Diamond Certified Blog

Category Archives: Savvy Tips

How to Clean a Window in 3 Steps

To maintain your windows between professional cleanings, you’ll need to know the proper technique. Photo: Smart Window Cleaning (2017)

When it comes to window cleaning, nothing compares to a professional’s touch, but if you ever have to do it yourself, it’s helpful to know the proper technique. First, however, you’ll need the right tools, including a strip washer (sort of like a mop that’s used on windows) and a squeegee. You’ll also need a cleaning solution that repels (rather than attracts) dirt, whether a store-bought product or a homemade mixture of vinegar or ammonia and water.

Once you’ve assembled your tools, follow this simple window cleaning technique as explained by Eric Kennedy, co-owner of Smart Window Cleaning: Continue reading “How to Clean a Window in 3 Steps” »

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Posted in Diamond Certified Experts, Home Tips, Window Tips | Tags: , , , , ,

Why Won’t They Call Me Back?

I’m frustrated right now because I’ve been calling several local companies for service and haven’t heard back from any of them. I’m trying to get on a schedule for tree pruning, and I’m also attempting to schedule a furnace cleaning and fireplace inspection. I’ve left four voicemail messages for one of these companies over a two-week period. I’ve persisted because I’m a repeat customer and was satisfied with their services in the past.

There are steps you can take to ensure you get a call back from a busy company.

I understand that small businesses can get overwhelmed with consumer demand. Severe storms like we had this winter mean tree service companies, plumbers, and roofers are working overtime and can’t keep up with all the requests. Continue reading “Why Won’t They Call Me Back?” »

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Posted in Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips | Tags: , , , , ,

Diamond Certified Experts: Swimming Pool Basics

This summer, make the most of your swimming experience by optimizing your pool’s comfort and functionality. Photo: Classic Pools (2017)

When it comes to surviving the summer heat, there’s nothing quite like cooling off in a pool—especially when it’s in your own backyard. Whether you’re thinking about installing a swimming pool or you’re interested in improving your current swimming experience, you can benefit by gaining knowledge about pool building and maintenance. In the following article, we’ll dive into some of the basics with four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors as our guides.

Building a Pool
Aside from your home itself, a new swimming pool is the largest investment you’re likely to make as a homeowner, which is why Marc Hannigan of Royal Pools of Santa Clara, Inc. advocates careful planning. Step one: Find a good contractor. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Swimming Pool Basics” »

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5 Tips for Better Indoor Air Quality

If you experience seasonal allergies, a home with clean air can be a sanctuary from the outdoors. Photo: Kerri Landscape Services (2017)

Spring has arrived once again to the Bay Area—the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and, as a result, many local inhabitants are sniffling and sneezing. If you’re one of them, going outdoors during this time of year can be an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, even though you can’t control the outside air, there’s plenty you can do to improve air quality inside of your home. Here are five tips for creating an allergy-free haven:

1. Get a good air filter (and replace it regularly). This is the cornerstone of indoor air quality. For most homes, a mid-grade MERV 9 filter will do nicely, but if you have extreme sensitivities, consider upgrading to a MERV 13 filter: a four-inch pleated model that removes airborne particles down to the level of viruses and bacterium. Of course, air filters don’t last forever, so be sure to replace yours regularly. Most HVAC professionals recommend replacing air filters every three months, but depending on how quickly yours get dirty, you may need to do it more often. Continue reading “5 Tips for Better Indoor Air Quality” »

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Posted in Health Tips, Home Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Missing Money: How to Find and Claim It

Did you know the State of California is currently holding $8 billion in unclaimed funds in the names of more than 30 million individuals and organizations? I was one of them until a few weeks ago, when I went searching for missing money. The law requires companies to turn over funds after three years or more if there hasn’t been any activity or contact with the rightful owner.

What motivated me was my sister-in-law posting on Facebook about her successes tracking down unclaimed funds in a variety of states where she and her husband have lived over the past 30 years. Continue reading “Missing Money: How to Find and Claim It” »

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Posted in Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Savvy Consumer Tip: Dealing with Mold in a Closet

Do you suspect you have mold in your closets? Watch this video to learn what to do.

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The Sump Pump Solution: How I Dealt With Water Damage in My House

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.

soil in blue tarp

Installing a sump pump required removing a massive amount of dirt from the crawlspace. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2017)

Continue reading “The Sump Pump Solution: How I Dealt With Water Damage in My House” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , ,

Tip Sheet: Five Guidelines for Gardening

Spring is coming – are you ready to grow? Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2017)

Following the heavy (and much needed) rainfall of the past winter, gardening enthusiasts in the Bay Area can look forward to a bounty of opportunities come spring. In addition to the finer points involved in planting flowers and crops, here are some basic guidelines to consider for optimizing your gardening experience.

Plan for all seasons. While many assume gardening is only for the spring and summer, if you plan correctly, you can keep yours looking beautiful through the fall and winter seasons as well.

Remember, plants grow. A common mistake gardeners make is installing plants that don’t fit within the schemes of their gardens. Don’t be a victim of “cute in a gallon can” syndrome—just because a particular plant looks good at the nursery, that doesn’t mean it’ll be right for your garden. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: Five Guidelines for Gardening” »

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Posted in Landscaping Tips | Tags: , ,

Is Saying “Thank You” a Lost and Underappreciated Art?

I’ve been saying “thank you” a lot lately and it feels good. After my last flight on Southwest Airlines, I stopped to tell the pilot and attendants how much I appreciated their attentiveness and on-time performance. I wrote a thank-you email to my Diamond Certified tree company in December because the crew did an excellent job pruning my large trees. When I had trouble resolving a problem with my health insurance company, a staff member kept communicating with me even though it took a few weeks to untangle. Afterward, I asked for her supervisor’s name so I could write a complimentary letter for her personnel file. The last time I was in the grocery store, I told the cashier and bagger how much I love shopping there because of their smiles, quality produce, and service. Continue reading “Is Saying “Thank You” a Lost and Underappreciated Art?” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances

Watch this video to learn a simple way to keep your stainless steel appliances clean.

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