PECO Smart A/C Saver Program Revised

Wallingford PA Real Estate - wallingford PA - PECO Revises Smart A/C Saver Progrtam For Summer 2013

PECO Digital Cycling Unit (DCU)

As the humidity and temperatures have risen over the past few days, PECO has announced changes to their Smart A/C Saver program starting June 1, 2013.

80,000 customers enrolled in the program have been notified that the annual incentive for participation in the program will be cut from $120 to $80. Under the program participants will now be credited $20 per month on their utility bills during this upcoming summer months of June through September. Last year the monthly incentive stood at $30 per month.

The Smart A/C Saver program utilizes radio controlled switches, know as Digital Cycling Units (DCU), installed in conjunction with customer’s central air conditioning units, that allow the utility to cycle the air conditioning compressors off for 15 minute intervals during what the utility calls “conservation events”. The program curtails supply demand on the power grid during peak demand periods. There were 51 hours of such events during last year’s summer season, and PECO has announced that fewer such events are planned for this summer.


Wallingford PA Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086

Exterior Improvements Are Top Value Projects


According to Remodeling magazine’s 2013 “Cost vs.

Value Report,” Realtors consider exterior home

improvement projects among the most valuable. In fact, a

majority of the Top 10 projects in terms of value recouped

at resale are exterior replacement projects. This makes

sense given the importance of curb appeal in attracting

home buyers.

Based on interviews with real estate professionals

throughout the country, the Remodeling report found that the

top project is steel entry door replacement, which typically recoups

85.6 percent of costs. Making this project an even better

investment is that it is also the least expensive to complete. In addition, three

different siding replacement projects and two other door replacements were

among the Top 10.

When it came to improvements to a home’s interior, there were two projects

ranked in the Top 10. Ranked fifth, a minor kitchen remodel is expected to return

75.4 percent of costs, while adding an attic bedroom and bathroom came in tied

for eighth with 72.9 percent of costs recouped.

The right remodeling project, when done well, also has the potential to make for

a quicker sale and reduce negotiations with buyers over perceived shortcomings.

Check Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs Value” breakdown,

where you can download data for all regions of the country.


Wallingfoprd PA Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086

PECO Ending Electric Discounts – Shop For An Alternative

PECO Electric Discounts Ending - Wallingford PA Real Estate

PECO - Check Out Competitive Suppliers

PECO announced recently that effective January 1, 2013 electric rate discounts for approximately 171,000 residential heating customers – classified as RH on their monthly bill – will cease. The off peak metering electrical system using a separate meter for electrical hot water heaters is also coming to an end.

Just as you shop for other services, you can research your choices of electrical suppliers. Start by visting, choosing the Shop For Electricity, and enter your zip code. From your utility bill enter the amount of your monthly or annual electrical usage, and a calculation of competitive rate comparisons will be displayed for you.

Check it out to see if you can save!

Wallingford PA Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086

Is A Stucco Home A Cause For Concern?

Wallingford PA - Home Undergoing Stucco Replacment - Wallingford PA
Stucco Replacement – A Costly Undertaking

Stucco has been in existence for more than a thousand plus years. A modern stucco mixture consisting of sand, Portland cement, water, and lime creates an exterior building surface which is durable and requires little maintenance. In-and-of-itself stucco is an excellent choice as an exterior building surface.

So why do we have such an widespread issue with a building material that is so tried and true? The one word most associated with the majority of stucco issues in modern construction is installation, or more properly two words – improper installation.
Stucco itself is not a problem, the methods and shortcuts used to install it have become a big problem.
A traditional hard coat stucco is typically applied in three coats, the scratch coat, brown coat, and a final top coat. The stucco is applied onto a wire lath which in turn covers a weather/moisture barrier, such as felt paper that is installed on the exterior sheathing of the home. Sounds simple enough – so what is the problem?
There have been numerous studies as to why homes built in the past 20 years with stucco exteriors are experiencing such a high degree of moisture related problems, and the majority of issues stem from one or more of the following issues:
Improper flashing of windows, doors, and roof lines.
Flashing refers to an impervious material which is installed to prevent the passage of water into a building from an angle or joint in the structure. Improper or lack of flashing and sealing can result in water leaking down behind the underlayment material and into the sheathing surface. Rather than repel water, incorrect flashing can actually channel the water into the wall cavity.  A notable missing component known as “kickout flashing” is often observed in homes with stucco related moisture issues. A kickout flashing is an angled piece of metal installed at a roof/sidewall intersection to divert water away from the wall surface.
The absence of caulking around windows and roof/wall intersections.
Whenever stucco meets a dissimilar surface such as a window frame, care must be taken to allow for the difference in the expansion and contraction properties of each surface. If not sealed with the proper material this joint creates a gap through which water will penetrate. It has been observed that in homes with major moisture damage, exterior walls with no windows or openings in the wall surface, generally sustain little or no damage, when compared to their counterpart walls with windows and doors.
– Changes in the properties of building papers and water resistant barriers (WRB).
Some modern building papers and WRB’s can bond to the stucco and prevent the proper drainage of moisture between the WRB and the stucco. Over time this lack of drainage and drying of the moisture can lead to the rotting of the plywood or oriented stand board (OSB) sheathing behind it. There are also issues with some newer WRB materials and their properties of moisture permeability. 
Moisture damage caused by an improper stucco installation to a home can go undetected for a long period of time. A telltale signs of a moisture issue can be found around windows where dark streaking is present at the corners of the window, which can indicate the deterioration of wood surrounding and behind the window, but in many cases there are no visible signs of moisture damage.
The use of infrared cameras to detect the presence of moisture in interior walls is an option, but can produce unreliable results. The definitive method to determine if there is moisture intrusion to the building is to perform what is know as an invasive moisture test.
An invasive moisture test involves the drilling of 1/4″ holes through the stucco surface at suspect locations. A moisture probe is then inserted into the hole through the wall to the exterior wall sheathing. Readings are interpreted to determine if there has been any damage to the wall surface. The holes are sealed after the readings are taken. This method of testing is not inexpensive, but well worth it when considering the extreme cost of full home stucco replacement.
If you are considering buying a stucco home, especially one that has been constructed in the past 20 years or so, make sure you do your due diligence. Not all homes with stucco exteriors have issues, but be prudent and start with a qualified home inspector who can counsel you on the next steps to take if further stucco evaluation and testing is applicable.
Wallingford Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086

Your Front Door Conveys A Message

Wallingford PA Real Estate - What Does The Color Of Your Front Door Convey
The Color Black Projects Authority, Power, And Strength

The front door of a home can be an attention getting feature of a home’s exterior, beckoning potential buyers inside, or it can serve as a turn off.

A door is the focal point of a home, and a well maintained door can serve to welcome potential buyers inside. As buyers pause at the door while the lock box is being opened, they are forming an opinion of your home, and asking some questions.

Is the door well maintained? What is the condition of the paint? Is the hardware updated and clean? Does the doorbell work?

These first impressions serve as input to the buyers quick decision making process. According to some, a subliminal decision to buy or not to buy a home is made within the first eight seconds upon their arrival. You need to ensure that the precious time a potential buyer spends on your front stoop is a positive experience.

Color psychologists, yes there is such a job, suggest that the color of the front door can make a powerful statement about the home and/or the owner. Here’s what they say some different front door colors can mean, according to the Paint Quality Institute:


■ Blue: Conveys a place of refuge or retreat


■ Green: Projects health, tranquility, and harmony


■ Black: Projects authority, strength, and power


■ Red: Conveys passion, energy, and excitement


■ Brown: A natural look that can convey warmth, stability, and reliability


Make sure your entry door makes a positive first impression, because you only get one chance.


Wallingford PA Real Estate – Wallingford PA 19086

Readying Your Fireplace For Winter

Wallingord PA Real Estate - Wallingford PA - Fireplace Maintanance

Is Your Fireplace Ready For Winter?

As cold weather descends, thoughts of cozy evenings in front of a fire fill people’s heads. While a fire provides warmth and comfort, before using your wood-burning or gas fireplace for the first time this season, it’s important to make sure that it is clean and working properly.

The steps below can be done by a homeowner or by a local fireplace installer or chimney sweep. The important thing is to make sure you are safe and your home protected:


It is essential to make sure the chimney is clean before starting your wood-burning fireplace, stove or insert. Creosote, or unburned fuel, can accumulate in the chimney and cause a fire.

Inspect your chimney from the outside to make sure a chimney cap is present and in good repair and that there’s no bird’s nest or buildup of debris on the cap. You should also look for tree limbs above or near the chimney, and crumbling or missing mortar and bricks.

Inside your home, use a flashlight to inspect the flue damper to make sure it opens, closes and seals properly. You should also look for cracked bricks or missing mortar on the fireplace’s surround, hearth and firebox, as well as signs of moisture inside the firebox, which could indicate a faulty cap.

While gas fireplaces are low-maintenance, you should still take time to inspect the glass doors for cracks or latch issues, check that gas logs are in the proper position, test the igniter and look for clogged burner holes.


Wallingford Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086

2013 Delaware County Budget Calls For 2.8 Percent Tax Hike

The preliminary draft of the 2013 Delaware County budget includes a tax hike of 2.8 percent. The budget would rise to $329 million dollars, representing a $5 million dollar increase over the final 2012 numbers.

The average Delaware County taxpayer with a home assessed at $130,000 would incur a county property tax of $708.75 – an increase of $19.75 over last year.

The millage rate for 2013 would be set at 5.452 mills. A mill represents 1 dollar for every 1,000 dollars in assessed value.

Continued increases in Medicade reimbursements for the County owned nursing care facility at Fair Acres, which  is expected to cost the County 6.8 million dollars in 2013, was cited as a factor in the proposed increase, as well as rising pension and health care expenses.

Last year’s tax hike in County taxes amounted to 2.3%.

The proposed hearing date for the budget is December 6, with December 12 set as the tentative budget adoption date.

Wallingford Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086

A Taxing Situation – Comparing Local Delaware County Communities

In what may be a surprise to many people, we residents in the Wallingford Swarthmore School District no longer have the distinction of paying the highest tax bills in the area. That priviledge now belongs to the residents of the Ridley School District, specifically Ridley Township which breaks the 51 mill mark, topping out at 51.567 mills.

The millage rate refers to the amount of tax that is paid per thousand dollars of the assessed value of a home. For example a home with an assessment of $100,000 would pay a total tax bill of $5,156.70 in Ridley Township on the high end of the scale of the communities shown, and a home in Marple Township would assessed at the same value would pay a total tax bill of $2,670.39 on the opposite end of the spectrum. A Nether Providence Township home would have a tax obligation of $4,858.50.

For some real shocking news, residents of Colwyn in eastern Delaware County have a total millage rate of 72.560. So a home with the same $100,000 assessment cited above would have a whopping tax bill of $7,256.00!  We should not complain.

If you are interested in the lowest tax base in Delaware County, take a look at Thornbury Township. Their total millage amounts to 19.080.

The total tax obligation is composed of three components:

– Delaware County Taxes – all Delaware County communites pay the same 5.30 mills

– School Taxes – the largest component of the tax structure

– Municipal Taxes – each community levies a local municipal tax

Wallingford Swarthmore School District does hold the distinction among local communities with the highest school taxes in the area. WSSD tax millage is 225% higher than the Marple Newtown School District.

Nether Providence and Rose Valleyresidents have a slighty lower millage for school taxes than Swarthmore. Swarthmore and Rutledge residents pay an additional amount for support of Delaware County Community College, bringing their millage up to 39.334.

At the high end, residents of the William Penn School District – the Boroughs of Colwyn, Aldan, Lansdowne, and Yeadon, shoulder a school tax millage rate of 40.060.

Thornbury Township residents, where students attend the West Chester schools, have the lowest school in Delaware County at 19.080 mills.

Ridley Township again takes the local top spot in the municipal tax category at 8.0170 mills. Middletown Township has a very low muncipal millage of 1.6 due to the fact that they have no local police force to support.

Again Thornbury Township is at the low end of the municipal tax spectrum  – they pay no municipal taxes. Colwyn residents take the top spot for municipal taxes at 27.200 mills.

Complete Delaware County Tax Rate data is available at:


Wallingford Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086

Is Your Air Conditioning Working At It’s Peak?

There will be plenty more hot summer days coming this month, so an efficiently running air conditioner is a necessity when it comes to keeping you and your family comfortable. Air conditioning units do not last forever, and the middle of summer would be the worst possible time for your system to break down. Luckily, there are usually warning signs that let you know your system may be malfunctioning, and many of these problems are easy to fix.

Pay attention to the following warning signs and help ensure your air conditioning system makes it through the summer:

– If you are not as comfortable as you were last year, it could be due to restricted airflow. Filters should be changed every 30 to 90 days, so if you have not done so recently, the first step to take is to change the filter. You should also make sure nothing is blocking your cold air returns and registers.

– Your comfort level depends greatly upon where your thermostat is located. If it is in direct sun or near a hot oven, your system will keep running long after you’ve cooled off. Alternately, if it is located near a register, your thermostat will detect a cooler temperature and leave you too warm in another part of the house. Check the location of your thermostat, and relocate it if necessary.

– If it seems like the air coming out of the registers isn’t as cold as it used to be, the first thing to check is the refrigerant lines that connect the outdoor unit to the indoor system. These two copper lines should be covered with an insulating sleeve. If they are not, sleeves are easy and inexpensive to purchase. If the wires are covered, your system may need its refrigerant re-charged, a repair that typically costs around $150.


Wallingford Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086

PECO’s Tree Man Comes To Wallingford PA

Wallingford Real Estate - Asplundh Trucks - Cameron Drive - Wallingford, PA - PECO Tree Cutting

Asplundh Tree Trucks On Cameron Drive In Wallingford Last Week

The letter from PECO came several weeks ago informing me that Asplundh tree crews would be visiting Sproul Estates in the next several to perform preventative tree trimming maintenance. I read this notice with trepidation, remembering the last time PECO’s tree man came to the neighborhood, and the loss of about 8 feet of tree top from the Holly and Norway Spruce trees that form the border of my property underneath the power lines.

I realize the need to trim trees and vegetation that can pose possible threats to overhead power lines during storms, but it is very disconcerting to have these trees clipped like they went to noivce barber. A bad haircut from only lasts a few weeks, the effects of “vegetation management” remains for years.

The tree man was last in the neighborhood about 4 years ago, and the trees had regained a decent shape, and then they are decimated again. The crew chief told me they would remove up to 8 feet of the trees, and would try to preserve as much as possible. I would hate to see what the result would look like if I had not spoken with him.

Wallingford Real Estate - Wallingford, PA - PECO Tree Trimming - Asplundh

The View Before


Wallingford Real Estate - Wallingford, PA - 19086 - Asplundh Tree Trimming - PECO

The View After

I hope there is some new growth in the next 4 years until the tree man’s next visit.


Wallingford Real Estate – Wallingford, PA 19086