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Waterproofing Your Home

Posted on November 28, 2017 by James Florence

When it comes to water intrusion, even small issues can lead to large consequences. For example, a minor leak can be a catalyst for dry rot, which, if allowed to progress unchecked, can spread throughout a home’s substructure and create a dangerous condition (not to mention a costly repair bill). That’s why it’s best to take a preventative approach by waterproofing your home. Whether sealing your exterior siding or your kitchen sink, proactive waterproofing measures will curb water intrusion from both exterior and interior sources. Read more

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Posted in: Home Maintenance, Home Tips
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Why Wildfire Victims Need to Beware of Fraudulent Contractors

Posted on November 02, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll

The recent wildfires destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in Northern California and left others in need of urgent repairs. With their lives upended, many residents are looking to start over and return to their former routines as quickly as possible. But those rebuilding after the wildfires need to move cautiously, as conditions are ripe for contractor scams. Unfortunately, history has shown that after a catastrophe, there are many bad actors ready and willing to take advantage of the vulnerable.

Contractors (especially good ones) are in high demand following a disaster. At the same time, there’s a lot of money available to the construction industry due to payouts from insurance policies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Home Tips
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De-Haunting Your House: A Halloween Home Maintenance Special

Posted on October 24, 2017 by James Florence

It’s a dark night.

You’re in your living room, binge-watching the new season of “Stranger Things,” when you notice a shrill whistling sound coming from somewhere inside the house. You pause the show and get up to investigate.

Walking into the hall, you’re struck by a sudden chill in the air, which causes you to emit an involuntary shiver. You draw your arms inward and follow the whistling sound to your bedroom, but just as you open the door, it stops. You enter the still room and scan for any unusual signs. Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, DIY Home Repair, Home Tips
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What to Do When the Contractor’s Bid Hasn’t Arrived

Posted on September 19, 2017 by Joy Lanzaro

One of the most common complaints we hear from consumers who are starting remodeling projects is that contractors don’t submit estimates in a timely fashion. To address this, we’re republishing one of our most popular posts, which features advice from Joy Lanzaro, Director of Mediation and Compliance, on what to do when a contractor’s bid hasn’t arrived. Hope you find it helpful!

The complaint often looks like this:

“How long should I wait for my contractor to provide an estimate? The estimator seemed really nice and keeps promising a bid, but it’s been weeks! I try to only hire locally but I’m tired of waiting and wasting my time. If they didn’t want my business, Read more

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Posted in: Home Tips
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Creating a Fire-Safe Defensible Space

Posted on September 08, 2017 by James Florence

One of the most critical aspects of fire safety is creating a “defensible space” around your home: a 100-foot radius of property that’s specifically maintained to minimize fire risks. However, defensible space is often misunderstood—a lot of people think it merely consists of clearcutting all trees, shrubs and bushes within 100 feet of their homes, but this oversimplifies the matter. In reality, creating a defensible space involves a specific strategy.

A properly designed defensible space consists of two zones: Zone 1, which extends 30 feet from the house, and Zone 2, which extends 70 feet from Zone 1. In Zone 1, any dead vegetation should be removed or, in the case of grass and weeds, Read more

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Posted in: Fire Prevention, Home Tips, Landscaping Tips
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14 Things Bay Area Folks Can (and Should) Do Right Now to Prepare for an Earthquake

Posted on August 11, 2017 by Jennifer Chan

Those of us who live in the Bay Area understand that a major earthquake could happen at any time. If we want to live here—with the mountains, beaches and great weather—we have to make an uneasy truce with the massive fault lines running beneath our homes. Luckily, while we don’t have to like our rowdy underground neighbors, we can preemptively call the cops on the party. Do these 14 things now and be prepared for a major quake.

  1. Anchor tall bookshelves and other heavy or high furniture to the walls. Be sure to attach the items to the wall studs rather then the drywall.
  2. Do not hang pictures or mirrors over beds or the couch.
  3. Read more

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Posted in: Uncategorized, Home Tips

5 Ways to Lower Your Cooling Costs

Posted on July 20, 2017 by James Florence

A central air conditioner can be priceless on a hot summer day, but the cost of running it certainly isn’t. While having a well-maintained, energy-efficient system will help keep your cooling bills in check, another smart step is finding ways to keep your home naturally cooler, which reduces the need to run your system in the first place. Here are five measures to consider:

1. Install a whole house fan. On summer mornings and evenings, it’s not unusual for the temperature outside the home to be cooler than on the inside. In this instance, running the air conditioner can feel like a waste of energy. If only there was a way to get that cool outdoor air into the home… Read more

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Posted in: Home Tips, Home Improvement
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