Posts Tagged ‘quality contractor’

Maintain your Central Heating and Air Conditioning

Summer is coming to a close and winter is coming near. We have all been running our air conditioning unit to no end this summer in hopes to stay cool and comfortable. Knowing that we have been running the air conditioner often to cool our homes and businesses we should be looking at the upkeep of this luxury going into the cooler months. It will soon be time to switch our thermostats to a cool breeze to a warm temperature.

A decent air conditioning unit should last a good 10-15 years, more if maintained properly. Proper maintenance means that you physically have to check for leaks or cracks in your unit. It is important to change your filter at least every 4-6 weeks as well for homes with those that suffer from allergies. Keep your outdoor air compressor clean, a garden hose will do the trick. Cleaning the air duct every 3-5 years is standard practice as well; this should be done by a professional.

Okay, we had the air conditioner working well for the summer months and winter is near. It’s time for central heating maintenance. Before it gets cool run your heater and make sure you feel warm air. Change your filter before your first chilly night and check your pilot light if you’re running your heater on natural gas. Your pilot should be a very light blue. Make sure your unit is wired right along with other appliances. An electrician can come in handy here.

If your air conditioning unit or heater seems to be working too hard or not hard enough it is best to seek a professional. HVAC contractors or an electrician can better help you in your central heating and air conditioning needs. Making sure your unit works well and efficiently will help you save money, help you breathe better, and will help you stay more comfortable. Check your unit out soon in order to reap these rewards as well.

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Top 5 things to avoid when choosing a contractor

How many times have you watched a court television program or witnessed a case involving a homeowner and a scamming contractor? Don’t let that homeowner be you, be aware and do your research prior to hiring a contractor to do work on your home.

Here I provide the top 5 things to avoid when choosing a contractor for your home:

1. Never hire a contractor that wants more then half of your money up front or is offering a price that is too good to be true – this contractor is either hurting for money or is going to run with your money!
2. If this contractor doesn’t have a listing in your local phone book nor has a listing of only a P.O. Box for their address, you may want to turn the other way – chances are this contractor isn’t as serious about their business as you’d want them to be.
Did your prospective contractor come to you by knocking door to door? If so, tell this contractor, “No thank you,” and shut the door! You should shop for your contractor; your contractor shouldn’t shop for you.
3. Don’t hire a contractor that doesn’t have their license, and make sure it’s still in good standing before hiring them to do work on your home.
4. Don’t choose a contractor that doesn’t have good references that you can contact – you want to make sure that the contractor has completed quality work and checking references is a great way to be sure you’re hiring the right person.

Do your research and make sure the contractor you hire is reasonable, and get your agreement in writing. Taking these steps will ensure you aren’t scammed by hiring the wrong contractor.

Hiring a good Contractor

Hiring a contractor to do a home improvement project can be intimidating. Taking the proper steps, asking the right questions, and understanding where to find the answer to your question will make the process in finding a quality contractor easier. Aiming to lead you in the right direction in hiring the right contractor, listed below is a guide to help you make the intimidating process in hiring a contractor a great experience.

The key steps in finding a quality contractor for your home improvement needs are as followed:

• Avoid scams
• Search for a quality contractor
• Interview your prospects
• Check references
• Discuss payment options
• Write a contract
Avoiding scams

There is a scam out there for most transactions these days, hiring a contractor can be one of those transactions. Simply put, don’t sign a document without reading it thoroughly. Don’t agree to a home equity loan if you can’t afford the payments, don’t deed your property to anybody; don’t agree to financing without doing your homework. More importantly, if the deal sounds too good to be true then it probably is too good to be true.
Search for a quality contractor

Searching for a quality contractor can be a job in itself. Seek recommendations from friends, family members, or the local lumber yard. Make sure the contractor has a listing in the local phone directory as well. Once you have a list of contractors to choose from you can proceed to the interviewing process
Interview your prospects

The answers you receive when interviewing a contractor are just as important as the rapport you have with the contractor. During the interview find out how long they’ve been in business, make sure they have their contractor’s license with the state you reside in, will you need any permits for the project, will subcontractors be used, and find out what type of insurance the contractor uses along with what the insurance covers. The more information you gain the better.

Check references

Request references from your prospective contractors. When checking references, ask questions in regards to their performance, if there were added cost, if the project took longer then expected, and make sure their reference would hire them again if needed. Some references may let you see the work that was done at their home, so ask if you can stop by at their convenience.
Discuss payment options

Discussing payment options will help you in several ways. If the contractor asks for half the money up front, there is probably a problem and you may want to choose another contractor. According to How to Hire a Contractor by Tom Silva, a general rule for “large projects, a schedule usually starts with 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project and a check for the final 15 percent when you feel every item on the punch list has been completed.” It’s good to never pay with cash as well.
Write a contract

Writing a contract out is the most important step in hiring a contractor to work on your home. According to FTC.gov your written contract should include the contractor’s personal information as well as their license number, payment schedule, and the start and completion dates. The contract should include that the contractor is responsible for obtaining any permits needed to finish the project, the cost of materials should be listed, and warranty information, the contractor’s obligations, and an agreement of at least 3 business days should be specified in regards to your right to cancel. Any added oral agreements should be added to this contract as well.

This can be a lot of information to take in, but it is crucial that no stone is left unturned when hiring a contractor. The proper research, the right questions asked, and getting a contract in writing will help to ensure a job well done with your home improvement needs.