How to manage your air conditioning costs in the summer

Whether you live in a house or an apartment and no matter what type of air conditioning system you have (forced air, central air, window units, etc.), staying cool and staying within budget are both important. Here are some tips on keeping your electric bill from skyrocketing in the summer.

By strategically placing fans in relation to open windows, you can maximize air circulation. Moving air helps evaporate sweat, so if you live in a 2 story home, close the windows upstairs, open the windows downstairs, and put fans upstairs. In a single floor place, put fans farther away from open windows. The best windows to open are the ones where the most breezes come through.

It’s also a good idea to open windows at night when it’s cooler out, then close them first thing in the morning, trapping cooler air inside and keeping hot air out during the day.

The right window treatments can make a big difference in keeping heat out. You can buy insulating curtains at most retailers that carry window treatments. A properly insulated home is better for retaining internal temperature.

window air conditioning unit
At Alvern Gardens Apartments, residents are allowed to install as many window a/c units as they’d like. For just $35/unit, maintenance will install them for residents.

Humidity is often what makes heat stifling even if it’s not that hot, so consider investing in a dehumidifier, an a/c with humidity control, or an evaporative cooler.

When using air conditioning (central air, window units, portable a/c, whatever you’ve got), keep all your windows shut to avoid losing that nice cool air. Also, use fans to circulate the cool air throughout your home, or shut the door to the room you’re trying to cool down.

Only use the air conditioner while you’re home, and don’t over-do it. Some systems have a self-modulation feature that adjusts the a/c’s output according to the room’s temperature. This way, you can sleep through the night at the perfect temperature, and don’t have to constantly adjust the a/c during the day. If you don’t have one of these snazzy contraptions (though maybe you should invest in one if it’s been a few years since you bought your current a/c… having an efficient machine is key), do the modulating yourself. There’s no need to sleep in an ice box because it cools down outside at night anyway (plus your own body temp lowers while you’re sleeping), so don’t set the temperature quite as low overnight.

Adjust the fan in your a/c according to the humidity: on less humid days, crank it to high; on very humid days, set it to low. The slower fan speed actually lowers the humidity.

Cooking and baking can add a lot of heat to your home, so grill outside instead, eat cold meals, or use the microwave.

Water can work miracles in helping your body cool down. If you have a yard, set up a pool and take a dip. If your apartment community has a pool, go there. Go to a public or country club pool. Go to your bathroom and hop in the shower or splash cool water on yourself at the sink or from a water bottle. The water evaporating off your skin will cause a nice cooling sensation.

Finally, this might sound silly, but if your house is stifling and you don’t want to spend on a/c, just go someplace else for the day. If you have a basement, it’s probably nice and cool down there. Go to any public place with a/c, such as the library (you have that summer reading list to work on, after all).

Looking for a cool place to live? Contact Prudential Realty Company to inquire about our current availability at any of our communities throughout Pittsburgh. Or, contact Alvern Gardens Apartments directly at or 412-561-4663. You’ll have to bring your own a/c, but we’ll provide the pool.

Alvern Gardens residents may plant their own gardens

Because we want our residents to feel as at home as possible at Alvern Gardens Apartments, residents are welcome to plant their own small gardens on the property.

Residents are asked to stop by the Alvern Gardens leasing office to ask permission first, or call us at 412-561-4663. Residents plant these gardens at their own expense and management is not responsible for any damage the garden might sustain.

To help residents (and all our readers who are gardeners) decide what to plant, we’ve found some flowers that are good for honey bees. Why plant these flowers in particular? Because our honey bee population is in crisis, and scientists aren’t sure why whole colonies are dying. To help save this species that is essential to our ecosystem, avoid using pesticides on your garden, and plant flowers that will attract the critters.

Alvern Gardens
Residents of Alvern Gardens have access to green space around the property for planting their own small gardens.


  • Lavender
  • Caimini
  • Sage
  • Cilantro
  • Thyme
  • Fennel
  • Borage


  • Calendula
  • Poppy
  • Zinnia
  • Heliotrope
  • Sweet asylum
  • Sunflower
  • Cleome


  • Crocus
  • Buttercup
  • Aster
  • Hollyhocks
  • Anemone
  • Snowdrops
  • Geranium

Interested in putting down roots in Alvern Gardens? Contact us at or 412-561-4663 for our current availability and specials.

Tips for a safe, fun summer spent by the pool

Because the Alvern Gardens Apartments pool will be opening for its 2014 season over Memorial Day weekend, now is  the perfect time to discuss some important tips for safety and fun at the pool.

Most every pool has its rules, so make sure you’re familiar with the rules of the pool you frequent. Typical rules include:

Residents of Alvern Gardens Apartments can enjoy their summer poolside for a $10 season pass.
  • Shower before entering the water
  • Wear proper swim attire
  • No glass containers
  • No swimming during inclement weather
  • No diving or splashing
  • No profanity

Of course you should always be courteous to your fellow pool patrons, and never leave children unattended.

Here are some additional tips for a healthy day at the pool:

  • Apply sunblock half an hour before going outside, and reapply frequently
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat or some other head covering to protect yourself against sunstroke
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Be aware of your surroundings and your fellow swimmers

Whether you live in a community with a pool or you frequent a public or country club pool, following the rules and taking precautions will ensure you have a fun summer.

If you’d like to move to Alvern Gardens Apartments just in time for the 2014 pool season, contact us at 412-561-4663 or for our availability and current specials. Current residents are welcome to come buy their season passes at  the leasing office.

Mother’s Day events in the Pittsburgh Area

Mother's Day
There’s plenty to do for Mother’s Day in the Pittsburgh Area.
By Clever Cupcakes from Montreal, Canada (Mother’s Day Cupcakes) [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
As everyone hopefully knows, Mother’s Day is this Sunday, so in case you forgot, here are some last-minute ideas for events you could take mom to in the Pittsburgh area.

If you’re getting tired of the typical Mother’s Day brunch, take your mom to do something artsy instead. For example, Assemble Pittsburgh is offering an art class for mom and her adult kids where you’ll paint Pittsburgh landscapes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Or, if you want to do brunch and something artsy, you can go to Vessel Studio Glass on Saturday for an all-ages glass flower making workshop.

There’s a 21 and over Boozy Brunch at Wigle Wiskey Distillery in the Strip District, so if mom’s brood is all of-age, this might be a fun alternative to the traditional brunch.

For the music-lover mother, Fantasia is performing on Sunday night at the Benedum Center. If you act fast, you might be able to snag tickets.

Of course these are all on the slightly pricey side. A  more budget friendly option: the Frick Art and Historical Center is offering specials all Mother’s Day weekend, including free admission to Clayton for mom. For an excellent list of affordable Mother’s Day options, check out Living Pittsburgh.

If all else fails, you can always cook mom a nice meal, the traditional breakfast in bed, perhaps. Need a kitchen to cook in? Contact Prudential Realty Company for our current availability at a number of Pittsburgh locations.



Where to take your car for maintenance in the South Hills of Pittsburgh

When you’re new to the area, finding a good mechanic is a key part of getting settled in, so here is a little bit of info about the mechanics and body shops in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.

car maintenance
Keeping your tires and the rest of your car in good repair is easy in the South Hills, where there’s a mechanic on almost every street.
Source: Angie from Sawara, Chiba-ken, Japan, 27 April 2005, 16:25:29, on Flickr.

Luckily, the South Hills offers a huge variety of mechanics, body shops, and car dealerships for residents to choose from. It seems like there’s a Jiffy Lube or a Mr. Tire around every corner!

On Library Road (Route 88) alone, there is a Pep Boys Auto Service & Tire, a Monroe Muffler Brake & Service, and an Advanced Auto Parts for all you do-it-yourself-ers.

The cheapest place to get a tire patched is also on Library Road in Bethel Park: Bruce Brothers Tire is always bustling with customers, and they still get the job done quickly.

If you’d like to live almost walking distance from these mechanics’ shops, contact Prudential Realty for the current availability at their many South Hills locations.