Fall Home Improvement Scams

It’s officially fall, which means now is the time to prepare your home for the colder months ahead. This time of year, many popular home improvement services range from heating to roofing contractors.

It’s important to do your homework!fall home improvement

Heating Contractors:

Before doing business with a heating contractor, be familiar with the model you own and its maintenance history. Make sure to check that the contractor’s licensing with the state of Washington. Ask for recommendations, also check out heating contractors at bbb.org to get a picture of the company’s track record.  Be cautious of any heating contractors that solicit work door-to-door or claim they’re offering a special deal for working nearby. This is always a red flag.

Roofing Contractors:

A roofing project requires a skilled and qualified contractor, so it’s important to thoroughly research roofing contractors. Be sure to get at least three estimates for the job and remember, the lowest offer may not always be the best. When getting an estimate, make sure the roofer does a thorough inspection rather than a quick estimate from the ground. Ask for proof of insurance, any required licenses and necessary permits. Be wary of any roofing contractor that solicits work door-to-door or offer low prices because they have leftover materials from a previous job. This is a red flag.

Chimney Contractors:

If you often cozy up by your fireplace or wood stove, it’s important to have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually to ensure safety. A reputable chimney sweep will be able to clean and detect any dangerous problems within the chimney.

Again be sure to obtain multiple estimates from different chimney sweeps to compare the cost of the job that is needed. Check out Chimney Safety Institute of America (www.csia.org)  Lots of info there for homeowners as well as checking to see if the contractor is certified through them. Ignore chimney sweeping businesses that solicit by phone or door-to-door and claim they were just “in the neighborhood.”  These scammers promise an extremely low price for a chimney cleaning, but once they start working they will “discover” an urgent repair.

With any home improvement service, always take time to do research before hiring a contractor.  Never pay in full up front.  Although scammers are out there, there are many reputable home improvement contractors that will get the job done on time and within budget.

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