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Home Builders Association of Berks County

DECEMBER 2014

HBA Restoring Hope Foundation

Replace to Code Make Sure Your Insurance Policy Will Let You Replace To Code

THE GREEN TEAM Builders, Contractors, & Inspectors Collaborate on New Approach for Energy Efficient Homes


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2014 HBA Berks

Board of Directors Officers:

Contents

DECEMBER 2014

President Patrick J. Dolan, AIA, LEED AP Dolan Construction Inc. (Reading)

First Vice President Edward F. Anewalt IV, CLP

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Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

Second Vice President James E. Gavin, Esquire Masano Bradley Attorneys at Law (Wyomissing)

10ChadSecretary E. Camburn,

P.E. Bursich Associates, Inc. (Pottstown)

Treasurer Evan L. Hand, III

National Penn Bank (Wyomissing)

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Immediate Past President Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP Aluminum Associates/ Sloan Corporation (Temple)

16 Builder/Remodeler Directors

Daphne D. Frownfelter, CKD

Features: 6

The Green Team

Builders, Contractors, & Inspectors Collaborate on Energy Efficient Homes.

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An Emerging Housing Crisis?

The gap between new housing & the growth of demand.

10 Replace to Code

Make sure your insurance policy will let you replace to code.

12 HBA Restoring Hope Foundation Offers Another Hand-Up

Local family recieves home makeover.

Deer Mountain Kitchens, LLC (Robesonia)

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Angles 26

Heating Season Outlook

Learn about winter energy costs— and how you can save.

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Appliances & Other Nifty Home Gadgets How to make living easier and more enjoyable.

Brad Kehres

L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)

Eric Keller

Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc. (Reading)

Bryan Moll

B & G Glass (Reading)

Diane K. Salks 29 Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

Associate Directors David Hallowell 31 Heffleger Kitchen Center (Reading) Sherrie Hallowell

Tompkins VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

Bruce T. Rader, P.E., P.L.S. Berks Surveying & Engineering, Inc. (Fleetwood)

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HBA Staff

Executive Officer & At Home in Berks Editor-in-Chief

18 Happy Customers

The importance of customer satisfaction.

22 How Satisfied

Are Your Customers?

The steps you should be taking to gain repeat customers.

24 Home Maintenance

N OW!

Projects to prepare for the changing weather ahead.

Departments 4 From the President HBA of Berks County President Patrick Dolan.

32 Membership Pages New and returning members, member to member discount programs, and an overview of all Association-related events from December–March 2015.

Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

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Member & Event Coordinator Barbara M. Bohrman

For Advertising Opportunities: call 610.685.0914 Ext. 1 Read At Home In Berks Magazine Online at HBAberks.org The written and visual contents of this magazine are protected by copyright. Reproduction of print or digital articles without written permission from Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc., and/or the Home Builders Association of Berks County is forbidden. The placement of paid advertisements does not imply endorsement by HBA of Berks County. Publisher: Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc.610.685.0914 2921 Windmill Road, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608


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From the President

The Future

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any of us have been fortunate enough to have some good mentors throughout our careers. Those who teach us certain important lessons, which stay with us and surface in our minds from time to time. My father was such a mentor in many regards. The lessons weren’t always direct, but in retrospect I think he made sure we were always exposed to enough situations to appreciate the life lessons involved. One lesson in particular I can still hear him professing that we need to be sure we are focused to work ON the business, and not always IN the business. For a lot of residential builders, I don’t think that means you can’t work in your business literally. Let’s face it; many residential builders business models are such that the owner wears many hats. It’s part of how to control overhead and find efficiency in a pretty darn inefficient industry. But, if that is your model, no matter what your business, the critical point is always to take a step back and look at the “big picture” once in a while. Which includes understanding the needs of your customers, how your business responds to those needs, what the future looks like, and how you’ll get there. 4

AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2014

As I look back on the HBA of Berks County at the end of this year, and looking ahead to next year and beyond, I’m excited for the “big picture” of our industry and our association. It has been a long, tough ride in the building industry since the great recession began in 2008. While the markets did eventually bounce back, the building industry had a much longer, slower climb. But, now things seem to be steadily improving. We already see challenges in finding skilled labor within the industry, and this is occurring at all levels. This will result in increased wages over the next few years. Plus, there is pent-up demand for homes, buildings, and renovations as many had put their lives on hold while we waited to see what the future would hold. Would there be stability in the market? Where would Washington steer us now and what will Obamacare look like? And so, we waited. And, we waited. And, waited. And, guess what? We still don’t know many of these answers. The market has been anything but stable, but at least it has trend-

ed steadily up, right? Washington? Who knows? Let’s worry about Pennsylvania and our pension problems first. Obamacare? Well, how were your renewal rates for affordable health care? So, where does that leave us? I guess people got tired of waiting. I guess in spite of our government and all the uncertainty, life still moves on. I guess the free market economy is the best thing we have going. When people are left to their own devices to pursue their dreams, work hard, and reap the rewards, we will move forward as a nation. We are still a nation of dreamers and innovators, and we continue to push forward. And where will the road go from here? Well, we keep hearing about a looming inflationary period and rising interest rates that could put a damper on things. But we’ve also been talking about that for a few years now too. So I guess maybe we’re just tired of worrying so much. There’s a lot in the world that has changed over this period. Technology pushes us for-


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ward and has affected nearly every major industry I can think of. Just a few months back I watched the rock band U2 release their latest album free to everyone who held an iTunes account at an Apple launch event. Then I read a speculative account of why this was. The music industry has changed, and many musicians aren’t making much money off of “albums” anymore, due to digital delivery methods. Taylor Swift is not allowing the streaming music site Spotify rights to her new album in protest of their low royalties for play. U2 figured this out quickly. Their last tour became the highest grossing tour in music history grossing over 700 million dollars. How do you get people to keep listening to your music so you can get them to come out for your next tour? Give away the album. Brilliant. The point is, maybe we are living a “new normal”, as we keep hearing this term. But a new normal does not mean a bad normal, just different. We must challenge ourselves to find our place in this new world. The HBA has spent considerable time recently challenging its relevance within our industry moving forward. We welcome your thoughts on the matter. Whether you support legislative rights, endorse education and training, enjoy networking and connecting with others in the trades, or you simply like making a few extra bucks (yes, membership does pay), there are numerous historic reasons people have joined the HBA. My gut tells me as membership grows again with the growing economy, people will join to support the simple mission of the HBA because they want to be a part of “promoting trust and value within our community” (part of our mission statement). Because, at the end of the day, we all want to be a part of a community where we can build trust and value, that is intrinsic for most, I believe. It’s a core part of why we have been proud to be a member of the HBA for so long. As the year wraps up and I think back to other tidbits of wisdom imparted on me, I remember being encouraged to be an active member of our industry. I am so thankful to heed this advice, as it has truly been a pleasure to be engaged with the HBA. The HBA is filled with so many passionate people who care about our industry, our

community, and your home. There have been many business relationships made and even many friendships forged. It has truly been my privilege to serve this year, and I look forward to watching the HBA flourish with our community in the good

years ahead. Here’s wishing a happy & healthy home to all.

Patrick J. Dolan, AIA, LEED AP Dolan Construction Inc.

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DECEMBER 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features

Builders, Contractors, & Inspectors Collaborate on New Approach for Energy Efficient Homes

By Mike Arblaster

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t takes commitment, perseverance, and “ Icommunication—because the natural response to any change is resistance.” 6

AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2014

 hat’s the Buzz

Residents of Alden Place at Cornwall, a new retirement community in Lebanon County, chose this location not only for the simplicity of quiet life in the countryside but also for the peace of mind that comes with living in a quality-built, energy-efficient home. At Alden Place, a team of builders, contractors, and inspectors are designing homes that can, on average, reduce energy costs by 30 percent when compared to typical new homes. The homes feature draft-free construction, high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and state-of-the-art water management systems. As a result, Alden Homes, the developer of Alden Place, can now calculate—and market—potential energy savings for each home. “When I sell homes, I can say with confidence what it’s going to cost to live


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makes for a very thorough, tight insu- better job, a better system...We’ve learned lation job.” a lot by doing it.” But, energy efficiency is not only The HVAC requirements include about installing extra insulation; it’s guidelines for sealing the ductwork and about the way the insulation is installed. minimizing air restrictions. Rather than use Alden Homes placed studs 24 inches leaky wall cavities as return-air pathways, apart instead of the standard 16 inches. Ameri-Tec installed hard metal ducts and Reducing the number of studs allowed sealed the duct fittings by hand. Graybill’s crew to increase the amount This extra attention to detail sets Steffy’s of space for insulation to be placed team apart from the average contractor. within the walls, while maintaining According to ENERGY STAR, a house the structural integrity of the buildings. can lose 20 percent of the air moving through its duct system due to leaks, holes and poor connections.

Better Peace of Mind

here. That’s a major selling point,” said General Manager James Graybill. The workmanship found within Alden Place is the product of a unique—but increasingly sought after—expertise in maximizing energy efficiency. Across Pennsylvania, property managers like Graybill are forming partnerships with teams of specialists who can reduce energy costs while improving home performance in terms of quality, comfort and durability.

Better Building Design

In 2009, Alden Homes began building Better Heating & to standards of the ENERGY STAR® Cooling Systems program, the same U.S. Environmental Ameri-Tec Mechanical, a Narvon-based Protection Agency (EPA) program that division of B.J. Baldwin Electric, was chosen promotes efficiency for home appliances. to install the heating, ventilation, and cooling The first challenge was to design the (HVAC) systems when Alden Homes began homes to minimize drafts and environmen- building to ENERGY STAR standards. tal exposure. ENERGY STAR estimates Ameri-Tec needed to be credentialed that a half-mile of cracks and gaps surround by either Advanced Energy or the Air the windows and doors of an average home, Conditioning Contractors of America allowing cold winter air to creep in and (ACCA), national organizations that warm air to escape. partner with ENERGY STAR to train Alden Homes eliminated those cracks by contractors on best practices for equipsealing the homes and using a new tech- ment sizing and installation to maximize nique that blows fiberglass insulation into efficiency and comfort. the wall cavities and attic space. “There are ENERGY STAR checklists to “We were very careful to seal the homes fill out on every system,” said Rick Steffy, before installing the insulation,” Graybill an Ameri-Tec estimator. “But ENERGY said. “With the blown-in fiberglass, that STAR certification means you’re getting a

The final step for Alden Homes was third-party verification from a Home Energy Rater, an inspector trained to identify climate-specific energy saving techniques. Stan Kuhn, whose company Energy Auditors is based out of Harrisburg, was hired to ensure that Alden Place homes complied with all ENERGY STAR requirements. This process included an on-site inspection to test the insulation, ductwork and HVAC installation, among other measures. “Windows, doors, heating system, we inspect everything,” Kuhn said. Becoming a Home Energy Rater required Kuhn to be accredited by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), a national standards-making body for energy efficiency certification programs such as ENERGY STAR. “The job of the Home Energy Rater is to do a proper inspection following the ENERGY STAR checklist,” Kuhn said. “Certain things have to be done in a certain fashion. These are not big, expensive, time-consuming projects: some spray foam here, some caulking there. The key is to be sure everything meets a certain energy efficiency level.” For example, Kuhn found that AmeriTec needed to install a special ventilation system and adjust the duct seals. “Stan is tough,” Steffy said. “He goes through and makes sure everything is correct. If he sees something out of kilter, he’ll definitely let us know we’re leaking air.” Continued on page 8 DECEMBER 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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New Program Incentivizes for Efficient Home Construction

Pennsylvania utilities: Met-Ed, Penelec, HVAC contractors are approved to work on Penn Power, and West Penn Power. ENERGY STAR homes nationwide, 32 of Providing the latest in energy efficienThe program offers incentives to builders whom are based in Pennsylvania. cy typically results in higher costs for the of new homes that meet ENERGY STAR advanced materials, labor, and additional standards. Each newly built ENERGY Team Adapts to Evolving training involved. STAR home is eligible for a $400 rebate. Housing Market To help offset those costs, in 2011 In addition, builders receive $0.10 for each ENERGY STAR certification has been Graybill was among the first to apply to kWh saved annually. a learning process for everyone involved participate in the Pennsylvania Energy To date, 112 builders across Pennsylvania at Alden Place. Adapting to new buildEfficient New Homes Program, an incen- are participating in the program, with six ing practices has not always been simple, tive program offered by FirstEnergy’s based in the Berks County area. About 900 Graybill said. But, the transition has led each company to advance their trade, further setting them apart as energy efficiency experts within an industry that remains predominantly wedded to older building techniques. “It takes commitment, perseverance, and communication—because the natural response to any change is resistance,” Graybill said. “But, once you get there, it’s easy. Now, ENERGY STAR is just another brick in the foundation of being a solid builder with a quality product.” As more home buyers seek properties that deliver lower utility bills and higher levels of comfort, Kuhn sees energy efficient homes as a necessary step for builders to compete in today’s evolving housing market. “Builders can—for not a whole lot more cost—build a much better home, have fewer call backs, and have much happier customers,” Kuhn said. “Will buyers want a house that costs 25 to 30 percent less to heat and cool? Of course, they will.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Arblaster is Program Coordinator at Performance Systems Development, a FirstEnergy /ENERGY STAR partner to encourage high performance home building. For more information go to energysavepa-newhomes.com or contact Mike by phone at (814) 282-3689 or by Email at marblaster@psdconsulting.com.

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features

An Emerging

Housing Crisis? By HBA Staff

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ationally acclaimed academics and authors, Wendell Cox and Joel Kotkin, have recently made the case for an emerging housing crisis in America. They cite “a growing gap between the amount of new housing being built and the growth of demand.” They posit “our still-youthful demographics are catching up with us. After a recession generated drought, household formation is again on the rise,” citing data from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. And, from another study, they report, “the country is building barely one-third the number (of new homes) needed to meet the growth in households.”

point that many would-be buyers can afford. Put another way, NAHB economic experts calculate that for every $1,000 increase in the price of the typical new home, some 206,000 households are priced out of the market for that home. The authors further write, “Nothing speaks to the nature of the American future more than housing. If we fail to adequately house the current and future generations, we will be shortchanging our people and creating the basis for growing impoverishment and poor social outcomes across the country.”

tion in such a manner that we keep housing safe while also eliminating the “nice but not necessary” regulatory costs associated with new construction.

It’s Why We’re Here

That is not a foregone conclusion for our nation’s future. We have the opportunity to create a bright and exciting future in safe, desirable neighborhoods with affordably priced homes. But, doing so will require much diligence on our part—to study the demand, control the price points, and have those in government who make regulatory policy understand the extremely Opportunities in Berks adverse impact their actions can have on Certainly, the warning from Cox and our collective ability to improve the life The Nation Suffers Kotkin presents a good-news opportunity and opportunity for many more of their From a national perspective, the two for those in the home building industry. We citizens by building new homes for them. authors state, “the groups most likely to need to carefully assess the demographics, That is what your HBA is all about—workbe hurt by the shortfall in housing include in and out migration patterns for Berks ing to help create increased opportunities young families, the poor, and renters. These County, job creation data, and then build and a beneficial business climate that you groups include a disproportionate share of the right product at the right price for the often could not do on your own. Be sure minorities, who are more likely to have lower prospective buyers. you and all of your trade partners remain incomes than the population in general.” While this situation presents an oppor- strongly committed to the HBA. It is for Cox and Kotkin then point to the correla- tunity for those of us in the shelter industry, your own good, but also, for the good of tion between government regulation and the it also calls attention to the continued need our nation. increased cost of housing—a relationship for all of us to work—most often through that drives new home prices beyond the the HBA—to influence government regulaDECEMBER 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features

REPLACE TO CODE Make Sure Your Insurance Policy Will Let You Replace To Code By HBA Staff

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his winter, too many building owners will get caught by surprise: They’ll have pipes burst in the cold, doing tens of thousands of dollars in damage. They’ll get estimates to repair. They’ll file a claim with their property insurance company—only to find out that their policy will only cover a fraction of their costs. The problem: Insufficient coverage for building code upgrades. Here’s what happens: Building codes evolve; but, buildings don’t. If you are the owner of an older building or even a historic building, chances are the previous owner has not been tearing the building apart and replacing plumbing every time municipal or state authorities pass an adjustment to the building codes governing plumbing, sewage, or septic systems. 10

AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2014

Ordinances are clear: Owners of damaged buildings must make all repairs in accordance with the new codes, not the codes that were in force at the time the property was damaged.

The rub: Not every insurance policy provides this specific coverage. Indeed, for a brand new building, there’s little need for it. But, the exposure becomes greater the more years that go by and the more local authorities revise building codes.


Imagine if…

Here are some examples of the kinds on issues that can befall a property owner, just with plumbing-related issues alone: • Regulations require specific plumbing materials, forcing you to replace all the plumbing in the building with copper, for example, rather than galvanized steel. Even if you only have to replace a portion of your plumbing, copper and galvanized systems don’t necessarily mix without a plumber taking specific measures to prevent the two metals from coming into direct contact. • You must renovate your property to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or some similar intervening law, which may require changes to bathing and toileting facilities that in turn require remodeling. • In one case, for example, a fire destroyed the gymnasium area of a school. The school system rebuilt the gymnasium with a larger girls’ locker room area, which the school board understood was required under Title IX, which forces schools to bring boys’ and girls’ athletic programs into parity. The insurance company refused to pay the extra costs of building the larger girls’ locker room. A court sided with the insurance company.

• In some areas, like Dade County, Florida, if a home is more than 50 percent destroyed by wind, for example, you must tear down the entire home and start from scratch, raising the new structure above flood level. Not every insurance policy is designed to cover a teardown and complete rebuild. This was a frequentlyencountered issue among the waterfront communities affected by last year’s Hurricane Sandy.

Connect with the HBA…

Home Builders Association of Berks County

Check Your Policy

Some policies do provide basic protection against the additional costs of bringing a damaged building up to code. Many insurance forms today specifically exclude or limit coverage—at least on the base policy—for costs associated with replacing or repairing a damaged structure up to new building codes beyond those that existed when the policy was issued. To be protected against the risk of having to spend additional money, over and above like-kind replacement—to bring a property up to code, you must obtain an additional policy or rider, generally called “law and ordinance coverage,” “building ordinance insurance” or variations on that theme. Commercial policies provide less coverage, typically, than residential policies, though it’s generally a simple matter to add this coverage by endorsement. The insurer simply adds a rider. Courts have been more willing to side with home owners than commercial insurance policyholders in code-related disputes, and many home insurance policies provide some rudimentary protection against code-compliance-related costs. However, many people would do well to purchase additional coverage to protect themselves from disaster rather than deal with coverage issues after a claim occurs. Whether it’s coverage for your home or a commercial building, these issues should be addressed with your agent, especially if the property is an older building.

@HBAberks

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Channel: HBAberks


features

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HBA Restoring Hope Foundation

Offers Another HAND-UP By Dawn Wivell

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he HBA Restoring Hope Foundation did it again! The Foundation, along with a group of volunteers, gave a local family a hand-up with a one-week home makeover. The makeover was the result of months of planning, the dedication of many volunteers, and donations (material, time, and monetary) from numerous businesses and individuals.

The Process

First, the request for applications went out the beginning of 2014. After receiving 15 applications, those applicants were evaluated (including criminal & credit checks, a review of the family’s bank statements, confirmation that they owned the house, and that their property taxes were paid), and the finalists visited before the final decision was made. Then, the Board of Directors had the daunting task of choosing just one family to receive this amazing gift—one hard-working family that, due to unforeseen circumstances, needed a hand up. Plus, the work needed to be within the scope of what the Foundation could provide—in both time and money. With these parameters in mind, the Board of Directors chose the Welgo family. Diane Salks, the 2014 Chair, said it was a very difficult decision: “they [the Welgos] were a lovely family, asking for reasonable requests. You can see that they work through adversity while keeping a positive attitude. They are appreciative of what they have and share with others.” Continued on page 14 DECEMBER 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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“Everyone goes

through rough periods in life. Sometimes those rough periods seem like they will never end, and you fight to stay positive. When you’re in the midst of the darkness you look for even the tiniest of positivity. Then God brings the sunshine! Restoring Hope is the sunshine! My house is beautiful! To know and understand that so many people have pulled together, worked hard and dedicated themselves to making life a little brighter for someone else is just so deeply touching. I will never forget it.” – Lisa Welgo

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For the Candidate Announcement, the About the Welgo Family Foundation organized lots of friends, family, This year’s winners were Lisa & Dennis volunteers, and media to share the surprise Welgo from Mohrsville, PA. The Welgos as the Welgo family received the “door- have four children—27-year-old Jessica, knock” and Chair Salks told them they were 20-year-old Alissa (a student at Alvernia selected as the recipients of the 2014 Build. University), 7-year-old Hank, and 5-year-old The Construction Committee also began Haley. Lisa works for the Hamburg School planning the actual 2014 Build at this District and Dennis works for Microtel. time—what projects would be done, what materials were needed, and what skill-sets were required to complete the work? A plan THE Moment: Lisa & for each room of the house Dennis Welgo are told was created. by Chair Diane Salks Then, the Foundation that are the recipients of the 2014 Build. began acquiring the materials; finding organizations willing to donate equipment, such as a mini-pod, porta potties, dumpsters, etc.; soliciting monetary donations; enlisting and scheduling volunteers for the 2014 Build; locating a place for the family to stay during the 2014 Build; marketing and spreading the word about the 2014 Build; and finding an organization willing to feed the volunteers each day of the 2014 Build week. All this before the actual “work” began on September 15th. From September 15th  –19th, more than a hundred volunteers helped transform the Welgo’s home. Some came for a few hours and some were there nearly every day. Some were professionals and some were complete novices. Parents brought their children to help, creating lasting family memories. But, they all came to give one family a hand-up. Then, on Saturday, September 20th the Foundation gathered about 50 family memView from the Street of the completed 2014 Build. bers, friends, and media for the Big Reveal.


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HOW YOU CAN HELP: HBA Restoring Hope Foundation will begin accepting applications for the 2015 Build at the start of the 2015 calendar year. If you know anyone who could use a hand up, please, let them know about this great opportunity. If you are interested in helping to prepare for, or to volunteer at, the 2015 Build: please go to www.HBArestoringHOPE.org or contact the office at 610-777-8889.

Alissa—and even added two new family members with the adoption of Hank (who weighed only 15 pounds when he came to them at the age of 15 months) and his sister Haley. On September 17th, 2010— Lisa was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy just a few years after the adoption—Lisa when she was only 2 years old; but, she was diagnosed with HER2 positive breast never let the disease stop her from doing cancer, a very aggressive form of cancer. what she set her mind to…including rock It’s a day Lisa will never forget. After six climbing. She purchased her 960 SF home, months of chemotherapy and 20 weeks of which she describes as “small but cute,” radiation three times per week, Lisa is now around 1990 and married Dennis in 1998. considered cancer free. Unfortunately, the She says, “I was doing extremely well at that cancer treatment exacerbated her cerebral point in time.” They were happily raising palsy symptoms and getting around has their two biological children—Jessica and become increasingly difficult for Lisa.

Lisa explained, “I try so hard to NOT let it [cancer] affect me; but, the truth is, the medication has made me gain weight and the chemo has hit the muscles and tendons in my legs. I now go through periods of pain, sleepless nights due to the pain, and my balance is much worse.” Daily activities that many of us take for granted have now become difficult or impossible for Lisa, like navigating the steps to the basement laundry room or getting in and out of her car in bad weather. When her pastor suggested she apply for the Foundation’s rebuild, she was hoping for a carport and laundry facilities on the first floor. What she received, was a whole lot more. Continued on page 16

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The 2015 Build

The estimated cost of the build is over $85,000 and included new construction—unlike the last two years. Here are some of the elements of this year’s 2015 Build: • Carport/pavilion • Patio • New landscaping • Propane generator • Space for their new washer & dryer combo • New storage units • New flooring & painting throughout most of the house • Remodeled bath • Enlarged tiled handicap accessible shower • New beds & linens • New closet • Custom artwork throughout • New furniture • And, so much more…

Prime Office Space 25 Stevens Ave., Building A, Spring Township, just off Penn Ave. Suites from 557 sq. ft. to 2,374 sq. ft.

Great Rates: $10.00 / sq. ft. (gross) for 1st year, $11.25 / sq. ft. for 2nd year, $12.50 / sq. ft. for all remaining years • Lock in the Rent for up to 5 years • Short Term lease options also available

Contact us today for a tour (610) 777-8889

Salks said, “Each year brings different needs. This year’s 2014 Build went very smoothly. The Board, and most especially Vice Chair Cathy Sloan, had everything prepared and well organized.”

About HBA Restoring Hope Foundation

HBA Restoring Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization, was established after the popular television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to Berks County in 2010. Many of Berks County HBA members who were involved with the Extreme Makeover project wanted to continue giving back to the community. The Foundation’s mission is “to construct solutions to address unique challenges of deserving people in Berks County,” its goal is “to help restore the lives of middle-income working families who have fallen on tough times, and its focus is on giving a “hand up, not a hand out.” The Foundation has provided a hand-up to four families since 2011.

For more information, go to www.HBArestoringHOPE.org

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Saving money for a mortgage have you PUZZLED?

Thank You!

The Home Builders Association of Berks County and the HBA Restoring Hope Foundation are proud of our members and the scores of volunteers and donors who contributed to the 2014 Build for the Welgo family. These Berks County businesses believe that communities are built one home at a time. Please show them your appreciation by considering them first.

Contributing Companies & Individuals  84 Lumber  A.G. Artisan Finishes  AD Moyer  Advanced Disposal  Aluminum Associates  AmeriGas  ARC Marketing  Arett Sales Corp  B&G Glass  Becker-Home  Berks Career & Technology Center–East Campus  Berks Products  Berks, Fire & Water Restorations  Bob Fisher Chevrolet  Bob’s Discount Furniture/Gift Card  Bogia Engineering Inc.  Boscovs  Bower & Branch  Brian Homan Drywall  CertaPro Painters  Colors By Design  D&S Portable Toilets  David’s Cleaning  Dawn Wivell Writing Services  Denny’s Electric Service Inc.  DMKintzer Productions  Dolan Construction, Inc.  Fromm Electric  Geoff Penske Buick GMC  Gilmers Home Improvement  Gloria Johnson Painting  Green Tree Technology  Hahn Exteriors  Hamburg Community Seventh-Day Adventist Church  Heffleger Kitchen Center, Inc.  Hoffmann Publishing  Home Builders Association of Berks County  JJN Landscaping  Kieffer’s Appliances

 Kohl Building Products  LA Kehres Building & Remodeling  Malsnee Tile & Stone, Inc.  Martin’s Flooring, Inc.  Martzall’s Custom Surfaces  Met Ed  Penn Werner Hotel  Penske Logistics  Perennial Financial  PNC Institutional Investments  Potts Nursery  Professional Referral Exchange–Reading Chapter  Quadrant EPP USA, Inc.  Quality Roofing Supply Co., Inc.  Reading Eagle Co.  Reading Precast Inc.  Reading Truck Body  Reading/Muhlenberg Career Technology Center  Reinsel Kuntz Lesher LLP  Rhoads Limosine Service  Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc.  Salks Pottery  Sherwin Williams  Shirleys Café & Pike Café  SignProsPA  Solensky Spouting & Garage Doors  Stoney Creek Rental  Studio 413  Suzy Rae Design  Team Depot  The Crowne Plaza  The Home Depot Foundation  Thompkins Vist Bank  UGI  Upper Bern Township  US Express Printing  Visions Federal Credit Union  Wayne Becker Photography  Weaver’s Hardware Company

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features post than it is to make a phone call to a call center. Additionally, people want answers, and they want them fast. It is important to address customer comments as quickly as possible, even if they are negative. Any feedback, even a complaint, can be turned into an opportunity to improve your business. Simply put, some of your customers will be active on social media, regardless of what type of business you’re in. You might as well join the conversation.

Happy Customers By Stacy Lord

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or any business, happy customers is a key measure in performance. Customers inform a company about what it is doing well and what it can improve on. And, with social media, it is easier and faster than ever for customers to share their experiences, good or bad, with anyone and everyone. Therefore, customer satisfaction is important now more than ever. UGI Utilities, Inc. takes pride in our dedication to customer satisfaction. UGI typically ranks high in customer satisfaction according to the annual Residential Gas Service Customer Satisfaction study by J.D. Power. Over the years, we have found that there are some common elements that can influence satisfaction that can be applied to any business or industry.

Listen To Your Customers

Seems simple, right? But, truly listening to your customers means going where they are and being responsive. For UGI, that means listening to customers in all the channels where they are—in person, over 18

AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2014

the phone and yes, social media. As previously mentioned, social media’s influence in business is strong and only continues to grow. Businesses must not only be present on social media; but, engaging as well. It’s not enough to have a Facebook page but never post new content. Updating content frequently improves online presence and allows customers to see what is going on at the company. For example, UGI shares energy-saving tips, community information, and more to its social media followers. What content your company posts will depend on what information you want your customers to know. The particular platform your business decides to use may determine the content and frequency of posting. For example, Twitter is a better tool if your business wants to provide updates multiple times per day. The demographics of your customer base might also play a role. Customers often use social media as a tool to voice complaints. It is easier, and more public, to send a Tweet or a Facebook

Be A Good Citizen

Customers want to see how companies serve their communities. Research suggests that consumers are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies. Through many forms of traditional and social media, you can demonstrate to customers and communities the ways your company and employees give back. If your company has a blog, write about the different organizations and events your employees are involved with. Share photos on Facebook of employees doing work in the community. More traditional ways to spread the word about your company’s corporate citizenship include bill inserts, emails, newsletters, and media releases. Continued on page 20


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Put Safety First

As a regulated utility company, it is especially important to communicate safety to customers. UGI’s website includes an entire section devoted to safety. It is important to explain safety information to customers in a way that makes it easy to understand. Bullet points, subsections, and FAQs are simple ways to communicate safety tips and outline important information. UGI always shares general safety information in addition to natural gas and electric safety. These tips are applicable to any home owner or business owner. Seasonal tips, like how to stay cool in the summer heat, always serve as valuable information. In addition to traditional channels, social media is a good tool to communicate your company’s safety information: • Remind customers of where they can get their safety information. Link back to sources or redirect to your company’s website. • Post timely information. If there’s a severe storm in the forecast, share storm preparation tips. If there’s a heat wave, remind customers of how to stay cool. • Encourage customers to call in an emergency situation. Remind them of important phone numbers they should make easily accessible, like on their cellphones.

Ease of Doing Business

Try to make it as easy as possible for customers to do business with you. For example, UGI offers several payment options; so, customers can decide how they want to pay their bill. Some customers don’t want to receive a paper bill in the mail. Others don’t want to worry about remembering to pay their bill on time. Not every company may have the ability to offer payment options; but, whatever the options are, they should be communicated clearly. UGI and other regulated utilities offer assistance programs for customers struggling to pay their utility bills. If your company is a regulated utility, then you likely know about the assistance programs your company offers; but, do your customers? UGI’s website provides detailed information on each program, including how to apply. The company also frequently reminds customers of these programs via social media, messages on their bill, public announcements, and emails.

Savings Tips

Who doesn’t like to pay less for something? Certainly, at UGI, customers are happier when their bills are lower. So, help your customers understand the best deal for them. In addition to assistance programs, UGI offers energy saving tips that customers can take advantage of to help lower their energy bills. UGI shares these tips in several ways: • Tools and information under a section of the website where customers can learn how to save money and energy. • Bill inserts in paper bills and sent via e-mail to e-Bill customers. • A blog category with articles that expand on energy-efficiency topics. • Weekly energy-saving tips via Facebook.

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Any company is capable of offering their customers reliable, helpful information to meet their needs; but, it is important to listen to what customers want and need. And, your company should be willing to evolve as your customers’ needs change. UGI is always looking for additional ways to make our service better to customers. Like you, we know that a company cannot survive without its customers. If your company’s customer satisfaction is not currently where you would like it to be, consider tackling a few key improvements that will resonate with your customers. Good luck!

610-777-8889 25 Stevens Avenue | Building B, Suite 1 | West Lawn, PA 19609

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AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2014

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stacy Lord is the Marketing Strategy Manager at UGI Utilities, a natural gas and electric utility committed to delivering reliable, safe, and affordable energy to 660,000 customers in 45 counties in Pennsylvania and one county in Maryland. Go to www.UGI.com and click on “Gas for Homes” in the upper right to learn more. Contact Stacy at slord@ugi.com or by phone at (610) 796-3469.


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features

How Satisfied Are Your Customers? By Tony Carroll

Do you just assume? Why not ask them?

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egardless of your business type, we all have customers. It is their purchase of our goods or services that allows us to be in business. In today’s tight and highly competitive business environment, making our customers happy by creating a unique customer experience has never been more critical. Happy customers become repeat customers, and happy repeat customers will refer us to friends and family. How do you determine whether or not your customers are happy? Do you wait for them to shop again? Do you assume that because you are getting very few complaint calls that your customers must be happy? Research has shown that only about 6% of unsatisfied customers actually complain. They just go elsewhere the next time they shop for the products or services you offer. Why not just ask your customers? There are many different ways to find out from your customers if they were satisfied with their experience:

• You or someone in your company can follow up with each customer with a personal phone call. People in our community are usually too polite and courteous to complain to you on the phone especially when their complaint is with you, the one making the call. Still, genuine heart-to-heart phone conversations can be an effective way to find out, if done correctly, with a big emphasis on the “if.” Don’t cop out on this personal touch opportunity by sending an email and waiting for a response. • You can provide your customer with a customer survey card with a series of questions that ask “how did we do.” Usually, you provide a 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 scale for the answers. I would suggest that you also leave room for additional comments. Usually, that is where you will really find out how happy they were with their experience. Whether you send the card/ mailer through the mail, leave it in their home if it is a service tech or delivery person, or simply hand it to the customer in person, always make sure that the return card is already postage paid by you. • There are many good anonymous online surveys available that can be used, too. Just Google “online surveys” and you will find a bunch out there. If you use one of these, make sure you keep it brief, and even consider adding a progress bar. The progress bar shows the person answering the survey how much more they must fill out before the survey is complete. Survey abandonment is one of the problems with surveys that feed the respondent only one question at a time, so if you can show them with the progress bar how quickly they can be done, that will help get them to complete the survey.

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Regardless of the method you use, be prepared to hear responses that may be painful to bear. If you use phone or mailed card surveys, you have the opportunity to try and resolve the issues or dissatisfaction the customer has. The key with a dissatisfied customer is to respond quickly. The longer they stew about something they are unhappy about, the more of their friends and family they will tell about the bad experience. Studies suggest that when a person has a good experience, they will tell about 4 people. If they have a bad experience they will tell an average of 13; but, today with the internet and social media, they can literally tell thousands. The savvy business owner will use survey responses to make internal improvements within their companies for those things that seem to be recurring responses on returned surveys. Customer surveys truly can make your company better. Why wait till you see a brutal review on Google or Angie’s list? Why not ask the customer as quickly as you can, “how did we do?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tony Carroll owns ARC Marketing Solutions located in Bowmansville, PA. ARC Marketing specializes in helping contractor and associated businesses in Berks and Lancaster County with their marketing. For more information visit their website at www.arcmarketingsolutions.com or email Tony at Tony@ arcmarketingsolutions.com.

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features 10 inches thick has an R-value of approximately 30. You can raise that number to 38 simply by adding two or three more inches of fiberglass.

Weather Strip Your Windows Ensure that your storm windows and doors are effectively keeping warm air in and cold air out. Look for any cracks around glass, sashes, and window frames. Apply adhesive foam weather strips to the top and bottom window rails or nail felt weather stripping where window sashes and frames make contact. If you live in a home built in the last 15 years or so, you likely have double or triple-paned windows and low-emissivity (Low-E) glass. Both these products increase your energy efficiency and can lower your energy bills.

Home Maintenance

N OW! By HBA Staff

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Fix the Flicker When the lights in your home flicker, they are sending you a warning sign. Maybe the lamps (light bulbs) or ballasts are at their life’s end. Maybe a connection has come loose after years of rattling due to foot traffic, loud sound, or other movement. Or, maybe, this is the sign of a large electrical system issue. The first, simple step is to replace the lamps themselves. If all is well, that was probably the extent of your issue. If not, you may need to involve your HBA electrician.

Give Your Gutters Some Love

Gutters and downspouts are easy traps for leaves and pine needles, and squirrels often use them to store food. Be sure to clean gutters thoroughly, and pay special attention to elbows and bends in the downspouts. Keep hangers fastened securely and plug any holes and cracks. Here are a few projects to check off your to-do list in the next couple of months: Touch up any sections showing signs of rust with rustproof paint. As the snow and ice melt, it often does so rapidly in southeast Mind the Gaps PA. Gutters and downspouts will need to Insulate Escape Routes Heated air can escape from gaps that Heat rises, which mean heat from your rush that water away from your foundation develop where building materials meet. home also can escape through any vulner- quickly and efficiently. A clogged system Inspect areas where building materials able areas of the roof. The most efficient causes overflows which dump the water may have pulled apart and caulk or seal way to stop that heat loss is by installing at your foundation, making it easier to any gaps that have formed. Check places ceiling and roof insulation with an R-value penetrate into the basement. where exterior siding meets windows and of approximately of R-38 for Berks County. doors, around roof and foundation lines, The R-value refers to the ability of any Repair Peeling Paint around chimneys, and where pipes pro- material to resist the passage of heat. For The best sign that your place is in need trude through walls or roofs. example, a fiberglass bat or blanket 9 ½ to of a new coat is when you see the paint

ith winter upon us, now is the time to focus on a few simple home maintenance projects to prepare for the changing weather ahead. The good news is that many of these are lowor no-cost DIY projects (Do-It-Yourself ) that can also help you save money on your energy bills. Most importantly, they help protect your home investment.

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Replace Filters

Lube Hinges When the hinges on the doors are not properly lubricated, they start to rust and creek. Regularly oil or lubricate hinges to keep them operating smoothing for decades.

starting to peel. That can pose a health hazard as well because inhaling the paint residue can be very dangerous. A little scraping and a few coats of new paint can increase home value, amplify beauty, and change the look of a room or structure.

The filters of the HVAC unit are supposed to get dirty quickly since they catch the solid particles in the air. It is part of your home maintenance task to make sure that filters are replaced to keep the air you breathe clean and healthy. Ignoring replacement not only damages you, it damages your unit. The unit will be forced to work harder, which may lead to premature breakdown, as it tries to suck air through an ever-dirtier filter. Be sure that filters are clean and that you change them monthly.

Inspect Your Heating Unit

Plug Leaks

Consider replacing an older or inefficient heating unit with a gas or oil furnace or a heat pump with a high efficiency rating. If your system already is efficient, be sure to inspect and clean it regularly. A timer model thermostat that can turn the heat down while you sleep or when no one is at home also can help you save money.

People tend to ignore a minor plumbing leak, especially if it is not causing any damage to a vital area. The problem is that the smallest leak can cause a great deal of trouble in the end. Small leaks become big leaks which destroy structures and content. Stop them small to avoid larger problems later.

Home maintenance does not have to be costly or troublesome. You just need to have the right know-how in order to make sure that you will be doing it right. Performing routine home maintenance is essential and well worth the time and effort to keep energy bills low, protect your investment, keep your family safe, and prolong the life of your home. For more tips on home maintenance, go to www.nahb.org/forconsumers.

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Angles

By Michael DeBerdine III

What the experts say about winter energy costs— and how you can save.

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inter is here for home owners and commercial users. For many of us, that spurs not-so-fond memories of paying our heating bills during last year’s “Polar Vortex.” With a few months left in the heating season, there’s still time to gain a firmer grasp on what we can expect out of this winter and some strategies for serious saving. In my role, I oversee a team that manages supply of heating oil, propane, and natural gas for the Jerome H. Rhoads companies, which include E.G. Smith Inc. and Boyertown Oil & Propane. As part of that year-round job, our team continuously reviews energy research, forecasts, regional usage data, and other information. This article shares some of that data with you—and explains how it can be useful in managing your heating costs. In addition, you’ll find a range of practical tips on how to keep more money in your wallet this winter.

The Data, The Weather, & Your Heating Fuel

In October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its official forecast for the season. The good news: there is an equal chance temperatures will be above or below normal this year. That sounds pretty noncommittal; but, it means that the NOAA believes winter temperatures will be closer to average this year—a big improvement over last winter. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) also issued its Winter Outlook in October—a big deal in our industry. The media tended to focus on the good news from that report; one reporter noted that costs are expected to be lower this winter, “especially for anyone who relies on home heating oil.” In fact, the EIA predicts that oil heat users will spend 15% less this winter than last, and propane users will spend 13% less. Of course, those savings are averages that vary from region to region depending on several variables; but, still: great news for folks who spent more on heating costs last year. While this winter looks to be better, both in terms of projected weather and fuels costs, home heating is still a major household expense. For example, while oil heat customers may save 15%, they may still spend $1,500, $2,000, or more on heat. Plus, if the 26

AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2014

winter is colder than forecast, the EIA’s projected savings could be significantly reduced. Regardless of what the remainder of winter brings our way, there are still some things you can do to make your home heating system run more efficiently.

Heat Smarter & Save

No matter what type of fuel you use to heat your home, there are strategies that can save you big. HEATING OIL: About 30% of the homes in our region use oil heat. These home owners should incorporate regular annual maintenance into their regimen. Why? Because it keeps the system operating at peak efficiency, which can lower oil usage by 10% or more. That adds up quickly, even for the average user. Research also shows that regular maintenance can extend the life of an oil heat system by up to 50%. Another way to save: review available “pre-buy” or “capped price” programs. With capped pricing, your cost-per-gallon will never go above a set level. One key: some suppliers, including E.G. Smith Inc. and Boyertown Oil & Propane, will give you the lower cost-per-gallon if heating oil prices wind up falling during the winter. Read the fine print to be sure your provider offers the same guarantee. PROPANE: Based on the EIA predictions, the average home owner using propane will see a decrease of more than $300 from heating costs this winter. Still, a winter’s worth of propane is a significant household expense. Shop pricing among area providers; but, when you do, be sure to ask whether they had problems delivering propane to customers last winter. You want propane from a company that has access to supply and professional management. NATURAL GAS: With temperatures expected to return to closer-to-normal levels this winter, the EIA projects a 10% decline in residential natural gas consumption. While natural gas homes


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spend less for heat, home owners should still have their system serviced by an experienced technician. Be sure your tune-up includes filter replacement, combustion gas analysis, and a detailed check on vital components.

Tips For Every Home Owner

• Get a programmable thermostat: The U.S. Energy department reports that, by turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours, you can save 5% or more on your heating bill. Plus, some utilities offer rebates on the purchase of a programmable thermostat. • Do a basic home energy assessment: Spend a little time, save a lot on heating. Take time to audit your home’s energy use: finding air leaks, checking insulation, and more. Look for tips and guidelines at Energy.gov and EnergyStar.gov. • Protect yourself—and save: A service plan can safeguard against the significant expense of a major repair. Plans don’t usually cost much more than the included annual maintenance, which you should schedule anyway. Research a plan that will give you the level of coverage you need. For example, plans at E.G. Smith and Boyertown Oil & Propane include covered repairs, 24-hour emergency service and more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael DeBerdine III is President and CEO of the Jerome H. Rhoads family of companies, which provides comprehensive energy services including heating oil, natural gas, propane, fleet fueling and equipment installation and service. The organization serves Berks County through local subsidiaries including Boyertown Oil and Propane and E.G. Smith Inc. For information, visit www.boyertownoil.com or www.egsmithinc.com. Contact Michael by Email at mike3@egsmithinc.com.

• Stretch out your payments: Don’t pay for your winter heating costs in big, unmanageable chunks. Many providers offer a budget plan or payment plan that stretches your costs over several months. Be sure to find a provider who doesn’t charge a fee for this service. • Get an estimate: If you’ve had your heating system for 10 years or longer, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy recommends an evaluation by a qualified contractor. Why? Because newer equipment is far more efficient than older equipment, and that can save you hundreds in heating costs. Regardless of winter temperatures or the direction of the energy markets, being proactive with your home heating strategy and equipment can save you money this year—and every year.

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Angles

APPLIANCES & Other Nifty Home Gadgets By Susan Shelly

T

here’s never been a better time to be a home owner, as designers and manufacturers continue to come out with innovative appliances, systems, furniture, and other items to make living easier and more enjoyable. From home draft beer systems to charging stations for electronic devices, we took a look at some nifty items for your home.

Infrared Heater

An infrared heater can lower heating bills while making your home cozy and inviting. Unlike a regular space heater, an infrared heater generates and distributes heat slowly, without drying out the air in a room, explained Mike Burkholder, who is in charge of sales and marketing at Martin Appliance. Because moisture remains in the air, heat is transferred more evenly throughout the room.

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AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2014

“You get a nice, even feeling of air throughout the room,” Burkholder said. Keeping the moisture in the air gives you a nicer heat.” An infrared heater can provide supplemental heat for up to 1,000 square feet, Burkholder said, and is completely kid and pet friendly. “No parts of these heaters get hot enough to burn anything,” Burkholder said. “You could put a stack of newspapers on top of it and they wouldn’t burn.” Infrared heaters are especially useful in older homes that tend to be drafty, or in homes that have oil heat, which can be costly. “They’re a very good option for those situations,” Burkholder said. “We do quite a lot of business with the infrared heater.” The heaters are portable, have wheels for easy movement and plug into a regular electrical outlet. Martin Appliance, with locations in Reading, Myerstown, Ephrata, Altoona, Quarryville, Brownstown and Cleona, offers infrared heaters ranging in price from $180 to $400.

E-charge Center

An e-charge center, or charging station, is a functional piece of furniture that enables you to charge multiple electronic devices at a time. Felt-lined drawers conceal the devices as they charge, keeping all electronics in one place for easy access. As we accumulate more and more tablets, phones, laptops and iPods, charging stations are becoming increasingly popular, said Yvonne Staskel, owner of Decorating Den Interiors in Mohnton. “More people have been asking for these during the past two years or so,” Staskel said. “It’s a very useful piece of furniture.” Desks and other furniture are also being designed with electronic devices in mind. “I’m seeing more office desks and furniture equipped with keyboard trays with


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“I may not drive a straight nail, but I can help you market your business.” – Tony Carroll, ARC Marketing

deeper compartments to accommodate charging of electronic equipment such as cell phone, cameras, and iPads,” Staskel said. “Desk designs are coming with magnetically attached panels to conceal power cords that flip down for easy access to connections.”

Wireless Security Devices

Home owners love wireless security products, which are easy to install and use. Wireless products are effective and reliable, said Laurie Robinson, sales coordinator and marketing director at Security First, Inc. in Shillington. While traditional security systems were wired throughout a home to a control panel, usually located in the basement, wireless systems require no drilling or hardwiring. They operate on long-lasting batteries and enable home owners to control system features remotely. Wireless keypads mean that a security system can be activated and deactivates with the touch of a button, without having to punch in codes. This makes it easy for even young children to operate. Wireless keys also enable you to control your security system without codes. Similar in size to a remote care alarm key, a wireless key fits onto your keychain allows you to control the system, lights, and appliance by pressing a single button. Continued on page 30

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on and off and control your thermostat and air conditioning. “People like the conveniences of these products because it just makes life a little easier,” Robinson said.

75 percent, said John Theisen, owner of Sanatoga Water Conditioning in Pottstown. “People who are the happiest are the ones who finally decide to install a water softener,” Theisen said. Ranging in price from about $1200 and Draft Beer System $1700 installed, a water softener can pay for There’s no need to visit your local tavern itself in an average of three to three and a when you have a draft beer system installed half years, Theisen explained. Minerals occur in your home. Matt Labe, co-owner of Tap naturally in water and, while usually not Pro Tavern Services, said that home systems harmful, can reduce the efficiency of applihave increased in popularity over the past ances and result in buildup. A water softener few years. Tap Pro primarily installs, main- removes those minerals, increasing efficiency tains, and repairs tap systems for taverns and prolonging the life of appliances. and bars; but, also offers residential services. Draft beer systems vary in complexity and cost. You can find more information at www.tapproservices.com.

An interactive phone module gives you remote control access to your security sys- Water Softener tem from any touch-tone or cell phone, A water softener removes minerals that Robinson said. This enables you to arm, can build up in pipes and appliances, makes disarm, or check the status of your security your water heater more efficient and can system from anywhere, as well as turn lights reduce the use of soaps and detergents by

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A water treatment professional generally offers free water testing, Theisen said, and can help you determine whether a water softener is a good idea for your home.

Home Theater System

A home theater system provides entertainment for family and friends and increases the value of your home. Stereo Barn in Sinking Spring works with customers to design and install home theaters customized to their needs and preferences. The following components are recommended for a complete home theater experience: a TV or projector and screen, speakers, receiver, cables, HD sources, programmable remote and surge protection. The price of a home theater system can vary dramatically, depending on the quality of equipment, installation costs, and other factors. Prepackaged systems that combine a receiver with a set of matched speakers, wiring, and DVD or Blu-ray player are available, and usually cost less than a system built from scratch. DECEMBER 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings 2014–2015 Upcoming Events…

DEC JAN 16

JAN

20-22

JAN

23-25

FEB 4

FEB 18

FEB 26

Mar 19

Mar

20-21

Mar 28

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Enjoy Your Holidays!

welcome new members Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting

Installation Banquet

Jim Culley 76 Tobias Lane, Bernville, PA 19506

Stokesay Castle

PH: (484)239-5333

Starts at 6:00 pm

Email: jim@anewaltslandscape.com Sponsor: Edward F. Anewalt

International Builders Show (IBS) & NAHB Board Meeting Las Vegas, NV

Emil Washko Jr. & Co.

All Day

Emil Washko 504 Albert Drive, Sinking Spring, PA 19608

SE PA Home & Garden Show

PH: (610)670-2702

All Day

Email: eswashko@comcast.net Sponsor: Patrick Dolan

Santander Center

Reading Royals Hockey Game Santander Center Starts at 6:30 pm

RMCTC Career Round Table Reading Muhlenberg CTC 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Solensky’s Spouting & Garage Doors, Inc. John Solensky 2903 A Mannerchor Road, Temple, PA 19560 PH: (610)301-4341 Email: solenskyspouting@verizon.net Sponsor: Cathy Sloan

All About Your Membership HBA Conference Room 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

PBA Association Training Mohegan Sun, Wilkes Barre All Day

2014 Foundation Club Members: (In date order) Walter Greth

Greth homes John Newton

Greth Homes

Landmark Homes Zachary Eshbach

Malsnee Tile & Stone, Inc.

Gene & Carol Wise

PBA Committee & Board Meetings

Wise signs

Mohegan Sun, Wilkes Barre All Day

Easter Egg Hunt

HBA Business Campus Starts at 10:30 am

AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2014

Call the HBA office at 610.777.8889 to learn how to become a member of the FOUNDATION CLUB. These members understand the important role legislation plays in their businesses and the importance of electing and supporting legislators who are sensitive to the issues affecting the building industry.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings THANK YOU to renewing members of the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA)

31+ Years B & G Glass John D. Smith Karrick Heating & A/C LLC Stanley W. Bauman General Contractor 26-30 Years Reading Rentals Ronnie C. Folk Paving, Inc. Straub Roofing & Concrete, Inc. 21-25 Years Applied Geoscience & Engineering, Inc. J/M Fence & Deck Co. Ram Siding Co., Inc. Small Plumbing & Mechanical 16-20 Years Gallen Insurance, Inc. Martin’s Flooring, Inc. Santilli Oil Company

6-10 Years Fisher’s Rental Center, Inc. Masano Architects Group, Inc. Mast Roofing & Construction, Inc. Resource Associates Corp. Zee Medical Service Company

The

Choice

for ALL Your Glass Needs!  Custom glass—to meet all your needs  Frameless shower enclosures  Mirrors for bathrooms & exercise rooms  Committed to superior quality  Our goal is to exceed your expectations

2-5 Years Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting Capital Plumbing Control Alt Energy Dolan Construction Inc. M & M Mechanical, LLC National Penn Bank Precision Fire Protection, Inc. The Seltzer Group Tompkins Vist Bank 1st Year Anniversary B. Miller Mechanical & Contracting Keystone Custom Homes

11-15 Years Blatt & Zaffary Electric, Inc. Dennis Gass Contracting Dick Wessner, Inc. European Builders, Ltd.

Since 1963

1440 Carbon St., Reading, PA 19601 info@bgglass.com  www.bgglass.com 610.372.7868

Member 2 Member Discount Program As one of the many benefits of membership in the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), the following members are offering the discounts listed to HBA members only. If you would like to join the HBA or offer a Member 2 Member Discount, contact the HBA office: 610.777.8889.

Aluminum Associates / Sloan Corporation

Geoff Penske Buick GMC

5% discount on all services

GM affinity program & partnership with HBA

Contact: Kert E. Sloan 610.921.2201

Contact: Victor Popescu 610.777.1300 (Call Victor for more details on how you can save)

Berks Transfer

Contact: Bob Quinn 610.926.7626

$50 off 1st can order to new customers Quality Floors Inc.

Martin’s Flooring, Inc.

Contact: Richie Zook 877.445.7799

Free Interior Design & Special HBA Contractor Pricing (Ask about our contractor referral program)

Contact: Chuck Smith 800.446.6035

10% off any order (Not valid with any other offers or prior purchases)

DECEMBER 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

What’s HOT ON

Big Reveal: 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Watch the family react as they see their “new” home for the first time. The Big Reveal (Saturday, September 20th, 2014) of the HBA Restoring Hope 2014 Build to Dennis & Lisa Welgo and their four children, Jessica, Alissa, Hank, and Haley, organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. For the 2014 Build, the Board of Directors chose Dennis & Lisa Welgo, of Mohrsville in Upper Bern Township. Lisa has Cerebral Palsy, which she developed as a result of having pneumonia. As she ages, she is experiencing more difficulty navigating. Both parents work full time. Lisa works for the Hamburg School District and her husband, Dennis, works for Microtel. They have four children. Jessica is a lovely 27 year old who has Downs Syndrome and loves to read. Alissa, 20-year-old student at Alvernia University, works three part-time jobs and provides support for the entire family. Hank was adopted by Dennis & Lisa when he was fifteen months old. He weighed only fifteen pounds at the time. He is now a thriving, active 7 year old. His biological sister, Haley, is a lively five year who began attending kindergarten this fall. Shortly after Lisa and Dennis adopted the children, Lisa was diagnosed with cancer. After undergoing treatment, she is blessed to be a four-year survivor. The project took place from Monday, September 15th thru Saturday, September 20th, 2014. (Length: 22:14)

HBAberks

channel

Day 1 Briefing: 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Day 1 Briefing (Monday, September 15th 2014) of the 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. (Length: 8:27)

Day 2 Briefing: 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Day 2 Briefing (Tuesday, September 16th 2014) of the 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. (Length: 6:45)

Private Tour: 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Your personal, private tour of the of the Welgo home (2014 Build) of HBA Restoring Hope brought to you by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. The HBA of Berks County has always represented the best builders, remodelers, trade contractors, and associated professionals in the construction industry. This is our way of thanking and giving back to a community that provides us our livelihoods. The HBA Restoring Hope Foundation (RHF) is neighbors helping neighbors so a community can rebuild itself. It is not a ‘hand out’ but a ‘hand up’ for one family in the county each year. (Length: 19:56)

34

AT HOME IN BERKs DECEMBER 2014

Day 3 Briefing: 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Day 3 Briefing (Wednesday, September 17th 2014) of the 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. (Length: 8:20)


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Fleetwood Bank ...

F orL ife

Day 4 Briefing: 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope

Life is a journey, and

Day 4 Briefing (Thursday, September 18th 2014) of the 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. (Length: 8:45)

Fleetwood Bank is there to travel with you on the road to your first home, your dream home, or your retirement home.

Day 5 Briefing: 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Day 5 Briefing (Friday, September 19th 2014) of the 2014 Build of HBA Restoring Hope organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. (Length: 9:37)

Talk to our Mortgage Specialists about: • Flexible Mortgage Products • First-time Homebuyer Programs • Construction Mortgages with one settlement!

®

fleetwoodbank.com

What you want your bank to be EQUAL HOUSING

LENDER

Member FDIC

DECEMBER 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

35


ART SMITH Family Owned

EBRATIN EL

90

G

C

& SON

HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING SALES & SERVICE

& Operated Since 1922 YEARS

Dec 14: At Home in Berks  
Dec 14: At Home in Berks  

The Customer Focused issue of “At Home in Berks” magazine, published 1 Dec 14. Customers are the lifeblood of every business – please them....

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