B’Gosh & Begorrah! It’s Almost St. Patrick’s Day!

At T.F. O’Brien, you know we’re all about Irish pride. Our name says it all, as well as our annual Shamrock Savings event. We love St. Patrick’s Day, and sharing the love with you! Have you ever wondered where some of the traditions of the holiday come from?

For adults, much of the St. Patrick’s Day festivity includes a dinner of corned beef and cabbage, and possibly imbibing in some green beer. For kids, enjoying a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal and trying to capture the elusive leprechaun are part of St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Learn more about these St. Pat’s standbys below.

Five St. Patrick’s Day Traditions and Legends Explained

  1. Leprechauns: Leprechauns go all the way back to the 8th Century, and their beginnings are rooted in tales of water spirits known as luchorpán. These wee people were known for their love of imbibing, as well as shoe making. Legend has it that if you capture a leprechaun, they’ll grant you three wishes if you set them free.
  2. Corned Beef & Cabbage: Enjoying corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day is actually an entirely Irish-American tradition, Delishably In Ireland, the dish is primarily bacon and cabbage, but Irish immigrants found that corned beef was easier to find and cheaper in America. And there is no corn in corned beef – “corned” refers to the size of the salt used in the curing process.
  3. Pot of Gold: Directly related to leprechaun mythology, the tale of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is also associated with St. Patrick’s Day. This legendary pot of gold is where the leprechauns store their coins, and humans often try to catch a leprechaun to gain access to it. However, leprechauns are pretty tricky, so that pot of gold tends to be rather elusive!
  4. Green Beer: According to Food & Wine, green beer comes from an Irish tradition of adding shamrocks to beverages on St. Patrick’s Day. Green beer was created by Dr. Thomas Curtin in 1914, for a St. Patrick’s Day party at the Schnerer Club in the Bronx. While nobody knows what was in that original recipe, blue food coloring is what gives modern green beer its verdant hue.
  5. Lucky Charms: Lucky Charms cereal came about in 1964, and was the first cereal to include marshmallows. Lucky the Leprechaun, the cereal’s mascot, has been there from the get-go, although he’s also been known as Sir Charms and L.C. Leprechaun over the years. The original marshmallow charms were pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and green clovers.

Getting the right home comfort solutions isn’t the luck of the Irish, though.

For more information,
Call or click here:

516.488.1800

You don’t need a leprechaun’s wish in order to get the home comfort solutions you need – you just need to give T.F. O’Brien a call. We can help you get the necessary heating and cooling services to keep your home and your family comfortable all year round. And, we’re happy to share with you a little pot of gold if you need a new system – ask us about our Shamrock Savings event, and how we can help you save up to $4,245 on a new high-efficiency HVAC system.

Call us at 516.488.1800 to learn more. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and yours!

5 Fun Things to Do On Long Island This Fall

Contributed by Joe Pantorno

There’s a reason why over 7.5 million people live on Long Island (not “in;” don’t ever say “in Long Island”).

No matter your interests or tastes, the 118-mile strip of land protruding from New York’s mainland has something for everyone — and that rings especially true during the fall.

As we prepare for the season packed with foliage, apple picking, and trick-or-treaters, here are some of the best things to do on Long Island this autumn:

Apple and Pumpkin Picking

One can’t officially ring in fall on Long Island without going out east for a day of apple and pumpkin picking.

It’s a rite of passage the moment the first chill is felt in the air following the dog days of summer.

Whether you’re in Riverhead at Harbes Farm or in Water Mill at Hank’s Pumpkintown, there’s fun for all — both for a family day or fun with the friends.

Best of all, you won’t come home empty-handed. Turn those apples into a pie or carve up those pumpkins to keep the fall fun rolling.

Wine Tasting

For a more adult-themed day out east on Long Island — amongst friends or with that special someone — the wineries provide a perfect day of relaxation.

According to the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, Long Island boasts 73 wineries and tasting rooms with a majority of them located on the north fork.

Just sit back, smell the grapes, and enjoy!

Local Breweries

If you’re not into wine, don’t fret. Long Island also has plenty of breweries for the favorite beer drinker in your life.

With approximately 40 breweries to choose from, you won’t be short of opportunities to try some of the best local craft beer the region has to offer.

Don’t worry, there will probably be plenty of pumpkin beer to go around this time of year.

Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns

Autumn and art truly converge at Old Westbury Gardens during October.

Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns features over 5,000 unique, hand-carved pumpkins that create one of the coolest fall strolls you’ll ever take.

The illuminated jack o’ lanterns range from the traditional to creepy as the path is set to a musical score that completes the perfect seasonal and Halloween ambiance.

But be sure to get your tickets as soon as you can because the limited schedule makes this event a hot commodity.

Bayville Scream Park

If you’re looking for a real scare, look no further than Bayville Scream Park.

The haunted house has become a staple for thrill-seekers as demons, clowns, and witches bring the “most macabre, unsettling, and disturbing images in the back of your mind” to life.

There’s more than just the haunted mansion, though. Attractions also include the “Temple of Terror,” “Evil in the Woods,” and “Uncle Needle’s Funhouse of Fear.”

It’s probably best to leave the little ones at home for this, but you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.

Just try not to be afraid of the dark when you’re done.

The park will be open from Sept. 27-Nov. 3.

Joe Pantorno is the sports editor at Metro.

Getting Organized This School Year

The kids are back to school, and vacation time is over. While we’re still enjoying warm weather here on Long Island, we also are refocusing on getting back into the routine of things. It’s the perfect time of year to get organized – which will help you and your family avoid the chaos that inevitably strikes once earlier wake-ups, homework and after-school activities hit!

Here are seven ways to get organized – and help the school year get off to a much smoother start:

  1. Make sure each child has their own bin, and ensure that it gets used only for important papers and supplies. This will make it a lot easier to find school notes that need to be signed, school supplies like pens and pencils, and homework paper. Have everyone check their bin daily to ensure it isn’t collecting junk, and anything that needs to return to school, does.
  2. In today’s world, everyone has a cellphone. Make sure your family’s cell phones are synched, everyone has each other’s numbers, and you all have access to each other’s calendars. That way, it will be easy to make a call or schedule an appointment, keeping everyone on the same page.
  3. Synch up all the clocks in the house. That way, your child in the upstairs bathroom won’t think you have five more minutes before you have to leave the house.
  4. Keep backpacks and shoes at the entryway or in the mudroom. It’s best to set up an area for each child, if you can. Making sure everything is in place helps keep morning confusion at bay – nobody will be late hunting for their sneakers or school books.
  5. Designate a quiet homework space. Keep it stocked with supplies that might be needed, like paper, pens, pencils, and sharpeners. It also helps kids from getting distracted by video games, the television or computer.
  6. We know it can be very hard to get into a routine, but it can make life so much easier! If you don’t already do so, start the routine of organizing backpacks, packing lunches and checking the calendar the night before, so the morning routine is a breeze!
  7. Keeping a calendar on your phone is helpful, as is keeping a paper version in an area where your family spends a lot of time, like the kitchen. Update it daily with any appointments or important dates, and make sure you add these to your digital calendar as well.

Of course, at T.F. O’Brien we’re happy to help with all your home comfort needs, which gives you one less thing to think about! Whether you need ductless for that new converted space in your home, maintenance for your equipment, or even a filter change, we can help. Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we’ll help you stay comfortable.

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.