are dark and could use a friendly burst of brightness.

A skylight or sun tunnel’s natural light gives you consistent illumination and also is beneficial (both mentally and physically) to the human body. It can enhance your mood, lower your blood pressure and reduce stress. In addition, skylights and sun tunnels add many benefits to your home. For example:

Energy Savings

Installing skylights or sun tunnels can help you save money on your energy bills and make your home more energy efficient. Not only can they help eliminate heat transfer, but they can also serve as a source of solar heating during the winter months. When looking for skylights and sun tunnels, look for ones with low-e coatings. These coatings help keep your home insulated.

Clean Air

If you install skylights that come with screens and can be opened, you’ll be able to enjoy home ventilation and a breath of clean air in each room. Clean air can help keep you healthy by reducing the constant dust, dirt, and dander that is constantly circulated through your HVAC system. Because sun tunnels are round and give the illusion of an electrical light, they can’t be opened.

Ambiance

Skylights give you the opportunity to transform any living area into one that’s open and organic. They also reduce glare and give you ample amounts of light that can help highlight your furniture, decor, wall color, and more. On the other hand, sun tunnels give you the look of a round recessed light, but with all of the benefits of natural sunlight.

Privacy

When you think of windows, you probably don’t think of privacy, but skylights and sun tunnels give you the opportunity to add natural lighting while still keeping your room private. Traditional New Jersey windows offer neighbors and passers-by an easy view of what’s inside and in order to block it, you must use curtains or blinds. With skylights and sun tunnels, however, you don’t have to worry about people being able to look in.

For more information on how to install skylights or sun tunnels in your home, call the window experts at P.J. Fitzpatrick at 1-888-446-6492.

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A New Way to Keep Your Roof Cool?

Our Pennsylvania roofing company recently found an interesting article from Society for Science that talks about an 18-year-old’s clever idea for keeping your home’s roofing cool in order to save on cooling costs…

In the summertime, roofing shingles can reach temperatures of more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit – especially if they’re dark in color. Since roofing shingles absorb heat, it means that your home underneath is subjected to high temperatures and will need more energy from your air conditioner to cool down.

South Carolina student Jesseca Kusher has come up a way to keep roofing shingles cooler and therefore keep your home cooler: a shingle coating. This thin coating helps shingles reflect the sunlight instead of absorb it in order to stay cooler. And with cooler shingles, you’ll have a cooler home and lower energy bills.

Kusher experimented with several different coatings including graphite, gypsum, and mica. She painted the different coatings onto different colored shingles and after they were dry, she heated them (along with plain, unpainted shingles) up under a sun lamp until they were at least 164 degrees F. After measuring the heat emitted by each shingle, Kusher concluded that the shingles coated with mica were the coolest (only about 137 degrees) while the ones coated with graphite and gypsum were around 145 degrees.

In addition to keeping roofing shingles cooler, this new coating could also keep urban air cooler. Cooler air could help counter the heat that radiates from buildings, cars, and machines in the summer time as well as lower ozone production.

If Kusher’s invention gets some funding, we may see a new way for homeowners to keep their homes cooler in the future.

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6 Ways to Improve Your Outdoor Entertaining Area

outdoor entertaining area

It’s summertime, so let the outdoor entertaining begin! If you’re looking forward to hosting a graduation party, barbecue, anniversary, birthday party, or any other event, you’ll need an outdoor area that’s ready for entertaining. At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we have a few suggestions on ways to improve your area to make it guest-ready:

Walkways

When homeowners think about outdoor entertaining, many forget the simple element of making the area accessible. Walkways are an inviting way to lead people to and from your home and can make the space much more friendly. Whether it’s a walkway from the driveway to your back yard or one from your back yard to a garden, a walkway can add a touch of appeal.

A Patio

While it doesn’t have to be huge, a patio (or deck) is one of the most crucial things you can have in your back yard for entertaining. A patio gives you an area to set up chairs, a grill, tables, games, and more. It also gives all of your guests a central area to mingle.

New Siding

When you think “entertaining area,” you probably think about the actual area where you’ll entertain, but what you’re forgetting is that your home is the backdrop for any event you host. That means if your siding is old, outdated, or damaged, people will notice. Make sure your home looks stunning to your guests by updating your siding. At our Maryland siding company, we carry a wide array of materials, colors, and styles to fit your vision and your budget.

Lighting

The lighting fixtures inside your home are probably up so that they add focus to an area, so why not do the same outside your home? If you like to entertain outdoors, strategically placed lighting can add to the ambiance and make nighttime activities more fun. Try adding small lights underneath your deck railing, along walkways, and in dark corners. You can also accent your landscaping with cleverly placed spotlights.

A Fire Pit

Everyone loves sitting around a fire on a warm summer night – especially if there are s’mores involved. Create a cozy area for your guests to gather by creating a fire pit. You can either build one right into the ground for convenience or buy a stand-alone one and place it anywhere you’d like.

Landscaping

Like siding, your landscaping is the backdrop to any event you host. If your back yard is lacking in shrubbery, talk to your local nursery specialist about what kind of trees or bushes to buy and where to put them. With the right type of greenery, you can create mini “escapes” that add character to your home and entertaining area.

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How Insulation Can Improve Your Air Conditioning

Even though it’s still May, you’ve probably turned on your air conditioner by now in order to cool down. While your air conditioner may be in great working order, did you know that there’s something that can help it work even better? It’s called Radiant Barrier insulation by eShield.

This type of home insulation can not only insulate your home to keep it warm, but can also insulate it to keep it cool. It has a reflective quality that helps reverse the impact of heat and protects your home from three different heat types: emission, conduction, and convection. Emission heat refers to heat transfer by the sun while conduction heat refers to heat transfer through contact and convection heat refers to heat transfer through movement of hot air.

During the summertime, emission heat has a major impact on many homes; any drafty areas that are present let in hot air from the outside and let out cool air from the inside, making your home comfort level uneven. With a protective insulation, however, these drafty areas will be protected and your home will stay cool with its very own heat “shield.”

Energy Savings

While Radiant Barrier insulation can help you and your family stay cool, it can also help you save money on your energy costs. When your home retains its cool air, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep it at a comfortable level. This means that you won’t have to run your air conditioner as much and in the end, it’ll help save you money. You also won’t be producing as many emissions as before, which means you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and live a greener lifestyle.

Want to stay cool and save money this summer? Our customer service is open 24/7, so give us a call and set up an appointment!

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