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formally known as Decoration Day, is observed on the
last Monday of May. The special day started
as an event to honor Union soldiers, who
had died during the American Civil War. After World War
I, it was extended to include all men and women who die
in any war or military action for the United
day was originally inspired by the way people in the
Southern states honored their dead. For years, and to
this day in many areas, family members would visit
cemeteries where all their family members were buried to
clean the grave sites and leave flowers.
is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at
half-mast from dawn until noon. Volunteers place an
American flag on each grave in national cemeteries and
at the graves of military service men and women in
cemeteries throughout the country.
many people still visit cemeteries and memorials to
honor those who have died in military service, for many
the day and weekend has become less of an occasion of
remembrance and more about the start of summer. It has
become a weekend of picnics, sporting events and family
remember that Memorial Day is a day to remember
those who died serving our country. All of us
at House Talk Today Radio wish you a safe
and happy Memorial Day.
history buffs: http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html
Replace a working air conditioning
your unit is over 8 years old, it is an energy hog.
Second, air conditioners always go out at the
worst possible time.
you need to replace your unit, consider this fancy
acronym: the SEER rating, which stands for Seasonal
Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher this number, the
more energy efficient the unit is which means the more
money you will save on energy bills.
recommend you purchase a unit with a 16 - 23 SEER
rating. These units have a higher upfront cost, but will
save you much more in the long
Greenest of the green: Top efficiency-boosting
are willing to shell out up to 10 percent more for new homes
certified green, according to a January real estate report by
Harvard University. If you're looking for eco-friendly
home improvements, these five are among the greenest you can
Switch to a solar water heater - Switching to
solar power for heating water can be a huge energy and
money-saver. Solar hot water systems rely on free energy from
the sun to heat a home's hot water. A typical system can use
50-80 percent less energy than traditional heating systems,
according to Velux America, marketers of solar-powered hot
water systems. That reduction can help a typical household
trim its annual energy costs by 10-15 percent.
the initial cost of installing a solar-powered system is often
higher than installing a traditional water heater, most
homeowners find the energy savings allows them to recoup that
cost in just a few years," says Jim Cika of solar system
manufacturer Heliodyne. "What's more, homeowners may
qualify for a federal tax credit of up to 30 percent of the
cost to buy and install a residential solar water heating
system." Visit www.solar.veluxusa.com to
learn more about solar water heating.
2. Eliminate incandescents
now. Federal law
banning incandescent light bulbs means that by the end of
2014, you probably won't be able to find one of the
old-fashioned power-guzzlers on store shelves anymore.
Instead, more energy-efficient bulbs such as LEDs and compact
fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) will dominate the
Add or upgrade a skylight
- Installing a
skylight, or replacing an older model skylight with a new
Energy Star-qualified one, can help reduce utility costs. The
natural light from a skylight can help reduce the need for
artificial light sources, thereby paring down electricity
costs. When you pair no leak solar-powered fresh air skylights
equipped with automatic rain sensors and efficiency-enhancing,
energy saving accessories like designer solar powered blinds,
you gain a new source of fresh air while improving energy
efficiency by up to 37 percent, according to skylight
to long-term savings, the cost of solar powered skylights and
blinds, as well as installation costs, are eligible for a 30
percent federal tax credit as a green home improvement. For a
tax calculator that will show you the tax benefits of new or
replacement skylights for your home visit www.veluxusa.com.
you would like to see exactly how skylights would look in your
home, there's an app there that allows you to take pictures
inside your home and superimpose skylights and blinds on the
image of your ceiling. Sunlight entering
the home through a skylight can help reduce winter heating
bills. EnergyStar.gov says
installing an EnergyStar-qualified skylight, windows and doors
can trim a home energy bill by 7 to 15 percent over
non-qualified products. Visit www.EnergyStar.gov
Replace an old HVAC system - In the typical
American home, up to half of total energy consumption goes to
heat and cool the house, Replacing old, inefficient
heating, ventilation and cooling systems with newer, more
efficient models can dramatically reduce a home's heating and
Upgrade old windows and doors - A home can
lose a tremendous amount of air - hot in the winter, cool in
the summer - through poorly sealed doors and windows. Older
units, obviously, tend to be less energy efficient than newer
ones. Upgrading from drafty windows and doors to more
air-tight models can result in significant savings on your
heating and cooling costs.
windows and doors are among the home improvements that deliver
significant ROI at the time of resale. Replacing old windows
with new vinyl ones can recoup more than 71 percent of the
cost when you sell; 73 percent for wooden replacement windows,
according to Remodeling
Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report. And installing a new
front door earns you back nearly 66 percent for a fiberglass
door and a whopping 85.6 percent for a steel
can do before severe weather
We have already seen major damage and lives lost
because of storms, hail, high winds, and tornadoes. Here
are some things from the National Weather Service that you can
do to protect your
Develop a disaster plan for you and your family at home, work,
school, and when outdoors. The American Red Cross offers
planning tips and information on a putting together a disaster
supplies kit at: http://www.redcross.org
Identify a safe place to take shelter. Information on how to
build a Safe Room in your home or school is available from the
Federal Emergency Management Agency at http://www.fema.gov/hazard/tornado/to_saferoom.shtm
Know the county in which you live or visit and in what part of
that county you are located. The National Weather Service
issues severe weather warnings on a county/parish basis, or
for a portion of a county.
Keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from
Have a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver unit with a
warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warning
National Weather Service (NWS) watches and warnings are also
available on the Internet. Select your local NWS office at http://www.weather.gov/organization.php
Check the weather forecast before leaving for extended periods
outdoors. Watch for signs of approaching storms.Most local
network television stations offer a free app to follow local
If severe weather threatens, check on people who are elderly,
very young, or physically or mentally disabled. Don't forget
about pets and farm
Tornado safety tips from the National Weather
tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from
the ground to the cloud base.
may not be able to see the tornado.A tornado can
occur before there is a visible funnel
cloud. No place is totally safe
from tornadoes (except for a safe room or storm celler).
If weather conditions come together properly, the tornado will
go over or through mountains, lakes, rivers, and through
downtown areas that have 1,000 foot skyscrapers.
Be aware of flying debris. Most deaths and
injuries are caused by flying
Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or a pre-designated
shelter. Go to the lowest level of the building, and get
under a heavy desk or workbench or sit next to the wall and
cover your head with your arms/hands. Consider installing a
special safe room in the garage.
* If an
underground shelter is not available, move to an interior
room/hallway, put as many walls between you and
the outside of the building, and stay away from windows. Or
get in a bathtub or under a bed or sofa.
waste time opening windows and doors to equalize air pressure
differences. This is a waste of time and buildings have enough
air leakage to equalize air pressure differences anyway.
Buildings are more likely to explode after the wind gets
* Get out
of vehicles, they can easily be tossed around. Do not try to
outrun a tornado.
Do not seek shelter under a highway overpass. Winds blow
stronger under the overpass due to the wind tunnel effect.
Additionally, flying debris (glass, wood, metal) can pummel
you, and the tornado winds may suck you out from under the
overpass anyway.* If caught outside lie flat on the
ground and cover your head with your hands. Laying
down in a ditch may not be your best choice.In tornado
situations debris likes to settle in roadside ditches or other
low spots. If heavy rains are falling in the area, ditches and
low spots may quickly
Manufactured homes (mobile trailers) offer little protection,
even if tied down. Leave these for a sturdy shelter before the
Deal with a reputable HVAC Company
Conditioning recommends that you make sure you have your
HVAC system serviced this spring to ensure maximum
efficiency, prevent unwanted service calls and to extend the
life of your equipment.
When choosing a HVAC company, make sure you are
dealing with a reputable one. The average HVAC company has
been in business in the DFW area for only 2.5 years.
Do your homework. Check with the BBB and
organizations such as NARI.
local Home Builder's Associations and Angie's list. Spending a
little time to check a company's tenure in the industry,
references, quality assurance programs and ratings can save
you thousands of dollars before it's too
Please join us!
We look forward to
you joining our show, House Talk Today, every Saturday from
1-3 p.m. in the DFW area on 660 AM The Answer and in the
Houston area on NEWS 92 FM or iheart radio or www.housetalktoday.com or ksky.com.
If you have a home building, maintenance, repair or
remodeling questions, please give us a call during our show at
800-281-8255 and let us know how we can help you. If you can't
call, then email us anytime.
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