Specialists from Homelife Warranty Protection Discuss Benefits Of Insulation

HomeLife Warranty ProtectionIf you want to get the most energy efficient use of your home, proper insulation is a must. In today’s expert interview, we speak with HomeLife Warranty Protection founders Dennis and Nicole Roehl about what areas need special attention.

Q: Today we welcome HomeLife Warranty Protection to our site to discuss ways proper insulation can save a homeowner from an uncomfortable situation.

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Thank you for choosing us.

Q: We know that homes are insulated. But why?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Insulation works to keep the temperature and moisture levels in your home best suited for everyday living. And, sealing off air leaks also reduces your home’s energy efficiency footprint.

Q: What is the most important part of the home to insulate?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: There isn’t one area that’s more or less important. I would say, however, to start with the ceiling and walls and work your way around from there.

Q: How can a homeowner determine if they have enough insulation in the attic?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Attics should be insulated with an R-30 value material, which equates to 11 inches of fiberglass or eight inches of cellulose insulation. Before adding these materials, it’s a good idea to check for any air leaks and seal your attic access.

Q: What is a radiant barrier?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: A radiant barrier is a reflective material used to reflect radiant heat. They are typically used in attics of homes in warmer climates to help keep cooling costs down.

Q: What type of insulation is ideal  for exterior walls?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: If a home is already finished, blown insulation is fine. This can be installed by what’s known as the dense pack technique. Blown insulation provides significant benefits with minimal disturbance to the rest of the house.

Q: Is it possible to insulate the floors above a heated garage?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: This is a very simple project that requires roll insulation and flexible metal rods which keep the insulation in place.

Q: Should the foundation be insulated?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: A well maintained and insulated foundation will keep any below-grade rooms comfortable and work to prevent insect infestation, radon, and moisture problems.

Q: What are some ways to insulate a basement so that it can be used as livable space?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: The interior wall should be insulated along with any exposed ductwork. Insulating basement walls minimizes thermal bridging and helps reduce condensation on hard surfaces below grade.

Q: Why do some insulation materials require fire-rated covering?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Certain materials release toxic fumes when ignited and must be covered with a flame retardant.

Q: What are some different kinds of insulation?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Batt and roll insulation, concrete blocks, foam board, loose fill, and spray insulation are all good choices. Insulated concrete blocks have gained popularity over the last 10 years in new construction.

Q: How should the crawlspace be insulated?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: That depends on whether it’s ventilated or unventilated. Unventilated crawl spaces should be sealed airtight. If you have a ventilated crawlspace, pay careful attention to the area below the floor, especially around air vents.

Q: Are there ways to add comfort to a home built on a concrete slab foundation?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: New construction should utilize insulated slab. It is extremely cost prohibitive to insulate the perimeter of an existing home, but it can help reduce heating bills by up to 20% in extremely cold regions.

Q: Does insulation really make a difference to my overall utility costs?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Absolutely. Proper insulation can help homeowners save 30% or more in utility cost.

Q: What other improvements keep the home cool and comfortable?

HomeLife Warranty Protection: We would suggest installing ENERGY STAR-certified windows and doors and making sure your HVAC unit is inspected at least twice a year.

Q: That’s great advice. We appreciate your time today and thank you for joining A Gathering Of Experts.

HomeLife Warranty Protection: Our pleasure.

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All About Sliding Glass Doors with Morgan Exteriors

Morgan ExteriorsMorgan Exteriors discusses the clear benefits of modern-day glass in today’s expert discussion.

A Gathering of Experts: Welcome, and thank you for your time. Today, we want to talk about doors. Warmer weather is coming and, for many, that means it’s time for a home exterior update.

Morgan Exteriors: Yes, it does, and a new door is a wonderful project!

A Gathering of Experts: What kinds of doors does Morgan Exteriors install?

Morgan Exteriors: We offer a full line of French, entryway, and sliding glass doors.

A Gathering of Experts: What’s the difference?

Morgan Exteriors: French doors are usually installed in sets of two and they swing in or out depending on one’s preference. They are a grand addition to decks and balconies.

A Gathering of Experts: And sliding doors? Where do those fit best?

Morgan Exteriors: Like French doors, sliding glass doors are great for accessing your home’s outdoor space. We install many of these on lower-level areas, such as a ground-level patios.

A Gathering of Experts: How many types of entryway doors are available?

Morgan Exteriors: We can install a door regardless of configuration – single, double, even triple, if need be. We have virtually unlimited designs, styles, and colors.

A Gathering of Experts: How does installing a new door change the look of the home?

Morgan Exteriors: Whether you realize it or not, the doors on your home make a statement. They can be inviting or not so friendly.  A clean, new glass door that opens easily brightens up the home and welcomes guests.

A Gathering of Experts: But installing new doors is really expensive – isn’t it?

Morgan Exteriors: We believe that you get what you pay for in building materials. Our doors are not the cheapest on the market, but they offer a value beyond anything you’d get at a ‘big box’ retailer.

A Gathering of Experts: Such as…?

Morgan Exteriors: We are known for our lifetime warranty on doors, windows, and vinyl siding.

A Gathering of Experts: Okay, that’s different. Lifetime?

Morgan Exteriors: Yes, of course. As well, our premium vinyl doors are impact-resistant and durable. They are low maintenance, too!

A Gathering of Experts: Energy efficiency is a big topic these days. How do your doors perform?

Morgan Exteriors: Every door we sell is ENERGY STAR certified.

A Gathering of Experts: What does that mean exactly?

Morgan Exteriors: ENERGY STAR doors have been rated by an independent team based on standards aggregated by the EPA. A certified door is one that’s proven to reduce energy consumption and help keep your inner atmosphere comfortable.

A Gathering of Experts: How do I know my door is being installed correctly?

Morgan Exteriors: Our employees are trained by the factory and supervised by home improvement veterans. That’s why we package our doors with a lifetime warranty!

A Gathering of Experts: Before we close, can you tell our readers a little about your company?

Morgan Exteriors: We were established in 1995 by Kirk Morgan, who remains involved with every project in one way or another. Kirk has been known to show up to job sites unannounced just to make sure things are going smoothly. He has worked hard to build this company, which is reflected in the fact that we’ve been voted Tampa’s # 1 door and window installer for 15 years straight. Our customer service team is available by calling 813.931.4663. We proudly serve Tampa and the surrounding communities.

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Mark Zokle | Goal Setting for Sales Professionals

Mark Zokle

It is not enough to simply want to succeed, says Mark Zokle, a nationally recognized sales trainer and manager. In this brief exchange, Zokle touches on a few points that can lead to triumph, but only for those willing to do the work.

A Gathering of Experts: Good afternoon, we thank you for taking your time to be with us today.

Mark Zokle: Anytime!

A Gathering of Experts: We would like to discuss the importance of setting goals. What would you consider the most important step in achieving sales objectives?

Mark Zokle: Just setting the goal! It might sound like a given, but many salespersons don’t actually define a point of success. Instead, they mentally note a vague target.

A Gathering of Experts: Which doesn’t work?

Mark Zokle: No, a goal must be specific and structured the right way.

A Gathering of Experts: How is that?

Mark Zokle: It must be quantifiable and realistic. If it’s not something that can actually be achieved in the timespan set forth, it becomes a tool of discouragement.

A Gathering of Experts: Can you give us an example of a well-structured goal? 

Mark Zokle: “I will close $500,000 in sales in six months’ time. I will do this by contacting 1,500 different prospects.”

A Gathering of Experts: 1,500?

Mark Zokle: Yes.

A Gathering of Experts: That sounds very difficult.

Mark Zokle: Not really. Over the course of six months, that comes out to just about 15 attempts a day…roughly half an hour.

A Gathering of Experts: Ok, when you put it that way it isn’t quite as imposing! Is there a best time to start making these calls?

Mark Zokle: The day you implement your plan. Getting over that initial set of calls is really half the battle.

A Gathering of Experts: What if you’ve gone a week or two and failed to even get a face-to-face meeting?

Mark Zokle: At that point, it’s time to reevaluate your tactics. Ask yourself what isn’t working. Are you focusing on the wrong products/services? Do you come off as pushy? Lack knowledge?

A Gathering of Experts: How does self-discipline play a part in sales?

Mark Zokle: The top 10% of sales people are those who can work without being told what to do; they understand they must remain focused.

A Gathering of Experts: What about doing other tasks?

Mark Zokle: Until those calls are made, it’s best to let everything else wait. Chances are that whatever it is can be put on the backburner for half an hour. If you score a longer call, make that your priority at the moment. Never tell a newly-interested prospect you’ll have to call them back to sell them something.

A Gathering of Experts: That’s sound advice. 

Mark Zokle: A trick I use is to set mini-goals for myself. Once I complete them, I get a small reward.

A Gathering of Experts: How do you feel about sharing goals with team members?

Mark Zokle: I highly encourage goal-sharing! They say that making your intentions known increases your chance of success by over 70%!

A Gathering of Experts: Wow.

Mark Zokle: It makes it about accountability. When you tell someone else that you are going to do something, you no longer have just yourself to report back to. People will ask you about your goals…no one wants to be that person who admits defeat!

A Gathering of Experts: That is a great point and surely a way to lead by example.

Mark Zokle: Right!

A Gathering of Experts: We appreciate your time today.

Mark Zokle: My pleasure.

A Gathering of Experts: Do you have anything closing words for our readers?

Mark Zokle: Just that being the person with a real commitment makes you 100x more valuable than someone who just has an interest in success.

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Q & A with Fred Wehba | Real Estate

Fred WehbaA Gathering of Experts: When are most residential properties listed on the market?

Fred Wehba: We usually see a rise in home listings in the spring when weather warms up.

A Gathering of Experts: How is today’s real estate market as compared to the big bubble burst of 2007?

Fred Wehba: I think we’ve pretty well recovered, with some places even hitting record high prices.

A Gathering of Experts: Do you think we are being set up for disaster again?

Fred Wehba: In some areas, possibly. However, most cities have seen steady gains of around 5% per year which is sustainable.

A Gathering of Experts: Do lower mortgage rates encourage buyers?

Fred Wehba: Absolutely and possibly more than any other factor.

A Gathering of Experts: But these rates can change so quickly…

Fred Wehba: That’s true. My best advice would be to lock in your rate when it’s at a comfortable number.

A Gathering of Experts: What is the difference between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market?

Fred Wehba: A seller’s’ market means there are fewer homes and they are selling for more money. A buyers’ market is just the opposite.

A Gathering of Experts: What’s considered a healthy supply-to-demand ratio in the real estate market?

Fred Wehba: Specifically for residential, a six month supply is about right.

A Gathering of Experts: What sells faster, turnkey properties or those that need work?

Fred Wehba: Move in ready homes are more popular for buyers who want to live on their property.

A Gathering of Experts: Are investors still buying the fixer uppers?

Fred Wehba: Always.

A Gathering of Experts: Do higher prices tend to drive investors away?

Fred Wehba: Usually, yes. It’s very difficult to turn a profit if price points are too high.

A Gathering of Experts: It’s been said that it’s cheaper to buy a home than to rent. Is that true?

Fred Wehba: For the most part, yes. Rental homes are in demand, and that drives up price.

A Gathering of Experts: How much more affordable is it to buy?

Fred Wehba: Month-to-month it is literally about half the cost.  Mortgage payments average 15% of a buyer’s income as opposed to 30% spent by renters.

A Gathering of Experts: Is credit still nearly impossible to obtain?

Fred Wehba: There are definitely more stringent requirements now, as opposed to before the economic collapse. However, many lenders are loosening up just a bit.

A Gathering of Experts: Are homes getting bigger?

Fred Wehba: Actually, no. Despite a steady economic recovery, the average new home size has dropped from around 2500 ft.² to around 2200 ft.².

A Gathering of Experts: Why do you think that is?

Fred Wehba: The new generation of homebuyer is more ecologically aware than their predecessors.

A Gathering of Experts: Does this affect home design?

Fred Wehba: Absolutely – it’s very difficult to sell a home now that isn’t outfitted with energy efficient appliances, windows, and plumbing.

A Gathering of Experts: Switching gears to commercial real estate. Are the supply levels consistent with residential?

Fred Wehba: Actually, commercial real estate is at an historic low.

A Gathering of Experts: Are investors still squeamish after all the losses the last few years?

Fred Wehba: Many are, yes, but some are hungry for risk.

A Gathering of Experts: Do you have any thoughts about how investors decide what in what area they want to spend?

Fred Wehba: That’s pretty simple, really. Investors follow jobs and people. The more an area is expanding, the more likely it is there will be a need for housing and commercial operations.

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Bath Planet Acrylic is Easy to Clean and Makes Any Bathroom Beautiful

Bath PlanetBath Planet acrylic products are made to be beautiful, according to the Bath Planet professional design consultants, and keeping them that way is easy. We recently sat down with Bath Planet remodeling experts who offered advice on how to care for the company’s popular acrylic bath and shower systems.

Gathering of Experts: Welcome and thanks for talking with us today.

Bath Planet: Always a pleasure!

GE: We’ve been hearing a lot about Bath Planet recently. We know the company sells bath and shower systems. But, what we’d like to know today is how difficult and time consuming these new bathrooms are to maintain.

Bath Planet: One of the main benefits of choosing our durable acrylic products is that they are easy to clean. All it takes is a wash cloth or soft sponge and plain tap water.

GE: Really?

Bath Planet: Yes, for daily maintenance. If for some reason one of our bath or shower products needs a deeper clean, a mild all-purpose cleaner will do the job just fine.

GE: Are all cleaners safe for acrylic?

Bath Planet: No! We can’t stress that enough. Only products that state they are for use on acrylics should be sprayed or wiped onto the surface.

GE: What about dishwashing liquid?

Bath Planet: That works well, too.

GE: So, what cleaning products should a proud new bathroom system owner avoid?

Bath Planet: Anything with ammonia, all abrasive cleansers, aerosol products, drain cleaners, and raw bleach. These harsh chemicals will not only cause irreparable damage, but will void the warranty, as well.

GE: You mentioned drain cleaners. Aren’t those a necessary evil?

Bath Planet: No, but the marketing campaigns they run would have you think so. Clearing a drain is actually not as difficult as they make it out to be.

GE: So what’s the best way to handle a hair clog, for example?

Bath Planet: Pushing or pulling on the clog is always the best way to remove the obstruction. This is accomplished with a simple plunger or plumber’s snake.

GE: If that doesn’t work, is it okay to pour the chemical drain cleaners in the tub?

Bath Planet: It’s never safe. Aside from the damaging their beautiful new space, drain cleaners are toxic and can harm the eyes and lungs. If the clog isn’t moving with manual force, it’s really best to call a professional.

GE: Let’s think again about cleaning a Bath Planet tub. Does the same care apply to wall surrounds and bath liners?

Bath Planet: Yes, of course.

GE: Do you have an approved list of cleaning products for those who feel water isn’t enough, or that have hard water buildup to contend with?

Bath Planet: Our approved cleaner list includes Simple Green Lime Scale Remover, anything carrying the Tilex brand, and KaBoom with Oxyclean. We provide a full list to our customers when they purchase one of our products.

GE: What about the popular Mr. Clean Magic Eraser?

Bath Planet: We’re afraid Mr. Clean and his Magic Erasers can dull the surface or, worse, cause chemical cracks. And there is nothing more disheartening than having a new spa-like retreat installed only to ruin it by trying to keep it clean.

GE: That’s really great to know. And we’ll leave our readers with that thought! Thanks again for spending time with us today.

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Airline Industry Suffers from Rising Fuel Costs, Shortage of Pilots

fuel-pricesIn a new report from the Government Accountability Office, there are currently fewer airplane seats and fewer flights available as compared with numbers from 2007.

Seats have declined 9 percent and flights 9 percent at larger airports, the study said. In smaller destinations, seats were down 18 percent and flights fell by 24 percent.

Only rural communities have avoided the impact of this trend. The study authors noted that many of the positive developments in the airline industry are a result of congressional efforts to keep small airports afloat. The number of flights serving Essential Air Service airports has increased about 20 percent since 2007, and the number of seats are up 8 percent. Of the 160 airports featured in the program, 43 are located in Alaska. [Read more…]

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Travel Expenses Impact Small Business

Business owners prefer face-to-face meetings but an increase in travel cost and non-compliance with corporate travel policies create challenges. There are solutions, however, that are simple and effective.

Problem: High Travel Costs

In a recent travel trends study, more than 84% of business owners cited ever-increasing hotel and airfare rates as a strain on their bottom line. However, many of these businesses also report a reduction in their travel budget. Despite higher cost and fewer miles per dollar, small businesses are spending more money than ever before on work-related trips.

A major cause for concern amongst travelers is difficulty during the reservation process. Many business travelers report that seat reservations on low-cost carriers are more difficult than ever to come by and ancillary services are challenging the book. [Read more…]

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Young Americans Prefer Electronic Media When Seeking Customer Service

In a new study by messaging service provider HeyWire Business, over half of the 700 respondents were more likely to use texting as their main method of accessing customer support. The survey results indicate a significant interest of consumers in today’s tech-savvy world to use text as a way to raise awareness of customer service issues.

Among people ages 18-34, 53 percent of consumers seeking customer support prefer using some form of electronic media – text, Web chat, email or social media – instead of picking up the phone and making a call. With younger Americans using text as a primary way to engage with brands and businesses around the world, this trend is expected to increase in popularity. [Read more…]

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James Cullem Comments on Cell Signaling Technology’s Patent Portfolio

 James CullemAs the former Chief Counsel and Director of Intellectual Property & Licensing at Cell Signaling Technology, Inc., James Cullem reflects on the pivotal issuance to the company of a U.S. patent covering a vital class of Context-Independent and Motif-Specific Antibodies.

A Gathering of Experts: Hello and thank you for joining us this morning.

James Cullem: Glad to be here with you as well.

A Gathering of Experts: What does this patent and portfolio mean for Cell Signaling Technology?

James Cullem: The patents on this novel and powerful class of antibodies validates the company’s leadership role in developing and commercializing new reagents that are advancing signal transduction research to elucidate diseases like cancer.  And, of course, as a competitive market advantage, it provides the company with a highly valuable market exclusivity in leveraging this technology towards diagnostics and therapeutics development. [Read more…]

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Study: Businesses Loosen the Purse Strings to Cover Travel Expenses

expensesThe new Business Travel Expense Trends survey has revealed some interesting insights about the spending habits of many U.S.-based organizations.

Certify, the world’s leading cloud-based expense report management software provider,  developed this survey featuring 137 North American companies. Fifty-eight percent of respondents spent more on travel in 2013 compared with their 2012 spending.

Travel expenses are known as one of the most common work-related tax deductions.  The Business Travel Expense Trends survey shows that businesses are demonstrating a little more flexibility in terms of their operational expenses. In 2014, 49 percent of all survey respondents said they plan to spend slightly more on travel expenses. Thirty percent said their expenses will remain the same. [Read more…]

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