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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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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: Home Tips, Landscaping Tips
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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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The Benefits of a Variable-Speed Air Conditioner

Posted on July 18, 2017 by James Florence

Imagine if your car only drove at one speed, regardless of whether you were in town or on the freeway, or if your stereo only had a single volume setting that couldn’t be adjusted. Sounds awful, right? Well, when it comes to your air conditioner, you may be dealing with an equivalent situation. In fact, the air conditioners found in many Bay Area homes only have one setting: full blast. Not surprisingly, these relics of cooling technology aren’t exactly the epitome of energy efficiency.

Fortunately, there’s a better option available: the variable-speed air conditioner. Unlike its single-speed predecessors, a variable-speed unit is able to incrementally adjust its power output in conjunction with changing climate conditions—and that’s just the beginning. Read more

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Keeping Your Cool: 4 DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance Steps

Posted on June 08, 2017 by James Florence

Your air conditioner is designed to keep your home cool during the summer, but like any system, it requires ongoing maintenance to sustain peak operating efficiency. While some maintenance steps are best left to an HVAC professional (such as handling refrigerant), there are others you can perform yourself. Here are four DIY air conditioning maintenance steps:

1. Change the air filter. Before turning on your air conditioner for the season, inspect the air filter and replace it as needed. A new air filter will provide cleaner, fresher indoor air in addition to optimizing airflow and general system performance. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Home Tips
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How to Clean a Window in 3 Steps

Posted on May 04, 2017 by James Florence

When it comes to window cleaning, nothing compares to a professional’s touch, but if you ever have to do it yourself, it’s helpful to know the proper technique. First, however, you’ll need the right tools, including a strip washer (sort of like a mop that’s used on windows) and a squeegee. You’ll also need a cleaning solution that repels (rather than attracts) dirt, whether a store-bought product or a homemade mixture of vinegar or ammonia and water.

Once you’ve assembled your tools, follow this simple window cleaning technique as explained by Eric Kennedy, co-owner of Smart Window Cleaning: Read more

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Diamond Certified Experts: Swimming Pool Basics

Posted on April 11, 2017 by James Florence

When it comes to surviving the summer heat, there’s nothing quite like cooling off in a pool—especially when it’s in your own backyard. Whether you’re thinking about installing a swimming pool or you’re interested in improving your current swimming experience, you can benefit by gaining knowledge about pool building and maintenance. In the following article, we’ll dive into some of the basics with four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors as our guides.

Building a Pool
Aside from your home itself, a new swimming pool is the largest investment you’re likely to make as a homeowner, which is why Marc Hannigan of Royal Pools of Santa Clara, Inc. advocates careful planning. Step one: Find a good contractor. Read more

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