RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

4 Types of Chimney Sweep Scams

May 28, 2015 12:57 am

Contrary to popular belief, the off-season is a great time to have your chimney inspected and cleaned. As with any home maintenance project, it is important to watch for red flags that could indicate a scam before hiring a professional. Here are the four most common chimney sweep scams, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

1. Pricing Tricks: Rates for chimney cleaning can certainly vary from region to region and job to job. But as a rule, a basic Level 1 chimney inspection and sweeping should cost no more than $300. Anyone offering an “unbelievably-low-price special” may be trying to make a quick buck rather than provide the full range of services needed to ensure your chimney is safe.

2. “Emergency” Repairs: Scammers will often attempt to prey on your lack of expertise and stoke your fear with claims that specific, extensive repairs must be made immediately to keep your family safe. Collect at least three estimates (with documentation) before you make a decision about big-ticket repairs.

3. Falsified Experience:
For the boldest scam artists, it’s not enough to mislead about the nature of the work they’ll perform. Some will lie about their industry experience and affiliations, too. Secure references, contact your local Better Business Bureau or state consumer protection office for background information, and do research to find out how long a company has been in the community.

4. Faked Credentials: A CSIA designation means that the individual has earned the industry's most respected credential by passing rigorous exams on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimney and venting systems. Each CSIA-certified professional carries a photo ID marked with his or her credentials, so always ask to see it.

Source: CSIA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


9 Ways to Go Green in Your Garage

May 28, 2015 12:57 am

Though automobiles have become more environmentally-friendly, their traditional home – the garage – remains a warehouse of pollutants, according to the experts at Whether your garage is attached or detached, you can green your garage in as little as nine steps. Here’s how to get started.

1. If your garage lacks finished walls, lose the half-finished look by insulating and finishing them out. Use biodegradable, low or no-VOC caulks and non-shrinking, flexible adhesives to close gaps. Add a well-insulated garage door with R-values between 13 and 17.5 percent.

2. Clean walls and the floor with eco-friendly cleaners, such as those that are vinegar-based, to remove grime.

3. Set the alarm. Be sure your garage has both fire and CO detectors installed. If battery-powered, check regularly to ensure they are working.

4. If your garage is not included in your home HVAC system, explore solar-powered heating and cooling. At the very least, install an exhaust fan to circulate air more efficiently and get rid of dangerous fumes.

5. Replace traditional bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting or CFLs. Install task lighting to reduce costs and still see what you're doing.

6. Install skylights if possible. Natural light reduces energy and brightens the feel of the garage.

7. Add a rain barrel just outside the garage, direct rain runoff and use the water for lawn and garden, car washing and other common uses (except drinking).

8. Half-full cans of paint or cans of oil are toxic. Check with your city to find approved disposal sites. For paints and chemicals you need to hold on to, store in a secure cabinet if possible (except for gasoline). If nothing else, place plastic wrap over the open top, pound the lid on with a hammer, and then store the can upside down to secure fumes.

9. Battery-assisted car engines are becoming more common, but if your car is gas-powered, you can manage pollutants with regular inspections and repairs. Leaking fluids such as oil, gas, brake fluid and anti-freeze flow into sewers and eventually into public water sources.


Published with permission from RISMedia.