Local News Since 1890 Now Online!

Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

Vent maintenance key to dryer fire prevention

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Home Improvement, Local News, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on April 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm

dryer_vent_3_ductzDayton, OH – According to the United States Fire Administration nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires are reported each year, causing an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and more than $35 million in property damage. Statistics show that the most common cause of those fires (some 34-percent) was failure to keep the traps and dryer vents clean and free of lint.

Many people proceed from the incorrect impression that the dryer’s removable lint trap will protect prevent major lint build up. Dryer lint can blow right past the trap and end up packed around the machine’s internal components and clog the entire length of a vent pipe.

Click to watch the TV interview with Larry Phillips on WDTN-TV2

Click to watch the TV interview with Larry Phillips on WDTN-TV2

Larry Phillips is the owner of DUCTZ of Southeast Miami Valley, a professional duct and vent cleaning service. “The most important reason to have the dryer vent cleaned is safety,” Phillips says. “There are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of a dryer vent fire.”

dryer_vent_2_ductzFirst, Phillips suggests paying close attention to the dryer’s operation. “If you notice that your clothes are taking longer to dry, especially if it’s more than 50 minutes, you should probably have your dryer vent cleaned, or even replaced,” Phillips says.

“Your dryer vent should be made of flexible aluminum and never a PVC pipe or plastic material. Plastic vent pipe materials may add to the fire hazard. Your dryer vent should also vent to the outdoors – never indoors, especially natural gas units. Gases vented during the dryer’s operation can be harmful to people and pets.”

Critters can be cause problems for dryer vents as well. “Outside dryer vents should be free of debris and any louvered cover must be able to open easily. Also, be sure to check the outside vent often, as small animals and birds often see the vent as an ideal place to make a home.”

dryer_vent_1_ductzFinally, Phillips advises to never use duct tape on a dryer vent, but metal foil tape. Most building codes restrict the length of dryer vent pipes to no more than 25 feet. Longer pipes with sharp turns or raised and lowered sections can be of particular concern because lint gets trapped in the elbows and is difficult to detect and remove.

For those who rent a home, Phillips offers this advice. “Ask your landlord what their dryer vent cleaning schedule is. Most landlords are required to have the dryer vent cleaned each year by their local government.”

For more information on dryer vent safety, contact Larry Phillips at DUCTZ of Southeast Miami Valley, (937) 399-8500. Online at http://www.ductz.com/contact-us/location-map/ohio/ductz-of-se-miami-valley/.

Duct cleaning reduces indoor air pollution

In Economy, Education, Health, Home Improvement, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on February 25, 2015 at 12:51 pm

According to estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air may be as much as 70-percent more polluted than outside. Much of that contamination can be attributed to bacteria and mold growing inside residential and commercial air handling systems.

Allergies, asthma, and other illnesses may be aggravated by microbe-laden air circulated through a building’s duct system. Larry Phillips, owner of Ductz of Southwest Miami Valley, is a professional residential and commercial duct cleaning specialist. A 30-year veteran of the health care industry, Phillips chose a second career that offered the opportunity to continue improving the well being of the community.

Air duct before cleaning.

Air duct before cleaning.

“A thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the air ducts can minimize pollution-causing agents lurking in the air system,” Phillips said. “Cleaning the air system at a seasonal change, such as when switching over from heat to air conditioning, is ideal.”

Phillips also cautions consumers to make sure the duct cleaning service they hire is well qualified. “Duct cleaning technicians should be well trained and follow the guidelines of the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA), the professional organization that sets the standard for air system cleaning,” he said.

“It should take 4 to 5 hours to clean an average size home’s duct system,” said Phillips. “If done properly, the cleaning should not have to be done annually, but instead only every few years.” Phillips suggests that, in addition to a high efficiency filtration system, air duct sanitization and ultraviolet germicidal disinfection equipment can maintain the air quality after cleaning.

Besides older, existing structures, it’s also a good idea to clean the air systems of new construction before the space is occupied. In new buildings, duct work, filters and vents can be layered with dirt, sawdust, and drywall dust from the construction process.

Air duct after cleaning.

Air duct after cleaning.

Home owners and operators of commercial laundry facilities should also pay close attention to the condition of clothes dryer vents. Lint that escapes the trap inside the dryer accumulates inside the vent tube creating a fire hazard. According to statistics provided by Ductz, an estimated 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 310 injuries are associated with the lint in clothes dryers annually.

“Cleaning the ducts and dryer vents is also good for the environment,” Phillips noted. “Regular maintenance of the air circulation system improves the efficiency of heating and air equipment which helps to save energy, and reduce operating costs.” For more information contact Larry Phillips at Ductz of Southwest Miami Valley by calling (937) 399-8500.

Free radon test kits available

In Education, Health, Home Improvement, Local News, Technology, Uncategorized on February 2, 2015 at 2:35 pm

radon signXENIA, OH—As part of National Radon Action Month, the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA), in partnership with Greene County Combined Health District, is offering 1,000 free radon test kits for Miami Valley homeowners to check their homes for elevated radon levels.

Radon is a colorless, odorless soil gas that can build up in homes and may increase the risk of lung cancer for occupants. The Ohio Department of Health estimates about half of Ohio families live in homes with elevated radon levels. Last year, over 600 Miami Valley residents tested their homes for radon with free test kits provided by a grant from Ohio Department of Health.

Testing is the only way to know if elevated levels exist in a home, so Ohio Department of Health recommends all homes be tested, regardless of age, location, or construction type. Elevated indoor radon levels can be corrected with the installation of a ventilation system to direct the gas outdoors.

Homeowners interested in reducing their family’s lung cancer risk can visit http://www.rapca.org or call RAPCA at 937-225-4898 to request a kit. More radon information is available by visiting http://www.rapca.org, http://www.epa.gov/radon, or http://radon.utoledo.edu.

UPDATE: CFL bulbs save money, but threaten safety

In Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Environment, Health, Home Improvement, Opinion, Politics, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on June 10, 2014 at 8:40 am

GLD_CFL_TV2_SCREENSHOTSpecial Update / Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November of 2013 and updated in April 2014. Since that time, and investigative report by Pam Elliot at WDTN-TV, 2News in Dayton has yielded the following information on the dangers of CFL bulbs.

Deer In Headlines author and Jamestown Comet publisher, Gery L. Deer, was tapped as the initial interview source for the investigation based on the content of this edition of his column. Here for you is the video from that investigation which aired on Monday, May 19, 2014.

Click here for a link to the full 2News investigative story which includes suggestions for the safe use of CFL bulbs.

 

dih-logo-SEApril 7, 2014 – The incandescent light bulb was developed in 1876 by Thomas Edison, founder of General Electric. But as more energy efficient technology is introduced, even Edison’s greatest achievement has been all but extinguished forever. On September 24th, 2013, it was announced that the last of the incandescent light bulbs had rolled off the GE assembly line to be replaced by compact fluorescents, or “CFLs.” The spiral-twisted tube bulbs use low-energy, fluorescent technology and there is really nothing cutting-edge about them, except for their size and the potential fire risk when they go bad.

Fluorescent lighting has been around since the late 19th Century, but wasn’t developed for widespread use until the 1930s. Less expensive to operate than their incandescent counterparts, most of the bulbs last longer and are safe for everyday use. But as the environmentalist lobby pushes for more energy-efficient or, “green,” technology, has the heightened concern for the environment surpassed that for human safety? Recently I went into my kitchen and switched on the light over the sink, as I did countless times throughout the week. I left the room for a moment and when I returned it was dark, the familiar morning glow of the light fixture having just been replaced with the smell of burned ceramic and melted plastic. Upon investigation I discovered that the CFL bulb in the overhead light had quite literally burned out.

20W CFL Bulb from Gery Deer's kitchen.   Photo by Gery L. Deer

20W CFL Bulb from Gery Deer’s kitchen. Photo by Gery L. Deer

Just before it went dark, the 20-Watt, General Electric CFL bulb I had installed a few months earlier had gone so hot that it flamed through the plastic and ceramic base, causing it to melt and crack at the bottom of the glass tubing. The discovery of such a potential fire hazard was, to say the least, surprising, but apparently the problem is well-documented and manufacturers have been aware of it since the product’s release.

In a Snopes.com article John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager at Underwriters Laboratories (UL), said about how CFLs expire, “People expect to see the bright flash and to hear the popping like a traditional incandescent bulb, but the burn out of a CFL is different. The light dims over time and might produce a more dramatic pop, emit a distinct odor, and maybe even release some smoke.” Drengenberg is referring to the Voltage Dependent Resistor (VDR). The CFL burns out when the ballast overheats, causing the VDR to open the circuit like a blown fuse and prevent any hazards.

Instead of resulting in a mild puff of smoke, however, the heat generated can, as in my case, burn through the base. As I dug deeper into this issue, I discovered countless articles, videos and online debates regarding the safety of CLF lighting and how there might be more to their compulsory introduction than simply reducing energy costs. It’s important to note here that Underwriters Laboratories is not a government agency but a private company paid by manufacturers to “certify” the safety of their products.

DP&L has a vested interest in getting these bulbs out to the public. It's unclear where that interest lies, but here is the proof - a Walmart display in Xenia, Ohio offers huge discounts.

DP&L has a vested interest in getting these bulbs out to the public. It’s unclear where that interest lies, but here is the proof – a Walmart display in Xenia, Ohio offers huge discounts.

In the early 1990s, I worked for a major appliance manufacturer as an engineering technologist following UL guidelines in operational and safety testing of ovens, ranges and cook-tops. In my experience, a bit of heat and smoke being released from a popping resister is, by itself, not enough to cause the kind of damage apparently so common with this product.

I am well aware of UL testing practices and it is beyond my comprehension how anything short of political pressure could be responsible for the approval of a consumer electronics product that literally lets flame out of its casing. From a consumer standpoint, it’s baffling to me how UL, or the Federal Trade Commission – the governmental agency responsible for consumer safety, can justify the approval of a device that clearly presents a fire safety hazard under “normal use” conditions. Incidentally, the CFLs also contain mercury, another potential environmental health hazard often conveniently overlooked.

It is entirely possible that these products were rushed to market, not so much to help reduce pollution or save money for the consumer, but to further a political agenda. Whatever the reason, the consumer should be aware of the inherent dangers and always be careful when using CFL lighting.  (End original story.)

Here are some detailed photos of the original, failed bulb. General Electric requested it be returned for investigation (we have complied).

 

UPDATE : June 6, 2014 – Today Gery L. Deer received several boxes of light bulbs from General Electric (Pictured below). The shipment included several packages of original, incandescent bulbs and several packages of LED bulbs. Once again, it is important to note that Gery insisted to GE’s representatives, by phone, he was not looking for any sort of restitution, but simply wanted to make the public aware of the dangers surrounding these bulbs. But, here they are anyway.

An assortment of incandescent and LED light bulbs sent to Gery L. Deer by General Electric on June 6.

An assortment of incandescent and LED light bulbs sent to Gery L. Deer by General Electric on June 6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIDEO UPDATE: June 10, 2014 – Hard to believe – ANOTHER shipment of LED light bulbs from General Electric. These are of a totally different style and are said to “distribute” light more efficiently. Watch the video for a complete follow up.

 

Jamestown Comet Editor Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business contributor to WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton program. More at www.gerydeer.com.

Xenia design firm receives Best of Houzz 2014 award

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Home Improvement, Local News, Uncategorized on February 7, 2014 at 5:15 pm
Xenia business owner Nancy Gentry of Your Space Your Sanctuary  (Photo by Mark Bealer)

Xenia business owner Nancy Gentry of Your Space Your Sanctuary (Photo by Mark Bealer)

Xenia, Ohio – The interior design firm, Your Space Your Sanctuary, LLC, has been awarded “Best of Houzz” by Houzz, a leading online platform for home remodeling and design. The Xenia, Ohio firm was chosen among the top-rated building, remodeling and design professionals based on an annual survey and analysis of more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

Houzz.com provides people with an easy access to design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews for home remodeling and design. The Best of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design.

Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design Awards are chosen based on the most popular of more than 230 million professional images saved by Houzz.com users to personal idea books, similar to Pinterest.

Badge_LargeWinners receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. The badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area listed on the site.

For owner Nancy Gentry, interior design began as a second career.  Following a lifelong passion for design, she returned to school to complete an interior design degree and opened Your Space Your Sanctuary in 2009. “My firm was born from the premise that every space should be a sanctuary,” Nancy said. “We help our clients create a place for inspiration, a space to relax and renew.”

One of the completed designs by Nancy Gentry.

One of the completed designs by Nancy Gentry.

“We’re delighted to recognize Nancy among our ‘Best Of’ professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision.”

Users on Houzz can identify top-rated professionals like Nancy Gentry and determine whose work best fits project aspirations. They can also contact professionals directly through the Houzz platform, to ask questions about their work and review responses to questions from others.

According to Nancy, collaboration and communication are key components to professional success and her association with Houzz provides an ideal platform. “Your Space, Your Sanctuary takes pride in partnering with a team of professionals for every project and together, we create solid design solutions for happy clients,” she said.

“I’m glad our work has provided so much inspiration to others looking to harmonize their own space.” For more information contact Nancy Gentry at Your Space Your Sanctuary by calling (937) 545-1565 or see photos and reviews online at http://www.houzz.com/pro/nancy-pollack-gentry/your-space-your-sanctuary.

Aging in place: Helping seniors remain home longer

In Economy, Home Improvement, Local News, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on January 8, 2014 at 11:26 am

DIH LOGOCurrent statistics show approximately 1.3 million American seniors now reside in nursing homes at an annual cost of more than $83,000 per room. As more of the population comes to retirement age in the next decade, those numbers are expected to triple. Some seniors, however, are choosing to invest money to modify their current homes to meet specific accessibility needs so they can remain there as long as possible.

The professional building trade refers to it as, “aging in place,” adapting an existing home to serve as a long-term residence including the retrofit of service equipment such as grab bars, ramps, side-entry bathtubs and so on. Other alterations include the widening of hallways, lowering of cabinets and sinks, or the addition of an elevator.

Some builders now offer certified contracting services for the express purpose of refitting a home for longer occupancy, regardless of disability. For the last several years, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has provided a specialized certification called, “Certified Aging in Place Specialist, or CAPS. The program is designed to educate contractors on the latest methods and products for creating a safe, supportive environment in a senior’s existing residence.

The number of seniors living in retirement communities and nursing facilities is expected to triple in the next decade.

The number of seniors living in retirement communities and nursing facilities is expected to triple in the next decade.

Keep in mind that when you hire a Certified Aging in Place Specialist you are buying a service rather than a product. Each CAPS professional draws from a different knowledge base and will approach your project from a unique perspective, focusing on your needs.

Marty Walling, owner of Marty Walling Construction, LLC, in Riverside, Ohio, has been an NAHB Certified Aging in Place Specialist for more than two years. According to Walling, the process should be all about the individual experience and meeting the needs of the resident.

“A CAPS professional is trained to identify and recommend attractive design solutions that create a safe and comfortable environment for individuals who want to age in place,” Walling said. “Aging in place is more than the simple addition of grab bars and bathtub seating. These modifications offer seniors the ability to live in their own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

But not every contractor is right for these kinds of jobs and consumers should do their homework before hiring. The first step is to contact the NAHB to find a CAPS designated builder in your area. This is a niche market and few remodelers have the proper certifications.

Next, have a meeting with the builder in the home to be remodeled and discuss the needs and expectations of the project. Attendees should include the caregiver and, if possible, the individual who will most benefit from the alterations. He or she can demonstrate any accessibility problems in their existing environment so the builder can properly adapt solutions to the need.

Expense and time are also of importance and should be discussed as soon as needs are assessed and products are selected. Walling noted, “Project costs will vary with need but the average bathroom upgrade, for example, takes about two weeks to complete and the resident can remain in the home while the work is done.”

Décor should also be considered when making changes to existing furnishings. “Savvy CAPS builders will work with designers to incorporate color and style to match the home’s décor and do their best to avoid the sterile, hospital look,” Walling said. “There are safety products available that blend right in with the current design of the space which can sometimes make the modifications less obvious.”

It’s also important to stress that this kind of remodel is helpful to all types of people, not just the elderly or disabled. Alterations can be made for any need and it is all about making the homeowner more comfortable and providing them with a feeling of safety, security and ease of access.

If you or a loved one are considering nursing care because of accessibility and you own your home, an Aging in Place upgrade might be the right solution. A CAPS specialist can help you determine what works for you or whether the changes are practical, mechanically and financially. In either case, the safety and security of the resident should be the primary concern.

 

Deer In Headlines author and Living Dayton business contributor, Gery L. Deer in the "Stafford Jewelers Diamond Room" at WDTN.

Gery L. Deer is an independent business contributor to WDTN-TV2’s LIVING DAYTON program. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.

There’s No Place Like Home. Again.

In Business, Children and Family, Economy, Home Improvement, Jobs, Local News, Media, Opinion, psychology, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on November 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

Economists suggest that the Great Recession is over, but the aftereffects are still quite apparent. Along with record unemployment and a troubled political landscape the fiscal meltdown left one more frightening thing in its wake … junior, who came back home to live in your basement.

According to a February 14, 2012 story in Time magazine, more than 25 million adults returned to live with their parents because they are either unemployed or underemployed, or for a variety of other reasons, primarily economic. Another piece in a recent edition of USA Today quotes Paul Taylor, director of the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project.  “This is a case of families adapting to difficult circumstances,” he says. “Family is the ultimate social safety net.”

A temporary social safety net, yes, but it shouldn’t be indefinite. Most of the adults, single men and women between the ages of 22 and 34, moved back in with Mom and Dad because he or she could not find work in the same field or at a previous level of employment. With rent and other necessities becoming more difficult to manage, they end up on the doorstep of their family home hoping for a fresh start.

Unfortunately, because of lackluster employment growth in America, there seems to be very little light at the end of the tunnel for those empty nesters who invited kids back into the fold with open arms, but many of whom who were also ready to settle in and enjoy retirement. Instead, they’ve been returned to the days before the kids shipped off to the ivy covered walls of college.

Practical society places great importance on financial and personal independence and the idea that your job defines you. For most people moving back to the family home is a last resort and can often have a profound effect on the ego and the social life; a state to be avoided if at all possible.

For others, however, it’s just a cheap way to get out of having to actually look for a job. If you’re a parent whose children have returned to overstay their welcome, the main question now is when to show Maynard G. Krebs the door. Since you’re home with your adult kids, you can explain who he is after they read this.

It’s hard to say when it’s time to cut the purse strings. The lack of self-esteem brought on by unemployment and social rejection can really have a crushing effect on your child’s motivation to change a comfortable, safe situation.

After a time, gentle encouragement might be ineffective and you may need to use stronger, more direct measures. You might try saying something like, “Junior, it’s time for you to take whatever job you can and get back out there.” If that doesn’t work, try “Get out.” Just kidding; unless you think it would work then feel free to use the quote.

Kids, when you come back home, be respectful of the fact that it is still your parents’ house and you need to do whatever you can to make your stay effortless for them. Do your own laundry, cook, buy your own food, help with bills wherever possible and, by all means, be grateful!

Things will get better out there. There has been some improvement and there are jobs available. Sometimes it’s necessary to swallow one’s pride and take whatever work comes along, always striving to get back to wherever it is you want to be. Just keep at it and don’t give up.

 

Voting With Conscience, Not So Easy

In Economy, Education, Home Improvement, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, Science, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on October 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

 

 

 

 

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

In just a few days, Americans will go to the polls to elect a new president or retain the old one for another term. It’s been a heated race almost from the start but now that we’re down to the wire, the candidates are running in a dead heat.

Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are neck-in-neck in the polls and pounding the pavement in battleground states like Ohio and Virginia, Hurricane Sandy notwithstanding. But with so much negativity – some say far more than in elections past – how will the non-partisan and undecided voter make a choice come November 6? It’s probably going to end up, for most, to be a vote of conscience.

Voting your conscience may not be easy, but it’s often the only way to feel as if you made a difference and chose the candidate that best serves your values and interests. Sometimes, you have to say, “What’s in it for me?”

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say how any individual might benefit from this election especially since most of the campaigning has been about one candidate saying why the other is bad, rather than telling us what he or she is going to do to once in office. Individual benefit will be based on a kind of trickle-down effect depending on which way the national election goes and how much change there is likely to be at the congressional level.

Once again, as noted previously in this column, it’s the local elections to which people should be giving more attention. It’s at the ground level that things actually get done in a way that directly affects the voter, regardless of how much we’d like to believe otherwise.

When weighing the issues of economic distress and job scarcity, the average person only has his or her experiences to call upon for reference. Discussing these problems on a national scale is almost pointless since the changes needed to affect these issues have to occur at the local level. That leaves the voter even more stymied.

Once more, we’re back to voting with our conscience. If you’re undecided, look at the following characteristics of the candidates – whether local or national.

First, is he or she right for the job? Do they give of the ‘air’ of a president or whatever position they intend to hold? Take the time to surf the internet and review video and read speeches they’ve given before and after becoming a candidate for office. Try to see around the fluff and the ‘marketing’ done to promote the candidate and look for threads of the person underneath. Do they seem genuine? Do you think they believe what they’re telling the people?

Do they share your personal values? I’ve long said that it’s simply a bad idea to choose a presidential candidate based on their religious beliefs or because of their take on subjects like abortion. But, when left with a tied score on the business issues, moral issues have to be taken into consideration, so you have little options at that point.

Does the candidate seem to flip-flop, only saying what his people are telling him to say or what he thinks the voters want to hear? Or, do you believe he holds to a set of ideals? This is probably the most important part of choosing a candidate in any election. Most politicians say what they expect the constituents want to hear. If he or she is a republican, conservative ideology comes across more prominently, and the same with being a democrat; the liberal voice will be louder.

But in order to capture a broader audience, the candidates will “pad” their ideology with sprinklings of the other side, or implied agreement with the opposition in small, virtually insignificant ways. This makes them seem more bi-partisan in an attempt to interest the other side.

Voting your conscience is much harder than voting based in facts and issue stance. Try to do your homework before you go to the polls. Choose the candidate you can feel good about supporting throughout their term and remember, no matter who you vote for, get out and vote.

Riverside Builder Opens New Contracting Firm

In Business, Economy, Home Improvement, Local News, Media, Senior Lifestyle on March 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Marty Walling, owner and president of Marty Walling Construction, LLC hopes to grow his business while serving his community.

RIVERSIDE, OH – Riverside,Ohio resident Marty Walling started his professional career in 1977 on the factory floor as an apprentice at the Inland Division of General Motors. Multiple layoffs and inconsistent work helped him to decide on a career change into the building trades.

“I had always dabbled in building and construction, so I left GM in 1982 and went to work for a builder in Beavercreek, Ohio who was putting up a 126-unit condo development,” says Walling. During nearly three decades with the same company, Walling held the positions of vice president, treasurer and construction manager.

In October of 2011, highly experienced and well connected, he decided to go into business for himself and established Marty Walling Construction, LLC . The company provides complete residential and commercial remodeling and construction services, from the most basic kitchen and bath upgrade to building new homes.  Working on the client’s behalf, the firm handles everything from permits and adherence to local building regulations to managing any subcontracting work that needs to be done.

Walling also offers expertise in several specialized construction services including certifications in energy efficient, green building technologies and home safety modifications for seniors, also known as “aging in place.”

As a Certified Green Professional, Walling’s firm specializes in Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) construction techniques. An ICF building combines polystyrene foam with reinforced concrete to provide greater energy efficiency (equivalent to R 22.4 insulation), as well as increased fire and storm resistance.

“Our focus is on quality work at a fair price with a focus on building a long-term relationship with our customers,” Walling says. “I’ve got a great team of professionals working with us including framers, roofers, plumbers, electricians and drywall hangers; a cohesive group that works together to prevent problems before they can happen.”

Walling’s work ethic is grounded in a strong belief that giving back to the community and helping those less fortunate is paramount to personal and professional fulfillment. Over the years, he has used his skills as a volunteer with Catch the Building Spirit , a collaborative between Dayton area Catholics and Presbyterians to build housing for low income families through Habitat for Humanity. In 2010, Walling also traveled toHaiti to aid in the relief efforts after the devastating earthquake that struck the country.

Opening a new business amidst a slowly recovering economy offered Walling at once challenge and opportunity and his intention is to focus on the Miami Valley region. “I want to provide a level of service that will allow my clients to experience the ease of building.” For more information about Marty Walling Construction, LLC, call (937) 475-2902 or visit the company’s new website at www.martywallingconstruction.com.

Local IT Firm Warns Of Slow PC Repair Scams

In Business, Home Improvement, Local News on June 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm

JAMESTOWN – Over the past several months Miami Valley residents have been exposed to a barrage of ads from websites and software companies who claim that they will clean up a computer’s programming and make it run faster. These firms then take credit card information, remote into the PC and install invasive software that, at best, turns off some of the Windows maintenance features.

Local writer and entrepreneur, Gery L. Deer, is the owner of Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd., an on-site computer support firm based in Jamestown. Deer said his company has been inundated with calls relating to consumers who have been taken advantage of by companies offering so-called optimization packages to speed up slow computers.

“Computers become slower over time for a multitude of reasons ranging from overloaded startup cues to excessive maintenance software,” Deer said. “These companies use scare tactics and offer an online program that they claim will clean up your computer and make it run faster. Usually, they install expensive, highly invasive programs that conflict with your machine’s built-in maintenance software.”

Deer added that he’s had to go so far as to issue confirmation of repair letters to credit card companies on behalf his clients to help them recover payments when refund requests were ignored by the online service providers.

“One of the ways we diagnose computer problems is to find out how the ailing machine is used and who uses it,” Deer said. “That’s something that cannot be done over the phone and an on-site check of the computer is far less costly.”

Deer also noted that there is rarely a need to install third-party software to speed up a computer. Additional programs running in the background only add an operational burden to the processor and would just serve to slow the machine down even more.

Security is also an issue here. Deer cautions people about letting any third-party have access or remote control over your computer. “Most of these companies use the Windows remote access program to go into your computer and manipulate its operation, load software and even extract information,” Deer said.

“Because you’ve given them access, these individuals, most of which are out of state and often out of the country, now have the ability to see any information stored on your computer, no matter how private.”

In response to these calls, Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd., has initiated a flat-rated computer check. Priced between $49 and $79 per hour, depending on the type of service and the location, a technician will perform a check on the computer to look for malware, viruses and the presence of any unwanted software.

“The goal here is to help people keep from being ripped off by these companies,” Deer acknowledges, adding that regular maintenance is just as important to a computer as it is to a car. “If you’ve already used one of these companies, with negative results, we may be able to help recover your money. We want to try to help our community be aware of these problems, provide solutions and offer steps consumers can take to prevent them.”

From now until July 21st, Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd., will be offering free phone or email consultations to help local consumers determine whether they need further help with slow, lagging computers.. For more information call (937) 902-4857, or visit http://www.deercomputerconsulting.com.