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Plumbing tips to prevent clogs and reduce water waste while staying in place

Homeowners should closely monitor their plumbing and call a professional if these home tips don’t work or they notice anything unusual.



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Four Seasons Plumbing, a family-owned and -operated plumbing company serving the Asheville and Hendersonville areas in the US, advises homeowners that heightened use from stay-at-home and shelter-in-place regulations stress residential pipes and drains and increase the risk of breakdowns.

“Staying at home as much as possible is a critical safeguard right now, but it presents unique challenges,” said Max Rose, owner of Four Seasons Plumbing. “Families are putting additional strain on the physical fixtures and appliances, and with recommendations to wash your hands frequently and keep surfaces clean, many people are using more water than they would under ordinary circumstances. Even maintaining adequate levels of hot water and water pressure can be difficult if you don’t have a plan.”

In order to keep home plumbing operating efficiently and effectively, Rose suggests homeowners adopt the following best practices:

  • Lower the water heater temperature: Lowering the temperature setting on your hot water heater by 5 to 10 degrees will reduce your utility bill without noticeably reducing the amount of available hot water.
  • Don’t flush anything except toilet paper: Most products marketed as “flushable,” like cat litter and sanitizing and hygienic wipes, won’t break down and can clog your pipes.
  • Monitor the disposal: Make sure large scraps and oil and grease stay out of the kitchen disposal to prevent backups. A combination of vinegar and baking soda can treat odors.
  • Prevent drain clogs: Use a mesh guard to catch loose hair in the shower and bathroom sink or wear a shower cap. Occasionally clean the drain of any accumulated material. If you develop a clog, try boiling water or baking soda before calling a professional. Never use caustic commercial drain cleaners.
  • Identify the shut-off valve: During an emergency like a major leak, it’s essential to know where the main water supply valve is to keep water and property damage to a minimum. Contact a trusted and licensed professional immediately to schedule a service call and restore water for the home.

“People still need plumbing service during this crisis,” Rose said. “We recommend homeowners closely monitor their plumbing and call a professional if these home tips don’t work or they notice anything unusual,” Rose said.

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5 Affordable and simple ways everyone can be an eco warrior

Understanding that collective effort is the way to go, retail giant SM Supermalls is committed to helping all Filipinos make more environmentally friendly choices in every aspect of their life.



From changing weather patterns to disease outbreaks, we are already feeling the effects of global warming. We need to act now and work together in protecting the planet.

Understanding that collective effort is the way to go, retail giant SM Supermalls is committed to helping all Filipinos make more environmentally friendly choices in every aspect of their life.

“Many people care about the planet but find it hard to create a green lifestyle because of limited time or budget. That’s why we have community programs that make it more convenient and affordable to be an eco-warrior,” says Jonjon San Agustin, SVP for Marketing, SM Supermalls.

Here are five easy ways on how you and your family can live greener.

Segregate your trash and Trash to Cash

Segregating your biodegradable and recyclable waste reduces the amount of trash that goes into landfills. Have separate containers for different kinds of trash: biodegradable for food and garden waste; recyclable for plastic, paper, and metal waste; residual waste for trash that can’t be recycled including used tissue or paper plates; electronic waste for old batteries or broken gadget which shouldn’t be mixed with other waste because they contain metals that can contaminate the soil.

You can bring your recyclable waste to SM Supermalls’ Trash to Cash Recycling Market, held 10 am to 2 pm on every first Friday and Saturday of the Month. Visit this link to find the kiosk locations near you.

Limit the use of plastic through Plastic Waste Collection

Did you know that it takes plastic over 1,000 years to decompose?

About 10% of plastic materials will end up in the ocean and can kill marine life. In the Philippines, plastic waste often congests sewage systems causing floods. You can avoid using single use plastic by bringing your own reusable containers or eco bags when going to the groceries.

You can also buy items in eco-friendly packaging.

Plastic cutlery and straws are optional during order delivery or takeout. For dine-in, you can have your own eco-kit which has a drinking bottle, a set of utensils, and a foldable eco bag. Go green anytime and anywhere!

You can also recycle your plastic waste through SM Supermalls’ Plastic Waste Collection programs. Make it a fun weekend and volunteer for SM by the Bay and SM Mall of Asia’s regular ocean clean-up drives.

Plant a garden

Plants help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air. If you don’t have a large yard for a garden, you can still get houseplants! There are many creative and beautiful ways to add more plants to a small home like using a backless bookshelf or installing vertical gardens.

Get plants, tools, and expert tips on how to take care of your home garden at SM Mall. You can also find beautiful containers like terrariums and plant hangers that are made by Filipino SMEs.

Buy eco-friendly products

Choose more environmentally friendly products to gradually create a sustainable lifestyle.

Environmentally friendly products can be reusable or biodegradable. They are usually made from sustainable materials with eco-friendly packaging. They also produced less toxic waste during manufacturing and after disposal.

You can find thousands of eco-friendly products within SM malls through the recently launched Green Finds pop-up stores. The selection of products can help go green in every aspect of your life.

Reuse as much as you can

Before you throw anything away, consider if the item can be either upcycled into something useful, or donated to someone who needs it. SM holds regular toy and book drives, where you can even get discount vouchers to use in the store.

Join the Green Movement

The SM Green Movement is a collective effort of SM, its customers, communities, and partners to promote green living, green culture and a green planet. For more information, visit this website.

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5 Tips when buying life insurance for the first time

A knowledgeable and professional insurance agent can offer trusted guidance when it comes to finding the right life insurance protection at the right price.



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Major life changes like getting married, starting a family or buying a house are often when people start thinking about buying life insurance. Now, more than ever, people are more concerned with their financial security. Buying a life policy can be a process that sounds intimidating or confusing – but it’s also very important.

During this Life Insurance Awareness Month, Erie Insurance shares five points to discuss with your agent when buying life insurance for the first time.

  1. Understand who (or what) you are protecting. While anyone experiencing a significant life event like getting married or starting a family often recognizes the need for life insurance, others may not realize they could benefit from it as well. For instance, stay-at-home parents and student loan cosigners could have a definite need for life insurance.
  2. Only buy the life insurance plan you can afford. Many people are surprised at how much life insurance they really need to protect the people and things they love most – but they are also surprised at how affordable it can be. If you cannot find a policy that fits in your budget, it’s a mistake to forgo any coverage at all. Something is definitely better than nothing.
  3. Think through your beneficiaries. A life insurance beneficiary is the person or entity you name in your life policy to receive funds in the event of your passing. Your beneficiary can be a person, business, trust, charity or even your church. And you can have more than one. It’s important to make sure you think through who your beneficiaries are and if any proceeds meant to benefit a minor should be held in a trust.
  4. Buy from a financially sound company. You want the backing of a financially strong insurer if you or someone you love needs to call on the life insurance policy. A.M. Best, the largest and longest-established company devoted to issuing in-depth reports and financial strength ratings about insurance organizations, gave Erie Family Life Insurance Company a rating of A (Excellent).
  5. Consider current and future needs. Don’t just consider your current lifestyle, keep in mind your future needs and what those could include for your spouse, children or business (think college expenses, weddings, etc.). By taking in these considerations today, you’re investing in the security of your future. Life insurance is less expensive than most people think—and that’s especially true when you’re younger. 

A knowledgeable and professional insurance agent can offer trusted guidance when it comes to finding the right life insurance protection at the right price. Life insurance with Erie Family Life offers you the right coverage with flexible options, helping you to build a policy now that is adaptable later.

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10 Tips for parents sending students off to college

Students’ bravado as they head off to college normally masks fears and doubts. Parental encouragement is more important than students typically acknowledge.



Like teaching a child to ride a bike, sending your student off to college requires a delicate balance of knowing when to hold on and when to let go. Dr. David Onestak, director of the James Madison University Counseling Center shares advice heard often from “veteran” parents on how “new” parents can help students survive the turbulent waters of freshman year.

  1. Convey confidence. Students’ bravado as they head off to college normally masks fears and doubts. Parental encouragement is more important than students typically acknowledge.
  2. Avoid “New Leaf Syndrome.” Rather than turning over a new leaf, the transition to college frequently causes old problems to reemerge. Students with a history of mental health concerns should maintain relationships with their providers and continue with prescribed therapies. Help your student take greater ownership of health-related matters such as taking over-the-counter medications, making an appointment, and learning the basics of health insurance.
  3. Keep the lines of communication open. When parents respond too harshly to a student’s mistake, the student may no longer offer important information about grades, roommate problems or dating relationships. As a result, minor problems may become major crises.
  4. Don’t rush in and solve problems. Students often don’t step up to responsibility until parents step back. Students need the experience of solving problems on their own.
  5. Be realistic about grades. Students are going to be faced with difficult and demanding coursework. Not every straight-A student in high school will be a straight-A student in college.
  6. Use technology to connect, not monitor. Talk with your student about how and how often to touch base. If you are using tracking devices to monitor your student, consider relinquishing them. Doing so communicates that the world is not continuously dangerous and that you trust them to make good decisions.
  7. Don’t rush your student into a major or career. Most eighteen-year-olds do not have the wisdom required to be definite about such an important decision. Pushing them into a major or a career in which there is no interest is a recipe for problems.
  8. Talk about finances. Let your student know what you will and will not contribute to college expenses. Help them to develop a budget. If your student requests a credit card for “emergencies,” a good rule of thumb is: If you can eat it, drink it, or wear it, it’s not an emergency.
  9. Inform your student about important family matters, even if the news is not good. While there is no need to share every family issue, keeping developments from students can make them anxious as they imagine what else might be happening back home without their knowledge.
  10. Remind yourself that the character you worked to develop will continue to guide them. Students often experiment with values that might be more permissive than the ones at home; this is a normal part of developing identity and independence apart from their parents. Try to bend a little.
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