For homeowners, fall may be the perfect time of year to take care of projects around the house. Whether your furnace needs upkeep, your roof needs repair or your lawn needs maintaining; BBB is here to help with all your home improvement needs.
Some projects you may be able to take care of yourself, while other projects may be best handled by a skilled and trustworthy professional.
Don’t know what projects you should be considering? Don’t worry! BBB has compiled a project checklist along with helpful tips for finding a trustworthy contractor.
- Check foundation for cracks
- Clean, replace gutters and downspouts
- Repair and replace damaged shingles
- Examine and replace pool cover
- Inspect and repair peeling paint on your home
- Assess stairs, railings, walkways, porches and decks for needed repairs
- Assess, clean and/or repair your wood stoves and fireplaces
- Test and/or change batteries on all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Maintain washer and dryer
- Make the change from your current lighting to energy efficient options
- Change direction of ceiling fans if/when you switch to heat your home
- Inspect and replace or repair water heater
- Collect leaves
- Reseed patchy areas of the lawn
- Aerate lawn
- Plant a tree
- Cut back perennials
- Trim dead limbs
- Plant bulbs
- Plant new shrubs
SEALING AND INSULATION
- Seal air leaks in windows and door frames
- Insulate attic
- Properly insulate exterior walls
- Insulate hot water heater
- Replace or repair loose or cracked window and door frames
- Wrap pipes with pipe insulation
HEATING VENTILATING AND AIR CONDITIONING
- Check, clean and repair your air conditioner’s evaporator coil
- Check and replace filters
- Duct work cleaning
- Yearly maintenance on air conditioning unit
- Yearly maintenance on furnace and heating system
- Vacuum and clean window air conditioner units
- Replace or update your thermostat
Before selecting a contractor, BBB offers the following advice to homeowners:
- Use BBB to find trustworthy businesses. Start your search on bbb.org. Search BBB Business Reviews to find BBB accredited contractors in your area. You can find important background information on the business, such as how long it has been in business, advertising issues, ownership information and how it resolves complaints.
- Compare prices. Get at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the same specifications, materials, labor and time needed to complete the project. BBB’s Request-a-Quote service free to use and will allow BBB Accredited Businesses to send you quotes via email.
- Check licensing. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation requires a license for HVAC technicians, electricians and other trades. However, other contractors may require registration or licensing to do work in specific counties or cities. Ask to see a copy of the license before works starts.
- Beware of high upfront fees. Contractors may require a down payment before work begins, but it should not be a significant portion of the total cost. Make payments that align with the progress of the work completed. Make sure you are satisfied with the work before making a final payment.
- Verify insurance coverage. Find out if the company is insured against claims covering worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. If possible, verify coverage directly with the business’ insurance company.
- Check references. Ask the company for references and photos of previously completed projects. Call references and ask about their experience working with the company and if they were satisfied with the services provided.
- Get a written agreement. A contract should clearly state the services you will receive, guarantees and refund policies, as well as how and when payment will be handled. Make sure it includes all the materials needed to complete the job, an itemized list of all costs involved, any subcontracted labor and a warranty for all work performed.