Questions and tips you need to consider for boiler installation

It is not an easy process to replace an old boiler with a new one. Of course, it is the task of a qualified plumber; but you still should be aware of the questions that you need to ask them. Here is a list of tips that you need to follow for boiler installation East Aurora NY:
boiler installation

Should the old boiler be replaced or not?

You don’t need to replace the old boiler just because one person has told you to replace it. You should definitely get a second opinion.

Choose a qualified heating engineer

Choose a heating engineer who is highly-professional and ask him to provide you with registration details so that you can conveniently check with the relevant organization. You definitely want someone who is updated with the latest safety requirements.

Ask for the efficiency rating of new boiler

It is important that your supplier provides you with a percentage efficiency rating. You can also check it on the boiler efficiency database. Acknowledge what type of boiler is the best for your circumstances. It solely depends on the number of people living in your house. So, consider the overall efficiency of the system when choosing the type of boiler.

Whether a power flush is required

Check whether or not a power flush is required for your central heating system prior to installing it. Look for guarantee clauses that will make sure it is covered while installing the boiler.

Issues with condensing boiler

If you are dealing with the condensing boiler, ask the heating engineer whether it is necessary to install the condensate pipe inside your house so that it won’t freeze in the winter. After all, these frozen condensate pipes are a great reason why boilers break down in the winter.

Check for the discounts available before paying

Check for various discounts that may be available to help you pay for your new boiler.

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Tips for hiring a contractor

It is always advisable to hire a pro rather than doing a project by yourself, especially for larger, more complex projects. What matters most, however, is the quality of contractor you are hiring, as selecting a shady contractor will trigger delays and sometimes even cause legal problems. Here are some tips that will help you choose a professional contractor and thus ensure a good business relationship:

Ensure that the contractor is bonded and insured

A contractor’s credibility depends solely on whether or not they are licensed and have insurance. The license proves that the contractor has taken the exam and knows how to build to code and all required processes. And, if the contractor is not insured, you could be the one responsible if someone gets hurt while working on your project.

Look for a contractor that suits your project

It is best to search for contractors who has expertise in the type of project you need completed. After all, you need a contractor who knows exactly what is required to complete a project. They should have the skills to address potential problems and perform work to your standards.

Create a detailed contract prior to starting any work

A contract is required to cover costs, and should include a complete set of drawings with written specifications.  It should also have a time table for when the work should be complete.

Give proper instructions prior to working

If you want your project to be completed by a specific date, talk to your contractor prior to hiring him. It then depends upon the contractor whether he wants to accept the job or not.  Go into as much detail as possible before work is started so you can avoid problems later on.

Have a look at their past  work

Consider the contractor’s past  work, which will also give you ideas for your own project. Samples are even more crucial than references and will let you check the quality of their work. Browse through their various designs to boost your own creativity.

If you are looking for highly-professional contractors for a variety of services, visit House at Work. Just add the details about your project and soon, accredited contractors will submit their proposals for your project. House at Work has its services available in New York in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, and Ithaca.  For more details, please visit the website

How I Got My Contractor To Stay On Budget and Timeline


By Peter Schick

I’d been down this road before.

It doesn’t always end well!

My fiancé wanted to get our bathroom redone and I couldn’t blame her, it was pretty dingy.  She had a friend who did remodeling so naturally we give him a call.  He shows up, we tell him what we want, he gave us a quote and said he would be finished in two days.  Easy day!

Well…not really.

It didn’t take two days, it took over two weeks.  And this really sucks when you only have one bathroom!  Nor was it the price we were originally quoted, it was over 50% more expensive.  Since he was my fiancées friend we never got anything in writing, all on a hand shake.  He made several mistakes that required him to return to fix once we were done as well.

Not so easy.

I never owned a home before and my DIY skills are pretty basic to say the least.  I also never expected something as basic as this to be such a pain in the ass!  It didn’t take long for me to realize the mistakes I made.

Fast forward five months.

The aluminum siding on our house is pretty old and the paint on it had been oxidizing, making what was originally green look like puke yellow.  We had been saving up and been meaning to get this done so the beginning of summer seemed like the right time to do it.

So here we go again.

I took the lessons I learned from my first experience and came up with a system to avoid the endless headaches I had when I got my bathroom done

-Get contractors to compete for your work: Get multiple contractors to give you quotes, not just the one that your friends or family recommended. Why?  Because you need a point of reference in terms of the price that is quoted.  This will help keep the contractor honest and you will get a better idea of what the project should cost.  Of note: if one of the quotes is unusually low, don’t select them.  This is a sign that they are likely to cut corners.

-Get the budget, timeline, and scope of work in writing: Separate the project into phases.  Each phase should have a detailed description of the work that will be completed.  Each phase should also have a start date and an end date associated with it.  Tie in payment draws to your contractor based off these phases.

-Set your Carrots and Sticks: Do not pay your contractor the final payment draw until the project is complete to your specifications. If the time it takes to complete your project is critical, you can attach incentives to each phase of your project like a bonus if your contractor finishes early.  You can also make incentives to keep your contractor within budget as well.  Say you set your budget at $2000.  If your contractor completes the project and only spends $1800 he gets to keep the difference.  If your contractor completes the project but spends $2500, he is responsible for the difference.

-Be actively involved: Check other the progress of your project daily, if possible. Interface with your contractor and ask questions in regards to the projects status.  Being involved and asking questions on a regular basis will not only give you peace of mind, but it will also help keep the project on timeline.

Remodeling your house does not have to be an unending nightmare.  If you come in with a solid plan and keep your contractor accountable you will greatly reduce headaches and stress!



5 Steps To Avoid Contractor Scams


By Peter Schick

Finding a contractor who is skilled and able to stay within your budget can be a daunting task.  Determining their availability, checking a contractor’s reputation, and ensuring their legitimacy are all essential steps, especially for large projects.  With the all required work before a project even begins, homeowners can easily overlook critical details that can create serious issues later on.  To prevent yourself from being a victim, follow these simple five steps:

1. Red Flags to Avoid:

If a contractor displays any of these traits, you should immediately disqualify them from working on your project.

  • They want you to pay upfront.
  • They are going door-to-door claiming a “today only” deal or “just happened to be in the area”. With this, they will attempt to create a sense of urgency and get you to impulsively agree for them to do work.  They may even say that if it is not done that your safety maybe in jeopardy.
  • They lack professionalism. If they come in an unlabeled car, no business card, or you just have a “bad vibe” from them.  They may have an out-of-town area code or a PO Box instead of an address.

2. Research Contractors:

This is the most important step. Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations for contractors who are skilled in the work you need done.  Once you have a dozen potential contractors recommended, do research online.  Check their reviews and their standing with the local Better Business Bureau or Better Contractors Bureau.

  • Select the best six potential contractors and call them up and ask for references and examples of past work. Also ask for proof of general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.  This will help protect you from liability in the event one of the workers gets injured on your property.  Ensure these contractors are also licensed.  Depending on where you live, certain specialties require licensing while others do not.  Check with your county and state licensing authorities to determine if your contractor has required licensing.
  • From these six potential contractors, select the three you are most comfortable with. Ask them to provide you quotes for your proposed project.  At this point, if you have not already, meet the contractor in person.  Trust your gut feeling when you meet them.  If they are unprofessional or make you feel uncomfortable you should consider not hiring them.  Be wary if a quote is unusually low compared to that of the other contractors, they may cut corners that will impact the quality of your project or may overcharge you in later stages of the project.  Select the contractor who you feel is the highest quality for the best price.  Of note: do not pay your contactor anything until after you are done with step 3.

3. Get Everything in Writing:

Once you have selected a contractor that you feel is the highest quality at the best price it is time to hash out the details of your project. Start from big to small.  Determine the project schedule with certain milestones to be met on specific dates.  From this you will be able to determine a payment schedule to your contractor.  Do not pay them their final payment until you are completely satisfied with their work and have received a lien release from his subcontractors and suppliers.  Also discuss what permits will be needed before work begins.  If your contractor is reluctant to get the necessary permits for your project, this is a red flag.  At this point you should determine who is going to buy the supplies necessary for your project.  If you are able to, buy the supplies yourself since many contractors will often up charge you on supplies they buy.  Finally, get whatever warranty they guarantee in writing as well.  Of note: your contractor may ask for an upfront payment/draw.  If this upfront payment/draw is more than 20% of the overall price, this could be a red flag and be indicative of financial issues with the contractor.


4. Monitor Your Project:

Now that you have selected your contractor, agreed to a timeline with milestones and payment schedule, see eye-to-eye on needed permits, understand who is buying supplies, and have the warranty agreed to in writing, it is time to start the project! Ask for periodic updates from your contractor to ensure they are still on schedule.  At times, unforeseen events may impact the price and the completion time of the project.  Take this into account.  Changes in the scope of the project can have a significant impact on the price and schedule too.  Get these changes in writing and record the additional cost of implementing these changes.  Of note: the more changes you make to the project once it has started, the more likely your contractor will not be able to remain within the timeline and budget.  Request receipts from your contractor as they make purchases or pay subcontractors in order to monitor how closely they are staying within budget.

5. Final Inspection and payment:

Once your contractor tells you everything is done, do a physical inspection of EVERYTHING. Point out any deficiencies or issues and have them corrected before you give them final payment.  Ensure that they totally clean up the work site.  Get receipts for all the work that has been done and get a lien release from their subcontractors and suppliers.  Leave a review based on your experience on relevant websites to assist others when they selecting a contractor!  Of note: The most important take away from this step is not to pay your contractor until everything is done to your standard.

Doing your research upfront and communicating effectively with your contractor can prevent many issues.  Your involvement throughout the process and holding your contractor to your standards cannot be ignored.  Best of luck with your future home projects!


Helpful Resources:

Better Contractors Bureau

Better Business Bureau

Consumer Reports

National Association of the Remodeling Industry




How to Choose the Right Home Improvement Contractor


By Shannon Roxborough


With so many contractors of every stripe out there—the good, the bad and the ugly—finding a competent contractor for your home improvement or repair project can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Here are some guidelines and advice to help you make the right choice.


Get “In the Know” About Contractors

Among the best ways to prepare yourself for finding your ideal contractor is to inform and educate yourself, starting with home improvement terminology. Learning how to talk the talk by mastering industry jargon will help you understand contractor speak, which can be incomprehensible gobbledygook to the uninitiated. Then, learn everything you can about what’s involved with the type of project you’re interested in. Doing so can save you valuable time and money in the long term.


Ask for Recommendations

One of the best places to start is close to home. So, ask for referrals from family and friends who have had positive experiences with their contractors. Another good starting point is the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, a non-profit national trade association. Visit the NARI website for a list of members in your area. Though often officially prohibited from making referrals, ask a building inspector which contractors routinely meet code requirements for the type of work you need. It’s also a good idea to inquire about tradesmen with good reputations at your local Big Box store, hardware or lumberyard. And, last but not least, pick the brain of another home improvement pro. Good contractors in one field likely have professional contacts with other specialties.


Tap Professional Resources

John Hoagland, the owner of Trinity Home Renovations, a Rochester, N.Y.-based contractor with more than 25 years’ experience with a range of home remodeling projects, suggests steering clear of contractors not registered with the Better Business Bureau. Hoagland, who takes pride in his reputation for honesty and quality work, also urges homeowners to ensure that contractors have adequate insurance for all employees and subcontractors and be able to produce a copy of their insurance certificate for verification. And, Hoagland says in states where licenses are required, it’s a good idea to confirm their licensing status with the state government, which can usually be done online.


Conduct Phone Interviews

After you’ve put together a list of good prospects, quickly narrow the pool by calling each contractor and asking them the following questions:


  • Do you take on projects of the size and scope that I need?
  • Can you provide a list of previous clients I can contact for references?
  • Are you able to put me in touch with your suppliers or bank so I can determine your financial standing?
  • Will you handle the job personally or use subcontractors. If the latter, how long have you worked with your subs?
  • How many other projects would you be doing at the same time as mine?


After the interviews, evaluate the contractors’ responses to determine the best candidates and move on to the next phase of the decision-making process.


Schedule a “Free” Estimate

Narrow it down to three or four contractors for face-to-face meetings to discuss details of the project and costs. Contractors should be able to adequately answer all of your questions about any aspect of the job. Get a written estimate and trust your instincts.


Don’t Rely Solely on Cost

It may sound counter-intuitive, but pass on unusually low bids. All too often, lowball estimates mean a less competent contractor, someone who cuts corners or a person who is desperate for work. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Do Your Homework

Once you settle on the contractor you’re most comfortable with, get in touch with former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. If at all possible, go a step further and visit a current job site to get a first-hand look at the contractor in action. Take note of contractor-client interaction, the condition of the job site and overall professionalism. Check with the state consumer protection agency and the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau for a history of complaints or disputes.


Sign on the Dotted Line

Put the project in writing in the form of a contract that spells all the specifics of the project: payment terms, start date and proposed timeline, work to be performed and a detailed material list. Also, require the contractor to obtain lien releases from all suppliers and subcontractors, which protects you if they don’t pay their bills.


Shannon Roxborough is a widely published freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines, newspapers and websites. An avid home improvement enthusiast, he has more than a decade of DIY experience and previously ran a property maintenance business.