More severe weather is on the way for the southern Plains on Tuesday as well as parts of the Midwest and the Northeast.
Even as the people of Oklahoma (especially Moore) recover from yesterday’s devastating storms, it appears that the threat of further tornado activity remains. If you live in the high threat area detailed in the above pictures, please stay safe!
For more information on how you can contribute to the Moore, OK relief efforts and prepare for any other tornadoes that might come this season, please check out the post at our main blog.
Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to all those affected by the tornadoes from yesterday.
Heavy downpours from these storms can lead to localized flash flooding, especially in low-lying areas and areas with poor drainage.
Tornadoes are not expected with these storms; however, wind gusts up to 65 mph may knock over trees and power lines.
Our great customers in the Texas Panhandle and Dallas-Fort Worth area should be on the lookout for thunderstorms and other severe weather all weekend long. This is especially timely in light of the tornadoes and other harsh weather that the area experienced earlier this week.
Creating and Maintaining a Dry Basement in the Northeast U.S.
Though it sounds odd, concrete is porous and water can be wicked through it by capillary action. Thus, the concrete basements in New York and Pennsylvania homes can be the main conduits for bringing unwanted cold and moisture into your home. Cold, wet basements also make it harder to keep your home warm in the winter. During the summer months, water vapor condensing in basements can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew and cause any number of health problems. The answer to these issues - create the environment for a dry basement.
Wet when it Rains
The easiest fix for a wet basement will actually occur up on your roof – specifically, the rain gutters.
In general, keep your rain gutters clean of debris and point your downspouts so that rain run-off is channeled as far away from your home as possible. However, there are a couple more nefarious reasons why you might have a wet basement, despite your best efforts.
Watch out for Rodents
If you find rodents that burrow along the side of your house’s foundation, you might have a bigger problem than you realize, since the holes dug by these small mammals can channel water down into un-compacted soil against the foundation.
For instance, a groundhog burrow can be 6 inches across and run several yards below ground surface. Chipmunks might be cute, too, but five or six of the active little guys will turn the soil around your foundation into Swiss cheese. In any case, you’re going to want to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
Water, Water Everywhere
In older homes, concrete block foundations tend to leak more because the mortar (or grout) is damaged by moisture over time. Water will penetrate through weak or crumbling mortar until it finds its way into your basement. Patching the concrete block with vinyl leak-stopping concrete in the mortar joints may just force the water to find another way out. This is because concrete blocks are hollow and their holes (void) collect several inches of water when it rains. The pressure of this water at the bottom where it leaks can be 10 psi or more. If the water is held back, it will continue to fill other block void along the foundation until it can force its way out.
Here’s an inexpensive fix for getting the water away from the foundation and on your way to a dry basement. It requires some PVC pipe, silicone caulk, and a floor drain.
Find the place in your concrete block foundation that leaks the most. When the weather has been dry for 3 or 4 days, bore a 3/4 inch hole just at or just below the leak. Insert a 1/2 inch PVC pipe 1/2 into the hole and seal it into place with the silicone caulk. Connect more PVC pipe to the exposed pipe until it reaches a floor drain.
The pipe drains water from the block void before pressure can build. Less water in the block means your foundation will be drier and concrete sealants will be more effective at preserving the concrete and keeping out moisture.
Enemy From Below
While it might not be as dramatic as a trickle of water across your basement floor or a rodent digging around like it’s the golf course in Caddyshack, moisture from the soil also wicks into concrete from the sides and from below even when it’s not raining. Primarily, this is the condition that causes the cold basement in winter and the damp moldy dungeon-like space in the summer. The solution for creating a dry basement is to insulate and install a vapor barrier. In the EPA drawing, it’s done with rigid Styrofoam insulation and a drainage mat (sometimes called “dimple board”).
The Styrofoam panel seals off the moisture coming through the concrete and insulates against moist inside air condensing on the cold concrete wall. The plastic dimple board seals out moisture coming through the floor, allows for necessary drainage, and also lets air circulate underneath to keep the floor surface dry.
In short, it’s important to find ways that control the moisture around your home effectively. By following any of the recommendations described above, you will able to protect your home and make your dry basement into an enjoyable living space.
First Photo courtesy of EPA.
Third Photo courtesy of the EPA.
Keep your Home and Family Safe this May with National Electrical Safety Month
It’s National Electrical Safety Month, and Bounce Energy wants to make you aware of ways that you can make your home and business safer from electrical failure. Started in 1994 by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), this month-long event is an “annual campaign to educate key audiences about the steps that can be taken in order to reduce the number of electrically-related fires, fatalities, injuries, and property loss.”
Now, we can hear what you’re thinking: “I appreciate the effort, but do I really need to worry about electrical safety all the time? There’s decent wiring in my home and business, I keep plastic covers over the outlets at home, and my kids are taught not to stick metal objects into exposed outlets. What’s the point of National Electrical Safety Month?”
We’re glad you asked. According to the ESFI, “Each year, electrical failures are the cause of 43,900 home fires, resulting in 438 deaths, 1,430 injuries and $1.47 billion in property damage. … Since 1999, an average of 496 children ages 14 and under have died each year due to unintentional fire or burn-related injury. As for the older population, the risk for individuals aged 65 and older dying in a fire is 2.6 times greater than that of the general population, and this risk increases with age.”
Granted, we’re not the alarmist sort here at Bounce Energy. We believe that most people use common sense when dealing with the electricity for their home or business, as safety is a conscious decision people make every single day. However, we also realize that accidents happen we they are least expected, and this is certainly true of electrical failure.
What makes National Electrical Safety Month important in our estimation is that it provides every family and small business owner the opportunity to check the wiring for their home and business as a precaution We’re not trying to raise the specter of anything negative or horrible happening; we’re looking to help you be aware of what could happen so that you can make preparations that prevent the possibility of electrical failure.
Thanks to the hard work of the ESFI, there is plenty of material available for to help you improve electrical safety so that you can ensure your home or business will never experience electrical failure and that the people most important to you are kept from harm. Please visit the ESFI website and the following for more information about how you can learn from National Electrical Safety Month in 2013:
- Resources for Older Adults
- Resources for Children
- Resources for Homeowners and Consumers
- Resources for the Workplace
- Electrical Safety Advocate Guide
Also, be sure to follow Bounce Energy on Twitter and Facebook all month long to learn a variety of tips and ideas to improve the electrical safety in your life. We’ve also created our own great list of 7 tips for maintaining electrical safety at your home or business.
Take a Family Trip in Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York before Summer is in Swing
Summer is quickly approaching, and that means two things: 1) The oppressive summer heat will be here sooner than we expect; and 2) Tourists will be flocking in droves to various vacation hot spots all around the US. So, this May, plan a family trip to one of your favorite locations so that you can avoid being swarmed by out-of-towners and the sweltering summer heat. Here are some of our recommended family trips to take in Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York before summer arrives in earnest.
San Antonio. Spend the day walking along the famous River Walk, and just enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the restaurants, shops, and attractions that populate the winding San Antonio River. You can also choose from family-friendly activities like Fiesta Texas and Sea World to keep kids entertained all day long. Don’t forget to take some time to tour The Alamo and the Spanish Mission Tour to soak in some history while you are there.
Fredericksburg. Pack up the family and head to the quaint German town of Fredericksburg. Nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, you can spend the day shopping, eating, and learning about the region’s history up and down Main Street and surrounding areas. If you are looking for a little more activity with this family trip, grab some sandwiches to go and head to Enchanted Rock for some hiking and picnicking. Also don’t miss out on Wine Road 290 where you can enjoy some great Texan wine at a couple of the ten wineries that operate within mere miles of Fredericksburg.
New York City. With all that The Big Apple has to offer, how could it not be included as one of our must-see destinations for a family trip you should take before summer? Catch a Broadway show or maybe a baseball game at either Yankee Stadium or Shea Stadium. Other popular destinations include Central Park, Times Square, FAO Schwartz, and the American Museum of Natural History (just to name a few). Expand your culinary palate by eating at different restaurants in each borough and around town. In New York City, there really is something for everyone.
Niagara Falls. Enjoy the majestic wonders of the great Niagara Falls. This massive display of nature in action has attracted people from around the world for centuries. In addition, you can visit Six Flags Darian Lake (New York’s largest theme park), the Aquarium of Niagara, Old Fort Niagara, and more! We also recommend taking in the fine restaurants, shopping, golfing, and wine-tasting down the Niagara Wine Trail.
Hershey. Calling all kids and chocolate lovers! Plan your next trip to the cradle of chocolate n America. Here, you can learn all about how chocolate is made at the Hershey’s Chocolate Factory, enjoy excitement and thrills from attractions like roller coasters at Hershey Park, or relax the day away at the Chocolate Spa. Spend hours at Hershey’s Chocolate World, where you can choose from an assortment of activities such as take the Great American Chocolate Tour, create your own candy bar, or participate in a chocolate tasting adventure.
The Poconos. Leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind you and head to the Poconos Mountains. Whether you are up for fishing, horseback riding, biking, or hiking, you are sure to enjoy the beautiful sights of the this gorgeous mountain range. In addition, families can enjoy Poconos waterparks like the Camelback Mountain Waterpark that features over 35 different rides, slides, attractions, haunted tours, and animal parks – all designed to provide fun activities for families of all shapes and sizes.
What are some of your favorite destinations for a family trip? Where would you like to visit before summer arrives?
San Antonio River Walk image courtesy of Tim Pearce, Los Gatos.
Niagara Falls image courtesy of Kevin Timothy.
Hershey, PA Gardens image courtesy of lostinmiami.
Show Mom you love her with a Three-Course Meal on Mother’s Day
Let‘s face it, Moms are busy people. They wear all kinds of hats - from chauffeur to maid to cook. And if your Mom is a working woman as well, her tasks just never seem to end. And they can be quite exhausting, though she may not ever let you know that!
So, this Mother’s Day, you should make it a special one by cooking Mom a full three-course meal dinner - that is, if you can wrangle her out of the kitchen for just a bit. We recommend trying this easy to make, but all too tasty dinner.
Salad: Traditional Garden Salad
- Any other veggie mom likes
Chop, dice, and mix as desired. Top with Mom’s favorite dressing.
Main Course: Chicken Strips, Lemon Pepper Green Beans, and Potato Wedges
- Skinless chicken strips or breasts cut into strips
- Nature’s Seasoning
- Green beans
- Lemon Pepper Seasoning (or 1 Yellow Pepper)
- Potato Wedges
Preheat oven to 350. To prepare the chicken, mix flour and Nature Seasoning in a bowl (salt, pepper, and other desired spices may be used instead, but this brand works well for flavoring in a batter) with a lid. Add chicken, one piece at a time, and put the lid on. Shake well, until chicken is thoroughly coated in flour mixture. Place coated chicken onto baking sheet, and bake in the oven until chicken is cooked through. We recommend 30 minutes at 350 degrees Coated chicken can also be placed in a frying pan full of hot oil and pan fried. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning once as the piece fries.
To make the green beans, heat them in a sauce pan with desired amount of butter (usually 1-2 TBSP, depending on how many green beans are prepared). Add lemon pepper seasoning (or thin-sliced yellow pepper) to taste preference.
To make potato wedges, slice whole potatoes into wedges. Coat gently with oil, and then bake or broil until the potatoes are slightly crispy. You can leave skins on or take them off.
Dessert: Fruit Shortcake
- Berries, peaches, or strawberries (any other fruit that is juicy)
- Whipped cream
One day in advance, pour sugar over the fruit and let stand, covered, in the refrigerator overnight. Use just enough sugar to thoroughly cover the fruit, but not too much, as you want to taste the fruit and not the sugar. The standing sugar will draw the juice out of the fruit. After the juices have been drawn out, use the fruit to top shortcake. Top also with whipped cream, if desired. You can purchase pre-made mini shortcakes from the grocery store. Angel food cake will also work, which can be purchased or made from scratch.
Even if this three-course meal isn’t your speed, we do hope you find a great way to honor your Mom this Sunday. Happy Mother’s Day from Bounce Energy!
Family Dinner Table image courtesy of basykes.
Fruit Shortcake image courtesy of LisaW123.
“Much like the iconic image of Earth from the Apollo 17 mission—which had a profound effect on many of us—this time-lapse map is not only fascinating to explore,” Google Earth’s Rebecca Moore writes, “but we also hope it can inform the global community’s thinking about how we live on our planet and the policies that will guide us in the future.”
See more. [GIFs: Google/USGS/NASA/TIME]
Google and Time Magazine have joined forces to create “Earth Engine,” what they are calling a ”global, zoomable timelapse of the planet’s surface.” Along with the images of Brazil and Columbia you see above, I’d also recommend checking out Las Vegas.
Isn’t technology awesome?
Help The Periwinkle Foundation to fight Pediatric Cancer.
As we state over at our blog, cancer sucks. And the idea of young kids and teens experiencing the ravages of cancer is an especially sucky idea. This is why Bounce Energy is working with The Periwinkle Foundation in May - we want to help this amazing organization assist families battling pediatric cancer.
We’re donating $2,500 towards those efforts, and for every new “Like” that we receive at our Facebook page, we’ll be give an additional 50 cents. Please visit us over there to help us raise awareness for all the great work that The Periwinkle Foundation has been doing for 30 years on behalf these kids and their parents.
Announcing the Bounce Energy “BE More” Scholarship!
Needing a bit of money to help pay for college during the 2013-2014 school year? Well, with the Bounce Energy “BE More” Scholarship, we’re giving a $2,500 one-time scholarship to a qualified student in each of the three states that we service – Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York.
To be eligible for this college scholarship, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Be a current high school or college student under 24 years of age
- Maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale
- Be a resident of or attend college in Texas, New York, or Pennsylvania only
You’ll also need to submit a 500-word essay responding to this topic: “Bounce Energy considers itself to be more than just an electricity company. Going beyond just competitive electricity rates, we also offer customer rewards, community charity support opportunities, and other convenient products and services. Bounce Energy wants to know: How do you consider yourself to be more than just a student?”
Learn more about the scholarship at the Bounce Energy Blog or at the BE More Scholarship page. We even made an easy online application page for you. Just make sure that you get that application into us by May 15th, 2013!
Bounce Energy turns 5 Years Old, and You get the Presents
Happy 5th Birthday to Bounce Energy!
And yes – I can hear you thinking, “5-5-5? Is this dorky electricity company copying from Domino’s and Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 on purpose, or is it just severely out of the loop?” Hardly. That’s a bit too obvious. It’s 5-5-5 because we’re celebrating our 5th birthday on the 5th day of the 5th month. Get it now? It’s math (or, according to my boss, our “golden birthday”).
From May 1st – 5th, 2013, electricity customers in Texas can earn bill credit rewards from Bounce Energy just for signing up new service or renewing old service with us. Learn more about everything you could win with the 5-5-5 Promotion by visiting the Bounce Energy Blog.
Birthday Cake image courtesy of Will Clayton.
Recapping a Green April at the Bounce Energy Blog
While we’re proud of our content at our regular blog, it can occasionally fall into the category of “tl;dr.” That’s why we’ve started recapping our themed content on a regular basis so that you can continue to scroll through your Dashboard while still reading what we have to offer.
Thus, these April articles are geared towards helping you go green and improve your relative energy efficiency so you can start saving energy, money, and the environment.
At “Love the Environment with Our Green Products and Energy Efficient Services,” we run through our assorted programs and services that help you become green and energy efficient.
Check out “Reduce Your Carbon Footprint to Save Money at Home and Help the Environment” to see 10 ways that you can reduce the carbon footprint of your home for the benefit of your electricity bill and the environment.
Read “Save Money this Summer with the Bounce Energy Peak Rewards Program” to learn more about how you can save 5% when reducing your electricity usage during an “Emergency Event.”
With “Different Light Bulbs – Breaking Down Your Home Lighting Options,” we examine each light bulb option to help you which light bulb type is the right choice for your home.
For many, going green may seem like a daunting task, but in actuality it can be rather simple to do. At “Inside the Numbers: Going Green to Save Money and the Environment,” we look at simple ways to become more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Be sure to read “Lower Your Electricity Bill by Planting Trees” to learn more about the benefits of planting trees around your property. Our favorite tip: planting mature trees (5 feet tall or higher) along the southern side of your home will shade it from the hot summer sun which helps keep your home cooler.
What are some of your recommended ways to go green in your everyday life?
As we continue to celebrate Earth Day, check out this list of 10 ways you can re-purpose all those 3.5” floppy disks you have in storage. And by “you,” I mean people over the age of 30 who actually used the things.
Our favorites? Well, there’s this great bag made out of black floppy disks (though I’m sure you can use whatever colors you want), the floppy disk converted to a USB drive, and the floppy disks as wall clock.
What ideas might you have for recycling old floppy disks into some sort of DIY, crafty goodness?
Today’s Google logo celebrates Earth Day with a new interactive doodle highlighting the the many wonders of nature. The logo comes comes with its very own checklist of things to see, making sure users catch every detail.
Happy Earth Day! Love Google’s Doodle today - did anyone else go through all the seasons?
Celebrate Earth Day with the ones you love.
Join us for Picnic for Earth.
This Earth Day April 22nd.
This Earth Day, go outside with your friends, family, and other assorted acquaintances for a picnic. Nothing fancy - just enjoy our planet responsibly with some loved ones. Learn more at All Hands on Earth.