Category : holiday

7 Ways to Save Energy During Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s that time of year, which means it’s time to fire up the oven, turn on the burners, and get to cooking that Thanksgiving dinner. It also means that you’ll be using a lot of energy to cook your meal. Follow these easy tips from our HVAC service experts to reduce your energy consumption while you make your delicious family dinner:

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28 Safety Tips for Your Labor Day

It’s time to get ready for the last vacation of the summer – that’s right, Labor Day is this weekend and whether you’re hosting a Labor Day party for family or friends or hitting the road for a road trip, there are several things you can do to stay safe:

Grilling Tips

  • Keep children and pets away from any type of open flame.
  • Position the grill so that it’s in a well-ventilated area and away from trees, bushes, the house, and anything else that can catch fire.
  • Always use long-handed utensils and wear protective, fire-resistant gear when grilling.
  • Follow the instructions in the grill’s owner’s manual.
  • Have a fire extinguisher ready to extinguish flames if they get out of control.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Electrical Tips

  • Don’t use electricity around water, including the pool, sprinklers, hot tub, etc.
  • Inspect your extension cords for frays or other damage before using them.
  • If you’re hosting a party, make sure your guests stay away from power lines or electrical transformers near your home.
  • Keep your power tools safely locked away in your garage or shed.

UV Tips

  • Always wear sunscreen with at least 30 SPF to protect your skin.
  • If you’re sensitive to sunburns, wear a hat and try your best to stay in the shade.
  • Stay hydrated – the sun can dehydrate you quickly.
  • Remember that UV rays bounce off of sand, concrete, and water.
  • If you do get burned, apply aloe to the burn on a regular basis.
  • Keep in mind the strongest UV index is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Swimming Tips

  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Check the weather before you decide to go in the pool, lake, or ocean.
  • Make sure children in or near the water are under supervision at all times and are nearby.
  • If you have a pool at your home, make sure it’s secured with barriers.
  • Never leave children unattended.
  • If it looks like rain, get out of the water as quickly as possible to avoid lightning strikes.

Road Trip Tips

  • Always have a first-aid kit and back-up food and water supplies in your trunk.
  • Before you leave, check your tire pressure and your fluids.
  • Never drive when you’re tired or if you’ve been drinking.
  • Make sure someone back home knows your destination, route, and itinerary.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Don’t text and drive. If you need to navigate, have a passenger do it for you.

10 DIY 4th of July Decorations

Independence Day isn’t far away and at Oliver, we’ve scoured the internet for some fun and easy DIY crafts that you can do at the last minute. Here are some great decor ideas, whether you’re throwing a party or just like to celebrate the holiday:

Flag Mason Jars

An easy way to dress up any party table is to paint some mason jars and use them for forks, knives, and other supplies. This project only requires a few simple necessities and about 30 minutes!

Get the tutorial HERE.

Bandanna Wreath

Hang something on your door that greets guests with a holiday spirit. This bandanna wreath is fast and easy (as long as you can fold triangles)!

Get the tutorial HERE.

Soup Can Luminaries

Have some empty soup cans or vegetable cans lying around? All you need is a hammer, nails, and some paint and you can make your very own garden luminaries.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Paint Chip Banner

Make a statement using a banner made from paint chips! Head to your local paint store and find some large red, white, and blue paint chips. Then trace your letters and cut them out to say whatever you’d like.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Star Topiaries

Add a splash of patriotism to any room with these styrofoam-and-paper-star topiaries. These take a little bit of time, but the results are pretty fun.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Ruched Pillow Cases

If you love to sew, you’ll love these ruched 4th of July pillow cases. Once you’re done putting them together, you can use them to add a bit of festive pop to your couch, chairs, or porch/deck furniture.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Homemade Confetti Poppers

If your neighborhood doesn’t allow fireworks, make the next best thing – confetti poppers. All you need is a few toilet paper rolls, some confetti, and balloons and you have your very own “firecracker.”

Get the tutorial HERE.

Wooden Star Coasters

If you really want to kick up the festive decor, make these cute wooden star coasters with just some paint and a stencil!

Get the tutorial HERE.

Burlap Table Runner

Table runners are a great way to spruce up your dining room or kitchen table – especially if you’re using it to serve food. Grab some paints and as much burlap as you need and craft your own.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Paper Flowers

Love origami? Then this craft is for you. These flowers can be made from scrapbook paper of any pattern and are easily assembled with stem wire and paper brads.

Get the tutorial HERE.

*Photos courtesy of:
www.ahs.com
www.virginiasweetpea.com
daysofadomesticdad.com
rebekahgough.blogspot.com
www.simplydesigning.net
www.piikeastreet.com
decoart.com
www.serendipitydefined.com
livelaughrowe.com
i-candy.handmade.com


Stay Safe This Memorial Day

Some Tips from Our HVAC Company

Memorial Day is this weekend and if you’re throwing a party for friends and family members, it’s important to stay safe. Here are some tips from our HVAC company:

Grills

Allow for Space

When grilling, make sure your grill is at least two feet away from your deck, siding, and any outdoor equipment that can catch fire easily (such as a swing set, toys, shed, etc.). Also make sure there are no low-hanging branches around the area.

Clean Before You Use

There tends to be a lot of grilling at Memorial Day parties and one thing to remember is to clean your grill thoroughly before you use it. Dirty grills (especially those that use propane) can be dangerous and cause unwanted flare-ups.

Electrical

Inspect Your Lights

If you plan on setting up some outdoor lamps or strings of lights, inspect them to make sure there is no damage. Also inspect their cords and any extension cords you’ll be using for damage. If you find cracks, splices, fraying, or other signs of trouble, replace the light source or cord.

Avoid Water Around Electricity

Set sprinklers up away from any electrical source and if you have a pool or hot tub, remind swimmers to never touch an electrical appliance while they’re in the water. Also, make sure your outdoor outlets are weatherproofed and protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to prevent electrical shock.

UV Rays

Even though it’s not quite summer yet, UV rays are pretty strong and can still cause sun damage. Make sure you protect your skin and your family’s skin by applying a high-SPF sunscreen, wearing a hat, and wearing breathable clothing.

Traveling

Vehicle Prep

According to AAA, Memorial Day travel will be at a high this year. If you’re headed to a friend or family member’s house for Memorial Day, it’s important to stay safe on the road. Check your tire pressure, oil, headlights, and taillights before you leave and make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid.

Drinking and Driving

Holidays often call for beer and cocktails; if you’re going to partake, make sure you designate a friend or family member to give you a ride home or sober up before you get behind the wheel. Remember – the law in Pennsylvania states your BAC (blood alcohol content) can’t be above .08.


The Best St. Patrick’s Day Events in Philly

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and between now and then, there are plenty of fun and festive things to do. In this blog, our heating and cooling experts share the top St. Patrick’s Day events going on in Philadelphia this year:

Parade

Sunday, March 12th, 12:00 p.m.

Philly’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade has been going on since 1771 and draws thousands of people. This year, the parade will march down Broad Street to City Hall and from City Hall to Penn’s Landing via Market Street. Visitors will enjoy a wide array of music, dancing, youth groups, Irish associations, and more. The parade will be held March 12th, rain or shine and an encore will be held Friday, March 17th at 12:00 p.m.

Bar Crawls

Old City

Friday, March 17th, 12:00 p.m.

Crawl through more than 10 bars in Old City including Infusion Lounge, Sto’s Bar, The Gaslight, and more. Tickets are $8-$40 and include free cover charges, free t-shirt (for the first 200 through the door), and green accessories (beads, hats, glasses, etc.)

Shamrock Stroll

Saturday, March 11th, 12:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 12th, 12:00 p.m.
Friday, March 17th, 3:00 p.m.

Each year, pubcrawls.com puts together a St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl through multiple Philadelphia bars. Tickets are $10 and one ticket grants you access to the bars for all three days. You’ll enjoy free cover charges and a variety of drink specials.

Erin Express

Saturday, March 11th, 9 a.m.

This legendary pub crawl (it’s been going on more than 30 years!) is free to all and features a festive school bus that carts celebrators to bars like Smokey Joe’s, Slainte Pub, The Green Room, Liberty Bar, and more. You’ll be able to hop off, grab a drink, and hop back on.

Card Making

Sunday, March 12th, 4:00 p.m.

Looking for something different to do? Head down to Rittenhouse Town and learn the fundamentals of paper making while creating holiday cards for St. Patrick’s Day. Tickets are $12-$20 and include beer and snacks.

The Leprechaun Run

Saturday, March 11th, 7:30 a.m.

The 31st annual Leprechaun Run supports the Special Olympics Philadelphia Athletes (SOPA). Participants can do a 7-mile race, a 5-mile run, a 2-mile walk and all of the proceeds go to SOPA (their goal is to raise $40,000). The event starts and ends at Martin Luther King Drive by Paine’s Park. To register, click here.


The Do’s and Don’ts of Christmas Lights

christmas-lights

One of the best parts of Christmas (in our opinion, at least) is the glow of Christmas lights on front porches, roofs, trees, and more. If you plan on hanging Christmas lights on or around your home this year, just remember these safety tips from our heating and cooling company:

Extension Cords

Do: Inspect your extension cords to make sure there is no damage.

Do: Use extension cords that are approved for outdoor use (if hanging your lights outside).

Don’t: Use extension cords that show signs of extreme wear such as frayed wires, split casing, or loose prongs.

Don’t: Use extension cords that are too short for your project. Buy one that’s the appropriate length.

Outlets

Do: Plug your Christmas lights into outlets that are grounded (ones that have three holes instead of just two).

Do: Use outlets that have GFCI receptacles. These are the outlets that have black and red “Reset” and “Test” buttons on them.

Don’t: Overload your breakers. Instead, use surge protectors if plugging in several strands of lights.

Do: Call Oliver if you experience any electrical issue that you can’t resolve yourself.

Bulbs

Do: Opt for LED light bulbs. They’re a little more expensive, but they use less energy and can save you more than 75% on your holiday energy bill.

Do: Make sure that if you’re hanging your lights outside that they’re labeled safe for outdoor use.

Don’t: Hang your lights without first checking that they’re working correctly and that they’re free from damage. Inspect them and plug them in first to make sure they’re good to go.

Tools

Do: Consider using electrical tape or insulated clips to hang your outdoor lights instead of nails and a hammer (which can damage your home).

Don’t: Hang outdoor lights in high places without supervision.

Do: Measure how many feet you want to cover with lights, then buy an extra strand of bulbs – it’s better to have too many than not enough.


Start Your Christmas Decorating Early with These 8 Ideas

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas will be here before we know it! Get into the holiday spirit early by decking your halls with garland, candles, lights, bows, and more. Here are some decorating ideas from our heating and cooling company:

Break Out the Garland

xmas-mantel

The great thing about Evergreen garland is you can you use it nearly anywhere in your home to add some holiday cheer. Wrap it around your staircase banister, around your hanging light fixtures, across your fireplace mantel, above your mirrors, and more. You can even add lights, bows, or small ornaments to it for more flair.

Go Plaid

plaid

For a rustic, homey touch, choose plaid as a decoration theme this year. Wrap your presents in various plaid-colored wrapping paper, choose plaid ribbon to accent your Christmas tree, create plaid pillow covers for your couch and chair pillows, and even create your own plaid votive candle holders. You’ll give your entire home a cozy feeling.

Up the Front Door Appeal

porch

Why not impress your family, friends, and passing neighbors by giving your front door a holiday makeover? String garland around your front door, columns, and/or banisters, hang ornaments from the ceiling, add a colorful wreath, or get creative with oversized Christmas bows. You can even keep it simple by displaying festive poinsettias on either side of your door or on your porch stairs.

Create a Stunning Centerpiece

centerpiece

Why not make your table centerpiece the focal point of your decor this year? Start with large glass cylinders of different sizes and fill them with festive ornaments, pinecones, berries, and even red roses. Then, group them together on your table and lay pieces of garland around and in-between them. Finish the centerpiece off with some gold or silver votive candles.

Add Some Faux Gifts

gifts

Nothing says Christmas like some neatly wrapped gifts, so why not create a few of your own to use as decoration? Take a few old boxes of various sizes and wrap them neatly with wrapping paper colors that complement each other. Finish them off with some pretty ribbon or a bow and stack them neatly on your end table, coffee table, or mantel.

Include Your Mailbox

mailbox

If you have a mailbox at the end of your driveway, why not turn it into a decorative piece for all to see? Tie a big red bow to the base or wrap garland around it. Or, you can cover the actual box with wrapping paper and turn it into a present. If you have a mailbox built into a brick or stone column, try adding some decoration to the top of the column.

Ribbonize Your Tree

tree

Everyone puts ornaments on their tree, but not many drape ribbons down it. For a unique look, grab a large embroidery hoop and tie just one end of long ribbon pieces to it (you can use scraps you have or search the remnants section of your local fabric store). Then, slip the hoop over the tree so that you have cascades of ribbon falling down it.

Put Some Glow in Your Windows

windows

Small touches can really make your home a cozy one for the holidays. If going all out with the decorations isn’t your thing, keep it simple by placing an electric candle in each of your windows. Then, put them all on a timer so that they turn on as soon as the sun goes down for a warm glow.

*Photos courtesy of:
lisahiggason.com
majhofftakesawife.com
homebnc.com
hometalk.com
hgtv.com
natyoreiro.com
timewiththea.com
a57.foxnews.com


How to Avoid Holiday Clogs

plumbing-clogs

With Halloween behind us, the winter holidays are fast approaching and that means get-togethers with friends and family. If you’re planning on hosting a holiday party, follow these easy tips from our plumbing experts to avoid clogging up your pipes:

Grease Congeals

Holiday parties call for lots of food and if you’re going to be cooking with grease, remember that fatty liquids like these congeal. That means if you pour them down your drain, they could easily solidify and clog up your pipes. Instead, pour your leftover grease into a can and save it for future cooking.

Only Flush Normal Things

While you may know that waste and toilet paper are the only things that should be flushed down your toilets, your guests may not. If you plan on entertaining, leave a note in each bathroom reminding guests to throw things like baby wipes or hygienic products in the trash instead of flushing them.

Your Disposal Isn’t Invincible

Garbage disposals seem to get rid of food like magic, but that doesn’t mean you should depend on it to eliminate large scraps. To prevent your disposal from clogging or jamming, stick to feeding it small pieces of food. Also, remember to run the water while you turn it on to help the scraps flow down the drain.

Keep Your Pipes Warm

If you plan on taking a long trip to visit friends or family over the holidays, make sure you prevent your pipes from freezing. Keep your thermostat low, but warm and open your cabinet doors to improve heat circulation throughout your home. If you’re still worried about your pipes freezing, you can also turn on your faucet to a very slow drip in order to eliminate pressure buildup.

If you do experience a plumbing problem, don’t hesitate to call our plumbing experts. We’ll have your clog or back-up fixed in no time so you can continue to enjoy the holidays.