Rancho Palos Verdes Document Shredding & E-Waste Disposal

Rancho Palos Verdes Document Shredding & E-Waste Disposal

household hazardous

The City of Rancho Palos Verdes will be hosting a Composting Workshop, Document Shredding and E-Waste Disposal for residents during April and May.  Document shredding and e-waste disposal are important for Palos Verdes homes owners.  This gives Palos Verdes homes owners us an opportunity to dispose of articles that cannot be picked up at regular trash collections.

On Saturday, April 2, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., the city will be offering a Composting Workshop for residents at Hesse Park located at 30940 Hawthorne Blvd, Rancho Palos Verdes.

Rancho Palos Verdes residents will have the opportunity on Saturday, April 23, 2016, to have their documents shredded by EDCO and the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.  They are sponsoring this free document paper shredding from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Rancho Palos Verdes Civic Center.  The center is located at 30940 Hawthorne Blvd, Rancho Palos Verdes.  This drop-off is for Rancho Palos Verdes residents only.  Residents can safely dispose of personal documents right there on  site.  You can bring up to three “bankers” boxes per household.

The annual Household Hazardous Waste Roundup will take place on Saturday, May 14, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Rancho Palos Verdes Civic Center.  Some of the acceptable items include paint, batteries, old televisions, computers, and old prescriptions.

For year round Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Waste Disposal, you can go to the Gaffey Safe Center located at 1400 N. Gaffey Street, San Pedro.  They are open on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

To read my prior article on Document Shredding & E-Waste Disposal click here.

Photo courtesy of the Palos Verdes City Newsletter







Palos Verdes Home Improvements Cost vs Value 2016

Palos Verdes Home Improvements Cost vs Value 2016

Photo courtesy of Arvin Design

Do you want the highest sales price for your Palos Verdes home?  In addition to a realistic listing price, it is important to declutter/stage your home along with possible home improvements.  Which home improvements and remodeling projects give the greatest return on investment?  For owners of Palos Verdes homes (and Los Angeles County) who choose upscale remodeling, the top three projects for 2015-2016 are a little different from last year.  The remodeling project with the highest return on investment is Garage Door replacement at a 114.6% return followed by Siding Replacement (engineered) at a 90.1% return, and Grand Entrance (fiberglass) at an 87.5% return according to Remodeling Magazine’s “Remodeling 2016 Cost vs Value Report” (www.costvsvalue.com) © 2016 Hanley Wood Media Inc.  Curb appeal is important to buyers who are getting the first impression of your home.  In the midrange category, Manufactured Stone Veneer received the number one return on investment at an outstanding 127.5%!

Of the top 12 upscale remodeling projects with the best return on investment for Los Angeles County, 7 are under $25,000 and include both vinyl & wood window replacement, siding replacement (engineered, foam-backed vinyl & fiber-cement), garage door replacement and grand entrance (fiberglass).  A Master Suite Addition which is the most expensive at $281,285 only nets a 76.7% return.

Owners of Palos Verdes real estate remodel for different reasons, like the need for more space, to improve the functionality of specific rooms and to update them.  Kitchen and bathrooms are usually the most expensive remodel as plumbing and/or appliances need to be moved and/or replaced.  There is no specific report for Palos Verdes homes but there is a Remodeling 2016 Cost vs Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) for Los Angeles County which is broken down into Midrange priced projects and Upscale priced projects.  When you go to the site (www.costvsvalue.com), choose Pacific region and then Los Angeles.  You will be prompted to register before gaining access to the report.  The beginning of the Report has descriptions of individual projects (both mid-range and upscale) and you can them compare to your own.

Remodeling just for resale rarely nets you a dollar for dollar return.  Most remodels are done for the enjoyment of the homeowner (who still wants to maximize their return when they do sell).  My experience is that most buyers are looking for newer kitchens, bathrooms, master suites and nice yards.  Curb appeal is also important because it is the buyer’s first impression of the home.

To read my prior article on Cost vs Value 2015, click here.

Photo courtesy of Arvin Design

Free New Year’s Eve Rides In Palos Verdes

Free New Year’s Eve Rides In Palos Verdes

Palos Verdes Transit is offering free bus rides to Palos Verdes residents on New Year’s Eve.  This service allows Palos Verdes homes owners free access in and around the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  This bus service is available to any Palos Verdes Peninsula resident from 6:00 p.m. on December 31, 2015, to 2:00 a.m. on January 1, 2016.   This can be to and from a restaurant, party or even just a small get together.  Additionally, Palos Verdes Transit will pick you up from your own home and return you there at the end of the evening.  The PV Transit has been offering this free service for years and it is just one of the great services available to Palos Verdes residents.

You can start making advanced reservations for one-way or round-trip rides as early as December 22, 2015.  Call (310) 544-3710 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  If you are unable to call ahead, you can also call on December 31st for evening reservations.  This is a great way to have a fun and safe Happy New Year!

To read my prior article on Palos Verdes Transit free New Year’s Eve rides click here.

Photo courtesy of City of Palos Verdes Estates Newsletter



Free Post Holiday Tree Pick Up In Palos Verdes

Free Post Holiday Tree Pick Up In Palos Verdes

Christmas Tree

After the holidays have come and gone, Palos Verdes homes owners will be taking down their trees are lucky to have free Christmas tree pick up.

Palos Verdes Estates residents are scheduled for pick up of their Christmas trees beginning December 27 through January 12, 2016.  This year, service will be provided during your normal weekly trash pickup.  Trees will be removed from your normal trash enclosure or trash area.  After January 12th, however, you are responsible to cut and bundle your tree securely with twine or rope and leave it in your trash area.  Stands and all decorations including tinsel must be removed.  Lightly flocked trees are acceptable.  Fore more information you can contact Athens Services at (888) 336-6100.

The City of Rolling Hills will be recycling their trees as part of their regular trash pick-up program.  Just put it out on your regular green trash day, and the trees will be picked up from December 28th through January 13, 2016.  Remember to remove everything from the tree including the stand; flocked trees will be picked up also.  For more information, contact Waste Management at (310) 677-6500.

Rancho Palos Verdes will be recycling trees as part of their regular trash pick up from December 28 through January 12, 2016.  Once again, remember to remove everything from the tree.  This year, they will also offer free extra trash collection during those dates.  However, you must place the extra trash bags next to the gray trash cart.  For more information contact EDCO Waste at (310) 540-2977.

Rolling Hills Estates will be recycling trees as part of their regular trash pick up from December 28 through January 13, 2016.  All trees must have everything removed from them including the stand before pick up.  For more information call Waste Management at (800) 774-0222.

To read my last article on Holiday Tree Pick Up click here.


Halloween Safety Tips for Palos Verdes Homes

Halloween Safety Tips for Palos Verdes Homes


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  Here are some tips below to make your Palos Verdes home safe for Trick or Treaters:

Do Halloween Dangers Lurk at Your Entryway?
By: Oliver Marks
Is your front entryway ready for Halloween visitors? Keep everything fun and accident-free with these seven safety tips.
Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween — as long as it’s just a trick.

To help you avoid any real-life scares — such as falls, fires, and traffic accidents — around your property this All Hallows Eve, play it safe while you’re setting up your Halloween lights and decorations.

Here are seven simple precautions recommended by John Pettibone, curator of Hammond Castle, a Gloucester, Mass., mansion that draws thousands to its renowned 20-room haunted house every Halloween season.

1. Light the Scene

Providing plenty of illumination ensures that your visitors can see where they’re walking, helping to avoid missteps and falls. Pettibone suggests using the highest wattage bulbs your outdoor lighting fixtures can safely take (check the label on the socket), and adding landscape lights every few feet along your front walk.

“We use the solar-powered kind because there’s no wiring needed,” he says. “Just push them into the ground, let them soak up the sun during the day, and they’ll light up the walk after dark.”

2. Secure the Footing

Clear your walk, steps, and stoop of any obstructions that could trip youngsters focused more on tricks and treats than watching where they’re going. That means moving potted mums and jack o’lanterns out of the way, and hammering down any nail heads protruding out of your steps.

If you have a concrete stoop, which can get slippery when wet, apply friction tape ($16 for a 60-foot roll of 1-inch-wide tape) to ensure stable footing, says Pettibone. He also stocks up on chemical ice melt ($20 for a 50-lb. bag) just in case of an early freeze.

3. Tighten the Railings

If your porch railings are wobbly or broken, family members and friends may know not to lean too heavily on them, but Halloween visitors won’t. So hire a contractor or handyman to fix the problem. It’ll make your home safer for guests all year round. Because more strangers come to your front door this night than the rest of the year combined, now is the time to take care of it.

4. Eliminate Fire Hazards

Don’t put real candles into your carved pumpkins or paper lanterns. “That’s a fire waiting to happen,” says Pettibone. Instead, pick up a bulk pack of LED-bulb faux candles, which emit a yellowish, flickering, battery-powered light that looks amazingly similar to the real thing — without the danger.

5. Secure your Property

To prevent burglaries and Halloween pranks — especially on mischief night the previous evening — make sure to keep all windows and doors (other than your main door) locked shut.

You might have an electrician add motion-sensor lights around your property, so anyone who walks down your driveway or around into the backyard will be discouraged from intruding any farther.

6. Set the Scene

In addition to spooky items like cotton cobwebs and half-buried skeletons, consider a few safety-related scene-setters. Pettibone suggests propping open the screen or storm door so it doesn’t get in the way when there’s a big group of kids congregated on your stoop. “We use yellow caution tape to tie open the door,” he says. “You can order it online and it works well with the Halloween theme.” A 1,000-ft. roll of 3-inch-wide caution tape is about $8.

You’ll also want a working doorbell, so if yours is broken, either hire an electrician or handyman to fix it — or install a wireless doorbell in its place.

7. Enhance Street Safety

Four times as many child pedestrians get killed on Halloween night than a normal night. So limit the danger as much as you can by clearing parked cars off the curb to allow better visibility and placing a reflective “watch for children sign” at the edge of the road. For for high-traffic roads in Halloween-intensive neighborhoods, consider posting an adult in the street with a hand-held traffic control light to help maintain safety.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.


Maintaining Your Palos Verdes Home

Maintaining Your Palos Verdes Home

Palos Verdes home courtesy of Arvin Design

The article below lists some simple inexpensive maintenance solutions for your Palos Verdes home.  The family home is often one of our most valuable assets and it is wise to keep it maintained.

5 Maintenance Tasks to Ignore at Your Peril
By: Jeanne Huber  Published: August 3, 2012
Are you a pro at procrastination? Get off the couch for these 5 critical maintenance jobs; left undone, the consequences could cost you thousands — or worse.
Homeownership means regular maintenance and repair chores, but some are more important than others. Here are five that should top your priority list:
1. Make Sure Your Appliances Aren’t Being Recalled

Why it matters: The non-profit “Consumer Reports” magazine wrote an eye-popping piece about how often home appliances catch fire: more than 150,000 residential fires each year from 2006 to 2008, resulting in 3,670 injuries, 150 deaths, and $547 million in property damage. About half the fires appear to have been caused by faulty appliances. Some had been recalled for defects that could cause an appliance fire, but the home owners weren’t aware.

What you need to do: Write down the model and serial number of each appliance, then check at www.recalls.gov for recalls and what action to take if something you own is involved. Keep your list so it’s easy to recheck; it sometimes takes years for problems to become evident. Keep tabs at HouseLogic for notices about recalls.

Maintenance cost: Free

Worst case if you put it off: You don’t learn that your dishwasher or clothes dryer has a safety defect, and the machine catches fire and burns your house down.

2. Check for Leaks and Fix Them

Why it matters: Water does more damage to houses than anything else, since persistent leaks lead to mold and mildew, rot, and even termites and carpenter ants (they like chewing soggy wood since it’s soft). Yet if you fix a leak soon after it starts, there may be no long-term damage at all.

What you need to do: Inside, keep your eyes open for dark spots under pipes inside sink cabinets, stains on ceilings, toilets that rock, and of course drips. At least once a year, inspect the roof. If you find leaks, fix them immediately. Otherwise, call in a plumber.

Maintenance cost: Negligible for a simple fix, such as a new washer. A visit from a plumber might set you back $250; a roof repair, a few hundred dollars to $1,000.

Worst case if you put it off: Drips ruin the cabinet under the kitchen sink, and run down into the floor sheathing and joists underneath, so you need a structural repair, plus new cabinets and new kitchen flooring. Or the roof rots, so you need a new roof and repairs to rooms directly beneath.

3. Test Your Sump Pump and Backup Pump (or Install a Backup Pump If You Don’t Have One)

Why it matters: The middle of a storm isn’t the time to discover your basement sump pump is clogged, nor is it the time to begin planning for a backup pump. You need them ready before the water arrives.

What you need to do: Fill the sump pump pit with water and make sure the pump switches on and sends water out the discharge line. If you have a backup pump, repeat the test, but unplug the main pump first. If the backup pump runs on batteries that are more than two years old, replace your sump pump. If you don’t have a backup pump and are on municipal water, get one that runs on water pressure. If you’re on well water, your only option is the battery kind.

Maintenance cost: Testing is free; a water-powered backup sump pump, including installation, costs $150-$350; a new battery for a battery-operated sump starts around $200.

Worst case if you put it off: The pump or pumps don’t work when you need them and your basement floods, ruining everything in it and forcing you to tear out drywall and carpeting.

4. Renew the Finish on Your Hardwood Floors

Why it matters: Every wood floor needs to be refinished periodically, but the trick is to get to the job before the old finish wears through. Then you can apply a fresh coat without having to sand into the wood. Since sanding wears away some of the wood, being able to skip that step can extend the life of your floor by decades.

What you need to do: If your floor is dull but OK otherwise, repair scratches and apply a hardwood floor refinisher ($6-$18 per quart). If the old finish is really scratched up, call in a pro to buff it and apply a fresh finish.

Maintenance cost: If you just need the refresher coat and apply it yourself, you can do 500 sq. ft. for around $25. If you hire a pro, figure on $1 per sq ft.

Worst case if you put it off: The finish wears through. If your floor is thick enough to sand, expect to spend $2.50 per sq. ft. for a new finish. If the floor can’t be sanded, you’ll need a whole new floor — $8-$20 per sq. ft., if you stick with wood.

5. Protect your Foundation

Why it matters: If anything goes wrong with your foundation walls — serious cracks, uneven settling — you could be in for one of the most expensive home repair jobs possible.

What you need to do: Every year, check to make sure the soil around your house slopes away from your foundation walls at least 6 inches over 10 feet (rain gutter downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house).

That slope keeps water from getting down right next to your foundation, where it could cause basement walls to lean, crack the masonry, and cause leaks. (For houses with crawl spaces, keeping water away makes sure excess water doesn’t pool underneath your floor, making for damp conditions that encourage mold, rot, and insects.)

Maintenance cost: Topsoil is $10-$20 per cubic yard, plus delivery. You’ll pay $50-$100 per cubic yard if you buy by the bag.

Worst case if you put it off: Hydrostatic pressure causes your foundation to settle, cracking your basement walls. A full excavation is necessary to stabilize, repair, and seal the foundation walls — a $15,000 to $40,000 job.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Ideas To Keep Your Palos Verdes Homes Cool

Ideas To Keep Your Palos Verdes Homes Cool

Desert Flower courtesy of Arvin Design

The local news has reported that the temperatures will be going up 10 degrees this weekend, and the humidity is about to start again.  Keeping Palos Verdes homes cool has been on my mind this last month.  As most Palos Verdes homes do not have air conditioning, I appreciated this article below with ideas on how to keep cool without it.

How to Keep Your House Cool Without AC
By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon  Published: March 20, 2013

Want summer comfort but hate the AC? Follow these tips, and you’ll keep your house cool without frosty air conditioning.
You don’t have to switch on the air conditioner to get a big chill this summer. These tips will help you keep your house cool without AC, which will save energy (and avoid AC wars with your family).

Block that Sun!

When sunlight enters your house, it turns into heat. You’ll keep your house cooler if you reduce solar heat gain by keeping sunlight out.
Close the drapes: Line them with light-colored fabric that reflects the sun, and close them during the hottest part of the day. Let them pillow onto the floor to block air movement.
Add awnings: Install them on south- and west-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain by up to 77%, says the U.S. Department of Energy. Make your own by tacking up sheets outside your windows and draping the ends over a railing or lawn chair.
Install shutters: Interior and exterior shutters not only reduce heat gain and loss, but they also add security and protect against bad weather. Interior shutters with adjustable slats let you control how much sun you let in.
Apply high-reflectivity window film: Install energy-saving window films on east- and west-facing windows, which will keep you cool in summer, but let in warming sun in the winter. Mirror-like films are more effective than colored transparent films.
Here’s more information about energy-efficient window coverings.

Open Those Windows

Be sure to open windows when the outside temperature is lower than the inside. Cool air helps lower the temps of everything — walls, floors, furniture — that will absorb heat as temps rise, helping inside air say cooler longer.

To create cross-ventilation, open windows on opposite sides of the house. Good ventilation helps reduce VOCs and prevents mold.

Fire Up Fans
Portable fans: At night, place fans in open windows to move cool air. In the day, put fans where you feel their cooling breezes (moving air evaporates perspiration and lowers your body temperature). To get extra cool, place glasses or bowls of ice water in front of fans, which will chill the moving air.
Ceiling fans: For maximum cooling effect, make sure ceiling fans spin in the direction that pushes air down, rather than sucks it up. Be sure to turn off fans when you’re not in the room, because fan motors give off heat, too.
Whole house fans: A whole-house fan ($1,000 to $1,600, including install) exhausts hot inside air out through roof vents. Make sure your windows are open when you run a whole-house fan.

Power Down Appliances

You’ll save money and reduce heat output by turning off appliances you’re not using, particularly your computer and television. Powering down multiple appliances is easier if you connect them to the same power strip.

Don’t use heat- and steam-generating appliances — ranges, ovens, washers, dryers — during the hottest part of the day. In fact, take advantage of the heat by drying clothes outside on a line.

Plant Trees and Vines

These green house-coolers shade your home’s exterior and keep sunlight out of windows. Plant them by west-facing walls, where the sun is strongest.

Deciduous trees, which leaf out in spring and drop leaves in fall, are best because they provide shade in summer, then let in sun when temperatures drop in autumn. Select trees that are native to your area, which have a better chance of surviving. When planting, determine the height, canopy width, and root spread of the mature tree and plant accordingly.

Climbing vines, such as ivy and Virginia creeper, also are good outside insulators. To prevent vine rootlets or tendrils from compromising your siding, grow them on trellises or wires about 6 inches away from the house.

Speaking of shade, here are smart, inexpensive ideas for shading your patio.

Want more tips for staying cool this summer? Substitute CFL and LED bulbs for hotter incandescent lights.

Also, try insulating your garage door to prevent heat buildup.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Photo of desert flower courtesy of Arvin Design

Palos Verdes Peninsula Mandated Water Use Restrictions

Palos Verdes Peninsula Mandated Water Use Restrictions

Photo courtesy of Arvin Design

Palos Verdes homes owners are searching for ways to conserve water.  Governor Brown issued an executive order calling for a mandatory statewide water use reduction of 25% and the State Water Resources Control Board has been drafting regulations proposing that the Palos Verdes Peninsula which includes four cities and lots of green space, reduce their water usage by 36% beginning June 1, 2015.  They will reevaluate the percentage of reduction in February 2016.

All consumers in our area will be given an individualized water budget that will state the amount of water they may use each month without incurring higher costs.  It will based on the units of water that the residential customer used in 2013.  This should appear on your water bill soon and can be obtained now at the www.calwater.com website.  A drought surcharge will be applied to each CCF used above your allotted budget with charges of $9.54 per unit exceeded.

There are several reasons you can appeal your allotment – health or safety reasons, economic needs, additional occupants or if you have already significantly achieved long term water savings.  To appeal, go to www.calwater.com/appeal.  You will also be able to bank the unused units of your water allotment for use in future months going forward.  The water restrictions now put in place require that landscape irrigation be no more than three days a week.  No hardscape watering, no water fountains except with a recirculating system, no washing of motor vehicles unless using a shut off nozzle, no watering for 48 hours after measurable rainfall, no filling or re-filling of pools/spas except to maintain operating levels and after structural repairs.  If you are notified of a water leak you must repair it within five business days.

According to California Water Service, Palos Verdes Irrigation Schedule is between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.  Even Street Addresses may water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Odd Street Address may water Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Water waste violations are: 1st reported violation –  you will be given written notice to install a real time water measurement device; – 2nd reported violation you will be given notice plus a $5o fee; – 3rd reported violation you will be given a notice plus $50 fee and 4th reported violation you will be given written notice plus authorization to install a flow restriction device on your service line.

If you are looking for some conservation or rebate ideas, here are just a few being offered by Cal Water: High efficiency clothes washer rebates, smart irrigation controller rebate, water smart turf removal rebate and the water use efficiency evaluation program.  Also to help save water around your home Cal Water has partnered with FreeSprinklerNozzles.com for single family accounts, and they are giving away free spray nozzles. Click here for Cal Water forms with rebate information, and information on how to get your free sprinkler nozzles.

Photo above courtesy of Arvin Designs.

Palos Verdes Beaches Make Honor Roll List Again This Year!

Palos Verdes Beaches Make Honor Roll List Again This Year!

California has the most beautiful beaches along its coast, and Palos Verdes homes owners have some of the cleanest beaches right here on the peninsula to enjoy.  On June 17, 2015, Heal the Bay reported that Palos Verdes beaches and coves are in the current top Honor Roll 2014-2015 list for California.  This means that our local waters have received grades of A & A+ throughout the year.  Heal the Bay assigns weekly grades to more than 440 sites along the West Coast for summer dry-weather water quality and to another 60 locations that are on year round monitoring.  Heal the Bay is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy and clean.  They use science, education, community action and advocacy to pursue their mission.

Heal the Bay published their first Beach Report Card in 1990 that covered about 60 locations in Los Angeles County.  At that time, beach goers knew little about the health risks of the water around them.  Since that time, there is a great deal more information to help keep pollution and sewage spills off our local beaches.

The Beach Report Card (BRC) is based on the routine monitoring of beaches by local health agencies.  They collect water samples checking for bacteria that indicate pollution.  The better the grade on the beach means the lower the risk of illness to beach goers.

The Beach Report Card program is funded from grants from different foundations.  Volunteer groups and outside funding are constantly needed to ensure this program continues to minimize the pollution of our beaches.

To read more about Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card program click here.

To read my prior article on Heal the Bay beach report card click here.

Photo courtesy of Portuguese Bend Beach Club in Rancho Palos Verdes.