RE/MAX 440

Judy Kistler
My Listings
View Area Listings
Inside Tours
Mortgage Info
Community Info
School Info
Helpful Links
About Me
My Blog

Judy Kistler
4789 Route 309 | Center Valley, PA 18034
Phone: 610-393-9393 | Office Phone: 610-791-4400 | Fax: 267-354-6225

Judy Kistler's Blog

Realize Your Dream

Save More on Those Heating Bills

March 2, 2018 12:57 am

Furnaces and boilers account for 65 percent of home natural gas use, according to Dominion Energy Ohio. These simple tips can help conserve energy, maximize comfort and minimize monthly bills:

Save Money by Degrees. Customers can save anywhere from 10 to 15 percent on annual heating costs by setting the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 58 degrees Fahrenheit at night, or when the resident is at work or away for an extended period.

Clean or Replace Furnace Filters. Check furnace air filters once a month during the heating season. If they become clogged, clean or replace them with new filters.

Caulk Around. Use inexpensive caulking around the fireplace mantle, inside windows and storm windows, electrical receptacle boxes, exhaust fan openings, pipes leading to bathroom fixtures, mortar cracks in chimneys and cracks in basement walls. Be sure to caulk around areas where the foundation meets the first floor plate and basement windows.

Seal Off Drafts Around Windows. Tape thin sheets of plastic to inside window frames with masking tape.

Draft Stoppers. Block off drafts at the bottom of doors with a rolled up rug or bath towel. You can also make a long, narrow bean bag to fit against the bottom of the door.

Switch Off Drafts. To seal off drafts, apply self-adhesive foam strips to the back of wall plates for electrical outlets and switches.

Weather Stripping. Here's a card trick: If a playing card fits in the crevice of an outside door, you need more weather stripping.

Source: Dominion Energy Ohio

Published with permission from RISMedia.


How to Create a DIY Scratching Post

February 28, 2018 12:57 am

(Family Features)--Designating a spot for your cat to safely scratch is one of the most effective ways to minimize damage to your possessions. A homemade scratching post is a quick and easy project. The experts at Ceva Animal Health offer the following guidelines.

1. Cut foot-long length of 4-by-4-inch wood and a 1-foot square piece of plywood. The exact sizes can vary, but these are good starting points that you can adjust up or down, depending on your space.

2. Sand away splinters and rough edges.

3. Add a sturdy fabric wrap or paint to lend aesthetic appeal to the plywood base.

4. Wrap the post tightly with heavy-gauge rope or carpet scraps (or both), securing tightly with glue and reinforcing with a staple gun.

5. Securely attach the post to the base using a long bolt.

6. Place the post in an area your cat enjoys spending time, and consider adding a pheromone therapy spray to attract your cat to the post.

Source: Ceva Animal Health

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

February 28, 2018 12:57 am

Do you sit at a desk for hours a day? It's no news that being sedentary can have a negative impact on your body and health. To combat this, mix up the following exercises throughout the day, or pick two times (11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., perhaps?) to run through them all at once.

Toe points. Keep blood moving to your toes by taking a break to point and flex your feet 10 times.

Leg lifts. Flex your quads and raise your feet so your leg is straight from the hip out. Do this five to 10 times.

Roll your shoulders back. Desk work have you hunched? Roll your shoulders back, lift your chin, and straighten your spine, then return to work.

Eye break. If you spend your work day behind a computer, this exercise should be done at least once an hour, if possible. Look away from your computer, and focus on on object 20 or more feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Wrist rolls. Typing have your hands tired? Roll your wrists counterclockwise 10 times, then clockwise 10 times, to get blood flowing.

Other things to combat too much sitting are: taking a walk break during lunch, considering a standing desk, and staying extra hydrated all day long, so you're forced to make a few extra (walking!) trips to the restroom.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Just How Cyber Smart Are You?

February 27, 2018 12:54 am

Massive data breaches like Equifax and Yahoo served as important wake-up calls to remind us that cybersecurity should be at the top of everyone’s priority list. But unfortunately, that’s not the case.

According to a survey of 2,000 U.S. home users by cybersecurity firm Webroot, while digital users of all ages have certain security practices down, there are still gaps in awareness, especially when it comes to ransomware.

Despite the growing prevalence of ransomware attacks in news headlines, nearly two thirds (61.6 percent) of survey respondents could not accurately define ransomware. In a ransomware attack, hackers encrypt or lock consumers' files to extort payment. Unless the victim pays the ransom, their files may be gone forever; however, there is no guarantee that payment will actually buy back their files.

Here’s how survey results—and cybersecurity savvy—breaks down by generation. See how you rate:

Gen Z (18 - 24)

- This group was the least ransomware-savvy. Less than a quarter (23.7 percent) were able to accurately define ransomware.

- Although antivirus offers strong protection against ransomware, members of Gen Z are likely to report they either don't use antivirus protection (33 percent), or don't know if they have any installed (23.8 percent).

- This same group is the most willing to pay a hacker to return stolen data; 25.1 percent reported they would pay a hacker up to $500 to return stolen data.

- Thirty-six percent of Gen Zers who reported they have clicked a link in an email or text from an unknown sender have also been a victim of a ransomware attack or know someone who has.

Millennials (25 - 34)

- While more savvy than their younger counterparts, only a third (34.2 percent) of millennials could accurately define ransomware.

- Nearly a third (28.9 percent) of survey respondents who were most concerned about losing personal photos in a cyberattack were millennials.

- Over 60 percent of millennials share their personal information online via mobile banking and bill pay, tax, financial and health care forms, or by shopping online. This makes them more vulnerable to data breaches of all types, underscoring the need for cybersecurity knowledge.

Baby Boomers (55 - 65+)

- While only half (47.6 percent) of baby boomers could accurately define ransomware, this was still the highest of any generation.

- Respondents 55 and older might be the most unsafe online, as they are most likely to admit to having received suspicious texts or emails (73.3 percent), or having clicked links in emails/texts from unknown senders (26.9 percent).

- Despite the risks they face, baby boomers are the savviest when it comes to not forwarding emails from unknown senders; 94.2 percent said they had not done so in the past year.

No matter what your age, make sure you’re up to speed on the latest in cyber security.

Source: Webroot

Published with permission from RISMedia.


3 Keys to Becoming an Elite Athlete

February 27, 2018 12:54 am

(Family Features)--When it comes to becoming an elite athlete, there are differing opinions on what it takes to win gold.

Sports analysts and commentators often reference sprint times, body weight, height or age as differentiating factors, but Dr. Steven Stein, CEO of Multi-Health Systems and emotional intelligence expert, has a different idea.

Emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way people perceive and express themselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.

Using The Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0 model to test emotional intelligence, Multi-Health Systems found athletes around the world often score high in self-regard: the ability to know their strengths and weaknesses; self-actualization: doing what they love and continually trying to improve; and flexibility: their ability to learn, change and take direction.


Self-regard is an athlete's ability to know his or her strengths and weaknesses. For elite athletes, it can also translate into confidence.

"Confidence, as part of self-regard, can be a key differentiator among medal winners," Stein says. "At the highest level of many sports you have a number of athletes with near-equal skills and talent. Often, having the right mental toughness can make that millisecond or single point difference among judges."


Self-actualization reflects comfort with who you are and what you are doing. For example, competition at the international level takes years of preparation and practice, and may require personal, social and familial sacrifices.

"Self-actualization allows an athlete to continue to learn and improve, as many athletes start out with a vision that helps define their passion," Stein says. "For example, you frequently hear stories of athletes who come from challenging childhoods—deaths of parents, early injuries or difficulties with school—who commit fully to their sports, find success and go on to become role models for others in both athletics and overcoming adversity."


Flexibility is a person's ability to change and take direction, and for an elite athlete, it means learning from a bad performance instead of getting frustrated. It is one of the better predictors of the ability to be coached and succeed, and Multi-Health Systems found that it is especially important in both professional and amateur athletes.

"Sometimes, high-level draft picks in various sports who have difficulty taking instruction don't make it as professional players," Stein says. "Great athletes are often great learners, and when athletes think they already know what's best or don't listen to coaching, it can derail their performance."

Source: Multi-Health Systems

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Improve Your Indoor Air Quality for Spring

February 27, 2018 12:54 am

As the season changes, your environment shifts, both indoors and out. A switch of seasons is the perfect time to focus on freshening the air in your home. T. Webber offers the following tips to maintain great indoor air quality as you prep for spring.

Use allergen-rated filters. Besides making sure that your air filters are changed on an appropriate schedule, using a high-quality filter rated for allergen filtration will help clean the air as it cycles. Regular filters are designed to protect the heating and cooling system by trapping larger particles such as dust before they reach the unit. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters will trap much smaller particles and keep offending allergens from simply recirculating back into the living space.

Consider an air cleaner. If those living in the home are experiencing severe negative health effects from invasive allergens, using an air cleaner in conjunction with HEPA air filters for the HVAC unit will dramatically increase the effectiveness of overall indoor air filtration. Air cleaners are specifically designed to remove mold, mildew, dust, pollen and pet dander from the air inside the home.

Install ultraviolet lamps. Ultraviolet lamps can be installed inside the heating and cooling unit to kill mold and bacteria that may develop on and around the coil due to moisture, and there are also lamps available that can sterilize the moving air. These lamps are effective at killing germs that may otherwise recirculate through the home.

Make sure the home is properly ventilated. Bathrooms and kitchens are both major contributors to the humidity of the home, and they need to be properly vented. Check exhaust vents to make sure they are free of obstruction and working properly so that excess moisture and pollutants can be removed.

Utilize a dehumidifier. After the winter passes, most humidifiers are placed in storage until the dryer months of summer arrive. Using a dehumidifier in its place will maintain a balanced indoor environment by removing excess moisture from the air, which will help to prevent issues such as the development of mold and mildew.

Source: T. Webber

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Ways to Spring Forward

February 27, 2018 12:54 am

Whether you like it or not, if you live in an area of the country that follows Daylight Savings Time, you're about to spring forward—and lose an hour of sleep. Here are five ways to ease that transition.

Go to sleep earlier. If you head to bed an hour earlier, you won't lose that hour of sleep. Start a few days before the timehop for best results. First, hop in fifteen minutes earlier. Then aim for a half hour. Then forty-five minutes. By the time you're heading to bed an hour earlier, your body will be well adjusted.  

Find the sunlight. The day before the time switch, expose yourself to some natural sunlight to give you an energy boost and avoid feeling groggy the following day. Take a walk, read a book in the park or simply sit outside and call a friend.

Avoid a large, late dinner. When trying to moderate your sleep schedule, avoid a heavy meal before bed, as it can disrupt sleep. Instead, try and eat earlier and then have a small snack an hour or so before hitting the sheets.

Moderate caffeine. Even if you're feeling that 4:00 p.m. slump, try to avoid caffeine past 2:00 p.m. leading up to Daylight Savings Time. Consuming caffeine late in the day can throw off your natural rhythm even further than the time switch.

Create an environment for sleep. Make sure your bedroom promotes deep sleep by nixing electronics (no TV in bed for you!), keeping your space quiet and clutter-free, and adjusting the temperature to one ideal for sleep: between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Busting Myths About Electric Heat Pumps

February 23, 2018 12:48 am

(Family Features)--Like any technology, ductless heat pumps need to be used properly, and under the right conditions, in order to achieve maximum value. Learn how to get the most benefit from a ductless heat pump by debunking four of the biggest misconceptions about these devices.

Myth: They are more expensive to run than oil or gas heaters.
Fact: Multiple studies show that electric heat pumps save between $1,000-2,000 annually in energy costs, depending on the system's efficiency, condition of the original equipment and climatic region.

Myth: They collect and distribute bacteria.
Fact: All split-ductless heat pumps have filters to gather and capture bacteria before it has a chance to grow. In fact, many indoor units include anti-allergy enzyme filters designed to reduce germs, bacteria and viruses in the space.

Myth: They are only suitable for new construction.
Fact: Ductless and hybrid (short duct run) heat pumps can provide superior efficiency levels and improved comfort in all homes, new and old.

Myth: They don't work in cold climates.
Fact: Some systems, such as those offered by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating, offer a Hyper-Heat boost for especially cold climates. These systems deliver 100-percent heating capacity at 5°F outdoor ambient temperature and offer performance down to -13°F outdoor ambient temperature.

Source: Mitsubishi

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Retiring? Think Beyond the Beach

February 23, 2018 12:48 am

Starting to think about where your post-career phase of life might take you? Well if golf courses and beach communities are not what come to mind when you think about retirement, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

With about 4 million baby boomers retiring each year, it’s no surprise that the location options are expanding. While warm weather states such as Florida, Arizona, Texas and Georgia are still top choices, more and more of today’s retirees are opting for hardier climates - with states like Colorado, Pennsylvania and Maine making Forbes 2017 list of best places to retire.

Also growing in popularity are urban locations, with many choosing to stay in place or downsize to urban centers. Cities offer high walkability scores, boundless options for entertainment and culture, and quick access to transportation and quality healthcare.

If city life is your option for retirement, do your research and talk to local real estate professionals to rate any city you’re considering on the following factors suggested by the Milken Institute:

- Affordability
- Safety
- Convenience
- Aging-friendly housing options
- Access and safety of public transportation
- Community engagement
- Cultural offerings

Of course, pedestrian-friendly streets and a strong local economy are important as well. Remember, city life can be within your reach, no matter what your age.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Take Ladder Safety to New Heights

February 23, 2018 12:48 am

While a necessity for any homeowner, ladders can present a myriad of hazards when not used properly. In fact, according to a recent study from the American Ladder Institute (ALI), the two most cited causes of ladder accidents were missing the last step and overarching, followed closely by failure to use three points of contact and simply using the wrong type ladder for the job at hand.

The good news is these accidents and others can be easily prevented with some common-sense caution. ALI recommends doing the following to “step-up” ladder safety:

- Make sure you’re using the right type of ladder for the job. Choosing one that’s too tall or too short can set the stage for an accident.

- Make sure that the ladder is set up correctly. Make sure the ground underneath the ladder is firm and level.

- Be sure to carefully inspect the ladder you’re using for damage or wear and tear. Clean the climbing and gripping surfaces if they haven’t been used in a while.

- Likewise, make sure the soles of your shoes are clean to avoid slipping on the ladder.

- Don’t use ladders in bad weather - this just increases the odds of an accident.

- If you’re feeling under the weather or at all prone to dizziness or balance issues, leave the ladder duties to someone else, or hire a professional.

- Use towlines, a tool belt or an assistant to help pass materials so that your hands are free when climbing.

- While on the ladder, make sure you’re always maintaining three points of contact.

With these few simple, but critical, precautions, you can get a variety of DIY jobs done around the house safely.

Published with permission from RISMedia.