It's one of the biggest furniture investments you're going to make, so take your time when choosing a new sofa. Our Diamond Certified expert Craig Kohler with Artesanias Unique Home Furnishings says the biggest mistakes people make are on the depth of the seat and the overall size. Seeing a sofa in a large retail space may throw off your sense of how big it really is. Look at your traffic flow and where you're going to place the sofa first. Think about how you will be using the sofa, so you can balance style and comfort. Will you be sitting and reading with your feet on the floor, or lying down to watch TV? Read more
The Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov), the nation's consumer protection agency, wants consumers to beware of telephone sales pitches for magazine subscriptions. While some offers may be legitimate, many are not. Agreeing to buy could result in years of monthly bills for magazines you don't want or could have gotten elsewhere for less. Or, you could end up paying for a magazine you never receive at all. How do you know if an offer is a scam? Words like "free" and "pre-paid" should alert you. And the caller may try to get your guard down by saying he or she is just calling to conduct a survey. To protect yourself: * Don't give your credit card or other personal information to any caller, Read more
Most of us postpone getting our hardwood floors re-finished because we dread the mess. The talcum-like dust from the sanding process is not only difficult to clean up, but a health hazard too. Wood dust is a known carcinogen, and people with asthma, respiratory problems, and expectant mothers are warned to limit their exposure to it.
Scott Miller, Operations Manager for Elegant Floors, a Diamond Certified company, reports that the dust problem caused by sanding floors can now be almost completely eliminated with dust extraction systems. The Bona Atomic DCS trailer extracts about 98% of the dust through powerful hoses from the sanding equipment and out the front door to the powerful dust collector to a large truck. Read more
With gas prices so high, it’s more important than ever to do everything you can to improve your fuel economy. I asked Ralph Fogleine, owner of European Auto Works, a Diamond Certified company, for his best tips. First, you have to clean out your trunk. “Driving around the Bay area with too much stuff in your trunk and all the stop and go driving, that’s where you’re going to notice a change in gas mileage the most. When that mass has to be accelerated and decelerated, it’s going to require more fuel.”
Aggressive driving wastes gas too, so no more racing from stoplight to stoplight. Your brakes will also last longer. Finally, Read more
The savings with solar can be substantial for homeowners with electric bills topping $100 a month. Randy Zechman, the CEO of Clean Solar, a Diamond Certified company, suggests the first step is to review your PG&E bills for the past 12 months to determine how many kilowatts you’re using and what you’re paying. This helps solar contractors, who have to be licensed, know which size system to install in your home.
Rather than depend only on a solar contractor’s representations as to the amount of energy a system will produce, ask for what’s called a solar production guarantee. Get this in writing along with the warranty. Mr. Zechman says you can still get federal tax credits and rebates from the state for installing a solar system. Read more
Many people make the mistake of storing their firewood outside directly up against their house. John Kunkel, owner of Termite Police, a Diamond Certified company, says that’s the worst place to put it. Termites are attracted to any kind of wood, and can easily move from the firewood right into your siding or foundation from that woodpile. It’s much better to store your wood away from the house, perhaps in a shed.
Here’s another tip from Mr. Kunkel. If you live in an old house, and you set firewood down on the hardwood floors, beetles might move right in with the wood. Once these beetles start feasting on your floors, you’ll need professional help to eliminate them. Read more
Driving on wet roads with your cruise control on can be very dangerous. Why? If your car begins to hydro-plane and tires lose contact with the surface, the cruise control will take some time to react. When your car begins to get traction again, it will accelerate, making you take off too quickly. You may lose complete control of your vehicle.
The early part of the rainy season is especially hazardous. It hasn’t rained in a long time and oils have accumulated, making it difficult for your tires to stick to pavement. Some newer cars won’t let you set cruise control while the windshield wipers are on. The safest thing is to avoid using the cruise control setting when rain and inclement weather are in the forecast. Read more
My neighbor in Sonoma has some beautiful trees, but a few of the limbs and branches are blocking the view. I started wondering whether I was within my rights to trim some of those branches, given that they’re dangling over the fence and onto my property. Who better to ask than Darren Edwards, owner of Advance Tree Service, a Diamond Certified company? According to Mr. Edwards, “You may have someone trim your tree without your neighbor’s permission. You’re allowed to go back to the property line. You can’t go over the property line. But so long as it doesn’t damage the tree’s health or integrity.” It’s also a good idea to discuss any limb trimming with your neighbor first, Read more