Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hard water: bad for your home and wallet

Research by the Battelle Institute found that with hard water, showerheads lost 75 percent of their flow rate in less than 18 simulated months and could not maintain the required flow rate because of scaling.

Water heaters are also negatively affected by hard water. When using softened water, researchers found that all the water heaters tested maintained 100 percent efficiency over a simulated 15-year lifetime, but with hard water, the gas and electric heater efficiency dropped by 25 percent - an incredible loss in energy resulting in significantly higher costs. In the case of the new instant tankless water heaters, hard water caused them to completely fail to function because of plugged-up scale, or mineral build-up associated with hard water, after only 1.6 years of simulated use - about a tenth the normal life of the appliance.

Another study conducted for the Water Quality Research Foundation assessed the impact of water hardness on automatic dishwashers. Soft water was up to 12 times more effective at cleaning dishes than increasing the amount of detergent used. Researchers also found that for washing machines the most important factor in removing stains was water softness. Reduction of water hardness was up to 100 times more effective at stain removal than increasing the detergent dose or washing with hotter water.

You can take steps to eliminate the source of the scaling with a salt-based water softener. In order to make hard water into soft water, you have to remove the calcium and magnesium. The only way to do that effectively is with a salt-regenerated water softener. These work by running the incoming hard water through a resin filter that traps the calcium and magnesium in the water, as well as any iron, manganese or radium ions and replacing them with sodium ions. Magnetic and other non-salt based water softeners do not remove these harmful hard minerals.

Do-it-yourself water testing kits are available at most hardware stores, or you can have a water treatment professional do the testing. The Water Quality Association's website lets you search by company name, state or ZIP code to help find a professional in your area to handle the testing.

Eliminating hard water minerals delivers significant benefits in terms of the efficiency and maintenance cost of appliances and plumbing. From a budgeting perspective, using less detergent and energy can add up to real savings for families and individuals. Plus the harder these machines have to work, the faster they wear out and need repair or replacement, representing another very significant expense for homeowners. For more information on water softening, visit

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Three simple ideas for creating an amazing cheese platter

Here are three unique platter ideas that are sure to impress at your next party:

1. The cheddar flight. Wine isn't the only thing that gets better with age. Offer your guests a plate of delicious, aged cheddar cheese. Black Creek's premium cheddar cheese is available aged nine months, two or three years and features a richly-sharp flavor. To create this platter, present the cheese on a cutting board, and allow your guests to cut their own. Adorn each variety with number-shaped birthday candles to show their ages. For example, use a "9" for the nine-month offering. If you would like to serve your cheddar in cubes, cut the cubes in different sizes, start small at nine months and get bigger as you reach three years.

Plate pairings: Aged cheddar isn't only a delectable treat, it is also a wonderful partner for a variety of wine and beer pairings. A full-bodied merlot will complement your cheddar cheese plate perfectly, and your guests will also enjoy pairing this cheese with a zinfandel, stout or brandy.

2. Tour of Europe. Italy is known for its many cheeses, but what about France, Denmark or Holland? You may not know much about the cheeses available from these countries and chances are your guests don't either. Create a "Tour of Europe" platter and wow your guests with an offering that will pique their curiosity and delight their taste buds. French cheeses like brie and camembert offer a soft texture with a memorable flavor. From there take your guests to Holland and Denmark, for blue cheese, extra-aged Gouda or the salty, nutty flavor of Edam. Add flags to your cheese offerings denoting each one's nationality. Your guests will quickly tour the continent and try them all.

Plate pairings: A tour of Europe will offer your guests many different tastes and several beverages can be paired with this plate including stouts, ports and cabernets. If you're looking to add another country to your tour, visit for a variety of ideas.

3. Flavor within flavor. If you want to offer a cheese plate with a look and feel all its own, Great Midwest flavored jacks and cheddars are the perfect answer. Each cheese's natural flavor is complemented with the addition of flavor infusions ranging from sweet (blueberries) to spicy (jalapeƱos) to savory (horseradish). Offer your guests a tray featuring fruit-filled cheeses on one side and spicy cheeses - loaded with jalapenos, habaneros or chipotle - on the other. Garnish with the fresh versions of the appropriate fruits or peppers. Your guests will love your presentation and the beautiful colors such a platter provides.

Plate pairings: A plate of flavored jacks and cheddars offers guests several different tastes and is perfectly complemented by a wide array of beers. If you plan on serving a plate featuring spicy cheeses, offer your guests a riesling or iced tea as well.

Creating that perfect cheese tray is simple once you have a theme. Let your imagination guide you and you will be rewarded with a platter that expresses your creativity and wows your guests.

Details on carpet stain removal

Carpet stain removal can be a daunting task. It should also be done with much care and precaution to prevent damage on the carpet. While using the vacuum cleaner will do fine, it will only remove the dirt. Stains are different, thus, they should be treated differently.

Regardless of the approach employed in removing the stains, it is best to act immediately and quickly. If you wait in doing the cleaning, you risk ruining your carpet for good. Whether oil, wax, solid or liquid substances are spilled on the carpet, you need to grab a clean cloth to remove the solid substances or what can be removed from the stain.

Then you have to blot out as much of the stain as possible. If a liquid substance spilled the carpet, there might occur wicking. Wicking means that the liquid substances have pooled at the bottom of your carpet. Hence, it will weaken the fiber of your carpet, causing the stain to spread and resurface; and eventually, serious damage is done on your carpet.

To prevent wicking, you need to cover the area with a thick dry cloth, and weigh it down with thick books or something that is heavy. Leave it overnight and remove the stain as normal in the following day.

In the morning, when you are certain that no more liquid or staining material will come out, blot out the stain using a dampen cloth or sponge. Avoid scrubbing the carpet as it would weaken the fiber and cause the stain to spread to other areas.

Blotting the stain gently will remove the stain without causing further damage to the carpet. If the stain remains after blotting it with water, you may want to squirt mild dish washing liquid onto it to clean. Blot the stain gently and let it sit for an hour before you blot again with a cool damp sponge or cloth until the stain is totally removed.

There are many carpet stain removal products available in the market in case you do not like to use dishwashing liquid detergent. Commercial products designed for removing stains vary based on what types of stains on your carpet.

For them to be effective, you need to figure out what type of stains your carpet has. If it is greasy like oils for cooking, body, automotive or moisturizing, use grease-based stain removal products.

If the stains are acid-based like coffee or urine, your choices are oil-based or acid-based products. In oil-based, the stains are dissolved, while in acid-based, the chemical quality of the spots are changed in order to make them easy to remove.

If you are not certain on the type of stain your carpet has, choose the all-purpose type of carpet stain removal product.

In all your undertakings, it is best to test the carpet stain removal product in a corner of the carpet or in any out-of-the-way area of the carpet, lest, you may risk creating a faded spot that may look more hideous than the stain itself.

by Rudy Silva

Friday, April 10, 2015

Realty Masters West Opening Soon!

Realty Masters West Opening Soon!
Realty Masters expands to West Pensacola in April 2015.
We are happy to announce the opening of our new branch office~ Realty Masters West located at 6800 W. Hwy 98, Pensacola, FL 32506. One of our favorite things about the new office is having the US Navy Blue Angels fly overhead!

Pensacola Property Management
Realty Masters West Opening April 2015!
We are happy to provide a more convenient location for our renters in West & Southwest Pensacola as well as Perdido Key, FL.  Our agents manage over 300 Pensacola rental homes and apartments in the 32506 and 32507 zip codes alone. 

We appreciate our service members and can't wait to be closer to NAS Pensacola to better serve you.

By May 1, 2015 our new office will be fully functional.  At our new location, you may:
  • Register to view Pensacola area rental homes
  • Apply for a Realty Masters home
  • Pay your rent
  • Talk to property managers Becky Jones or Katie Payne
  • Talk with an agent about Pensacola homes for sale
We look forward to seeing you in our new office soon!

Thanks and have a great day,
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Rentals!
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Neighborhood Profile: Plantation Place Condos

Plantation Place Condos, Pensacola, FL 32504
Northeast Pensacola condos with garage & complex pool!

Plantation Place is located at 7150 Plantation Rd., Pensacola, FL 32504 in the heart of Northeast Pensacola off Davis Hwy near Interstate 10. 

Just minutes from University Town Plaza and other shopping and restaurants, schools such as the University of West Florida, and major employers, as well as I-10, this is a highly desired location.

Plantation place Condos, Pensacola, FL 32504
Plantation Place Condos, Pensacola, FL 32504
It's also a convenient location halfway between Pensacola Naval Air Station and Whiting Field in Milton which makes it desirable for military pilots training at both bases.
There are 48 condos located in Plantation Place with both downstairs and upstairs units available.  There are a few floor plans- all with 2 bedroom 2 baths- ranging from 800 to 1,100 square feet. Each unit has a private garage on the main floor with washer/ dryer hookups.  Because very few condominiums in Pensacola feature garages, these condos usually go fast.
Plantation Place Amenities
  • Private 1 car garage per unit with guest parking
  • In-ground pool and lounge area
  • Sidewalks and nicely landscaped, well maintained complex
  • Most units offer wood burning fireplaces
  • Upstairs units have cathedral ceilings
School Districts for Plantation Place condos include Holm Elementary, Ferry
Pass Middle and Washington High School.

Plantation Place Condo Association

Northeast Pensacola condos with garages~
Yearly dues for the Plantation Place Condo Association are $2,280 paid monthly.  The association covers grounds keeping, trash, pool care, association management, pest control, and insurance.  Check with the condo association prior to leasing or purchasing a condo in Plantation Place as the covenants and restrictions.

7150 Plantation Rd., Pensacola, FL 23504 complex pool
Complex pool with lounge area at Plantation Place Condos~ 7150 Plantation Rd., Pensacola, FL 23504 
Plantation Place Condos in Northeast Pensacola, FL 32504
Plantation Place Condos in Northeast Pensacola, FL 32504
Long Term Plantation Place Condos for Rent 
There are occasionally condos for rent in Plantation Place.  In 2014, Plantation Place Condos rented between $700 and $850.  If you are looking for a long term condo rental in Northeast Pensacola, email me, for a current list of availability.

Realty Masters manages long term rentals at Plantation Place and other condos in Pensacola. We are happy to assist you with leasing your property or finding a condo for you to rent! 

Plantation Place Condos Pensacola, FL 32504
Loft style with high ceilings in upstairs unit!
Plantation Place Condos for Sale 
If you are interested in purchasing a Plantation Place Condo or a similar Northeast Pensacola home, email or call her at (850) 232-2200 for a list of properties available for purchase! You can also browse homes for sale on our website

Thanks and have a great day,
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Rentals!
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at