Columns
For Academic Success, Get a Grip on Childs’ Stress Levels | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 10:03

 

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By Dr. Ben Bernstein
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM


A child’s academic performance is directly affected by his or her stress level. If stress is too high or too low, your child’s performance will suffer.

I have seen how people can overcome their handicaps. I watched a student’s low SAT scores rise dramatically once he learned how to calm down during the test.


I saw the utter joy of a rower when she finally learned how to focus her energy throughout the entire race.


I was particularly moved when I watched the parents of a student I was coaching learn to build their son’s self-esteem instead of tear it down, by relaxing their completely unrealistic expectations of him.


Parents can have a tremendous impact on how a child handles stress. Here are some key tools for success using a balanced mind-body-spirit approach that boils down to being calm, having confidence and maintaining focus.

 




Physical Tension


Jitters and tension make it hard for anyone to concentrate. A bad case of nerves can seriously undermine students’ test performance because it robs them of their concentration.


Make sure your child gets enough regular physical exercise. Bike riding, working out at the gym, running and swimming are all tension-releasing activities that give her the opportunity to let off steam and “restart” her system.


Watching TV, talking on the phone and playing video games are not aerobic. All too often kids try to study after long hours of these activities and their energy is already zapped.


Check whether your child is getting enough sleep. Is he going to bed too late? Does he have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning? Does he appear tired at other times of the day, like after school?


Children need a lot more sleep than adults do, at least nine to ten hours a night, and anything less can severely hamper their school performance because their tired minds aren’t paying attention. Recent research shows that inadequate sleep can cause problems that look like attention deficit.


Review your child’s diet. A diet high in carbs, sugars and caffeinated drinks is, unfortunately, all too common in our culture. While sugary foods and “energy drinks” appear to keep the engine stoked, they are actually wearing your child down.


A balanced diet keeps glucose levels from going on a roller coaster and has a positive effect on metabolism, energy levels and brain function.


Learn to calm down yourself. As a parent, you can very easily pick up on what your child feels and start feeling the same way yourself. (Also, of course, you have your own adult problems to cope with.)


If your child is anxious or sad or angry, you may quickly begin feeling the same way, even if you were feeling quite calm just moments before. In psychology we call this an “induced reaction”—you are induced into your child’s state. This is a very human response, especially with people who are close with one another, like parent and child.


You increase your chances of reducing your child’s stress if you learn how to keep yourself calm no matter what is going on with your child.

 




Issues of Self Doubt


Your child’s doubt in himself and his abilities may cause his confidence to plunge both before and during a test.


Ask yourself if you are the right person to be your child’s confidant. You might think of yourself as your child’s best friend, but you may not be the first choice as a confidant. If that’s the case, you have to give up the idea that your child should confide in you about this issue.


Think of someone else your child can talk with. Enlist the support of a teacher she respects, a school advisor or counselor she trusts, a clergy member or one of her close friends who is a responsible individual. Encourage her to share her deepest thoughts with that person.


Make supportive – but accurate – statements to your child: “You work hard.” “You’ve taken on big challenges before and succeeded.” “You can do it.” “I believe in you.” “I know you’ve got what it takes.”

 




Difficulty Staying on Task


If your child has difficulty becoming motivated, find out what is getting in his way. Is it an overall sense of helplessness that even if he tries, he won’t get anywhere? Has achievement become a negative word?


Ask yourself whose goal it is that your child succeeds. Of course you want her to do well, but if she doesn’t have that goal herself, you are going to be in an uphill battle that you might never win.


Talk with your child about this. A straightforward discussion about her goals can go a long way toward clarifying why she needs to work harder.


Notice the ways your child becomes distracted. Does he stay on the phone, text, log onto the web, e-mail, play video games, watch TV, eat – all instead of doing his homework?


Can you help him set realistic working periods with breaks for “treats” and distractions? Consider getting a timer as a tool so he can focus better and more consistently.


Consider how focused you are. If you have clear goals and minimize distraction, you can be a good role model for your child. She can see the effects for herself.


Remember: cultivating good work habits is ultimately something children should learn to do for themselves because they see the positive results and feel good about having accomplished a goal. Though you may have to encourage and mentor them through this process, they are doing the work so that they can go on to lead a more fulfilling life.

 




Four Bad Parental Behaviors;

What to Do about Them


• Are You Comparing Your Child to Others? Stop! The best thing to do is to focus on what is going on with him and what he needs, not on what anyone else is doing or has done.

Go out of your way to ask your child questions so you can understand his needs.



• Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations for Your Child? Sometimes parents idealize their children and see them as mini superheroes capable of doing just about anything. This mentality gets in the way of seeing your child for who she is.


Be her greatest advocate and most enduring source of support. But be realistic by recognizing her true strengths and weaknesses. You have to acknowledge and – this is harder – accept the things she likes and the things she doesn’t and be honest about her possibilities and limitations.



• Do you think your child’s performance is a reflection of your parenting? If your child performs poorly on a test, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have done a bad job as a parent. It could just mean your child needs some help.


Don’t take it personally! Find the real problem and get the right help. If you have difficulty separating your child’s performance from your own self-esteem or from your own performance as a child, you can avail yourself of different forms of support such as parenting books, online help, peer counseling (talking with other parents) or professional therapy.


•Are You Micromanaging Your Child? Stop helicoptering to rescue your child from every little thing! Give your child room to grow. It’s hard to watch him make a mistake, or make the wrong choice, but true learning and growth come only through personal action. Wind him up and let him go. Let him fall and learn to pick himself up again by himself, on his own.



Ben Bernstein, Ph.D. of San Francisco, is a licensed psychologist, a national speaker on stress and performance, and a performance coach in the Young Musicians Program for inner-city teenagers at UC Berkeley. He is the author of “How to Be Calm, Confident and Focused on Any Test.” For more information, visit www.testsuccesscoach.com

 


 
Spotlight on CV Adult and Career Education | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 15:05



By Paula Evans
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM




There is much competition for jobs right now and little job growth in many industries, so picking the right career field can keep you from experiencing disappointment when job hunting.


That is why it is important to find a career track that is growing and not contracting. The medical field is – and will continue to be – the largest growing segment of our economy.


One of the primary reasons for the continued growth is the aging of our population. As the mass of baby boomers continues to grow, so do the ailments and afflictions associated with getting older.


Castro Valley Adult and Career Education strives to offer substantial career preparation courses that reflect current occupational skills requirements and industry demand. Do the research and see for yourself:


• Clinical Medical Assistant: This 270-hour, 14-week CMA program is a complete package, teaching students to perform back office procedures including vital signs, injections and drawing blood, collecting specimens, taking EKGs, preparing patients for x-rays and examinations and more.


Optional clinical externships are available for qualifying students.  Those interested in the next CMA class starting Aug. 16 must attend a mandatory orientation on one of the following dates: Thursday, July 19, 6-8 p.m.; Saturday July 21, 9:30-11:30 a.m.; or Thursday, Aug. 2 –6-8 p.m. in Room 16 at the adult school.


• Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide: A state approved program that provides 210 hours of classroom theory and clinical instruction for CNA and HHA certifications. Next class starts May 7 with a mandatory orientation for interested students on Saturday, April 21 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 16 at the adult school.


• Administrative Medical Assistant: Appointment management, customer service, medical records, confidentiality and HIPAA instruction provide the skills needed for employment in a medical, clinical or health care facility. Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m, Aug. 15-Oct. 31.


• Medical Terminology: Knowing the language of medicine is essential for entering and advancing in the healthcare field. This 12-week class is on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, 5:15-8:15 p.m. May 1-July 25.


• Anatomy & Physiology:  A comprehensive 12-week course covering body systems and how they intricately work together. Monday and Wednesday evenings, 5:15-8:15 pm. May 7-August 8, 2012.


• Pharmacology: Glands and Muscles and Bugs, Oh My! This fiveweek session will focus on prevention, causes and treatments of infectious diseases, and overview of the endocrine glands and their disorders and a review of conditions affecting muscles. Thursday evenings, 5-8:30 p.m. April 26-May 24.


• Pharmacology: How Much is Enough. Dosage calculation for all types of medications will be presented using real-life examples. This five-week session provides a refresher for those who may have studied Dosage Calculations in the past and a comprehensive overview for those who are new to the process on Thursday evenings, 5-8:30 p.m. June 14-July 12.


• Medical Billing, Insurance & Office Procedures I, II:  This 2-part course covers the foundations of insurance, CPT and ICD coding, Medisoft billing software and HIPAA.  Saturdays, 8:30 am-2:30 pm, April 21-June 30, 2012.


• New! Start Your Own Medical Billing & Coding Business: Get valuable resources and tips on how to get started in setting up and running a small medical billing and coding business, including “Ask the Expert” sessions. Saturdays, July 21 and July 28, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


• Beginning Coding: Learn the precision skills of a Medical Coding Specialist who assigns a universal numeric code to each symptom, treatment, diagnosis and medical procedure for the purpose of payment and notifications. Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. July 13-Sept. 30.


• Advanced Coding: This is a dedicated course teaching the precision skills of coding. Instruction includes the use of ICD-9, CPT and HCPCS coding books. Upon completion of both sections, students are prepared to take national certification. Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.April 20-June 8.


• Microsoft Computer Applications – Gain that competitive edge with proficient knowledge and skills in the use of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. Class schedules vary, call or check website for days and times.


Take charge of your future! Invest in a program that will pay you long-term dividends. If you would like more information regarding career and technical training and educational programs offered through Castro Valley Adult and Career Education, visit our website www.cvadult.org, contact the adult school at 510-886-1000, or stop by in person at 4430 Alma Avenue, Castro Valley.



 
Start Planning Now to Protect Your Kids from the Dual ‘Summer Slide’ | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:30


By Carrie Scheiner
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM


Working parents are lining up child care plans for the summer. While they’re at it, educators say all parents of school-age children should also plan for preventing the dreaded summer slide.


The ‘summer slide’ is the information and skills children forget during summer break from the end of one school year to the beginning of the next school year.


The education slide is well-documented by numerous studies, which were synthesized in the 1990s by Harris Cooper, then a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He found that children could forget one to three months of learning over the summer.


While some people are aware of the learning loss, many aren’t aware that children tend to gain weight more rapidly when they’re out of school.


A 2007 study by Paul Von Hippel of Ohio State University found that kids, especially those at risk for obesity, gain as much weight during the summer as they do all school year.



What can parents do to keep young brains and bodies engaged in healthy ways over the summer? Here are some tips:


• Journal current achievement levels. How do you know if your child is affected by summer slide if you don’t remember where they ended the year?


Create a summer journal and, in the first few pages, document what they most recently learned in their major subjects. Were they adding and subtracting double-digit numbers? Doing long division? What were some of their vocabulary or spelling words?


Throughout the summer you can track their progress and, at the least, maintain those levels – or maybe even move on to more challenging material.


• Try a weeklong educational day camp. We all want our kids to have fun during the summer, and they can. Enroll in the fun, active day camps that focus on art, music or swimming. But toward the end of the summer, have your children attend one week of math camp and one week of reading camp as a refresher.


• Feed the brain during free time. Kids have a lot more free time in the summer. With fewer scheduled activities, even kids who attend a camp may have more time to hang out in the evening.


How can you feed their brain during this extra time? Visit the library and check out print books, audio books, educational DVDs, and even educational computer games.


Many websites offer activity ideas that you and the kids can enjoy together.


• Activate the brain. Getting active exercises both the body and the brain. Just like our body needs exercise to  stay healthy, so does the brain to keep those neurons firing. Encourage kids to stay active and play outside during the summer and allow only limited, scheduled times for sedentary activities like video games or TV.

 


Carrie Scheiner earned a a master’s in statistics from Rutgers University. She was inspired by her own children to develop a program that creatively teaches math facts. Visit www.exploracise.com

 


 
Question of the Week • 04-04-12 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 13:51

 

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Location, Leadership and Luck | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 13:36


From the Boulevard...


By Thomas E. Lorentzen



“Luck that differs greatly from art

creates many things that are like it.”

—Ion of Chios



 

Castro Valley continues to benefit from the geographic and demographic evolution of the Bay Area, as well as from local leadership and some luck as well.


As referenced in prior articles, our town was once on the outskirts of the Bay Area – sort of an outpost. Now, however, we are not only closer to the center, but have developed a cynosure of our own.


After nearly two years of work we are now nearing completion of the redevelopment project along CV Boulevard from Redwood Road to San Miguel Avenue. It has been controversial, inconvenient and costly to businesses impacted by construction work.


From an observation standpoint, it looks like some did not survive. Yet, once completed, it will hopefully augment the quality of the appearance of our town, as well as our sense of pride.


Given the death knell of redevelopment agencies in the state, we are one of the last to have sufficient funding to see the project through to completion. Several years ago we had a similar experience, qualifying for the very last round of funds to be applied to the development of our library from a state bond measure. Luck, it appears, is on our side. Not a bad thing to have.


We also continue to build upon the quality of our town – with very positive community resources and practices.


Among things that are very good about our town are:  the high quality of our school district; the efficiency and effectiveness of our sanitation district (not to be underestimated in terms of value); a wonderful state-of-the art library (reference above); an excellent performing arts center; a new Eden Hospital nearing completion; a remodeled Castro Village; an increase of good dining locations; continuation of an entertainment tradition with the Chabot Theater; solid performances at the Chanticleers Theater; a talented community of artists; a local BART station and police sub-station; and the recreational beauty and activities at Lake Chabot.



We also have our own unique weather pattern in our valley, making our weather one of the best not only in the Bay Area, but even the nation.


There are other things as well, but what they add up to is that the location of Castro Valley continues to add value to our town, and, we also seem to have luck going for us (obtaining funding at the final end of state library bond and redevelopment funding process).



Yet, luck does not happen in a vacuum.


There are obviously many individuals and families who play a leadership role in our town who not only help to make positive things happen, but perpetuate and maintain them as well.



More often than not, we don’t know who they are or recognize them. That is also because they don’t seem to seek recognition or credit – they just do it because it is the right thing for our community.


In this sense, our town is also lumpy with leadership and talent.  Perhaps that might be a good way to end this column – with gratitude, for our town is lumpy with quiet leadership, luck and the location where we live. With the foundation that has been set and the motions now underway it appears that the best may be yet to come. We may be one of the best-kept secrets in the Bay Area.  Shhhh!


Tom Lorentzen lives in Castro Valley. He fomerly served on the board of the Institute of Museum & Library Services and the Advisory Board to Southern Oregon University, and has served three Presidential Administrations.

 



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Bankers Balk at Short Sale Rentbacks | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 13:05


Real Estate Reality


By Carl Medford, CRS

Special to the Forum


Seems like a win-win: homeowners, unable to make their loan payments, short sell their homes to investors who, in turn, rent the properties back to them so they don’t have to move.

Kids get to stay in the same schools, sellers don’t have to find a rental, the new rent payments are usually lower than existing mortgage payments they couldn’t afford… sounds like a good idea, right?


Problem is, in most cases, it’s illegal.


There’ve been numerous short-sale scams over the years and banks who choose to cooperate in a short sale want to make sure they’re not party to any dubious behavior.


At the heart of the issue are investors who’ve purchased short sales, then immediately flipped them for a profit. In fact, until just recently, Realtors, due to insurance regulations, weren’t allowed to represent investors in short-sale purchases.


If an investor can buy a short sale, flip it and profit from it, then the bank short-sold the property too low. Since banks lose money on short sales, they want assurances that their losses won’t line investor’s pockets at the bank’s expense. If anyone benefits from a short sale, it should be another homeowner, not an investor.


Lenders also don’t want previous owners benefitting in any way. Banks figure that if they’re taking it in the chops for the seller’s inability to make loan payments they actually promised they’d pay by signing a promissory note, then a seller shouldn’t benefit in any way other than getting out from under the debt.


Therefore, the banks insist that the seller cannot stay in the property under any circumstance. After all, if they can remain for a substantially lower monthly financial output, then that’s a benefit, right?


For this reason, buyers and sellers involved in short sales must sign an Arms Length Affidavit. It typically includes the following dialogue:


“There is no agreement, whether oral, written, or implied, between the seller and the Buyer and/or their respective agents that would allow the seller to remain in the property as tenant or to regain ownership of the property at any time after the consummation of this sale transaction.”


No signature, no sale.


What are the ramifications for violating the affidavit? Potential legal action. And, in our opinion, short sales have enough troubles of their own without the possibility of future litigation.


Our recommendation? Sell and move. Don’t swap one set of troubles for another.

 


Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Prudential California Realty in Castro Valley and a licensed general contractor. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association at www.ccmgtoday.com

 


 
Important Reasons To $ave | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 15:02


By Jason Alderman
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM



After four years of coping with a stagnant economy, probably the last thing you want to hear is how important it is to sock away money for a rainy day – you already know that.


Those who struggle with long-term unemployment or under-employment often simply don’t have spare cash available to save. Others, worn out by years of being frugal, just want to buy things again.


Even as we wait for economic recovery it’s still good to remember – or perhaps learn for the first time – why saving is so vital:


You could lose your job or see your wages cut. Most financial experts recommend having at least six to nine months’ income saved for emergencies, but even $500 could help bail you out of a sticky situation.


Medical care, retirement and college tuition far outpace inflation. In fact, the average college graduate now carries $25,000 in outstanding loans – debt that can’t be discharged through bankruptcy and has no statute of limitations.


If you’re approaching or in retirement, your net worth has probably been hammered by plummeting home and retirement account values in recent years.


If nothing else, you can teach your children good financial habits that will serve them well during hard times.


So where can you learn sound savings habits?


One great resource is America Saves (www.americasaves.org), a national campaign sponsored by more than 1,000 non-profit, government and corporate organizations. Their goal is to encourage people from all income levels to save money and build personal wealth using their free financial tools, savings services, advice and other resources, including:


•A Personal Wealth Estimator that helps you calculate your current net worth and estimate your future net worth.


•Monthly Savings Messages from national financial experts on topics such as money management, investment basics, building wealth through home ownership, saving during tax time and getting out of debt.


•Tips for saving money on everything from groceries to utilities to insurance premiums.

•Links to numerous websites offering financial education.

Here are some good ways to start saving that first $500:

•Direct deposit part or all of your federal tax refund into a savings account or savings bond.

•Avoid overdraft and late fees by regularly monitoring your bank and credit card accounts.

•Brown-bag it to work more often. If you saved $5 a week, you’d be half-way there.

•Kick bad habits. Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day might cost $2,000-plus a year.

•If you have low-deductible homeowners, renters or auto insurance, consider raising the deductible to $500 or $1,000. Many save 15 to 30 percent or more on their premiums.



Saving can be a tough habit to start, but once you’re hooked, you’ll never go back.

 


Jason Alderman directs Visa’s financial education programs.

 


 
Why Easter Sunday Falls on a Different Day Each Year | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 15:24


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Though Easter is an annual festival observed throughout the Christian world, the date for Easter shifts every year within the Gregorian Calendar, the standard international calendar which regulates the ceremonial cycle of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.

The current Gregorian ecclesiastical rules that determine the date of Easter trace back to 325 AD at the First Council of Nicaea convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine. At that time the Roman world used the Julian Calendar, put in place by Julius Caesar.


The Council decided to keep Easter on a Sunday, the same Sunday throughout the world. To fix incontrovertibly the date for Easter, and to make it determinable indefinitely in advance, the Council constructed special tables to compute the date. Nonetheless, different means of calculations continued in use throughout the Christian world.


In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII completed a reconstruction of the Julian calendar and produced new Easter tables. One major difference between the Julian and Gregorian Calendar is the “leap year rule.”


Universal adoption of the Gregorian calendar occurred slowly. By the 1700s, most of western Europe had adopted it. The Eastern Christian churches still determine the Easter dates using the older Julian Calendar method.


The usual statement, that Easter Day is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs next after the vernal equinox, is not a precise statement of the actual ecclesiastical rules. The full moon involved is not the astronomical Full Moon but an ecclesiastical moon (determined from tables) that keeps, more or less, in step with the astronomical Moon.


The result is that Easter can never occur before March 22 or later than April 25. The Gregorian dates for the ecclesiastical full moon come from the Gregorian tables. 


Therefore, the civil date of Easter depends upon which tables - Gregorian or pre-Gregorian - are used. The western (Roman Catholic and Protestant) Christian churches use the Gregorian tables; many eastern (Orthodox) Christian churches use the older tables based on the Julian Calendar.


In a congress held in 1923, the eastern churches adopted a modified Gregorian Calendar and decided to set the date of Easter according to the astronomical Full Moon for the meridian of Jerusalem. However, a variety of practices remain among the eastern churches.


Inevitably, then, the date of Easter occasionally differs from a date that depends on the astronomical Full Moon and vernal equinox. In some cases this difference may occur in some parts of the world and not in others because two dates separated by the International Date Line are always simultaneously in progress on the Earth.


Source: U.S. Naval Observatory

 

 


 
He is Risen | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 15:29


04042012HHR


According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Easter Sunday (also Resurrection Sunday). The chronology of his death and resurrection is variously interpreted to have occurred between AD 26 and 36.


Easter also marks the end of Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of the Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday.



 
Question of the Week • 03-28-12 | Print |  E-mail
User Rating: / 1
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Friday, 30 March 2012 14:47

 

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The Meaning of Different Customs Observed During Easter | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 15:34


04042012TMODC


Easter is a day that is honored by nearly all of contemporary Christianity and is used to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


The meaning of many different customs observed during Easter Sunday have been buried with time. Their origins lie in pre-Christian religions and Christianity. All in some way or another are a “salute to spring,” marking rebirth.


The white Easter lily captures the glory of the holiday. The word “Easter” is named after Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. A festival was held in her honor every year at the vernal equinox.


People celebrate the holiday according to their beliefs and their religious denominations.


Christians commemorate Good Friday as the day that Jesus Christ died and Easter Sunday as the day that He was resurrected. Protestant settlers brought the custom of a sunrise service, a religious gathering at dawn, to the United States.


On Easter Sunday, children wake up to find that the Easter Bunny has left them baskets of candy.


He has also hidden the eggs that they decorated earlier that week. Children hunt for the eggs all around the house. Neighborhoods and organizations hold Easter egg hunts, and the child who finds the most eggs wins a prize.


The Easter Bunny is a rabbit-spirit. Long ago, he was called the “Easter Hare.” Hares and rabbits have frequent multiple births so they became a symbol of fertility.


The custom of an Easter egg hunt began because children believed that hares laid eggs in the grass.


The Romans believed that “All life comes from an egg.” Christians consider eggs to be “the seed of life” and so they are symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Eggs represent the new life that returns to nature during Spring. Early Christians used red colored eggs to symbolize Resurrection.

 


 
Repair Vents To Protect Your Home’s ‘Envelope’ | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 30 March 2012 14:27


By Samantha Mazzotta

Special to the Forum



Q:


Recently, I found that sparrows had built a nest, not just under the eaves of my house but inside the crawlspace under the roof. I had pest control remove the nest, and now I plan to seal up any gaps or openings under the eaves or leading into the attic. How best do I go about this?


A:


You don’t want to seal up every opening in the attic and crawlspace area, as many of the openings play an important role in maintaining the health of your home.


The spaces between the exterior and interior living area of a house — attics, crawlspaces, the gaps between the outside wall and the interior framing and drywall — make up what’s known as a home’s “envelope.” Airflow into and out of this envelope is as important as the other components you’ll often find inside, such as insulation.


Home plans provide for open vents spaced around the exterior of the house, which allow air to flow naturally into and out of the envelope.


This constantly moving air keeps the space between your living area and the outside of the house from getting too hot or too cold, and, more importantly, keeps moisture from becoming a problem. Excess humidity within the envelope can, over time, cause some very expensive problems, including mold.


Of course, you don’t want pests using these vents to move into your home, because they, too, can cause quite a bit of damage.


To protect the crawlspace and health of your home, notate all of the openings and vents in the eaves and soffits, the crawlspace and attic, and the basement or lower crawlspace. Note whether a vent is in place. Is there just an opening with no protective vent, or does the opening look like a damaged area rather than an intentionally placed opening?


Now purchase what you need to install proper vent covers to enable airflow but discourage pests. Also, take time to repair any exterior damage before interior damage becomes a problem.


Even with protective measures in place, you still need to inspect the area at least twice a year, typically spring and fall, for evidence of animals or other pests trying to make your home their home.


Home Tip: What’s the difference between eaves and soffits? Eaves sit at the edge of a sloped roof; soffits are the flat underside of a roof’s overhang between the exterior wall and the eaves.

© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

 




 
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