Thursday, April 27, 2017

Energy Efficiency Ideas for Summer: Window Coverings by EFynch Home Improvement App.

The Home Energy Saver We All Overlook:

How Window Treatments can reduce your energy bids.

Baltimore, MD- Windows are one of the most overlooked energy monsters in your home. Although great advances have been made with increasing insulation value (yes, insulation is equally important for HOT as it is for COLD), the hot summer sun pummels your windows all day long.

That heat literally turns anything it touches into a radiator which can cause your AC to run constantly as some indoor surfaces can top 130 degrees Fahrenheit!

To battle this, a few years ago I spent time studying Passive Solar. The idea is you design your home to block out the summer sun but let it in during the winter (has to do with shutters and angles, besides the point). In this practice you use certain finishes in your home to capture the right heat .etc. etc.etc. . This is great but, it requires work and planning.

If you are looking for changes that can have an effect right away- tomorrow- literally.

Imagine sitting in the hot sun all summer day and feeling the heat and sunburn. Now imagine being under a tree, and since you have AC in your home you bring a fan with you that day. This is only a loose example of the effect but it is literally what good shades accomplish- SHADE!

You have to consider window treatments. In our opinion there is simply no easier way to increase your home’s efficiency than a quick trip to a local retailer for good set of blinds.
There are several types to choose from ranging from cellular shades to full on drapes- the thicker the better- use your judgement- True energy savers will be labeled.

So before the summer sun begins consider which windows could benefit from the additional love. Windows facing south should be the first, then consider those which are in front of hard surfaces that can retain heat (stone, slate, marble, brick, wood, etc.). These are the windows that let in the most heat which then falls on the surfaces that gather and hold heat- releasing it through the day and into the night.

Energy efficient blinds and covering can reduce energy transfer by up to 45% and in some cases have lowered energy bills by 20% according to the Department of Energy.

To get more information feel free to contact us. We can help you find the right blind and installer.

Examples of energy saving blinds:

Top of article- windows with blue drapes and pull down privacy blinds.
This article was written by Sotereas (Teris) Pantazes of The information contained above is not the opinion of EFynch and should not constitute advice for your particular situation. EFynch does now to the physical work and  only provides a venue for the exchange of information.  The reader agrees that this information is for conversation purposes only and is a generalization of steps which can be taken. The reader agrees to consult a professional within the jurisdiction that work is to be performed who is licensed when required and they will not partake in ANY actions based on this article alone, seeking advice prior to doing any work either through a professional, themselves, or through the EFynch platform.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Late Spring Freeze: The Handyman and Homeowner Guide to Protecting Outdoor Landscaping

Late Spring Freeze: The Handyman and Homeowner Guide to Protecting Outdoor Landscaping in Maryland.

What the homeowner should do with a late Spring Freeze/ Frost.


Baltimore, MD: Tonight (April 7th, 2017) and into Saturday morning, forecasters are calling for freezing temperatures possible throughout Central Maryland*. With the warm weather the past few days, many of us in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. have already begun outdoors landscaping for Spring. With a semi-rare Freeze Watch in place, there are a few measures that homeowners should take to help plants survive.

The issue with a cold freeze and some plants is the inability for vegetable and flowers to withstand freezing water on a cellular level. As we know, when water freezes it expands and can break the sensitive cell structures. For certain plants, this is irreparable damage.

Here is a quick reference on what you can do to prevent damage:

1: Sensitive plants in pots: Bring indoors.

2. Sensitive plants/ bushes/ seedlings in the ground: 

          - Water plant base thoroughly during daylight hours, DO NOT let water rest on leaves.
                 The (above freezing) water and dirt will act as an insulator and allow the plants to absorb
                 water before freezing which makes them more durable.
          - Cover heartier bushes/ plants with a towels. Use a bed sheet for those that are weaker.
                 DO NOT USE PLASTIC.
          - Seedlings or extremely delicate foliage can be semi-protected by building a tent around
                 the plant or even using stakes and creating a barrier (think castle walls).

3. Sensitive Seedlings: For seedlings that are extremely weak and vulnerable. Water the ground thoroughly (to act as an insulator, not wetting the plant), then cover with an inverted bucket or flower pot.

4. Seeds/ Bulbs: If the seed has not yet sprouted, water thoroughly then cover with a towel, bed sheet, or blanket.

Remember: DO NOT water after dark or once temperatures drop below 37 - 40 degrees. By this point, the sensitive plants have already begun "emergency mode" and the water will not provide the boost in protection. In some cases you may have seen orange growers in Florida water the entire plant. This is an entirely different practice which involves constant watering during the event. Do not try this unless you are confident and have researched that method specifically.

After the risk of cold has passed, remove covering to allow the sun to start working. Assess the damage and if pruning is possible (depends on plant), you can cut any damaged area to stimulate new growth.

For more information or regular updates and tips like this- visit or like us on Facebook. 

EFynch provides tips, tricks, weekly home improvement and landscaping deals for homeowners throughout Maryland. 

Covered Vegetable garden Pre-Frost

Ghosts! Or covered and wrapped plants, Pre-Frost.

The Late Spring Freeze Warning for Landscaping and outdoor gardening includes: 
Carroll-Northern Baltimore-Northwest Montgomery-Northwest Howard-
Northwest Harford-Nelson-Albemarle-Greene-Madison-Rappahannock-
Orange-Culpeper-Northern Fauquier-Southern Fauquier-
Western Loudoun-

Including the cities of Eldersburg, Westminster, Reisterstown,
Cockeysville, Germantown, Damascus, Laurel, Lisbon, Jarrettsville,
Lovingston, Charlottesville, Stanardsville, Madison, Washington,
Orange, Gordonsville, Culpeper, Warrenton, Turnbull, Towson, Timonium, White Marsh, Reistertown, Columbia, Ellicott City, Frederick,
and Purcellville.  

Precaution areas include: Rockville, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, College park, Takoma Park, Hyattsville, Washington D.C. and Gaithersburg.
City Garage
101 W. Dickman St
Suite 300
Baltimore, MD 21230

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Maryland Ticks and Lyme Disease: A Homeowner Guide to Removing them from the Yard.

How to Prevent/ Rid/ and take care of Ticks.

Maryland Tricks for Homeowners

Baltimore, MD: I grew up around farms in Southern Maryland. Ticks were a normal part of life but now in suburban Baltimore (Timonium) I have a growing family and my opinion has changed. The population of Lyme Disease carrying, Deer Tick has exploded and the harmless “Dog Tick” I grew up burning with a match head is nowhere to be found (just my observation).

Because of this, a general concern to rid our yards of Deer Ticks is valid (and recommended). Nearly 2% of Deer Ticks actually carry Lyme Disease in certain areas.

Although not foolproof, here are some quick tips you can take and prevent ticks or tick nests from taking a residence around your yard.

*Ticks love shade, moisture and places to hide. Keep this in mind and do the following to create a tick Hell!

1. Keep grass mowed and cut short: Tall grass is ideal for ticks, mice and other animals. It hold moisture, allows for a place to hide (i.e. mice from prey, ticks from birds).

2. Keep your yard debris free: See reasons above. Piles of leaves, trash, unkept wood piles (chopped or sticks) provide refuge.

3. If you do have a wood pile, keep it in a sunny area. This recommendation keeps the wood dry (“a tick desert”).

4. Discourage wildlife from spending time in your yard. Deer, mice, raccoons carry ticks and can bring them around.

5. Install a Tick Barrier: Ticks HATE walking on gravel or wood chips. This is like broken glass under their feet. Install a 1’ to 3’ barrier separating your yard from the forest or other tick prone areas.

BONUS: There are some plants which may repel ticks such as the American Beauty Berry Bush. You can also get CHICKENS as they eat ticks!

In closing, ticks are a part of nature. There are some risks but generally you are more likely to get an infection from a cut or tick bite than a disease like Lyme. Both should be reason enough to spend some time taking preventative measures.

HOW TO REMOVE A TICK: If you find a tick that has already started feeding- before pulling it out, use rubbing alcohol to clean the area and help pull the head out of your skin. Then with tweezers gently pull. Keep the area clean, circle with a pen and watch for a forming “bulls-eye” within 48 hours.

Oh, the old “match on the butt trick” I used as a kid- only works on dog ticks- deer ticks are stubborn little blood suckers!

For more tips and home improvement tricks from our Handymen.
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Written by Teris Pantazes