Archive for the ‘BCB’ Category

Home Fair Expo 2011

Friday, February 18th, 2011

“A Showcase of Products & Services for Your Home & Garden”

If you’re thinking of building a new house or an addition, putting in new windows, remodeling your kitchen or bath or any other type of home improvement project, the Dome Arena and Minette Hall at the Fair & Expo Center will be the place to be the weekend of February 25, 26, 27, 2011. Instead of having to drive all over town to gather information, you can find it all in one place.

The Better Contractors Bureau, (BCB, as it is more commonly known) with headquarters at 1151 Titus Avenue in Irondequoit, is hosting its 27th annual Home Fair Expo. Carmen Santora, the bureau’s executive director and home show manager said, “This year’s show will be one of the biggest ever with over 285 exhibits”.

The show’s theme is “Everything for in and around the home”, “There surely will be”, Santora said, pointing to the 285 exhibits this year, everything from windows, doors, stand-by home generators, kitchens, alarm systems, financing, pools, landscaping, fireplaces, decks and more. Attendees are encouraged to bring their plans for their future projects to have the many contractor exhibitors review them. Also representatives will be on hand from the Attorney General, Monroe County Health department, NYSPSC and NYSERDA to answer questions.

Besides the exhibits there will be daily seminars given by industry experts including a special seminar on “how to save energy money in your home”, given by Lee Loomis of NYSERDA’s Energy Smart program. In addition this year Jim Salmon, Host of WHAM’s Home Repair Clinic will be appearing on Saturday and Sunday to answer all your home improvement questions.

Visitors to the show will have a chance to win a big screen TV compliments of Direct Buy and many other door prizes and giveaways donated by exhibitors. This year’s show will be sponsored by Family First Federal Credit Union and will help to benefit the charity CDS who will be holding a silent auction. Also a special feature of the show this year attendees will be able to bring their antiques (up to two items) to be appraised by Antiques & Old Lace for a $1.00 donation to CDS.

The show will be open from Friday, Feb. 25th. 3-8 PM, Saturday, Feb.26th, 10 am-8 PM and Sunday, February 27th, from 10 AM-8 PM. Seniors will get in FREE all day Friday. All other attendees will be admitted FREE on Friday and Saturday after 6 PM and Sunday after 3 PM. Regular adult admission is $6.00, seniors $5.00 (62 +) and children free (under 12). $1.00 off coupons will be available at all Wendys and discount tickets will also be available at all Wegman’s stores. Parking is FREE!

For more information on the Home Fair Expo or the bureau, you may go to the BCB’s web site at or call the office at 585-338-3600.

Caring For Your Heating And Cooling Systems

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Before each heating season you should make sure that your furnace is in good working order so that you can eliminate unexpected costly repairs or even replacement. 

Call a qualified heating and cooling technician to clean and evaluate you system at least every two years. While the heating contractor is there you should have him explain the operation of your furnace so you know how it operates and the needed maintenance required. This is a great way to be sure that you’ll have a relatively repair free heating season.

Chimneys, flues and vents should be inspected for leakage and for blockage by creosote or debris. Make sure they are not loose or disconnected to avoid carbon monoxide. Old or never cleaned furnaces are one of the most common causes of carbon monoxide leakage and deaths each year! Homeowners with mid-efficiency furnaces installed between 1987 and 1993 should have them inspected for cracking or separating.

Your furnace needs to be inspected to uncover leaks in the heat exchanger, soot, rust, corroded contacts and frayed wires. Heat pumps and oil-fired furnaces require yearly tune-ups. Manufacturers recommend having your gas-fired furnace cleaned every other year.

When contractors inspect the furnace they should do the following:

Check to see if the system is getting plenty of combustion and air and chimney draft.

Check the air for carbon monoxide.

Clean the burner and heat exchanger.

Adjust the burner flame to the right size and color.

Change the furnace filter.

Check the compressor and fan.

Check the thermostat for sticking and proper calibration.

Another small tip is to caulk the hole where the thermostat wires come through the wall as a draft could pick trick it into thinking the room is warmer or colder than it really is.

Unfortunately the heating industry has one of the worst reputation for consumer rip-offs and scams. So be sure you check out the contractor’s reputation with the Better Contractors Bureau, before you sign any contract! If you select a B.C.B. member you will have the peace of mind to know that members must subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and be properly insured and if any member is found to take advantage of a customer they will be expelled!

Don’t be scared by the many phony tactics con artists use. Some of theses con artists take advantage of homeowners especially seniors giving them technical jargon that no one can understand. They often tell them that their house may blow up if a repair or new furnace isn’t installed immediately, while others have been known to actually damage the furnace themselves when the homeowner isn’t around. If it isn’t a true emergency then tell the contractor to give you a quote and you will get back to them. The R. G. & E. will be glad to come out and check any furnace for free, especially if you think that you smell gas. Ask if they are a member of the B.C.B., as it will forewarn them that you are aware of the bureau and not someone to be taken advantage of.

BCB Dehumidifying Tips

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Follow these tips to prevent rust, mildew, mold and odors caused by high humidity levels in your home.

High humidity levels in the home encourage rust, mildew, mold and odors; and the moisture can damage cameras, computers and furniture. The problem is easy to solve with a dehumidifier, which is rated by how many pints of water it can take out of the air every 24 hours. A 25 pint unit will serve bedrooms and living areas, but basements and areas with a laundry room or barthroom, consider a 35-40 or even 50 pint unit. These devices cost $175 to $250. Keep the following operation and maintenance tips in mind:

Be sure the dehumidifier outlet is protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFI) Avoid using extension cords; spilled water presents a shoch hazard. Place the unit at least 6 in. from any wall so air flows freely; shut all nearby windows and doors.

For the first few days of use, turn the humidi-stat to the extra dry setting, which will remove moisture from room furnishings. Run the unit only when the room temperature is above 70% F. Frost can form on the coils when it’s below 65% F. Look for a unit with an indicator light that signals when the pan or bucket is full. To reduce the chance of shock, unplug the device before emptying the water bucket. Each month, dust or vacuum off the grilles or louvers, and scrub the bucket with a mild bleach solution to discourage mold, mildew and bacteria. Once every three months remove dust from the coils with a soft brush. Be sure to NOT locate the dehumidifier close to a sump crock, as it will encourage the dehumidifier to constantly run. If you empty the unit by way of a drain hose into the crock make sure the unit is at least 10-12 ft. away! For larger extra damp or wet basements go online to find larger dehumidifiers than are normally not sold at home centers. Some can run as high as $1,500 but are well the investment.

Choosing a Reputable Contractor

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Remodeling is a process many people are not familiar with until it becomes time to have work done on their home. And even then, there’s a lot to learn about, like which products to use and what procedures best meet individual needs. Therefore, it’s vital to know that you can rely on the contractor you choose to give you good advice about those products and procedures that may be new to you. The key is to find the right contractor for your job so that your project doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

That’s why the Better Contractors Bureau wants to help you in your selection process of the contractor you may be hiring and offers the following checklist. The checklist is designed to help you evaluate the reliability, reputation and experience of contractors you are contemplating to call for an estimate, as well as their dedication to providing you with the best job possible.

A top-notch, professional contractor will be only too happy to supply you with answers to these questions. And, just as it makes good business sense to get three bids on your project, it also makes good sense to ask several different contractors these questions.

“We’ve also outlined some important points to consider as you evaluate the terms of your proposed job contract. Being confident you’ve selected the right contractor will help assure that you get a quality job and that your hard-earned money is wisely spent”, says BCB Executive Director, Carmen Santora.

Evaluating the Contractor

The Better Contractors Bureau suggests that you evaluate your contractor as carefully as you would a doctor or lawyer. It is certain that you will want a contractor who employs capable applicators to complete your project. It is also clear that you will need to look closely at the proposal offered, the products selected and the price/value of the entire package.

But what criteria can you use to decide if the contractor is a true professional who will stand behind his work? While there is not a single, clear-cut answer, there are a number of indicators that you can look for when going through the evaluation process.

Allow yourself an hour, more or less, to sit down with each contractor. You might be speaking with a salesperson or even the owner. Both of you need time to ask questions regarding time schedules, payments, etc. Good contractors take pride in their work, and so should the salesperson representing the company. The sales person should be confident, look professional and be knowledgeable about the products they are trying to sell you.

Checklist to help you select your final contractor—

  1. What is the full name and address of the company? (Do not accept P.O. Box numbers as an Address)!
  1. Does the Contractor have proper liability and workmen’s comp insurance coverage in case of an accident? (Have the contractor show proof)!
  1. How long has the company been in business and have you checked his reputation with the BCB?
  2. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?
  3. What is the company’s product and workmanship warranty?
  4. Does the contractor’s contract meet the requirements of Article 36A of NYS business law?( It must contain your 72 hour right to rescind, that any money given as a down payment or draw must go into a contractor’s escrow account, a start and finish date, specifications and payment schedule among other pertinent information)
  5. Is the contractor a member of the Better Contractors Bureau or other organization? If not ask why not? (The BCB is a non-profit consumer protection agency whose goal is to “Protect & Inform” the consumer and Eliminate the unscrupulous contractors in the area).
  6. Does the contractor bad-mouth his competitors? If so don’t select him!
  7. Does the contractor do the work himself or sub-contract? (Many reputable contractors sub contract their work and there is nothing wrong with it, however you should be made aware of it beforehand)
  8. Are you being high- pressured into signing a contract immediately?

The BCB has provided the checklist to help you in selecting a reputable contractor. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to call the Better Contractors Bureau office at 585-338-3600 and we will be happy to try and answer them for you or go to the BCB web site at

Addressing Ice Damming

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

The snow season is here and the Better Contractors Bureau is receiving many calls from people complaining about leaking roofs. Most are not aware of what causes leaks in the winter and usually attribute it to a poor new roof installation.

“Unfortunately, we have to tell people that the problem they are having is usually not due to an improper roofing installation, but rather from improper ventilation and insulation in their attics,” says Carmen Santora, Executive Director of the Better Contractors Bureau.

Heat loss is one of the major causes of ice back-up and snow damming. When attics are not insulated properly and there are either not enough or no roof vents or soffit vents, heat will heat the ceilings causing the attic to warm up allowing the heat to travel up the roof and the combination of heat and snow causes ice to form. Gutters eventually become clogged with ice, forcing water farther up the roof edges. After the ice backup goes beyond the ice and water shield (usually 3’ from the roof edge) the ice starts to melt and leaks inside the house.

Consumers experiencing ice back-up or snow damming should first hire an experienced contractor who is insured to remove the ice or snow from the gutters and roof edges and then have the problem addressed properly when weather permits. He recommends having an experienced roofing contractor install ice and water shield at least six feet up from the exterior wall edge and in all valleys. He does not recommend just putting a new roof over the old one, as there will be no proper way to install the ice and water shield as recommended, as it should be directly cemented down to the roof sheating.

Before any new roof work is done proper insulation and venting should be addressed, as if not ice damming will continue. For roofing contractors experienced in ice damming prevention call the BCB at 338-3600 or go to the BCB website at