Five Home Remedies for Allergies

Spring has finally arrived and with it comes allergies and high pollen counts.  When it comes to home remedies for allergies you hear a lot about local raw honey preventing them. It is supposed to work because the gradual intake of local pollen will help build up your immunity before the symptoms start, thereby providing relief when the season actually hits. And while it does work for some people, let’s not forget that there are plenty of remedies you can try at home to help relieve the common symptoms of seasonal allergies.  Here are Five Home Remedies that may help ease you allergies this season.

  • Nettle-Peppermint Tea
  • Bee Pollen
  • Citrus Drinks with Lemon & Oranges.
  • Red Onion Water
  • Apple Walnut Trail Mix

Remember to always consult your physician when dealing with issues of your health, and every suggestion should only be consumed in moderation.

Buying a Home

Recently I went into a home which was purchased just a few weeks ago.  They never got a mold inspection, as their Realtor and Home Inspector, advised them that it wasn’t needed.  But after a few weeks of living in the home, they noticed a smell and decided to give us a call.  When I arrived at the house, the odor was apparent on the first floor with the basement being the problem area.  After the inspection, it was revealed that the walls and the joists were infested with mold.  Now the builder tried to cover it up with paint, but the mold was coming through.  My estimate to remediate this issue was $8,700, which were monies that were unexpected, but also funds the new home owners didn’t have.  The lesson here is that you never trust your Realtor, as they are in the commission business and few truly have your best interest in mind, and you NEVER trust a home inspector who sometimes is in the pocket of the realtor and/or lender.  Mold inspections are inexpensive and could have saved these new buyers thousands of dollars in repairs.

Sizing Your Downspouts – Part 1

The most common residential sizes, Five-inch K-style gutters or 6-inch half-rounds, are able to handle the rainfall on most houses in most parts of the country. But houses with big, steep roofs or those located in climates prone to heavy downpours may need wider gutters and extra downspouts to keep rainwater from overflowing.

To figure out what size gutters you need, first you’ll need to calculate the square footage of the gutter’s drainage area. For a simple gable-end roof, you would only need to make two calculations, one for each slope. Hip roofs and intersecting roofs have multiple facets, and for those you’ll need to add up the area (length x width) of each surface within a drainage area to get the total square footage.

Adjusting for Pitch and Rainfall
Once you know the total square footage of drainage for each gutter, you’ll need to adjust for the following two factors:

1. Roof-pitch factor
The steeper a roof’s pitch, the more windblown rain it can collect. You can measure pitch with a 2-foot level and a tape measure: Hold one end of the level against the roof, level it, and then measure the distance between the roof and the underside of the level at its midpoint, which gives you a 12-inch run. A 5-inch gap, for instance, is a 5-in-12 pitch. Once you know pitch, you can find your roof-pitch factor in the table below.

Roof pitch     /     Roof-pitch factor
12 in 12 or higher        1.3
9 in 12 to 11 in 12        1.2
6 in 12 to 8 in 12          1.1
4 in 12 to 5 in 12          1.05
Flat to 3 in 12                1

2. Maximum rainfall intensity
The U.S. Weather Bureau records the maximum rainfall that could possibly happen in a 5-minute period, in inches per hour, for various regions. The higher the amount, the bigger a gutter has to be to keep from being overwhelmed in a storm burst. Download this handy table to find out the number for your area.

Sizing Your Downspouts – Part 2

Sizing the Gutters
Multiply the drainage area by the roof-pitch factor and rainfall intensity to find out the adjusted square footage. Then use the chart below to see what size gutter you need. (If a roof’s various drainage areas call for different size gutters, go for the biggest one.)

5-inch      5,520 square feet
6-inch      7,960 square feet

5-inch          2,500 square feet
6-inch          3,840 square feet

For example: A house in Chicago has a roof whose actual drainage area is 1,000 square feet. The 6-in-12 pitch factor (1.1) multiplied by 1,000 yields an effective area of 1,100 square feet. Multiplying that number by the local maximum rainfall intensity (6.8 inches per hour) yields an adjusted square footage of 7,480 square feet. Therefore, this roof should be equipped with 6-inch K-style gutters

Sizing Your Downspouts – Part 3

What if the runoff is off the chart for standard gutters? You have three options:

1. Get 7- or 8-inch gutters. They’ll cost more and probably require a custom order through a professional installer.

2. Increase the pitch of the gutter. The standard is about ¼ inch per 10 feet. Increasing the pitch increases a gutter’s handling capacity, but the gutter may look askew over a long run.

3. Add downspouts. The above recommendations assume that you have properly sized downspouts every 40 feet. As with gutters, a downspout’s capacity must match or exceed the expected runoff. Use the chart below to figure out how many extra downspouts you need. Adding a 2 by 3 rectangular downspout, for instance, boosts your gutter’s capacity by 600 square feet of drainage area.

2 by 3 inches = 600 square feet
3 by 4 inches = 1,200 square feet

3 inches = 706 square feet
4 inches = 1,255 square feet

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Can Local Honey Help Allergies?

Some people have suggested that honey consumption may be linked to a reduced risk of allergies, especially when the honey comes from local bees, which presumably visit many of the plants involved in provoking a local allergy sufferer’s symptoms. According to this popular belief, exposure to local honey works somewhat like a vaccine against local allergens by exposing people to the pollen that ordinarily causes an allergic response.  The notion of using honey as an allergy remedy, while attractive, has not been definitively proven effective. Despite widespread belief that consuming locally produced honey confers protection against allergies to local allergens, little scientific evidence supports the practice.

On the other hand, Finnish researchers conducted a study recently in which patients with a known allergy to birch pollen consumed honey with added birch pollen, or ordinary honey, for about five months, before the start of pollen season. Patients who had taken the doctored honey reported 60 percent lower total symptoms scores than patients who did not receive the pollen-laced honey. Investigators concluded that the pollen-rich honey had helped reduce patients’ allergic symptoms. Unfortunately, taking honey with added pollen is not the same as taking local honey for the control of allergy symptoms, so it remains unclear what role, if any, honey may play in allergy relief.

It’s increasingly clear, however, that honey deserves a place in the medical arsenal, and certainly in our kitchens, even though it does not appear to play a significant role in easing the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Honey contains a complex mixture of chemicals that collectively work to destroy a variety of germs capable of causing infection.

Please note that infants under one year of age should never be given honey, due to the risk of a rare but potentially fatal form of food poisoning caused by spores of the clostridium botulinum bacterium. When swallowed, spores in honey may begin to grow in the intestinal tracts of such young infants, where they can release a potentially deadly toxin. After one year of age, giving honey is considered safe.

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Water Damage in Newtown Square Pa

Here’s a set of photos showing the After shots of a building which had a water loss.  The commercial building in Newtown Square Pennsylvania had a busted water line which required the removal of carpet and padding, and two feet of drywall.  The time we take to remove the drywall with a clean, perfect line makes the reconstruction cheaper for the customer.DSCN1638 DSCN1639 DSCN1641

Tips For Eliminating Dust Mites

Dust mites are tiny microscopic relatives of the spider and live on mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets and curtains. These tiny creatures feed on the flakes of skin that people and pets shed daily and they thrive in warm and humid environments. No matter how clean a home is, dust mites cannot be totally eliminated. However, the number of mites can be reduced by following the suggestions below.

Preventive Strategies for Dust Mites

  • Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain relative humidity at about 50% or below.
  • Encase your mattress and pillows in dust-proof or allergen impermeable covers (available from specialty supply mail order companies, bedding and some department stores).
  • Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 130 – 140°F) to kill dust mites. Non-washable bedding can be frozen overnight to kill dust mites.
  • Replace wool or feathered bedding with synthetic materials and traditional stuffed animals with washable ones.
  • If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpets in bedrooms with bare floors (linoleum, tile or wood) and remove fabric curtains and upholstered furniture.
  • Use a damp mop or rag to remove dust. Never use a dry cloth since this just stirs up mite allergens.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with either a double-layered microfilter bag or a HEPA filter to trap allergens that pass through a vacuum’s exhaust.
  • Wear a mask while vacuuming to avoid inhaling allergens, and stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes to allow any dust and allergens to settle after vacuuming.

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