Archives for Berks County

7 B&L Ott Tips For A Successful Home Renovation

Renovating your Berks County home can be an exciting experience. You get to change your home, make it look new, and design it however you want. However, there is also a chance that things may not go exactly the way you want them to. You can run into issues with the layout, pricing, the contractor, and more. Yet, there are ways to help avoid these types of problems. Check out these tips from B&L Ott near Reading, Pennsylvania to learn how to help make your renovation successful! 

Plan Ahead

The first step is to plan everything out thoroughly. This includes: 

  • A budget for the project
  • What you want to renovate and how
  • Your future needs for space
  • What supplies you will need
  • Timing for the renovation
  • What contractor you want to use
  • What to do with any pets or children
  • Temporary storage or living space
  • How you will have to change your schedule during renovation
  • Details such as furnishings, lighting, HVAC access, etc. 

By having a detailed plan, you can help ensure that everyone is on the same page. This way you can help ensure the renovation is exactly what you want. 

Give The Project Enough Time

As mentioned above, it is important to plan the timing for your renovation. It is important to note that you should give yourself more time than you think you need. This way, if you have any setbacks, it won’t put as much pressure on you to rush through everything else. If possible, try to schedule your renovation when you don’t have many other plans. This way you can make your renovation your priority and get it done on time. For any outdoor projects, you will also want to pay attention and choose the right season for your project as the weather can be unpredictable in Berks County, Pennsylvania. 

Find the Right Contractor

If your renovation is complicated, you may be considering hiring extra help to get the project done. There are multiple companies in Berks County willing to help you, but it can be a bit tricky to choose the right one for the job. 

The best way to find the right contractor is to find other people in the Reading area who have had successful renovations. Whether it be your friends, family, neighbors, or strangers on a website, it is always helpful to hear testimonials from other people who have used the contractor you are considering. If their clients have positive things to say, they are likely a good candidate for the job. If not, you should look elsewhere.  


Whether you are hiring a Berks County contractor or just having your family and friends help, it is important to communicate. Communication is the best way to ensure everyone is on the same page so you can have your Reading home look the way you want it to. Be clear about your expectations, repeat the most important points, and check-in with each other regularly. The more you communicate, the less chance there is for a misunderstanding. 

Be Open To Suggestions

In many cases, two heads are better than one. Your contractor or other helpers may have suggestions to improve your plans. Try to be open to these suggestions, especially if they have more renovation experience than you. There is likely a good reason they brought up this new idea. If you are set on your original plan, communicate why and work together to find the best solution. 

Have A Back-Up Plan

You never know when an unexpected issue may pop up. In every complicated project, it is always good to have a backup plan. This way, if you run into a problem, it doesn’t stress you out or put your renovation on pause. Be ready for issues such as price changes, extended timelines, weather issues, and more. 

Consider HVAC Options

If your renovation included a new room or extreme changes, you will want to make sure your space if comfortable. This means thinking about your HVAC options. Do you need to modify the ductwork? Do you want a split system? If you need help with any comfort aspects, contact the professionals at B&L Ott near Reading, PA. We have the knowledge and experience you need to keep your family comfortable. You can contact us through our website here: You can also call B&L Ott at 610-927-5133. Once you get all of the details sorted out, you can enjoy your new renovation and the comfort of your Berks County home.

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7 Tips For Staying Safe During Summer Heat Waves In Berks County

Summer is here and so is the heat. In Berks County, Pennsylvania the weather is ever-changing and unpredictable. It can be warm and breezy one day, then sweltering and humid the next. A heat wave can arrive quickly. If you find yourself in a heat wave this summer, it is important to know how to keep yourself and your family safe. B&L Ott near Reading, PA is here to help with seven tips to stay safe this summer. 

Pay Attention to Weather Forecast

There are many outdoor summer activities that we participate in. There’s swimming, sports, gardening, parties, and more. When it comes to outdoor activities, knowing what the weather is can help you prepare for your activities. Stay safe this summer by watching the weather forecast on a daily basis. If you hear a heat wave is coming, dress in light clothing and use these other tips to help you prepare. 

Stay Hydrated

When it’s hot, it is important to stay hydrated. The heat makes you sweat, which causes you to lose water. With this in mind, you have to replenish this water so your body can function properly. Dehydration can lead to symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, blurry vision, fainting, and more. The more active you are, the more water you will need, so plan accordingly. This is one of the most important aspects to pay attention to during this Berks County summer. 

Choose Your Food Carefully

While drinking plenty of water, you will also want to avoid foods and drinks that dehydrate you. This includes salty foods, alcoholic beverages, and caffeinated beverages. Make smart choices. Fruits are a great snack that helps keep you cool and hydrated. You’ll also feel better and have more energy.  

Use Sunscreen and Limit Sun Exposure

On top of staying hydrated, it is also important to limit your exposure to the sun and using sunscreen. Sunscreen is something that can be rather easy to forget. Therefore, it is a good idea to find ways to help you remember. Put the bottle where you see it often so you remember to apply it. 

If you must go outside, try to avoid direct sunlight. Find a shady place to relax. It is also best to go outside in the morning or evening while the sun is not high. You will thank yourself when you can be comfortable lying in bed and taking a shower. 

Stay Inside 

The best way to limit your exposure to the sun is to simply stay inside. It can be frustrating to stay inside for long periods of time. If you want to get out of your Reading area home, find a public place with air conditioning to spend your time. You can go to the mall, run some errands, or go see a movie. There are plenty of indoor activities in Berks County. 

Keep An Eye On Kids, Pets, and Elderly

Once you ensure that you are well taken care of, you will also want to check on your kids, pets, and any elderly family members or neighbors. They may not be fully able to take care of themselves so it is a good idea to check on them regularly. Keep your pets inside as much as possible. Make sure your kids know how to stay safe in the summer heat as well. 

Contact B&L Ott for Maintenance and Repairs

Finally, you will want to make sure that your air conditioner will work for you when you need it most. The best way to do so is to schedule regular maintenance from B&L Ott. You can do so through our website here: You can also call B&L Ott at 610-927-5133. If your HVAC system breaks down unexpectedly, B&L Ott also offers emergency repair service. We will get your HVAC system back up and running as soon as possible so your Berks County family can be cool, comfortable, and safe. 

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Ryan Ott Wins BCTC’s 2019 Life Long Friend Award

ryan ott hvacRecently, B&L Ott’s very own Ryan Ott won an award from the Berks Career and Technology Center in Oley, PA. This award was the 2019 Life Long Friend of BCTC Award. This honor is presented by JOC Chairperson, Oscar Manbeck, and BCTC Executive Director, Dr. James Kraft of the BCTC Joint Operating Committee. On Wednesday, March 27th, Ryan Ott was presented with a plaque to commemorate his achievement.

Contributing To The Berks County Community

At B&L Ott, we believe that it is important to be involved in our community. When you help others, it not only feels good, but you also get to meet new people and create strong bonds. Ryan Ott has donated both time and over $1,000 in HVAC equipment to the 2018 Student Built House Project. He also helps by supervising BCTC’s annual NOCTI performance tests each year. It is a positive relationship that allows students to learn from an experienced professional in the HVAC industry and allows Ott to share his passion and knowledge.

Striving For Excellence

Through this relationship, Ryan Ott also gets to inspire students to strive for excellence in their workmanship, just like B&L Ott technicians. At B&L Ott in Leesport, PA, we work hard to keep your HVAC running and your family comfortable. Whether we are installing a new system, performing maintenance, or making a repair, our goal is quality workmanship. We stay up to date with industry trends and double check our work. Our technicians are also friendly and courteous when visiting your Berks County home.

Continuing Excellence

When B&L Ott finds a student or candidate that has the same drive for excellence, we often hire them. For instance, Ott mentored a former BCTC HVAC student named Timothy A. Moll, who received several “Student of the Quarter” awards. He was brought on with a Co-Op opportunity and eventually earned a full-time position with B&L Ott. He was a diligent technician and represented B&L Ott well. When Moll unfortunately passed, Ryan Ott created a $1000 scholarship fund in his honor. This scholarship helped another student continue there education and excellence in the HVAC industry.

An HVAC Contractor You Can Trust

If you need HVAC help and want an HVAC contractor you can trust, call on the professionals at B&L Ott. We have been in the HVAC industry for nearly three decades and have helped many satisfied customers. We install the best brands and take pride in quality work. If you need an HVAC system installed, want to schedule biannual maintenance, or need a repair, contact us through our website here: You can also call B&L Ott at 610-927-5133. We look forward to talking with you soon!

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Berks County Spring Cleaning Checklist

It’s important to keep your Berks County home clean. Doing so keeps your family healthier and happier. It also keeps your guests more comfortable when they visit your home. It can be difficult to know where to start. There are so many things to tackle, it can seem overwhelming. The trick is to break the entire task into smaller tasks. This way you feel like you’re making progress more often and stay motivated. To help you accomplish this B&L Ott near Reading, PA is here to help with this checklist.


Throughout the winter, dust will collect and make the air feel stuffy. Be sure to get rid of as much dust as possible. Here are some areas, you should not forget to dust.

  • Tables
  • Shelves
  • China Cabinet
  • Top of Fridge
  • Top of TV
  • Picture Frames
  • Instruments
  • Window Sills
  • Electronics

If it is nice out, you may also want to consider opening the windows so that the air can circulate. Once you get everything dusted, you should begin to notice more lightness in the air.

Air Ducts

Yet another place where dust piles up that you can’t reach yourself is in your air ducts. When the piles of debris get too high, it will begin to affect the efficiency of your HVAC system. This can cost you more in utility bills and shorten the life span of your system. You should have your air ducts cleaned about every 10 years. If you have pets or if your family tracks a lot of dirt in the house, you should get them cleaned more often. On the other hand, if you have a high-efficiency filter, you may not have to get them cleaned quite as often. If it is time for you to have your air ducts cleaned, contact the professionals at B&L Ott in Berks County.


While you may vacuum or wipe off your floors on a weekly basis, every once in a while they require a deeper clean. If you have carpet floors you should shampoo them. Removable rugs can be taken outside and shaken to get all the dust and dirt out. If you have wooden floors, you should polish them. Try to clean the floors during a time where your family is not around. This way they won’t have to walk around and get your freshly cleaned floor dirty.


Your furniture should also get some extra attention. Be sure to vacuum under the cushions, inside the cracks, and under them. Any wooden furniture should be dusted and polished. The best way to make sure you don’t miss any pieces is to go room by room.

Windows, Walls, and Mirrors

It’s not just your floors that need to be cleaned. The sides of your rooms and house should be cleaned as well. Windows should be wiped off with a paper towel and window cleaner. Mirrors can be cleaned with window cleaner as well, but you should use a microfiber cloth to avoid streaks and scratches. You can wipe down your walls with a damp paper towel.


When you invite guests to your Berks County home, you want them to feel comfortable. A dirty bathroom can make them feel uncomfortable, so it is important to keep it clean. Be sure to clean the toilet, shower, and sink regularly. When spring rolls around, you should also tackle the showerhead, clear any mold or mildew, and seal the areas around your shower. The bathroom can be easily forgotten as you don’t spend much time there. However, it is important to keep it in tip-top shape.

Air Filter and HVAC System

Along with the air ducts, you should also change your air filter and have your system cleaned. Your average air filter should actually be changed every month. Having your outdoor unit and the rest of your system cleaned 1-2 times per year can help ensure that your system runs at maximum efficiency. Contact the professionals at B&L Ott to schedule bi-annual maintenance for your system.

Clear Clutter and Organize

Along with dust, you may also find that clutter begins to pile up in your home. You may collect favors from weddings, empty boxes, event giveaways, and more. They seem awesome when you get them, but after a while, they end up just laying around. You may also have lots of mail and papers lying around. Spring is a great time to tackle all your clutter and get your home organized. It is a good idea to tackle organizing by doing one room at a time.


There are plenty of chores to take care of outside as well. Here are some of the most important tasks to take care of.

  • Mow the Lawn
  • Pull the Weeds
  • Sweep, Wash, and Paint the Deck if Needed
  • Wash, and Touch-Up the Garage Doors
  • Clean the Grill
  • Clean and Repair the Gutters
  • Wash the Patio Furniture
  • Trim Trees and Bushes
  • Add Mulch
  • Wash the Cars

By taking care of your yard, you can make your home seem more inviting and cheerful.

Touch-Up Work

Finally, take some time to do some touch-ups or repairs that you have been putting off. When your Berks County home is working in proper order and looks great, you will be less stressed. If you need any help repairing your HVAC system, contact B&L Ott for help. You can do so here: You can also call us at 610-927-5133.

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Ways to Make Your Berks County Home More Energy Efficient

Your Berks County home is likely filled with dozens of machines, devices, and appliances. Paying for the energy to power all of these devices can get expensive. If you are looking for ways to help you and your family cut back on your energy usage, B&L Ott near Reading, Pennsylvania is here to help. Below you will find a variety of ways to make your home more efficient and conserve energy.


Your HVAC system is one of the biggest users of energy in your Berks County home. This is a good place to focus when trying to lower your energy bills. B&L Ott offers a variety of solutions that can help you conserve energy.

Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats or Smart Thermostats make setting the temperature and air conditions in your home easier than ever. After B&L Ott installs your system, all you have to do is program a routine once. Then your system will continue to follow the routine that you set on a daily or weekly basis. You will barely have to touch your thermostat again. If you program your thermostat to turn back your air conditioner or heater during the day while you are not home, you can also save a significant amount on your energy bills.

Home Zoning

Home zoning is yet another system that makes controlling the conditions in your home easier than ever. Your family likely has their favorite spots in your home. You also likely have areas that you don’t use often. Yet, you still allow your HVAC system to warm or cool these areas. This wastes energy. A home zoning system splits your Berks County home into different sections that can be warmed or cooled individually. Contact B&L Ott to learn more or to have a home zoning system installed.

Air Flow

Like unused rooms, poor air flow can also waste energy. When airflow is poor, your HVAC system has to work harder to warm or cool your Berks County home. There are a variety of factors that contribute to the quality of air flow in your home. This includes cleanliness of your system, furniture layout, and how much care you have given your system.

When it comes to the cleanliness of your HVAC system, there are many parts to take care of. Be sure to clean your filter regularly, dust off the vents, and have B&L Ott clean your air ducts about every ten years. For furniture layout, make sure your couches, shelves, and other furniture are not blocking your vents and return air ducts. Finally, contact B&L Ott for preventative maintenance so you can make sure your system is running at maximum efficiency.

Insulate Your Home

Much of your homes warm or cool air is lost through your doors, windows, attic, and basement. One of the best ways to keep conditioned air from escaping is to insulate your home. If your home is due for new doors or windows, invest in thick ones that can help keep warm or cool air in. Thick curtains or mini blinds also help.

There are various forms of insulation you can buy for your attic or basement. The best way to choose which one is right for your home is to do plenty of research or talk to a professional. If you don’t have the time or money to spend on insulation you can also buy air blockers for doors leading to your attic and basement. They may not work as well as insulation, but they can still help keep conditioned air from escaping your home.

Home Automation

Similar to installing a programmable thermostat to control your HVAC system, there are many other automated devices that can help your home run more smoothly. For instance, there are lighting fixtures with sensors that turn off automatically when you leave the room and turn on when you enter the room. There are also automated security systems, entertainment systems, surveillance cameras and more. Not only are these systems convenient, but they can help you reduce your energy usage as well.

Buy Energy Efficient Appliances

There are many energy-efficient appliances on the market to help you save energy and lower your utility bills. If you would like to know more about energy efficient HVAC system options, talk to the professionals at B&L Ott. Some other appliances that offer energy efficient models include washers, dryers, water heaters, dishwashers, lights, and more. These models are typically more expensive than regular models, but they save you more in the long run.

Reduce the Amount Of Energy You Use

There are many systems, machines, and appliances you can buy to help you save energy. However, one of the best and cheapest ways to save energy is to change your habits. By making a few changes you may be surprised at how much you save. Some changes you can make include:

  • Turning the lights off when you leave the room.
  • Taking shorter and colder showers.
  • Using blankets or a sweater instead of turning up the heat.
  • Air drying your clothes and dishes.
  • Unplug devices and appliances when you’re not using them.
  • Turn off the water when you are not using it.

There are many benefits of becoming more energy efficient. By using some of the tips and ideas on this list, you are sure to save all while helping your Berks County home run more efficiently.

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Reasons to Live In Berks County Pennsylvania

B&L Ott is located in Berks County, Pennsylvania and we believe that it is a great place to live for a variety of reasons. If you are looking for a place to settle down in the southeastern Pennsylvania area, Berks County is definitely a place to consider. Here are just a few of the best features B&L Ott believes our area has to offer.

Changing Seasons

Many places in the United States or even the world are either hot year-round or cold year-round. In the New England states, we have the luxury of changing seasons. In the summer, we get to enjoy heading to the beach, swimming in the pool and sunbathing. In the fall, we have festivals, build bonfires, and enjoy the leaves changing color. In winter, we get to experience sledding, snowboarding, and the peacefulness of gently falling snow. Finally, in spring, we enjoy beautiful flowers and greenery as well as wildlife wandering the area.

If you come from an area that is hot year-round or cold year-round. You may be unsure about adapting to the varying temperatures and weather conditions. Fear not, because B&L Ott is here to help. By signing up for our biannual HVAC maintenance program, you can help ensure that your new Berks County home will be comfortable all year long.


Berks County is also in a great location. If you enjoy the quiet life, there are plenty of farmland areas for you to settle down in. On the other hand, if you prefer the city, Reading has plenty of activities going on on a daily basis. Berks County is also not too far from Philadelphia. It is a little over an hour’s away.


If you are an animal-lover, Berks County has plenty of interesting animals and critters to offer. There are plenty of birds to watch, deer, foxes, and more. If you choose to live in the countryside you may even get to see some of these critters wander through your yard. Even if you live in the city, you can take a short drive to the country try or a wooded area to scope out the wildlife. Don’t forget to bring your camera. You are sure to get some beautiful pictures.

While the Pennsylvania wildlife is wonderful to be around and to observe, you also have to pay attention to them when it comes to your HVAC system. Small animals such as mice and chipmunks may try to nest in your outdoor unit. This can cause a variety of issues. Therefore, it is important to inspect and clear the area around your system regularly when you live in Berks County.


There are also a variety of sites with historical significance in Berks County and the surrounding area. If you are a history buff, there are plenty of places to visit and history to learn.  There are museums, landmarks, statues, historical homes and more. You can visit them all. Then when your friends and family come to visit your new Berks County home, you will have plenty of interesting stories to tell them about the area.

Plenty of Things to Do

Finally, there are plenty of other activities to take part in. There are multiple amusement parks in the area. Reading has multiple sports venues where our home teams play and hosts many concerts and shows as well. We also have a variety of family activities such as shopping at the Berkshire mall, mini- golfing, bowling, going to a movie, etc. There are also a variety of good restaurants in Berks County. With a little research or asking the locals, you are sure to find a fun activity for you and your family to try.

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11 Fun Fall Activities In Berks County

Fall is an exciting time of year in Berks County. The weather gets cooler and plenty of exciting seasonal activities begin. While there are some tedious tasks to take care of, such as winterizing your home and making sure your HVAC system is working properly, there are also plenty of fun activities to take part in as well. So, after you contact B&L Ott for biannual HVAC maintenance, enjoy time with your friends and family while taking part in one of these fall activities.

Enjoy the Leaves

One of the best reasons to be in the Berks County area during the fall season is the leaves. Sometimes we may take it for granted, but it’s not something everyone gets to see. Just being out in nature can be relaxing. So take a hike, or drive if you prefer, and take in the beautiful fall colors. If you need something for your hand to do, bring a camera and take some pictures.

Build a Fire and Make Smores

There are few things in life better than gathering around a fire with good friends and family and just talking. If you haven’t seen your friends or family members in a while, why not invite them over to sit by the fire and make s’mores?

Festivals and Parades

There are always plenty of fall festivals and parades going on in Berks County at this time of year. You could probably find one to go to every single weekend if you wanted to. Look online, in the newspaper, or for roadside advertisements to find one you’re interested in.

Corn Mazes

If you enjoy mental-stimulation, why not test yourself with a corn maze? There are plenty of farms in the Berks County area and quite a few of them have corn mazes.

Haunted Houses

If thrills and being scared are more your thing, you can look for some haunted house tours instead. Be sure to bring your friends for comfort, or to laugh at their silly faces when they get scared.

Carriage Rides or Hayrides

Not everyone is into being scared. Another relaxing and more romantic fall activity is hayrides or carriage rides. You can simply sit back and enjoy the fall scenery Berks County has to offer.

Apple or Pumpkin Picking

Apple picking or pumpkin picking are also relaxing and simple fall activities. You can bring your entire family and just pick some healthy snacks to bring home. You can also carve or decorate the pumpkins to make a spooky decoration for your home.


You can also bake your apples or pumpkin and make a delicious fall treat for your family. There are a variety of dishes you can make with apples and pumpkins. The oven will also help warm your home a little, so you can turn your heat back for a little while and save some money.

Arts and Crafts

If you are an artsy person or have kids to entertain, you can make some fall-themed crafts. There are countless options. Just head online to find some great ideas.

Decorating Your Berks County Home

You can then use your crafts to decorate your Berks County home. You can also just buy some permafrost decorations at the store and use them to decorate. Orange, purple, or green lights can also help add to the ambiance of your home.

Stay In and Sit By the Fire (Or Air Vent)

Life can get pretty busy during the fall season. If you need some rest, you can just stay in and sit by your fireplace or stove. You can watch Halloween movies, read a scary book, knit a scarf, build a fort, snack, or just snuggle with your pet.

If you don’t have a fireplace or stove, you can improvise and set up some blankets and pillows near an air vent. Just make sure your vent is clean and not blowing dust on you. If your air ducts are due for a cleaning, B&L Ott can help. You can contact us through our website here: You can also call B&L Ott at 610-927-5133. Have a great fall!

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Tips for Building an Outdoor Living Space in Berks County

Summer is almost over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning for a beautiful outdoor living space for next summer. There are also plenty of fall outdoor activities you can create the perfect space for.

There are many different aspects to think about when building the perfect outdoor living space for your family, especially when you live in Berks County where the seasons change. If you are thinking about improving your outdoor living space, B&L Ott is here with some tips.

Build a Gathering Place

One of the main reasons why most people want to build an outdoor living space if for entertaining purposes. You might want to have your friends or family over to hear about their latest news and life experiences. 

With this in mind, it is important to have a good gathering place. It could be something simple like a nice patio table or it could be something a bit more unique like a fire pit. If you have kids or are a child at heart, you can also set up some outdoor games for some extra entertainment. Volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, and cornhole are all popular options.

Choose the Right Furniture

It is also important to choose the right furniture. Chairs with thick cushions are very comfortable. However, with Pennsylvania’s unpredictable weather and wildlife, this type of furniture can be tricky to maintain. However, if you do prefer furniture with cushions, you can buy a canopy to provide more protection for your furniture. You can also get chairs with removable cushions so you can take the cushions inside when the weather gets bad.

Set Up a Shaded Area

Summer’s in Berks County can get hot. If you are planning to build an outdoor living area, it is a good idea to put the gathering place in the shade. This way you can stay a bit cooler while still enjoying being outside. You can buy a patio umbrella or an awning. You can also make use of trees for natural shade.

HVAC Tip: It is also a good idea to make sure your outdoor air conditioning unit is in a shaded place. This can help it run more efficiently and make sure this doesn’t overheat.


Lighting can make a big difference in any outdoor space. It adds to the ambiance and makes everything feel a bit cozier. You can string some lights above your gathering place so people can still see when it gets dark or you can tie some around the tree trunks in your yard. Uplighting is a good way to make your yard seem more high-end and classy. Lining your pathways with lights can also add a special touch while making sure people don’t trip and fall once it gets dark.

Add a Grilling Area

If you plan on having guests over, you should make sure they are fed. Having a grilling area outside can help ensure that your guests get fed without sacrificing the company when you have to go inside and cook.

Choose the Right Plants

Plants bring more life into your yard as well as some color. There are plenty of choices out there. You just have to do a little research to make sure they will work in your yard.

When choosing which plants to buy, think about your families wishes and needs. If your family gets sunburnt easily, aloe plants may be helpful. If you want to attract some more wildlife, plant a butterfly bush. You will also want to pay attention to how much sun your backyard gets and which plants thrive in that amount of sunlight.

Keep Plants Away From Outdoor A/C Unit

Once you are finished relaxing in your outdoor living space, you will likely want to return back into your comfortable home. To keep it comfortable, you need to make sure your HVAC system is properly taken care of as well. Be sure to contact B&L Ott in Reading for biannual maintenance.

Other than this, you will also want to pay attention to your outdoor air conditioning unit. Plants can help provide shade to keep your system cool, but falling debris can also cause damage. Be sure to clear the debris from around your unit regularly. It is also a good idea to avoid planting plants that create lots of debris near your outdoor unit.

Keep Yardwork in Mind

Maintaining your outdoor living space will also take some work. In the summer, you have to cut the lawn. In the fall, you will have leaves to rake. In winter, you will have snow to shovel. Keep this in mind when designing your space.

  • Will any of the features make maintenance more difficult?
  • How much maintenance are you willing to do?
  • Do you need to buy a shed for extra storage?

It is a good idea to think about all of these aspects before jumping into your project.

Patio Rooms

If you don’t want a living space that is completely outdoors, you may decide to build a patio room instead. Patio rooms are a great way to get the best of both indoor and outdoor living. However, patio rooms can be a bit tricky to keep comfortable. Call on the professionals at B&L Ott to help you find the best solution for your patio room.

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5 Organizational Systems That Can Help Your Berks County Home Run More Smoothly

Life can get chaotic, especially if you have kids, pets, or messy family members. Things are always happening and it can get difficult to keep up with so many different responsibilities. A hectic life can be very stressful. It is difficult to keep track of so many important aspects of life.  You may be embarrassed that your home is always a mess, you may have trouble keeping track of what’s going on in your family’s lives, you may keep losing track of important items, or you may be neglecting maintenance on your home. Whatever the case, B&L Ott near Reading, PA is here to help with some tips and tricks to help get your home running a bit more smoothly.


Another issue you and your family may have when it comes to cleaning is not knowing where to store certain items. When this happens, you or your family members may end up just shoving everything under the bed, in a closet, or in a drawer. It only helps the messiness continue.

The first step is to declutter. Get rid of everything you don’t need or haven’t used in a while. If it’s still in good shape, try donating it before just throwing it away. Once you declutter you will have less to work with and organizing the rest will be easier. The next step is to give everything a place. Go out and buy some organizational bins or shelving if you need to. Assign a place for every single type of item in your home. Then the next time you need to clean, you will know exactly where to put it.


Between bills, permission slips, receipts, and other mail, there may be many papers scattered throughout your home. If you don’t take care of them fairly quickly, they begin to pile up and take away your desk, table, or counter space. Some important papers may even get shuffled around. Then you can’t find them when you need them, and you end up spending your time stressing and trying to find those papers.

Try to designate a place in your home where you and your family can store all of your important papers. You can put a folder, file cabinet, or bin for papers so your family always knows where to place and look for these papers when they need them. This will help you avoid those stressful nights when you have the entire family tearing apart your home looking for these important papers. It can also help


Cleaning can get monotonous after a while. You spend an entire day cleaning your Berks County home and before you know it, it’s messy again. Life isn’t just about continually cleaning your home so you can impress your guests. You want to go out and have inspiring experiences, but you can neglect your home either. Setting up a chore system can help keep things organized so you can have some more time to go out and have fun.

If your entire house is messy, you may not where to start. Then you waste time figuring out how to tackle such a massive project. Creating a routine you can follow can help. If you create a system once to make sure everything gets done, the next time your home is messy, you can just follow your routine instead of figuring out what order to clean everything. If your kids are old enough, get them involved too. You can even create a reward system to help motivate them to help you get the house clean.


There are many items in your home that need maintenance from time to time. This includes your car, appliances, HVAC system, and even your home itself. Some of these items may not have received maintenance in a while. Every time you walk past them, you may feel guilty that you haven’t given them the attention they deserve. Now is the time to create a system to make sure your home and items receive the maintenance they deserve.

Try to set aside a certain day every month where you can take care of home maintenance. You can change the filter in your HVAC system (and schedule maintenance with B&L OTT), you can take care of the garden, patch up the holes in the walls, repair the door, and all of those other fixes you haven’t gotten to. Another small way you can help your home run more smoothly is by setting up some home automation. B&L Ott can help you install a programmable thermostat so you can create a routine for your HVAC to follow. It’s easy, convenient and gives you one less thing to worry about.

Scheduling and Communicating

If you have many family members in your home, you likely have a lot of events. It is difficult if not impossible to keep track of your entire family’s schedule. Therefore, creating a scheduling system can help make sure you don’t overbook yourself or miss out on important events. This issue has a fairly simple solution. All you have to do is buy a wipe off board calendar and have your family fill it out with their important events. Put it in a place where everyone can see it every day. This can help you plan out your month ahead of time and make things easier. You can even get a few magnets and hang your tickets and invitations on so you can always find them when you need them.

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15 Indoor Activities For When It’s Too Hot Outside

Summers in Berks County are hot and humid. When it gets too hot outside, you likely hide inside where your air conditioner keeps you comfortable and cool. Unfortunately, staying inside can get boring after a while. Yet, there are plenty of useful or even fun ways to spend your time indoors.

Firstly, you can check up on your HVAC system, to make sure it will continue to work for you while it’s blistering hot outside. Be sure to change the filter and contact B&L Ott to make sure it has received proper maintenance. Once that is done, you can try one of the other 15 ideas below.

Clean and Organize

When your life gets busy, your home can get pretty busy and disorganized. Use your time inside to do something productive. You can get rid of the clutter, dust, wash the items you usually pass over, do your laundry and more. If you don’t want to do anything too physical you can get your life organized instead. Make a to-do list or fill out a daily planner with upcoming events.

Home Improvement and Decorating

Over time, the items and certain parts of your home experience wear-and-tear or become outdated. Take this time to do some indoor home improvement or decorating. You can rearrange your furniture, touch up paint, change the decor, make repairs, take care of your HVAC using tips from B&L Ott’s blog, and more.

Games and Puzzles

If you’re in the mood for something more fun, find some family members or invite some friends over and play some board games or a card game. Puzzles can also be fun. If you’re more into technology play a video game or a computer game instead.


Whether you are a bookworm who reads every day or you don’t remember the last time you read a book, reading a book is a great way to pass your time inside. Reading offers a variety of benefits. It can help you escape your daily stresses and relax or it can teach something new and useful. There is a book out there for everyone.

Get Artsy

If you feel more like expressing yourself in some way get artsy. You can paint, draw, craft, write, make music and much more. Like many other items on this list, getting artsy can help you relax. It also gives you something interesting to look at or listen to later.

Binge Watching

Sometimes you need to just lay around, relax, and be immersed in a different story. Ask your friends what their favorite series is, rewatch one of your favorites, or just pick something random. Then grab some snacks and enjoy.


You deserve a little pampering. Take some time out of your day to work on self-care. You can give yourself a facial, take a nice bath, do your nails, or try out some new hairstyles. Afterward, you will likely feel better and more confident.


Alternatively, you can also work on yourself through exercise. You can walk up and down the stairs, do some yoga, lift some weights, or do a full workout if you have a home gym. Just don’t forget to stretch and stay hydrated!

Play With Your Pet

You love your pets and they love you. If you have been busy and haven’t interacted with them as much as you would like lately, give them some attention now. Play with them, talk to them, or give them some care. Take every chance you can to bond with your pet.

Plan a Vacation or Party

Whether you can afford a big vacation or not, it never hurts to dream. Turn on your computer, pick your favorite destination, and plan your trip. Whether you actually go or not, just pretending you are can be fun. Alternatively, you can plan a big party instead.

Sing, Dance, or Play Music

Few activities can lift your spirits like a karaoke or dance party. Put on your favorite playlist and simply dance and sing around your house. If that’s not your thing, you can just get online and discover new music, make a new playlist, or buy some new music instead.

Record Videos

If you love taking videos or being in front of a camera, take this opportunity to make some interesting videos. You can make some home movies for your family to look back on later, create a video that showcases or talent, or just make something funny and ridiculous.

Catch Up With Your Friends

Life gets busy and sometimes we lose touch with some of our friends and family. If you have some free time, give your friends a call, write them a letter, or even invite them over for dinner. They will be glad to hear from you and you can learn about each other’s latest adventures.

Research Your Family Tree

Have you ever wondered where you come from or why you have the interests, habits, or characteristics, that you do? If so, the answers may be in your family tree. Record what you know and carry on from there. You may learn you are related to someone famous or find a photo of the ancestors you never knew you had.

Learn Something New

It’s always good to learn something new. The more you know and the more skills you have, the more interesting you become. You can develop a new skill or research a topic that interests you. The possibilities are endless. If you want to learn more about your HVAC system and keeping your Berks County home comfortable, check out B&L Ott’s blog here:

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