New Ohio State Law —Homeowners Can Save Moolah!

August 11, 2007

In early August, Governor Ted Strickland signed a new, expanded Homestead Exemption Act that will provide property tax savings (money!!!) to qualified senior citizens and disabled Ohioans. The Homestead Exemption credit has been in effect for years. But, in the past there were very restrictive income requirements to qualify for the credit.

The BIG NEWS now is that the new Homestead Exemption has NO income qualifications. If you are 65 years or older and a homeowner in the State of Ohio then you can reduce your taxes and save money just by filling out a form (Franklin County) and sending it in to your local county auditor.

IMPORTANT! The completed form must be received by your county auditor no later than October 1, 2007. The good news is that the form is very simple to fill out. So don’t delay.

For example, if you have a home with a market value of $100,000, you would get billed as if your house was worth $75,000. Average savings is projected to be $400.

Don’t fret if you don’t qualify for the new credit; just contact your parents, grandparents and other family members that might qualify for the credit. Your family members will be so happy that you saved them money that they will put you back in their will.

Voila, you are in the money!

You can follow the links in this post for more information. Please contact your local county auditor for more information on eligibility and tax savings.



July 31, 2007

We’ve had reason in recent days to re-investigate the risks of radon gas to our health. We got a lot of help from Elizabeth James, radon maven. [Thanks, Liz!]

The news is not good!
Radon, you will remember, is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas—the product of decomposing uranium deep in the earth.
That can’t be good.
You’re right, it’s not.

According to the U. S. EPA online radon is a very serious threat to our health.

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according
to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About
2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. [emphasis mine, ed.]

It’s everywhere. But mostly, it’s in your house!

A silent, invisible, odorless, tasteless, radioactive killer gas is sneaking into my home to give me cancer? R-I-G-H-T!
Sounds like another eco-maniacal greenie off the deep end doesn’t it?

It’s not.

(BTW, our sincerest apology to all ecologically concerned individuals whom we may have just offended. We’re just trying to drive home a point here—not make a political statement. Really.)

And there’s more bad news.

You are at a greater risk of dangerous exposure to this killer stuff here in central Ohio than most other places!

Uh Oh!

This is serious business, and you need to find out more about the risk to you and your family and what you can do about it.

Do it because there are reasonable ways to reduce exposure. Do it because you want to be here for your grandchildren. (Okay, here’s the real reason. Simon says “Do it.”)

The EPA has a free booklet available online that provide excellent general information. There is an additional free publication that addresses the special concerns of those considering buying or selling a home.

Possibly the best source of good information about radon in the central Ohio area is our new friend Elizabeth James at the Ohio Department of Health. (You were wondering when we were going to get back to her, didn’t you? Thanks for staying with us.)

Call Liz at 800-523-4439 and ask her some questions about this stuff. She’s an expert. Find out how serious this really is…and what you can do about it.

Go ahead call her…she’s really nice.

Tell her we said “Hi”.

You smokers with children. [You know who you are.] Stop smoking now and call Liz. Your risk is like 100 times worse! No kidding. Do it right now.

Cool (and FREE) Online Energy Audit

July 11, 2007

Energy Audit? How boring!

At least that’s what I thought—until I saw detailed, practical suggestions that could save as much as $1600 a year in household expenses.

This co-production of the DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is quite a device. It will take you as far as you want to go with information and strategies customized specifically for your home including pay-back times for improvements.

Here’s what they say (in part), “The Home Energy Saver quickly computes a home’s energy use on-line based on methods developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Users can estimate how much energy and money can be saved and how much emissions can be reduced by implementing energy-efficiency improvements. All end uses (heating, cooling, major appliances, lighting, and miscellaneous uses) are included.”

“The Home Energy Saver’s Energy Advisor calculates energy use and savings opportunities, based on a detailed description of the home provided by the user. Users can begin the process by simply entering their zip code, and in turn receive instant initial estimates. By providing more information about the home the user will receive increasingly customized results along with energy-saving upgrade recommendations.”

It’s easy to use, free and you can store your profile and return to it later. Did I implement all their recommendations?

Well no, but I did change a few things that promised the quickest payback for the investment. I figure I’ll save at least a few hundred dollars this year in reduced water costs with my new low volume flushing toilets. (Believe it or not they work great!)

And the new energy efficient picture windows have already reduced drafts and made my front room more comfortable. Of course they also conserve heating and cooling energy—so I’m saving money there.
I’m not the only one who found this site helpful. Find out how you can make your life better and reduce your household costs at the same time.

Check it out. Let me know how it worked for you. [George Black]