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IS YOUR HOME ENERGY EFFICIENT? Cutting Back On Energy Costs

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR! What to Know BEFORE You Start

ACCIDENT PREVENTION Slips, Trips, & Falls Are Preventable!


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2014 HBA Berks Officers:

Contents

President

FEATURES:

Board of Directors

Patrick Dolan, AIA, LEED AP

Dolan Construction, Inc. (Reading)

First Vice President

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Ed Anewalt, IV Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

Second Vice President

Products & procedures to make your home more energy efficient.

7 Small Kitchen

Masano Bradley Attorneys at Law (Wyomissing)

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Treasurer Evan Hand

Tips on how to organize your home.

National Penn Bank (Wyomissing)

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

Builder/Remodeler Directors Daphne Frownfelter, CKD

Deer Mountain Kitchens (Robesonia)

Brad Kehres

L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)

Eric Keller

Berks Fire & Water Restorations, Inc. (Reading)

Bryan Moll

B & G Glass (Reading)

Diane Salks

Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

Associate Directors David Hallowell Heffleger Kitchen Center (Reading)

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

HBA Staff Executive Officer & At Home in Berks Editor-in-Chief Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

Administrative Assistant Donna M. Oaks

10 Things Sales People Need To Know Understanding C-level decision makers and the questions you should be asking yourself.

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Choosing The Right Contractor!

Accident Prevention Precautions you can take to ensure you and your employees’ safety this winter.

Where to start searching and the questions to ask before you decide.

16 Avoid Fly-By-Night Contractors

Warning signs to look for so you don’t end up with some “Chuck-in-a-Truck.”

17 Consumer Protection IS Customer Service

Making sure you get what you paid for, without compromising quality.

27 Common Electric Service Calls

19 The Evolution

Do what you can before you call in an expert.

of Propane

Emerging applications and expanded production bring renewed focus to a reliable fuel.

Sherrie Hallowell

VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

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Ideas to make your small space look twice its size.

Maximize Your Home Storage

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

Angles

Remodeling

Jim Gavin, Esq.

Secretary

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Departments

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From the President

HBA of Berks County President Patrick Dolan.

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Membership Pages New and returning members, member to member discount programs, and an overview of all Association-related events from February – April 2014.

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. I 610.685.0914 2921 Windmill Road, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608

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Cover Photo courtesy of PELLA Windows and Doors


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From the President Parade of Homes back after a brief hiatus. People are no longer holding back in fear. Homes are being built, and mortgage rates are still extremely favorable. Renovations are happening again, and even the basic maintenance that many put off for as long as possible is finally getting done (more help on that topic later in this issue). Have you checked out our website lately? There is a great new feature to help people find a contractor, product, or service in the community. Check out the link from the home page to help you find what you need. I think you’ll find it a valuable resource. Unfortunately, it is with great regret that elcome. Maybe, you are new to I must inform everyone that our Home this magazine, perhaps you’ve Show will not be held this year. The expo picked this up for the first center, where we have held the event for time and are perusing, wondering what the last few years, will no longer be an opthis publication and the Home Builders tion for this type of event. We know this Association are all about. Perhaps, you is an event that many have grown to love were an HBA member before the “great and look forward to every spring. We will housing bust” and are now just re-engaging search to find a suitable alternate locawith the building industry. Maybe, you are tion to host the thousands of people who simply a homeowner interested in caring make it to the annual (well, almost annual) for what is most likely your largest invest- Home Show. Stay tuned; we will find a ment. Whatever reason brought you here, host site to bring back this valuable event. welcome to the HBA 2.0. This isn’t your W hat about all the tremendous father’s HBA anymore. Let me tell you good that the HBA’s Restoring Hope about some of the exciting things we are Foundation continues to do for those in up to these days. need? Just ask Lisa Pieller (if you don’t The HBA continues our mission to be a know who Lisa is, check out her story leading advocate for the building industry through the Restoring Hope link, acwhile promoting trust and value for the cessed through HBAberks.org). Restoring community. We do this through a num- Hope’s projects are a herculean effort of ber of resources, some of which are very donated personal time, material, and ennew. Did you know you can follow the ergy of a very special and focused group of HBA on all major avenues of social media? Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest (yes, even Pinterest, I told you this wasn’t your father’s HBA anymore!) Communication to members and the public has come a long way, hasn’t it? How about this publication? We are very proud of At Home in Berks and our relationship with Hoffman Publishing Group and all they do to assist in providing such a fine quality publication for our readership. It sure beats the old days of black and white newsletters! New Officers and Directors join the HBA Board of With the past five years behind us, we Directors (from L to R): Director David Hallowell are all realizing that the world has not of Heffleger Kitchen Center, 2nd Vice President ended, and the sun still rises every day. As James E. Gavin, Esquire, of Masano Bradley, and builders and associates we are eager to be Treasurer Evan L. Hand, III of National Penn Bank. hard at work and focused again on doing what we love. We are so excited to have the

Welcome to the HBA 2.0

W

volunteers. Their work is to be commended; we know the value it brings. You might be thinking you need a computer science degree to be engaged with the HBA these days with such an infusion of digital technology, right? Not at all. We still have an open door at 25 Stevens Ave. in West Lawn, stop in and see us. Even a rotary phone can still call our main number (I think, does anyone have a rotary phone to try that out?). The point is, for as new and exciting as things seem, we still exist to take care of our Members and our community, and we are as available to you as we ever were. In fact, we hope through providing all these new channels, we are even more available to you than ever. And, we love to hear what’s important to you. So, if you’re excited by what your reading, and you are associated with our industry in any way, then get engaged with us. We’d love to have you join our strong community of builders and associates. If you’re just looking for some do-it-yourself help and continued knowledge around the home, read on. Don’t worry, if you get yourself stuck, you now know where to find help, and in many ways your father never could!

Patrick J. Dolan

AIA, LEED AP, Dolan Construction Inc.

New 2014 Leadership

Patrick J. Dolan, AIA, LEED AP, of Dolan Construction Inc. was sworn in as 2014 President of the HBA of Berks County by outgoing 2013 President Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP, on December 6th, 2013 at the Green Valley Country Club in Spring Township.

February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features features

By Ethan Tauber

T

here are numerous ways to cut energy costs in the home today, and some may even surprise you. Whether you are renovating an existing home or building a new one, there are many things to consider in order to make your home more energy efficient. Heating, water, and electric are usually the most expensive utilities. Taking 2 minute showers and turning out the lights when leaving a room are a good way to conserve energy, but it doesn’t make a difference if your home isn’t efficient to begin with. According to energy.gov, water heating is one of the largest expenses on a household utility bill. This is because traditional water heaters store water in their tank and work to keep it heated even when the faucet isn’t running. Once you use up what is in the tank, it has to refill itself and it takes time for the new water to heat up. There have been many alternatives on the market to the traditional tank for the last few years. Tankless water heaters run on propane or electricity, and only heat the water as you use it, making them very energy efficient. Energy Star claims that their certified tankless water heaters save an average of $1700 per household over the unit’s 20 year lifespan. Another reason to consider going “tankless” is because of the tax rebate you can receive for having one installed in the home. Going tankless isn’t your only option though, heat pump and solar powered water heaters can be just as energy efficient as the tankless systems. Heat pump systems, which previously were used to heat homes, have been redesigned to heat the water in your tank as well. It sucks the hot air from the surrounding space, increases the tem-

perature, and deposits it in the tank to heat the water. They are 2–3 times more efficient than traditional tanks and have lower operating and maintenance costs. Energy Star certified Solar Water Heaters claim to cut your water heating bill in half, saving you $140 annually. They are also environmentally friendly as they produce less than half of

the carbon dioxide emissions of a traditional water heater. A federal tax credit can save you 30 percent of the cost, installation, and labor involved to have one installed. Along with water heaters, there are numerous energy efficient “low flow” toilets and faucets that can further reduce your Continued on page 5 February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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water bill. Toilets generally use 3.5 gallons of water per flush, but “low flow” toilets use less than half that, about 1.5 gallons per flush. This not only saves money on water, but it also conserves it. Faucets that bear the WaterSense® seal are high efficiency and use 1.1 gallons of water per minute, half of what traditional faucets use. Federal law requires that all toilets and faucets meet certain efficiency guidelines, but you may still want to talk to your contractor about which options are best for your home. Water isn’t the only thing in your home that needs to be heated; the home itself needs to be heated as well, and I’m sure after a winter like the one we just had, many wallets are suffering from the heating bills. Most modern heating and cooling units already bear the Energy Star seal, but even the most energy efficient units aren’t effective if the home

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isn’t properly insulated or sealed. Insulated concrete forms (ICF) offer a much more energy efficient way to insulate your home, as opposed to traditional fiberglass insulation. It has a much higher R-Value than fiberglass, meaning it has better thermal insulation properties, which is the key to good insulation. It requires less energy to heat and cool your home with ICFs installed, saving you money on your utility bill. They are hollow modular wall units that can either be a full wall or “bricks” that stack together and lock in place, similar to Lego bricks. They form the foundation for the walls in your house, and once in place they are reinforced with rebar steel and filled with concrete. The interior drywall and siding are then built on top of the ICFs so the house can be finished. They can be made from a variety of recycled material, but most commonly are made from polystyrene or polyurethane compounds which are both very durable materials. They also strengthen the home because they are much stronger than traditional wood. They are less susceptible to breaking during natural disasters such as earthquakes, and since they can’t rot, they are virtually impervious to floods. Whether you are building a new home or renovating an existing one, a good contractor will be able to point you in the right direction regarding insulation alternatives. Windows are one of the major causes of heat loss in the home and choosing the right windows is just as important as choosing proper insulation. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, approximately one third of heat loss occurs through the windows. The old method of controlling heat loss and making your windows energy efficient for the winter involved: double sided tape, a roll of special plastic wrap, and a hair dryer. Fortunately, energy efficient windows have flooded the market, so sealing them

up every winter will be a thing of the past. Windows need to have a Low Emissivity coating in order to meet Federal code standards so most windows on the market are already fairly energy efficient. When asked about Low-Emissivity windows, Phil Raifsnider at Reading, PA’s B&G Glass said, “Heat typically goes to the coldest part of the room to escape, which is usually the windows…low emissivity glass bounces the heat back into the room preventing it from escaping…it does the opposite for air conditioning…it keeps the heat outside from coming in.” When asked about where to look for the most energy efficient windows, Raifsnider concluded, “You want to avoid a cold-call from a salesman…go through a local, reputable business.” Along with the glass, the window frame is a major problem area for insulation as well. Wood or metal window frames are typically used, but they are prone to warping due to weather and climate conditions. Once they stop sealing properly, your heater will have to work harder to heat the house, wasting energy. Vinyl frames offer a solution because they aren’t prone to rot, rust, or insect infestation. They provide a more efficient source of insulation, require less regular maintenance, and are much less likely to warp. Once the home has been properly insulated and the water usage has been regulated the only thing left to fear on your utility bill is the electric. Luckily, that fear is easily overcome by looking toward the sky. Solar panels can save between 25 and 30 percent on your electric bill. With the federal tax incentives they have become more affordable than ever. According to Popular Mechanics, the price of solar panels has dropped fifteen-fold since 1980. If continuously used, you should recoup your investment in 8 to 12 years. Part of being efficient involves being kind to the environment, and the process of converting sunlight into energy produces no emissions. Your contractor would know the best company to contact for installation, if solar energy sounds like the right thing for you. Energy efficient products are constantly evolving. In a few years, photovoltaic cells, the main component in solar panels, will be integrated into many things besides just the panels on your roof. Photovoltaic glass and even paint will be readily available for


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the public. Pythagoras Solar in California has recently started selling functioning windows that double as solar panels. On the other side of the country, the University of Buffalo has been developing photovoltaic cells that you can paint on your roof instead of the panels! With all these technological advances, energy efficiency will eventually become the norm, rather than a recommendation. Photo courtesy of PELLA Windows and Doors

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features

Small Kitchen Remodeling:

IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR PLACE GRAND By Sasha H. Peterson

A

re you stuck with a small kitchen Step #1: but have some big ideas? Do you ACCEPTANCE have kitchen envy? Wish that you had the counter space and floor space that Acceptance is the name of the game when you have a small kitchen. Coming to your friends or family have? At times, have terms with this and embracing it is important. You might wish that you had room you thought of knocking down a wall or for a big island in the middle of your kitchen…or a rolling butcher block table… putting an addition on to your house? or enough room to practice ballroom dancing but small kitchens can be cute too. You are stuck with a small kitchen; so, When done right, a small kitchen can be even more attractive than a large you must make the best with what you kitchen. Your small kitchen can, and will, turn heads once you’re done. You may be have. How can you make the most of a surprised to find that your friends and family feel more at home in your tiny kitchen small kitchen, though? How can you make than they would in a large sprawling space. your small space feel more spacious and more pleasant for you and your family?

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Step #2: PLAN Planning is essential to your success in this project. Again, while you might still long for a large kitchen, you will find that your project will take less time and be less expensive than if you had a larger room to remodel. For instance, 8 feet of new countertop is going to be much less expensive than twice that amount and matching countertop material for a center island. As a result, you can buy high end materials, such as marble or granite, for your countertops where the price might have been prohibitive if you had a big kitchen. The same holds true for materials like flooring, fixtures, and appliances. Don’t cheat yourself by settling for inferior materials. You can often find leftover materials from contractors and home improvement outlets that you might not be able to use or afford otherwise. February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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Step #3: LIGHTING Good lighting is one area of your kitchen remodel that you need to pay attention to. Light can make a room appear larger than it is. Planning out your lighting is something that many people don’t put a lot of thought into. Find some nice light fixtures that you really like and forget about the price. Make use of under cabinet lighting and accent lighting for both aesthetics as well as to light dark corners of your kitchen. Under cabinet lighting makes a big difference when you’re cooking and track lighting adds some style. Put your lights on different switches so you can have multiple lighting settings. Having some accent lighting to light your way when you visit your kitchen for a midnight snack can be very helpful and romantic.

Step #4: SCALE Try to keep everything to scale in your small kitchen. Smaller appliances such as refrigerators and microwaves can add space and give the illusion that the room is a little bigger than it actually is. Allow this thinking to come into play when you’re choosing flooring and wallpaper, if you want to go in that direction. You can also find small coffee makers, mixers, and blenders that won’t overwhelm your space. Even your central lighting fixtures should be smaller as well as your hardware for your sink. Try to keep this in mind when you’re choosing these elements for your remodeling project.

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Step #5: STORAGE

Planning your storage is also another concern that you should think about before you begin to remodel your kitchen. Finding storage for things that you don’t use often such as mixers and blenders can free up counter space and keep things looking uncluttered. Buying some of these appliances and household items that come ready to mount under a cabinet is another option. Microwaves, can openers and even coffee makers are made to go under the cabinet these days. Take advantage of this nifty option. Putting other large items tucked away in a cabinet is a good idea also. While it might be nice for your mother to see the mixer that she bought you when she comes to visit, allowing it to live in an upper cabinet or in a nearby closet might make things easier at other times. In a kitchen, less is often more.

FOCUS ON THE GOAL These are only a few tips and recommendations for making your small kitchen remodeling project more successful. There are many rules that interior designers consider when it comes to space, style, and best practices; but, in the end— it’s your kitchen. Spend some time thinking things through and getting a feel for what is going to make your kitchen enjoyable for you and your guests. Your kitchen doesn’t have to be a place that you hide or that you are ashamed of. With a little thought and effort you can make your small kitchen feel as luxurious as one in a high-end estate.

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features

Maximize

Your Home Storage By HBA Staff

A

s spring approaches and people shed their layers of clothing from the cooler months, many want to also lighten the load their homes are carrying—or at least make it look neater. Before you toss the tools in a garage corner or stuff the down jackets into a box and toss it in the attic, why not evaluate your needs and make your storage both effective and attractive? The first thing you should do is make a list of everything you want to store. This list will both help you determine how much storage space you need and ensure that nothing gets lost once you start putting things away. Shelving is one of the easiest ways to create more storage. It can be portable in the form of free-standing units, or permanent that is attached to your walls. Easy-to-install, heavy-duty 11

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shelving can be purchased at just about any major home supply store. Many of these units are designed so that you can leave as much room between the shelves as you like, making it easy to get larger and smaller items onto the same unit and saving you space. Heavy winter clothing can take up lots of closet space, leaving you with little room for your entire four-season wardrobe. One solution for storing out-of-season clothing is under the bed. Under-the-bed storage containers come in a variety of sizes and styles, including ones with wheels for easy access and to protect hardwood floors from scratches when you pull them out. You can also buy simple risers that elevate your bed off the floor additional inches to create even more space. Garage storage has also gotten much more efficient. You can get built-in storage cabinets with doors so the space looks clean


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Connect with the HBA...

Home Builders Association of Berks County

and orderly. There are also modular systems that enable you to choose what features are best for your needs; including hanging racks for sports equipment, hooks for tools, and more. Most garages have pitched roofs to keep rainwater or snow from collecting on top, and this space is ideal for items you don’t use on a daily or weekly basis. Store these things on platforms or racks that lower and raise either electronically at the touch of a button, or with an easy-to-use pulley system. In newer or renovated homes, a mudroom or drop zone is a popular feature. This area often has built-in benches, hooks, and bins to neatly tuck away boots, jackets, gardening equipment, and other items your family uses frequently. Finally, if your family is as tied to their portable internet and

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communications devices as are many modern families, get rid of the tangle of charger cords on your counters by buying or building a home charging station with multiple outlets and pockets for storing and charging cell phones, tablets, laptops, and more. For more information about home maintenance or design trends, visit www.nahb.org/forconsumers. February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features

Choosing the

Right Contractor! By Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

S

uper contractors are plentiful and easy to find when you approach the due diligence process with purpose and foresight. The largest ad in the phone book (print or digital), great website, handsome smile, or the cheapest price tell you nothing. Builders, remodelers, and trade contractors will work on your most valuable asset and prized possession­—your home. More importantly, they will become your go-to expert and most trusted advisor in their area of specialty. So, how do you find the absolute best craftsmen, most trustworthy business, and the RIGHT contractor for you?

Interviewing Contractors: The questions you should be asking

• When you discuss what you’d like to do, does the contractor show enthusiasm for your ideas and suggest ways to make them work better? • Is customer service emphasized? • Will they work within your budget constraints? • Will they be honest when your budget is way less than the project will require? • Do they seem organized when you discuss the job with them? • Are their business materials neat, professional, and complete? (business cards, flyers, website, etc.) • Do they carry insurance to protect you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries? (get a copy of their insurance certificate, don’t just ask the question) • Are they registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? (go to www.AttorneyGeneral.gov and see for yourself, don’t just ask the question) • Do they offer a warranty? • Will they arrange for the construction permit? • Do they specialize in particular types of projects? 13 AT HOME IN BERKs February 2014


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START AT THE VERY BEGINNING —  A Very Good Place to Start Professional trade organizations, like the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), are the best places to begin your search. The criteria for membership in these associations are stringent; therefore, only the most professional and ethical companies become members. What’s more, education & continuous improvement are in the members’ blood. They know about the latest building materials & gizmos on the market, understand permitting & inspections, and know the difference between a contract, change order, and punch list (and why each legally protects both of you during the course of your project while keeping communication lines open). There are many additional professional trade associations for specialty contractors that can also be used to aid in your search. Though the best-of-the-best excavators, plumbers, roofers, landscapers, etc., make it a point of joining their local HBA of Berks County (www.HBAberks.org), they often are members of their specialty trade association as well to gain knowledge specific to their trade. A quick web search for the area you are researching followed by the words “trade association” is a great place to start. Thus, when looking for a kitchen designer, a web search for “kitchen trade association” will reveal the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). Similarly, a search for “Electrician Trade Association” will land you at the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC).

certifications, designations, and education as well. Does this mean you should only consider those with letters after their names and education under their belt? Absolutely not! Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg all ran/run incredibly successful businesses without completing their education. They, however, are the exception, not the norm. Give education weight in your decision-making process.

HOW DO YOU INTERVIEW THE CANDIDATES? Treat your research seriously and prepare for the process. After you build a list of potential contractor candidates, spend time organizing your thoughts & preparing your questions before meeting with the first contractor candidate. At each interview, observe how each candidate reacts and responds. Don’t be afraid to take notes.

HOW TO DECIDE? You probably have a budget already in mind and know how much you are willing to pay. If not, maybe you are planning to “get three quotations and pick the lowest.”

IS BIGGER BETTER or Does Smaller Surpass? Just because a company has a bunch of employees, advertises all-the-time, or “has done 10 projects in your neighborhood” doesn’t mean that they have quality service or are proficient at the trades. On the other hand, smaller companies are not necessarily more detail-oriented or faster to respond just because they have fewer customers. There are good large companies and good small companies. You must determine which is right for you. As a rule, contractors who are constantly improving themselves and their businesses through continual education, training, and networking often make the best contractors (and their businesses come in all sizes). Let their credentials, experience, and expertise be your guide, not the size of their company. Gravitate toward those contractors that are certified experts by outside trade associations or agencies. Consider more seriously those contractors that regularly attend trade shows and conventions in their industry. Education is paramount. Would you want a teacher teaching your children if she had never been to school herself ? Or, an accountant without an accounting degree and the letters CPA (Certified Public Accountant) after his name advising you on your finances? Contractors have

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DO NOT LET PRICE be the main reason you choose one contractor over another! Often the lowest bidder is cutting corners somewhere they shouldn’t. Would you want the lowest paid doctor operating on your child?…or the cheapest lawyer defending you in court? Make your choice based on service, knowledge, ability, and communication; not based solely on price.

IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO DO IT RIGHT, How Can You Afford To Do It Over? When you hire a contractor, you are buying a service and expertise rather than a product. The quality of service the contractor provides will determine the quality of the finished product and your satisfaction with it. Only choose a contractor who returns your phone calls, answers your questions, and has a trustworthy reputation. This is not a decision that should be solely based on whom you “like” the most or whom was the “nicest” or had the “best personality.” However, you will be working with the contractor and their team for an extended period of time; so, how you emotionally feel about them should have some weight in your decision-making process. Use your emotions, use your gut… just make sure your research and intellect have a bigger say in your final decision. If you put as much time, or more, into selecting a contractor as you did in selecting & planning your last vacation or in choosing if and where you or your children should go to college, you’ll make a good decision in the end. Plan for it. Spend time on it. Debate it out with your loved ones. Then, trust yourself that you made the right decision. Moreover, trust your contractor and their expert advice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM, is the Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Berks County. He provides insight on construction issues, business operations, marketing, personal finance, and occasionally, on political philosophy/history. Contact Christian at the HBA of Berks County office: Christian@HBAberks.org or, to receive notice of the newest articles written by Christian, follow him on Twitter @CDMalesic.

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features

AVOID CONTRACTORS By HBA Staff

I

t is an unfortunate fact of life that after brutal storms and a bone-chilling winter, repairs are needed around the home and business. Unfortunately, there are people who will try to profit from a community’s misfortune. Whether it be from tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, windstorms or other disasters, nature can destroy lives and property without warning. Sadly, in the wake of the tragedy, unscrupulous contractors often flock to an area to take advantage of the distressed home & business owners who are trying to repair the damage or rebuild their futures. But a fly-by-night contractor, often referred to as a “Chuck-in-a-Truck” or a “Sam-ina-Van,” is one disaster you can prevent if you pay attention to some common warning signs. In fact, it makes sense to look for these signs when you are evaluating any potential contractor, whether it’s for post-disaster repairs or a planned-for renovation to your home.

Here are some common warning signs: PRICE AND PAYMENT • You’re told you have to sign the contract today to get the quoted price. If you sign later the price will be higher. • You’re asked to pay the full cost in advance, before work begins. Paying a deposit of anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent is common, however. • You’re asked to pay cash to an individual instead of a check, money order, or credit card to a company. • The salesperson says you’re getting a special low price because you’ve been “chosen” as a demonstration project. • The contractor asks you to sign over your insurance settlement check to him directly instead of you paying him from your account. REFERENCES • The contractor is not registered with the PA Attorney General (this can be verified at www.AttorneyGeneral.com). • The contractor does not have insurance

or will not have their insurance agent • You’re expected to make final payment before the job is completely finished and send you your own copy directly to you you are fully satisfied with it. Find out if by email, fax, or US mail. any of the work requires municipal, city, • The contractor doesn’t have a verifiable or county inspection, and make sure that mailing address for his business. is done and you have paperwork to prove • The business has complaints that have it before you make the final payment. not been resolved against them with the Better Business Bureau. You can find the nearest Better Business Bureau location at www.bbb.org/us/find-a-bbb/. Paying attention to these warn• The contractor won’t provide references ing signs will help you select a for past work; or, the references can’t contractor who will do quality work, be reached. and stand behind it. To learn more • The business is not a member of their about finding a reliable contractor local trade association, chamber of comwith an established business in merce, or Home Builders Association. our community, contact the Home CONTRACT AND COMPLETION Builders Association of Berks • You’re told that “a contract won’t be County at 610.777.8889 or visit necessary.” If the job is over $500, it is www.HBAberks.org and click on Pennsylvania law—and is necessary! the big tan button in the upper Make sure you insist on a complete and right hand corner that says “Need clearly written contract signed by you and a Contractor, Product or Service?” the contractor. February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features

Consumer Protection IS CUSTOMER SERVICE By James E. Gavin, Esquire

V

ery few things in life are more disheartening than hiring a contractor and finding out that you did not get what you paid for and thought you were getting. Whether it is a new home, home remodeling, or just some small repairs, you are entitled to know that you are being dealt with fairly and honestly.

It’s the Law:

In Pennsylvania, the law has incorporated the foundations of customer service, or more precisely what you don’t do, in its law of consumer protection. Consumer protection is designed to protect people from deceptive business practices. Whether you are building your first home, or otherwise engaging in some type of consumer transaction, consumer protection is customer service. Whether purchasing goods or services, customer service requires giving the customer what they asked for and doing what was promised. This concept is encompassed in several rules contained in the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law. To begin with, it is improper to pass off goods or services as something other than what they actually are. By way of example, if a customer ordered a certain type of paint, they get that paint. It is improper to provide a different type of paint and tell the customer it is what they ordered.

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AT HOME IN BERKs February 2014

It is also improper to cause a likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services. In other words, customers should not be misled about the quality of the goods or services they are receiving. Finally, it is inappropriate to represent that a person has a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection that he does not have. For example, a plumber should not say he is a master plumber without the appropriate credentials.

Say It, If It’s So:

In addition to getting the goods that the customer asks for, the customer is also entitled to know whether the goods are new. It is not uncommon, nor is it necessarily inappropriate, to use secondhand parts when doing repairs. What is wrong and illegal, is representing that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or secondhand. The law does not necessarily prohibit the sale of reconditioned or used goods. What the law prohibits is telling the customer that they are getting original or new goods when, in fact, they are not. The quality of the materials is also important. Representing that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model, if they are not is


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

also improper. In other words, a customer should not be told that the type of good is grade “A” when it is really grade “B”. In the home building field in particular, but in other professions as well, warranties are extremely important. Failing to comply with the terms of any written guarantee or warranty given to the buyer at, prior to or after a contract for the purchase of goods or services is made is unlawful. It would certainly seem that standing behind your work is at the heart of customer service. In Pennsylvania, it is also the law in consumer transactions.

If You Say It, then Do It:

When making repairs, improvements, or replacements on tangible, real or personal property, it must be done right. What that means is that it cannot be inferior to or below the standard of what was agreed to in writing. In other words, do what you say you are going to do. Last, but by no means least, it is illegal, and horrible customer service, to engage in any conduct that is fraudulent or deceptive or creates a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding.

Although the Home Builders Association of Berks County truly believes that the builders and remodelers of this county are hard-working, honest people, it would be naïve if it did not acknowledge that some people are not honest. If anyone believes that they have been taken advantage of by a builder, remodeler, or repairman, the customer should report them to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. That agency is charged with the duty of enforcing the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James E. Gavin, Esquire, is the 2014 2nd Vice President of the HBA of Berks County and is an attorney at Masano Bradley Attorneys at Law (www.MasanoBradley.com). Though Jim has a breadth of experience in all areas of civil trial practice, he concentrates in commercial litigation, mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy, insurance defense litigation, and personal injury litigation. Contact Jim by email at JGavin@MasanoBradley.com or by phone at 610.372.7700. February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features

THE EVOLUTION OF PROPANE Emerging Applications And Expanded Production Bring Renewed Focus To A Reliable Fuel By Jennifer Goldbach

M

ost of us associate propane with gas grills or, perhaps, heating a swimming pool. But, propane also powers furnaces, fleet vehicles, ovens, lawn mowers, generators, and much more. Consider a few eye-opening facts about propane:

• Nearly 40% of U.S. farms—and many in Berks County—use propane to run pumps, heat buildings, or dry crops. • Today, there are more than 270,000 propane-fueled buses, taxis, and other fleet vehicles on the road in the U.S. • Over the next five years, the U.S. will add more than 300,000 new propane-heated homes. • Many business and commercial establishments such as restaurants, schools, and laundromats use propane because it offers a high-efficiency, low-emission energy source. Now, thanks to increased propane production in the Marcellus Shale region, it may be time to take another look at propane as a fuel for a wide range of applications.

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Why Propane?

Propane is a clean-burning byproduct of oil refining and natural gas processing. While many new homes heat with natural gas, others are built in areas with no access to natural gas infrastructure. For these homes, propane offers a readily available and affordable domestic gas energy source. In fact, about 2.5% of homes in Pennsylvania use propane, which equates to more than 4,000 homes in Berks County. Propane has been around for decades. Today, more consumers appreciate that it offers a safe, “green” energy source that shrinks their carbon footprint. Propane delivers an efficient energy solution that has near-zero direct global warming potential. While many homeowners associate propane with the backyard barbeque, there are several practical applications for propane that go well beyond grilling steaks. A few examples:

Whole-house heating systems

Hot water

Clothes dryers

A 2013 study by Newport Partners compared heating systems that use propane, electricity, and heating oil. The study found that, in new installations, high-efficiency propane systems were the most affordable to purchase and install —  lower upfront costs that benefit both builder and homeowner.

According to a 2011 study, a propane tankless water heater offers the lowest annual cost of ownership among 10 systems studied. Propane water heaters cost up to 50% less to operate and can save up to one ton of greenhouse gas emissions each year when compared with standard electric storage tank water heaters.

A propane clothes dryer will dry clothes faster and more efficiently than an electric clothes dryer. Propane dryers also offer the latest innovations, such as steam cycles to de-wrinkle garments, and can save more than 20 percent in energy costs compared with electric models.

The advantages of propane have led to a proliferation of uses: propane fireplaces, cooktops & ovens, outdoor heaters, generators, and more. February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs 20


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Marcellus Shale: a Game-changer Like any other energy source, prices for propane fluctuate based on a range of factors, including supply and demand. But, over the past few years, industry experts point out that propane prices have fallen relative to gasoline, diesel fuel, and home heating oil prices, making propane a more competitive fuel option. One major reason: the Marcellus Shale. Thanks to the U.S. shale gas revolution, domestic propane production from natural gas liquids exceeded consumer demand for the first time this year. Simply put, the U.S. produced more propane than it used. Much of that growth has resulted from activity in the Marcellus Shale region, where The Propane Education & Research Council predicts as much as 1.8 billion gallons of propane production per year by 2020. To provide a bit of perspective, the entire United States produced 15 billion gallons of propane in 2012. While most news reports focus on the natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale, the increased propane production will create a readily available supply of propane for the next several years, which could help fuel the growth of propane uses —not only in homes and farms, but also on the road.

Propane Tomorrow

Our region falls into an area that the research group ICF International calls a “major propane growth opportunity.” Part of that opportunity involves greater awareness among consumers about the economic and environmental benefits of propane. It also relates to the number of farms, businesses, and homes that already turn to propane for some or all of their energy needs. In the coming years, Berks County will likely see significant growth in another area: propane-fueled vehicles. One reason comes down to cost. In 2011, the United States imported about 45% of the petroleum it consumed, while the U.S. became a net exporter of propane in 2013. Why are fleet operators turning to propane? One simple reason, according to the U.S. Department of Energy: “Typically in 21

AT HOME IN BERKs February 2014

Propane: A Source to Consider

Clearly, when it comes to propane, the landscape has evolved considerably over the past decade, with greater production leading to an expanding number of uses for the fuel. Of course, the best energy solution for any given situation depends on a variety of factors: initial cost, annual operating cost, environmental impact, and others. Now, given the changes in the propane market, it pays for homeowners, builders, farmers, and business owners to give propane another look when they plan for their energy usage.

fleet applications, propane costs less than gasoline and offers a comparable driving range to conventional fuel.” Propane also combines a higher octane rating than gasoline with low-carbon and oil-contamination properties, which extends engine life – a key cost benefit for fleet operators. In fact, we’ve already seen the use of propane to fuel fleet vehicles in Berks and the surrounding area; my company recently converted several vans to propane use. Another potential growth area for propane: commercial lawn mowers. The Propane Education and Research Council notes that propane mowers burn cleaner and result in fewer emissions than competing gasoline-fired equipment. Like their on-road counterparts, propane-fueled lawn mowers should have a longer effective equipment life and cost less to maintain.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jennifer Goldbach is Business Development Director for Propane Services for E.G. Smith Inc., a Berks County energy provider, and for the Jerome H. Rhoads family of companies, which includes Boyertown Oil and Propane and other subsidiaries. For information on propane, visit www.egsmithinc.com or email Jennifer at jgoldbach@rhoadsenergy.com


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Golden Oaks Golf Club & Restaurant... life as it should be.

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February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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Angles

10

Things Sales People

NEED TO KNOW

About C-Level Decision Makers By Kelley Robertson

Selling to high-level decision makers is challenging at the best of times. However, it can be easier if you understand a few business principles.

decision makers are paid 1.} toC-level improve their business results.

Regardless of how the media portrays these executives, their primary concern is to improve their business. This includes increasing sales, market share, customer loyalty; reducing costs, errors, or employee turnover; improving productivity, employee engagement, customer service, etc.

Q: How does your product, service or solution address one of these issues?

Decision Makers 2.} C-Level Deal with Changing Priorities Improving customer engagement may be a top priority today but tomorrow that executive may be faced with cutting $250,000 in expenses. That means they sometimes go cold after expressing initial interest in your solution.

Q: Do you have a strategy in place to keep your solution current? 23 AT HOME IN BERKs February 2014

C-Level Decision Makers 3.} are Extremely Busy The average executive arrives early in the morning and stays late into the evening. They get dozens of calls every day, receive too many emails, and attend too many meetings. This means that you need to maximize every minute you have when you connect with them. This applies to telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings.

Q: Do you know EXACTLY what to say when you connect with these individuals?

4.} C-Level Decision Makers Rely on Others Contrary to popular belief, these high-ranking big-wigs seldom make decisions on their own. They often defer to other people on their team and ask for feedback from peers and/or subordinates. This means you need to involve these people in your conversations and include them in the decision-making process.

Q: Do you have the ability to finesse this?


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Decision Makers 5.} C-Level Don’t Like to Make Mistakes

C-Level Decision Makers Receive 9.} Upwards of 150 Emails Every Day

A major mistake can affect an executive’s reputation in their company. This affects the decision-making process, which means you need to uncover their risk factor during your conversations.

Many sales people use email as their major form of correspondence and it can be ineffective because most C-level decision makers simply don’t have time to respond to every email. A Managing Director once told me that he prefers telephone correspondence because he simply can’t get to every email, even when he wants to.

Q: How will you reduce your prospect’s risk factor?

6.} C-Level Decision Makers have Big Egos

Q: Do you use a variety of strategies to connect with C-level decision makers?

Most executives have a healthy ego, which is one of the things that helped them achieve their status in the company. This means that you need to be very confident in your own abilities when selling to these individuals. Don’t back down when you’re challenged. In fact, doing so could cost you the business because C-level execs want to deal with people who believe in what they do.

Q: Are you confident enough to deal directly with C-level executives?

Decision Makers Spend the 7.} C-Level Bulk of Their Day in Meetings The next time you’re in the office, watch an executive. Chances are you will see them dashing from meeting to meeting. Your prospects are in the same position. They aren’t sitting at their desk waiting for you to call them.

Q: Are you persistent in your efforts to connect with these individuals?

Decision Makers Have 8.} AtC-Level Least 40 Hours of Work on Their Desk at Any Given Time

Several executives I know have expressed these sentiments, “I will never get caught up” or “Just when I think I can’t get busier, I do” or “I never call a sales person back because I already have too much on my plate.” You need to give these individuals an extremely good reason to meet with you or take your call.

Q: Is your approach effective?

10.}

C-Level Decision Makers Think Big Picture

Stop focusing on your product or your company and start looking at the big picture of your prospect’s business. Most C-level execs don’t get bogged down in the little details of their business, they pay others to take care of the details. I once met with the President of a $125 million company and made the mistake of asking her questions about front-line execution instead of top-level strategic issues.

Q: Can you see and discuss the big picture?

Think about your responses to each question and adapt your approach accordingly. February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs 24


Angles

Accident Prevention: Weather Related Slips & Falls By Erica J. Grimm, CISR

S

lips, trips, and falls are preventable! You can prevent a fall by doing your part, watching where you are going, and thinking about where your feet are going. As an employer, you are responsible for the safety of employees once they report to work. You should also be concerned about getting employees in and out of your building safely, especially during inclement weather. No industry or business is exempt from injuries that result from inclement weather. Rain, sleet, snow, and ice are hazards to every business. This Prevention Guide will provide information to assist you in preventing weather-related slips and falls and provide actions you can take NOW to reduce the potential for injuries BEFORE THEY HAPPEN.

Tips for Managing Slips and Falls:

Clear the Way:

• Establish who is responsible for snow and ice removal, i.e., facility managers, custodians, grounds maintenance staff, and/or contracted snow removal personnel. Make sure that all responsible parties are aware of the specific locations they are to remove snow.

• Apply de-icing chemicals before a storm, followed by snow/ ice removal during and after the storm. Use plenty of de-icing materials, as using “barely enough” will leave patches of ice.

• Train those responsible in procedures for safely maintaining walkway surfaces, including the location of equipment and supplies. • Have designated walkways cleared and established before employees report to work and prior to them leaving for the day. Ensure designated parking areas are cleared as well prior to employee arrival and departure times. • Have all employees utilize designated walkways and enforce this practice.

• Have snow removal equipment and supplies readily available. Keep shovels and ice melt near all walkway entrances. • Take advantage of technology and telephone or text employees to alert them to use caution when entering buildings.

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• Check the surface regularly. For parking areas, this can be time-consuming, but it is well-worth the effort.

• Effective ice removal often occurs during the day with full sun. But full sun will melt adjacent snow or ice, placing water runoff on the de-iced walking surface. This will dilute the solution and tend to refreeze at night. With dropping temperatures, ice can re-form with falls occurring first thing in the morning. • Aim for evaporation. If the water can drain (e.g., drains aren’t blocked) and there is full sun or even reasonable wind, the water (even ice) will evaporate. A dry pavement is a clear indication there is no ice. • Use a friction additive. Sand is the most popular because it is cheap. Use a lot of it. Make certain that anyone walking on the surface has a lot of traction. Be sure to clean up the residue once inclement weather is over as loose materials may lead to a slip hazard in the future.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

• Check and treat surfaces every morning, especially around snow piles where melting may have created new problem areas. Reevaluate during the day and treat as needed. • Remember that a clean-looking surface is only “safe” if it is dry. A wet surface can contain ice and also can turn to ice in the shade or overnight.

Walk-off Mats:

• One important precaution is the placement of walk-off mats at all entrance doors.

• Mats should allow for a minimum of 10 paces in the normal direction of travel in order to absorb water and snow that may accumulate at entrances during inclement weather. • Mats should be constructed of rubber or cocoa fiber, which help remove water and dirt from shoes. The color of the mats should contrast with the color of the flooring, and mat edges should taper down to the floor for a smooth transition to the floor’s surface.

• Under severe conditions, consider posting a janitorial staff member at each entrance to warn employees and customers entering the area about the slipping hazard and to manually mop any excess water that may accumulate.

If They Must Go Out: • For those employees who do not report regularly to an office, such as home health aides, sales representatives, and service technicians; it is recommended that they carry kitty litter or small kits in their vehicles to treat ice or snow covered walkways as they may come upon them.

• It is recommended that employees wear slip resistant shoes wherever they may be exposed to wet surfaces and consider slip-over grips to make walking in the snow safer. The initial step in de-icing is choosing a de-icing agent. When selecting ice-melting chemicals, here are some things to consider:

• Rock salt (sodium chloride) is the least expensive but is somewhat corrosive and can damage concrete, interior surfaces and vegetation. It may need a wetting agent when used at low temperatures. • Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride are more effective than rock salt and most effective at lower temperatures. Magnesium chloride is somewhat less corrosive than calcium chloride, which is about as corrosive as rock salt. • Calcium Magnesium acetate is the most environmentally friendly; but, is more expensive and is least effective at lower temperatures.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Erica J. Grimm, CISR, is the Account Administrator for the PBA Workers Compensation Insurance Program, which has highly competitive rates for all HBA members, especially those in the building and remodeling trades. Learn more at www.HBAberks.org/Insurance.hml Contact Erica at egrimm@ekmcconkey.com or 717.755.9266 February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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Angles

COMMON ELECTRIC SERVICE CALLS You can save yourself time, money, and frustration with these simple troubleshooting steps. Do what you can BEFORE you call in an expert. By David R. Roche

Do you ever wonder how to avoid a service call from your electrician for something that is a simple matter? Well, here are some tips to avoid that frustrating, and sometimes costly, electrical service call: GFCI Breakers and Receptacles

Do you have a bathroom, basement, kitchen, garage, or outside receptacle that is not working? Most homes have what are called Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) breakers or receptacles. These are commonly used in the locations mentioned above to prevent electrocution when an appliance or equipment gets wet. The GFCI will trip at a very low amperage amount which prevents you from getting hurt. The mystery lies in locating these devices. While more up-to-date electrical codes have corrected some of this mystery it does not help with the home that was wired prior to these modern wiring practices. To locate one of these GFCI devices, first check below your main electrical panel. Many contractors installed these GFCI devices below the main electrical panel and connected all the bathroom, basement, kitchen, garage, and outside receptacles making this a cost effective way to provide the necessary protection the National Electric Code (NEC) warranted. To reset these devices you can push in the ‘reset’ button. If it again trips off immediately, then you might have a more serious issue and you will need to call a qualified electrician. If you don’t see a GFCI device below your panel, you should check your individual breakers in the panel. There will be a breaker with a trip button on it that should be marked with ‘GFCI’. Try to reset it by turning the breaker off then on. This will reset the mechanism inside the breaker. If the breaker again trips off immediately, you might have something plugged into the wiring that is telling it there is a fault. Walk around to all the receptacles to unplug anything still connected then try to reset the breaker again. If it still trips off, then the GFCI breaker might need to be replaced by a qualified electrician. This step can also be used if individual GFCI receptacles are being used.

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Arc Fault Breakers

All new homes use the new Arc Fault Circuit (AFC) breakers. These do not work the same as the GFCI breakers; but, you can use the same troubleshooting processes. The AFC breaker electronically monitors the circuit. When it senses abnormality to the circuit it will trip the breaker. Portable fans or heaters, treadmills, and almost anything with a motor can trip these off. There is not much you can do in this case. The manufacturers have tried to correct this problem with newer technology; though, it still persists. If the problem continues then you might have to replace the AFC breaker to see if that corrects the problem.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Do a Walk-about

When troubleshooting these types of problems, it is always best to see the whole picture and not just the individual problem. Go through the home to investigate everything that is not working. Most times, as you go through this process, you will find the problem area. This is especially true during the Holiday lighting period when precipitation covers cords or strings of lights.

Let There Be…

No light? Why is your light not working after you install a new bulb? Try using the same bulb in another fixture; so, you know that the bulb you are trying to use is a ‘known-good’ bulb. Many times, bad bulbs that are brand new do not work directly out of the packaging. So, take the time to check to ensure it is a good bulb. If the bulb is good and the light fixture still does not

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work, you might need to call your electrician to resolve the issue.

What If It Just Doesn’t Work

Why are your receptacles and / or lights not working? It could be as simple as a tripped circuit breaker. It is important to understand how circuit breakers work. Most manufacturers have a label on the inside of the electrical panel cover explaining how to reset a circuit breaker. Also, there should be a ‘panel schedule’ stating which circuit breaker controls what device in the home. Locate the circuit breaker for the area that is not working. The key to a circuit breaker is that you have to turn it off completely and then turn it back on to reset it. This resets the mechanical interlock inside the circuit breaker. Circuit breakers normally trip due to overloaded or shorted circuits. If the circuit breaker is reset and trips off immediately then you have an overload or short somewhere. Use the same troubleshooting techniques as the GFCI devices listed above. This process usually locates the issue. If the issue persists then you should call your electrician to diagnose the problem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David R. Roche is the President of Dave Roche Electric, Inc., a family-owned and operated business since 1974 specializing in residential and commercial electrical services. Contact Dave at www.DaveRocheElectricInc.com or call 610.678.9644

Fleetwood, PA 701 E. Linden Street, Richland PA 17087 Ph: 717-866-6581 • Fx: 717-866-7237 13

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Construction Loans One loan - with one closing and fewer fees - does it all from start to finish and with up to 95% financing. Contact a VIST Bank Mortgage Representative today. Toll Free: 1-866-466-3601 or Local: 610-603-7636.

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February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs 28


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings 2014 Upcoming Events…

feb 4-6

feb 5

feb 27

MAR

20-22

APR 5

APR 16

Member 2 Member Discount Program

IBS & NAHB Board Meeting

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.

Las Vegas, NV

Aluminum Associates / Sloan Corporation Contact: Kert E. Sloan 610.921.2201

5% discount on all services RMCTC Career Roundtable

Berks Transfer

Contact: Bob Quinn 610.926.7626

Reading Muhlenberg CTC

$50 off 1st can order to new customers

9:00 am   –    2:00 pm

Quality Floors Inc.

Contact: Chuck Smith 800.446.6035

10% off any order All About YOUR Membership HBA Conference Room

(Not valid with any other offers or prior purchases) Geoff Penske Buick GMC

Contact: Victor Popescu 610.777.1300

GM affinity program & partnership with HBA

4:00 pm    –    5:00 pm

(Call Victor for more details on how you can save)

PBA Board of Directors Meeting Radisson Hotel; Scranton, PA

Martin’s Flooring, Inc.

Contact: Richie Zook 877.445.7799

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

“I can help!”

Easter Egg Hunt HBA Property

Full Cooperation with all Licensees

10:30 am    –12:00 pm

100’s of Commercial Properties... www.JimAdamsNow.com

Legislative Lunch

Jim Adams

Masters in Commercial Real Estate, CNE, Master Municipal Planner, e-PRO Web 2.0 Cert. Ranked #2 of 2,861 RE/MAX agents PA/DELAWARE-1st Qtr 2013

Toscani’s, West Lawn, PA

610-678-9065

11:30 am    –    2:00 pm

JAdams@JimAdamsNow.com

RE/MAX of Reading 610.670.2770 x 3157

1290 Broadcasting Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

welcome new members Forino Co., L.P.

Hampson Mowrer Kreitz Insurance

Nathan Pletscher 555 Mountain Home Road, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 PH: (610) 670-2200 FX: (610) 670-2608 Email: npletscher@forino.com Sponsor: Patrick J. Dolan

Bill Mulhern 54 South Commerce Way Suite 150, Bethlehem, PA 18107 PH: (610) 868-8507 FX: (610) 868-7604 Email: wmulhern@hmk-ins.com Sponsor: Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP

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2013 Foundation Club Members: (alphabetically by company name)

Your bank for mortgages

Kert & Cathy Sloan Aluminum Associates Daphne Frownfelter Deer Mountain Kitchens, LLC Patrick Dolan Dolan Construction, Inc. Steve Bright E J B Paving & Materials Co. John Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company Aritec LLC Grande Construction Greater Reading Economic Partnership Hosty Equipment Co Terry Maenza Pennsylvania American Water James Gaspari PMJ Properties, LLC Kevin Kozo Turnberry Custom Homes York International 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.

• Flexible Financing Packages

Thank You to renewing members of the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA) 1st Year Anniversary

16–20 Years

John Rozzi Home Improvement Co., Inc.

Blankenbiller Plumbing – Heating – AC Bodden Contracting Group Inc. Dennis R. Smith Comm. Refrigeration & AC Elite Vinyl Railings, LLC Fulton Mortgage Company Glen-Gery Corporation Martin’s Flooring, Inc. VIST Bank

2–5 Years Aritec, LLC Diebolt Landscape Co., Inc. Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce L2i Construction LLC RE/MAX of Reading Wise Signs

6–10 Years Berks Concrete Restorations, Inc. Berkshire Systems Group, Inc. Bogia Engineering, Inc. Fisher’s Rental Center, Inc. Glen Miller Demolition & Excavating Greater Reading Economic Partnership Hartman’s Home Improvements Manmiller Electric, LLC Pro Max Fence Systems Renaissance Carpentry & Remodeling Inc. Resource Associates Corp. The Werner Group, Inc. Zee Medical Service Company

11–15 Years Bursich Associates, Inc. Dennis Gass Contracting Environmental Design Service, Inc. Heffleger Kitchen Center Our City-Reading, Inc.

• First-time Homebuyer Program • Competitive Construction Mortgages with One Settlement

E verywe mortgage write strengthens our community

21-25 Years A. R. Adam & Son, Inc. Applied Geoscience & Engineering, Inc. J/M Fence & Deck Co. Visions Federal Credit Union Welbilt Homes, Inc.

26-30 Years Reading Rentals Ronnie C. Folk Paving, Inc. SAH, Inc. Security First, Inc. Straub Roofing & Concrete, Inc.

®

31+ Years

Berkshire Greens, Inc. Dutch Valley Door & Window Co., Inc. Karrick Heating & A/C, LLC Robert L. Weidele, Contractor Stanley W. Bauman General Contractor

fleetwoodbank.com EQUAL HOUSING

LENDER

Member FDIC

What you want your bank to be February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

What’s HOT ON

HBAberks

channel

Crackle Finish: The Magic of Paint Use a Crackle Finish to make old furniture new again with that antique look that makes it original. The five Berks County locations of Sherwin Williams worked together to present various tips, tricks, ideas, and lessons on how to make things looks brand new on a tight budget. (Length: 5:49)

Security, Cameras, Heating & Cooling Systems: Home Automation

The ultimate Smart Home not only has lighting controls, it has a security system with Internet accessible cameras plus temperature controls that allow you to adjust the home’s heating & cooling by an iPhone, iPad, tablet, or smart phone from anywhere in the world, that is, as long as you have an Internet connection. Additionally, you can control your house doors, garage doors, intercom, pool, water heater, driveway sensors, and everything else you can imagine with a single button touch. Charles Bock, President of Stereo Barn, and Jim Bucciaglia, Vice President of SAH Incorporated, presented to a live audience at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore on 9 Mar 13 the basics, definitions, conveniences, and products of Home Automation. (Length:11:38)

What is a Contract? (Offer + Acceptance) This video defines “contract” and “consideration” in terms anyone can understand. It also details the offer and acceptance steps of reaching an agreement and discusses counter-offers. As part of an on-going educational series of business topics, Executive Officer Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM, presented “PA HICPA & Contracts in Plain English” to a live audience of HBA members. (Length: 9:20)

Big Reveal: 2013 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Watch the family react as they see their “new” home for the first time. The Big Reveal (Saturday, September 14th, 2013) of the HBA Restoring Hope 2013 Build to Lisa Pieller and her children, Ashley & Eric, organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. (Length: 14:14)

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AT HOME IN BERKs February 2014


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At Home in Berks Publishing Group

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FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION AND OPPORTUNITIES CONTACT:

Brad Hess Brad@HoffPubs.com • 610.685.0914 ext 204 February 2014 AT HOME IN BERKs

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At Home In Berks FEB 2014  
At Home In Berks FEB 2014