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Blog Category - New Home Tips

Advantages to Using LED Lighting in Your Home

Categories: DIY Home Projects, New Home Tips, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: April 23, 2021

LED lighting is a class of products with numerous advantages over traditional light bulbs. The term stands for “light emitting diode” — a modern innovation that features energy efficiency, longevity and enhanced safety along with several other benefits.

Hallmark Homes Group recommends using LEDs in your new Bucks County home. These types of bulbs can be installed in any type of lighting fixture, indoor or outdoor.

Do LEDs Save Energy?

LEDs use far less energy to create the same results as incandescent bulbs — consuming about 50% less electricity per unit. According to Energystar.gov — a government-backed data collection agency — LEDs offer 60 – 75% greater energy efficiency by consuming up to 90% fewer watts per second. These are important distinctions if you are a homebuyer who is interested in reducing your carbon footprint.

Do LEDs Last Longer?

LEDs are designed to last up to 40 times longer than incandescent bulbs, resulting in units with a potential lifespan of 60,000 hours as opposed to the usual 1,500 or so hours of older types of bulbs. LEDs can be expected to produce light for as long as seven years before needing to be replaced. Plus, LEDs are built far sturdier than traditional bulbs, so they do not break easily while being handled or from overheating. These bulbs contain tiny computer chips encased in tough, semiconductor material rather than fragile filaments set within brittle glass.

Does Using LEDs Help Save Money on Electric Bills?

Greater efficiency and durability means big savings on bills. Low usage of watts across an entire property can cut down on monthly utilities. Meanwhile, bulbs that last for a long time save money on materials by not needing to be replaced as often as fluorescent and amourex bulbs. This means you can spend your free time enjoying your new home rather than replacing burned out bulbs.

Do LED Bulbs Get Hot?

LED bulbs offer enhanced safety because they are set in what is known as a heat sink — a feature that reduces the amount of heat that a bulb can generate. This ensures safety from burns for anyone who may be adjusting fixtures that are currently in use — because unlike incandescent, fluorescent or halogen bulbs — LEDs are not hot to the touch. This feature also reduces fire hazards for free-standing fixtures.

Enjoy High Performance

Another advantage to using LED lighting in your home is that these bulbs can be dimmed to as little as 10% light output to suit a homeowner’s aesthetic preferences. Also, rapid cycling (frequently turning on and off) does not affect the life of the bulb. Plus, when turned on, LEDs emit 100 percent brightness almost immediately — providing the luxury of having dark spaces completely lit up in an instant.

While you’re choosing the best options for your new home – right after the countertops and carpet – start using LED bulbs and fixtures right from the start. You will be amazed by the results. Reach out to the experts at Hallmark to learn more about energy efficient homes that are perfect for you and your family.

Simple Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

Categories: Bucks County Homes, DIY Home Projects, New Home Tips | Posted: April 16, 2021

As the warmer months approach, seasonal cleaning and upkeep of your home is a time-honored homeowner tradition. This is a great opportunity to open up the doors for some fresh air and get in touch with all aspects of your home after the winter months.

Routine spring home maintenance is also a great way to keep your house tidy and to ensure that it continues to increase in value. These checklist items are perfect for a sunny weekend afternoon, and can fortify the lasting durability of your home.

It’s Not Called “Spring Cleaning” for Nothing

Spring is a great time to clean areas of the house that often get neglected. Dust or wipe chair rails, window casings, tops of wall-mounted cabinets and ceiling fans. Clean any fabric drapes and use a damp cloth to clean wood or vinyl blinds. Vacuum upholstered furniture and mattresses. Clean your hardwood floors by sweeping or vacuuming. Anything you can do to remove any dust, mites and allergens will make for a cleaner, and healthier, home.

In the kitchen you can consider washing cabinets, backsplashes and walls with warm water and mild detergent. You can do the same in the bathroom, where soap residue and fluctuations in heat and humidity combine to create the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Helpful Hint: Consider using a carpet cleaner if you would like an even deeper clean on upholstered furniture and mattresses.

Make Sure To Keep Your Gutters Flowing

Rain gutters and downspouts can become clogged with debris from falling twigs and blowing leaves. To keep the rainwater flowing downward, a thorough cleaning every spring is a great idea. You can hire a professional, or if you have a ladder and gloves, you can do it yourself.

Helpful Hint: Organic matter taken from rain gutters makes excellent topsoil for your flower beds and vegetable gardens.

Don’t Forget To Check Your Roof

Have a good look at the condition of the roof. Hail, wind and flying debris can damage the shingles, making it easier for water to seep in and cause damage. This sort of wear and tear is rare on a new home, however — especially a property built by a highly regarded home builder such as Hallmark Homes Group.

Helpful Hint: Moss on roof shingles can be easily cleaned with a solution of half bleach and half water that can be applied and rinsed off 15 minutes later.

Keep Away the Pests

Termites tend to become active in spring, so an inspection of the basement and the exterior of the house is a good idea. If you see winged insects exiting from small holes in the wood, it is time to call an exterminator in order to protect the integrity of the structure.

Helpful Hint: There are nontoxic methods of dealing with termites including the use of heat or electricity. Plus, routine gutter cleaning is also one way to prevent termites.

Inspect Your Windows

The caulking around window exteriors can become warped by wind and sun, causing it to eventually crack and leak air. This can cause the house to lose warm or cold air — depending on the season. Removing old caulking and re-sealing the windows can save money on utility bills.

Helpful hint: When condensation gathers inside double-paned windows, it means there is a leak in the seal.

Take Care of Your Yard

New construction homes in Bucks County, PA are perfect for cultivating breathtaking lawns and landscapes. If you purchase a home from Hallmark, we are able to put down grass seed, plant trees, flower beds and add natural accents to your exact liking. All you have to do is mow, water and trim.

If your home has a sprinkler system, checking your sprinklers or irrigation in the spring can save water – and save your plants as well. Make sure none of the heads are broken or damaged. Adjust the angles of the sprinklers to make sure they are watering what needs to be. If you are unfamiliar with sprinkler maintenance, you can call a professional to take care of it as well.

Helpful hint: Keeping tree branches trimmed away from the side of the house can reduce gutter debris build-up.

Spring is a great time for a few simple home maintenance routines. Contact the experts at Hallmark to learn more about new homes that are a joy to care for year round.

Simple Ways to Care for Your Hardwood Floors

Categories: Bucks County, Hallmark Homes Group, New Home Tips | Posted: March 12, 2021

One of the most exciting features of a brand new home are the finely-crafted hardwood floors. The visual appeal of this type of flooring is unparalleled, allowing owners to build their home decor theme upon uniquely warm, organic tones.

Although floors get used more than any other surface, a few simple practices can maintain a sleek, new finish. The experts at Hallmark Homes Group have put together a few extremely simple to follow tips for maintaining gorgeous, long-lasting hardwood floors.

Caring for Your Floors Starts Outside The Home

Dust and grime that gets tracked into the house everyday on the bottom of your shoes can quickly diminish the most splendid floor. While this is a simple fact of life, you can reduce the damaging aspects with a series of doormats. First, use an outside mat with a coarse texture for an initial wiping away of mud, water and dirt. Next, as you and your guests step inside there should be at least one or two more with increasingly fine fibers for getting rid of the rest of the debris. You can even instill a “no shoes” policy by providing seats and shelves right inside the front door for removing and storing footwear. 

Try to Reduce Your Floors Exposure to Elements

There are many elements which, in excess, can harm your hardwood floors. Many types of snow-melting products for outdoor walkways contain calcium chloride — a type of salt. Even when there is no precipitation, dirt gets into the house in the form of tiny dust particles which, when accumulated, can harm a floor. 

Tiny food particles and pet hair can also cause harm over time. Also, summer afternoons can, at times, be mildly humid in Bucks County, so your new home should be temperature controlled via the internal HVAC system to avoid moisture build-up. Just as moisture on a hardwood floor can cause warping, so can too much direct sunlight. Attempting to keep your floors from constant direct sunlight is a great idea as well. You can assure your floor’s longevity by being aware of these factors and making sure they are not present in large amounts at any given time.  

Stick to a Cleaning Routine Specifically for Your Floors

A great way to reduce exposure is to spot-sweep or dust the high traffic areas daily. This can quickly eliminate build up of abrasive debris while reducing the need for a deep cleaning to once or twice a month. This regular level of light cleaning should be done with a dry mop that has been treated with a dusting agent or a microfiber cleaning tool. Every week or so, you can vacuum the floors with a brush attachment and get to those hard-to-reach areas such as baseboards and corners with a hose attachment. Then, monthly or whenever needed, a full wet mopping with a microfiber head will restore the original hardwood shine. Your Hallmark agent can tell you the exact kind of wood your floor is made of, which will determine the type of cleaner and polish you choose. 

Find a New Home That Has The Floors You’ve Always Wanted

The vibrant glow of a well-maintained floor is one of the joys of new home living. Contact us to  explore an array of magnificent new construction homes that feature gorgeous, freshly-installed hardwood floors. 

Fall Maintenance Checklist for New Homes

Categories: New Home Tips | Posted: November 10, 2020

With the changing leaves and crisp air comes the beginning of fall. The adjustment from summer to fall can be exciting and grueling all at the same time. As a new homeowner, you may be faced with the challenge of trying to navigate your way through all of the necessary seasonal maintenance that is required to prepare for the winter months. To make the transition easier, we’ve rounded up the ultimate checklist to help you prepare.

Indoor Maintenance

  • Deep clean each room in your house: Give each room in your house a thorough cleaning and make sure that everything is working properly. A few key things to remember to do is to change any burnt-out bulbs in the light fixtures, wash the walls and baseboards, empty out the garbage cans, and dust each room.
  • Give the kitchen some extra attention: The kitchen is usually the most used room in the house. Take some extra time to give it a deep clean including wiping out the inside of the oven and microwave, vacuum the refrigerator coils, and degrease the range hood.
  • Schedule a furnace inspection: Before you turn on the heat for the first time this fall, take the proper precautions to make sure your furnace is safe to use. Schedule an appointment to have a professional make sure your furnace is working properly.
  • Clean out the dryer vent: This is commonly missed in new homes, however, it’s essential for your family’s safety. Lint buildup happens fast and will cause your dryer to work less efficiently. It can also cause a fire if it isn’t checked regularly. It’s fairly easy to clean out the vent yourself with a vacuum. If you’d prefer, you can do a quick online search and hire a Bucks County duct cleaning specialist to do it for you. Either way, this item shouldn’t be missed.
  • Test safety detectors: While you’re completing your fall maintenance checklist, it’s the perfect time to make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Stock up on batteries while you’re at it so you can easily replace them when needed.
  • Remove A/C units: If you have any window A/C units, remove them or cover the exterior of the unit with insulated wrap.

 Exterior & Outdoor Maintenance

  • Organize the garage: Before you pack away and store all of your summer furniture, tools and supplies, make sure your garage is cleaned out. Sweep and clean all the dirt, mothballs, and dust away. Add a few shelves to your new home so you’ll be able to easily locate all your spring and summer items when you need them.
  • Cover the patio furniture: While you’re cleaning out your garage, make room to store your outdoor furniture set so it’s protected from the elements. If you’d prefer to keep it outdoors, get a protective covering or tarp to avoid any damage. Also, make sure to remove any cushions or pillows and keep in a warm, dry place until you’re ready to pull them out again next spring.
  • Water and fertilize the lawn: Although your grass doesn’t grow as quickly in the fall, your lawn will still need to be watered. This is the perfect time to fertilize as well since it needs water to help soak into the ground. Taking the time to tend to your lawn will help protect it for a beautiful result in the warmer months. Be sure to shut off the water outside and drain your hoses so they do not freeze/get damaged.
  • Tend to your plants, shrubs and trees: Give all of your plants a good trim before winter arrives. This will prevent them from getting damaged from heavy snowfall and avoid any harm to your new home. Clean out your flower beds, remove dead annuals, and mulch your perennials so they’re able to grow back well in the spring.

Pre-Winter Preparation Checklist 

As you check items off your fall maintenance prep list, keep in mind that winter is right around the corner. To make sure your new home is ready for the first snowfall, there are a few additional items that you’ll need to complete so you’re prepared ahead of time.

  • Take inventory of your snow removal supplies: Make sure that your snow shovel, blower and ice scrapers are all working properly before the first snowfall so that you will have time to make any required repairs or purchase new equipment if needed.
  • Have rock salt on hand: The last thing you want to do during a snowstorm is venture outside. If you absolutely need to, have a couple of bags of rock salt on hand to avoid any accidents on slippery surfaces.
  • Stock up on firewood: If you have a fireplace, make sure that you have plenty of firewood to get you through the cold months. You’ll be thankful that you prepared ahead of time, especially on those chilly nights in Bucks County.
  • Consider winter safety: Make sure that your outdoor walkways and stairs are clear of any debris or damage that may be considered hazardous when covered with snow. Also, make sure that your railings are properly secured so they’re easy to hold onto when going up and down the stairs in severe weather conditions.

The changing of the seasons is a perfect time to start anew. If you’ve been on the search for a fresh start, look no further. Hallmark Homes Group builds innovatively designed, Energy Star certified homes and goes the extra mile to take care of clients to make sure they find a place to call home that they can cherish forever. Our Hallmark team is eager to expand your vision and make your dreams a reality.

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