Diamond Certified Blog

Tip Sheet: Door and Window Screen Options

Wesco Screen Company Inc18

When it comes to replacing your home’s door and window screens, there are several options to choose from. Photo: Wesco Screen Company Inc. (2015)

When planning to replace the window screens in their homes, most people don’t realize the full extent of their options. With the increasing specialization of the window covering industry, various products are now available to suit homeowners’ individual preferences. In the following tip sheet, James Hislop of Wesco Screen Company Inc. briefly lists some popular choices. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: Door and Window Screen Options” »

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Industry Overview: Plumbing 101

Whether you have a plumbing problem or want to perform preventative maintenance, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with industry basics. Photo: Roman’s Plumbing (2015)

Whether you have a plumbing problem or want to perform preventative maintenance, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with industry basics. Photo: Roman’s Plumbing (2015)

Like many industries, plumbing is extremely complex and continues to become more so with ongoing technological innovations. This article contains some useful information to help you get more acquainted with the trade, including DIY tips, key terms and answers to frequently asked questions.

DIY Fixes and Maintenance
When a plumbing problem strikes or maintenance is needed, you don’t always need to call a professional—there are many things you can do yourself. Here are a few:

Unjam a garbage disposal
Garbage disposals come with tools that are specifically designed to unblock jams. They’re usually located in a small compartment beneath the unit, but if you can’t find them, a quarter-inch Allen wrench will serve the same purpose. After unplugging the unit’s power cord, insert your tool into the center slot on the unit’s underside and begin turning it back and forth. This will turn the disposal’s grinding unit and help unjam whatever is caught in the teeth. After removing your tool, restore power to the device, run the faucet and turn on the disposal. If your disposal doesn’t turn on, its automatic shut-off may have been triggered, in which case you can just press the reset button (also on the unit’s underside). Continue reading “Industry Overview: Plumbing 101” »

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Protecting Your Home from a Tick Infestation

To protect yourself and your family, take proactive measures to keep ticks at bay. Photo: ATCO Pest Control (2015)

To protect yourself and your family, take proactive measures to keep ticks at bay. Photo: ATCO Pest Control (2015)

While ticks can be found all year-round, they’re most prevalent in the warm summer months. Since ridding a home of a tick infestation can be a long and arduous process, it’s best to take proactive measures to protect yourself and your family. Consider the following tips:

Create a tick-free landscape
The first step to keeping ticks out of your home is to keep them out of your yard, which is why it’s important to maintain well-trimmed foliage. To provide additional security for outdoor play and leisure spaces, create a buffer zone of gravel or wood chips to maintain a separation from forested areas. Continue reading “Protecting Your Home from a Tick Infestation” »

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Auto-Wise: Tips for Making a Smart Vehicle Purchase

Whether you’re looking to buy a new or used vehicle, being proactive will help you secure a wise investment. Photo: Diablo Motors Auto Sales, Brokerage, Consignment, Service (2015)

Whether you’re looking to buy a new or used vehicle, being proactive will help you secure a wise investment. Photo: Diablo Motors Auto Sales, Brokerage, Consignment, Service (2015)

Buying a car is a complex enterprise with several aspects to consider—not to mention a lot of pitfalls to avoid. Whether you’re looking for something that’s new off the lot or simply new to you, it’s important to exercise caution so you can ensure a wise investment.

Buying new
When it comes to purchasing a new car, there are two different routes you can take: visiting a dealership or using an online sales service. While each has its perks, there are also things to watch out for. Continue reading “Auto-Wise: Tips for Making a Smart Vehicle Purchase” »

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Drought Busters: Expert Tips on Landscape Water Conservation

california-drought-water-conservation

With the current drought conditions in California, it’s time to rethink the way we approach landscape irrigation. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

For more information on water conservation, visit our drought resource page here.

In light of the ongoing drought in California, the government has called for a 30 percent statewide reduction in water usage. While measures like minimizing shower durations and running dishwashers less frequently will help, in order to achieve this goal, we need to focus our conservation efforts where the lion’s share of our water is expended: outdoors.

There are several ways to conserve water on a landscape, but these can be boiled down to three primary aspects: rethinking conventional watering methods, upgrading inefficient irrigation equipment and implementing drought-tolerant landscaping techniques. To address these points, we’ve asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to weigh in with some professional insight.

Amend your watering habits
Californians have a tendency to overwater lawns, trees and plants, but with the current drought conditions, this is no longer a luxury we can afford. That’s why Jeff Sheehan of Confidence Landscaping, Inc. proposes a switch from conventional watering practices to a “need-based” approach. Continue reading “Drought Busters: Expert Tips on Landscape Water Conservation” »

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Can We Put an End to Robocalls?

If you hate getting phone calls from telemarketers, you’ve probably done what I’ve done: signed up for the Do Not Call list, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created in 2003. So, why are we still getting illegal robocalls?robotoon

While the Do Not Call registry has reduced the number of unwanted calls from legitimate companies, according to EndRoboCalls.org, the FTC received more than 3 million complaints from annoyed consumers in 2014. (EndRoboCalls.org is an advocacy arm of Consumers Union and Consumer Reports magazine.) Continue reading “Can We Put an End to Robocalls?” »

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But Baby, It’s Hot Outside: How to Prepare for a Heat Wave

How to stay cool in a heat wave

When it gets hot, stay safe! (Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2015)

I like to joke that I live in the Bay Area because I can’t handle high heels, canned vegetables or extreme weather. As a native, however, I know the reality is a little more complicated. True, we don’t often suffer the extreme weather conditions experienced elsewhere in the United States. But it does get cold here, and, more pertinently, hot. Moreover, unlike the rest of the country, our homes and public infrastructure aren’t built to ward off either. As a result, when we have hot weather, we can find ourselves unexpectedly overheated. It’s no joke: hundreds of people die from heatstroke in the U.S. every year—more than the annual death toll of any natural disaster.

So, how can we in the Bay Area prepare for a heat wave? First and foremost, be aware. Most victims of heat stroke are young children and elderly or disabled adults. Never leave a child in the car, and check on adults whom you suspect may be at risk. Second, get ready for the heat before the heat wave strikes. Here’s where we can help: we’ve compiled the following tips on how to keep your Bay Area home cool in the heat. Continue Reading “But Baby, It’s Hot Out There: How to Prepare for a Heat Wave”

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Fire Away! 4 Hot Tips for a Fire-Safe Summer

fire-safety-California

During the dry summer months, wildfires are a constant concern throughout California. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

So, you survived the 4th of July without any major fire-related catastrophes. However, just because the fireworks have subsided (for the most part—watch out for stragglers), it doesn’t mean you can cruise through the rest of fire season on autopilot. To make sure you have your bases covered in terms of fire safety, take a look at this checklist:

1. Make sure your smoke detectors are operational. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been tempted to remove the batteries from a smoke alarm—especially by the 27th time you inadvertently set it off while cooking bacon. However, in the event of a legitimate fire emergency, having your smoke detectors out of commission can carry dire consequences. If you want to cut down on the frequency of accidental triggers, consider swapping out your old units for recently updated models. In addition to being equipped with built-in, tamper-proof batteries to ensure functionality, the new smoke alarms have a “hush” feature, so the next time you burn your toast, the mere touch of a button will restore tranquility to your home environment. Continue reading “Fire Away! 4 Hot Tips for a Fire-Safe Summer” »

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Spotlight: The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

perfWe believe every consumer deserves superior performance, so we back each transaction with a Diamond Certified company with our mediation services and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s how it works:

The Performance Guarantee is designed to help you in the event that you have a dispute with a Diamond Certified company. This dispute may arise from an unmet expectation or a simple misunderstanding. Many disagreements are resolved after the parties work with each other using the contract and industry standards for guidance. Continue reading “Spotlight: The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee” »

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Industry Organization Spotlight: I-CAR

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Overview
Formed in 1979, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) is an international nonprofit that’s dedicated to promoting high standards of quality among professionals from all segments of the collision repair industry. By pursuing its mission to “deliver increasingly accessible, on-demand and relevant education, knowledge, services, and solutions for the collision repair industry,” I-CAR’s vision is that all professionals will possess “the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe, quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer.” Continue reading “Industry Organization Spotlight: I-CAR” »

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