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EDITOR: DENISE STOCKSTILL, 369-1963 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1991 SECTION H Neighborhood price guideH-2 O Residential transfersH-3 New developmentsH-4 Home maintenanceH-4 i uu T n James ,) Dulley " j 4 : ., ' t V 4. Cut your utility bills is. t 4. 1 J 4 T"J 1 . "I . , t , i h i .v V . J j Qfca Gas dryer cheaper in long run Moisture sensors help lower costs QUESTION: I need to replace my old clothes dryer. How expensive is it to operate a gas or electric dryer and what features should I look for in a new energy-efficient dryer. Should I vent it indoors in the winter? ANSWER: A clothes dryer, particularly an electric one, is one of the major energy consumers in your home. The average U.S. household does 416 dryer loads each year with annual operating costs as high as $100. If you have several young children, you probably do even more loads. Although the initial price of a gas dryer is a little more than an electric one, it is usually less expensive to operate. Based on our utility rates, it costs about 75 less. This can total hundreds of dollars of savings over the life of the dryer. Selecting an energy-efficient dryer can greatly reduce the operating costs. Precise control over the dryness level is most important. Over-drying not only wastes energy, but it damages the fabrics and causes wrinkling. You often have to iron over-dried clothes, wasting even more electricity. The best and most energy-efficient dryness control is an electronic moisture level sensor. It is built into the drum and it actually touches the clothes in the dryer. When it senses your selected level of dryness, the dryer shuts off. In the permanent press cycle, the dryer slowly cools and continues to periodically tumble the clothes to reduce wrinkling. Some so-called dryness controls sense dryness indirectly by measuring the exhaust air temperature (it gets hotter as the clothes get dryer), but these controls are less precise. Unless you are very conscientious about checking the dryness, a timer offers the least control. Although an electronic control panel looks good, a manual dial is just as functional, particularly if you use the timer. You can see the position of the dial and roughly determine where in the cycle it is. The Cincinnati EnquirerTony Jones Joe and Debbie Williams bought a new home but stayed in their old neighborhood of Anderson Township because they liked the schools and shopping centers. Hot suots in the smiiimertime Popular neighborhoods Home sales up in Tristate The average sale price of a home in Greater Cincinnati rose to $109,433 during May and July, from $105,736 during the same period in 1990, according to the Cincinnati Board of Realtors. Here's a sampling of neighborhoods popular with home buyers this summer. The list with sales figures covering this summer includes several neighborhoods combined into one area: BY JEFF McKINNEY The Cincinnati Enquirer Average price $167,190 With the recession hampering home Homes Area sold Cincinnati's northeast corridor 350 Areas such as Kenwood along Interstates 71 and 275. sales nationally, Greater Cincinnati's strong economy appears to have been the foundation for an increase in local sales during the busy summer season. People who did buy homes this summer, local Realtors say, were both newcomers to the area and locals trading up to more expensive homes. Less evident were first- WestChester 312 $134,572 Area near Interstates 75 and 275. Anderson Township 284 $154,845 Area along Interstate 275 corridor. Fairfield 281 $93,791 Area near Interstate 275. Northern Kentucky 273 $108,000 Area includes Florence along Interstate 75. corporate transferees and local homeowners moving up to more expensive homes. First-time buyers, it seems, are still having trouble coming up with the down payment required to buy homes. Moving up Joe and Debbie Williams are a good example of the local buyer moving up close to home. The couple moved into a $160,000 home in Anderson Township after living in a $93,000 home in the same neighborhood. They decided to stay in Anderson Township because of the area's schools and shopping centers. "We know of a lot of other couples who have remained here because they have friends and they like such things as the schools, churches and shopping centers," Debbie Williams said. McDonald said the Williams are typical of move-up buyers in Greater Cincinnati who are changing addresses in the same neighborhood or moving into higher-priced homes in nearby neighborhoods. McDonald also said the growth of some industries in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky is helping sell homes in the suburbs. Both local people and transferees, he said, seem to prefer newer homes over older ones. Based on sales, McDonald listed the hot spots for buyers this summer as West Chester, Anderson Township, Fairfield and . the northeast corridor of Greater Cincinnati, which includes Montgomery, Kenwood, Blue Ash, Loveland, Maderia and (Please see HOMES, Page H-4) time buyers. According to figures from the Cincin nati Board of Realtors, there were 4,173 homes purchased from May through July in Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Warren counties, up 6 from 3,931 during the same period in 1990. If you have mixed fabrics, you can take out some faster drying fabrics Numbers were up slightly in Northern earlier. Kentucky, where 477 homes were sold May through July, versus 466 a year ago, the Kenton-Boone Board of Realtors said. A front-located lint screen is best. You see it each time you open the dryer door, so you won t forget to clean it. Beat the nation One new dryer model has a buzzer to signal you when the lint filter needs to and the availability of state-financed mortgage money will bring more buyers into the market during the last quarter of this year. "We're optimistic that home sales in 1991 will be on par with the level of sales we had in 1990," said David M. McDonald, president of the Cincinnati Board of Realtors. McDonald said the Tristate's economic stability compared to other areas of the nation hit harder by the recession has helped two traditional groups of buyers: Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co., said it is evident that Greater Cincinnati's economy is performing better than the nation and that helped boost local sales. "Cincinnati has had a lower unemployment rate and continued drop growth during the recession while the opposite is true for the nation," Stevie said. He predicts local home sales will stay on a "steady as she goes" course through early next year. However, Realtors are hoping low interest rates, a good inventory of homes This summer's local sales beat the be cleaned. national rate. Across the country, sales of homes during May-July were 1 million, up Venting an electric dryer indoors can save energy, but it may cause moisture 3.8 from 962,000 during the same 1990 period, according to the National Association of Realtors. problems in some houses. You can buy inexpensive switchable Richard Stevie, a senior economist at indooroutdoor vent units with built-in lint filters. Check your local codes to be sure indoor venting is approved. Home tour QUESTION: I am restoring an old house and it needs new windows. One of Spend your energy on audit Careful checking around home can save heating dollars the original wood windows still remains. Should I try to duplicate it or install new energy-efficient windows? ANSWER: You should be able to do both. Several of the major wood window manufacturers can make custom win dows of an energy-efficient design to match the original windows. You can do some of the minor detail ing yourself by hand. Men1 1 You should select double pane win I - i ii - dows with a low-E coating on the glass. Argon-filled glass also saves energy and minimizes outdoor noise. 0 Ssi' iiVfJ You can write for Utility Bills Update Nn. OOR showine a list of manufacturers and model numbers of gas and electric dryers with true moisture level sensors, of switchable indooroutdoor vent units, and a list of enerav-savins laundrv tios. If your basement is unheated, insulating the ceiling would make the floor of the first story much warmer, reduce heat loss and conserve fuel. You must also insulate any pipes in the basement. The energy efficiency of your home depends to a large extent on efficiently operating heating and cooling systems. In winter you should keep the thermostat constant at 68 during the day and 60 at night. A clock thermostat, which automatically lowers the heat when you're in bed and raises it in the morning, aids in your comfort and convenience. Check radiators or registers to see that they are free of dust and not obstructed. If you have gas-fired heating equipment, have the unit cleaned every two to three years. Check burner plates From time to time you should check the burner plates to see if the unit is firing properly, because gas ports can become clogged with rust or dust. If you have a furnace, clean or replace air filters once a month during heating season. If you have oil-fired equipment you should have the equipment tuned up and its efficiency checked annually. If the burner is not a flame retention head burner, consider replacing it. You should periodically inspect the burner for oil leaks. Have your water heater the second largest energy consumer in the home drained periodically to remove built-up sediment. Insulate the hot water pipes and the water tank. Repair faucet leaks as soon as they occur. Consider installing flow restrictors in shower heads and faucets. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS An energy audit of your home is one of the best ways to ensure that you're getting the most out of your heating dollars. Your utility company can assist you in tracking down energy wasters, but there are many items you can check yourself. Here are some important checkpoints and energy saving tips. Measure the insulation One way to check for wall insulation from the indoor living area is to remove a switch plate on an exterior wall. Shine a flashlight around the switch-box to see if there is insulation present. Better yet, make a small hole in an exterior wall (in a closet or other hidden location) and measure the insulation. Then patch the hole. Adding insulation to the walls of an existing home is costly and difficult to do thoroughly. A contractor uses special equipment to blow in insulation from holes bored in the walls. However, if you plan to re-side your house, installing rigid board insulation before applying siding is cost effective. Insulation on the foundation of the house, whether you have a basement, crawl space or slab foundation, is often overlooked. Insulation applied on the house exterior to cover the exposed foundation and to extend 1 foot below ground level is effective. Other energy conservation measures for the foundation include caulking the sill plate where the sill meets the foundation blocks in a basement, and insulating the header above the sill plate. Please include $1 and a self-addressed stamped business-size envelope. Send your requests to James Dulley, co 1 he Cincinnati Enquirer, 2654 Jessup Road, Cincinnati, 45239. The Cincinnati EnquirerJim Callaway This Victorian-style house on Tusculum Avenue is part of the Columbia Tusculum Historic Homes Tour. WHAT: 1991 Columbia Tusculum Historic Homes Tour. WHEN:1-to-6 p.m. today. WHERE: 12 Victorian-style homes will be on display along Eastern Avenue and Tusculum Avenue. BENEFITS: Proceeds from the tour will go to the Columbia Tusculum Community Council, a non-profit neighborhood Improvement group. ADMISSION: $5 a person. Tickets are available at VFW Hall, 3738 Eastern Ave., and Funky's Blackstone Grille, 455 Delta Ave. For more Information, call 871-3944.