Diamond Certified Blog

Posts by James Florence

Video: Engine Fluid Maintenance

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips on auto engine maintenance. One of the aspects mentioned was the importance of changing and monitoring engine oil and transmission fluid. To learn more about this crucial component of vehicle care, watch this video by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Ken DeMartini of Japan Auto Repair, Inc.

 

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Diamond Certified Experts: Under the Hood

When it comes to vehicle maintenance, one of the most important areas to address is under the hood. Photo: Wayne & Son’s Automotive Repair (2017)

A vehicle has several components that need to be maintained, from tires to brakes to suspension. However, the most critical of these components are found under the hood—namely the engine and transmission. We’ve asked eight Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to give their tips on caring for these vital organs of vehicle operation.

Fluids
Fluids are the lifeblood of the engine, providing the necessary cooling and lubrication to allow its moving parts to function safely and smoothly. That’s why ongoing fluid maintenance is crucial for maximizing engine lifespan. Ken DeMartini of Japan Auto Repair, Inc. says this starts with engine oil. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Under the Hood” »

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Yard-Wise: 6 Ways to Improve Your Property’s Exterior Efficiency

From your garden to your pool, there are several areas where you can improve your exterior efficiency. Photo: Landmark Landscapes (2017)

Like many Bay Area homeowners, you’ve probably taken measures to reduce your home’s water and energy usage, such as installing water-saving plumbing fixtures and switching to LED lighting. However, you may have overlooked another part of your property: your yard. From your garden to your pool, there are several areas where you can save water and energy by improving your exterior efficiency. Consider the following measures:

Improve irrigation
If you’re using an outdated sprinkler system to water your lawn and garden, you may be wasting water every day. Traditional sprinkler heads are known for their inefficiency, losing a substantial amount of the water they distribute to wind and sun evaporation. Fortunately, you can easily upgrade your system for a surprisingly low cost. One option is to convert to streamers, which are designed to provide a more direct delivery of water. All you have to do is switch out your old nozzles for streamer nozzles, which cost a little more than $1 apiece. Continue reading “Yard-Wise: 6 Ways to Improve Your Property’s Exterior Efficiency” »

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Posted in Home improvement, Home Tips, Landscaping Tips | Tags: , , ,

Video: How to Patch Drywall

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips on DIY home maintenance. One of the tips was a step-by-step procedure for repairing a damaged area of drywall. To see this procedure demonstrated firsthand, watch this video by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Charles Irwin of Irwin Construction.

 

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Diamond Certified Experts: Home Maintenance How-Tos, Volume 2

While some maintenance tasks should only be handled by a professional, you might be surprised by what you can do yourself. Photo: A Reliable Handyman (2017)

Previously, we published a compilation of DIY home maintenance tips provided by Diamond Certified Expert Contributors. Here’s another batch of useful home maintenance how-tos from the pros:

How to Fix a Running Toilet: Gifford Teeple of A Reliable Handyman

An intermittently running toilet may seem like a mere annoyance, but it’s actually wasting water and costing you money. Typically, this issue can be resolved by replacing the “flapper” that covers the fill valve at the bottom of the tank—an easy, no-tools-needed task that just about anyone can do. Follow these steps:

 

  1. Turn off the water to the toilet at the shut-off valve, which is located on the wall near the toilet. Take the lid off the tank and flush the toilet to drain it; this will prevent water waste and allow you to work without getting wet.

Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Home Maintenance How-Tos, Volume 2” »

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Tip Sheet: Four Preventative Measures for a Tenancy

When it comes to filling a rental vacancy, a preventative approach can help you avoid future problems. Photo: The Dave Keefe Real Estate Team (2017)

While part of preparing a rental property for market is getting the physical space move-in ready, the other part is addressing non-physical details such as tenant screening. Due to the potential consequences of oversights or poor decisions in this area, it’s important to take a meticulous, preventative approach. To learn a few critical steps, read the following tip sheet by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Sam LaPlaca of CM Property Management Inc.:

1. Verify income. Accepting a tenant who can’t afford the rent is a mistake that can cost you a lot of time, money and frustration. That’s why, in addition to asking for pay stubs and bank statements, you should run a credit check to further verify an applicant’s income. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: Four Preventative Measures for a Tenancy” »

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How to Prepare a Rental Property for Market

From basic maintenance to upgrading outdated features, there are several steps involved in preparing a rental property for market. Photo: Howard Blood – Intero Real Estate (2017)

If you own a rental property that has recently been vacated, you’ll need to prepare it for going back on the market. While this primarily consists of cleaning and basic maintenance, a vacancy also provides an opportunity to increase the property’s value and maximize your investment. Here are some steps to consider:

Address maintenance needs. Four to six weeks before your intended market date, make a list of maintenance items that need to be addressed. This should include standard maintenance measures like cleaning the carpets as well as deferred tasks such as fixing a roof leak or broken window blind. It’s also a good idea to have preventative HVAC, plumbing and pest inspections performed during this time. Continue reading “How to Prepare a Rental Property for Market” »

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5 Ways to Lower Your Cooling Costs

The simplest way to lower your air conditioning bills is by finding ways to keep your home naturally cooler. Photo: ACME Sunshades Enterprise, Inc. (2017)

A central air conditioner can be priceless on a hot summer day, but the cost of running it certainly isn’t. While having a well-maintained, energy-efficient system will help keep your cooling bills in check, another smart step is finding ways to keep your home naturally cooler, which reduces the need to run your system in the first place. Here are five measures to consider:

1. Install a whole house fan. On summer mornings and evenings, it’s not unusual for the temperature outside the home to be cooler than on the inside. In this instance, running the air conditioner can feel like a waste of energy. If only there was a way to get that cool outdoor air into the home… Continue reading “5 Ways to Lower Your Cooling Costs” »

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The Benefits of a Variable-Speed Air Conditioner

If the cost of running your air conditioner is getting out of hand, consider replacing it with a more efficient, variable-speed unit. Photo: AIS Heating & Air Conditioning (2017)

Imagine if your car only drove at one speed, regardless of whether you were in town or on the freeway, or if your stereo only had a single volume setting that couldn’t be adjusted. Sounds awful, right? Well, when it comes to your air conditioner, you may be dealing with an equivalent situation. In fact, the air conditioners found in many Bay Area homes only have one setting: full blast. Not surprisingly, these relics of cooling technology aren’t exactly the epitome of energy efficiency.

Fortunately, there’s a better option available: the variable-speed air conditioner. Unlike its single-speed predecessors, a variable-speed unit is able to incrementally adjust its power output in conjunction with changing climate conditions—and that’s just the beginning. Here are a few of the benefits a variable-speed air conditioner has to offer: Continue reading “The Benefits of a Variable-Speed Air Conditioner” »

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Video: Door Hardening 101

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips on home security. One of the aspects mentioned was reinforcing or “hardening” exterior doors to improve protection against break-ins. To get a comprehensive look at what this involves, watch this informative video by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Randy Reed of Reed Brothers Security.

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