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A Word from our Engineer on Energy Efficiency

A Word from our Engineer on Energy Efficiency

For those of you who know ally Harris Gross from Engineers for Home Inspections, then you know he knows his stuff about making “home” a better place to live!

Thanks Harris for answering some common questions that homeowners have about energy efficiency.  Harris truly loves what he does and for an engineer he is very chatty, so if you have more questions after you read this I’m sure Harris would like to hear from you!

1.  With energy prices so high, what are some (cheap!) ways to make my home more energy-efficient?

a.  Seal the gaps around any holes in the ceiling.  When you take an outlet cover plate off, usually a gap around the junction box is obvious.  Well for each light fixture in the ceiling, this same gap is present.  Other places such gaps exist are around smoke detectors, bathroom exhaust fans, etc.  A 1/8” gap around the perimeter of a junction box equates to a 1.5” x 1.5” hole in the ceiling, per box.  With 10 boxes, that’s a big hole in your ceiling.  Gaps can
be sealed with caulk, good tape, etc.

b.  Seal the holes in your ductwork with aluminum backed (foil) tape.  This prevents 20 to 40% of the expensive conditioned air from escaping into your utility area, crawl space or attic and brings it to the living area, where it
should be.

c.  Insulate the ductwork and HVAC unit.  This will GREATLY improve the operating efficiency of your system.  The cost of insulation will be paid back quickly with lower heating and cooling costs and a more comfortable living area.  Fiberglass insulation is great on the ducts but only use aluminum backed (no paper-backed) insulation around the furnace (do not cover any vent holes).  Also, don’t insulate the hot round pipe (flue) coming from the unit.  ITS AS EASY AS WRAPPING A PACKAGE!  A MUST for those with duct work and HVAC units in attics, crawl spaces or chilly areas.

2.  What should I be looking for proactively in my home every winter to ensure that my home is energy-efficient?  This might include my furnace, windows, insulation.

Once your home is made energy-efficient, keeping the home efficient is easy.  All it takes is a review of the steps you’ve already taken to ensure everything is working correctly.  Don’t be afraid to blow out a match to see which way smokes travels (to pick up the direction of the air flow) or to run your hand along a wall to check for cold spots.  Our country has an energy crisis and 40 % of the country’s energy use is in the home!

If your home has radiator heat, it’s a must to “bleed” the system of air at least once per season.

3.  What is the future of energy efficiency and the cost(s) associated with it?

The future of energy efficiency is pushed, or not pushed, by the cost of energy.  If the cost of existing energy is low, then slow strides will be made to improve energy efficiency.  If energy costs are high, then there is a lot of motivation to improve.  LED bulbs are the next wave.  They run on very little energy and have a lot of light.  90 % of
the energy of an incandescent bulb is lost to heat.

Currently, we have 95 % efficient heaters that are very available.  This means $0.95 of every $1 is used to generate heat.  If you have a 65 % efficient heater, as a lot are, then you get only $0.65.  So to calculate your payback, if you spend an average of $100 per month on heat, you can save $30/month with a new high
efficiency heater.


For more information you can find Harris on Facebook, “Harris Gross”…

Be sure to check out his “Things you don’t see often”!!

Harris Gross ~ Engineers for Home Inspections

~ ~

~ (215) 510-5008 ~ ~


Listing Spotlight: East Passyunk

2 Bedrooms 1.5 Baths ~ Just Reduced to $239,900 ~ LOW Taxes!!

Stunning and light soaked rehab in highly sought East Passyunk area. Located on a private street, park easily outside your front door. This spacious two bedroom one and a half bathroom home has a smart and desirable layout. The first floor is an open modern space with a tiled entry vestibule, super high ceilings, a nice sized powder room and the kitchen, which features energy efficient stainless steel appliances, quartz counter tops, a white porcelain farm sink, subway tile back splash and a skylight. To the left of the kitchen is the entrance to the nice sized yard, perfect for summer barbeques. Walk up the brand new staircase with the modern iron railing and there is a spa bathroom. Wide double bowl sink and tile tub/shower and a dual flushing water-saving toilet. The bedrooms feature contemporary, frosted glass pocket doors and wood floors. The master bedroom has a large walk-in closet and modern ceiling fan. Brand new HVAC, all new plumbing, electrical, HW heater, insulation, windows and doors!

Contact me for an appointment TODAY!

Capri ~ 215.266.5557 ~

Ally Spotlight: “What is a Public Adjuster?” Mike Z – Resolve Adjustment

What is a Public Adjuster?



As a public adjuster I represent you the policyholder when you have an insurance claim. I’m your advocate.  A public adjusters must be licensed by state departments of insurance. I will appraise the damage, prepare an estimate and other claim documentation, read your insurance policy to determine coverage, and negotiate with your insurance company’s adjuster on your behalf.  I will handle the entire claims process for you


Through the course of buying a home or renting an apartment many people purchase either homeowner’s insurance policy or a renter’s insurance policy.  These policies are complex contracts between you and the insurance company you purchased them from.  They are filled with complicated language,exclusions, limitations and responsibilities of the policyholder (you).  In most cases these policies should provide coverage to you for a variety of different losses such as:  fire, wind, smoke, water, theft and vandalism.


Many people assume after they sustain such a loss they should call their insurance company and report a claim.  They also assume that their  insurance company actually has their (the policyholder) best interest in mind.  It is my opinion, and it has been my experience after working in the insurance industry for the last 13 years that this simply isn’t true.  Insurance companies will do everything possible to either deny your claim OR pay the least amount of money possible.  They have knowledgeable expert adjusters working on their side, who do you have working on your side?  Hire me – a public adjuster.


Do I have to use a public adjuster when you have a claim?


Your policy does not require you to use a public adjuster when reporting a claim.  However, it has been my experience that insurance companies settle claims with unrepresented policy holders for significantly less than they do if a policy holder has a public adjuster.


How does a public adjuster get paid?


I’m paid a percentage of the settlement I recover from your insurance company.  If I don’t recovery anything then I am not paid anything.


If I can ever be of any assistance please give me a call.  All consultations are free without ANY obligation.



Michael Zielanski

Resolve Adjustment, LLC

B: 215.352.5202

C: 215.669.5671

F: 215.701.4337


‎”Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Party Like a First-Timer!

Last night First-Timers hosted our first event at Chima Brazilian Steakhouse.  I think I can safely say, that both the guests and Allies had a great time!  We would like to thank our current and past clients who attended (we loved seeing you guys) and thanks to all the new “First-Timer Followers” who came (and won fantastic prizes) we loved meeting you, and hope to see you again soon!

Now that is officially launched, I encourage everyone to “Subscribe” and stay tuned! Some things you can look forward to are tips on homeownership, “I want to buy a home, now what?”, money-saving tips and coupons from our allies, community events, and many more First-Timer Client Party’s (next one scheduled for Fall, hope to see everyone there!).

I told you we had a great time last night, but if you don’t belive me just check out these fun photos and if you missed it try not to be “J”!  If you were there, I want to hear from you!  Please comment and tell me what your favorite part was!

Summer starts tomorrow! Are you ready?

If you would rather take a vacation from your body than show it
off this summer check out these awesome offers to help you get that bod in the
best shape ever. The staff at Professional Aesthetics and Wellness
Center provide an extensive assortment of Medical and
Cosmetic treatments. Save on Laser Hair Reduction to send
unwanted hair packing, Microdermabrasion and Chemical Peels to smooth out even
the roughest skin and Medical Weight Loss Programs to get you in the bathing
suit of your dreams. And, of course, don’t forget your sunscreen.

At Professional Aestheticsand Wellness Center we combine medicine and aesthetic treatments for wellness at every stage of your life. Treating men and women with BioIdentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, Medical Weight Loss, Botox and dermal fillers, Nutraceuticals – physican recommended supplements, medical grade skin care products including Obagi, SkinMedica and SESHA Skin Therapy, as well as a host
of cosmetic services to enhance your appearance. For your convenience we are open 5 days a week. Stop by our beautiful new facility in South Philadelphia across from Methodist Hospital and get your summer off to a fantastic start.

For more information about this and other services, contact:

Susan E. Stout, L.E. ~ Clinical Manager

Licensed Medical Esthetician

Professional Aesthetics & Wellness Center

Dr. Richard Dittrich ~ Medical Director

1315 Wolf St. Philadelphia, PA 19148

215-465-9600 ~ 215-370-5307 cell

Ready to get started?  Take advantage of this coupon today!

Tell them that the “First-Timer Blog” sent you!

It’s Party Time!

Want an invite to this HOT Summer Kick-Off Party?

Subscribe TODAY!

How do you measure up?

I’m looking for a little participation here… In the “Comments” section, please answer the 2 following questions:

1.  How old were you when you bought your first home?

2.  What were your reasons for buying your first home?

Check out the 2010 stats for First-Time Home Buyers below and see how you measure up!




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