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COA Resources
  • Driver's License - You must make sure you change your address with your State's department of motor vehicles (DMV).
  • Magazine Address Changes - We have collected some great information on how to change your address to keep getting the magazines you love at your new home.
  • Name Change Checklist - If you have recently gotten married, divorced, or changed your name for any other reason, then this list of resources will help you make sure you notify organizations that need to know your new name.
  • Driver's License - You must make sure you change your address with your State's department of motor vehicles (DMV).
  • USPS COA Site - You can pay a small fee to change your address here OR you can use our FREE service.
  • USPS Options for Receiving Mail - This is an interesting page where you can see what your options are for receiving mail. Did you know you had any?
  • Call to Change Your Address - This is an FAQ entry on how to change your address over the telephone.
  • USPS State Abbreviations - This is a real quick table for looking up State abbreviations.

Archive for March, 2011

10 Common Reasons for Mold in Your Home

Mold can be a serious health issue, especially for infants and children. It is major source of allergens and can be the source of many respiratory symptoms. For mold to grow in your home it always needs its key ingredient, which is excess moisture. Therefore, the key to preventing mold growth is preventing that excess moisture buildup.

  1. Poor bathroom ventilation. Homes which do not have ventilation fans in the bathrooms are very susceptible to mold growth in the bathrooms. If you do have ventilation fans in your bathrooms, it is important to use them, especially when the shower or bathtub are being used.
  2. Use of a humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture to the air. It is important that you do not over saturate the air in your home by using a humidifier more than is necessary. It is also important that the humidifier is not located close to absorbent items such as drapes that might collect and trap the moisture.
  3. Flooding. This is a major cause of mold problems in a home. When a home is flooded, much of the construction material absorbs the flood water. It can be difficult to dry out the home quickly enough to avoid the growth of mold in materials such as sheetrock and enclosed wall cavities.
  4. Roof leaks. Moisture from roof leaks can pool in attics or ceilings. If the moisture is not evaporated quickly from the construction materials, the warm moist air in the ceiling cavities and attic space can easily develop into a hidden mold problem.
  5. Plumbing leaks. Slow plumbing leaks in the walls of your home can be another cause of mold growing unseen. These problems can be difficult to detect and expensive to correct.
  6. Firewood. Storing firewood inside your home will dry your wood and help it burn faster. Unfortunately, as it is drying, it is also putting the moisture from the wood into the air of your home.
  7. Dryer not vented to the outside. Allowing a dryer hose to vent into the inside of the home, instead of extending it to the exterior of the house, may seem harmless, but it’s not. That warm moist air from the dryer will create exactly the type of environment that mold thrives upon.
  8. Wet clothes or towels in a hamper. Placing wet towels or clothing in a hamper instead of allowing them to air dry first creates a nesting ground for mold to breed in. This is one of those cases where you are likely to smell the mold developing even before it is visible on the fabric itself.
  9. Improper venting of furnaces. Any type of combustion appliance will create moisture as a byproduct of the combustion. If a furnace, or any other combustion appliance, is installed properly it will allow for this moisture to be vented out of the house.
  10. Condensation. When warm moist air hits a cold surface it will condense on that cold surface. This happens often with windows in cold climates, and frost will often develop on the interior of the window pane as a result. However, this can also happen inside of the walls of a home when moisture is attempting to escape the home through the wall cavity and hits the cold exterior surface. The frost of winter can become a moist area within the wall in the spring when it thaws, creating a place for mold to grow.

If you do find mold growing in your home, it is very important that it be totally and carefully removed from the house. Mold sends invisible spores into the air, and it is these spores that individuals breath in, affecting their respiratory systems. Cleaning surfaces where mold has been found with a strong disinfectant will help prevent a recurring of the growth. Mold issues in the walls and ceilings of your home are a much more serious matter and will usually require the demolition of the affected materials. As always, prevention is the better route.

40 Blogs About Living in the Burbs

There are many of us that have lived in multiple different settings from the heart of the city, to the most remote of country locations (farms, etc.).  Several of us have found a happy medium by moving to the suburbs of major (or even not-so-major) cities.  It can be a very economical choice but comes with a different set of challenges (long commutes and more).  We put together this interesting list of articles and blogs that people living in the burbs can relate to and that may help someone make the decision as to whether or not life in the suburbs is for them.

1. A Journey of My Own – this blog is an account of the personal journey of a man living in the suburbs of Phoenix.

2. Ezine Mark – this blog article offers a helpful tip in protecting your house in a suburban community.

3. A Mommy in the City – read about a mother’s experience living in a suburban community after living in the city for a very long time.

4. Real Estate Profit Calculator – this blog presents the advantages of living in a suburban community compared to city life.

5. Working America – this blog article talks about the dire situations of many children living in suburbs whose parents are unemployed and rely on unemployment benefits and government programs.

6. Sydney-City – get tidbits of information about the suburbs in Sydney from this blog. You can even see the high-resolution photos of that community.

7. My Article Wizard – this blog provides information on the pros and cons of living in the suburbs.

8. Sigmund Carl and Alfred – this blog tries to answer the question “are suburbs ok to live in?”

9. Working for Jobs – are cities better than suburbs?  Find out which is preferred by many residents nowadays by reading this blog.

10. My Sweet urban Life – this blog chronicles the story of a middle-aged woman who lives in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

11. Living Urbanism – the blog in general tries to discover and explain the many facets of urbanism. This particular article is a review on the rise of suburbs.

12. Mortgage News from – The current economic climate requires that everybody cut expenses as much as possible. One suggestion this blog offers is relocating your office space to a suburb to escape the costs of a downtown office.

13. Every day life of Suburban Sahm – this blog offers varied topics written by a forty-something woman living in a suburb of London.

14. London Muslim – this blog article provides information regarding threats that many Muslims face in the suburbs of London.

15. Web Ecoist – this blog is about a modern way of solving the suburban sprawl through a spiraling staircase packed with gardens designed by some Barcelona-based architects.

16. Bob’s blog – the history of suburban communities in America can be read in this blog. Read on and learn about how they started.

17. Technology Slice Blog – according to this blog, if you are a more laid back type of person who prefers a simple life, then a suburban neighborhood would suit you well. Read the blog and discover the advantages and disadvantages of living in the suburbs.

18. Gwydion Suilebhan – a story of how a writer returns to a suburban neighborhood after years away and surprisingly loves the way of life there now.

19. Cactus News Online – read some simple, yet effective, tips on making a better life for yourself in the suburbs.

20. Chicago Breaking News – this blog article is about poverty spikes in the suburbs around Chicago and other cities.

21. Sustainable Sakonnet – read about an article on “Is Suburban Living a Matter of Trade-offs?” from this blog.

22. Change.Org – this blog states that over time, the suburbs have become home to more people living in poverty, yet cities continue  have a higher concentration of the poor.

23. The Suburban Minmalist – this blog offers suggestions on how to live simply within a suburban neighborhood.

24. Joe Stacy – learn about the pros and cons of living in condos in the suburbs of Chicago by reading this blog.

25. A Pretty Life in Suburbs – discover the pretty and interesting things you can do in life by reading this blog. This blog is full of useful projects and is managed by a suburban resident from Canada.

26. Cell phone Booster – this is a news article about snowing and Winter life in a Chicago suburb.

27. My Suburbanhomestead – what are the things you might find in a suburban homestead? Read this blog to find out.

28. NZ herald – this blog news is about how some suburbs beat the recession.

29. Times Live – this news article reveals that more people in Africa are choosing to live in suburbs.

30. The Australian Affairs – this blog is about news in Australia in which the Prime Minister urges residents to leave the suburbs to get jobs.

31. Greater Washington – this news article talks about the horrendous traffic in suburban Chicago after a big snow storm.

32. Gazette.Net – this is a blog article about suburbs the fight for public transportation and schooling.

33. Living Lightly in Suburbia – most of the articles here give tips on how to live in a suburban neighborhood, and at the same time suggest things that you can expect from such a community.

34. Sustainable Suburbia – learn about tips that you might find useful if you live in the suburbs.

35. The Lexingston Streetsweeper – what should you expect in the suburbs of Lexington? Read this blog and learn more.

36. Philly Ecocity – this blog tries to explore the present and future status of suburbs in Philadelphia. The blog tries to answer questions like: Can Suburbs survive high energy costs? And is the suburban lifestyle sustainable??

37. Factoidz – learn about how suburbs started by reading this blog.

38. beyond DDC – an article which talks about the myths surrounding the suburban communities of Washington DC.

39. Boston Globe – this blog tries to shed light on the question “are cities the best place to live? adn Are suburbs OK? It also talks about how urban planning can help build up communities.

40. How to Survive Life in the Suburb – this is a chronicle of a woman’s life in uburban Ontario, Canada.

10 Ways to Lower Your Water Bill

Water is so essential to life.  We use it so many ways without really stopping to think of its consumption.  Nobody as a rule would sit down and measure how many gallons they used when taking a shower.  There are lawns that need to be watered, dishes to wash and so many other ways we run to the faucet for countless reasons during a day.  Each reason is necessary, but at times, we can do small things to cut back on our usage.  Below are ten ways we can cut our water usage and cost.

  1. Shorter Showers. It is so easy to lose track of time in the shower.  That warm water just feels so good that time can slip by without much notice.  Just pausing to be sure you keep the time to a reasonable amount, five to ten minutes instead of twenty, can save a great deal of water.
  2. Check Pipes For Leaks. Making a routine inspection of water pipes can help you find any places that have slow drips or leaks. Those amounts can add up very fast when it is dripping constantly.  It will require checking places like underneath the sinks and counters, but can really save water if you put an end to one leak.
  3. Check Toilets For Leaks. You might have a crack in the water container or a hose that is dripping.  If the water is dripping on a floor, to where it dries without being noticed, this might never have been stopped.  Feeling around the hoses will help to tell if there is any moisture.
  4. Install Water Saving Shower Heads. There are all kinds of new and helpful forms of shower heads that reduce the amount of water used during a shower.  They are easy to install and you won’t need a plumber to complete the work.  With all the varieties there are to chose from, you can easily find one that will add to your shower experience, and yet, save water at the same time.
  5. Put Plastic Bottles In Toilet Tanks. This is another great way to save water.  Putting a plastic bottle filled with water in the tank will reduce the water needed to fill up the reservoir.  However it will not decrease the ability to flush in any way.  It just cuts down on the volume of water needed.
  6. Only Wash Dishes And Clothes With Full Loads. It can be so easy to toss a few clothes in the washer to do for laundry.  The same can happen with dishes.  We might just want them out of the way for many reasons. But they still use a great deal of water. So, washing only full loads will improve that problem.
  7. Water Lawns Only As Needed. Some people may have their lawns set on automatic timings for watering.  They don’t always bother to change them when the summer passes and the lawns don’t require as much water.  All that extra water will be saved, if you do cut back to only when it is actually needed.
  8. Don’t Run the Hose Constantly While Washing Your Car. This is one of those habits that can be hard to stop. Simply using a bit of control while hosing down the car can save a lot of water.
  9. Clean Driveways With A Broom. If you have gotten in the habit of hosing down your driveway to clean it, perhaps this is a habit you should break. It might take longer to use a broom, but in the long run it will still clean the driveway.  That will save the water for other purposes that are more necessary.
  10. Insulate Water Pipes. Putting insulation on the hot water pipes will make sure the water stays warm when it comes from the water heater. This will cut down on how much time you have to run the water for a bath or shower to get it warm out of the faucet. That could possibly save quite a few gallons.

None of the above will require any special skills.  They are very simply ways that can possibly represent some great savings on your water bill.

10 Items You Didn’t Know Were Illegal to Mail via USPS

If you are shipping articles across international borders, you may not realize that each country has a list of prohibited items that you cannot send in the mail to those countries. Guns, ammunition, hazardous substances and illegal narcotics are a pretty common standard for most countries, but many of the items listed below might take you by surprise.

  1. Unused Envelopes. You got that correct. If you are mailing into Sri Lanka, do not send envelopes inside your envelopes. And don’t send blank stationery, or pens, pencils, chalk or erasers. I have a feeling that the government there doesn’t want your correspondence to receive a response.
  2. Chessboards. I’m not sure if the American soldiers in Afghanistan are playing chess or not, but you cannot mail chessboards into Afghanistan. Absolutely prohibited!
  3. Playing cards. This item has made it onto the lists of several countries. And, no, it is not OK to send them one card at a time. A deck of cards, is a deck of cards, no matter how many envelopes it takes to send it in.
  4. Musical greeting cards. Sorry friends, but if you sent a musical birthday card to your relatives in Cuba or Quatar, it probably got confiscated before it reached them. Birthday and holiday greetings must be of a silent nature. No cute little tunes playing while you read your card.
  5. Unused postage stamps. This is actually a very common item. Many countries prohibit the mailing of unused postage stamps within your correspondence. Apparently, they want to make sure each individual buys their postage stamps locally. There is no gifting of postage, at least not via postal delivery.
  6. Soap. This is a no-no in many countries, including the United States. No shipping soap across borders. Each country must use native soaps. Who knows what might happen to the Italians if they started showering with soap made in Ireland? They might all end up with freckles.
  7. Shoes. No putting your shoes in the mail and shipping them over to some poor soul that doesn’t have a pair in another country. No trading shoes across the borders either. There are some strict rules about mail carriers transporting sneakers.
  8. Blank invoices. You can send your billing invoices in the mail to any country, but there are certain countries that won’t let you send a blank invoice form in the mail to its citizens.
  9. Currency. Please don’t send cash. Even if it weren’t illegal, it just isn’t wise to send cash of any type through the mail system. This is true, regardless of where you live or where you’re sending to.
  10. Cigarettes. Did you ask your cousin in France to mail you some cigarettes in the U.S.? That’s not going to fly with the custom’s agent. Mailing of cigarettes is prohibited in many countries around the world, including the U.S.

This is just a small sampling of prohibited items. The Universal Postal Unit provides a complete listing  of items prohibited or restricted in each country’s mail system.

10 Reasons Your Electric Bill Is So High

Opening your electric bill for one particular month, and having it double, is not what anyone wants to read.  This can be very frustrating if you didn’t change your usage in any special way.  If you aren’t able to identify the reason, that will make the moment even more aggravating.  There are times when we change usage and really don’t realize that we did. So, here are ten common causes of why electric bills increase.

  1. Increased Household Size. If you have guests visiting on vacation or some family member comes to stay, that can require more electricity.  It doesn’t take much to add to the demand.  Another televisions running constantly, the refrigerator getting opened more often, they can all add up to more costs. Each item turned on is naturally going to add to your costs.
  2. Electric Clothes Dryer. Maybe you just converted over to using an electric clothes dryer.  It might have been cheaper to purchase or had some other benefit you felt made it a good choice.  However, you may not have realized how much changing over to electric might add to your electric costs. If your electric dryer is not a new addition, perhaps you have been using it more often or running it longer than normal.
  3. Water Beds. If you have purchased a water bed, you may have not thought about the fact that it does use electricity to run the heater. Having it filled with cold water is not the way most would want to use it, but keeping the heater running constantly could will add to your electric bill.
  4. Refrigerator Over 13 Years Old. Older refrigerators may not have the same energy savings features as newer models.  They usually demand larger amounts of electricity than new models.  This could increase as the refrigerator gets older and less efficient. If your refrigerator is getting older, it may be the cause of your higher electric bill.
  5. More Than One Refrigerator. You might have decided to add a second refrigerator to your home.  Perhaps it was a gift or one you are storing for someone.  But adding another appliance of any type is going to increase your power usage.
  6. Cold Weather. Longer nights may add to you staying indoors more and having your  lights on longer. It can also mean using things like electric blankets. This is something you may not even give much thought at the time, but it uses electricity and can add to the bill.
  7. Electric Hot Water Heater. This can also add to your bill if you had a month that you required more hot water.  Such things as more laundry, running the dishwasher more often or taking more frequent or longer showers, all add to the power used by your water heater.
  8. Electric Heat. It doesn’t take much to flip a thermostat button when you are cold.  Most of us don’t stop to think about the cost at the time.  Still, those times can add to the bill very fast. Electric heat will use more power than almost anything else in your home.
  9. Chest Freezer. An independent freezer that you purchase in addition to a refrigerator could add significantly to your energy costs.  The need to keep foods frozen will require it to run more energy than a refrigerator.  It is something to consider when making such a purchase.
  10. Dehumidifier. There are times when you might need this type of device for health reasons.  Running them will add to your energy costs and even more so if you need to run them constantly. You may need to do that regardless of the cost, but it will still add to your bills. That is another aspect you have to take into consideration when adding this appliance to your home.

The best time to consider your electric usage is before your bill increases.  Your electric company normally can offer various possible ways to save energy.  Giving them a call can be very helpful in assisting you with ways your household can cut down energy costs.  It really doesn’t take many changes to impact the amount you have to spend on electric in a given month.

10 Reasons Your Gas Bill is So High

If your home uses natural gas for your furnace, water heater, stove and dryer then any change in usage can have a big affect on your bill.  It really doesn’t take long for those extra loads of laundry or really cold days to make that gas meter move so fast.  At the time, you may not even give it much thought, since you are trying to get warm.  However, you will certainly notice it once the bill comes.  If you haven’t given any thought to what increases your gas bill, here are ten reason that might apply to your situation.

  1. Increase cost of gas. The cost of natural gas to the gas company is going to fluctuate.  When it goes up the rate we pay as consumers will also increase. There are many reasons that contribute to that cost. If you feel your rate may have changed, a simple phone call to your gas supplier can verify that for you.
  2. Demands Of Winter. Colder temperatures will do more than raise the demand for heat in the furnace.  It can also affect the need for more hot meals. If you live where it is hard to get outside due to the snow then you may also mean you eat at home when you might otherwise go out for dinner some nights. It may also mean more use of the oven for baking, especially around the holidays.
  3. Old Appliances. Appliances are a major investment for any homeowner.  Naturally most of us will not replace them any sooner than necessary.  But they can get more inefficient as they get older and consume more energy.  It is always a good idea to at least review their age and the last time they were replaced on a regular basis.
  4. Leaks Around Windows And Doors. It is always a good idea if you know you will use our air conditioner or heater a great deal for a particular season to inspect windows and doors for possible leaks.  If they have large gaps that allow for heat to escape constantly it can certainly add to the time it takes to heat your home.  The gas company can provide help if you need assistance in this area.
  5. Extra Use Of Hot Water. Demands for extra showers or baths, washing dishes or other needs.  While this will vary from time to time you always have to be willing to determine if you usage is wasteful.
  6. Extra Use Of Gas Dryer. There might be a given month that you have more clothes than normal to dry.  Perhaps you have outside clothes lines for use in summer, but not in winter.   Many different reasons can contribute to why you had more clothes to dry.
  7. More Household Members. Relatives visiting during a vacation or some son or daughter returning home can add to your use of natural gas.  It might not seem like a problem at the time, yet it can happen so easy.  You can’t always control that part in terms of need, but it is something that will affect your cost.
  8. Additional Cooking. Lots of things may influence how many meals you have to make on your stove.  Plus there are times like Christmas when you may do more baking.  There are also all the usual holidays where extra meals might be prepared for larger groups.
  9. Meter Problems. Although this may never happen, there are occasions when a meter may become defective.  If you have any concerns it is best to contact the gas company for assistance. Comparing meter usage from one month to the next is also a good idea.
  10. Inefficient Furnace. Having a furnace with ducts that leak or it is not turning off when required can certainly add considerably to your costs. It is something that might be worth having your furnace inspected before the winter to check for any possible problems

Taking the time to examine all the ways your gas usage can be improved is something everyone should consider.  There are so many small ways you can enhance the way you save on how much gas you have to use in a given month.

How to Become a USPS Mail Carrier

US Postal Service mail carriers come in two different varieties. Some mail carriers are employees of the US Postal Service and others are independent contractors hired by the Postal Service to deliver mail. The requirements and process for obtaining these two different positions are not the same, therefore, we will address them separately.

USPS Employee Carrier

The first step in the process is to apply for a position as a mail carrier with the United States Postal Service. You must be at least 18 years of age, have a valid drivers license and be a U.S. Citizen or have permanent resident status.

The application process begins at your local post office. Every applicant must complete a standardized test that focuses on reading and memorizing abilities. Applicants are listed in order based on their score on the exam. Your local post office will be able to let you know the date, time and place of the next scheduled exam.

A sample letter carrier test can be found at most public libraries to help you prepare for the test. If after completing the test, you are not satisfied with the results, you may re-take the test at any time. Your best score will always be used for your application ranking.

After completing the test, you will need to wait for an opening to become available in one of your preferred locations. There is a lot of competition for these positions due to good pay and many benefits that go with a government position. You can expect to wait as long as two years for an opening to become available.

When a position becomes available, the local postmaster will select the top three candidates on the list to be considered for the position. If selected for the position, you will also be required to take and pass a physical exam. You will also, generally be informed that your initial position will not be a part time flexible position. This means you may get 40 hours a week or more, and you may not. It also means that your schedule will not be the same every week. Eventually, your position will change to a full time regular worker. At that time, you will be given a set schedule of 40 hours per week.

USPS Contract Carrier

To become a contracted highway mail carrier for the US Postal Service, you must be at least 21 years of age and be able to provide your vehicle for servicing the mail route. To apply for a position, you must place a bid for a carrier route within the county you reside.

Highway mail carriers are not employees of the Postal Service. They are independent contractors. Because of this, they do not qualify for the same benefits and pay rates as other Postal employees.

Applications for bidding on contracted highway carrier routes can be obtained online at or at your local post office. The application will require information about you and the vehicle you intend to use for the mail delivery route. After submitting the application, you will be put on the bidders list for when a route position becomes available.

Whether it is a position as a USPS employee or as one of their contracted workers, these positions are highly sought after and the competition is steep. This should not discourage you from applying, however. If your name is not on the list, you have no chance at all. If it is on the list, then perhaps at some point in the future, you will get a call.