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

Are There Rats in Your Attic?

November 1, 2016 2:33 am

If you've heard things go bump in the night, chances are it's not a spooky spirit. More likely, it's a roof rat. Pest control provider Terminix announced the top 10 cities with the most reported roof rat infestations, giving Memphis, Tenn. the "honor" of the top spot.

The cities in the United States with the most reported roof rat infestations are:

1. Memphis, Tenn.
2. Gilbert, Ariz.
3. Pleasanton, Calif.
4. Scottsdale, Ariz.
5. Tempe, Ariz.
6. Sacramento, Calif.
7. Salinas, Calif.
8. San Bernardino, Calif.
9. San Antonio, Texas
10. Plano, Texas

Roof rats are a creepy-crawly variety of rodent with a long, scaled, Halloween costume-ready tail that distinguishes them from their better-known relatives. They tend to seek entry into buildings through holes around soffit vents, cables entering buildings, and turbine and box vents on roofs, where they take up residence and multiply.

These pests often gain access to structures by climbing on wires and trees to seek shelter inside, where they can grow up to a full foot long and pose seriously scary health and safety risks. They can chew through building materials like drywall and insulation, and may even pose a fire risk by damaging wiring.

Warning Signs
"Roof rats often stay out of sight, but there may still be warning signs of an infestation," says Paul Curtis, board-certified entomologist and manager of technical services with Terminix. "They're most active at night, and homeowners with roof rats often report hearing them moving overhead after dark, as well as finding droppings and smudge marks from oil or dirt in their attic."

What to Do
A key strategy in preventing roof rats from making their way into your home or business is eliminating things that might attract them. Homeowners should keep firewood, debris and piles of stone or brick as far from the foundation of the home as possible, protect their homes with steel wool- or wire mesh-reinforced sealant along any holes or cracks larger than a quarter inch, and install a thick weather stripping along the bottom of doors to keep rodents from entering.

Because roof rats can bite and are safety hazards, a trained professional should inspect any homes suspected of harboring roof rats or another pest.  

Source: Terminix.com

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How to Keep Pets Healthy During the Holidays

November 1, 2016 2:33 am

People aren't the only ones putting on a bit of winter weight. With holidays comes family gatherings heaped with rich eats, many of which end of passed down to your favorite four legged friend. And with cooler weather, dogs may not be getting as much outdoor exercise, meaning they too can pack on a few pounds. Unfortunately, weight gain in pets can lead to long-lasting health problems.  

“If people get a bit too relaxed and overeat during the holidays, they often do the same with their dogs,” explains Will Post, founder and CEO, Hound & Gatos Pet Foods Corporation. “The problem with that is that it can be quite detrimental for dogs if we relax too much and let our guard down about taking care of them in a healthy manner.”

Here are 5 ways to help keep pets healthy through the holiday season:

Scratch the scraps. Many people like to get their dog in on the holiday food craze, but there are things they shouldn’t be eating. It’s important that dogs don’t consume things like chocolate, nuts, or onions. These things can be toxic to their nervous system, or even lead to anemia.

No bones about it. That big turkey leg may look appetizing to your furry friend, but handing them the bones can prove dangerous. Dogs can choke on bones or they can also lacerate their intestines. Skip giving them the bones, as it’s not a risk worth taking.

Investigate treats. Most people purchase their pooch a gift at some point during the holidays. Those who will purchase special treats will want to give due diligence to their quality. Opt for ones that have ingredients only from the U.S. to help minimize the exposure to potentially harmful ingredients.

Keep exercising. Although people tend to get a little lazy during the holiday season, and especially as it gets colder outside, it’s important that pets still get plenty of exercise. Make a goal to ensure they keep moving and get daily exercise so they stay healthy and don’t pack on the pounds over the winter.

Commit to high quality. After the holiday comes the new resolutions that everyone makes. Start early, but resolve to feed your pets only high quality food that has been made with ingredients sourced in the U.S. This will help keep them healthier and reduce exposure to potentially harmful ingredients that may be imported from places such as China.

“We take keeping pets healthy serious, which is why we have won so many awards for our natural pet foods,” adds Post. “We know how important pets are to their human families, so we do our best to ensure that people have the best quality ingredients in order to feed them well, feel proud, and keep them vibrant.”

Source: www.HoundGatos.com

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Making Halloween Safer for Kids

October 31, 2016 2:33 am

Despite a growing trend to keep kids in at Halloween, showing off their costumes at the local mall or partying with friends at home, trick-or-treating on the street is a rite of passage in many neighborhoods.

If you are at home, turn on porch lights early to help prevent slips and falls. Children will typically be trick-or-treating between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. If you hand out treats, consider choosing mini-bags of pretzels or other non-sugary snacks, or small boxes of crayons, or mini-flashlights.

Additionally, to make the celebration safer for all children— and adults—Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization committed to preventing child injuries, provides nine tips for making Halloween safe as well as happy:

Keep costumes creative, but safe. Choose light colored fabrics and/or decorate costumes and treat bags will reflective tape or stickers.

Choose face paint or makeup instead of masks. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision.

Have children carry glow sticks or flashlights. It will help to make them clearly visible to drivers.

Have an adult close to trick-or-treaters. Children under 12 should never be alone on the streets, even in neighborhoods they know. Children over 12 should stick to the streets they know.

Cross the street at corners. Use crosswalks and traffic lights when available, and look left and right before crossing.

Stow away electronic devices. Keep phones in pockets and keep your head up as you walk.

Watch out for cars. Even on a quiet street, cars may be backing up or turning. Be sure children know to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

If you are driving, be alert. Be prepared for heavy pedestrian traffic and turn on headlights early.

Drive more slowly in residential neighborhoods. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully—and be alert to kids on curbs and at intersections.

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5 Tips for Fireplace Safety

October 31, 2016 2:33 am

For much of the country, winter means cold nights, and what better way to warm up than to curl up next to the fireplace. As fireplace use rises, so does the need for fireplace safety. Below are five tips to keep your family and home safe all season long.

Abide by the three feet rule. Clear a three foot radius around your fireplace, making sure  the area is clear of furniture, books, newspapers, and other potentially flammable materials.

Inspect annually. Have the chimney inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a professional to ensure it’s clear of obstructions and creosote to prevent a fire.

Install a safety screen. Make family members and guests aware that the glass panel of a gas fireplace, stove, or insert can be very hot. Installing a safety screen or safety barrier is recommended to reduce the risk of serious burns by preventing direct contact with hot glass.

Check the gas. Have a technician check the gas lines, clean the burner and control compartment as well as check for condensation annually.

Crack a window. If burning vent-free logs for more than an hour, crack a window open. If using vented logs, clamp your fireplace damper into the open position so it never closes while burning.

Source: The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)

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Get Organized for Entertaining

October 31, 2016 2:33 am

(Family Features)--Hosting a holiday gathering is no small feat, but you can get organized ahead of the big day with these entertaining tips.

Set the guest list early: Send out invites in advance. Longer notice allows for you to better gauge who will be attending and how much food you'll need to make. Rather than waiting to see who shows up and who doesn't, send out RSVPs via mail or email so that you have a precise idea of how many people to plan for.

Plan the menu ahead of time: From drinks to side dishes to dessert, with special storage spots and industry-first infinity slide shelves, Whirlpool's French Door Refrigerator allows you to store 30 percent more so you can buy all your groceries in advance. This way you won't have to worry about running to the store just moments before guests arrive.

Set the table the day before: Organizing where you can, such as setting out plates and silverware in advance, allows you to focus on preparing food and drinks on the day of the party. Unless you'll be using fresh cut flowers, go ahead and complete the centerpieces and any other decorative touches the night before, as well.

Make a party-night cheat sheet: Keep a checklist nearby so you don't forget about any of your delicious courses or what tasks need completed throughout the evening. Remember to include items like refreshing the ice bucket and swapping out buffet dishes or appetizer platters periodically.

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Nashville Voted Most Expensive Urban Destination to Visit

October 28, 2016 2:33 am

Ever wondered where the priciest city spot in the U.S. is? Surprisingly, the answer isn't New York or Los Angeles, but Nashville. A recent CheapHotels.org survey found the southern city to be the most expensive in the country, based on the cost of its lodging.  

The survey compared hotel rates of the 30 most populous U.S. destinations during the month of October. That month reflects the timeframe during which most U.S. cities reach their highest average hotel rates.

At an average price tag of $261 for its most affordable room, the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee leads the rankings. It has to be noted that only hotels rated at least 3 stars and centrally located have been considered by the survey.

Only slightly less expensive is Boston, Massachusetts. At an average rate of $257 per night, it ranks second most expensive on the survey. Washington, D.C. completes the Top 3 podium at an average overnight cost of $192. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, another Tennessee city, Memphis, ranks among the rather affordable destinations at an average rate of $142 per night for its least expensive double room. By far the cheapest destination is Las Vegas, Nevada, where an overnight visitor can find a room for around $60 per night.

Below are the 10 most expensive urban destinations in the United States. The prices shown reflect the average rate for each city's cheapest available double room (minimum 3-star hotel) for the period spanning October 1 through October 31, 2016.

1. Nashville - $261 
2. Boston - $257
3. Washington, D.C. - $192
4. San Francisco - $187
5. Portland - $185
6. New York City - $184
7. Phoenix - $182
7. Austin - $182
9. Chicago - $178
10. Houston - $176

Source: http://www.cheaphotels.org/press/cities16.html

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Plan for Disaster with Backup Power

October 28, 2016 2:33 am

As winter moves in, it's time to prep your home for a safe and secure snowy season. With weather changes upon us, arranging backup power should be an essential component of winter preparations, as it keeps critical home systems up and running in the event of power loss.

"Many people overlook the importance of backup power in emergency situations and fail to plan or prepare for a power outage," says Ed Del Grande, a home improvement TV host, author and syndicated columnist. "For those with small children, elderly relatives or family members with disabilities, backup power is especially crucial. Without power, you lose access to clean water, communication, fuel and often medical equipment, making the living environment not only uncomfortable but potentially dangerous."

The best thing homeowners can do to protect their families during a power outage is install a standby generator, which turns on automatically when the power shuts off. Similar to a central air conditioning unit, a standby generator is permanently installed outside the home, and runs on natural gas or propane through existing fuel lines in the house, which means there's no refueling.

Depending on the size of the unit, an automatic standby generator, like those from Kohler, can power all the major systems and appliances in a home, such as lights, furnace, refrigerator, computers, home security systems and medical equipment. And since it delivers high-quality power, there's no worry about it ever harming electronics.

Severe weather is the single leading cause of power outages in the United States. Don't wait until it's too late to protect your own home and family. Leading generator manufacturers offer a variety of automatic standby generator models, as well as portable and industrial options depending on your needs.

Source:  www.kohlergenerators.com.

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How to Keep Rodents Out Of Your Home

October 28, 2016 2:33 am

Your family is not the only group spending more time indoors as the temperature drops. Fall is also prime time for rodents to make moves into your home as they seek food and shelter. It only takes a hole the size of a quarter for a rat to squeeze inside, and a hole the size of a dime for mice. Rodents are also known to chew around holes to make them larger, after which they can slip into homes.   

"Commensal rodents depend on humans and their resources to survive, so unless residents and city officials take proactive steps to prevent rodents, infestations can easily get out of hand,” says entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D.

According to a 2013 Orkin survey, one-third of Americans saw a rodent in their home in the last year. Rodents eat between 15 and 20 times a day, so nearly 40 percent of homeowners saw rodents for the first time in kitchens. While rodents are commonly found eating human or pet food, they are also found chewing and gnawing other materials, causing damage to furniture, clothing, wiring, insulation and piping.

Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent rodents around the home:

Regularly inspect the home – inside and outside – for rodent droppings, rub marks or burrows.

Seal all cracks and gaps around utility penetrations larger than 1/4 of an inch, as well as install weather stripping at the bottom of exterior doors.

Trim overgrown branches, plants and bushes near the home, and consider keeping a 2-foot barrier between any landscaping and the home.

Store all food (including pet food) and garbage properly in sealed containers both indoors and outdoors.

Remove all pet bowls after animals are finished eating, and remove pet waste from the lawn promptly.

Contact a pest professional for assistance managing rodents, as these pests can be dangerous and difficult to control.

Source: Orkin.com.

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How-to Reduce Your Home's Fire Risk

October 27, 2016 2:33 am

Regardless of where in the country you live, fire is always a potential danger to your home, property and loved ones. According to the American Red Cross, 60 percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. On average, 39 people die each year in fires in this country.

"Fire is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a family and a home," says Eric Corbett, president and owner of Larry & Sons. "If a fire starts in your home, you may have just two minutes to escape. The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove potential fire hazards."

Corbett offers tips to help keep your family and your home safe:

Develop a fire escape plan with your family. Make sure everyone knows how to get out and where to meet. Practice the plan at least twice a year. If a fire occurs in your home, get out and stay out. Teach everyone to stop, drop and roll if their clothes catch fire.

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test them once a month, and if they're not working, change the batteries. Replace them every 10 years.

Keep flammable items at least three feet clear of anything that produces heat, such as a space heater or a fireplace.

Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home. If it sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or near an open window or door.

Cook safely, and teach your kids to do the same. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling. If you leave the kitchen, even for a moment, turn off the stove. Stay home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling. Check on it regularly and use a timer to remind you. And keep anything that can catch fire, such as pot holders or towels, away from the stove.

Use caution with portable fire extinguishers. Keep one in the kitchen, but use it only if you have been trained by the fire department and if the fire is confined to a small area, the room is not filled with smoke, everyone has exited the building, and the fire department has been called.

Source: www.larryandsons.com.

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How to Save Money on Travel Insurance

October 27, 2016 2:33 am

While traveling is exciting, it can also be stressful, especially if you are forced to make changes last minute, which can cost you time, energy, and your hard earned cash. This is where travel insurance can come in handy. But insurance itself can be pricey. Below are four tips on how to avoid overspending the next time you buy a travel insurance policy, courtesy of Squaremouth.

DON'T: Insure More Than Necessary
Travel insurance is intended to cover the money you will lose if you cancel your trip. Generally, you only need to insure your prepaid and non-refundable expenses. If that amount increases after you buy a policy, you can call your provider and increase your insured trip cost.

"If you can cancel all your hotels for just a small penalty, insure the cost of the penalty rather than the full amount of the hotels," says Squaremouth Product Manager Adam Rusin. "A lower trip cost generally means a lower premium, and you're still covered for the amount you would lose if you canceled."

DO: Compare Your Options
Travel insurance policies are not "one size fits all." Take a few minutes to research your choices using a travel insurance comparison site and determine what coverage you need. Call and speak to an agent if you aren't sure.

"We get a lot of calls from travelers looking for advice, or trying to understand and compare the coverage they're being offered by their cruise or tour operator," says Squaremouth Customer Service Director Jessica Harvey. "Customers are often surprised to see so many other options that offer the same or better benefits at a lower price."

DON'T: Upgrade to Cancel For Any Reason
While the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade offers greater flexibility to cancel your trip, it can increase the cost of a policy by as much as 40 percent, and it only reimburses a portion of your trip cost. There's no reason to pay more if your concerns are covered by standard travel insurance.

"The most common concerns we see are generally covered by standard cancellation policies, such as canceling due to an illness or a family member passing away," says Squaremouth Quality Assurance Manager Emily Phinney. "We don't recommend Cancel For Any Reason unless someone has a unique concern that isn't otherwise covered."

DO: Buy the Least Expensive Policy
A higher price tag doesn't necessarily mean better service or better benefits. Once you decide what coverage you need, choose the most affordable policy with that coverage.

Source: www.squaremouth.com.

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