Daily Archives

August 8, 2018


5 Benefits of Metal Roofs

August 8, 2018

Thinking of tackling a few home improvement projects this year? Where should you begin?

For many savvy homeowners, it starts with knowing what adds the most value to your home. Especially if you think you might sell your home in a few years, what projects offer you the greatest return?

Of course, many of the top renovations are things you would expect. You can’t go wrong by making improvements to your kitchen. But others may surprise you. Did you know replacing your roof is high up on the list?

There’s a reason for that. Sure, you might be used to the boring roof your parents had on their home while you were growing up. But roofing today offers many more benefits and features. Today’s roofing options can add style and class. And of course value to your home.

Residential metal roofing is currently one of the fastest growing segments of the home improvement market. That’s because the benefits are many. While other roofing options quickly diminish in value as they age, metal roofs provide lasting benefits.

Expected Life

One of the biggest benefits of installing a metal roof is its life expectancy. Properly installed, you can expect a metal roof to last almost as long as the house. That’s because metal roofs bring so many advantages to light.

Water won’t be able to penetrate through the material. Metal can withstand high wind speeds. And even the occasional snow storm won’t damage a metal roof; it simply melts the snow away. Bugs and pests can’t damage it. It won’t grow mildew or rot. It even offers protection from the most damaging forces of nature, including fire.

While warranties vary, you’ll often find a roof service company will offer one of the best warranties in the business on metal roofs, typically anywhere from 20 to 50 years.


As you’re finalizing your decision on what new roof to install, it’s easy to fall in love with some of the sophisticated products on the market. Clay tiles look beautiful on certain home styles. Did you know they add a lot of weight to your home’s structure? Did you know that in some cases, a roof service company has to build in support to the structure before it completes the installation?

Clay or concrete tiles can often add as much as 900 pounds per square—an area equal to 100 square feet. That’s a lot of weight on top of your home.

Compare that with metal roofing that is lightweight and easier to install. Most varieties run anywhere from 50 to 150 pounds per square. And because it’s so lightweight, if you are adding a new addition, you can often downsize or reduce the support system built into your home.

Fire Resistance

Because metal is a noncombustible material, it makes a perfect addition to your home. Most metal roofing materials have Class A fire rating, which is the most resistant on the market.

Keep in mind that it isn’t just the metal itself that helps make your roof fire resistant. A roof’s overall classification also depends on materials beneath the surface that could ignite in intense heat.

Most metal roofs are applied over combustible material such as wood, which can lower it to a Class B or Class C rating. It’s important to speak with your roof service company about the rating process, especially if you are in an area prone to fires.

Energy Efficiency

On almost any structure, the roofing material is the start of what determines total building energy efficiency. Likewise, the roof is also responsible for energy production. So whether you are looking at increasing your home’s efficiency, or would like a way of producing more energy, your roof is a great place to start.

Metal roofing products consider both. They do what you expect: warm under the sun and help shed rain and snow during the colder winter months. But they also have a unique way of reducing summer heat gain, too. Metal roofs address all forms of heat transfer—radiant, conductive, and convective—ensuring maximum energy efficiency.

Beautiful Style

If you’re like many homeowners, you might be sold on the benefits. After all, we all care about safety and energy efficiency. But when it comes right down to it, you also care about style. Why would you want something on your home that is less than beautiful? Why would you want to destroy curb appeal for the sake of saving a little money?

Luckily, you don’t have to choose with metal roofing. Metal roofs have PVDF coatings. The color is added to this finishing process; it’s what gives them pigmentation and provides fade resistance. You’ll be surprised at how many color choices you have.

Despite the advancement in color pigmentation, lighter colors, including grays and browns, will perform better than the bright colors. With brighter colors—reds, blues, and yellows—they have more saturation, meaning they are formulated with more than one pigment. These pigments can change over time, impacting the color that shows through on your roof.

Still, that is part of the process. Selecting the final color and style is based on your personal preferences. And with the help of your roof service company representative, the final choice you make will be perfect for your home.

Convinced a metal roof is for you? There’s one more thing to keep in mind.

While you may have settled on a metal roof for your home, who you purchase your roof from is just as important as the style. Select the wrong roof service company and you may be paying the price for years to come.

The roofing industry is filled with problems. Because it’s a major home investment, the industry is ripe for opportunity from less than stellar businesses. Beware the scams that run rampant throughout the industry.

  1. The contractor that gets paid before doing work. They may ask for an unusually large down payments. They may want you to sign over insurance checks before any work is performed. Don’t let your guard down. Make sure you are hiring a well-known roof service company before you sign on the dotted line.
  2. Avoid the strangers going door to door. They may tell you your neighbor is having a new roof repaired and you can save money by having a new one installed too. Don’t fall for the ploy. Do you own research and find out if the company is as good as they say.
  3. The bid seems too good to be true. If you jump at the opportunity to save cash on your home improvement projects, they often wind up costing you double the price. Take the time to fully investigate potential roof service companies to ensure you are getting high-quality service.

Are you ready to install a metal roof on your home? Contact your local roof service specialists today.



5 Reasons to Verify Your Locksmith’s Credentials

August 8, 2018

Imagine, for a moment, this happening to you.

It’s late at night. It’s cold and rainy. You’re locked out of your home or car, so you pull out your phone and type “locksmith companies” into Google. Up pops a list of names; many of them in spaces reserved for local service companies.

You might assume that the space reserved for local service companies are all companies near you and have earned ranking based on good customer reviews. Some will fit that description. But odds are a lot of the rankings you see for locksmiths aren’t locksmiths at all.

Instead, they are call centers. They may be out of state or even out of the country. But they are using a high-tech strategy that lets them trick Google into thinking they have a physical store in your neighborhood.

What’s worse, they might not even be locksmiths at all. Instead, they may be poorly trained subcontractors who are buying up leads in hopes of making a little extra money on the side.

And that’s where your trouble begins.

The goal of these lead generation companies is to gain as much money as possible from every customer who comes their way. They might quote you a price over the phone only to have the subcontractor demand three, even four times that amount once they’re on site. And because you’re tired, cold, and possibly even scared, you’re eager to pay the fee and resume life and get back into your car or home.  

This is a classic bait-and-switch move. And it has become quite an epidemic across America. While these subcontracting scams have deep roots in locksmithing, the model is moved far and wide to all types of consumer home services, including home security, repair services, and of course, locksmithing.

Unfortunately, the bait-and-switch move isn’t the only scam you might find in the locksmith industry.

Ghost Location Scam

The ghost location scam is a continuation of the one we mentioned above. When you search for a high-quality locksmith company, you select one based on the internet results you find online. You choose one that looks promising, has a physical address in your community, possibly even has photographs of the location for you to see. They have reviews—everything looks like it’s on the up and up. When it comes time to have the services rendered, they send someone out to your location.

But the danger is the follow-up. If you have a problem with your service and you try and connect with them once again, there is no way for you to locate the contractor you’ve just done business with.

Emergency Services Scam

This is less of a scam and more of a contractor taking advantage of your vulnerability. When you call a locksmith, and the person arrives, they know you’re in a desperate situation. And in this case, knows they can charge whatever they desire and you’re likely to pay.

They can hike the price up two, three, even four times the normal fee based on the concept that it’s an emergency situation. The worst part about this scam is people are very likely not to think twice and rarely complain. Their emergency situation was solved, and they’re happy to be back in the car or home safe and secure.

Scary, right?

You may be considering a lot of different alternatives at the moment to ensure you never face this situation. But emergencies arise all the time. And instead of believing that the entire industry is rife with scammers, we’d like to give you a little advice on finding reputable locksmiths that care about the services they bring to people within your community.

Yes, reputable locksmith companies do exist. And here is how you find them.

Check for a license

Only fifteen states require a commercial locksmith to obtain a state-issued license. Oregon is one of them. Washington state is not. If you live in a state where a state-issued license is required, you can request to see the license before you start doing business with the contractor.

Even in a state that doesn’t require licensing, you can request to see what licenses and other criteria they have for doing business in your community. You can also ask for an additional form of state-issued identification to keep a record of who you are doing business with.

Demand an Estimate

Regardless of the cost you have been quoted over the phone, you should also receive an on-site cost estimate once the contractor arrives. This is particularly important before allowing a locksmith to begin working on your auto or home.

This is your biggest defense in avoiding the bait and switch scam. If you have a quote that is very low, this will ensure you have written quotes showing you how much they will charge. This will also give you justification to fight the charge if they attempt to raise it after they begin work.

Pay by Credit Card

One of the biggest problems with traveling services is they show up and disappear without leaving a trace of where they came from or went to. If you pay by cash—and many of them will ask you to do so—you have no resource for the transaction.

But if you pay by credit card, it creates a digital footprint that involves your credit card company as a third-party. This can help you track down your locksmith company if you need to in the future.

Look for Certifications and Trade Organizations

Reputable locksmiths care about their business and will become certified through reputable organizations to build credibility within the industry. Look for companies that are certified and go the extra mile to ensure their technicians are well educated and offer you the highest quality service.

Look for certification through organizations like Associated Locksmiths of America, Safe and Vault Technicians Association, and the American Association of Automatic Door

Manufacturers. You can also look for locksmiths who join local contractors associations and the Better Business Bureau.

When you call on a locksmith, you might be tired, cold, even a little scared. But don’t let yourself be vulnerable in this situation.

Not only should you ask for a receipt, but you should jot down the information you gain throughout this process. Be sure you have the company’s name and the technician who helped you out. Get license numbers and phone numbers. The license plate number is also a good number to verify and put into your notes. Then, in case the unthinkable happens and you suspect you were scammed, you’ll have more information to help you move forward.

Since 1949, Harry’s Locksmith has been helping residents and business owners throughout Southwest Washington and the Greater Portland area. If we can help you, give us a call today.


Why House Size Maters When Selecting The Proper HVAC System

August 8, 2018

Need a new furnace? Looking at new air conditioners? The numbers can all get a little confusing as you start comparison shopping.

When you are in the market to replace your heating and cooling equipment, buying the biggest and most efficient won’t necessarily give you the right size for your home. Some are too large. Some are too small. And finding the right one requires a combination of knowing the proper criteria and having the experience to put the information together, formulating the perfect package for your home.

Today’s technology makes the process a lot easier, with software used to aid in the final decision. But the final determination is still up to the professional you hire to install your equipment in your home. Hire the wrong HVAC company and you’ll be paying too much for years to come.

When you install the right size furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, or complete HVAC system, you’ll have a system that provides consistent indoor comfort for you and your family. You’ll also save energy, as a system that is too large or too small wastes energy.

Selecting an energy efficient model is being a smart consumer. Selecting an energy efficient model allows you to take a whole house approach to curbing your energy bills. The capacity of your equipment needs to match the size of the area being heated or cooled, and it must take in key factors to do so.

What happens when an HVAC company installs a system too large or too small?

A number of issues can arise when you have an incorrectly-sized HVAC system in your home.

Too Large – a system that is too large for your living space creates the following problems:

  • It uses too much energy because it takes more energy to operate a larger system
  • It wastes energy through short cycling, turning itself on and off repeatedly and running for only a short time
  • It creates unnecessary noise as it pushes excessive air through the ductwork
  • It creates large temperature swings from not properly cycling
  • It creates more wear and tear on the system
  • It fails to remove sufficient humidity from the air as it doesn’t properly run throughout the cycle

Too Small – a system that is too small for your living space creates the following problems:

  • It runs continuously trying to achieve proper comfort levels
  • It might require supplemental heating and cooling solutions for you to reach your ideal temperature
  • It can create noise in ductwork as the ducts are smaller than required to service your home’s needs
  • It is more likely to malfunction since it runs continuously
  • It will require more maintenance to keep it operating over time

Properly Sized System – when a system is properly installed in your home by a reputable HVAC company, these are the benefits:

  • It operates at optimal efficiency, saving you money in energy costs
  • It keeps your home at the proper temperatures, with every room being comfortable and consistent
  • It provides proper humidity control, increasing comfort level and reducing the chances of biological growth
  • It operates without excessive noise
  • It operates according to manufacturer’s guidelines, without overburdening the system and shortening its lifespan

What factors go into the decision of selecting the right sized heating and cooling equipment?

There are many different considerations that a good HVAC company will use to find the proper size equipment for your home.

Size of your home

The size of your home is an automatic place to start. A 1,000 square foot home will need different equipment than a home 3,000 square feet in size. But there are many other considerations too. Is a home open concept? Does it have large or small rooms? How many windows does the home have? Does the living space face north or south? Even similar homes on different lots can have different needs.


Think all homes in your area are the same? Think again. A home tucked down by the river has different needs than a home placed in a rural area with large open spaces. When the sun shines, does your home benefit by soaking up the energy? Or is it tucked into the forest, rarely seeing the sun’s rays? The quality and amount of insulation makes a difference, as well as how the home is constructed. A brick home differs from wood construction. Even landscaping can impact the requirements for larger or smaller equipment.


We all live in our own unique ways. A family with teenagers operates differently than a single person living alone. Lights and other heat-generating appliances and electronics can increase or decrease your efficiency levels.

Can you do the calculations yourself?

Head online and do a quick search and you’ll find basic HVAC load calculators available for your use. The question is: should you use them?

They’ll ask a few basic questions: the style and type of your construction, your insulation values, how many windows you have, the dimensions of your home. Then it’ll pop out a few calculations: number of Btu’s needed and nominal tons.

None of these measurement are difficult to find or use. But they are fairly involved and take time and patience to complete.

The problem lies with your expertise. If you find your HVAC load calculations once in twenty years, are you taking into account all the factors that impact your final decision?

Commissioning an HVAC company to handle your heating and cooling load calculations can save you the stress of doing the calculations on your own.

It can also help you avoid erroneous calculations, which occur because of lack of experience. Because technicians perform this service on a regular basis, they understand what to look for and what to consider. They not only use a specialized computer program to air in finding the most accurate calculations, but they also use their experience to know what’s right.

What’s wrong with rule of thumb?

In the HVAC industry, do enough research and you’ll likely find people who will tell you the “rule of thumb” method is good enough. And many HVAC companies use the rule of thumb method rather than going through the trouble of working out the actual heating and cooling load calculations that are needed. This won’t ensure that the HVAC system you buy and install in your home is the optimal size for keeping your living space comfortable and energy efficient.

What’s your next step?

Find the right HVAC equipment for your home. When you’re ready to hire the best HVAC company for your needs, do some research and make some calls. Ask the right questions and you’ll have everything you need to make a well-informed decision.


How Much Should I Water My Trees in the Summer

August 8, 2018

You probably already know that the three most important rules for desirable real estate are location, location, location. Of course the curb appeal of beautiful, healthy trees in your landscape doesn’t hurt either. In that respect, the three rules of seasonal tree care are water, water, water. Either too little or too much water can leave your trees looking and performing poorly.

But how often should you water, and how much water is too much, or not enough? The answers depend on numerous factors based on the science of how trees grow, including healthy root systems, climate, soil type and condition, and weather extremes like heat and drought.

Specific watering needs also depend on the age and species of your trees. Mature trees in native habitats need less seasonal tree care than newer trees or exotic species. Well-established trees are able to tolerate moderate heat and dry periods much better.

Nursery species and newer transplants need more care and attention, especially in the first few weeks. Additionally, non-native or exotic trees require more attentive, seasonal tree care and should be checked often for any signs of water stress.

Newly Planted Trees

When purchasing nursery tree stock, you’ll find the roots are generally compacted in a tight ball of potting mixture, either wrapped and tied or planted in a large pot. No matter how your tree is packaged, take care not to damage roots when removing. Carefully follow all planting instructions provided with your tree.

After planting, it’s important to keep the root ball area moist until the roots have had a chance to spread out and grow further into the soil. Water the tree directly over the root ball every few days for the first weeks, and longer during warm weather.

If your soil has a large percentage of clay, it will leach moisture from the loam surrounding the root ball. In that case, you may have to water your newly placed trees daily. The goal is to keep the soil around the roots moist but not saturated, to a depth of approximately one-half to one-foot.

Once the roots have had several weeks to spread and grow, seasonal tree care becomes easier. Directing irrigation further out from the base of the tree, and watering to a sufficient depth on a weekly basis is generally sufficient.

Keep in mind that newly planted trees grow more quickly in the first few years than at any other time. Sufficient watering is important to support the early growth spurt. Pay particular attention to your seasonal tree care during this time and remember to monitor the moisture content of the soil around your trees during periods of unusual heat or drought.

Mature Trees

Once trees are well established, frequent watering becomes less necessary as roots grow well out beyond the drip line of the tree, forming a web of feeder roots beneath the surface soil. Mulching the ground around the base of your tree to several feet out from the trunk will help retain moisture for longer periods. Commercial wood chip mulch is a good choice.

Avoid watering close to the trunk of mature trees as too much moisture there encourages insect infestation or fungus.

Checking Soil Moisture

There are a few ways to check the moisture content of the soil around your trees. The easiest way is to try poking a knife, screwdriver, or other long tool into the soil. If it’s difficult to penetrate the soil, you need to water.

You can also check soil moisture by inserting the blade of a trowel into the ground near the tree and creating an opening large enough to poke your finger down into the dirt. If it feels warm and dry, it’s time to water.

If you feel you must get your hands into the soil to be sure, dig about six or eight inches down and scoop out a handful soil. It should feel cool to the touch. It should not be muddy or soaking wet, but rather easily rolled into a ball that holds its shape. If the soil is warm and crumbles in your hand then it needs water.

You can also purchase an inexpensive meter that will accurately measure the moisture content of your soil.

Under Watering or Over Watering

Goldilocks wanted a bed that felt just right. Who can blame her? Your trees want their soil beds to be just right too. Not too soft, not too hard, not too cold or too warm, and not too dry or too wet. It’s all about the roots and keeping them happy.

Signs of under watering in deciduous trees include dry, perhaps brittle leaves, curling or wilting, and browning, yellowing or scorching of leaves. Premature color change and leaf drop is another good indicator.

Evergreens will display yellowing or browning needles, while excessive leaf or needle drop, and die back of branches in both evergreen and deciduous trees also indicates lack of water.

If your trees are thirsty the solution is simple—step up your watering schedule, water to a depth of about a foot, and check soil moisture frequently to determine how often to water.

Signs of overwatering are spongy or soggy ground around the trees or ground that is constantly wet. New growth will often wither and die. It may appear lighter green. In cases of severe overwatering, leaves or needles may turn yellow. If leaves appear to be a healthy green, but break easily, you may be over watering.

Over watering is a common mistake in seasonal tree care. Overly moist or saturated ground for extended periods of time damages roots. Letting the ground become dry for short periods between watering allows for pockets of oxygen in the soil. Yes, your trees need to breathe too.

If you see water standing around your trees, or have noticed the signs of overwatering, there are a few solutions. You can’t turn off the rain, but you can turn off the hose; if you’ve been watering, stop. Also, assess your soil type. If it’s mostly clay, add compost to help drain the water away from drowning roots.

If you find water pools around your trees when it rains, do a little detective work. Find out where it’s coming from and whether it can be diverted by trenching or other means.

Trees are a long-term investment adding to the interest, beauty, and function of your landscape, so make sure to water with care.