Courtesy of the Florida Consumer E-Newsletter
Grilling is an American tradition and summertime staple. There is nothing more enjoyable than a summer cookout with friends and family. Backyard chefs throughout the state are firing up their grills and mixing their favorite marinades. Even though most cookouts go off without a hitch, accidents can and do happen. According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills are responsible for 7,200 home fires every year.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services advises consumers to follow these simple tips for safe grilling.
Propane Grill Do’s
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep written materials and manuals in a safe, accessible place.
- Clean the grill regularly. Grease and fat buildup is a major source of flare ups and accidental fires.
- Check the gas tank hose (at a minimum annually) for leaks before using. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.
- Make sure the gas grill is shut off and cooled off before covering it after use.
- Always store propane tanks outside, in an upright position, and in areas where temperatures won’t exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When filling or exchanging a cylinder, have the supplier check for dents, damage, rust or leaks.
Propane Grill Don’ts
- Do not smoke while handling a propane cylinder. Propane is highly flammable.
- Do not leave your grill unattended.
- Do not store a spare LP cylinder on or near a grill.
- Do not use matches or lighters to check for leaks.
- Do not use, store or transport a cylinder where it will be exposed to high temperatures.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is responsible for safety regulations for liquefied petroleum gas where it is stored, distributed, transported and used. For additional information, please contact FDACS at www.800helpfla.com or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español.
No one likes surprises, particularly when it comes to your expenses. When you haven’t changed your habits, it’s understandable how a higher than normal bill might not seem to makes sense. But, while you haven’t changed anything, the weather has changed.
For example, in hotter months, your A/C can run up to twice as long as it does in cooler months to keep your home at the same temperature. Think of it this way: if the outside temperature is 80 degrees and you have your thermostat set to 78 degrees, then your A/C has to cool your home just 2 degrees. However, when it’s 90 degrees outside, your A/C has to cool your home 12 degrees, running longer to keep the indoor temperature at 78 degrees. Your A/C is one of the largest energy users in your home. So, when it’s running longer, your bill will be higher.
With children out of school and guests in town you may be busy entertaining with slumber parties and family cookouts, which means more hand-washing, dishwasher loads, showers and laundry. To help control water heating costs, keep your water heater at 120 degrees, try to wash clothes in cold water and run the dishwasher only when it’s full.
Another reason your bill may seem higher than normal is the variation in billing cycle days. The number of days included in your monthly bill can vary between 28 and 35 days due to holidays and other factors. So even if you use the same amount of electricity per day, your bill may be higher, or lower, from one month to the next depending on the number of days of service included in your bill.
Craig Muccio FPL
Homeowners Favor Remodeling
With the exception of Millennials, the majority of U.S. homeowners (66 percent) who are remodeling plan to stay in their home for the long term, according to the third annual Houzz & Home survey, which included responses from more than 100,000 Americans.
Fifty-three percent of U.S. homeowners say they are remodeling to increase the resale value of their home but have no plans to move in the next five years, and just 16 percent plan to sell their home in the next two years.
Other findings from the survey include:
- Bathrooms and kitchens are the most popular renovation projects again this year, with 26 percent of respondents planning a bathroom remodel or addition, and 22 percent planning a kitchen remodel or addition in the next two years.
- When it comes to replacement projects, flooring/paneling/ceiling are most popular at 27 percent, followed by windows/doors (22 percent) and roofing (15 percent).
- From initial research to the start of construction, homeowners spend six months to a year planning for big ticket renovation projects, including custom home builds (12.6 months), complete home remodels (9.7 months) and kitchen remodels/additions (8.3 months).
- Top challenges for homeowners renovating are finding the right products (39 percent), defining their style (28 percent), making decisions with spouse/partner (25 percent) and educating themselves (22 percent). Millennials had more trouble defining their style and making decisions with their spouse or partner (43 percent and 34 percent, respectively) than other age groups.
- Homeowners who plan to hire a professional service provider over the next two years are most likely to hire a general contractor (52 percent) and a carpet/flooring professional (34 percent).
(Source: Houzz June 24, 2014)
Do not become a victim of fraud. A basic understanding of how scam artists work and knowledge of common tactics to be on the lookout for can help you avoid fraud and protect your hard-earned money. Learning how to invest safely can also assist you in reaching your financial goals and avoid becoming a victim. Below is more information on some common scams including what to look for and how to avoid falling prey to fraudsters.
This scam typically starts with a knock on your door with a story or a deal – the roofer who can spot some missing shingles on your roof, the paver with some leftover asphalt who can give you a great deal on driveway resealing or some similar claim. These contractors will continually move around to avoid contact with law enforcement and past customers.
In-Person Pitch: I’ve got a deal on resealing your driveway (fixing your roof, trimming trees, etc.)
Target: All property owners, especially seniors.
Result: After you agree to the work to be done, you may have a shoddy job that will not last, a false injury claim against your insurance company or a worker who simply takes your money and runs.
How to avoid this scam: Verify before you buy! Make sure that the company, broker or agent is licensed to do business in Florida. Before you sign a contract or write a check. Use these links to verify through our records that the entity is authorized and licensed to transact business in Florida or with Florida residents. Click here: Verify Before You Buy! You can also verify with the Department of Financial ServicesDivision of Workers’ Compensation if they have workers’ compensation coverage. If they don’t, you could be liable for any injuries.
See MORE on scams on Florida’s Division of Consumer Services. Click here
Brooke Eversoll Earns NKBA Certification
Palm Harbor, FL (April 10, 2014) – S&W Kitchens, Inc. announces that Brooke Eversoll of our Palm Harbor location has earned certification as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the leading trade association for the kitchen and bath industry.
The premier hallmark for kitchen and bath professionals, NKBA Certification is based on written examinations and industry experience. NKBA certified designers must also meet mandatory continuing education requirements annually. The CKD certification recognizes achievement in the competencies necessary for kitchen design. To earn CKD certification, the professional must document a minimum of seven years of industry experience, successfully complete 60 NKBA Education hours, submit two professional affidavits and two client referrals, and pass the design portion of the NKBA Certification exam.
This combination of experience and education ensures that Brooke Eversoll, CKD is an authority on the design, planning and execution of residential kitchens and possesses advanced knowledge of technical and personal communication skills required to succeed as a kitchen design specialist.
A member of the NKBA, Brooke Eversoll, CKD, is a designer at S&W Kitchens in their Palm Harbor showroom. The firm specializes in residential kitchen and bath design. S&W Kitchens works with homeowners, Professional Engineers, Architects, General Contractors and Allied Professionals on all types of projects.
Members of the media are encouraged to contact Brooke Eversoll, CKD and S&W Kitchens for information on design projects, features stories and expert quotes and advice.
About the National Kitchen & Bath Association
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is a non-profit trade association that has educated and led the kitchen and bath industry since 1963. With over 50,000 members and growing, the NKBA owns the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). The mission of the NKBA is to enhance member success and excellence, promote professionalism and ethical business practices and provide leadership and direction for the kitchen and bath industry. For more information, visit http://www.nkba.org.
About S&W Kitchens
Established in 1977, S&W Kitchens, Inc. is Central Florida’s leader in residential remodeling and specializes in turn-key projects from Inspiration to Installation. They offer the best in Kitchen and Bathroom designs, including award-winning designers and the latest in cabinetry, appliances, tile, flooring, plumbing and lighting fixtures. As a state-licensed building contractor we offer full construction and installation services on all types of projects from small spaces to complete home renovation. For more information, visit sandwkitchens.com or call (407) 487-4901.
WFLA’s Home Improvement Show Email your questions 24/7 to MyFlaShow@gmail.com
Article: FPL/Florida Power and Light February 2014
Programmable thermostats, which allow you to set different temperatures for your A/C throughout the day, have been on the market for years. Now, many of you are curious about those new “smart” thermostats popping up in local home improvement stores. This type of thermostat helps you monitor and control your home’s largest energy user – air conditioning – by allowing you to:
- Connect your thermostat to the Internet
- Monitor and control it remotely from a website or smartphone app
- Potentially reduce A/C use when no one is home
Benefits to you
Smart thermostats have features designed to help reduce A/C use and save energy, something their predecessor, programmable thermostats, never really accomplished. But, can smart thermostats really help you save? Unfortunately, it’s too soon to say.
According to the government’s ENERGY STAR® program, programmable thermostats never demonstrated an ability to save energy consistently across the country. Since the verdict is still out on the newer smart thermostats, many utilities, including FPL, are evaluating them in field trials that will last a year or more. No single trial is expected to be definitive, as the benefits of smart thermostats may vary by region and weather conditions.
The bottom line
With smart thermostats, you now have the option to monitor and control your home’s largest energy user right from your smartphone.
This means, it will also be easier than ever to wage a thermostat war in your household, something we know happens! In fact, last fall we surveyed folks across Florida and found that 49 percent – or nearly one out of every two people – admitted to changing the thermostat setting without their partner’s knowledge. Bottom line: while we don’t know how changing the thermostat from your smartphone could affect your relationship, it could definitely impact your electric bill.
More helpful tools for you
You can always see how adjusting your A/C affects your bill and find new ways to save by taking our Online Home Energy Survey. It now works together with your personal Energy Dashboard to show you how much energy you use down to the hour. This tool is made possible by some of our very own “smart” technology, our Smart Grid.
You can read all of our old posts at http://1045his.com/ Our move was necessary as WFLA on the FM dial moved up to 102.5 FM (104.5 FM is now “The Beat” as Clear Channel launched a hip-hop station).
You can Email the show at MyFlaShow@gmail.com anytime, 24/7 and our home improvement experts will answer your questions.