5 Tips for Decluttering Your Home After the Holidays

The holidays have come and gone, and it’s a brand new year. Many people start off the new year by making resolutions, some for themselves, and some for their homes. If you’d like to make some home improvements in 2019, one of the best ways you can get started is by eliminating some of the clutter. It’s easy for our homes to accumulate lots of junk over the years. Sometimes we buy more than what we need. Sometimes, it’s tough to get rid of the things that are taking up space. And sometimes, we hold onto things thinking we’ll eventually use it, but that day never comes.

As a result, our homes become stuffed with “stuff” and become uncomfortable for us and our families. That’s why decluttering is so important. It not only allows us to weed out items that are no longer useful to us (and give them to those who may be able to use them), but it opens up space in our homes so that we can enjoy a better quality of life. For instance, a room that once contained storage boxes and “junk” can be repurposed into a home theater room. Or, a garage can be cleaned out so you can actually park your car in there! Getting started on decluttering your home can be tough, though.

We’re offering five easy tips that can help you get started:

  1. Take it one room at a time. Don’t get caught up in the idea that you have to declutter your whole house in a day. Take it easy and pace yourself, and you’ll do a much more thorough job and feel more accomplished as you see each space transform.
  2. Make sure you have storage containers. Nothing is worse than organizing your space, only to find you don’t have adequate storage. And, only store those things you know you’ll use again. For instance, say you’re organizing ornaments. Throw away the broken ones, give away those you don’t use, and store the ones that you’re sure will adorn your tree.
  3. Make it a feel-good venture. Sometimes kids especially don’t want to part with books, toys and clothing. If you encourage them to do so, and explain that giving these items to charitable organizations will help kids just like them in need, you’ll be creating a lifelong habit of giving. Lead by example, and show them the things you’re willing to give up, too.
  4. Follow the 12-month rule. When assessing what you need to get rid of in your home, the first thing to do is to evaluate when the last time was you used an item. If it was a year or more ago, probably you don’t need it, and should part with it.
  5. Go paperless. Many times, our homes get cluttered with mail. While we can’t keep junk mail and flyers from arriving, you can reduce the amount of mail entering your home by going paperless. Utility, credit card and insurance companies often provide a paperless choice for billing and paying, so if you can, choose that option – and keep a lot of unnecessary mail from invading your space.

Speaking of getting rid of debris in your home, have you checked your furnace filter in a while? A dirty furnace filter not only sends all sorts of dirt into the air, it also forces your equipment to run harder. And while we can’t help you with your decluttering, we can help ensure your furnace filter is fresh and clean! Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to help meet your furnace maintenance needs.

Coat Drive to Benefit the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless

IT’S COOL TO HELP PEOPLE STAY WARM THIS WINTER.

T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating is excited to begin their first Winter Coat Drive to benefit the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless. When the frigid weather arrives, we know how important these items will be to those we help!

We are asking for donations of new or laundered, gently used coats, scarves, hats and gloves.

WHEN: October 1st through November 16th

WHERE:
T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating
100 Denton Avenue
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

Join Us In Giving Back! We’ll gladly pick up your donation during any scheduled service call.

Download our poster HERE and help us spread the word!

Keeping Your Pets Safe in Cold Weather

When it’s bitter cold outside, you rely on your heating system to stay warm. If you have pets, they probably appreciate your heating system too! Cats and dogs experience the cold weather much in the same way as people do. But, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure your pet is as safe as possible during the cold. The ASPCA offers some safety tips that will help your pet stay comfy, cozy and healthy this winter.

Nine Tips to Ensure Pet Safety this Winter

  • Walking your dog is necessary, even in the chilliest weather. But that can lead to itchy, flaky skin. Having a home humidifier can help, as well as making sure you towel-dry your pet’s coat – and especially their feet!
  • Keep grooming to a minimum. Of course, brush your pet, bathe them when necessary, and if needed, keep them neatly trimmed. But reserve close haircuts for the summer months. If your dog is short-haired, a coat or sweater can help keep them warm during trips outdoors.
  • As mentioned above, bathe only when needed. If your pet must be bathed, choose a pet shampoo and conditioner specially formulated to moisturize.
  • Always make sure your pet’s paws are in healthy condition. Ice, snow and melting agents can affect your pet’s foot pads. After each walk, make sure to clean their feet and check for any cracks or redness.
  • Give your furry friend a “pet-icure.” Massage petroleum jelly or pad protectant into your pet’s feet. This helps them stay moisturized and acts as a barrier between harmful salt and chemicals. To further protect your pet, consider outfitting them in booties for outdoor adventures, and choose a pet-friendly ice melt for use at your home.
  • Be aware of antifreeze spills. Unfortunately, animals are drawn to the taste of antifreeze, and it is lethal. Clean up any spills as soon as you notice them.
  • Giving your pet extra food or snacks in the winter won’t make them gain weight – in fact, it’s good for them to indulge in a little extra. That’s because animals expend a lot of energy staying warm in the winter. Make sure your pet stays hydrated, too!
  • Keep sleeping spaces warm and cozy, away from cold and drafts. They love a nice, warm pet bed with an extra blanket or pillow.
  • If it’s too cold for you outside, it’s too cold for your pet. Just like people, animals can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. And, like cars become ovens in the summer, they become refrigerators in the winter. It’s best to keep your pet home during cold weather, and they definitely should not be left in a vehicle.

T.F. O’Brien can keep you – and your pets – warm all winter long.

At T.F. O’Brien, we’re dedicated to keeping your home comfy, cozy and safe for both you and your furry companions. If you need help with home heating this winter, give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll be happy to keep Fido, Fluffy and the whole family comfortable, no matter how cold it gets outside!

Don’t Be Spooked by Your HVAC System! 

October is here, and that means it’s time for ghosts and goblins… and cooler weather. We love what October brings – the leaves, the pumpkins, the candy corn… but we also know it ushers in those chillier temperatures, too. Is your home comfort system ready for the winter months to come? You won’t have to be spooked by your heating system this year as long as you get the annual maintenance you need. Haven’t had your heating system tuned up yet? Give us a call soon!

Planned maintenance can really help you protect the investment you made in your HVAC system – we offer maintenance for AC, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps – any equipment we install, we’ll be happy to help you maintain. In addition to maintenance, we’re pleased to provide complete services for all HVAC systems. For instance, if you have a boiler, we can help you with maintenance, repair and installation. Since October is the month for sweet treats, we’re excited to include a recipe for one of our favorite fall indulgences – homemade caramel corn. Read all about it here

Happy Halloween from all of us at T.F. O’Brien – enjoy!

Kerry

The Time for Treats Has Arrived – Try T.F. O’Brien’s Tasty Caramel Corn!

Once October arrives, everyone’s thoughts seem to turn to sweets! From pumpkin spice everything to apple cider to the trick or treat candy we buy and vow we’re not going to open before Halloween night, tasty treats abound. A fall specialty that always brings back childhood memories is caramel corn. There was nothing like munching on a handful of this crunchy, yummy treat at a Halloween party – nothing said the holiday season had arrived quite like that sweet-salty goodness.

Sure, you can buy caramel corn in a bag or a can, but why not try making it yourself this year? We’re sharing a favorite recipe that’s easy to make – and offers a fresh, delicious flavor you won’t find in any store. Passed along to us from a family friend, we hope you try this recipe for yourself – enjoy!

Baked Caramel Corn

Ingredients

• 6 quarts popped popcorn (air popped is best; microwave popcorn won’t work)
• 1 cup butter
• 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
• ½ cup corn syrup (light or dark)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

• Preheat oven to 250ºF.
• Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray (like Pam).
• Pour popped popcorn into pan.
• In a heavy saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes.
• Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and vanilla.
• Pour the syrup mixture over the popcorn, stirring to thoroughly coat popcorn. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes.
• Remove from oven, let cool completely and break apart.

At T.F. O’Brien, we love making everything we do for you a treat – never a trick. You can count on us to provide you with honest, reliable HVAC services all year round. Just give us a call at 516-488-1800 and we’ll be happy to help you with any home comfort need you might have.