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Bringing the Outdoors In for the Holidays

We simply love to bring the outdoors in when it comes to decorating. Fresh cut flowers always have a place in the home and seasonal additions, such as pumpkins and gourds are also highly anticipated and welcomed guests. With Christmas upon us, we’re falling back in love with fresh cut greens, pinecones and poinsettias and of course, the Christmas cactus.

For those of you with a fireplace in the home, we like to start our holiday decorating with the mantle. Fresh cut greens, generously placed over soft white lights and adorned with pinecones and vintage bulbs make for a timeless display. This is a look that can be duplicated in multiple areas throughout the home as well, such as the dining room table, coffee table or in vases, especially with the use of readily available battery powered strands of lights. The crafty among us can also use greens to create beautiful Christmas wreaths or swags, paired with hand tied bows to adorn the exterior of your home. Additionally, any of these elements alone, greens, pine cones and vintage bulbs, can be used to create stunning holiday decor and can be used with or without white lights by simply displaying them in bowls or vases.

Another one of our seasonal favorites is the poinsettia. These beautiful flowers can be purchased relatively inexpensively and used throughout the home during the Christmas season. One of our favorite uses of the poinsettia is to line a staircase, particularly in an alternating pattern of red and white. It is an unexpected look that guests will love! These flowers are also a beautiful seasonal addition to any room simply potted placed on a tabletop. While not seen used as often in fresh cut arrangements, poinsettias make a wonderful addition to any fresh flower display and pair well with carnations and roses or can be the sole flower in the arrangement.

The Christmas cactus is a plant that can be enjoyed all year round, not just during the holidays. It is a relatively easy plant to care for and should not present its owners with too many challenges. While it is lovely on its own but we like to purchase it along with a number of different succulents and create a custom display as the variation of greens creates a visually appealing display.

You can keep your indoor plants, cut greens and seasonal flowers looking beautiful all season long when your home has the proper level of humidity. When you need home humidification, count on All Seasons – the comfort control people! We’ll help you with all of your air quality needs. Just give us a call at 631.694.1616 and we’ll be pleased to assist you.

Oh, Christmas Tree – The Live vs. Artificial Debate

If you haven’t already decorated your home for Christmas, chances are that you are at least thinking about it by this time and will soon embark on that undertaking. Whether you are a minimalist or prefer to cover every available space with something Christmas, it is likely that your tree (or trees) will be a spotlight decoration. This of course begs the question, real or artificial? There are advantages and disadvantages to both and here we will describe a few of each.

Given that live trees have been used since the tradition of decorating a tree begun, it seems only fair to start with them. For many families, the hunt to find the perfect Christmas tree is both a highly anticipated tradition and an experience. It may involve a trip to a farm, perhaps a wagon ride out to the fields and lively conversation about which one is the perfect tree for this years celebration. Once the tree has been found it is cut, wrapped and tied to the top of the car to be brought home for several weeks of enjoyment. A live Christmas tree is also likely to fill your home with a beautiful aroma and its imperfects provide character that only nature can produce.

While it is a highly romanticized undertaking, there can be some disadvantages to opting for a live tree at the holidays. Before a tree is even brought home you may find yourself questioning whether or not it will fit in the space that you have designated for it, both vertically and horizontally. In a field we can easily underestimate the size of our chosen tree to find, only once we’ve gotten it home, that we need to cut it down a bit to accommodate our ceiling height.

They are, undoubtedly, messy and you may find yourself cleaning up pine needles long after the tree has been taken out of the house. Additionally they need to be watered regularly while they are in your home to ensure that they do not dry out. We are also limited as to how long we can host a live tree in our homes before they start to lose needles and pose a fire risk.

On the other side of the debate are the artificial trees. Not only do they solve the challenges of the mess created by a live tree and eliminate any worries about space, they can also be set up at any time and stay a part of your decor for as long as you like (though, perhaps this is viewed as a disadvantage by some as well!). They are also perfectly symmetrical which many find appealing, are often pre-lit for convenience and take away any worries about allergies. These advantages attract many families to artificial trees at Christmastime.

Anyone that has ever set up an artificial tree knows that achieving that perfectly symmetrical look can take hours of dedicated maneuvering of the branches to get just the right look. This can be a drain on your patience, especially if eager children are waiting to assist with the decorating. Additionally, sooner or later, the pre-lit trees will begin to fail and removing the lights that are often so intricately entwined on the branches is a cumbersome task as well.

Finally, come the end of the season, there arises the issue of storing the tree. It never quite fits back in the box the way it did when it was first purchased and in homes with limited storage, an artificial tree can take up valuable real estate.

The decision of live versus artificial tree is one that is unique to each family and there is no right or wrong answer. Regardless of your tradition, setting up your tree is a special, magical time, whether live or artificial.

Is Your Heating System Ready for Winter?

If you’re not sure whether or not the heating system in your home is ready for winter, you should know that right now at All Seasons, we’re offering you a special discount. We’re giving our first-time gas heating customers a special price when they call us for annual maintenance – just $129*.

The colder weather has arrived, and that means your home’s heating system needs a tune-up and inspection. Our comprehensive service ensures your system is ready for the demands of a cold winter, and that it’s running at maximum efficiency. But you need to act quickly – this special offer expires on December 31, 2018! If you’re ready to have your heating system operate more effectively and efficiently this winter, just give us a call at 631.694.1616, or click here to learn more.

*Offer is valid for one system, see dealer for details. Expiration date: 12/31/18

Dry Winter Air Making Your Home Uncomfortable? Home Humidification Can Help.

Have you noticed that during the cold winter months the air in your home becomes significantly drier? Telltale signs include dry skin, static cling, sneezing, coughing and the general discomforts that go along with these signs. You might even notice that your wooden furniture and floorboards are creaking, and perhaps even showing signs of cracking. All of these signs point to overly dry air in your home, but fortunately there is a solution – whole house humidification.

Whole house humidifiers are much different than the humidifiers that plug into the wall and only keep one area humidified at a time. A whole house humidifier is installed directly to your home’s HVAC system. It infuses humidified air throughout your home via your ductwork, and your thermostat controls the humidity level. According to the website of home improvement guru Bob Vila, a whole house humidifier provides numerous benefits to homeowners.

Better Creature Comfort

If the air in your home is overly dry, it can be a nuisance to just about everyone living there, but it can be especially detrimental to the people who suffer from allergies or asthma. And, generally speaking everyone will suffer from dry noses and throats, as well as itchy, flaky skin. Additionally, there are those unpleasant static electricity zaps that happen when the air is too dry!

Improved Personal Health

Believe it or not, there are many viruses that do well in drier conditions – and that can make you and your loved ones more susceptible to respiratory conditions, flu and colds. Dried out mucus membranes in the nose and throat can also increase the chance of infection. Humidified air can alleviate some of these winter discomforts.

Increased Home Health

Here, we’re not talking about your personal wellbeing. We’re talking about your home’s health. Dry air can cause some damage, especially to wooden items like flooring, furniture and some musical instruments, like pianos and guitars. It can even wreak havoc with your electronics, art, paint and wallboard. Wood needs the right level of humidity to stay sound and beautiful for years to come.

Energy Savings

Think about it – an 80-degree day with high humidity feels much warmer than an 80-degree day when the air is dry. That’s because when air is slightly more humid, it feels warmer. So when you have a whole house humidifier for your home, the air will feel warmer at a lower temperature. The EPA says that for every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to four percent on your energy bills.

If you think it might be time for whole house humidification for your home, count on All Seasons – the comfort control people! We’ll help you with all of your air quality needs. Just give us a call at 631.694.1616 and we’ll be pleased to assist you.

Maintaining Your Lawn Landscape This Fall

Soon the leaves will be changing color so quickly that the green that filled them not long ago will be just a memory. Fast forward a few more weeks and they will have fallen to the ground and left the trees bare, to take on the burden of winter alone. This simple act, representing the changing of seasons yet again, also results in perhaps the last major yard maintenance task for homeowners before spring.

While the leaves are beautiful when they’re in full bloom, and perhaps also while they’re providing a colorful ground cover, they do present a maintenance issue and could also jeopardize the quality of your yard come springtime if not properly addressed. There are multiple ways that you can rid your yard of the leaves, depending on your time, budget and the volume of leaves.

Perhaps the most efficient manner, providing you have the equipment, is to mulch them back into the yard. A few passes with the lawnmower will have them fertilizing your yard in no time. Another option, albeit a little more cumbersome, is to rake and bag the leaves. Many municipalities will haul away leaves and other yard debris at specific times of the year, which makes disposal of these wastes a breeze.

With the yard free of leaves and any branches and other debris that may have collected, it’s time to turn your attention to your landscaping. In order to ensure that everything will look as good as it can in the spring and summer months, the fall months are the perfect time to cut back perennial plants, divide those that you want to split up and plant bulbs that will bloom in the spring.

We first recommend starting with a vision for what you want your yard to look like. From there you can start cutting back plants and dividing others to move them around your landscape beds. If you’ve found yourself with a surplus, this is a perfect opportunity to expand your landscaping or give some to a friend or neighbor to enhance their property. Some of our favorite plants with which to do this are hostas and day lilies.

Once you’ve addressed everything that you currently have in your landscaping, consider adding some bulbs to your landscaping for a pleasant pop of color come springtime. Tulip, crocus and allium bulbs are relatively easy to plant, offer generous success rates (provided the soil drains properly) and can be cut once in bloom to bring some of the outdoor beauty indoors.

It takes a great deal of work to maintain a beautiful yard; however, careful planning and preparation in the fall can make for a much smoother start to the spring! And, the same goes for your home comfort equipment. Have you scheduled your fall maintenance yet? If not, be sure to call us at 631.694.1616 to schedule your tune-up today.

Apple vs. Pumpkin: We’ll Let You Decide!

When the leaves start to change and the temperature begins to dip, does your mind wander to the tastes and smells of autumn? Are you an apple cinnamon consumer or a pumpkin spice person? Do these preferences extend beyond your morning beverage choices? In this article we are going to shy away from the coffee debate and explore some other fall inspired apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice recipes.

We’ve all had the traditional apple pie or apple crisps and pumpkin pie with a warm maple syrup drizzle, but where do you turn when you need a change from those tried and true, but also predictable, fall desserts? From time to time we need a break from our go-to recipes and need to expand our repertoire. We recently decided to explore seasonally flavored cheesecake recipes from Taste of Home for both an apple cinnamon cheesecake and pumpkin cheesecake and to say that we were not disappointed would certainly be an understatement.

We will first dive into this apple cinnamon cheesecake with its dense crust comprised of brown sugar, cinnamon, crushed walnuts, oats, butter and flour. While this is a deviation from a more common graham cracker crust, we certainly think it’s something you should try at least once. The combination of flavors lends itself to a cozy Sunday afternoon on the couch, in an oversized sweater indulging in deliciousness while binging your favorite show. The filling consists of the rich, creamy texture that’s expected from a cheesecake but the real winner in this recipe is the topping. You’ll be serving your cheesecake with warm, sautéed apples bathed in a cinnamon glaze. We suggest a generous serving size for the topping because those warm apples are simply irresistible.

With this pumpkin cheesecake recipe, we are again steering away from the graham cracker crust that you may expect to find accompanying your dessert. Instead, we choose a recipe that rewards your taste buds a bit more with its crushed gingersnap and pecan crust medley. This buttery combination is the perfect base layer for the rest of what’s to come, which is a rich, thick, pumpkin dense filling that is enough to induce a long weekend nap. As the recipe suggests, we also recommend serving this delectable dessert with a topping of choice, perhaps even a combination of toppings. Our personal favorite is to outline the cheesecake with an extra creamy whipped topping border, sprinkled with leftover gingersnap cookie crumbs and, once plated, drizzle it with a warm chocolate sauce.

There is no end to delicious fall inspired desserts to tempt and treat yourself and your loved ones with this season. Just be sure to save us a slice for when we stop in for your annual fall maintenance! Just call 631.694.1616 to schedule your tune-up today.

Why Get a Service Contract?

All too often, people think of the heating system in their home as “set it and forget it.” Once they have it installed, they simply take it for granted – that is, until the day it breaks down. Then, they’re often left with expensive repair bills, or worse yet, the need to install a brand new heating system. What if we told you prolonging the life of your equipment and needing fewer repairs was as easy as getting maintenance for your system?

The best way to preserve your heating system is through annual heating maintenance. It can save you the discomfort and expense caused by a system breakdown. What’s more, it can help your system operate more efficiently, helping you save money on your utility bills. And, perhaps most importantly, the proper annual heating maintenance can help improve your system’s longevity, so that you can count on it not only this winter, but for years to come.

When you choose a service contract from All Seasons, you can expect:

  • Lower Utility Bills
  • Extended Equipment Life
  • Fewer Repairs
  • Preferential Service (over non-contract customers)
  • A Maintained Equipment History
    Reminder Call for Scheduling
  • Automatic Renewal
  • Peace of Mind

As you can see, there are many advantages to getting annual maintenance for your heating equipment – and to having a service contract. To learn more about getting a heating maintenance agreement for your home, contact All Seasons – we’re the comfort control people! We’ll help you with all of your heating needs. Just give us a call at (631) 694-1616 and we’ll be happy to help you.

Save On Your Fall Tune-Up

Before you know it, Old Man Winter will make his annual appearance once again here on Long Island. The best way you can ensure your home comfort system will be ready? Getting the annual maintenance you need from All Seasons.

If you’re a first-time customer, we’re excited to offer you a special discount on your fall seasonal tune-up. Right now, we’re offering heating tune-ups for only $129. Our comprehensive service ensures your system is ready for the demands of a cold winter, and that it’s running at maximum efficiency. When you choose to maintain your system, you can count on lower utility bills, extended equipment life and fewer repairs.

Service contracts are also available from All Seasons. They help ensure you’ll receive preferential service, 24-hour emergency service, a maintained equipment history, and the peace of mind you need to enjoy total home comfort all year long. New customers can save 25 percent on a service contract, too* – so you can save money and have improved home comfort.

To take advantage of our service specials, click here, or contact us at 631.694.1616 and we’ll be happy to help!

*Discount valid on contracts valued at $500 or less. Discount valid for the first year only. See dealer for details. Offer expires 12/31/18

Make Your Next Summer BBQ Stress-Free With These Easy Tips!

Planning and hosting a backyard barbeque can be quite the undertaking for even the most experienced host. While the grilling season is well underway for the summer of 2018, it is far from over and it is never too late to both hone your craft and streamline your event. That’s why we’re sharing a few tips for hosting the perfect backyard barbeque.

The first aspect to consider when hosting a backyard barbeque is the guest list. A smaller, more intimate gather of close friends or family may prove to be a more enjoyable event for everyone. There are more opportunities to engage in conversation with each member of the group and it is likely that the host will feel less pressure preparing for a smaller group rather than a larger group. Furthermore, if the weather proves to be uncooperative, moving a smaller event inside is much less of a hassle.

Once you have settled on your guest list, it is time to take into consideration any glaring dietary concerns that you are aware of in advance. It would be uncouth to serve an array of smoked meats to a group with several vegetarian diners but at the same time it is also unrealistic for your guests to expect you to cater to every possible dietary request. Striking a balance between being a considerate host and made to order chef will further serve to reduce your stress levels.

Now it is time to start building your menu. We advise starting with a simple appetizer such as raw vegetables and dip or a charcuterie platter so that guests have something to munch on while you prepare for the main event. We also suggest that you prepare for your barbeque much the way a professional caterer would handle your event. What we mean by this is that you should limit your choices to a couple from each category, for example, one or two meats, two salad options and two additional side dishes.

For example, chicken and steak tips will please almost any guest, especially when paired with a colorful garden salad and a capellini salad. Finally, a grilled pineapple or zucchini brushed in olive oil and garlic keeps the meal light while at the same time your guests satisfied.

Choosing to provide dessert is an offering that we think guests will appreciate though, again, we suggest keeping it simple if you decide to go this route. Some freshly cut fruit is not only a sweet ending to a delicious summertime meal but also a healthy option for the more body-conscious diners on your guest list.

Now that we’ve covered the basics from start to finish, invite some friends over, make a trip to the garden and grocery store and enjoy a beautiful evening outdoors with great good and even better company.

Bon appétit!

Planning a Vacation? Pack Your Bags… the Right Way!

Ask any seasoned traveler for some advice when packing for your summer vacation and you’ll likely be told that ‘less is more.’ While each airline sets their own prices, the average cost to check a bag at the airport now ranges from $25.00-$50.00 each way. Whether you’re traveling alone, with your significant other or with your spouse and children, these fees add up quickly and can put a strain on your budget if you haven’t already factored them in. Especially if you’re concerned about staying on track with your vacation budget you may want to consider condensing your luggage to just a carry on but… “wear” to start?

Check the weather at your destination a few days before departing and use this information to help guide and limit your packing choices. Always bring at least one wardrobe option that you will be comfortable in if the weather changes drastically from what you were anticipating. A pair of pants and a sweatshirt may be useful if the evening temperatures at your tropical destination are cooler than you’d expected and can double as your travel attire, allowing you to shed layers as necessary.

Spend some time thinking about the type of vacation you want to have and pack accordingly. Trekking through ancient ruins requires different apparel than sliding up to the poolside bar or chasing children around a Disney park for a week. Whatever your activity level will be, you’ll want to ensure you’re properly prepared.

Consider re-wearing some outfits to save on space. If your accommodations have in unit laundry or you can send your clothes to the hotel laundering service, this can be a convenient way to save some space while packing. Choose a few versatile pieces and build different looks around those wardrobe staples. There is no need to sacrifice style while on vacation if you do some planning beforehand.

Don’t forget your feet! Footwear is an essential component of any stylish look but if you’re not careful it can also eat up a lot of space in that carry on. Sneakers take up a lot more real estate than flip-flops so if it’s practical, wear those through the airport and you can easily change into something else once you’ve reached your final destination.

An added advantage of packing light is that it will not only keep extra money in your pocket but it will also reduce the amount of time you spend in the airport waiting for your luggage and eliminate the chance of it getting lost, which is every traveler’s nightmare.

Bon voyage!