Click to view this email in a browser
The Diamond Certified® Consumer Report Twitter link Facebook link
 VOL. 8, ISSUE 4 - APRIL 2015

In This Issue

Battling Water Conservation Fatigue

The 2015 Diamond Certified Directory

Getting Your Credit Score is Getting Easier!

Consumer Feedback:
Thank You Diamond Certified!

New Diamond Certified Companies

Savvy Tips of the Month

Putting the Freeze on Fleas

Choking Hazards for Kids

Optometry 101

Diamond Certified Quick Links






Read this newsletter and previous issues at

Battling Water Conservation Fatigue

  Diamond Certified Company: Reilly Designs image
A good water-saving measure is to replace your lawn with drought-resistant plants, like these decorative artichokes recently installed by Reilly Designs, a Diamond Certified company.

We’ve been encouraged to cut back on our water use for many months now, yet we’re still not conserving enough. So now the governor is ordering mandatory water use reductions with the specifics yet to be worked out by the individual water agencies.

Why have we been so slow to make changes in our water consumption habits? They say, “Replace your lawn with drought-resistant plants. Take shorter showers. Only do full loads of laundry. Get a rebate for a water-efficient toilet.” At some point, you wonder if we won’t change our behavior until our water bills skyrocket. The truth might be that most of us (myself included) are suffering from water conservation fatigue.

To overcome my own inertia, I decided to see if I could reinvigorate my water conservation efforts at home by having a free “Water-Wise” evaluation offered by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The water conservation inspector, Al Ujcic, spent 45 minutes with me looking for leaks, making small changes and suggesting ways to save more water in my home.

Using low-flow aerators on your faucets can save .7 gallons of water per minute.

I was surprised to see how easy it is to replace your regular faucet aerator with a water-saving aerator, which reduces the gallons flowing per minute (gpm) from 2.2 to 1.5. Everyone should do this—it’s a no-brainer. Mr. Ujcic also installed a more efficient (and free) showerhead that saves about .5 gallons per minute. The water pressure is still about the same for both the faucets and the shower, which also came as a surprise.

The inspector put a blue dye into both toilet tanks, and sure enough, he found a slow leak in one and suggested replacing a flap. He was enthusiastic about our “newish” water-efficient washing machine and dishwasher, and he recommended replacing my 2.25 gpm kitchen faucet with a 1.8 gpm faucet.

While our irrigation system is well-maintained and efficient, Mr. Ujcic suggested removing more of the lawn and adding mulch to the plant beds to retain moisture and reduce watering. We have a lot more work to do on the yard, and when we make these changes, they’ll have the biggest impact on our water usage.

Many Bay Area counties offer free water conservation audits, so if you need a little inspiration, I suggest calling your local water department and scheduling an appointment soon. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Chris Bjorklund signature
Chris BjorklundChris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer

The 2015 Diamond Certified Directory

The brand-new Diamond Certified Directory has started mailing to households and businesses throughout the Greater Bay Area. Each top rated Diamond Certified company is represented with a full-page profile that features a researched article and list of services, a graphical depiction of actual ratings results, verbatim survey responses from real customers, and more. You can get a digital edition of the directory by clicking one of the corresponding counties below—it will immediately download to your computer, iPad or Kindle!
Alameda County
Contra Costa County
Marin County
Monterey County
Napa County
San Benito County
San Francisco
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Santa Cruz County
Solano County
Sonoma County

Getting Your Credit Score is Getting Easier!


2015 brings many more ways to get your credit score for free.

Remember the days when finding out about your credit history was a long, involved process? Well, that’s all changing in 2015. Consumers will have many more ways to obtain their credit reports and credit scores for free. Some of the major credit card issuers and insurance companies are offering free monthly updates of the three-digit score, which ranges between 300 and 850 (the higher, the better). Lenders use these scores to determine credit worthiness when making loans. People with higher scores often qualify for lower interest rates on mortgages and car loans.

You should check your credit report at least once a year (to determine if mistakes have been made). The government-endorsed site is And, more importantly, never pay for a credit report or credit monitoring service—consumer advocates agree this is a big waste of money.
Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers

Dear Diamond Certified:

I just wanted to add my two cents regarding the great services I’ve had by using your listed companies, from painting and tree trimming to deck refinishing and carpet installation. I’ve even gone back to these companies only to get the same great repeat service.

So, I was puzzled when my husband looked at another referral service to get some work done on his mother’s house, as well as when he offered me some names of companies to look into for my latest painting project. What a joke!

Not only were these companies more expensive than the Diamond Certified company I chose to do the work, it was also very difficult to even get a few written estimates, as most of the painters didn’t bother to return my calls.

Thank you, Diamond Certified, for being a conduit between these wonderful vendors and us, the consumers.

Kind regards,
S.M., San Francisco
Diamond Certified ® Only companies rated Highest in Quality earn Diamond Certified

Companies Recently Earning Diamond Certified

Acme Sunshades Enterprise Inc.

San Leandro – (510) 635-6383
Precision Door Services of the Bay Area
Fremont – (408) 400-9090
Van Heusen Real Estate Group
Pleasanton – (510) 557- 5952

Baltodano’s Drywall

Brentwood – (925) 759-3994
The Dental Center at Sears
Concord – (925) 682-3929

North Bay Interiors

Novato – (415) 883-3319

EW Landscape

Menlo Park – (650) 368-7716

Amerimac Cal-West Financial, Inc.

San Jose – (408) 559-4444
Black Diamond Paver Stones & Landscape, Inc.
Santa Clara – (800) 942-1955
Isaac Lin, DDS
San Jose – (408) 246-0103


American Ratings Corporation - Diamond Certified • 504 Redwood Blvd. • Suite 210 Novato, California 94947 • (877) 312-1307
©2015 American Ratings Corporation