RE/MAX 440
Peter Patkos
1110 North Broad Street
Lansdale  PA 19446
 Phone: 215-327-7491
Office Phone: 215-362-2260
Fax: 267-354-6879 
peterpatkos@remax440.com
Peter Patkos

My Blog

Make Lawn Mower Engine Tune-ups a Rite of Spring

March 5, 2014 2:24 am

It's easier than ever to get your lawn mower ready for spring. From a tune-up kit to an oil evacuation kit to free oil recycling, an engine tune-up for your push lawn mower engine takes only 30 minutes or less. Riding mower engines may require an oil filter or fuel filter, which could add five to 10 minutes to the job.

While many homeowners perform annual tune-ups on their lawn mower engines, there are still many across the country that don't perform this important basic small engine maintenance, putting their equipment at risk.

"Homeowners simply want their lawn mower to start when they need it for that first cut of spring and a simple tune-up can make the difference between a hassle-free start and frustrating trips for service," said Synoilva Shaw, with Briggs & Stratton. "While the source of most starting problems is old gasoline, which goes stale in about 30 days, a tune-up can help extend the life of the mower engine and keep it running at peak performance."

Lawn Mower Tune-Up in 4 Easy Steps

Briggs & Stratton research shows that tuning up a push mower engine can reduce engine emissions by as much as 30 percent and involves just four easy steps:

-Changing the mower oil
-Replacing the air filter
-Replacing the spark plug
-Adding fuel preservative to the gasoline

Small Engine Tune-up Kit

A basic push mower engine tune-up kit costs under $12.99 and includes an air filter, spark plug, bottle of oil and a pouch of fuel treatment and stabilizer. A lawn tractor tune-up kit includes the same as a push mower kit with the addition of a fuel and/or oil filter and costs under $39.99. Tune-up kits are available for purchase online or at authorized dealers and home improvement stores. 

Oil Evacuation Kits for Lawn Mowers

Two options are available for oil evacuation kits – one that removes oil only and another that removes both oil and fuel. These kits help eliminate the need for consumers to tip the mower to drain the oil during a tune-up, making it easier to change the oil and reducing the possibility of an oil spill in the garage or driveway. Oil evacuation kits costs between $23 and $31 and are available for purchase online or at authorized dealers and home improvement stores. 

Disposing of Used Engine Oil

Participating Briggs & Stratton dealers nationwide make recycling oil easy and have recycled more than 200,000 gallons of used engine oil to date. Simply drop off your used oil in a closed container and let your dealer take care of the rest.

Look Before You Pump

Certain gasoline blends should never be used in lawn mower engines and other small gas engines. Fuel blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol, like E15 or E85 gasoline, or gasoline containing other alcohol blends can damage small gas engines. Look for the "Look Before You Pump" warning logo on new models or find more information from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute at www.opei.org.

Source: Briggs & Stratton

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Spring Fever? Here are Five Simple Ways to Turn your Current Deck into a Dream Outdoor Oasis

February 28, 2014 2:06 am

(BPT) – It's easy to dream of perfectly pristine outdoor spaces when looking at the decks in magazines and online, but too often what we want and what we have don't align. If your deck suffers from weathered wood, loose railings or dated balusters, you're not alone. The good news is there are surprisingly simple ways to give your deck a facelift and transform it into the outdoor oasis you want in as little as one weekend.

Consider these five ways you can update your deck and grow your real estate value:

1. Add or update post caps
One of the easiest ways to add a dash of design and even some color and light to your deck is to update your post caps. If you currently have post caps, most can be removed by gently tapping them with a mallet. Then it's an easy DIY project to add new post caps simply by using exterior construction adhesive. These decorative caps come in a variety of styles, including basic wood that can be stained to perfectly coordinate with your existing color scheme. If you want to add a bit more pizzazz to your outdoor space, try classic copper post caps or solar powered caps that illuminate once the sun sets.

2. Replace balusters

Balusters are connected to the railing vertically and provide an important safety feature. But they also add to the visual appeal of the deck and are a main feature in your line of sight. If your wood balusters are worn, you can instantly upgrade your outdoor space with new options. Metal balusters, for example, come in a variety of designs to match any home's style - from contemporary to traditional. Have a stunning view from your deck? Enjoy uninterrupted sight lines with glass balusters that simultaneously maintain a deck's safety and visual appeal.

3. Bring back deck boards
After seasons of changing weather and lots of foot traffic, your wood deck boards may be showing wear. Protect the integrity of the wood and refresh the look of your outdoor space by cleaning deck boards and giving them a new coat of paint or stain. Start by scrubbing or power spraying off dirt and grime, and then let wood dry thoroughly. Next, use stain or paint made specifically for decks to help protect the wood from the elements. Just as indoor paint transforms a room inside your home, new stain or paint on your deck boards will make your outdoor area look new and refreshed, making you feel like you have a whole new outdoor area.

4. Refresh railings

When it comes to deck railings, there are endless options to match any style or price point. You can go with an off-the-shelf product or customize one to fit your personal design aesthetic. For example, Deckorators co-extruded composite CXT railing is ultra-low maintenance and gives you the options to mix-and-match railings, posts, balusters and caps for a look that's entirely your own. Not looking to do a full railing replacement? Sand down wood railings and apply a new coat of stain for an instant update.

5. Install lighting
A great deck will serve as an extension of your home both day and night, but if you don't have proper lighting, you'll be heading indoors once the sun goes down. Add visual appeal and an element of safety to your deck with easy DIY lighting options. Lighting on your stairs adds a splash of drama and makes it easy to get around. Balusters are an often-overlooked item that can provide a great lighting location too. Solar Baluster Lights install around 3/4-inch round balusters with nothing more than a Phillips screwdriver. Finally, Solar Accent Lights can be placed on posts to illuminate pathways and deck edges.

Expanding a home's livable space to the outdoors is a top home improvement trend. With these simple tips, your deck will find new life and you'll be able to enjoy plenty of time outdoors with Mother Nature.

Source: www.deckorators.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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How to Keep Cold and Flu Infections Out of Your Life

February 27, 2014 2:00 am

If you want to avoid catching a cold or the flu, keep yourself and your surroundings as hygienically clean as possible. Although that can sound like a daunting task, it need not be with a slightly more conscious cleanliness effort. Keeping illness-causing organisms at bay can be largely accomplished by adopting three basic behaviors.

1. Regularly wash your hands with soap and water.
2. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are unavailable.
3. Keep common surfaces around you clean using such aids as microfiber cloths and mops.

If you're going to focus on just one behavior to maintain as healthy a lifestyle as possible, it should be on keeping your hands clean because that's primarily how germs and viruses infect your body. They hitchhike rides on your hands and then wait for you to touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. At that point, it's all over. You're infected.

Everyone's hands, particularly during cold and flu seasons, are veritable germ factories, so keep them away from your face, says Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, an adjunct associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine. You should even think twice about your eating habits in order to remain cold and flu free, Dr. Fryhofer says.

"I try to bring something (to work) I can eat with a spoon or fork, rather than a sandwich I have to handle," Dr. Fryhofer told www.webmd.com. If not, be extra careful and wash your hands prior to eating.

If soap and water are unavailable, the medical community has long advocated the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. But keep in mind that such sanitizers are only intended to kill bacteria and should not be used to clean your hands of traditional soiling, says Adam Soreff, Director of Marketing for UniFirst, a leading provider of work uniforms and facility service products to businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada.

"Soap and water should be your first hand-cleaning choice whenever readily available," Soreff says. "But in public areas, such as hallways, offices, and cafeterias, seek out alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations to help keep hands free of infectious organisms."

Hand sanitizers, Soreff notes, should contain at least 60 percent alcohol to kill germs. "Anything less than that runs the risk of being ineffective."

GOJO Industries, the makers of Purell® Hand Sanitizer, offers this guidance to get maximum germ-killing action from sanitizers: "Place enough product in your palm to thoroughly cover your hands. Be sure to sanitize the front and backs of your hands, as well as between your fingers and under your nails. Rub hands together briskly until dry. No rinsing required. No towels needed."

During cold and flu season, you should also be particularly vigilant when touching common surfaces. That's because people who are already infected may have come in contact with those surfaces and left germs and viruses behind. So be wary when touching such things as door handles, computer keyboards, light switches, desks, and countertops. Even flooring can harbor infectious organisms which can hop aboard something you drop, such as a pen or paper clip.

The bottom line: To stay healthy during the cold and flu season, always keep soap, sanitizers, and soiled surrounding surfaces front of mind.

Source: UniFirst

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Home Design Trends: Value and Unique Style Trump Conformity in 2014

February 27, 2014 2:00 am

The Interior Redecorators Network® (IRN) is observing a sea change in the way Americans are approaching home design in 2014. Rather than maxing out credit cards with purchases of ubiquitous furniture pieces from major retail chains, the majority of homeowners and renters are using their existing furnishings to redecorate, save money and reflect their individuality.

Gone are the days of keeping up with the proverbial Jones' and copying the same design style that everyone in the neighborhood has adopted. In 2014, Americans are interested in making the most of what they already own, or are inheriting, and in having their rooms appear to have been curated over time. In addition, mixing high-end pieces with inexpensive global-inspired accents – "Hi-Low Design" – is allowing for more uncommon approaches to interior decor.

One-of-a-kind furnishings are becoming the most sought-after home design category as budget-minded consumers seek out artwork and accessories that reflect individual interests and lifestyle. Using their existing furnishings and then incorporating family heirlooms, antique and vintage store treasures, pieces from Etsy dealers; consignment stores, flea markets and Craigslist, there are more sources for distinctive looking interiors than ever before.

"No matter where they live, regardless of how big or small their homes are, and whatever their stage of life, people across the U.S. are searching for great value and creating a unique home that reflects their personality," says Lauri Ward, best-selling author and co-founder of the IRN. "The trend started during the Great Recession and has continued to grow even as the economy and real estate markets have improved."

Source: www.InteriorRedecorators.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Beauty Tips to Beat the Cold

February 26, 2014 1:57 am

Winter can notoriously wreak havoc on skin and hair, but a few easy adjustments to your beauty routine can help you look and feel great on even the dreariest of days. EcoTools® has suggestions on how to beat the cold and get glowing for spring and ready for the warmer weather.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Moisturizing is one of the most important rules of thumb to beat dryness. Choose a quality lotion and use it daily to put much-needed moisture back into skin. Get extra mileage out of your moisturizer by exfoliating before applying lotion. The gentle exfoliation will help skin hold moisture longer.

Break Away from Breakouts
Dirt and oil can clog pores and lead to blackheads, as can dry, flaky skin. To prevent blackheads and whiteheads from surfacing, use a facial sponge to easily exfoliate.

Upgrade Your Body Wash
Overly fragrant soaps can further dry out skin. During colder months, opt for a super-rich, moisturizing body wash and lather up. Sponges are silky-soft and extra-large to deliver amazing lather and gentle cleansing, even for the most sensitive skin.

Help Out Hair
While summer often gets the rap as being hard on hair with the sun and chlorinated pools, winter doesn't go easy on the follicles either. Chilly temperatures can leave strands dry and fragile. Indulge in a nourishing hair treatment once a week to combat dryness. Regularly use deep conditioner, or apply hair oil to damp hair. Try washing hair every other day as to not strip away hair's natural oils.

Step up Your Foot Care Regimen
The cold can promote chapping and cracking, so it's important to care for feet daily to make sure they are ready for their spring debut. Treat yourself to an at-home pedicure with a few easy steps. Soak feet in warm water to soften calluses, then use a foot brush to gently exfoliate. Trim nails and then pick a pretty polish to finish.

Source: EcoTools

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Your Place: Relative Humidity Indoors Determines Likelihood of Mold

February 16, 2014 7:39 pm

(MCT)—A few weeks back, a reader contacted me with a concern that the portable humidifier his daughter was running in a bedroom could contribute to a mold problem, although he had seen no evidence of one yet. In my household, we have run humidifiers in bedrooms because, for example, one son suffered from croup-like symptoms [...]
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American Home Shield “Kidstructions” Video Contest Underway

February 16, 2014 7:39 pm

Do you know some kids that are full of imaginative insights and love to get in front of a video camera? If so, you have a good chance to win some great prizes from American Home Shield®. AHS knows how complicated it can be to describe how household systems and appliances work. That’s why they’ve [...]
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How Well You Enjoy Your Last Bite of a Food Determines How Long Before You Choose the Same Food Again

February 3, 2014 1:15 pm

Portion sizes have steadily increased over the last few decades, with consumers demanding more food and larger beverages from companies that are happy to accommodate and capture the market share. However, new research from Carnegie Mellon University suggests that not only do larger portions lead consumers to enjoy the foods they eat less, they also reduce how often people consume those foods.

Each bite of a food or sip of a drink is enjoyed less than the previous one, a familiar phenomenon called "sensory-specific satiety." A well-known fact is that the more we eat or drink, the more satiety reduces how much we enjoy that food or beverage. So consuming a larger portion means that we reduce our average enjoyment of the food or drink we consume.

The degree of satisfaction at the end of a meal also influences how long we want to wait to eat a food again in the future, as revealed by research conducted by Carey Morewedge, associate professor of marketing at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business, and his colleagues. Research participants who ate chocolate truffles were given a coupon for a free bag of truffles, which they could pick up anytime in the subsequent two weeks. Although all participants redeemed their coupon in the following two weeks, the more participants reported feeling fully satisfied after they finished their last truffle was the key predictor of how long they took to pick up their free bag. Critically, participants who ate a larger portion of truffles, who were most satisfied after eating, took a full four days longer to redeem their bag of truffles than did participants who only ate one truffle.

"Our conclusions suggest that how much we enjoy our last bite of a food — the end of an eating experience — appears to determine how long we will choose to wait before eating the same food again," Morewedge said.

"Although people often say they prefer larger portion sizes, especially for foods that they really like, our research indicates that consumption of larger portions can ultimately decrease the frequency at which these foods are consumed. This suggests people and companies may actually be better off with smaller portions. People will enjoy the food they eat more, and eat the foods they enjoy more often. Companies will benefit from more frequent repeat purchases."

Another interesting finding of the study was that distraction while eating, like watching TV, can cloud the association that people develop as to their enjoyment with food, thus, altering their end-of-consumption liking for the food. In one of the experiments, participants who were distracted while eating were not influenced as much by their enjoyment of the food to consume that food again, as participants who were not distracted.

Source: Tepper School of Business

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Three Tips for Staying Healthy Over 50

February 3, 2014 1:15 pm

(Family Features) A healthy lifestyle is necessary at any age, but for those over 50, it’s especially important. As you age, your body changes, and your risk for health problems increases. Fortunately, there are three simple things you can do to lead a healthier and happier life.

Eat Heart Healthy
If high blood pressure isn’t controlled through lifestyle changes and/or medicine, it can lead to stroke, heart disease, eye problems and other serious health issues. A great way to establish a heart healthy diet is by reducing your sodium intake, which may reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Starting the day with a low-sodium, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal is just one way to choose a healthier lifestyle.

Enjoy Nutrient-Dense Foods
As you age, your body needs fewer calories for energy – but still needs the same amount of nutrients. It’s important to make your calories count by eating foods packed with good nutrition
such as:

• Fruits and vegetables: Fresh, canned, frozen – it doesn’t matter. Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals your body needs.
• Protein: Add some variety to your diet with delicious protein sources such as fish, beans and peas.
• Whole grains: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least three servings of whole-grain foods each day (16g per serving or 48g per day).

Get Moving
Physical activity and regular exercise can decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend those 65 years of age or older, who are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions, try to get:
• Two hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or yoga, and
• Muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week.

You should consult your physician or other health care professional before making changes to your diet or exercise plan to determine what is right for your needs.

In addition to taking up walking or yoga, joining group activities or sports are great ways to keep moving. Taking care of your blood pressure, enjoying healthy foods, and staying active are three steps you can start taking today to help you get and stay healthy for tomorrow.

Source: Post Shredded Wheat

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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What Travelers Really Think About Airline Fees

January 31, 2014 5:30 am

Ancillary fees are big business for airlines. A recent industry report suggests that North American carriers collected $17.2 billion in ancillary revenue during 2013. But what are these fees really costing airlines in terms of customer satisfaction? As airlines gear up to add yet more fees in 2014, new research from Fly.com reveals a discrepancy between the services that fliers are willing to pay for and the services and amenities currently being offered to them.

It comes as no surprise that baggage fees top the list as the biggest objection for today's airline passengers. Of the travelers surveyed by Fly.com, 89 percent said it was important that airlines stop charging for checked baggage. In contrast, 42 percent would pay to have dedicated overhead bin space for their hand luggage, and 35 percent would pay to have their checked luggage come out first at baggage claim.

Travelers are also willing to shell out for things that improve comfort and efficiency – both on board and at the airport. At a time when airlines are shrinking the size of seats and moving them closer together, 89 percent of survey respondents felt that comfortable seats were an important requirement of air travel. Moreover, 45 percent would pay for extra legroom, 26 percent would pay to have an empty middle seat next to them, and another 34 percent would pay to prevent the seat in front of them from reclining. At the airport, 36 percent of fliers said they would purchase a fast pass to speed through security.

"U.S. airlines collected more than $2.5 billion from baggage fees during the first 9 months of 2013 alone," said Warren Chang, vice president and general manager, Fly.com. "While lucrative, it is important that airlines balance profit against the needs and interests of their passengers. Our latest survey reveals the type of ancillary opportunities that can bolster passenger satisfaction, while also delivering new revenue streams to the airline industry."

Other Survey Findings:

• The most popular bundled fare packages include waived baggage fees (88 percent), confirmed seat selection (45 percent), and a security fast pass (35 percent).
• 46 percent of travelers have not chosen the cheapest flight because of flight times.
• 40 percent of travelers would like complimentary meals during their flight.
• Half of Fly.com respondents list price as the most important factor when purchasing airfare.
• 10 percent of travelers choose flights based on brand loyalty. However nearly all of these would switch to a different airline if the ticket was at least $51 cheaper.
• 26 percent of travelers have not chosen the cheapest flight because of too many stops.

Source: fly.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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