Why You Should Never Hire an Unlicensed Contractor

It may be tempting to hire an unlicensed contractor who offers a significantly lower quote, but buyer BEWARE.

“You get what you pay” for is no more true and accurate than when hiring a professional contractor. Investing in a contractor for repairs or improvements around your home shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Sometimes, the lowest estimate isn’t always the best. It’s important to consider why one estimate is significantly lower than others. Becoming a licensed contractor usually comes with specific requirements, including:

  • carrying the proper insurance coverage
  • completion of safety and trade-specific education
  • and agreement to participate in mediation and other conflict resolution methods should an issue arise

Lack of Protection

By hiring an unlicensed contractor, and not trusted window replacement pros,  you are increasing your potential risks. The issue with hiring an unlicensed contractor isn’t always the level of quality in their workmanship.

The bigger issue is often times the lack of protection for the homeowner. Financial responsibility for injuries become your problem.

If you want to save on your remodeling or home repair project, hiring a cheaper, unlicensed contractor might be the worst thing to do.

The Proper Protection

We all know that accidents can and do happen. You may be in trouble financially if you hired an unlicensed contractor. Many of these contractors don’t carry proper insurance to cover accidents. An unlicensed contractor’s negligence could cost you dearly.

Unlicensed contractors don’t have without worker’s compensation and insurance. This coverage is essential to protect homeowners when a worker is injured on your property. If your contractor or one of his employees gets hurt, like falling from a ladder, you could be held responsible. This may end up in thousands of dollars in medical bills.

It’s also imperative that the contractor you hire carries liability insurance as well. This coverage can protect you in the event your contractor is negligent and causes damages your property, or worse, someone else’s.

Up To Code

Many repair and remodeling projects will require permits. Unlicensed contractors may not always be willing to follow those guidelines. This can cause serious problems for the homeowner in a number of ways.

If unpermitted work is done, the local municipality could impose steep fines and require the work to be redone. This financial responsibility will fall on you since unlicensed contractors rarely have a bond or liability insurance.

If you decide to sell your home, you’re required to disclose specific information to the buyer too. This includes any repairs and remodeling work done.

If this work was done without permits or isn’t up to code, you could face lowered property value.

The Big Picture

When looking at the big picture, the most important thing to remember is to protect yourself and your assets and to ensure you find trusted contractor quotes before agreeing to any contractors to visit your home or property.

It’s never a good idea to hire an unlicensed contractor. Do your research and make sure your contractor is licensed and properly insured.

Licensing qualifications can vary from state to state and city to city. Ensure that you verify the requirements with your local municipality.

Don’t be intimidated to call and verify your potential contractor’s references of past clients either.

Be sure to ask the following questions before you hire:

  1. How well did the contractor stick to original budget and timeline?
  2. How satisfied were they the contractor’s workmanship and the final results of their project?
  3. How well, and how often, did the contractor communicate with clients during the project?

It’s also essential to ask your potential contractor to provide proof of their liability and worker’s compensation coverage. This will ensure that you are completely covered when hiring someone for your next home repair or remodeling project.

A Guide To Gutter Cleaning and Gutter Covers

Gutter cleaning is an unavoidable chore to most homeowners, even when you have gutter cover. Even though some homeowners will be content with waiting until rainwater stops flowing properly before thinking about cleaning, knowing a couple of tips that will make the process simpler, fun, and a lot safer.

Cleaning your gutters can be easy as long as you know what you ought to do and how to do it. You will also need the right tools and know when to clean your gutters. The right equipment will guarantee your safety and an easy time when doing the cleaning.  Who knows, it might even make you look forward to each gutter cleaning session.

Safety First – Know Your Roof

A strong ladder placed on a firm and level base is the best way up to the gutters. If possible, make it a tall step ladder that won’t have to lean on the roof for support. Remember to stand with your hips against a step and in between the rails for perfect balance.

If you have to get onto the roof, ensure that it is a low pitch roof that is dry. Wearing non-slip shoes and stepping on the railings will keep you safe on the roof whilst protecting delicate sections of the roof.

Going up a ladder and onto the roof could be dangerous. Hiring professional cleaners is always wise if you are dealing with:

  • Roofs that are too steep
  • High gutters on multiple floored buildings

Cleaning Gutters – Following Procedure

Huge roofs with long stretches of gutters can be time-consuming to clean. To cut short the cleaning time, you can use a leaf blower or an on-off high-pressure hose. The pressure hose approach can easily turn messy and should only be used when there is too much murk and dirt in your gutters.

Alternatively, you can don some hard gloves and a plastic scoop to scrape off the debris. If you are expecting some rain, you won’t have to hose down your gutters after using a scoop to get rid of the debris.

Don’t Forget the Downspouts

Obstructions in the drainpipes and downspouts will jeopardize your otherwise perfect gutter cleaning campaign. To detect a blockage, pour some water down the drainpipes and expect it to flow unhindered to the bottom of the drain.

If this doesn’t happen, you might have to push a plumber’s auger, or some stiff rod down the pipe from the top to clear the clog. Flushing the downspout with a garden hose (or a high-pressure hose) to finish up the cleanup.

Gutter Covers Will Make Your Life Easier

Gutter covers will go over your gutter, keeping off all that debris and leaves while letting the rainwater in. They reduce the rate at which the junk accumulates, thereby reducing the number of times you have to clean your gutters. This is good news for people who dread the heights or the whole business of cleaning gutters.

Without gutter guards, you will have to clean in the spring and the fall. Gutter covers break this cycle. Some homeowners can go up to two years without having to worry about gutter cleaning thanks to a gutter cover job.

Other Benefits of Gutter Covers

Other than just keeping the trash out, gutter covers also have other lovable benefits that will definitely elongate your gutter’s lifespan.

Less wet debris in the gutters will reduce rusting. Slower rusting rates will give your gutters a longer lifespan and save you on maintenance.

Gutter guards will keep your gutters clean during those harsh winters too and prevent clogs that could force water to seep into your house.
In some areas, gutter covers also improved safety against brush fire since your gutters will be free of dry leaves that catch and propagate fire faster.
Also, keep in mind that gutter covers will keep pests and other small animals from setting residence in your gutters.

Remember, however, that regular gutter cleaning is inevitable, but with gutter guards, you can postpone this tiresome and potentially dangerous home maintenance chore for longer without affecting your property. They are a small price to pay for less cleaning costs which leave you with a safer roof and fewer gutter blockages.

Biomass Boiler Estimates And Green Heating Guide

If you live in areas where the weather gets cold you need to have a method of keeping your house warm. Keeping a house’s interior at a comfortable temperature does not mean that you have to harm the environment. It is possible to keep your home warm in a reliable and affordable manner and not have a negative impact on the world around you. Here are several energy efficient heating methods that you may want to consider when it is time to replace your current heating system.
Biomass stoves and boilers
Biomass stoves and boilers can be used to keep a home at a comfortable temperature. Biomass boilers and stoves use fuel such as wood pellets in order to power them. Wood pellet stoves and boilers are carbon neutral. The wood comes from trees that absorb carbon during their lifespan. Wood pellet stoves release only as much carbon as a tree absorbed when it was alive. Stoves provide direct heat to a home whereas boilers heat water that is then used in radiators or in radiant heating systems.
Wood pellets are extremely easy to store, can be produced locally and can even be fed into the stove or boiler by an automated system. This is an affordable and extremely environmentally friendly way to have home heating.
Solar hot water heating systems
Energy from the sun can be used to heat a home. Water travels through tubes set into solar panels. The heat from the sun warms the water and it travels back into the home through the same tubes. The water can be stored in a boiler which is insulated and which keeps it warm until it is needed. It can then be used in radiators or in a radiant heating system exactly like hot water from biomass systems would be.
Heat pump systems
There is a lot of ambient heat being stored in the ground and the water that surrounds our homes. A heat pump transfers heat from the ground or water via tubes filled with coolant. If you dig deep enough, there is a point where the ground contains a substantial amount of heat available on a continuing basis. That heat can be used to warm a home in an environmentally friendly manner.
Only you can tell which system is the most appealing to you. Working with a company that is experienced in installing these systems will ensure that your home stays warm without damaging the world around you.


written By Sam Braidley

article source : http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/green-heating-options-keep-your-house-warm-without-harming-the-environment