Elderly Oral Hygiene is Easier With the Sonic Electric Toothbrush

The Sonicare Electric toothbrush is a good example of how senior citizens have product choices today that can cater to their needs. Seniors have special needs when it comes to oral hygiene because they often have tender gums. The sore gums can be due to medications, dentures, or the normal aging process.When you wear dentures it’s crucial to keep the gums healthy and the remaining teeth clean and cavity free.

A sonic toothbrush is easy on the gums and teeth as the vibrations clean away bacteria that can lead to infection. Wearing dentures can be uncomfortable under the best of circumstances, but when the gums are sore and tender they are painful.The new electric toothbrush models have multiple settings too. If gums or teeth are particularly sensitive one day, you can simply select a slower speed. The timer will tell you when you have brushed long enough. Some even have timers that tell you while you are still brushing when it’s time to change brush location. That way you know for sure you have brushed all your teeth and have not accidentally left an area unclean.

No Battery Fumbling

The new electric toothbrushes have other features too that make them ideal for the elderly user. Senior citizens often have arthritic joints in their hands and have lost strength in their wrists. That can make it difficult to even manually brush teeth.The electric toothbrush is easy to grip with an ergonomically designed handle. In two minutes your teeth are cleaned with a sonic toothbrush. The new units are also lightweight.Just as importantly is the fact the battery is built into the handle of the toothbrush and does not have to be replaced. There is no fumbling for batteries and the toothbrush is always ready for use for up to a two week period. But just set the brush unit in the charger after each use and you don’t even have to remember to recharge the toothbrush due to a low battery.

Respecting Seniors

There are so many products on the market that are simply not suitable for senior citizens. The Sonic electric toothbrush is one example of a product that is very accommodating to elderly needs.If you remember electric toothbrushes from years ago, you probably remember heavy bulky units with a charger that takes up a lot of space. That does not correctly describe the sonic toothbrush on the market today. Senior citizens will find that oral hygiene is much easier to manage using the lightweight modern units.

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Costly Cleanup: Buried oil tanks can break home sale deals

From Bergen.com:

When Marianne and Matthew Schottenfeld began thinking of selling their Waldwick home in early 2009, a real estate agent advised them to remove the underground heating-oil tank.

“We thought it was going to be pretty painless and inexpensive,” Matthew said. “But the contractor discovered that the tank was corroded, and oil had leaked into the ground. It was downhill from there.”

The Schottenfelds’ property is completely clean now, but it took more than $60,000 and 2 1/2 years. Although their case is extreme, it illustrates the trouble these hidden tanks can create for homeowners, buyers and sellers.

“They’re very frightening things,” said Richard Kelly, an Oradell real estate lawyer.

There are an estimated 120,000 buried residential oil tanks in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Fuel Merchants Association. That number has been shrinking as homeowners remove the tanks, either by replacing them with aboveground tanks or switching to natural-gas heat.

In many cases, a home sale forces the issue. Because of the tanks’ potential for pollution, most homebuyers demand they be removed before the deal can go forward.

“I haven’t had a buyer in years who accepts a house with a tank in the ground,” said Sheldon Neal, a Re/Max agent in Oradell.

“Many buyers will say right up front, ‘I want gas, I don’t want to look at oil,’ because of the perception that these tanks are a problem,” said Deborah Graske of Abbott & Caserta Realtors in Ho-Ho-Kus.

Mortgage lenders and homeowners’ insurance companies also are wary of underground tanks. As a result, many real estate agents advise sellers to deal with the tanks before they even put the house on the market.

Sellers don’t always know whether there’s an oil tank on the property because a previous owner may have abandoned the tank and switched to gas heat years earlier. If there’s a question, home inspectors often look for signs indicating there’s an abandoned tank on the property, like old pipes or oil feed lines in the house. Inspectors specializing in oil tanks are sometimes called in to sweep the property with a metal detector to search out an old tank and do test borings of the soil nearby to see if there are any leaks.

If a tank is found, removing it typically costs around $1,500 to $2,000 — if it’s not leaking. But if it has leaked oil, cleanup costs can run into the tens of thousands. That’s what happened to the Schottenfelds, whose tank leaked oil into their neighbor’s property as well as their own. Tests found that the leaks probably started 25 to 30 years ago.

Joe Solari, vice president of Aim Tank Services in Wayne, said that in his experience about 60 percent of removed tanks are leaky.

When a leak is discovered, the state Department of Environmental Protection must be alerted, and the cleanup process begins.

Insurance won’t necessarily take care of the cost. Homeowners’ policies in New Jersey generally won’t pay for oil damage to the homeowner’s property, although most cover damage to groundwater or a neighboring property, according to the state Department of Banking and Insurance.

Insurance companies try to limit their exposure to tanks. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., for example, will not cover liability for oil leaks unless the homeowner buys a special endorsement, which is offered only in the first year of coverage. And USAA won’t write a new homeowners’ policy for any property that has an underground tank, although it continues to renew policies on such properties.

Homeowners can get insurance through their oil companies, covering up to $100,000 in cleanup costs on the homeowner’s property. That insurance carries restrictions, including the requirement that if an underground tank is removed, the homeowner installs another tank and sticks with oil heat for at least a year, since the oil industry would like to keep the customers rather than see them switch to gas heat.

Jenni and Paul Harmon, newlyweds who recently bought a Cape Cod home in Waldwick, accepted an underground oil tank only because there was a $100,000 policy provided through the oil dealer. “It definitely gave us some peace of mind,” said Paul Harmon, a customer service supervisor. The Harmons, nonetheless, plan to remove the underground tank within a few years.

Other buyers just want the tanks out immediately. “Even if there’s insurance on the tank, maybe half of buyers just look to get rid of it,” said Barbara Weismann, a real estate agent with Weichert in Tenafly.

Some homeowners, especially in the past, have dealt with unneeded underground tanks by having them cut open, drained of oil and filled with sand or foam — a process called decommissioning or abandoning in place. In those cases, the town typically inspects the tank and issues documents saying the tank abandonment was properly handled.

But these days, the state DEP strongly advises that tanks be removed rather than abandoned.

“When you don’t remove them from the ground, it’s pretty hard to determine if there’s a hole in there,” said Gary Sanderson, coordinator of the DEP’s residential tank program.

In fact, if you abandon a tank in place, you may find yourself paying a second time to have it removed later because many home buyers are asking that previously decommissioned tanks be taken out. That’s what Kelly advises buyers to do because he’s seen several cases where a tank leaked oil into the ground, even though it was apparently decommissioned properly.

Martin Fong and his wife, Elisa, recently found a Leonia house they liked but discovered it was heated by oil, with an underground tank still in use. Though tests suggested the tank was not leaking, the Fongs wanted it out.

“We definitely wouldn’t want to get into a situation where we would have to be responsible for a cleanup and all these other headaches,” said Fong, a finance professional.

The sellers provided a credit to pay for the tank removal and agreed to be liable for any clean-up costs. The Fongs converted to gas heat in September. To their relief, after the tank was removed, no oil was found in the ground.

Celia Riggio, a real estate agent with Terrie O’Connor Realtors in Wyckoff, said an underground oil tank recently held up the sale of a three-bedroom Hillsdale ranch. The home was in “a wonderful neighborhood” and attracted a lot of attention from potential buyers, she said. But all balked at the oil tank, even after the seller offered a credit for the cost of removing the tank and converting to gas heat.

The home sold only after the sellers took care of the tank and the conversion to gas themselves.

“Although we knew the oil tank would be an obstacle, we underestimated just how big an obstacle it would prove to be,” Riggio said. “I would advise any homeowner with an oil tank to convert to gas, if natural gas is an option, before putting their home on the market.”

Kelly said he advises buyers not to just accept a credit for the removal of an oil tank, because if there’s a leak, the cost can be much more than expected.

“You don’t know what you’re assuming,” he said.

If a leak is discovered, the state advises homeowners to find a clean-up contractor on the DEP’s list of certified companies, which can be found on the DEP’s website. As with all home projects, homeowners should get several bids and check references before hiring a company, the DEP said.

The cost of cleanup depends on how extensive the contamination is, and whether the oil got into the groundwater. Costs range from about $8,000 to more than $100,000 for major leaks, though the DEP says $15,000 to $20,000 is a more typical range.

Once the cleanup is done, the contractor sends a report to the DEP (and the homeowner sends in a $400 fee). If the DEP is satisfied, it issues a “no further action” letter, signaling that the property is free of contamination. The DEP issued about 2,600 “no further action” letters last year.

A state grant program may pay for part of the cost of a tank removal and cleanup, if a homeowner qualifies. To apply, you have to have income below $250,000 and net worth below $500,000 (not counting the primary residence and retirement plans.) Even if you meet those standards, you may not get a grant, because the state Economic Development Authority will make the decision based on your ability to pay.

Currently, there is a backlog of people waiting to get money from the program, and a homeowner who applies today may not get any money till 2014, the DEP says.

The Schottenfelds’ oil leak is now completely cleaned up, and they have a “no further action” letter from the DEP. Most of the Schottenfelds’ costs were covered by their homeowner’s insurance, because the damage to the neighbor’s property from the leaking tank triggered their liability coverage. But getting the claims paid was complicated, because the couple had switched insurance companies several times over the years, and they had to determine which policy was in force when the oil leaked.

In the end, the Schottenfelds expect their out-of-pocket costs to run about $10,000 to $15,000.

For more information:

Check nj.gov/dep/srp/unregulatedtanks, the state Department of Environmental Protection’s website on residential underground oil tanks. You can find a link to a list of contractors certified to remove the tanks.

– See more at: http://www.bergen.com/201magazine/201estates/featured/costly-cleanup-buried-oil-tanks-can-break-home-sale-deals-1.831974#sthash.HeXdx7gG.dpuf

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NJDEP: Health, environment not threatened by Paulsboro oil leak; some residents skeptical

PAULSBORO — Faithful patrons of The Diner on West Broad Street here wondered aloud of the petro stench that had emanated Thursday from the Paulsboro Refinery.

Well before they’d heard the latest on the crude oil spill, skepticism filtered through. After all, even under earlier ownership, the plant had reminded locals of just what is in their back yard.

Memories of some past incidents remain, as Diner owner Dale McIntyre would relate.

As for the latest incident, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) spokesman Larry Hajna on Friday said his agency still doesn’t think Thursday’s leak will bring real health risks to area residents.

Hajna also said about 6.3 million gallons of crude oil – not 6.6 million, as previously estimated – had spilled into a containment berm built to hold much more.

The spill came from one of the refinery’s oil containers, officials had said.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on Friday met with NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin and others at the refinery to discuss the incident.

“There were scattered reports of people with eye irritation … or respiratory irritation,” Hajna said, while maintaining officials don’t expect major concerns.

“The county has gotten maybe about 50 calls, the NJDEP has gotten a few calls, but nothing widespread.

“I was at the site this morning, and I didn’t smell anything myself,” Hajna said.

He added odors could resurface, as recent rain may have broken up the foam crews had been applying to the oil, but workers would continue to pour on the foam.

Hajna explained the NJDEP isn’t concerned the oil will harm nearby waterways orthe municipal water supply. Workers are pumping the oil to tanks quickly enough to help prevent problems, he said.

“The impact to the groundwater would be very minimal,” Hajna stressed. “It’s a refinery, so there’s already some impact.”

But there are also wells to capture substances. And incidents like Thursday’s are very rare, Hajna said.

The refinery tank holds about 286,000 barrels – 12 million gallons – of oil, and the containment area is built to hold 377,000 barrels.

Hajna said crews are also monitoring the air to ensure safety. County, state and federal officials are taking part in monitoring and cleanup efforts.

That cleanup may take several days to complete, Hajna added.

Despite reassurances, at least some residents have their doubts. McIntyre said they’d come earlier for their normal coffee and commentary.

“There was lots and lots of chatter,” she recalled. “People were kind of giggling at (the NJDEP) statement that even at low concentrations the oil could emit a major odor, and have a low risk.”

But roughly six and a half million gallons? That’s quite a bit of oil, patrons said, all the while questioning whether the health risk was truly so low.

One group had recalled a gathering over Java at the old local Dutch Inn years ago, one interrupted by a similar incident, McIntyre said.

“They remembered they were having coffee together, and they smelled the same odor,” she said. “They had to go home and get their children and pets out for a while.”

While such incidents are far from daily, area residents can recall several.

In October 2001, when the Paulsboro Refinery was owned by Valero, about 150 pounds of hydrogen sulfide leaked from the site.

In heavy concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can cause suffocation. And while that didn’t happen in 2001, the incident did cause a scare.

Winds were blowing that day toward neighboring Greenwich Township. There, at Broad Street Elementary School, all children and staff were taken to the gymnasium, and the doors and windows were sealed with duct tape and plastic.

In June 2011, about 600 pounds of hydrogen sulfide was released from the refinery, which by then was owned by PBF Energy.

Students were evacuated from Paulsboro High School due to the overwhelming rotten egg stench, and several students became at least briefly ill.

Hajna at that time said the exposure was not believed to be a real health threat, although an NJDEP investigation and monitoring followed.

As for the oil spill, it wasn’t immediately clear what penalties may be imposed on PBF or the Paulsboro Refinery in particular.

But New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said the proper penalty could amount “in the millions of dollars … It could be even higher than that.”

Tittel added, however, that lately, enforcement in such matters has been lax. He cited an NJDEP agreement with PBF a year ago, lowering “a proposed $2.3 million air pollution fine to just $796,000, a $1.5 million reduction from the level recommended by enforcement staff.”

Tittel argued that such variation from a recommended penalty encourages companies to risk taking lower fines rather than buckling down on environmentally dangerous practices.

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Get Quality Oil Tank Removal, Testing and Installation Services in New Jersey!

Steve Rich Environmental Contractors is now BBB.org accredited. Get Quality Oil Tank Removal, Testing and Installation Services in New Jersey with Confidence of #1 and 23 years old company.

Dec 27, 2010 – Steve Rich Environmental Contractors is now BBB.org accredited. Get Quality Oil Tank Removal, Testing and Installation Services in New Jersey with Confidence of #1 and 23 years old company. Steve Rich Environmental Contractors is your local, underground Tank Removal, Tank Testing, and Tank Installation services for Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset , Sussex , Union, and Warren Counties, including lower New York and Westchester County.

We take pride in our record of customer satisfaction.

Steve Rich & Associates offers a wide variety of services to meet your environmental contracting requirements such as:

• Tank Testing
• Tank Removal/Tank Abandonment
• Tank Installation
• Soil Testing
• Soil & Groundwater Remediation
• NJDEP Reports
• Geoprobe Services
• Construction
• Vacuum Truck Services

Steve Rich & Associates is a fully certified, bonded and insured to give you the piece of mind that you want when hiring an environmental contractor. All of our environmental professionals have many years of experience in the field of environmental contracting, have a solid working relationship with all major insurance companies, have safety training according to all OSHA standards, and have the resources and equipment necessary to bring your project to completion in a timely, cost-effective manner.

Visit http://www.steve-rich.com now for a quote for getting rid of our Oil Tank or Call 1-877-7-DEPEND.

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Steve Rich & Associates – Steve Rich & Associates is your complete, hometown environmental contracting company. Since 1981, we have provided reliable, comprehensive residential environmental services to the New Jersey / New York metropolitan area.

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Free Oil Tank Removal Program in New Jersey by Steve-Rich.com

Steve Rich Environmental Contractor’s (SREC) is pleased to be able to offer you an opportunity to work with our company and the State of New Jersey to ease your financial burden through the State’s Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Program (PUST).

Call or Email Now to Avail Free Oil Tank Removal Offer:

Phone: 877-7-DEPEND or EMAIL: sr@steve-rich.com

Our team of experts understands the rules and regulations of the PUST program. With the help of the State’s program, SREC has developed our own program for homeowners to remove or abandon an old underground storage tank (UST) and an installation of a brand NEW oil tank, absolutely FREE. Planning on converting to gas or alternative energy? Not a problem, this program is also designed for just removing an underground storage tank as well. SREC will remove the old oil tank FREE of charge.

If you meet the following requirements, you are on your way to safeguarding your existing or new home CLEAR and FREE of any environmentally concerns that may have surfaced with continued use of an old UST.

Visit here for complete information: http://www.steve-rich.com/services/free_tank_removal.shtml

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Oil tank law to safeguard water zones

Over the course of a year, cleanup crews with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection respond to one spill every day from a home heating oil tank.

Those spills not only threaten the safety of nearby drinking water sources, they also cost the state — and therefore taxpayers — several million dollars annually to remediate.

But beginning July 1, some homeowners installing new or replacement heating oil tanks in specially designated “wellhead protection zones” will have to take extra steps — and pay extra money — to prevent contamination of drinking water sources.

A law passed by the Legislature last year will now require any new or replacement tanks installed within select areas of the state be either double walled or feature a secondary method for containing spills.

Specifically, the law will apply to replacement or new heating oil tanks installed within 1,000 feet of a community drinking water well or within the designated protective zone around that wellhead. A “community drinking water well” is defined as any water system that serves at least 25 people or that has at least 15 connections.

According to the DEP, there are more than 400 community water systems in the state, ranging from municipal water districts to mobile home parks or nursing homes with their own water systems.

The new law will not affect homeowners living outside a designated wellhead protective zone or those with their own personal wells. The law also would apply only when an affected homeowner must replace an oil tank; it does not mandate removal of functional existing tanks.

David McCaskill, an engineer with the DEP’s Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management, said cleaning up after home heating oil spills is one of his division’s busiest jobs.

Roughly 80 percent of Maine’s homes rely on oil for heat — the highest percentage in the nation.

“We spend $2 million a year cleaning up home heating oil tank spills,” McCaskill said. “There is an average of one leak a day.”

The highest percentage of those spills result from tanks that corroded away.

“It’s the long, slow leaks that are catastrophic,” McCaskill added, “because they saturate the soil underneath the house.”

Homeowners affected by the new law will have several choices in tank designs, all of which are likely to cost more than traditional tanks.

The first, less expensive option — coming in at around $200 more than a standard tank, according to McCaskill — are known as double-bottomed tanks and feature an enclosed reservoir at the bottom of the tank to capture any spillage. The tanks have a float mechanism to allow for visual inspection.

Tanks that are double-walled all the way around can set a homeowner back, on average, an additional $1,000 or more, but these tanks are more protective of the environment. For outdoor tanks, the DEP recommends double-walled, reinforced fiberglass tanks.

Finally, homeowners with outdoor tanks also can invest in a containment system that resembles a small shed for a tank. Such an enclosure captures spills while protecting the tank from the elements.

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Ask Barbara: Was oil tank ever on property? Have it checked out

Question: I’m considering buying a 1950s house on Long Island. There’s a vent pipe from an old oil tank visible on the property next to the base of the home. The current owner maintains the house has always been fueled by gas. She has lived there over 10 years. She cannot produce certification that the tank was removed or abandoned properly. The home inspector could not find evidence of a tank ever having been in the basement or a fill cap anywhere outside. How do I find out if an old oil tank is still there now or if it was removed properly? And if I can’t find proof one way or the other, should this be a deal breaker?

Answer: You don’t want to buy a property where there’s even the smallest chance of an environmental hazard. If you’re serious about the property, get another inspection by a licensed engineer and make it the seller’s problem to resolve it by making it a contingency in the contract of sale. If the seller cannot provide legal documentation about whether an oil tank is or isn’t there, then you can walk away from the deal.

Question: I’m having trouble finding tenants for my Washington, D.C., area rental property. Real estate agents have listed my property, we’re on Craigslist, in The Washington Post and registered with Section 8 in my area. I did the right thing by having a good cash reserve to begin with, but I’m sinking fast having to supplement the rent for the empty apartments. 

Answer: This doesn’t sound like an advertising issue, it sounds like a property issue. Tenants want clean, freshly painted apartments in good condition, with new fixtures and appliances. And rent prices have fallen, so consider offering concessions like a half or full month’s free rent to entice potential renters. When you make an apartment more appealing than all the rest, you’ll more than make up these investments with a group of happy, stable tenants over the long haul.

Question: My wife and I have been ­married for 31 years and have always rented a house. Now we’ve saved enough to buy a nice home with no mortgage. However, some people have advised us to obtain a small mortgage since we may need money for unpredicted home repairs, increases in insurance, electricity, heating, property taxes and other living expenses. They also said we’d be losing the “interest” income you normally collect from savings, which could be used for improving our retirement years. We’ll probably both retire in about six years and will be living on my government pension and our Social Security checks. What would you advise?

Answer: I’d shop around for a home that’s either new or in very good condition to avoid those unforeseen repairs. Find out about any hidden problems or potential problems by getting the house inspected before you sign the contract. Figure out what your income will be once you’ve retired and make sure it will cover your monthly housing expenses of taxes, insurance and utilities. Plus, add a little extra onto your monthly expenses for the first year of living in your new home. I guarantee you’ll need all kinds of tools and accessories that you haven’t thought of — especially since you’re going from an apartment to a house. As for the mortgage issue, you’ll get the accompanying tax benefit while you’re both working if you take out a small, short-term mortgage. Use your retirement date as measurement for the size of the mortgage you take out — you’ll want to have that mortgage paid off by the time you retire. Once you’re on a fixed income, you’ll want to minimize your monthly costs and a mortgage you don’t need should be the first to go!

Question: I am contemplating purchasing a condo in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City as an investment. Do you think it is a good idea, especially now that the developers are so willing to negotiate?

Answer: Now’s a great time to get a deal on many new condos in New York City. Some sponsors have a lot of unsold units and big loans to pay off and they’re very eager to sell. You can negotiate on price and the closing costs, which are substantial. State and city transfer taxes alone add up to almost 2% of the purchase price, unless you work that into the deal. I will caution you to buy only if you’re looking to hold on to the property for at least five years so you can ride out this bear market. And make sure you know what you can rent the place for so you can cover your costs. As far as Harlem goes, it’s a great place to buy real estate if you can negotiate a bottom-line price that will make your monthly payments less than what you would pay for a rental.

Question:  If a home in Indiana is listed for $169,900, is there a percentage you can take off the price or is it just based on the other, similar houses in the area? I watch you on the “Today” show and thought I remembered you saying there is a percentage that homeowners mark up their property. We started our bid at $155,500. The appraised value in ’08 was $149,900, so how could it have gone up $20,000?

Answer: There are no rules regarding how owners price their home. Your opening offer is a good one and the sellers would be nuts not to counter. It’s unlikely the home’s value has gone up 13% since last year, so it seems to me that the owners have priced their house so they could negotiate with a buyer like you. Don’t forget that you and the seller set the value when you agree on a price. If you’re less than $15,000 apart, just stick to your guns and you should be able to buy it for somewhere between the asking price and your bid.

(This is taken from nydailynews.com)

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