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Perkasie, PA 18944
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Tom's Blog

Danger on Tap? Good Housekeeping Reports on the Unregulated Chemicals That May Be in Your Water

February 15, 2012 6:22 pm

Hormones, drugs, chemicals found in gasoline and pesticides are among hundreds of contaminants that could be flowing from your faucet. And they are not on the government's list of contaminants to regulate, so they won't appear on your water report. Even at low levels, no one knows how dangerous these chemicals might be when mixed together or consumed over a lifetime. But there are already troubling signs: male fish exposed to common hormones that lose their ability to reproduce and, possibly, higher rates of prostate cancer in countries with higher use of birth control pills (where the chemicals possibly leak into ground water).

To help consumers take their safety into their own hands, Good Housekeeping partnered with the Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants at the University of Arizona, one of the world's leading labs for study of unregulated chemicals. Together with the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, the lab performed extensive testing to see whether everyday filters found in water pitchers and refrigerators can remove these chemicals.

Good Housekeeping also reported on risks from chemicals that are regulated— which can and do slip through cracks in the system. In 2010, for example, 10 percent of all community water systems, serving more than 23 million people, sold water to consumers that violated at least one health-based standard of the Environmental Protection Agency.

To test the filters, the Arizona laboratory spiked Tucson, AZ, municipal water with 15 contaminants of concern that have all been found in drinking water. Then, to simulate the weeks or months of use that pitcher and fridge filters would get in a real home, the researchers passed gallons and gallons of contaminated water through each device until it reached the manufacturer's estimated filter lifetime.
The results showed that refrigerator filters worked best, and some pitcher-style filters worked to some degree. The bottom line is that consumers should take responsibility for their drinking water. If you’re curious about what’s in your tap, consider purchasing a contaminant-detection kit. To make sure you and your family are drinking clean water, equip your home with a water-filtration system, which can range from $15 to $50.

To view the full report, as well as Good Housekeeping’s review of several different contaminant-detection kits and home water-filtration systems, click here.


3 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Teen Car Accidents

February 15, 2012 6:22 pm

Teenage drivers are four times more likely than an adult driver to get into a car accident according to the Centers for Disease Control. The elevated risk comes in wake of a young driver's inexperience coupled with the natural tendency to want to test or break the rules. Now parents can take a proactive approach to improving their teen's driving by considering these 3 tips for reducing car accident risk.

Sign a parent-teen contract together
Parents and teens who have common ground can often work together to promote safety behind the wheel. To avoid car accidents, parents and teens are encouraged to download the free parent-teen driving contract below before your teen hits the road.

Install technology that reveals your teen's driving habits
GPS-enabled tracking systems can be a parent's best friend when it comes to their teen's driving behavior—especially if their teen is allowed to drive without supervision. There are several available products available for purchase that allow parents to instantly locate the vehicle, keep track of speeding, set up acceptable routes for travel, and receive notifications upon a teen's departure and arrival. A simple Google search will render many GPS units made especially for teen drivers.

Disable their cell phones while driving
Many cell phone companies offer parents the opportunity to disable their teen's cell phone when driving. Special technology disables the phone when moving is sensed. Check with your cell phone service for available options.

Source: San Diego personal injury attorneys,

Word of the Day

February 15, 2012 6:22 pm

Air rights. Right to occupy and use the open space above a parcel of land or property, such as in the leasing of air space over existing buildings or highways.

Question of the Day

February 15, 2012 6:22 pm

Q: How much, on average, can I expect to spend on home maintenance?

A: Expect to spend one percent of the purchase price of your home every year to handle a myriad of tasks, including painting, tree trimming, repairing gutters, caulking windows, and routine system repairs and maintenance.

An older home will usually require more maintenance, although a lot will depend on how well it has been maintained over the years.

Tell yourself that the upkeep of your home is mandatory, and budget accordingly. Otherwise, your home’s value will suffer if you allow it to fall into a state of disrepair. Remember, there is usually a direct link between a property’s condition and its market value: The better its condition, the more a buyer will likely pay for it down the road.

Also, adopt the attitude that the cost of good home maintenance is usually minor compared to what it will cost to remedy a situation that you allowed to get out of hand. For example, unclogging and sealing gutters may cost a few hundred dollars. But repairing damage to a corner of your home where gutters have leaked can potentially cost several thousands dollars.

Will Mortgage Settlement Be too Late for Many American Homeowners?

February 14, 2012 6:20 pm

The entire media circuit was abuzz early this week with news of the mortgage settlement deal between state attorneys general and five major banks. The settlement, valued at $26 million, aims to provide financial relief to one million struggling homeowners.

What has not been mentioned this week is how to help the thousands of Americans that are facing the threat of foreclosure right now.

"While the proposed deal may provide some measure of redress to borrowers who have lost their homes, it will not be returning their homes to them," says The Mortgage Law Group attorney, Kelly Sibert. "Nor does the deal serve to address the threat of foreclosure that millions of Americans in default currently face."

The deal will be carried out over a three-year period, but for those in need of immediate assistance, that will be too late, the group stated. The Mortgage Law Group strongly encourages anyone struggling with a mortgage to address their problem promptly in order to yield the best results.

"We hope that the nation's mortgage lenders will begin moving more aggressively toward putting homeowners into mortgages they can afford," Sibert concludes. "This would have a substantial effect of helping to stem the current mortgage crisis."


Top 3 Tips to Protect Yourself from Mobile Malware

February 14, 2012 6:20 pm

Mobile malware is becoming a bigger problem every day. Especially now, considering some Americans use their phones more than their computers. Putting a stop to mobile malware isn't that easy.

What is malware? It's essentially viruses or programs that can wreak havoc on your phone. Malware can cause lags and system errors, and can introduce worms and trojans to your system. In short: you don't want malware on your phone.

Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you fight malware problems.

Malware Tip No. 1: Check app reviews before you download.
If you're an Android user, you should be cautious. There seems to be a growing number of malware targeted toward Android devices. That means you should be wary about downloading or installing applications that you've never heard of, or that don't have good reviews. See what other customers are saying about the app before you download. It can help you avoid a virus.

Also try to avoid clicking on suspicious links when browsing the web.

Malware Tip No. 2: Disable Bluetooth when you're not using it.
Be careful if you use Bluetooth on your phone. If you're walking around with Bluetooth enabled, your phone could be ripe for a hacker to swoop in. In some cases, individuals can find all the information on their phone stolen due to an open Bluetooth connection. So it may be prudent to simply remember to turn your Bluetooth off when you're not using it.

Malware Tip No. 3: Update your phone's OS.

Sometimes updating your phone's OS can help you combat malware. This is because developers are often trying to upgrade features with new releases. They are also probably trying to work on fixing any security loopholes.

Knowing that mobile malware exists is an essential first step. The next step is to take preventative measures to stop mobile malware from infiltrating your phone. With these steps in mind, hopefully your phone will remain virus-free.


Raising Children with Gratitude

February 14, 2012 6:20 pm

Teaching your children gratitude is one of the most important things you can do, raising the next generation to be compassionate, understanding and gracious.

“The hand-written thank-you note may have gone the way of the Dodo, but the need to tell other people “thank you” has not gone out of style,” writes Dr. Patricia Nan Anderson, a nationally-recognized parenting expert and author of “Parenting: A Field Guide.”

“If your children don’t know how to express thanks to folks who’ve been nice to them, or if they don’t realize that they need to express thanks to someone, then the time to teach this all-important life skill is now.”

The following tips and suggestions about raising thankful children are from Anderson, published in a recent article on

Saying ‘Thank You’ Out Loud

We all know that “please” and “thank you” are among a toddler’s first words. By the time a child enters preschool, saying thank you should be automatic. You teach this and re-teach it by saying “please” and “thank you” yourself…and by prompting your child to say these on her own. You reinforce polite behavior with more polite behavior and you model what you want to see. Right?

But there is an art to saying thank you for a gift. A child should look directly at the giver and say “thank you” as enthusiastically as possible. There is no need to say “this is just what I wanted” but a child may say “this is the wrong color!” or “I don’t like this!” or “I hate books!”

This means that before an exciting gift-receiving event (before the start of your child’s birthday party or before a holiday present-opening), you review with your preschooler, school-age child, and older kid how to say thank you and how to see value in every gift, even the gifts of socks and underwear. Make the gift-opening event go slowly enough to pause to appreciate every single present: opening gifts should not look like a race. If a child gets so excited he forgets to be polite, that’s the time to take a break from the presents and open the rest later. No need to be angry, just stop the action and resume the gift-opening in a little while.

Sometimes the giver is not in the room. If your child is old enough to carry on a conversation on the telephone and speaks clearly enough to be understood by the person she’s calling, then thanks can be made by phone. The script goes something like this: “Thanks so much for the ____. I really like the color/model/size/whatever. I’m going to use it/play with it right away.” Short and sweet. Rehearse before dialing the phone if you need to.

Saying ‘Thank You’ in Writing
As soon as your child hits preschool – maybe even younger – dictating thank you notes to givers who live a distance away should be part of getting a gift. These thank you notes can be on paper, of course, but a text message or email is okay too. If your child needs some help with the dictation, use the phone script as a guide. If the child can sign his name, he should do that.

Children who can write should craft their own written thank yous. Kids might need help with spelling and you might want to review what’s been read to make sure it really does express thanks. A picture the child has drawn adds nicely to this thank you note. The older the child, the more writing is needed. A note should not seem dashed off with minimal attention and should not seem like a form letter. It must be personalized and sincere.

Don’t Let the Sun Set without Saying Thank You
Saying thank you should come before the end of the day. If your child received a book or toy, the phone call, email, or note should be accomplished before going to bed that night. Writing these notes makes for a nice reflection and is a great way to wind down from a party. Kids who receive gift cards or money may absolutely not spend these until after the thank yous are sent. Make thank yous a house rule and part of the routine of getting a gift.

Finally, a Word for Givers
We all want to be thanked. We’ve spent time and money making or buying and sending our gifts. We wait anxiously to see if we guessed right about what the child would like. We wait for an acknowledgement of our kindness and care. We want some love to come back our way.

So it’s natural to feel sad when thanks isn’t forthcoming. We have to decide if we feel so sad that we don’t want to risk giving again and experiencing more sadness, or if giving even without thanks gives us pleasure enough to keep on. What’s not okay is to blame the child (or even the child’s parents) for our sadness. Lay no guilt trips. Just decide what makes you most happy and do that next time.
And, by the way, thank you for reading this.

Dr. Patricia Nan Anderson is a nationally-recognized parenting expert and author of Parenting: A Field Guide. Learn more about Patricia on her website at


Hot Home Maintenance Trend: New Rechargeable Mower

February 14, 2012 6:20 pm

Eco-friendly appliances have been popular inside homes for the past several years. But with spring around the corner, the Energy Star rated Recharge Mower G2 may be one of the hottest lawn-care trends of 2012.

With no chokes, belts, oil changes, filters or gas needed, homeowners can simply charge this mower up, enabling it to cut up to 2 acres on a single charge. By avoiding the ongoing service issues inherent to gas mowers, the Recharge Mower G2 can consumers time, money, and stress.

Spruce up your lawn for your next party or showing. Spend more time enjoying the warm weather this year, and less time fiddling with your mower. “Manicuring your lawn is what a riding mower is designed to do”, says President Allan Hechtman. “The Recharge Mower G2 is built for users and not mechanics.”


Word of the Day

February 14, 2012 6:20 pm

Agent. Person authorized to act by and on behalf of another.

Question of the Day

February 14, 2012 6:20 pm

Q: Are there different types of contractors?

A: Home improvement professionals vary. Who you hire also will depend largely on the size and complexity of your project. What follows is a brief description of the different contractors who do work for homeowners:

- General contractors – they manage all facets of the project, including hiring and supervising subcontractors, obtaining building permits, scheduling inspections, and working with architects and designers.
- Specialty contractors – these are the folks who install products, such as cabinets, bathroom fixtures, and bookshelves.
- Architects – they design homes, additions, and major renovations.
- Design/build contractors – they offer one-stop service and will see your project through from start to finish.

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