Archive for March, 2015

Avoiding Bad Renovation Contractors

Avoiding Bad Renovation ContractorsOne of the biggest industries these days is home renovation, kitchens, bathrooms, landscaping and just about anything that needs repair or updating around the home. Lowes and Home Depot are making millions selling to home owners and contractors alike. Many home owners lack the time or the skill or the desire to do it themselves and decide to hire a contractor even though it will cost much more money. This web site is dedicated to saving consumers money and most do it yourself homeowners can save thousands if they do the work themselves. Avoiding a bad contractor can also save thousands so this is what this post is all about.

Avoiding Bad Renovation Contractors – The List

Do your homework and hire the professionals even if they cost a bit more money. Avoid the fly by nighters by following the following guidelines and you should end up with a good contractor although there are no guarantees.

  • Obtain detailed fixed price quotes
  • Always get references and call and visit those references
  • Check BBB for references and reviews
  • Look for online reviews
  • Educate yourself
  • Understand what and how the job will be done
  • Pay for materials yourself and arrange for delivery
  • Pay the contractor only for work performed
  • Include a 10% hold back to cover issues
  • If progress payments are required, tie them into performance milestones
  • Never pay in advance, find another contractor if this is an issue
  • On large jobs penalty amounts are ok
  • Take pictures of the starting area, progress and final product
  • Document any issues in writing with pictures or video
  • Identify issues immediately

If you feel uncomfortable about any of the issues, the contractor or his work ethics, then it is time to move to another contractor before you commit and award the contract.

Large vendors of renovation materials like Lowes and Home Depot have many installers that work as contractors and come recommended by these stores. In fact all of your financial dealings are usually with the supplier i.e. Lowes for the material and the installation. They guarantee the work and offer a level of protection that many small contractors just cannot provide.

If you have additional comments or suggestions, please leave a comment and we will add them to the list.



Electric cars on the market

Electric cars have been on the market for a number of years now. Electric cars on the market are gradually becoming mainstream. It used to be only the tree huggers. As well as people who cared about environmental issues that supported electric cars. As the market matures and the products improve more and more people are taking notice of electric vehicles. They considering them as a real alternative to a gas powered car. We are also looking forward to when the Chevrolet Volt, pictured in this picture, will be offered in Canada as well as the US.

Electric cars on the market include

  • Nissan leaf – 80 kilowatt(80 horsepower) motor, heated seats, backup camera, Bluetooth, cruise, heated steering wheel and a range of 129 kilometers.
  • Mitsubishi I-Miev – 69 horsepower motor, heated seats, AC, range is 150 km’s
  • Smart EV – 74 horsepower motor, 135 km range, and had multiple charging options
  • Focus BEV,
  • BMW I3
  • Tesla – high end, all-electric car

Another important factor that is making electric cars or interesting to consumers is that there is an increasing number of charging stations. For electric cars to really take off, owners have to be able to depend on locations where they can take their cars and recharge. Otherwise these cars will be Limited to commuter cars and for one car family’s they are just not attractive.

Virtually every major car manufacturer is developing an electric car to take advantage of the increasing demand. Couple electric cars with self driving cars and you have a powerful momentum that will lead a significant change in the industry. Electric distribution stages will proliferate to answer the need. Right now Tesla is probably the most famous name with a car that has beat all of the safety ratings. They will also have other electric cars on the market in 2017.

Dryer Vent Ice Dam

Dryer Vent Ice DamIf you are having dryer vent ice dams or moisture forming under cold dryer vents, you should make repairs immediately. All of this moisture dripping on to the floor or the wall is going to cause deterioration of the wood through rotting and worse. Mold can cause health issues. We will discuss how these situations occur and what the solution is for a situation like this. Starting with this pipe shown in the picture which is the worst pipe that can be used for a dryer vent that exits to the outside.

Dryer Vent Ice Dam – How does it Happen

Basically warm moist air flowing through a cold pipe is going to cool quickly. This will cause moisture to condense on the side of the pipe. It then run to the bottom of the pipe and drip out of the joints in this particular pipe. If it is cold enough on the outside of the pipe the water will freeze. The ice can melt later when the weather warms up. This water can cause extensive damage to underlying floors and walls including rotting wood and mold. If it is cold enough the moisture can actually freeze in the pipe causing an ice dam inside the pipe as well as outside.

Dryer Vent Ice Dam – Solution

Change the pipe to a single continuous pipe with no joints or seams. If there is a seam along the length of the pipe, make sure you install it with the seam on the top. In addition surround this pipe with insulation so that the pipe is kept relatively warm. This will avoid freezing the moisture in the dryer exhaust.

Any time you have icicles on your roof or forming from a dryer vent, there is a problem somewhere. Homeowners need to pay attention to these kind of issues immediately to avoid much more expensive repairs in the future.

Will oil go back to $80 a barrel

The answer to the question regarding Will oil go back to 80 a barrel or not really depends on supply and demand. On the demand-side with oil prices being down below $40 a barrel and dropping gasoline prices, consumer demand is going to increase as well as manufacturing demand. Emerging economies will also take advantage of these lower prices and over the next 6 to 12 months increasing demand will put pressure on the amount of oil available from various oil economies.

Will oil go back to 80 a barrel or even $60

On the other side is the amount of production of oil. Saudi Arabia has indicated that they are going to continue producing oil to flood the market. They want to drive other competitors out of the market since their cost of production is much lower. There will be a cut back on the production of oil on the part of higher cost producers. They continue with this strategy even though there is a huge glut of oil on the markets.

All this could lead to an increase in demand over the next 6 to 12 months and a reduction of production over the same period which will push the price of oil higher. It’s anyone’s guess as to when this will happen but many people are thinking that the price will increase by the end of 2015 to $80 or a hundred dollars a barrel.

There may be a period in this year where the price of oil drops much lower than even the $50 range. The Saudis will be successful in driving out many other producers and claiming a larger percentage of the market which is their objective.

What’s your guess on the price of oil which in turn drives the price of gasoline for the consumer over the coming year? Will oil go back to 80 a barrel? Also will we go into a recession? A De-inflation situation? It is almost the end of the year and oil is still sitting around $50 a barrel. Not much time left to make any major moves and it appears unlikely that it will anytime soon.


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