Archive for July, 2011

Find Your Real Fuel Rate!

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

By Jim Salmon

To find your gas rate, divide your total monthly bill ($) by the total usage (therms).

As a heating source measured in British thermal units (Btu), a gallon of heating oil has 40% more energy than a therm of gas. There are 100,000 Btu in a therm of gas and 140,000 Btu in a gallon of heating oil. You must use 1.4 therms of gas to generate the heat content of a gallon of heating oil. Therefore, to account for the Btu difference between a therm of gas and a gallon of heating oil, you must multiply the price per therm by 1.4. This gives you the real cost of gas heat compared to oil — the most valid cost when comparing the two fuels.

Compare Natural Gas – sold in therms (100,000 BTU/therm)

1. Multiply the oil heat price per gallon by 0.72 to give the equivalent price per therm of natural gas

2. Multiply the propane price per gallon by 1.087 to give the equivalent price per therm of natural gas

3. Multiply the electricity price per kWh by 29.3 to give the equivalent price per therm of natural gas

Compare Propane – sold in gallons (92,000 BTU/gallon)

1. Multiply the oil heat price per gallon by 0.663 to give the equivalent price per gallon of propane

2. Multiply the natural gas delivered price per therm by 0.92 to give the equivalent price per gallon of propane

3. Multiply the electricity price per kWh by 27.0 to give the equivalent price per gallon of propane

Compare Heating Oil – sold in gallons (138,700 BTU/gallon)

1. Multiply the propane price per gallon by 1.507 to give the equivalent price per gallon of heating oil

2. Multiply the natural gas delivered price per therm by 1.387 to give the equivalent price per gallon of heating oil

3. Multiply the electricity price per kWh by 40.6 to give the equivalent price per gallon of heating oil

Compare Electricity – sold in kilowatt hours (3,413 BTU/kilowatt hour)

1. Multiply the propane price per gallon by 0.037 to give the equivalent price per kilowatt hour of electricity

2. Multiply the natural gas delivered price per therm by 0.034 to give the equivalent price per kilowatt hour of electricity

3. Multiply the heating oil price per gallon by 0.024 to give the equivalent price per kilowatt hour of electricity

Figure out your price per therm by dividing your total fuel bill by the total therms of natural gas consumed. This is your price per therm

Figure out your price per kWh by dividing your total fuel bill by the total kWh of electricity consumed. This is your price per kWh

How Much Can you recover From the Cost Of A Remodeling Project If You Resale?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

By Carmen Santora

Carmen Santora, Executive Director of the Better Contractors Bureau in an effort to help homeowners contemplating a major remodeling project and who are concerned if the cost invested would be recouped should they decide to sell their home offers the following information. His analysis is based on a national average “cost vs. value” survey and condensed it to specifically relate to our local area.

The resale value depends on a lot of variables, such as the state of the housing industry and local market conditions in particular at the time of sale. A lot of homeowners are concerned that their remodeling investment doesn’t price their home out of the neighborhood averages. This should only be taken into account if you think that you may be selling your home in the near future.

If a homeowner has small children and is thinking of adding extra bedrooms or an additional bathroom they may want to think of the advantages of staying where they are.  If the schools are great, they live close to their workplace and shopping and are in an area of lower taxes or other personal conveniences, then they shouldn’t worry about pricing themselves over their neighborhood averages, especially if they intend to stay there for many years.

However, if the homeowners know they will be staying where they are for only a short time then a major remodeling would be foolish. Things like energy efficient updates such as new replacement windows, high efficiency furnace, roofing or siding, kitchen or bath updates would add to their comfort and help to sell the house faster and save them money while they still remain in the home. Major expenditures for a new kitchen and bath can run into thousands of dollars and unless money doesn’t matter or you don’t care about resale values then by all means go for it.

It’s important to know that there are a variety of variables that can effect both the cost of the remodeling and the resale of the home such as the size of the remodeling company estimating the project and the values of the properties in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Below are some area examples of the cost of what some remodeling projects can cost and what could be recouped if you sell your house. The numbers presented here should only serve as guidelines when contemplating the potential return on your investment for a particular remodeling project.

For a more information as to a more precise explanation of what the projects mentioned above include call the Better Contractors Bureau at 338-3600.

Recovery costs for home improvement projects remain high and have been accelerating even though the growth in spending on home improvements has declined nationally for most of 2003. As the economy improves so will spending on home improvements.

Lower priced projects during a sluggish economy are typical and usually only what is needed to keep a home energy efficient or make essential repairs. Higher priced projects tend to be more discretionary, and usually homeowners wait for the economy to improve before undertaking these expenditures.

In some market areas where house prices are growing rapidly, and local economies are doing better the average cost recovery can be much greater than the figures shown. The National average for cost recouped for the projects mentioned in 2003 was 86.4% and higher than 2002. Some areas such as Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Diego, and Washington were much higher and averaged as high as 109%. Some areas as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit and Indianapolis averaged 65% or less.

Carmen Santora, says that he believes that within the five county area that the BCB services, the average cost recouped for home improvements probably falls lower than the national average and is somewhere around 75% or less range.

The Better Contractors Bureau is a non-profit consumer protection agency that was formed in 1974. Its goals are to “PROTECT & INFORM” the consumer and ELIMINATE the unscrupulous contractors in the area. The BCB as it is also known operates in Monroe and the five surrounding counties and has over 400 members. The bureau handles complaints, mediates disputes between the contractor and consumer (not just members) and refers contractor members by way of a FREE Consumer Guide & Membership Directory. For more information you may call 338-3600 or go to the BCB website at

Home Remedies for Removing Cleaning and Stain Removal

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

By Kristen Noble

Are you running around getting your house ready for company? Need to clean a last minute spill or stain? Don’t bother going to the store, try some of these solutions:

1.  Rye bread removes pencil marks on walls.

2. Use raw spaghetti as a tester to see if your cakes are fully baked.

3. Mayonnaise removes water marks on wood surfaces.

4. Remove candle wax from table tops by placing a plastic bag of ice on them.  Once
hardened, remove the wax with a credit card.  If there is any additional residue, it can be cleaned up using a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar to ten parts water.

5. Did you know that banana peels work great to polish silver?

6. Make your own furniture polish with 2 ½ cups vegetable oil and 1 ½ cups of lemon juice. This product is good for up to 6 months once made and refrigerated.

7. White toothpaste works great to remove crayon marks on walls.

I hope this helps you out and gets your house squeaky clean!


Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
By Lana Torre
As you are falling asleep, do you hear the waves of water pushing gently against the shore? Do you love the thought of long walks along a sandy beach? Do you love the shabby chic look of cottage designs? With lots of white- white fabrics, white seashells and super white cotton sheets.
This month, I will give you so many ideas on how to give your home a summery, cottage look, without paying the premium of waterfront taxes.
Let’s start by removing all heavy, winterish accessories. Put wool plaid pillows away, as well as insulated drapery panels and baskets brimming with dried Evergreen boughs. Store away heavy bedspreads and bed skirts. Think lighter, thinner, sheerer, clearer. When accessorizing, less is more.
Is your sofa covered in a heavily textured, red chenille? Purchase cotton slipcovers in naturally soft colors of off white. Select twill, canvas or cotton duck. If you have club chairs, slipcovers those in soft ticking stripes. Replace toss pillows in nautical prints like sea shells, crabs, lobsters and shore birds.
On your coffee table, place light reflective accessories, like glass candle sticks and use white candles. Fill a large glass container with sand or kosher salt and then add sea shells. If your children have an unused fishbowl, make a terrarium in it. Old mason jars also look great filled with water and a few stems of fresh flowers. Replace your area rug under the coffee table with a natural sisal or cotton striped rug, look for wide cabana stripes.
Use crisp, white cotton sheets on your beds, add toss pillows covered in textures of white and soft blues and greens. Replace heavy draperies with sheer panels, you can hang these on tension rods, eliminating making extra holes in your window casing.
If you are hosting a summer party, plan a beach themed event. Find more mason jars, add some sand and a votive citronella candle. Using natural twine, hang these from the spokes of your patio umbrella. When evening arrives, you will be delighted how these mini lanterns glow when lit. For a table cloth, use fish netting (these are available at party stores).  Set the table with white dishes and make place cards by writing your guest’s names inside sea shells. If you still have shells left, string them on twine and cascade them around your chairs or doorways. Make a huge pitcher of frozen Margaritas, pour yourself an icy treat, close your eyes and picture the waves pushing against the shore.

Van Putte on PSR – Listen Now

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

House and Coyne put their gardening knowlegde to the test as they welcome Kyle Van Putte from Van Putte Gardens in Greece. Kyle talks gardening  and landscaping ideas. A popular plant on the market is a dwarf fothergilla.

Van Putte Garden Center is located in Greece at 136 North Ave. Call (585) 225-7770 or (800) 492-0303 toll-free or log on to their new website

Join Steve Hausmann and Pat Coyne for Property Source Radio this Saturday from 9-10am on Sportsradio 950AM ESPN or stream the show online from your computer and smart phone.

Listen to this show now!