“I thought you don’t need air conditioning in San Francisco,” we’ve all heard someone say (usually an out-of-towner). But anyone who lives beyond the city limits knows the truth: that cool and foggy peninsula is surrounded by areas that stay hot and dry well into October. The key to staying comfortable and sane during the summer is a properly functioning air conditioning system. Before you flip the thermostat from “heat” to “cool,” take some simple steps to make sure your system is ready to go. With the Bay Area’s changeable spring weather, be sure to check your system early—you don’t want to be one of dozens of desperate customers contacting HVAC technicians when the first heatwave of the season hits. Continue reading “All Systems Cold: A Checklist for Your Air Conditioning System” »
Category Archives: Home improvement
Posted on June 6, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll
Posted on March 7, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll
My family and I moved into our home at the height of the California drought, and before this winter, we’d never experienced any significant rainfall while living there. After a major storm system passed through in February, we checked the crawlspace and, to our dismay, found several inches of stagnant water beneath the house. The forecast called for more rain. As the water in the crawlspace continued to rise and fall with ongoing storms, we knew we had to do something. But what would be the best solution?
There are several options for preventing water saturation in your home. In this article, I’ll review some of them and share how we came to the decision to install a sump pump.
Posted on February 9, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll
We can usually get the little things in life just the way we want them: our coffee can have the perfect amount of sugar; our pizza, the perfect toppings. Unfortunately, when it comes to the big things, we’re expected to compromise. We’re supposed to ignore the little flaws of our partners, muddle through the less-than-glamourous parts of our jobs and accept the fact that there’s no such thing as the perfect home…or is there?
Rather than deal with the continual maintenance of an older house or attempt to shoehorn remodeling plans on a pre-existing structure, some people choose to build a custom home from scratch. Continue reading “Are You Ready to Build a Custom Home?” »
Posted on February 2, 2017 by Jennifer Chan
I named it Lucifer because it couldn’t help being evil. I’m talking about the rat I could hear scrabbling around beneath the heater vent in my kitchen every morning. It didn’t mean any harm, but the rustles and occasional squeaks were too much for me—it had to go.
As it turned out, my first move didn’t involve a pest control company. Before I could set traps, I had to deal with the brand-new front door dug directly beneath my front door.
Before the rains came, these holes were caked with tufts of fur, eliminating any doubt that they were at least one major point of entry. Continue reading “Point of Entry: Getting Rid of an Uninvited Rodent” »
Posted on January 18, 2017 by Joy Lanzaro
Here are eight steps you can take to hire a reputable remodeling contractor:
1. Obtain multiple bids (if possible). Getting multiple bids is a great way to ensure you’re making an informed choice. If you sign a contract, you have exactly three days to rescind in writing. Upon rescission, the contractor must return your deposit. If your area has been declared a disaster area, the three-day Right of Rescission extends to seven days.
2. Check license information. By law, anyone who undertakes to improve your home or property must have a contractor’s license if the cost from start to completion will exceed $500. You can check contractors’ licenses at cslb.ca.gov. Continue reading “How To Choose a Contractor” »
Posted in Consumer Events, Consumer News, Consumers, Customer Service, Diamond Certified News, Home improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: choosing a contractor, contractor, flood, flooding, rain damage, storm, storm damage
Posted on January 12, 2017 by Joy Lanzaro
Recently, I spoke to a homeowner who hired a contractor to demolish and re-build a chimney, as well as repair cracks to stucco and drywall. That contractor abandoned the job. The homeowner then hired a Diamond Certified company to patch cracks in the stucco and reinstall the mantel, which the homeowner had removed from around the fireplace.
What went wrong?
When the incoming contractor remounted the fireplace mantel, it looked crooked. The contractor explained that the problem wasn’t the mantel—the house was uneven. This explanation was not received well. Continue reading “Dealing with Foundation Problems” »
Posted on January 10, 2017 by Jennifer Chan
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ―Henry David Thoreau
Welcome to January. Last month, you cooked up your dream home in a heady mix of holiday punch, gingerbread and champagne. Now, both metaphorically and literally, it’s time to build those foundations. We’ve written often on this blog about how to get started on a house remodeling project (for examples, see “How to Choose a Contractor” and “Choosing Appliances for a Kitchen Remodel”). Carefully choosing a licensed contractor, budgeting attentively and understanding local building laws are all important preliminary steps, but they aren’t the first things you should do. So, how do you actually start? How do you translate the airy structures of December into your very own castle on the ground? Continue reading “Castles on the Ground: How to Build Your Dream House” »
Posted on December 22, 2016 by Jennifer Chan
Followers of our Facebook page know that we post daily tips for Bay Area consumers. Whether these tips concern home improvement, auto care, health or something else completely, we strive to make them relevant, practical and helpful. Here’s a sample of 10 noteworthy tips from 2016. For more, be sure to “like” our page at www.facebook.com/diamondcertified.
Tip of the Day: While materials and workmanship are crucial factors in a fence’s longevity, another important aspect is preventative maintenance. To protect your fence from rot and premature wear, make sure fence posts are kept out of contact with the soil, and adjust sprinklers so their streams don’t hit the fence. To further promote fence longevity, apply a stain every two to three years. Photo: Arbor Fence, Inc., 2016 Continue reading “Diamond Certified Tips of the Day: Best of 2016” »
Posted on December 13, 2016 by James Florence
Like many Bay Area homeowners, you may be planning for a remodeling project in the upcoming new year. Since preparedness is the name of the game in remodeling, it’s best to start addressing the preliminary details well in advance. Use the following tip sheet to make sure all your bases are covered:
1. Get multiple bids. Getting estimates from at least three contractors will enable you to compare bids and make a more educated choice. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: 5 Steps to Prepare for Remodeling” »