Diamond Certified Blog

The 2015 Diamond Certified Directory is Here!

2015 directoryThe massive distribution of the 2015 Diamond Certified Directory has begun, with more than 800,000 copies reaching homes and businesses throughout the Greater Bay Area. Your FREE copy should be arriving very soon (if it hasn’t already), so keep your eyes on your mailbox!

If you’re new to the Diamond Certified Directory and would like to receive a free copy for your local area, simply visit www.diamondcertified.org/directory and fill out the required information. You can even order an extra directory to give to a friend or family member! Continue reading “The 2015 Diamond Certified Directory is Here!” »

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Residential Solar Power: The Basics

With California experiencing one of the worst droughts in recorded history, it’s a great time to explore converting to solar. Not only can solar power help put the brakes on climate change, it’s also one of the least “thirsty” methods of generating electricity. According to Diamond Certified solar company Sungevity, coal-fired power plants require 100 to 1,000 gallons of water to generate one megawatt-hour of electricity. Solar, by comparison, requires zero gallons of water to produce the same amount of electricity (more details). With this in mind, we’re re-posting this timely article on how to get started with a  residential solar power system.

Solar panels are low maintenance.

Keeping your solar panels in good shape is actually relatively simple. Photo: Synapse Electric, 2015

People have many reasons for switching to solar power, from rising electricity consumption and energy costs to growing concerns about the environment. Regardless of why you want to install a solar system on your residential or commercial property, there are numerous factors to consider before making a final decision. To ensure you’re as knowledgeable as possible when going through the process, consider the following tips and information:

Continue reading “Residential Solar Power: The Basics” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Solar Power | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Battling Water Conservation Fatigue

A good water-saving measure is to replace your lawn with drought-resistant plants, like these decorative artichokes recently installed by Reilly Designs, a Diamond Certified company.

A good water-saving measure is to replace your lawn with drought-resistant plants, like these decorative artichokes recently installed by Reilly Designs, a Diamond Certified company.

We’ve been encouraged to cut back on our water use for many months now, yet we’re still not conserving enough. So now the governor is ordering mandatory water use reductions with the specifics yet to be worked out by the individual water agencies.

Why have we been so slow to make changes in our water consumption habits? They say, “Replace your lawn with drought-resistant plants. Take shorter showers. Only do full loads of laundry. Get a rebate for a water-efficient toilet.” At some point, you wonder if we won’t change our behavior until our water bills skyrocket. The truth might be that most of us (myself included) are suffering from water conservation fatigue. Continue reading “Battling Water Conservation Fatigue” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: Heating and Cooling System Tips

hvac-home-maintenance-heating-cooling

Considering the complex nature of heating and cooling systems, it’s beneficial to know some maintenance basics. Photo: Innovative Mechanical, Inc. (2015)

Temperature regulation and air quality are key concerns in any indoor environment, which is why, in addition to keeping your home’s heating and cooling systems functional, you’ll want them working as efficiently as possible. We’ve asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to share their tips on basic HVAC maintenance and troubleshooting.

1. Know the location of your furnace filter: Kim Haddon of Haddon Heating & Cooling
While routine furnace filter replacement is often neglected, for some, the problem starts with locating the filter in the first place. If you don’t know where your furnace filter is, there are a few common places to check, including the furnace blower compartment, an external compartment of the furnace, or a return air grill in either the ceiling or a nearby wall. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Heating and Cooling System Tips” »

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Spring Cleaning: Simple Ways to Brighten, Freshen and Rejuvenate Your Home

spring-cleaning-tips

Spring cleaning provides an opportunity for you to make the most of your home’s aesthetic qualities. Photo: Sara Hunt Malone Design (2015)

April is here, which means it’s once again time to engage in the longstanding domestic ritual known as spring cleaning. In addition to tackling annual maintenance tasks like cleaning your carpets and flushing your water heater, spring cleaning offers a chance to optimize your home for enjoying the temperate weather and extended daylight. Here are some simple things you can do to brighten, freshen and rejuvenate your home.

Brighten
During the sunny season, you’ll want to bring as much light as possible into your home. Start by washing your windows. Regardless of the tools or methodology you employ (most professionals recommend using a squeegee and a 100 percent cotton cloth), there are a couple of important rules to follow. First, don’t clean your windows in direct sunlight—they’ll dry too fast. Also, when it comes to hard-to-reach windows, your safest bet is to hire a professional. Continue reading “Spring Cleaning: Simple Ways to Brighten, Freshen and Rejuvenate Your Home” »

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NEW in the 2015 Diamond Certified Directory: Expert Tips

2015 directoryThe Diamond Certified Directory has long been a valuable resource for Northern California consumers—in addition to full-page profiles of top rated companies across a wide range of service industries, it features a Consumer Help List with contact information for various consumer agencies, a detailed explanation of why the Diamond Certified Program is more accurate than most review sites and much more.

This year, we’ve included a brand-new section that makes the Diamond Certified Directory even more valuable: Diamond Certified Expert Contributor tips. Continue reading “NEW in the 2015 Diamond Certified Directory: Expert Tips” »

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Podiatry Overview: Q&A with Dr. Michael J. Cornelison

cupertino-podiatry-dr-michael-cornelison

Dr. Michael J. Cornelison is owner of Cupertino Podiatry Inc., a Diamond Certified practice since 2006. Photo: Cupertino Podiatry Inc. (2015)

As owner of Cupertino Podiatry Inc., Dr. Michael J. Cornelison has been serving patients in Santa Clara County for more than 15 years. We took a few minutes to speak with Dr. Cornelison to learn more about his field of expertise and gain some helpful knowledge. Here’s the interview:

Q: What is a podiatrist, exactly?
A: A podiatrist, also known as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), is a health care specialist who deals exclusively with problems pertaining to the foot and ankle, including injuries, diseases and disorders.

Q: Can a podiatrist do things like prescribe medications or perform surgery?
A: Yes. We can prescribe medications for pain, infections and other issues, and we’re able to perform surgical procedures to correct deformities and treat injuries like bone fractures. In addition to treating patients at a private practice, we can visit and treat them at a hospital, if needed. Continue reading “Podiatry Overview: Q&A with Dr. Michael J. Cornelison” »

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Nomad for a Day: 31 Hacks to Make Moving Easy, Straightforward and (Even) Fun

Supplies are an important ingredient in a successful move.

Moving is messy; a little extra organizing can help a lot. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

 

“People wish to be settled. It is only as far as they are unsettled that there is any hope for them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There’s nothing like a change in perspective to help you see the world anew. And when that change involves getting a new view from your bedroom window, your daily routine is in for some jolts. In other words, whether you’re moving across the country or across the street, moving can be one of the best ways to get re-energized. That said, it can also be a real pain, so here are 31 ways you can minimize the stress of moving while maximizing the adventure.

One month before you move

  1. Create a binder. Keep all of your important paperwork together in a three-ring binder or a digital organization app like Evernote.

 

  1. Get estimates. If you don’t already have a favorite moving company, it’s a good idea to get at least three estimates.

Continue reading “Nomad for a Day: 31 Hacks to Make Moving Easy, Straightforward and (Even) Fun” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: Car Care Tips

car-care-basics

While easily overlooked, vehicle maintenance steps like monitoring tire pressure can have a considerable impact. Photo: Menlo Park Chevron (2015)

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s not surprising that our vehicles often get taken for granted. However, considering the vital role they play in our daily routines, ongoing vehicle maintenance should be a top priority. Fortunately, most aspects of maintenance are fairly simple and, in many cases, can be performed independently. Take a minute to review some of these car care basics provided by five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors.

1. Tire maintenance: Walee Gon of Faxon Garage

When a vehicle’s tires are under-inflated, it leads to increases in fuel usage, braking distance and tread wear. For this reason, it’s important to monitor inflation levels on an ongoing basis, which can be done using a hand-held tire pressure gauge. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Car Care Tips” »

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Putting the Freeze on Fleas: A Basic Tutorial

pest-control-fleas-house

When fleas occupy your home, you’ll need to act fast to mount a successful resistance. Photo: Killroy Pest Control (2014)

So your dog went out back to do its usual business, but this time, when it returned, it brought along some uninvited guests. That’s right: fleas have dropped in for a surprise visit, and they just might end up staying for dinner. Before you know it, you’re scratching and slapping at these nearly imperceptible pests. A barrage of questions storm through your mind: Will I have to vacate my house? Are chemical treatments my only option? Will Fido have to go to the vet? Relax: the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “no.” Take a deep breath and follow these simple steps:

1. Decontaminate the host. Since your pet is the one who started this mess (albeit unwittingly), it should be the first to get treated. Start by washing your pet in warm, soapy water; as a supplementary measure, add a cup of white vinegar to the water and use a citrus-scented soap (fleas hate both). Following bath time, use a flea brush to excise the hardier fleas who survived the deluge. Continue reading “Putting the Freeze on Fleas: A Basic Tutorial” »

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