Family Danz Recipe Corner: Sweets for Your Sweet

Nothing says love quite like a sweet treat made from the heart. If you’re looking for something special to give your sweethearts this Valentine’s Day, why not consider making something yourself? In honor of the month of hearts and flowers, we’re sharing a recipe for cherry kiss cookies from Taste of Home. These delicious cookies are perfect to give to someone special. Whether you’re making them for a loved one, your co-workers, your child’s teacher or a friend, they’re sure to be appreciated!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 6 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries
  • 54 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and salt until blended. Add in cherry juice, extract and food coloring. Gradually stir in flour. Stir in chopped cherries.
  • Shape dough into 1” balls and place 1” apart on greased baking sheets.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. As soon as you remove from oven, press a chocolate kiss into the center of each. Edges may crack a little. Cool on cookie sheet for two minutes, and remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

If you haven’t had annual maintenance done on your furnace this year, why not show it a little love this February and schedule an appointment with us? Getting preventive maintenance will keep your furnace running all winter long. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to set up a heating maintenance appointment with you.

Staying Safe During a Winter Storm

This time of year it’s inevitable – we’ll likely need to brace ourselves for a winter storm or two. When the wind howls and Old Man Winter kicks up a blizzard, you might find yourself facing some unpleasant situations. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself for winter weather in advance, so that you’re ready for whatever weather comes your way – and you’re able to keep you and your family safe and sound. The American Red Cross offers some tips that can help you stay safe in the face of harsh winter weather.

Be prepared.

First of all, assemble an emergency preparedness kit that contains items that can help you weather the storm. Plenty of water, non-perishable food items, a flashlight, a battery operated radio, and a first aid kit are all essentials for any kit. You may also want to have extra cash on hand, a toolbox with the essentials, and at least a week’s supply of any medications you may need. If there are infants in the house, make sure you’re stocked up on diapers and formula, and if you have pets, have pet food and extra water on hand for them, too.

Keep your pets in mind.

If you have pets, you’ll want to keep them indoors. If the outdoor weather is inclement, you may have to resign yourself to the fact that they’ll have to do their business indoors, too. Have extra cleaning products like disinfectant spray and paper towels on hand, as well as plastic bags for any waste. Make sure you’re stocked up on cat litter – in the winter, it’s not a bad idea to keep an extra bag of the non-clumping variety in the trunk of your vehicle anyway, because it can help your tires gain traction if you get stuck.

Prepare for power outages.

You also may want to prepare for a power outage, as can sometimes occur in severe winter weather. Keep extra blankets on hand, as well as sweaters, sweatshirts and pants, thermal underwear, heavy socks, and even hats and gloves. If the power goes out, gather the family in one room to maximize body heat for warmth. You might even want to consider having some active fun, like dancing or exercising, to help stay warm and generate more heat.

Let Family Danz help.

Another way you can be prepared for whatever winter has in store for us is by making sure your heating system has had the proper annual maintenance. At Family Danz, it’s important to us that our customers are comfortable – and safe. That’s why we’re happy to offer preventive maintenance, which will help ensure your heating system runs effectively and efficiently, even when outdoor temperatures are at their coldest. Just give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we’ll be happy to help you get the maintenance you need.

Stay Warm This Winter With Family Danz Fuel Delivery

Nothing is worse than running out of heating fuel, especially during the times when winter is at its coldest. Heating oil is costly, which is why you need a fuel oil delivery company that is up-front about fuel prices and strives to provide you with the lowest possible price on the best fuel products. When you rely on Family Danz for your fuel oil delivery, you’ll quickly discover that we provide you with the best value on premium grade home heating oil. What’s more, we offer special plans that will help ensure you never run out.

Our quality fuel oil contains detergents that keep your system running clean and at maximum efficiency. These heating fuel additives help extend equipment life, reduce service calls, benefit the environment and save you money now and in the long run. And, the plans we offer help you stay on top of your fuel oil needs, so that you won’t have to worry about running out on the coldest night of the year.

Learn more about Family Danz’s fuel oil delivery options:

  • Automatic Delivery: We’ll work with you to schedule automatic delivery at no additional charge, and give you options that will allow you to take advantage of our discounted budget and prepayment plans.
  • Will Call Delivery: If you prefer to call when you need fuel, we kindly asks that you contact our office when your tank gauge is between half and a quarter full, to allow ample time to schedule your delivery.
  • Budget Plans: Our budget plan is a 10-month plan that averages your usage and provides a discount off the market price of oil.
  • Prepayment Plans: With this plan, you prepay for your fuel based on the current price. You’re charged for the actual price of heating oil at the time of delivery, minus a prefixed discount.

We can help with your furnace service and maintenance needs, too.

Not to mention, when you work with Family Danz on your oil delivery needs, you can also count on us to help keep your oil-burning furnace running smoothly. As a full-service heating contractor, we can help you with any maintenance or repair need you may have for your furnace. And, should you need a replacement, Family Danz provides quality Bryant® heating products to help meet your needs, along with expert installation.

Don’t get left out in the cold this winter – count on Family Danz to help you get the heating oil you need to keep your family comfortable when those freezing temperatures hit! To learn more or to schedule a fuel delivery, please give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we will be more than happy to assist you.

When to Replace Your Hot Water Heater

You rely on your home’s hot water heater for a lot – cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, laundry, and personal hygiene – so when it fails, it can cause a major disruption to your household routine. Many homeowners don’t know there’s anything amiss with their hot water heater until it fails, and that can be an inconvenient, expensive venture. But if you know the signs of hot water heater failure, you can get ahead of it – and keep the hot water flowing in your home.

The Angie’s List website offers four signs you should watch out for:

  • Age of Water Heater: Knowing the age of your water heater is important. If you’re not sure, you can generally check by the equipment’s serial number on the manufacturer’s website. Or, your plumbing technician will be happy to help you. If you find that your water heater is 10 years old or more, it’s likely time to consider a replacement. When hot water heaters reach this age, the potential for leaks becomes much greater – and that can cause extensive damage to your home.
  • Dirty Water: Noticing rust when you run your hot water? This could be a good sign that your water heater tank is rusting on the inside. If you’re concerned it might be your pipes, try draining a few buckets of water directly from the heater. If it’s still rusty, then you likely need to replace your hot water heater soon.
  • Noisy Operation: Water naturally has minerals and other sedimentary particles that will, over time, gather in the bottom of your hot water heater tank. Heating the sediment will over time cause it to harden. The hardened layer of sediment can cause your hot water heater to lose efficiency, and cause wear and tear on the tank that can lead to leaks. The giveaway that you have a layer of sediment in your tank are banging or rumbling sounds during heat-up.
  • Moisture Around Tank: Moisture around the tank of your hot water heater can indicate a leak or a fracture. After checking other pipes, connections and fittings to make sure they’re not leaking, if you still notice water you probably need to replace your hot water heater.

Time to replace? Give Family Danz a call – we can help meet all your hot water heater needs.

Family Danz is ready to help you if you need a new water heater. We have many options available, and our expert plumbers can install your new system quickly, so you won’t have to worry about being without hot water in your home for long. Just give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we’ll help you explore your options and find the right hot water heater for your home and lifestyle needs.

Thanksgiving on a Budget – 5 Tips for Saving Money This Year

Many of us are guilty of over-spending. Some of us are seasonal over-spenders and some of us are chronic over-spenders. Regardless of where we fall on the spending spectrum, when we choose to, we can almost always find ways to reduce our expenses, especially during the holiday season. Here we will discuss five tips to skinny down your spending for Thanksgiving without sacrificing a delicious meal and wonderful memories with family and friends.

Our first tip is to take an honest look at your guest list. It is easy to over-invite, especially during the holidays, but often this can lead to overextending ourselves monetarily and with regards to our time commitment. While perhaps uncomfortable and unfamiliar at first, it is ok to say no or to let past guests know that you’re hosting a smaller group this year. In addition to saving money, a smaller guest list will allow for greater face time with each guest.

Regardless of the number of guests on your list, asking your invitees to contribute to the dinner will not only assist you in keeping your budget in line, but also reduce your own workload. Nearly everyone has a specialty dish or a favorite item that they would be happy to share with the group, which will also give your gathering more character.

It can be easy to try to please everyone on your guest list and fall into the trap of making too much food. Not only is this a budget killer but can also be a mood killer as the added stress of trying to remember exactly what each guest’s preferences are can be exhausting. Sometimes less is more and that can certainly apply in this situation.

Additionally, most grocery stores will be offering sales on Thanksgiving staples in the weeks leading up to the feast. Shopping these sales, and shopping smart, can help you keep your budget on track. Curate a menu, take inventory of the ingredients that you already have on hand and then make a list in anticipation of the sales, being careful to buy only what you need.

Our final suggestion depends on a number of variables so it will be up to you and your guests to decide if it works for you, but dining out may just be a less expensive option to hosting and preparing a Thanksgiving meal. Many restaurants that choose to open on holidays have a flat price, all-inclusive meal option and the only preparation required is making a reservation. While you sacrifice some control in this scenario, it can also all but eliminate the stress associated with hosting a holiday in your home.

5 Ways You Can Maximize Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Whether or not we’re ready for it, the time has come when we must again begin to use our furnaces. If you have somehow managed to postpone the inevitable, we salute you, but are also a bit cold just at that thought. While none of us enjoy forking over increased sums of money to the energy companies this time of year, it is a part of life in New England that we must accept. Here we will suggest five simple strategies for reducing your energy consumption (and consequently, your bill) this heating season. Even employing just one strategy will positively impact your wallet so choose those that will work best for your family.

Clean your furnace: First and foremost, we suggest scheduling a cleaning for your furnace. This should be done annually and will not only ensure that you are ready when it is time to flip that switch but will also help you prepare for any additional maintenance costs that may be lurking around the corner. We also recommend having spare furnace filters on hand and swapping them out at least once a season (although greater frequency is recommended in a home with pets).

Smart Thermostats: While your trusted HVAC professional is at work on your annual furnace maintenance, perhaps they can recommend a smart thermostat. These devices can quickly pay for themselves both monetarily and in terms of convenience as they can be controlled from your mobile device allowing you to never have to get out of bed in a cold house again! Additionally you can monitor the heat in your home while you are out for those days that you’ve forgotten to turn the heat down before leaving for the day or a weekend away.

Passive Heating: When it comes to saving money on your heating costs, the sun can be your seasonal best friend. Does your home offer excellent daytime sun exposure? Make the most of this positioning and open your window treatments during the day to allow your home to bask in natural light and slowly warm up. While your furnace takes a rest your bank account will be growing.

Cooler Nights: Sleeping in a cooler room is not only good for your financial health but your physical health as well. While you’re saving money sleeping in a colder bedroom your body is benefiting by working harder to stay warm (consequently burning more calories while also putting you into a deeper sleep). Additionally, a colder bedroom helps your body better produce melatonin, which not only helps with sleep quality but also promotes anti-aging.

Utilize your Ceiling Fan: Many of us live in homes equipped with ceiling fans but they often sit unused during the winter months just collecting dust. By simply changing the direction of the blades to a clockwise motion helps to trap the heat inside the room with the ceiling fan making it feel warmer.

There are a number of simple and often subtle changes that we can make to our homes and in our daily routines that can positively impact both the health of our environment and finances. If you’d like more information on how you can make your home more energy efficient this winter, give Family Danz a call at 518.427.8685, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Preparing for Winter? Heating Maintenance is an Important Step!

The chilly, rainy days we’ve been experiencing this fall will turn to the white stuff soon enough, and that means it’ll also be time for your furnace to start working overtime. Probably, you’ve already fired up your home’s heating system, and there will undoubtedly be more to come. Have you had your heating system maintained yet this year? If not, you should.

When you get annual maintenance for your furnace, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. Maintenance not only helps your heating system operate more effectively and enjoy a longer life, there are other benefits you might not be aware of.

Heating system maintenance helps with:

Maintaining your system warranty. Too often, homeowners don’t realize that a part of their equipment warranty states that annual maintenance is required in order for the warranty to stay in effect. For you as a homeowner, that’s important. It means if you don’t get the maintenance outlined, the warranty may become void, and you’ll have to cover expenses.

Maintaining better indoor air quality. It just stands to reason that when air is being circulated through a dirty system, and being forced through a dirty filter, those particles are going to enter into the air you and your family breathe. Not to mention, the dust, dirt and buildup make it that much harder for your heating system to work. Getting the maintenance you need keeps your system running smoothly – and the air you breathe contaminant-free.

Keeping your system efficient. Without heating maintenance, it’s simple – your system will have to work harder, and that will make your utility bills go up. The dirt and buildup in a poorly maintained system keep it from running effectively and efficiently. But, by getting proper maintenance you’ll know you have a clean filter and a cleaned and lubricated system – allowing your system to function at its efficient best.

At Family Danz, we’re pleased to provide you with the maintenance you need.

When you purchase one of our maintenance plans, you’ll not only get the seasonal tune-up your system needs for optimal operation. You’ll also receive these benefits as well:

  • Priority Scheduling for Emergency Services
  • 15 Percent Discount on Parts and Labor
  • 24-Hour Emergency Service
  • No Overtime Rates

Getting the furnace maintenance you need is important, but it’s also as easy as calling Family Danz. Simply contact us at 518.427.8685 and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Save with Our Bryant® Bonus Special

Have you been thinking about installing a new heating system in your home before the cooler weather arrives? There’s no time like the present – right now, Family Danz is offering our Bryant Bonus Heating & Cooling System Special. You can count on us for the best products and installation available, and you can save some significant money in the process.

When you take advantage of our Bryant Bonus Heating & Cooling System Special, you’ll be eligible to save up to $2,975. Here’s how:

  • $1475 Utility Rebates
  • $600 System Rebate
  • $400 Family Danz Dealer Discount
  • FREE Humidifier ($500 Value)

To take advantage of this special, simply fill out our convenient contact form by clicking here. One of our friendly associates will get back to you soon. This offer is almost over – it will only last until November 15th – so take advantage today!

Fall Into Autumn with a Beautifully Decorated Front Entrance

Your front entrance is important, as it is often the centerpiece of your home. A thorough cleaning, updated painting, color and hardware can make a powerful first impression on visitors to your home. Once that project is out of the way, you may want to tackle some seasonal decorating to enhance your newly updated entrance.

One of the many aspects of fall that we can’t help but love is the colors. There’s something about the deep reds, vibrant oranges and golden yellows that elicits our desires for everything from sweaters and scarves to slow cooker meals and seasonally flavored coffees. To enhance your enjoyment of everything fall, we suggest spending a little more time on that entrance to incorporate some seasonal elements.

Planters & Urns

Our first suggestion is to invest in some planters that you can use year round. If you have the space, consider using urns because they’re versatile and add some height to entrance. The extra height is visually appealing and ensures that your entrance does not swallow up your plants as they balance out the proportions. Urns come in a variety of styles and materials so you’re sure to find something that will work within your budget.

For those of you working to be financially conservative, we suggest opting for a plastic version and weighing it down with sand or stones to ensure that it won’t tip over and crack (and thus compromise your plants). Our final recommendation relative to urns is to opt for black. A black urn is preferable for planting because it will almost always provide a beautiful complement to the other colors and materials that make up your entrance.

Plants, Flowers & Gourds

As you head to the greenhouse to purchase plants to fill those urns, we have to insist on at least a couple of mums. These seasonal gems are a must have and can be mixed or matched and will always be a beautiful addition to your outdoor decor. While the mums often steal the show, we must also suggest some other favorites such as ornamental grasses that always create some interest in your planters or greens, such as cabbages and kale.

These choices offer an unexpected contrast to the brilliant colors of the mums and add to the visual appeal of your arrangement, keeping your eyes moving about. Last but certainly not least, pumpkins, squash and decorative gourds can be used to accessorize your planters and be worked in around stairs, railings or mixed right in with your seasonal landscaping to bring some color and interest to your home.

Fall is often a great time of year, filled with fun, family friendly activities and nearly indescribable natural beauty. We hope you get out and take advantage of special time of year and enjoy decorating the entrance to your home to further enhance your enjoyment of the season.

Improving Your Front Entrance for the Changing Seasons

The leaves are starting to change, pumpkin spice everything has burst back onto the scene and the temperatures are gradually beginning to dip. We’re beginning to turn our attention to prepping the exterior of our homes for winter and making other, routine but mandatory, adjustments for the change of the seasons. While much of our effort over the coming weeks will be utilitarian, the temperatures are still agreeable enough to make some end of season cosmetic changes.

When was the last time that you gave your front door a good look? Does your family even use the front door or do you primarily enter and exit through the garage? Perhaps you use only the front door and beat it up with bags of groceries as you’re trying to carry everything in one load? Do you ever find yourself pushing it open or closed with your foot? Quite often, the front door is the subject of a great deal of use and abuse.

Your front door is often the first part of your home that guests come into physical contact with.

It is also their first introduction into a very personal part of who you and your family are. Once you open that door to someone, the sights, sounds and smells of your home flood your visitors and they make a statement, whether or not you want or intend for them to. Why not take a moment and look at your front door, the entry to your home, with a critical lens and make a few upgrades before the harsh winter winds force us inside?

The first, and perhaps most obvious, step you can take is to give your entry a through cleaning.

This will allow you to clearly assess the condition of your front door, the paint and the hardware. The next step you will want to take is to consider both the condition and the color of the paint. Does the color still speak to you? Does it make a positive statement? Have you considered changing it? The color schemes of most homes lend themselves to a multitude of options when it comes to the front door. We suggest that you narrow it down to a few that you really like and paint sample areas to determine which looks the best and most inviting.

Finally, you will want to address the hardware on your front door.

Does it feel solid when you’re opening and closing the door? Does it coordinate with your other design choices, in terms of both finish and style? Door hardware comes in a variety of styles, finishes and prices from which you can pick the perfect complement to your makeover project.

Spending a couple of hours breathing new life into your front door will not only beautify it for your daily enjoyment, but also enhance the value of your property and set the right tone for visitors to your home.