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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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Posted in: Diamond Certified Experts, Home Tips
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Tip Sheet: Five Guidelines for Gardening

Posted on March 02, 2017 by James Florence

Following the heavy (and much needed) rainfall of the past winter, gardening enthusiasts in the Bay Area can look forward to a bounty of opportunities come spring. In addition to the finer points involved in planting flowers and crops, here are some basic guidelines to consider for optimizing your gardening experience.

Plan for all seasons. While many assume gardening is only for the spring and summer, if you plan correctly, you can keep yours looking beautiful through the fall and winter seasons as well.

Remember, plants grow. A common mistake gardeners make is installing plants that don’t fit within the schemes of their gardens. Don’t be a victim of “cute in a gallon can” syndrome—just because a particular plant looks good at the nursery, Read more

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Posted in: Landscaping Tips
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All About Outdoor Kitchens

Posted on August 09, 2016 by James Florence

With Alain Joske, owner of Inscapes

With the beautiful weather in the Bay Area, it’s no wonder that one of the biggest local home improvement trends is to extend one’s living space to the outside with add-ons like decks and covered patios. However, even though these exterior additions are great, you can take your alfresco experience to a whole new level by building an outdoor kitchen, which will allow you to prepare meals and dine under the sun or stars. To learn about the process of outdoor kitchen construction, we’re joined by Alain Joske of Inscapes.

Plan way in advance. An outdoor kitchen isn’t built overnight—it’s a lengthy process, Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Home Tips, Home Improvement, Landscaping Tips
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On the Road Again: Preparing Your Vehicle for Summer Travels

Posted on May 24, 2016 by James Florence

It’s summer once again—the season for recreational favorites like swimming, barbequing, camping and beach-going. However, let’s not forget perhaps the most iconic summertime activity of all: the great American road trip. With school out and the weather right, summer presents an ideal opportunity for domestic travelers to quench their wanderlust by hitting the open road. However, while you may be ready and raring for your next asphalt adventure, if your vehicle isn’t, your trip could wind up being a lot shorter than anticipated. Read more

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Posted in: Auto Tips
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Summer Fungus: Preventing Mold in the Off-Season

Posted on April 26, 2016 by James Florence

Mold is a common household problem during the winter, when the moist, rainy weather creates ideal conditions for fungi to flourish. While the arrival of summer tends to reverse these conditions, in some residences, mold is nonetheless a year-round problem. For example, if your home is poorly ventilated or situated in a humid or heavily shaded location (i.e. coastal or dense forest), the warm summer climate may do little to mitigate mold, which means you’ll need to take proactive measures to combat it. Read more

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Posted in: Home Tips
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Swim ‘n’ Save: How to Splash the Cost of Running Your Pool

Posted on April 12, 2016 by James Florence

While children anxiously await the coming of summer, there are others who are less enthusiastic about it—and no, we’re not just talking about their parents. Motorists, for example, know all too well the “pain at the pump” that sets in as gas prices make their seasonal ascent. Likewise, if you’re a swimming pool owner, you experience a similar summertime phenomenon—only, instead of the fuel pump, your pool pump is the source of pain. Let’s face it: swimming pools are enjoyable, but they aren’t cheap to maintain. In fact, it’s been estimated that homes with swimming pools use almost 50 percent more electricity than those without. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers
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A Local’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area

Posted on August 11, 2015 by Jennifer Chan

Welcome to the Bay!

Since most of our readers are Bay Area residents, we spend a lot of time on this blog writing about domestic concerns like landscape design, plumbing and the Giants. But today, I get to write for a different audience. Have you recently bought a sweatshirt at Pier 39? Did you get stuck driving up Divisadero yesterday? Did last week’s earthquake wake you up? If so, then today I’m writing for you: our beloved Bay Area visitors.

American Ratings Corporation (ARC) is a local company that serves local consumers, and 80 percent of our staff members are Bay Area natives. Below, we share our favorite off-the-beaten-path places to visit and things to do. Read more

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Posted in: Uncategorized, Consumer News, Consumers, Diamond Certified News
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