Does your home’s plumbing system confuse you? Don’t worry—you’re in good company. When faced with a strangely behaving sink, toilet or garbage disposal, most homeowners instinctively respond by calling a plumber. While this may be a surefire way of resolving a plumbing problem, it isn’t always necessary. Many plumbing problems have simple solutions that can save you a lot of money and trouble if you know them. Consider the following examples. Read more
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be released by HVAC units, portable chemical heaters, and gas appliances and heating systems. Most people assume they’re safe from harm if their heaters are running normally, but in reality, any heater that hasn’t been properly maintained can put the home and its occupants at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. For example, if the furnace’s heat exchanger cracks, it can leak fumes into the home, presenting a serious issue that may go completely unnoticed. Venting issues (such as a pipe that breaks or gets blocked) can also increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Read more
If you’re planning to sell your home, one of the first things you’ll need to determine is how much it’s worth. Unfortunately, when it comes to calculating a home’s value, there are a lot of misconceptions that can lead to poor decisions and lost profits. Here are three of the most common myths regarding real estate appraisal: Read more
Like most people, you’ve likely experienced the inconvenience of an appliance failure. Whether your washer stopped washing or your refrigerator stopped refrigerating, you may have been surprised at the impact it had on your daily routine. Read more
I’ve been babysitting a one-year-old and a three-year-old on a regular basis this year, so I’m constantly on the lookout for choking hazards. You’re probably familiar with the obvious ones like hot dogs, seeded grapes and marshmallows, but I was surprised when the children started coughing and choking on apple slices, french fries, and beans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can prevent choking by making sure your little ones sit up while eating and not giving them food while they’re in the car or stroller. Kids are still developing their swallowing skills up until they’re 24 months old, so keep this in mind when introducing solid foods. Read more
My latest obsession is listening to podcasts about criminals who have defrauded, scammed and deceived others. Consumer investigative journalism is now more accessible than ever in this medium. All the shows I’m digging into are free through podcasting apps and streaming services like Spotify.
“Swindled” is my current favorite. It’s an independently produced true crime podcast about all sorts of money-making schemes, white collar crime and corporate greed. The anonymous host calls himself “A Concerned Citizen.” His goal is to shine a light on stories that you may have heard about in the news but didn’t really know all the sordid details. In an interview, Read more
Are you familiar with the many fluids found under the hood of your car? If not, the following article is for you.
Fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle. Some serve to cool and lubricate the engine and transmission, while others help facilitate the operation of the steering and braking systems. All of them are important and should be regularly inspected. Let’s look at each of these fluids in more detail: Read more
The California State Licensing Board (CSLB) wants consumers to know that all home improvement contracts are required to contain certain language. If you aren’t aware of this prerequisite, the CSLB’s website has plenty of information that will get you acquainted with the elements of a proper contract. In addition, you can prevent stress and conflict during a construction project by tactfully requesting that your contract contain the following three elements:
A payment schedule with a task-by-task breakdown. The easier it is for you to read and understand your contract, the better. If the payment schedule is broken down by “percentage of job completed,” ask for a task-by-task breakdown instead so you can verify the work that has actually been done. Read more