When planning to repaint a room, it’s easy to get preoccupied with choosing wall and trim colors. However, there’s one wall that many people neglect to address altogether: the ceiling (also known as the “fifth wall”). Even though its role in a room’s aesthetics is somewhat subtle, a ceiling’s function is nonetheless crucial; in some cases, it may constitute the difference between a good-looking room and a great-looking one. Continue reading “Painting the “Fifth Wall”: The Importance of Ceiling Color and Sheen” »
Posted on October 29, 2014 by James Florence
Posted on October 22, 2014 by James Florence
Plumbing has been part of human civilization for a long time—even ancient Rome had sophisticated systems to facilitate water delivery and waste disposal. And while plumbing technology has continuously advanced over the years, development has never occurred more rapidly than in recent decades. Modern innovations have brought improvements in terms of energy efficiency and water usage, which in turn have created solutions to age-old problems. We asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to talk about some of these plumbing innovations and how they can benefit today’s consumers.
Sewer line backup prevention devices: Myles O’Dwyer of Pipe Spy Marin, Inc.
Due to the concealed nature of a sewer system, problems often go unnoticed until a catastrophic situation occurs, such as a line backup in the home. While backups have been an issue as long as modern sewer systems have existed, there are now devices that prevent this unwanted occurrence. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Plumbing in the New Millennium” »
Posted in Diamond Certified Experts | Tags: contra costa valve, Diamond Certified Experts, hot water recirculator, magnetic water softeners, pipes, Plumbing, plumbing tips, save water, sewer backup prevention, tankless water heater, Water Conservation
Posted on October 14, 2014 by James Florence
While Part 1 of this blog series outlined important weatherproofing measures to protect your home against water and air leaks, this segment addresses a second, equally crucial aspect of winter home preparation:
Make sure vital heating systems are performing safely and efficiently.
There are two fixtures you don’t want to break down in the middle of winter: your central heating system and your hot water heater. Losing either of these crucial home components can make for an extremely uncomfortable situation, so it’s a good idea to make sure they’re in good working order before the cold weather sets in. Continue reading “Preparing Your Home for Winter with Fall Maintenance: Part 2” »
Posted in Home Tips | Tags: carbon monoxide, chimney, cold weather, fall home maintenance, fire alarm, fire extinguisher, fire safety, fireplace, furnace, furnace inspection, heater, heating system, holidays, home heating, home safety, Home Tips, prepare for winter, smoke alarm, smoke detector, water heater, winter
Posted on October 8, 2014 by Jennifer Chan
If you’re locked out of your home or car, you might assume that googling “locksmith” or pointing to a random name in the phone book will yield a positive result. However, as it turns out, choosing a locksmith at random is a risky move. According to Gary Lekan, owner of First Lock & Security Technologies, incidents of locksmith-related fraud have increased significantly in the past 10 years, thanks in part to the rise of the Internet and mobile phone use. “These people are so unscrupulous,” he says. “They advertise heavily and emphasize their speed and ridiculously low prices. Then they send out inexperienced, untrained technicians who can’t even handle basic lockouts or repairs.” These contract workers will often break and then replace the locks on their customers’ homes or cars. In the long run, consumers end up paying hefty bills and have junky locks in lieu of quality hardware. Continue reading “Defense Against the Dark Arts: Four Expert Tips and One Simple Trick to Avoid Locksmith Fraud” »
Posted on October 8, 2014 by Jennifer Chan
I delete emails from down-and-out Nigerian royalty. Stranded hospital-bound strangers get nothing. And when Bernie Madoff made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, I said, “No way!” Or I would have, if he had…you get the drift. Consequently, it is with great humility (and some shame) that I admit this in a public forum: I got scammed by a locksmith—or more accurately, a con artist posing as a locksmith. Here’s how it happened.
One bright fall morning, I carefully locked all the doors to my house, walked my kids to the bus stop and handed my only house key to my son (who had forgotten his). Continue reading “How it Is: I Got Scammed by a Locksmith” »
Posted in Home Tips, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips | Tags: been scammed, being scammed, best con artist, con artists, fraud, getting scammed, I got scammed, Locksmith, locksmith scam, scammed by, The con artist
Posted on October 6, 2014 by James Florence
Summer has given way to autumn, and people throughout the Greater Bay Area are starting to get ready for the upcoming holiday season. However, amidst your fall decorating and holiday shopping, it’s important to remember another key seasonal measure: preparing your home for imminent winter weather. With its chilly temperatures and heavy rainfall, winter can take a toll on any home, but with proper preparation, you can fortify yours against the elements and avoid common problems.
Weatherproof your exterior
Whether to keep out water or cold air, weatherproofing your home is a vital preparatory measure during winter. Not only can weatherproofing prevent costly water intrusion issues, it can also improve home energy efficiency by keeping the heat in and lowering utility costs. Here are a few important proactive steps: Continue reading “Preparing Your Home for Winter with Fall Maintenance: Part 1” »
Posted in Home Tips | Tags: attic insulation, Bay Area, doors, drainage, fall maintenance, Gutters, home exterior, home maintenance, Insulation, leaks, prepare for winter, rain, rainfall, rainy season, residential, roofing, water intrusion, Weather, weather-stripping, weatherproof, Windows
Posted on October 2, 2014 by Chris Bjorklund
Posted on September 23, 2014 by Chris Bjorklund
Posted on September 18, 2014 by James Florence
Like most people, I have a tendency to assume the minutiae of details surrounding my life will continue to function smoothly, whether or not I acknowledge them. However, once in a while, an uncommon occurrence rouses me from my usual state of complacency. A recent instance followed the Napa Valley earthquake of August 24, 2014.
As a resident of Santa Rosa, I was on the outskirts of the quake’s radius and only mildly felt its effects. The next day, however, as I walked onto my back deck, I was immediately struck with an eerie sensation. “Do we always get shade at this time of day?” I thought, as I looked up at the towering California Redwood that stood in my backyard and saw the tip of its crown eclipsing the midday sun. Had the tree moved during the earthquake? Had it sustained damage? Had its structural integrity been compromised? Mulling these questions over, I couldn’t decide if something was indeed different or if my misgivings were merely the product of paranoia brought on by the quake. Continue reading “An “Earth-Shaking” Reminder about Preventative Maintenance” »
Posted in Home Tips, Landscaping Tips | Tags: Bay Area earthquake, California earthquake, earth-shaking experience, earthquake, landscape maintenance, Napa Valley earthquake, preventative maintenance, proactive maintenance, Redwood tree, tree service, Western Tree Removal Specialists
Posted on September 11, 2014 by James Florence
Most homeowners understand the importance of regularly changing their furnace filters, but when it comes to choosing a product, few realize the extent of their options. Far from a one-size-fits-all affair, furnace filters range from disposable fiberglass units to high-efficiency pleated models, so it’s important to consider several factors before making a decision. Continue reading “How to Choose the Right Furnace Filter” »