How to Clean Your A/C Condensate Drain Line

REPAIR & MAINTENANCE

How to Clean Your Air Conditioner’s Condensate Drain Line

Taking the time to clean your air conditioner’s drain line (or the condensate line) can have a great positive effect on how efficiently your system runs. Here’s how to quickly and safely prevent problems with your unit.

 

If you’ve ever taken a good look at your air conditioning unit, you may have noticed a small dripping line on the outside. This is the condensate drain, which plays an important role in removing condensation produced by your air conditioner’s evaporator coil. If the line isn’t properly cleaned, algae and mold can grow inside and clog the drain, causing elevated humidity, musty odors and water damage inside your home.

Unfortunately, this part of the system is often overlooked during regular A/C maintenance. Even HVAC technicians may forget to clean the drain during a regular service call, which means that it’s up to you to check and clean the condensate pan and drain line before a problem develops. Cleaning the line will remove clogs and blockages and prevent algae and mold from growing.

Looking to purchase a home warranty plan, view:
– What is a Home Warranty
– Compare Home Warranty Coverage
– See what Home Appliances are Covered

You will need these items to clean your A/C condensate drain:

  • Rags
  • A wet/dry vacuum
  • Distilled vinegar
  • A funnel

 

How to Clean Your Air Conditioner Drain

1. Turn off the power to your HVAC system at the thermostat and at the breaker.

2. If you have an indoor air handler in your attic or utility closet, you’ll need to find the condensate pan. This is usually located directly under the unit. It may also be covered by a removable access panel.

3. If you see standing water in the drain pan, your drain line is probably clogged. Use a handheld or shop vacuum to remove the moisture. You can also use rags to soak up the water. At this point, you can clean the drain pan with soap.

4. Generally, clogged drains can be cleared with suction. If you have a shop vacuum, use it to pull the clog through the drain opening, which is located outside your house near the foundation. Place your hand around the pipe to improve suction and allow the vacuum to run for a minute. Then, check the vacuum canister to see if the clog was successfully removed.

5. Next, you’ll need to identify the access point on the drain line. Usually, the drain will have a T-shaped vent with a PVC cover. Remove the cover and inspect the drain. Use this port to flush the drain with distilled vinegar. If you don’t like the odor, you can use peroxide to gently bubble away the remaining debris. Alternately, you can use hot water and a drop of dish liquid.

6. Allow the solution to sit for 30 minutes. Complete the cleaning by flushing the pipe with water. Have a helper watch the pipe outside and tell you if the water is running freely.

If you don’t have a shop vacuum, you can use a piece of surgical tubing to free the blockage. Know that this method doesn’t work well if your drain line has sharp turns that are prone to clogs. If your system doesn’t have an access vent, use the opening on the edge of the drain pan. This fitting can be removed to improve access.

Underlying problems with the system can also be responsible for compromised water flow. If the pan and drain line aren’t slightly tilted, water can build up in the back of the pan and will eventually overflow. Many newer systems are equipped with overflow sensors installed within the pipe.

If you’re unable to clean your air conditioner’s drain line, call a local professional. They can clean the line and install an access vent, if necessary. Check the drain line periodically throughout the cooling season to ensure that condensation is being removed properly.

Routine maintenance steps like checking your drain line can help keep your air conditioner running more efficiently. If you find that your system is in need of repair, remember that an American Home Shield Home Warranty could help protect your budget from costs associated with getting your unit back on track.

9 Ways to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink Drain

REPAIR & MAINTENANCE

Don’t Call The Plumber Just Yet: 9 Ways to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink Drain

DIY home projects are great for saving money and enjoying a good challenge, but these household projects are better left for professionals.

Running water in sink

It can be a helpless feeling when the kitchen sink won’t drain. With water backing up and a counter full of dirty dishes waiting to be cleaned, it may be tempting to reach for the phone and dial the plumber. Before you do, read these easy, do-it-yourself ways to unclog that drain.

1. Boiling water

This is the easiest and least expensive solution of all, which makes it the best one to try first. Place a kettle or pot of water on the stove and bring to a rolling boil. While you’re waiting for the water to heat, remove as much standing water from the sink as you can, using a mug or small pot to bail out the water. Then, pour the entire kettle of water into the sink and wait. If the water stands in the sink and the clog doesn’t move, give the water time to cool and remove it to try again. You may need to repeat the process several times to move the clog, but this often works on many types of stoppage.

2. Disposal

Check to make sure it’s not your garbage disposal that’s causing the problem. A clogged disposal can stop up the drain, so run the disposal to see if that clears the clog. Then inspect it to make sure it’s running correctly. If the disposal has overheated, you may need to flip the switch found on the side or bottom of the unit underneath the sink.

Read more in our “Don’t Call the Plumber” series:
– How To Tackle Dishwasher Draining Issues
– How To Unclog The Shower Drain
DIY Yard Draining Solutions

3. Salt and boiling water

After removing standing water from the sink, pour about ½ cup of table salt down the drain before you pour in the boiling water. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then flush with hot water to clear the mixture.

4. Vinegar and baking soda

Again, remove standing water first. Pour about a cup or so of baking soda into the drain, followed by an equal amount of white or apple cider vinegar. The solution will bubble, but when they subside, put the stopper in and wait about 15 minutes. Next, run hot water to see if the clog clears. Repeat if needed.

5. Baking soda and salt

This is another combination that can work on sink clogs. Mix about a cup of baking soda with a half-cup of salt, and pour down the drain. Let the mixture sit for several hours, then flush with boiling water. You can repeat this process if it doesn’t work the first time.

6. Plunger

If these combinations aren’t successful in unclogging your sink, reach for a common household plunger. If you have a double sink, first seal off the second side with a wet cloth or a stopper. You’ll need to create a tight seal around the plunger, so fill the side of the sink you intend to plunge with enough water to cover the bell of the plunger. Place the plunger firmly over the drain and plunge vigorously several times. When you hear the suction clear the clog, remove the plunger and flush the drain well with warm water.

7. P-trap

It may be necessary to clean your kitchen drain’s P-trap to clear the clog. The P-trap is at the curve of the drainpipe under the sink, usually inside a cabinet. Place a pan or bucket underneath the drain to catch any water or debris that may fall out. Unfasten the P-trap from the drainpipe and clear out anything that is stuck. Then replace and run water through it.

8. Plumber’s snake

Sometimes called an auger, this handy tool can clear clogs that may be stuck further down the system. You’ll have to disassemble the drainpipe and P-trap that runs underneath the kitchen sink to expose the “stub pipe” or “stubout” that travels behind the cabinet wall. This is where you insert the snake into the pipe until you feel resistance to break up the clog.

9. Coat hanger

If you don’t have a plumber’s snake, you can use a wire coat hanger by straightening it. Of course, it won’t reach as far as a plumber’s snake would, but it may be long enough to reach some clogs. Insert it into the kitchen drain or stub pipe to push through or pull out the clog if you can reach it. Be careful not to scratch your sink with the wire.

To keep your sink smelling fresh and running clear, pour in equal parts of vinegar and baking soda on a regular basis. For routine cleaning, you’ll just need about one-half cup of each. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before running some warm water down the drain. You can also use lemon juice for the same purpose.

Of course, it’s always easier to avoid clogs in the first place. If you have a kitchen garbage disposal, don’t overload it. Feed items in a little at a time, and wait until they grind and run through completely before adding more. Never put bacon grease, coffee grounds or oils down your kitchen drain, and always make sure you run plenty of water down the drain after each use. It’s important to know how to maintain and care for your all your home’s plumbing components and systems to keep things running smoothly.

If these methods don’t work, or if your kitchen drain clogs frequently or persistently drains slowly, it may be time to place that call to a plumbing professional.

OCMD Beach Access Made Easier with Mobi-Mat

Beach Access Made Easier for Handicapped

The Newest Addition to Ocean City Beaches

Posted: Jun 22, 2018 6:17 PMUpdated: Jun 22, 2018 6:25 PM EDT

The Newest Addition to Ocean City Beaches
Ocean City Mobi-Mat at 130th street. (Photo WBOC)Ocean City Mobi-Mat at 130th street. (Photo WBOC)

Ocean City, Md. – Introducing Mobi-Mat’s! The pilot program that was just launched on 130th and 94th street.

“We’re pretty excited and we hope these things work out for us,” City Engineer, Terry Mcgean said. “Anything that we can do to make it easier to go to the beach for everyone – we are all for.”

These one-of-a-kind Mobi-Mat’s are made out of 100% recycled polyester and they aren’t only beneficial for handicapped individuals. These mat’s are also good for families that bring large loads to the beach.

“We see a lot of families where they are towing the little red wagon behind or the cooler behind them and it makes it easier for everybody,” said Mcgean.

The mobi-mat’s are costly though, each one is roughly $7000 and that is why they will only be installed at designated handicapped areas.

This initiative goes hand in hand with the beach friendly wheelchairs that Ocean City Beach Patrol is responsible for.

“The idea is that you don’t need the Mobi-Mat for the beach wheelchairs,” said Butch Arbin, Chief of Ocean City Beach Patrol. “The beach wheelchairs are designed to roll on the sand and a regular wheelchair can go on a mobi-mat.”

The Mobi-Mat program has been successful in other resort towns and Ocean City is expecting the same.

Stress-Free Guide – Home Loans

Your Stress-Free Guide to Shopping for Home Loans

Image result for home loans images

By: HouseLogic

With this super-simple breakdown of loan types, you won’t get overwhelmed — you’ll find the right mortgage.

When it comes to buying a house, most people know what they prefer: a bungalow or a condo, a hot neighborhood or a sleepy street.

Mortgages, too, come in many styles — and recognizing which type you should choose is just slightly more involved than, say, knowing that you prefer hardwood floors over wall-to-wall carpeting.

First things first: To pick the best loan for your situation, you need to know what your situation is, exactly. Will you be staying in this home for years? Decades? Are you feeling financially comfortable? Are you anxious about changing loan rates? Consider these questions and your answers before you start talking to lenders. (And before you choose a lender, read this.)

Next: You’ll want to have an understanding of the different loans that are out there. There are lots of options, and it can get a little complicated — but you got this. Here we go.

Mortgages Are Fixed-Rate or Adjustable, and One Type Is Better for You

Let’s start with the most common type of mortgage, that workhorse of home loans — the fixed-rate mortgage.

A fixed-rate mortgage:

  • Lets you lock in an {{ start_tip 76 }}interest rate{{ end_tip }} for 15 or 30 years. (You can get 20-year loans, too.) That means your monthly payment will stay the same over the life of the loan. (That said, your property taxes and insurance premiums will likely change over time.)

It’s ideal when: You want long-term stability and plan to stay put.

Here’s what else you need to know about fixed-rate mortgages:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage offers a lower monthly payment for the loan amount (for this reason, it’s more popular than the other option, the 15-year).
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage typically offers a lower interest rate but a higher monthly payment because you’re paying off the loan amount faster.

Now let’s get into adjustable-rate, the other type of mortgage you’ll be looking at.

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM):

  • Offers a lower interest rate than a fixed-rate mortgage for an initial period of time — say, five or seven years — but the rate can fluctuate after the introductory period is over, depending on changes in interest rate conditions. And that can make it difficult to budget.
  • Has caps that protect how high the rate can go.

It’s ideal when: You plan to live in a home for a short time or you expect your income to go up to offset potentially higher future rates.

Here’s what else you need to know about adjustable-rate mortgages:

  • Different lenders may offer the same initial interest rate but different rate caps. It’s important to compare rate caps when shopping around for an ARM.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages have a reputation for being complicated. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises, make sure to read the fine print.

A general rule of thumb: When comparing adjustable-rate loans, ask the prospective lender to calculate the highest payment you may ever have to make. You don’t want any surprises.

Conventional Loan or Government Loan? Your Life Answers the Question

Which fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage you qualify for introduces a whole host of other categories, and they fall under two umbrellas: conventional loans and government loans.

Conventional loans:

  • Offer some of the most competitive interest rates, which means you’ll likely pay less in interest over the period of the loan.
  • Typically you can get one more quickly than a government loan because there’s less paperwork.

Who qualifies? Typically, you need at least a credit score of 620 or above and a 5% down payment to qualify for a conventional loan.

Here’s what else you need to know about conventional loans:

  • If you put less than 20% down for a conventional loan, you’ll be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), an extra monthly fee designed to mitigate the risk to the lender that a borrower could default on a loan. (PMI ranges from about 0.3% to 1.15% of your home loan.) The upshot: The lender has to cancel PMI when you reach 22% equity in your home, and you can request to have it canceled once you hit 20% equity.
  • Most conventional loans also have a maximum {{ start_tip 78 }}43% debt-to-income (DTI) ratio,{{ end_tip }} which compares how much money you owe (on student loans, credit cards, car loans, and other debts) to your income — expressed as a percentage.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac set limits on how much money you can borrow for a conventional loan. A home loan that conforms to these limits is called a conforming loan:

  • In most cities, the maximum amount for a conforming loan is $453,100.
  • In high-cost areas, such as New York City and San Francisco, the limit is $679,650.
  • Limits are revisited annually and are subject to change based on each area’s average home price.

A home loan that exceeds these limits is called a jumbo loan:

  • Jumbo loans typically require a higher down payment (up to 30% for some lenders) and a credit score of at least 720. Some borrowers can qualify while putting down 20%, but their credit score has to be higher.)
  • They also tend to have stricter debt-to-income requirements, generally allowing for a maximum DTI ratio of 38%.

There are practical considerations to take into account before getting a jumbo loan too, mainly: Are you comfortable carrying that much debt? The answer depends on your current financial situation and long-term financial goals.

Government loans:

  • Include loans secured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.
  • Are meant to stimulate the housing market and enable folks who may be unable to qualify for conventional loans to still become homeowners.

Who qualifies? That depends on which government loan you’re looking at.

If you’ve had trouble qualifying for a mortgage because of income limitations or credit: 

FHA loans are used by a broad swath of people, including those with lower credit scores and income.

  • You can get an FHA loan with a downpayment of 3.5% if you have a minimum credit score of 580. You can still qualify with a credit score below 580 — even with no credit score — but the {{ start_tip 94 }}down payment{{ end_tip }} and other requirements will be much higher.
  • FHA loans conform to loan limits set by county; these limits typically range from $294,515 to $679,650 in high-cost areas. You can view the FHA mortgage caps for your county at hud.gov.
  • If you get an FHA loan, you must pay an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) and an annual premium of 0.85%. Currently, the MIP is 1.75% of the loan amount — so, $1,750 for a $100,000 loan. This premium can be paid upfront at the mortgage closing, or it can be rolled into the monthly mortgage payment.

Also, a heads-up — the date an FHA loan was issued affects the MIP.

  • If you received an FHA loan on or before June 3, 2013: You’re eligible for canceling MIP after five years, but you must have 22% equity in your home and have made all payments on time.
  •  If you received an FHA loan after June 3, 2013: To stop paying MIP, you’d have to refinance into a conventional loan and have a current loan-to-value of at least 80%.

If you’re in the military, a veteran, or a veteran’s spouse:

  • VA loans offer active or retired military (or a veteran’s surviving spouse) a mortgage with a 0% down payment.
  • VA loans also can have more lenient credit requirements — typically around a minimum 620 credit score — and lower DTI requirements.
  • The VA only allows lenders to charge 1% maximum to cover the costs of originating and underwriting the loan, so you save money at closing. There is, however, an additional upfront, one-time funding fee of 2.15%.

VA loans also don’t charge borrowers mortgage insurance — potentially helping you save a significant chunk of cash on your monthly payment.

Given the benefits, a VA loan is often the best mortgage option for people who qualify.

If your income is limited and you live in a small or rural town:

USDA loans are mortgages for limited-income home buyers in towns with populations of 10,000 or less, or that are “rural in character,” meaning that some areas that now have bigger populations are grandfathered in. You can see whether your town is eligible on the USDA’s website.

  • USDA loans typically have lower interest rates than non-USDA loans.
  • Down payments can be as low as 0%.
  • USDA mortgages also have more lenient credit score requirements than conventional loans.
  • Income limits to qualify depend on location and household size.
  • USDA loans charge an upfront mortgage insurance fee of 1% of the loan amount and annual mortgage insurance premium of 0.35%.
  • And USDA loan borrowers must buy a “modest home” — a property with a market value deemed reasonable for the area, though the USDA does not set specific price limitations.

Only a select number of lenders offer USDA loans; here’s a list of USDA-approved lenders nationwide.

If your job is to help people:

Niche programs, like the Neighbor Next Door from HUD, allows teachers, law enforcement officers, first responders, and government workers — as much as 50% — on eligible homes in revitalization districts.

Note: Downpayment assistance programs offer qualified buyers such things as grants and interest-free loans. Start with your state’s housing finance agency to find options.

Explore More Topics:

Get Home Financing

Buy a Home: Step-by-Step

Now You Know the Basics. It’s Time to Call for Backup

Speaking of your lender: Ultimately, you’ll be working with your loan officer or broker to narrow down these choices, and to find a loan that works for you and your finances. (Just another reason why it’s important to choose a lender you’re comfortable with.)

Your real estate agent should be able to offer some insight, too. And because they don’t earn a paycheck from your loan selection, their advice about mortgages should be impartial.

You know your stuff. And you know whom to ask for help. Who’s overwhelmed? Not you.

Checklist – 6 items before closing on a home

Closing on a House Checklist: 6 Things Home Buyers Must Do Before They Move In

 | Jun 11, 2018

Welcome to your Closing on a House Checklist—a rundown of everything home buyers need to do in the 11th hour before they get their hands on those keys. Because when you’re approaching the finish line in your home-buying journey, you want nothing to go wrong, right?

That’s why we’ve put together a home closing checklist, which outlines your action points in those few days leading up to settlement. Keep this list handy to know you’ve done what you need to in order to close the deal.

1. Get all contingencies squared away

Most purchase agreements have contingencies—things that buyers must do before this transaction is official, explains Jimmy Branham, a real estate agent at the Keyes Company, in Fort Lauderdale, FL. These are the most common contingencies:

  • Home inspection contingency: This gives buyers the right to have the home professionally inspected. If something is wrong, you can request it be fixedor you can back out of the sale. Its rarely advisable to waive an inspection contingency. Although the average home inspection costs $300 to $500, its a drop in the bucket considering the costly home issues you might uncover, says Claude McGavic, executive director of the National Association of Home Inspectors.
  • Appraisal contingency: With this contingency, a third party hired by your mortgage lender evaluates the fair market value of the home. If the appraised value is less than the sale price, the contingency enables you to back out of the deal without forfeiting your earnest money deposit, says Bishoi Nageh, president of the Petra Cephas Team at Mortgage Network Solutions, in Somerset, NJ.
  • Financing contingency: This contingency gives you the right to back out of the deal if your mortgage approval falls through. You have a specified time period, as stated in the sales contract, during which you have to obtain a loan that will cover the mortgage.

2. Clear the title

When you buy a home, you “take title” to the property and establish legal ownership—a process that’s confirmed by local public land records. As part of the closing process, your mortgage lender will require a title search, and you’ll need to purchase title insurance to protect you from legal claims to the house.

Sometimes distant relatives—or an ex-spouse—may surface with a claim that they actually own the home, and that the seller had no right to sell it to you in the first place. But clearing title will ensure this doesn’t happen, says Marc Israel, president and chief counsel of MIT National Land Services, a title company in New York City.

As the home buyer, you’re entitled to choose the title company. You can get recommendations from your real estate agent, mortgage lender, and friends—just be sure to check out the license and reputation of each company online.

3. Get final mortgage approval

Before you can go to the closing table, your home loan must go through the underwriting process. Underwriters are like real estate detectives—it’s their job to make sure you have represented yourself and your finances truthfully, and that you haven’t made any false or misleading claims on your loan application.

The underwriter—employed by your mortgage lender—will check your credit score, review your home appraisal, and ensure your financial portfolio has remained the same since you were pre-approved for the loan.

Since underwriting typically happens shortly before closing, you don’t want to do anything while you’re in contract that’s going to hurt your credit score. That includes buying a car, boat, or any other large purchase that has to be financed.

4. Review your closing disclosure

If you’re getting a loan, one of the best ways to prepare is to thoroughly review your closing disclosure, also known as a HUD-1 settlement statement. This official document outlines your exact mortgage payments, the loan’s terms (e.g., the interest rate and duration), and additional fees you’ll pay, called closing costs (which total anywhere from 2% to 7% of your home’s price).

You’ll want to compare your closing disclosure to the loan estimate your lender gave you at the outset. If you spot any discrepancies, ask your lender to explain them.

5. Do a final walk-through

Most sales contracts allow buyers to do a walk-through of the homewithin 24 hours before closing. During this stage, you’re making sure the previous owner has vacated (unless you’ve allowed a rent-back arrangement in which they can stick around for a period of time before moving). You’re also double-checking that the home is in the condition agreed upon in the contract. If your home inspection revealed problems that the sellers had agreed to fix, you’ll want to make sure those repairs were made.

6. Bring the necessary documentation to closing

Make sure you have the following items when you head to the closing table:

  • Proof of homeowners insurance
  • A copy of your contract with the seller
  • Your home inspection reports
  • Any paperwork the bank required to approve your loan
  • A government-issued photo ID (Note to newlyweds who just changed their name: The ID needs to match the name that will appear on the propertys title and mortgage.)

Plan to sign a ton of paperwork. An attorney or settlement agent will guide you through the process. When you’re done, you’ll collect the keys and you’re finally home free!

Daniel Bortz is a Realtor in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. He has written for Money magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, CNNMoney, and more.

4th of July Fireworks in MD DE VA

4th of July

Maryland

 

  • Snow Hill: Saturday, July 1, 5:30- 9:15 p.m.; Food and activities at Sturgis Memorial Park on River Street. Fireworks begin at dusk, which will be at around 9:15 p.m. Neon glow sticks, necklaces and bracelets will be sold. For more information call 410-632-2080.

 

 

 

  • Crisfield: Saturday, July 1, 5-10 p.m.; Somers Cove Marina. A family event with food, arts and crafts, a military veteran slideshow, patriotic music, kids activities, games on the beach, and finally, a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. Admission is free, but it is recommended that you bring your own lawn chair. For more information call 410-968-2500.

 

 

 

  • St. Michaels: Saturday, July 1, 7-10 p.m.Fireworks and Big Band Night at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Admission: $10 for non-members and $6 for members and member guests. Admission falls to $2 after 8:45 p.m. Rain date: Sunday, July 2. For more information call 410-745-2916.

 

 

 

  • Centreville: Sunday, July 2, 9:15 p.m. at Queen Anne’s County High School bus loop

 

 

 

  • Berlin: Monday, July 3, 9:15-9:30 p.m.; Berlin Falls Park on Old Ocean City Boulevard. 

 

 

 

  • Oxford: Monday, July 3, Dusk; Tred Avon Yacht Club.

 

 

 

  • Rock Hall: Monday, July 3, 9 p.m. Rain date: Wednesday, July 5.

 

 

 

  • Cambridge: Tuesday, July 4, Dusk; Choptank River Waterfront. Best viewing spots include Great Marsh Park and Long Wharf Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Chestertown: Tuesday, July 4, Dusk; Chester River Waterfront. Wilmer Park is a good viewing spot for the event. In case of rain, fireworks are delayed until there is a break in the weather.  There is no rain date.

 

 

 

  • Easton: Tuesday, July 4, 4-10 p.m.; Easton Carnival & 4th of July Celebration. St. Michaels Road and Waterside Drive (behind Target). Fireworks show begins at dusk.

 

 

 

  • Hebron: Wednesday, July 5, 9:30 p.m..; Hebron Carnival Grounds.

 

 

 

  • Ocean City: Tuesday, July 4; Concert and Fireworks on the Beach. Concert at 8 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.; Downtown on the beach at North Division Street AND uptown at Northside Park on 125th Street. For more information, call 1-800-626-2326 or the Ocean City Department of Recreation & Parks at 410-250-0125.

 

 

 

  • Ocean Pines: Tuesday, July 4, 9 p.m.; Showell Park, 11281 Racetrack Road. Recommended viewing locations are Showell Elementary School, the Community Church at Ocean Pines, Most Blessed Sacrament School and The Pavilions.  Rain date: Wednesday, July 5. For more information call 410-641-7717.

 

 

 

  • Salisbury: Tuesday, July 4, 9:15 p.m.Red, White and BOOM Fireworks Show at Wicomico County Stadium across from the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

 

 

 

  • Salisbury: Tuesday, July 4. Fireworks at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium following the 6:05 p.m. Delmarva Shorebirds game.

 

 
 
 
 
Delaware

 

  • Millsboro: Saturday, July 1, 6-10 p.m.; Cupola Park. Fireworks at dusk.

 

 

 

  • Cape May-Lewes Ferry: Sunday, July 2Fireworks Cruise. Cruise departs Lewes at 7:15 p.m.. Fireworks will illuminate the skies over the Delaware Bay. Return to Lewes at 11 p.m. For more information go here. For reservations call 1-800-643-3779.

 

 

 

  • Rehoboth Beach: Sunday, July 2, 9:15 p.m. Fireworks will be launched from the beach and will be visible up and down the boardwalk and beach. Live entertainment before and after fireworks at the Bandstand. Depending on the weather, the fireworks may launch any time after 8 p.m.

 

 

 

  • Bethany Beach: Tuesday, July 4.  Fireworks at dusk and are best viewed from the beach or boardwalk.

 

 

 

  • Dewey Beach: Tuesday, July 4, 9 p.m. North beach Restaurant, McKinley Street on the Bay.

 

 

 

  • Dover: Tuesday, July 4, 9:20 p.m.; Legislative Hall. Tours, food and more from 9 a.m.- 10 p.m.. For a full list of activities, click here.

 

 

 

  • Laurel: Tuesday, July 4, 8 a.m.: Prayer breakfast at Abbott’s on Broad Creek; 5 p.m.: The Band Chain Break will perform in Market Square Park Bandstand; 6 p.m.: Little Miss Independence Pageant; 7 p.m.: Parade will begin. “Let Freedom Ring” is the theme this year; 8 p.m. until fireworks: Band Chain Break will continue to perform; 9:25 p.m.: fireworks will begin.

 

 

 

  • Middletown: Tuesday, July 4, 6-9 p.m. Fireworks display at dusk/dark at Silver Lake Park. No personal fireworks, dogs, open flames, allowed in the park. Rain date July 5.

 

 

 

  • Milton: Tuesday, July 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Family-friendly patriotic celebration in Milton Memorial Park. A highlight of the festivities is the bike decorating contest and bike parade at 11 a.m. Grand prizes of two brand new bikes will be awarded to the winners – one each to the best boy and girl entries.   All decorated bike contestants must register by 10:45 a.m. at Irish Eyes Restaurant and Pub in Milton on the back patio. Other festivities include a dunk tank, a cake walk and free games and activities for children. Children will enjoy train rides, relay and sack races and a variety of competitions including the “Chess Tent” where children can develop their chess skills and play matches. The “Milton’s Best” Pie Baking Contest has three competitive categories – professional, amateur, and children 12 and under.  Bring your favorite Red, White or Blue themed pie to the Hospitality Tent between 9 and 10 a.m. All pies must be homemade, have a red, white or blue filling and not require refrigeration.  Prizes and certificates will be awarded to the winners. Musical entertainment at the gazebo will feature Milton’s own Walt Hetfield known for his Buddy Holly Tribute. His group will perform patriotic songs and Americana 1950’s rock and roll. DJ Jerry B, from Affordable Wedding Entertainment, will also keep the music flowing. Bring a picnic lunch or purchase food from on-site vendors.

 

 

 

  • Newark: Tuesday, July 4, 6-10 p.m. Live musical entertainment begins at 6 p.m. Fine arts and crafts booths are available to browse and games abound for the kids. Fireworks begin at dusk at University of Delaware’s David M. Nelson Athletic Complex on South College Avenue at Del. 896 (near Delaware Stadium). Rain date July 5, fireworks only.

 

 

 

  • Smyrna:  Tuesday, July 4.  Parade and fireworks. Parade will start at 9:30 a.m., on South Street and end at Smyrna Municipal Park. Park anywhere between there. Fireworks will be held at dusk at the Little League fields, with parking available at Smyrna High and Smyrna Middle schools.

 

 
 
Virginia
 

 

  • Cape Charles: Tuesday, July 4, Festivities begin at 8 a.m. and will take place along Bay Avenue with a parade at 10 a.m. Fireworks after dark at the harbor/beach. Rate date July 5, fireworks only.

 

 

 

  • Chincoteague Island: Saturday, July 1; Chincoteague Carnival Grounds. Fireworks to begin at 10 p.m..Carnival open from 7-11 p.m. Click here for more information.

 

 

Home Renovatons – Do’s and Don’ts

Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Property Value

Posted on Feb 23 2017 by Housecall

By Brooke Nally

If you’re into renovation projects, then updating and revamping your home can be a lot of fun. But before you get too excited about knocking down walls and setting up a custom movie room, you might want to consider resale value. Flashy renovations don’t always yield the best returns, so you’ll need to take care when picking projects.

To make things easier for you, here are four remodels to avoid and four to invest in.

Remodels to Avoid

Luxury Rooms
An indoor basketball court, wine cellar, sauna, or even a movie theater won’t often recoup the high building costs. Luxury add-on rooms are hard to pitch to buyers unless you’re living in an upscale housing market—the average homebuyer won’t be willing to pay for them. Further, rooms that depend heavily on wired electronics, like home theaters, are hard to keep current because TVs and speakers are constantly advancing.

Swimming Pool
The average cost to build a pool is $39,084, a hefty price tag that is seldom recovered once the home is sold. It’s widely accepted throughout the industry that a homeowner will lose money by adding a swimming pool. Homebuyers don’t want to deal with the maintenance cost of a pool (which can cost as much as $2,000 a year), the added insurance premiums, and—if they have young kids—the safety issues.

Gaudy Accents
Though gold-plated crown molding or mosaic-tile backsplashes may feature prominently in your ideal vision for your home, they often turn out to be the average homebuyer’s worst nightmare. Passing fads or niche trends rarely stick around long, so if you miss the brief window when your remodeling choices are in, you’ll end up paying for it later.

Changes Contrary to Area Standards
If you aren’t watching the trends common to your area, you could end up losing a lot of money. A home that totals $600,000 after all the renovations won’t sell in a neighborhood where homes are netting half that price. Likewise, knocking down the walls of extra bedrooms for an open layout won’t be appealing in a family-oriented neighborhood.

Remodels that Pay

Steel Doors
You don’t want to go cheap on a standard front door. At roughly $1,000, steel doors are comparatively affordable, durable, low maintenance and burglar resistant. As an added bonus, the National Association of Realtors® reports that steel door upgrades show the highest return on investment of any home remodel, at over 100 percent of the cost.

Solar Panels
As the price of solar panels continues to drop, the energy payback on installing them is becoming greater and greater. The average rooftop solar system is now paid off in seven and a half years. After that, panels are a big money-saving asset. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory notes that homebuyers “consistently have been willing to pay more for a property” with solar panels—a premium of around $4 per installed watt, on average.

Related: Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Solar Panels?

New Siding
The exterior of your house is the first thing potential homebuyers see when they come to your home, and you want to make the best first impression. This is part of the reason redoing your siding is so profitable. New siding recoups around 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors®, thanks largely to the increased curb appeal and improved energy efficiency it provides.

Broadband Access
Access to broadband speeds is considered an essential utility for today’s connected homebuyer. Research shows that faster internet speeds increase your home value by as much as 3 percent. Homeowners can prepare their homes for higher broadband connectivity by working with area providers to install requisite equipment and wiring. Building out wall ports and cable-hiding baseboards is a good move to attract buyers, too.

Even if you’re not considering selling your home just yet, keep potential selling benefits in mind. Intrepid homeowners know that the best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.

 

USING OCEAN CITY’S PAY-BY-PLATE PARKING METERS

http://www.oceancity.com/videos/?id=vxWVw2wK3fc

Resort’s New Parking System

Resort’s New Parking System Starts Sunday

OCEAN CITY — The holiday weekend will bring a first look at the sweeping changes in the resort’s parking system as the paid parking season gets underway on Sunday.

Earlier this year, the Mayor and Council approved a new state-of-the-art parking payment and enforcement system for the streets and municipal lots in the downtown area to the tune of nearly $600,000. The new system utilizes state-of-the-art license plate reader technology and will result in a switch from the current “pay and display” system to a “pay by plate” system.

The new solar-powered paid parking kiosks have been sprouting up along streets in the downtown area and at the various municipal lots throughout the resort in recent weeks, and the new system is ready to go operational on Sunday, April 1. At the Inlet lot, the new pay-by-plate system is in place, but enforcement will be manual for the first couple of weeks.

“With our paid parking season beginning on April 1, we are excited to offer a new parking system that will add convenience for our visitors as well as a system that should help us better manage parking occupancy,” said Ocean City Communications Director Jessica Waters. “Our goal is to ensure compliance with the parking regulations while providing our residents and visitors with an enjoyable time in Ocean City.”

Visitors and residents will still park wherever they find open spaces on the streets and municipal lots in the downtown area and visit a nearby kiosk to make payment arrangements for their desired time periods. However, instead of printing a receipt to be displayed on the dashboard of their vehicle, they will enter their license plate information. Enforcement officials will then be able to scan the vehicle’s license plate to see about payment.

The fine for an expired parking meter on the streets or in the municipal lots other than the Inlet lot was $15 if it is paid within 48 hours and $25 if paid after 48 hours. The $15 early fine and the $25 fine after 48 hours has been eliminated in favor of a flat $50 fine. However, a customer can arrive back at his or her vehicle, discover the meter has expired and a ticket has been issued. The customer can than pay for overage at a kiosk or by phone, thereby voiding the parking ticket.

Initially, the grace period for simply paying for the parking overage and voiding the ticket was set at four hours. However, the council voted to reduce the grace period to just one hour. The thinking is someone who went to the beach or out to dinner and overran his or her parking meter payment by an hour could benefit from the grace period and the good will that comes from avoiding a parking ticket.

Perhaps the biggest changes with the new system will come at the Inlet parking lot, where the traditional gated system is being replaced with a combination of license plate readers (LPRs) at the entrance and exit to the lot and the new kiosks where residents and visitors can pay for parking.

The council this winter raised the hourly fee at the Inlet lot to a flat $3 from April 1 to Oct. 31. Currently, rate is $2 per hour in the shoulder seasons and $3 per hour in the peak seasons from Memorial Day to Labor Day. With the new LPR system, the hourly rate at the Inlet lot will be $3 across the board.

Another change is how customers will pay for parking at the Inlet lot. With the fully-automated LPR system, if customers don’t pay to park using the kiosks or the app on their mobile phones, the LPRs will read their tags when they enter and when they exit.

Those customers will then be sent through the mail a bill for the number of hours in the lot times the new rate of $3 per hour plus a $25 administrative fee. If the customer does not pay the bill within a prescribed amount of time, it then becomes a parking ticket.

cyber fraud via our mobile devices

How to Prevent Fraud on Your Smartphone

While millennials may be viewed as the most smartphone-savvy generation out there, that may not always be the case when it comes to cyber security.

With mobile devices capable of holding an abundance of personal data, millennials are particularly vulnerable to fraud if they do not use simple, but critical measures to protect their devices. In fact, according to a recent TD Bank survey of millennials, 23 percent are not using the screen-lock password feature on their device, 67 percent will use the same password, or a slightly different version of a password, and one in five will keep a list of passwords stored on their device.

To help millennials—and all of us—from falling victim to cyber fraud via our mobile devices, TD suggests taking the following steps:

Use better password protection. Think of your password as a guard that stands between your personal information and potential online risks. Use different user ID/password combinations for different accounts and avoid writing them down. Make the passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers, special characters (minimum 10 characters in total) and change them on a regular basis. When you create passwords with combinations of letters and numbers that are unique for every one of your online accounts, you’ll make it more difficult to unlock your identity—helping to keep your information safe and secure.

Mobile musts: Your mobile device is vulnerable to fraudsters if left unlocked, so be sure to set a screen-lock password, which will protect your personal information if your phone is ever lost or stolen. Enable auto-lock so your device locks after a short period of time when not in use. If you lose your device and it is unprotected, notify your financial institution immediately and change your banking passwords.

Avoid using WiFi in public places: Accessing WiFi in busy public places, such as malls and airports, makes you more vulnerable to cyber fraud. Use your data to go online if you must in such locations—or wait until you’re in a more secure WiFi area.

Set up fraud alerts: If your device was lost, but then recovered or replaced, be aware that your banking information may have been compromised. Cover all the bases by having your bank notify you of potential fraud. Such alerts will let you know of any suspicious activity on your accounts and allow you to block access to your bank card. Do the same with any credit cards you have associated with your mobile device.

Check your statements and online accounts: If you lose your device and it is unprotected, be sure to notify your financial institution and review your banking information online. This will alert you to any fraudulent transactions more quickly and ensure your financial institution can take action to protect your accounts.

Taking the above precautions will make you a lot smarter—and safer—when using your smartphone.

If you’d like more homeowner information, please contact me.

Copyright© 2018 RISMedia,

Buying New Construction Home Tips

5 Tips for Buying a New-Construction Home

Thanks to the shortage of available inventory in most markets, you can expect to start seeing more and more new construction. Buying a new-construction home is different than buying an existing home, however, so be ready to attack the process with a different mindset and specific strategies. Here are five important tips to keep in mind from U.S. News and World Report:

1. Choose an agent who works with builders. Start by selecting a real estate agent who has expertise working with builders and new-construction properties. He or she will be able to steer you toward a reputable firm whose designs suit what you’re looking for, in the location you desire.

2. Research the builder. Be sure to do your own research on the builder to determine the quality of their product and their overall credibility. Check online reviews, the state licensing board, local court records and even Google to find out if the builder has any pending lawsuits, complaints or disciplinary actions. Take it a step further and talk directly to past clients. A reputable builder will be happy to offer referrals.

3. Spend your money on size and location. When building from scratch, it’s tempting to spend your money on upgrades such as high-end countertops and bathroom fixtures, but that can quickly put you over budget. Instead, focus on choosing the right location and getting the square footage you need. Upgrades can always be made down the line.

4. Learn how to read a floorplan. Floorplans are foreign territory for many of us, so talk to your builder and real estate agent about how to accurately interpret them. Many builders offer virtual reality technology that turns the floorplan into a realistic 3D experience. Better still, visit a home that was designed with your floorplan so that you can get a firsthand feel of what you’re buying.

5. Get a warranty and an inspection. Most builders offer warranties, so be sure to ask if yours does and, if so, what exactly it covers. Certain companies, for example, offer a one-year warranty on workmanship, a two-year warranty on mechanical and electrical elements, five years on water leaks and 10 years on structure. Also, be sure to get an independent inspection before you move in. A home inspector will help identify any problems before the builder’s warranty expires.

The above guidelines will help make your new-construction buying experience a happy and successful one.

If you need more real estate information, feel free to contact me.

Copyright© 2018 RISMedia,

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