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Deter Intruders with Defensive Shrubs Courtesy of Pensacola Real Estate Professionals

Pensacola Real Estate Professionals’ think an alarm system is a great way to deter a bad guy from coming into your house. However, it may not stop him from making contact with a portal to your home. You may want to consider planting thorn-bearing trees, shrubs and vines to act as a buffer to safeguard your home. The reason these plants have thorns is to protect them from predators, but they may protect you from them as well.

Intruders can be warded off by planting these types of vegetation in vulnerable areas. Certain plant varieties grow very fast and prolifically. It is just a matter of finding out which type grows best where you live. Check out http://www.hgtv.com/gardening/how-to-add-security-plants-to-your-yard/index.html.

Thorn-bearing Trees:

No one wants to climb a tree, whose trunk has thorns jutting out from it.

Acacia farnesiana (Sweet Acacia): the flowers of this tree smell like grape candy, which is probably where it gets its name. The leaves have a delicate fern-like appearance, but the entire plant is covered by sharp thorns.

sweet acacia

Silk Floss Tree: Considered one of the world’s most beautiful trees, it is well known for the large spikes protecting the trunk and limbs.  No criminal will want to tackle these thorns to get to your second story window.

silk floss tree

Various Palm Trees: Palm trees can be laced with thorns that not only prick, but cause additional pain.

palm trees

Thorn-bearing Vines: Here is security and beauty all wrapped in one. Check out the following varieties:

bougainvillea

Climbing Roses, Catsclaw Creeper, Bougainvillea, Blackberry vines.

Thorn-bearing Bushes:

Cactus: If your climate permits, these spiked plants will scare off intruders. The chollas have two inch thorns.

Pyracantha (fire thorn bush): The thorns will produce a burning stinging that will last for hours.

Rogosa Roses: These pretty flowers have plenty of thorns.

Pineland Acacia: The thorns are hidden by flowers and leaves; a nice surprise for burglars.

Pineland Acacia (Acacia pinetorum)

Washington Hawthorne Tree: It can be pruned into a bush and grow right under a window, displaying aesthetic red berries.

Oregon Grape Holly: This attractive shrub has two inch thorns.

Beef up your home’s electronic security network by planting a network of beautiful, but imposing greenery.

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Pensacola Real Estate Professionals Reminds You to Take Extra Care of Your Pets in Cold Weather

pets cold 1Winter is upon us, so don’t forget Man’s Best Friend (Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin or Fido) can also be affected by the cold days and nights ahead.

The Human Society of the United States (HSUS), the world’s largest animal protection organization, is urging pet owners to take a few common sense precautions to safe guard their pets from the bitter cold.

Despite their fur coats, domesticated animals like cats and dogs depend on humans for protection from elements such as freezing temperatures. The HSUS is offering the following suggestions to  help keep all pets safe through the cold winter months:pets cold 3

Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperatures drop below freezing. Dogs need outdoor exercise but take care not to keep them out for lengthy periods during very cold weather. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks. Never let your dog off of the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can loose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags. Dogs and cats are safer indoors in all sorts of weather. Animals should never be left outdoors unattended as they risk being stolen or otherwise being harmed. Cats who are allowed to roam/stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies from other cats, dogs and wildlife.

pets cold 4Wind chill can threaten a pet’s life, no matter what the temperature. Outdoor dogs must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the dog to sit or lie down comfortably, but small enough to retain his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered  with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with a flap of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.

Pets spending a lot of times outdoors need more food in the winter. Keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and not frozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

Warm car engines are dangerous for cats and small wildlife. Parked cars attract small animals that may crawl up under the hood looking for warmth. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.pets cold 2

De-icing chemicals are hazardous. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pad’s of your pet’s feet. Wipe the feet with a damp cloth every time after coming in from outside even if you don’t see salt on your sidewalks.

Antifreeze is a deadly poison. It has a sweet taste that attracts animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife or people.

Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder pets cold 5months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing animals to freeze to death.

Just remember, if it is cold and uncomfortable for you, than it is also too cold and uncomfortable for your pet.

Your pet will thank you many times over for providing this extra care during the bitter, cold winter months.

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A Guide to Space Heaters Courtesy of Pensacola Real Estate Professionals

As temperatures drop, we at Pensacola Real Estate Professionals wanted to share some general and safety information pertaining to space heaters.

Everyone wants to save money on heating cost. One option is to use space heaters. They can add warmth and comfort to your home, as long as you use them safely. Space heaters have been known to cause fires, if not used properly.

There are two basic types of heaters: convection and radiant. Convection heaters provide warmth by blowing or pulling air over a heated surface. These heaters are designed to heat an entire room. Radiant heaters direct heat at an object.

convection heater at lowesConvection heaters are either fan-assistant or fan-less. These heaters are priced on average from $10 to $400.

Ceramic heaters are some of the newest convection heaters on the market. These heaters have ceramic plates and aluminum baffles. When electricity passes through the ceramic, it is heated. The heat is then absorbed by the aluminum and a fan blows the hot air into your room.

Ceramic heaters are easily portable and give off a great deal of heat from a small box. These heaters tend to be more energy efficient and safer than many heaters, so even though they heat up quickly, their plastic casings stay cool. A great use for this type of fan would be in a small office or tabletop.

The some Ceramic heaters range from $15 to $100 dollars. Delonghi’s Ceramic Heaters can be viewed at delonghi.com. Another company that carry’s a variety of them locally is Lowe’s Home Improvement Store. Their selections can be viewed at lowes.com.

Heater fans use a standard metal-coil element that is placed in the fan to help distribute heat to the room. These convection fans provide a minimal source of heat for a small areal, but not an entire room. Heater fans usually have a good price point and often are available in a variety of sizes and color. The heat element can also be turned off, so this fan can be a great choice in both the winter and the summer.

The average price range for heater fans is $10 to $400. Go to lowes.com for selections to view.heater fan at lowes

The radiant heater is one of the most common type of space heaters. However, this type of heater has been updated with more features and temperature controls, keeping safety in mind.

Most of these heaters use a glowing quartz or some type of metal element and reflector to provide heat to a specific area. Radiant heaters quickly provide heat to those closest to the heater, rather than providing heat for an entire room.

Radiant heaters range in price on average from $30 to $100. See a consumer search review of some available at consumersearch.com.

Oil-filled radiators look like old fashioned radiators that are found in many older houses. However, these are radiant electric heaters that are permanently filled with oil. Many of the models available come with wheels so they are easy to move around your home. This type of heater provides a steady heat source for an entire room.

The price of some oil-filled  heaters range from $50 to $110. Honeywell’s HZ 709 is priced at $90. Visit honeywellstore.com for it and other heater selections.

Another option for additional heating in your home is using either a gas or kerosene heater. Both of these heaters give off a great deal of heat and come in handy when there is no power, since they don’t require electricity. However, always be careful when using them and be sure to follow the manufacture’s guidelines.

honeywell oil filled heater

Propane gas heaters are among the newest ways to provide additional heat to your home. These heaters can provide heat for almost six hours on one-gallon tank of propane. Prices range on average from $10 to $300. See Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Propane Heaters at mrheater.com or visit The Home Depot at homedepot.com for available models.

Since natural gas is so plentiful in many parts of the country, natural gas heaters are another great option. You’ll have to connect this type of heater to a gas source; however, you can still disconnect the heater to store elsewhere during the summer.

Fireplaces are the most popular source of additional heat in many homes. They can give off a lot of heat and provide warmth to a room. Fireplaces are becoming so popular, you now find them in bedrooms, kitchens and even bathrooms! However, if your home doesn’t have a fireplace, the costs of adding a chimney and/or gas line can really add up quickly.

The electric fireplace is one of the newest products on the market. Not only does this fireplace add warmth to a room, but it’s attractive  and can become a focal point. See Home Depot for available models at homedepot.com. The price of some electric fireplaces can range from $50 to $300.electric fireplace

Space Heater Guideline:

1) Only purchase a heater that has the UL mark, which stands for United Laboratories. (It’s an independent testing lab.)

2) Keep at least three feet from combustible items.

3) Turn off before leaving a room or before going to sleep.

4) Always supervise children and pets when using a heater.

5) Only plug into wall outlets; don’t use extension cords.

6) Don’t use it to dry clothes.

7) Cool down completely before adding fuel.

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