Diamond Certified Blog

Preparing Your Home for Winter with Fall Maintenance: Part 2

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:

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In addition to weatherproofing, another crucial part of preparing your home for the winter season is inspecting and servicing heating fixtures. Photo: Bayhill Heat & Air (2014)

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” »

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Defense Against the Dark Arts: Four Expert Tips and One Simple Trick to Avoid Locksmith Fraud

Avoid Getting Scammed by a Locksmith

Photo: Foothill Locksmiths, Inc (2014)

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” »

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How it Is: I Got Scammed by a Locksmith

Scammed by a locksmith
Listen.

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” »

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Preparing Your Home for Winter with Fall Maintenance: Part 1

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.

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While the Bay Area isn’t subject to the extreme conditions found in other states, winter weather can nonetheless take a toll on local homes. Photo: American Home Renewal, Inc. (2014)

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” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Dealing with Bill Collectors

Do you know your rights when it comes to dealing with a collection agency? Watch this video for some helpful info.

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Saving on Car Rentals

Do you know how to get the best rates on a rental car? Watch this video for some helpful tips.

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An “Earth-Shaking” Reminder about Preventative Maintenance

Napa-Valley-earthquake-August-24-2014-tree-maintenance

For those of us who put off preventative maintenance, an extraordinary occurrence can serve as a sobering reminder. Photo: Best Tree Service (2014)

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” »

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How to Choose the Right Furnace Filter

Furnace filters come in a variety of styles, so it’s critical to choose one that’s compatible with your particular system. Photo: Moore Heating & Air Conditioning (2014)

Furnace filters come in a variety of styles, so it’s critical to choose one that’s compatible with your particular system. Photo: Moore Heating & Air Conditioning (2014)

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” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Shopping for Sheets

In the market for new bedding? Watch this video for some helpful buying tips.

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The Hazards of Over-Brushing

Regularly brushing your teeth is an important part of dental health, but you should be careful not to overdo it. Photo: Dr. Stephen Ostwald, DDS (2014)

Regularly brushing your teeth is an important part of dental health, but you should be careful not to overdo it. Photo: Dr. Stephen Ostwald, DDS (2014)

Most people are aware of the critical importance of dental hygiene, but what isn’t so well-known is the danger of overdoing it. While routine brushing and flossing are crucial for maintaining dental health, brushing too vigorously and too often can actually harm your teeth and gums.

Whether you brush too fast, too hard or too often, over-brushing can lead to several adverse effects, including enamel abrasion, which is when a tooth’s protective enamel layer breaks down. Continue reading “The Hazards of Over-Brushing” »

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