Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Change your clocks- CHECK YOUR BATTERIES. Save a life w/ SMOKE DETECTORS


When we burn dinner and the alarm goes off, we act instantly waving towels and blankets but, what happens if it were to remain silent? We should treat a quiet detector as important as a buzzing one.  U.S. Fire Deaths have decreased in the past 10 years and now cities like our hometown of Baltimore have programs that give away and install FREE smoke and CO2 detectors (click here for more info). Yet, last December many of us had to fight back tears when we read about a fire that killed 2 children just days before Christmas.  Then in January- a TRAGIC story was told of 6 children dying in a single house fire. 

I don't want to feed you more stories but, I don't want to spout off "fire death statistics" treating each of these cases as a number. 

As a Father I can only recommend we swallow the lump in our throats and take the inititive to help our families and neighbors.

Please join me in spreading the word:- November 5th, 2017 is daylight savings. 


Change your clocks/ Check your Batteries. 
Twice per year we get a reminder to test and check one of the the best life saving device in our homes.

Each time the clocks change, you should change your batteries.  Don't hesitate over the cost, don't compare "hardwired" vs. battery operated--- CHANGE THE BATTERIES! 
*most take a 9V


While you are there- inspect the Smoke Detectors: 

1. Replace all Smoke/ CO2 Detectors every 10 years (manufacturer date should be inside).
2. Make sure they are clean and clear of dust- lightly vacuum if possible then test afterwards. 
3. Always make sure there is no paint on the Detectors.
4. Push the button and test. If you Smoke Detector is hardwired- the other alarms in the house should go off. 

Finally:
Share these tips with your neighrbors and friends. If you know of someone unable to check their own Smoke/ CO2 Detectors- lend a helping hand and offer to do it for them. If you cannot do this- please, let us know and we can try to get someone out for free.

Thank you.




A Training Excercise for Firefighters. But, shows the power of a fire.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

What makes Tree change their color? Why are they sometimes dull?

Do you ever wonder what makes leaves change color in Autumn?
What about why some years they are bright, 
others. . . not so much-

Every fall we marvel at the bright colors. This change signals the “most satisfying season” according to psychological studies but some years the “marvel” is less than others.
 

First, why do leaves change? (*non-technical)
The intensity of leaf color in the fall is mostly due to weather patterns throughout the summer and early fall. A good “growing season” with ample moisture, and plenty of sunlight make for a healthy tree (thus brighter color potential). Drastic changes, drought, and other weather patterns can effect the tree’s health causing a blander leaf in the fall. Once the tree starts changing (September), the tree is in an especially sensitive period.

The Red/Orange/ Yellow colored chemicals are actually in the leaf all summer. However, they are hidden behind the reen color we see (Chlorophyl). The tree stops producing Chlorophyl when sunlight starts getting  and the tree actually begins “cutting off” it’s connection to the leaf. As the green diminishes- we see the bright aura of colors that are left behind until leaves fall (BTW- EFynch offers raking and leaf service providers).

So what does this mean for us. . . .  ?

This year the Baltimore and Washington area had a strange weather pattern. On paper, there was more than enough moisture but the rain was concentrated and many trees may experienced “drought conditions” periodically. Depending on the health of the tree, it would have been able to efficiently store nutrients and will be just fine. But, for many, this was stressful and probably will reduce the overall color on a lot of trees.

September is also a big factor. We received half the rain as normal. The early cold spell was good to accelerate the change but those few 90 degree days may have put stress on the “jump starters”. Not to mention you could argue we are in a mini-drought right now but this may change soon (as of 10/5/17).

Our guess is that this year will be “spotty” with the healthier trees still having some pop and certain species and older trees providing most of the show.

The movie style, drive down a brightly colored street is probably not going to happen but the overall contrast may be pretty interesting because there will be a drastic difference between the healthy trees and less healthy.

Your guess is as good as ours and we’d love to see your reporting. Have a great and happy Autumn!

Summary:

Why they change:
- Healthy and happy trees can be brighter.
- Cool nights in the fall help the faster reduction of Chlorophyl (green color) and give us longer/ brighter colors.
- Trees typically drop their leaves at the same time each year but drought, rain, and wind in the fall can accelerate the shedding and virtually “skip” the bright color time.

Our 2017 Effect:
- Sporadic rain in the summer hurt some trees.
- Early September cool weather helped but late month heat did not.
- Potential storm mid-October will accelerate leaf shedding.
- Probably not the best year for viewing and will be slightly below average.


Other interesting facts (if you’re a dork like us):
- In the Northern Hemisphere- all trees have grown their summer vegetation by June.
- Under the leaves we see this year already exists the following year’s leaf buds
- Speaking of next year- a majority of the carbohydrates in a plant are actually being stored for the following year as well. Next year the tree will work to rebuild for the year after that.
- Unlike spring flowers- The approximate date for the fall change always remains the same. Weather has a greater effect on spring growth timelines.
- Scientist know how and why leaves change color. They still cannot understand why (*although there are some theories- see below).
 - For some reason trees don’t keep their leaves during the winter and choose hibernation


*For some reason Trees do not keep their leaves during the winter. Most think this is due to a lack of strong sunlight (which I would personally believe because I know solar panels produce less electricity from direct sunlight in the winter vs. summer- so would my summer sunburn). Other possible causes have to do with typically drought conditions and harsher weather.

This completely non-scienetific but we hope it makes for good conversation. I've always been told water has the greatest impact on brightness of leaves. We shall see. EFynch is a home improvement community based in Baltimore and also service the entire Washington D.C. Area. For more information visit www.efynch.com and get in touch with us!

Some of the information above was provided by the USDA. A detailed explination can be found here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

You cannot afford to have a dirty DRYER VENT!


Possibly the most overlooked home maintenance issue I find is your dryer vent. It is very easy to forget this annual service but can have a pretty big impact if ignored for too long.

We remember to clean the lint trip after each load but what about the little dust bunnies that escape the dryer but don't quite get to freedom? There is a pipe that connects your dryer to the outside air and is needed to let heat escape and keep lint out from back-flowing into your home.

Here are our top (and pretty strong) reasons to keep this chore on the top of your fall checklist:

Clogged vs. Clean Vent
1. SAFETY: Over 15,000 fires each year are started because of dryers. 80% of these are reported to be from heat buildup in dryer vents. Lint and/ or animal nests can collect in your vent and cause this hazard.

2. AIR QUALITY: It is hard to argue a risk of fire one minute then mold in another however, for dryers this is a real problem. When clogged, the dryer releases enough hot air to dry trapped lint close to the appliance (fire risk) but as you go farther away moisture builds and creates a "mold playground" reducing air quality and/ or back-flow of air back into your home!

3. EFFICIENCY: If your dryer "feels tired" lately and is taking longer to dry your clothes, this can very easily be poor ventilation. A clogged dryer vent can reduce your dryer's efficiency up to 75%, taking longer or a 2nd run when doing it's job.

4. REDUCE MAINTENANCE: Think about the wear and tear on your machine when constantly working overtime. It takes more energy to push the air through a clogged vent and will take longer to dry (Imagine driving your car down the highway in 1st gear and the strain it causes). If saving energy isn't you thing- how about you stop being a jerk and let the poor guy work easier :) It will certainly increase the overall lifespan of your appliance.

In addition to cleaning the dryer vent once per year, we recommend that you also perform a regular inspection of the outside vent cap. Make sure the vent opens when the dryer is turned on but closes completely when not running (see picture below).

For more information and home tips visit EFynch.com "The Friendly Community for Home Improvement".
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Typical dryer vent. Closed when dryer is turned off. Open when turned on. Keeps animals out.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Prep Your Veggie Garden For Winter: Enjoy benefits next summer.


Baltimore, MD: As we approach winter and I picked my final veggies from the summer stock, it is a good time to develop the game plan for winter. Know when to clear out your garden and do "prep" work prior to the next growing season.

Here are a few easy steps to put your summer vegetable garden to bed for the winter season:

1. Remove all annual plants after they have completed harvest: Pull them up by the roots - do not just "cut". Surprisingly, dying vegetation can host bacteria and disease that can stunt next year's growth. Leaving your plants in place do not act as compost instead, you risk them rotting and stunting next year's harvest.

2. Wait until the first good frost, then cut or prune perennials back.

3. Lightly till the ground. This exposes some of the fungus/ bacteria and will ultimately kill it.

4. Consider adding a finished compost to the dirt prior to tilling.

4. Keep fall foliage clear from the area and make sure to not let leaves gather/ rot here.  You can save these for compost but, not in your garden.

5.  If you choose to use a winter ground cover such as pine branches to protect bulbs, wait until after a good freeze. By then rodents have already found their "winter hideout". Using a cover too early will invite them to your garden, your bulbs will become a nice snack mid-winter!

Thinking today will help you develop a plan over the next few weeks. This plan will make for a great summer crop and you will appreciate the little bit of effort in the spring when your garden is producing earlier and more than ever before!

Plus--- who doesn't like an excuse to do yard work on a crisp fall day:)



The information above is for conversation purposes only. Brought to you by EFynch.com- Maryland and Washington D.C.'s newest homeowner and handyman resource to get work done.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Regular Homeowner Disaster Preparedness: Simple lessons from a prepper for everyday families.


(Baltimore, MD)- After watching Hurricane Harvey rip through Texas (still ongoing as I write), it is reminder of the simple steps we can take at home to protect our families. Although the Mid-Atlantic has not experienced a storm of this magnitude, we have to remember  30"+ snowstorms that leave even the heardiest of adventures stuck for a few days.

You do not need to be a "prepper" in order to prepare. Having a storm or natural disaster plan is simply responsible and we want to help make it easy.

1. Have supplies
2. Have a Plan
3. Stay Informed

Below is a list of items we recommend. We broke this into 2 categories then discuss the benefits of "staying informed". The first are necessary and not having this in your home AT ALL TIMES is simple irresponsible.  The 2nd are items will make life at home easier and help you in the worst of times.


1.  ITEMS FOR SAFETY

Absolutely Necessary Items:
 - Prepare this as a kit. Have set aside in your home at all times, only to be used in case of emergencies. Keep note of expiration dates and rotate items which risk going bad.

1. Water- 1 Gallon per person, per day (3 days recommended)
2. Medicine- A 3 day supply of all medications PLUS a selection of others (pain relievers, comfort medications like stomach relief, gauze bandages, bandaids, hydrodren peroxide, etc.)
3. Canned Food- 3 meals per day per person. Consider dried fruit and canned goods (Don't forget the can opener)
4. Emergency Blankets
5. Battery Powered Radio
6. Photocopies of Identification for household members
7. Paper copies of important phone numbers
8. Whistle
9.  Flashlight
10.  Backpack


Other Items that may help:
If you are in it for the "long haul" these will help protect your family and keep you comfortable. They can also help in larger emergencies where evaucuation may be required.

1. Cell phone charger and battery backup
2. Sunscreen
3. Hand Crank Radio
4. Camp Stove (for use outdoors)
5. Spare Propane for gas grill (use outside)
6. Multi-purpose tool
7. Duct Tape
8. Extra cash
9. Board Games/ cards
10. Spray Paint

In addition to the items above, keep track of readily accesible items that are already in your home including:

1. Winter/ waterproof Boots
2.  Sweatshirts/ Coats/ Gloves/ Hats
3.  Packaged Foods (chips, gronola bars, bottled drinks, fruit)- these should be consumed first.
4. Sleeping bags
5. Pet Items

2. THE PLAN

Involve the entire family in the planning phase. Most major emergencies come with warning (snowstorms, hurricanes) but some may not (Tornado, Derecho!) Have a detailed plan on how to handle each of the following and make sure everyone understands the plan to enact it even on their own. Consider the following in determinaton:

1. Chossing to stay home: What are you flags to leave the house beforehand (go to a hotel), or leave the area. Governments usually give advice on this but if you area is prone to flooding you may want to use more discretion.

2. If you stay home, how long can you stay and if you have to leave, how can you leave and where? Know how long you can survive comfortably and use this in your consideration.

3.  If you have to leave, have a plan on where to go. Speak with family or friends out of town before the storm, have "Plan B" on standby.

4. Consider your family situation: I have 3 children under 5. Even a small chance of power loss could be uncomfortable so I may leave sooner than others. 

5. Have an emergency plan- what to do if disaster strikes unannounced or if one family member is not present when something happens. Have a meeting place (when I was younger or in college it was my Grandmother's house in New Jersey if SHTF and we were seperated--- many families are challenged with this right now because the National Guard arrived at a meeting spot while another family member was retrieving an item or pet back at the house).

6. STAY CALM- Bear Grylls, the ultimate survivor, always says a major factor in surviving any situation comfortably is attitude. With a plan comes confidence and calmness. Material possesions are just that- don't sweat the property loss during an emergency and stay positive.


3.  STAY INFORMED

Every problem has a solution and we are lucky to live in a society where you will never be forgotten. The key is to be informed with regard to the status of the disaster, prep beforehand and make an educated and logical decision to survive until help comes or the disaster has receded.

During the disaster, following the news will alert to when an alteration is or if opportunities to find relief arrive (water dropoffs, etc.).

Staying informed includes both listening to the radio/ tv and contact with family members. During tough times rumors will start flying and incorrect information can hurt you. Knowing where you family is at all times and what they are experiencing first hand will make the entire situation better.

CONCLUSION
Some of the items listed may not have an obvious usefullness. I will explain those below. The key with everything is to make sure you can survive for at least 3 days without outside help or contact. There are VERY few scenarios where help cannot come after a few days. Alerting the authorities when you are in diress is important, next is to stay in contact with friends/ family/ neighbors to make sure they are not in trouble.

Always stay indoors, monitor the news, don't touch downed power lines and help each other out.





*******

Explination of some items on my list:

1. Water is the #1 priority. We cannot survive without it and when you start dehydration your judgement is effected and you will experience terrible side effects. Use bottled water and if possible- fill the bathtub for pets or emergency drinking situations. Having extra water in the tub can also be good for personal hygeine which helps anyone keep a strong and positive morale.

2. Paper copies of important phone numbers: Because your cell phone might be dead.

3. Whistle: To call for help.

4. Sunscreen/ Boots/ Backpack- Because you may have to walk for help. Those items will help if you are stuck outside for a while and carry emergency/ personal items.

5. Duct Tape: Because the world is better for this great invention- you may need it--- who knows?!

6. Spray Paint: If things are bad and you are in duress- painting help is not out of the question. In Houston, people were stranded in their attics this past week. Painting S.O.S. or HELP on your garage door signals anyone who can assist you to come and help.


Disclaimer: This information was drafted and provided by EFynch. 
It is meant to discussion purposes only. Information was prepared by data and recommendations from the CDC. It is important that each person consult with several sources and develop a personal plan.



Monday, August 28, 2017

EFynch Escrow- the Protection and Security that helps you.



Explanation of EFynch Escrow- simplified.

(Baltimore, MD)- The EFynch Escrow system is based on years of experience in contracting.

There is no additional costs for this system and although sometimes credit card fees apply, contractors have included all fees already in bids provided to you through the EFynch system.  If you are told otherwise please contact us immediately- this is against our contractor terms of service and is false.

*** We recommend using the Escrow System for ALL transactions *** Unless in writing, for your specific job,  EFynch has NOT granted permission for any contractor to bypass this system. ***

The EFynch Escrow works as follows:
 
1. After hiring, use your credit card, paypal, or venmo to post the funds.

2. The funds are held in a 3rd party escrow. They are fully refundable if you are not 100% satisfied. Funds are still under your control and are never released until you agree to doing so.

3. By putting up the funds early, this acts as a natural motivator for the contractor (stick and carrot).

4. Once the job is complete, the contractor must click "complete" on their phone. As the homeowner you have the ability to review, inspect, then finally sign off on the work- releasing the funds.

5. AT THIS TIME you rate the contractor. With EFynch, ONLY completed projects can be rated unless another circumstace has been approved (i.e. the contractor failed to perform and you email us to report).


BENEFITS of the EFynch Escrow:


- Security of Payment

- EFynch Escrow verifies contractor identity, address and status in the EFynch system with every transaction.

- Various payment options.

- 100% refundable (in full or partial).


The EFynch escrow can be very powerful and provide value and comfort the transaction. If you have any questions, please contact us through the EFynch website.




Q & A

Is there any cost for EFynch Escrow?
When you get a bid on EFynch, all fees are already included in that bid. There is a cost to use EFynch escrow and that is shown to the Pro when they have placed your bid*. The fee that is paid for EFynch Escrow is the greater of 2% of $10. We felt paying $10 on a $300 project or $20 on a $1,000 project is a small price for great security.

*CLARIFICATION: When a contractor places a bid on EFynch, all fees are included in that bid and shown to the contractor up front. By placing a bid, the contractor has agreed to pay us this (small) fee. At any time if you encounter someone who claims we charge "additional fees", please let us know. We feel this statement would be dishonest and it is not someone we want working on our member's homes.


Can I use EFynch Escrow even if I did not hire through EFynch?
Yes! EFynch Escrow provides security. If you want to pay through EFynch Escrow you are able to do so, even if you did not hire. Please contact us to arrange this.

Where is the money held?
EFynch Escrow Funds are held by a 3rd party- (a company owned by Paypal). EFynch CANNOT touch you money and the only power we have is to refund this in the event you are not satisfied. You money is held in escrow but is under your control.


What if the work is not completed to satisfaction?
 If work is not 100% to your satisfaction, we can refund it fully. If a request comes in, we always work our hardest to remedy the situation, even scheduling an alternative professional to complete the work when possible. This is part of our promise to help you with any home improvement project- from start to finish.

What is the verification process?
 EFynch Escrow is part of the process for our contractor verification. The Maryland Home Improvement Commission views "financial solvency" as an important factor in trusted someone. Our verification system automatically (at the start of each job) verifies the banking information of the contractor. Included with this is their banking account and related address.

How long until my Contractor is paid?
Work is done. Contractor presses "Complete Job" on their phone and you "Agree to Release Payment". The process starts immediately. You should receive an email with confirmation and the money is released to the  Pro's bank as soon as possible. Normal processing time occurs (like a check), but this process gives everyone comfort that funds are in process.






Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hello September- Autumn Ideas for home Maintenance.


Baltimore, Maryland: As we approach Autumn our attention will undoubtedly turn from summer fun back to regular business. Fall is one of my favorite times of year because the days are cooler, football is on TV, and everything just seems to feel "cozy".

Although you may not have a pumpkin latte yet, September is a great time to start thinking about early fall maintenance which can save you time and trouble later in the season. Working on some items now can save you from the "Late Autumn Rush".

Here are some of our recommendations for early fall Home Improvement Projects:

Exterior

1. Inspect your driveway: Winter is the HARDEST time on your driveway. Ice can fill in cracks causing them to expand. You cannot seal a driveway or any cracks once the night time temperature drops below 50 degrees. "Crackfill" can be purchased from your local hardware store and is a good DIY project. Asphalt Sealing is something we recommend you hire a pro because it is messy and most store brands have poor quality.

2.  Caulk windows: The mild temperatures are comfortable for outdoor work, they also keep old caulking pliable and easy to remove. The great thing about re-caulking your windows (besides saving energy) is that I always make this a "side project". Keep your materials accessible and do a few windows at a time when the urge strikes. For me, this is an oddly satisfying project and squeezing a single window during Halftime is possible.

3. Outdoor Painting: Just like the previous two, paint should not be applied when cold temperatures arrive.  Because winter a darker time of year, moisture can tend to stick around longer therefore painted surfaces suffer. A complimentary job to caulking is repainting. This time of year I like to skip the decorative shutters and focus on the front door, window sills, etc. Regular inspecting and painting does more than look good- it protects. THIS INCLUDED DECKS!!!



Interior

 1. Change your air filter EVERY MONTH: Fall Allergies and dust can be harsh. Keep a clean air flow in your home. Especially if you are like me and enjoy opening windows at night!

2. Have your Chimney Cleaned: Do it now and avoid the rush later. Besides, what is better than a cool October day and your first fire:)

3. Vacuum/ test your smoke detectors: Speaking of the fireplace, you want to make sure your smoke and CO2 detectors are in working order. Vacuum and make sure they are free of dust then test each one. I'd stick to replacing batteries with the time change.

So that is our advice. We hope you are having a great summer and look forward to working with you very soon. Please use the advice above for conversation purposes only. The information is reliable but we recommend you check with a local and licensed professional prior to taking on any of the tasks. Do not start a project unless you are fully comfortable in every aspect of the job, this includes ladders, etc. 



If you have any questions or would like to find a home professional or handyman to complete any of the tasks above, please visit EFynch to find your local pro and get competitive bids while protecting your privacy. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Baltimore Startup EFynch.com Expanding into D.C.
3,000 members, $250k in savings, and strict privacy features, group expands platform to serve the 3.8m households in B/W Corridor.

Baltimore, MD: When homeowners think of Craigslist most have preconceived notions. Some of these may be positive but very few are comfortable when it comes to the security and reliability the site offers.  Baltimore based Startup/ Platform, EFynch.com is offering a product for those with this concern and it is now available in the entire D.C. Metro Area.

By taking a more structured but still open approach to the popular Trading Post, EFynch has several user features that include competitive bid collection with a strict privacy policy. "EFynch privately connects a homeowner with the guy in a flannel shirt and truck, or the commercial contractor that has down time between projects. We look for the opportunity and by being the only Home Improvement site offering the full spectrum of options and our homeowners are saving tremendously" said Teris Pantazes, EFynch Co-Founder who estimates savings have reached over $250,000 in the 10 months since their launch in Baltimore.

Earlier this summer the company announced the hiring of former Ambassador Charles Paul to lead these expansion efforts (Paul was the youngest foreign Ambassador to serve in Washington D.C.). Now with 3,000 members and a following reaching over 10,000 individuals, EFynch is betting the privacy factor will be received favorably in Washington D.C. because sites like Homeadvisor and Thumbtack utilize "pay per lead tactics". Basically, the sale of a homeowners information to willing buyers or contractors as a Lead. A practice that is becoming more common but controversial. **think of Justice Clarence Thomas submitting for a toilet repair and anyone being able to buy his home address for $20?**

EFynch plans to hire several new staff members for this expansion. They currently have an office in Baltimore's City Garage and are in discussions to open a 2nd (regional) office in Arlington. Questions may be directed to Co-Founder Teris Pantazes. Information below:
 
Media Contact:
Teris Pantazes
Co-Founder and CEO
(410) 562-9103

Monday, August 7, 2017

Maryland Residential Electricity: What and Why a 3rd Party Energy Contract.

Homeowner and Handyman Tips from EFynch. 

Baltimore, MD:  The other day I heard from a homeowner who was approached by a door-to-door salesman "selling electricity". Although this sounds odd and I do not necessarily agree with the tactic, it is indeed possible and legitimate (or possibly legitimate).

Maryland Energy is confusing at first but simple to explain.
 

Here is the short version (I am using a Baltimore home as the example).

- BGE is your Distributor. They own and maintain the power lines, and handle the payments (sending you a bill, setting up service, etc.). They do not generate any electricity and are a regulated utility. You receive a bill from BGE then BGE distributes those funds to the various entities involved with getting the electricity to your home. Besides maintaining the power lines, they are like the bookkeeper. 

- The Supplier of electricity is NOT BGE- The supplier is also known as the Generator. Historically the Generator had been "Constellation Energy" (now Exelon). They actually own the power plant and are a separate legal entity than BGE. Today, you can choose your own supplier which can save money or allow you to obtain energy directly from a renewable energy power plant.

How Does this work?

Think of the energy grid as a big water tank with several pipes running up and your water supply pipe coming down. The water in the tank represents the electricity that everyone in your community uses. It does not matter where the water comes from, as long as there is water.

Almost anyone can install a generator if they meet certain guidelines. That means there can be several generators (or water sources) putting energy onto the grid (or water into the "water tank").

The amount of electricity put into the grid by each Generator is recorded and credited to that Generator's account. Our local grid is called "PJM" and spans from here as far west as Illinois. PJM is a neutral party that organizes the entire process and keeps records.
The PJM Operator then takes that information and works with your local distributor to make sure that the energy you use is paid for then gets reimbursed to the supplier/ generator.


What about the salesman or other 3rd parties?

When someone claims they can "sell" you electricity, they are a 3rd party supplier. We are all familiar with names like Constellation Energy (now Exelon), BGE, and Pepco from our bills but in 1999 Maryland De-Regulated electricity which allows for new entities to generate electricity (this also happened as renewable energy took off so it fueled growth).

Because of De-Regulation, competition was allowed to enter the market and now you can actually direct BGE to purchase your electricity from a specific source. The salesman likely has a "source" and is selling you electricity, which will change who BGE pays. The registration process is simpler than the actual explanation- when you switch it takes a few clicks of a button.

Why choose a 3rd party Supplier? 
It is 100% up to you and I am no longer involved in this industry (*this is not an advertisement in any way).

You can choose a 3rd party supplier for many reasons but the most common is to save money- which I recommend!

A 3rd party supplier can typically use their own credit strength or a promise to purchase a large amount of energy from a power plant to get a " discount". They sell that electricity to you and share the savings. 

You can also choose to obtain a renewable energy source like I do. When I purchased energy through whomever BGE set me up with in setting up my account. I found a 3rd party renewable energy supplier that with a 1-year contract, I was able to obtain electricity for 20% below my previous rate. There are different types of renewable energy purchases which include directly from a nearby solar/ wind field or to purchase a "bundle" which is energy produced locally but offset by a wind park somewhere else in the country or even world (another article I should write).

Closing:

Research and review your energy supplier. I am not going to recommend anyone but you can either contact the Maryland Energy Administration or simply google "Maryland energy supplier platform". You should be able to enter you basic information then search and find a contract that meets your desires. Most people save bid on their energy expenses after doing this and when I was in solar I recommended this to ALL of my customers.  

*Disclaimer- EFynch is not a home improvement community but is a platform for home improvement services and advice. All work is completed by a 3rd party and EFynch makes no representations to the work being performed beyond what is discussed in our terms and conditions.  The views expressed above are not that of EFynch but are of the Author: Teris Pantazes. Teris was in the solar energy industry prior to joining EFynch but is no longer involved. The views are his opinions only. Any actions your take shall not be done so based on this information as it is deemed reliable but must be verified by your own research. This information is for discussion purpose ONLY.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Homeowner Tip: Real world ways to beat the heat and save energy.


The next few days can see temperatures over 100 degrees in Baltimore and Washington D.C. This causes a HUGE strain on your home, your pets, and yourself.

Countless articles have been posted with the “best things to do in heat”. Each is with a smile and few plugs for a paid advertisers.

Here are "Real World, you can do it now tips. The key is to keep your home at a "normal" temperature without having your AC work overtime. It is counter-intuitive but raising your thermostat slightly can make a big difference on extremely hot days. Whether you do this or not, the tips below can help no matter what.

HOMEOWNER TIPS:

1. Close your blinds curtains (as discussed previously, here).

2. Close the doors to unused rooms that face the sun (*note- we recommend against fully closing vents in those rooms as the area can get "too hot" and actually radiate adjoining areas).

3. Run Fans (typically, ceiling fans should run counter-clockwise).

4. Hang out in lower parts of your home (basement, etc.).

5. Grill or Eat out! (forego using your oven).

6. Use lighweight sheets and a blanket on your bed. "Less is more".

7. Eat Soup! This really works, so does spicy food. Just as in the next tip, it can jump-start your body's internal cooling system (a popular trick in Southeast Asia).

8. (Seriously)- Go Outside! Spend time in the shade but take in the heat. A few minutes outside initiates your body's internal cooling process making the indoors feel cooler and your body continue regulating it's temperature hours after heat exposure.

8.  BUT, drink cold liquids (besides hydrating, it helps keep body temp lower).

9. Take a cold shower.

DO NOT OVER EXERT YOURSELF. Your grass DOES NOT need to be cut today (it will only hurt it anyway).  


Stay Hydrated and keep an eye on Pets (even your neighbor’s pets).



PLEASE be vigilant for kids in cars!!!!!!!
 
*Not a 100% accurate story: The house pictures above was once a 3 story colonial painted a cool "tiffany blue". They didn't take our advice and now you see the remnants.


Hope this helps. For more tips follow this blog and remember to visit EFynch to register for more homeowners tips, discounts, or help in finding the next home repair proffesional or handyman in your area. 

 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hire a Handyman- Risk Identity Theft- The Pay Per Lead Industry you don't know exists


Baltimore, MD: You've seen the ads on TV. By using that service the trusted home repair advisor who has made the "list" is only a click away. Your home improvement/ handyman fears are now diminished and the smiling (sometimes made up) personality is assuring your comfort.

However, there is a glaring problem and it has to do with profits and the security of your personal information. 

*The "Before We Start Disclaimer": Not every online home improvement company does what I am about to describe but, it is prevailant. It generates fast and easy income and even us at EFynch had once been heavily advised to partipcate. But in truth, it is simply sleazy (IMO)- we are not participating in this practice.

Pay Per Lead is the horrible and deceptive practice that even the well-known brands in home improvement use.

They collect your information (often without your knowledge) and then sell it to local contractors. Sometimes for a hefty fee and without your knowledge. *It is rumored that one large group has a 300 person, off-shore call center focused just on this task.

The idea is simple- you go to a website or even answer an add for a local handyman service such as the one below.  Your information is collected, pooled, advertised and then sold to anyone willing to pay the fee ($5 per lead up to $600!)

I have personally called these numbers and spoke with an "answering service" (like it is 1995!) who said someone would call me back. My information was taken and within 20 minutes I began to recieve calls from 3 to 5 different contractors. Through discussion with one of the salesman, I found out they actualy paid a service $60 for my information. By my calculations, when I placed the phone call to the (not) local company, I netted that group at least $200 in fees.

The problem with this is two-fold. 

1. I did not know my information was being "sold". In fact, I was specifically told that I called a local company and that I was speaking to their answering service. There was no privacy policy given or respect for my data (which is now on several lists I am sure).

2. The local contractor I spoke with told me they close 1 in 5 of the leads they recieve (20%). Calculating these numbers, it translates to $300 in acquisition costs which he must then pass onto the owner (myself in this case). The project I was calling for would have been approximately $1,500 therefore 20% of what I pay my local proffesional is actually going into the pocket of a middle man!

This was sent to EFynch.
So, you unsuspectingly provided you name/ phone number/ etc. and it is sold off. You are now payingis  many of these groups DO NOT CARE WHO PURCHASED YOUR INFORMATION and they are not vetted. In fact, even EFynch was soliciated by a competitor because these guys use special tools to "scrape" the internet for data then offer it to the "highest bidder" Let that sink in- my competitor contacted me to sell a "lead"!
higher rates for home improvement services and the most dangerous aspect

EFynch has adds but always clearly states how we work, they approached us because their simplified system thought we were a contractor.


Pay Per Lead is a gross violation of trust and in my opinion tarneshes the experience for both homeowners and contractors alike. As long as I run EFynch I will make sure to work hard and rid the Home Improvement Industry of this practice- it serves no one but the salesman on the other end of the phone.

Please share. . .


Pay Per Lead Examples: Ads taken from Craigslist, only a small mention of "referred by" in the bottom of the ad. Same ads, different cities.





*Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely the views of the author, Teris Pantazes and are meant to be made for discussion purposes and not home improvement work advice. EFynch is a communication system and this article does not represent the thoughts or opinions of EFynch or neccessarily any of the employees or owners of EFynch.  The information presented including images and references to phone calls and discussions were personally made by the author and can be provided upon valid request.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Asking for a Contractor Recommendation via Social Media? What you need to know first and how to avoid pitfalls



Baltimore, MD: We've all encountered it. You open Facebook or another social platform and see someone asking for a recommendation for a service. Typically a handyman, plumber,  etc (we will keep it to Home Improvement for this article).

Over the next few hours your timeline will fill with the posting person's friends and neighbors posting then, passively arguing whose contractor is better. Want to start a real debate? Forget politics, ask for a plumber instead. See below:

Recommendation #1: "Call Tom, his number is 410-555-5555"
Recommendation #2: "Try Jim, his number is 443-555-5555, he did our work last year, he is great"
Recommendation #3: "Hey, last year I used Frank, he did a great job. He was prompt, fair priced, honest, sincere, etc. etc. etc."

Notice a pattern? The first person usually throws the minimum info out, then it progresses with more detail.

*Side note- I once saw a women recommend her roofer with a 5 paragraph dossier. When I had my contracting company I received praises from customers. Something that long may have raised the eyebrow of my wife and I suspect this was not an honest recommendation.


Here is why:
There is a psychology behind online recommendations and more often than not- you're getting what you paid for (which is nothing).

Studies have shown that as much as 85% of online service recommendation are NOT actually made because the recommended person received a great service. The truth is a majority of responses are for "Self Affirmation".  (We've all done, I admit doing it myself).

Why? 33% of American homeowners replied that finding the right handyman or professional is the toughest part of any home improvement projects.  The reason is the conflicting nature and uncertainty of information that can be found in various places.

Once we make a choice, we want to think we found the best deal and since you asked, we are asking you to affirm this by hiring my handyman.

*(let's face it- your local handyman is good- "the best"? probably a stretch because that title goes to Bob Villa and you didn't hire Bob Villa).

They aren't saying "hire my guy because he is (literally) the best". They are figuratively saying "hire my guy. If you do it will prove that I made the right decision before". (Don't believe me, make a recommendation and then see how you feel when your reply is ignored or not chosen- I've done this and it feels like rejection).

Then, what happens when 4 friends make a recommendation and you can only choose one? Because of this Self-Affirmation rule, you've basically just told 3 other people that you found a better option-how is that for sour grapes!

Our Advice: Asking for a recommendation is better left for direct contact with someone you know and trust. Blindly turning online to your "nextdoor" community is only an avenue for a sales pitch and in our opinion, this is NOT proper research. Most of that information is unverified.

Online reviews can be valuable but make sure to find out how they were collected (i.e.- we only allow VERIFIED transactions to be rated on EFynch. Many sites  blindly asks  to rate their "trusted pros", they never check if the work was completed and opens the door for fake reviews).

In the end- remember that your neighbor probably did not hire "THE BEST HANDYMAN EVER" so finding an acceptable candidate who meets your expectations (pricing, experience, efficiency, schedule, etc.) is the most important goal.


POST YOUR NEXT HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FOR FREE AT EFYNCH.COM. Privacy Protected- we never sell your information or give it to 3rd parties and you can save up to 40% on each project plus find the local/ independent pro already working in your neighborhood.  Click here.




This article is being shared by EFynch.com- a Baltimore Based Handyman and Homeowner community. It is meant to provide advice for conversational purposes and is not a solicitation to do physical work to your property. EFynch is your handyman and contractor resource in the Maryland, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia regions. EFynch is a software platform that shares information and we advise you to speak with a licensed contractor or handyman prior to doing any work on your home.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Weatherizing you home: 5 steps to saving cutting your energy bills in half.


Beating the heat and saving money: Tips on reducing your home's energy consumption.


Washington D.C.: Now that we are in the dog days of summer, you have to think about energy usage. Your AC can use the most energy of any appliance in your home. That sweet, satisfying, cool air that keeps your brow from collecting sweat is valuable and MUST be preserved.

Here in Maryland and Washington D.C., we get a dozen or so days over 100 degrees. Regardless of temperature- every day is filled with swampy and muggy air that is swimmingly. . . gross!

Below are a few quick tips on reducing your energy consumption and preserving the cold air. You can literally reduce your summer energy bills by 20% to 40% by following this information.

Summer energy efficiency is often overlooked when compared to the winterization of your home. That is because cold can cause damage and as humans, we fear it. However, when thinking of the wear and tear to your home HVAC and the energy required to run these systems- Summer is just as important (luckily, many of the tips below apply to both seasons):

1. Seal Air Leaks: 
               Caulk windows- also making sure they are all closed.
               Seal Attic Access
         

2. Prevent Heat transfer:
               Close doors and vents in unused rooms
               Invest in heavy drapes or thermal blinds- more info here


3. Insulate:
                Summer is as important as winter
                Insulate attic, crawl spaced (floors are important in summer)
                Again, caulk windows.
              

4. Use energy efficiently:
                 Raise AC temperature when you leave the home
                 Use fans to help cool/ move air
                

5. Change Habits:
                 Keep exterior doors closed
                 Hang out in rooms that tend to be cooler (basement), raise ac
                 Less indoor cooking
                 Take cooler showers

If you'd like more information on any of these items please feel free to contact us.

We'd be happy to recommend a energy audit company or implement many of the items above which have "off the shelf options".

Thank you! For more information visit EFynch- Your Neighborhood Home Improvement App.
 Members receive monthly updates and discounts on many of the services listed above.
Sign up for free here!


*The information above was provided by EFynch.com. This is meant for conversational purposes and we recommend you consult a licensed professional prior to taking any actions within your home. EFynch is a home improvement software company and does not perform any work to residential properties. Our service is available only in areas that are allowed by law.  EFynch currently operated in Maryland, Washinginton D.C., and Virginia.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Homeowners Guide: Copperhead Snakes- Maryland's Venemous Snake.


Copperhead population in the Baltimore and DC area has grown. 
How to identify one and what to do:
Homeowner Tips from EFynch



Baltimore, MD: Copperheads are 1 of 2 Venomous snakes found in the Baltimore and Washington areas (Maryland/ DC and Northern Virginia). *the other is a rattle snake mostly in the mountains. 

They are dangerous for several reasons. When scared, they do not tend to run like most snakes. Instead the Copperhead will "Freeze" in place, making it more likely to step on- then causing a bite.
Although copperheads rarely strike- when they do the bite can often be painful.

  
How to spot one:
Northern Copperhead in Southern Maryland.
- Babies are 8" and up.
- Adults can be 3.5' +/-
- Light brown body with dark brown "diamonds" or polygons on back.


What to do if you see one:

(1) Immediately clear the area of pets, family members, etc. Try to keep an eye on the snake.

(2a) If you are away from populated areas or in the woods- take note of the snake and leave it alone (it's his habitat- you are just a visitor).  Then notify a park ranger (if in a park). 

(2b) If you are near a populated area like your backyard, etc.- take note of the snake and contact an exterminator or animal control. Make sure to remember identifying features. DO NOT APPROACH THE SNAKE TO TAKE A PICTURE UNLESS YOU ARE A SAFE DISTANCE AWAY.

(3) If you need to re- enter the area. First check to see if the the snake has been removed (in a Park), or wear high boots and pants.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PICK UP A COPPERHEAD OR KILL IT YOURSELF. 



What if you are bitten:

For all those who have been bitten- medical attention is necessary:

- Healthy adults usually do not require an anti-venom however monitoring is needed.
- Copperhead snake bites can be very harmful for children and elderly and requires and anti-venom.
- The bite can be deadly to animals or those with pre-existing health issue. (Can we make a political joke here?)

If you should get bitten by a venomous snake, immediately contact the Maryland Poison Center at 800-222-1222. The Maryland Poison Center is open 24 hours a day, and is staffed by Professionals who trained in emergency cases like this.
According to Maryland DNR and the American Red Cross:

1. Wash the area with soap and water.
2. Immobilize the area bitten and keep LOWER than you heart.
3. Immediately seek medical attention. 
                                         DO NOT ICE- DO NOT ICE- DO NOT ICE


How to prevent them:

Just like any wild animal, Copperheads have a very particular environment. Making your yard appear a certain way is a threatening place for them and will keep it clear of snakes.

- Keep lawn mowed
- Avoid landscaping "ground cover", etc.
- Make sure your home is properly sealed with no large gaps.
- Keep food and trash in secure receptacles.
- Keep your yard free of debris, wood piles, trash.
- Do not allow standing water to stay on your property.

If you need help performing any of these tasks, please contact EFynch today.

*When hiking or in the wild, you cannot control these factors however we recommend paying attention to them and exercise caution when present.


RESOURCES: 
MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Photo Guide of Maryland Snakes

Since we just talked about snakes: 
29 Pictures of puppies who are too cute for words




*** DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE IS FOR CONVERSATION PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED THE ADVICE OF A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL, JUST RESEARCH PERFORMED BY US.  THE INFORMATION LISTED IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND YOU MUST CALL POISON CONTROL FOR EVERY SNAKE BITE. EACH SITUATION IS UNIQUE AND YOUR SCENARIO MAY BE DIFFERENT THEN WHAT WE DISCUSSED HERE.






Monday, June 12, 2017

Want the Uber of Home Services or Home Improvement? Check the Fees to make sure you get aren't blindsided!

The basic and and easy answer to why Baltimore Startup EFynch saves your money.


Baltimore, MD: Previously we have sent out an image which shows the cost to install a TV in Baltimore. When looking at that image (below), it is clear to see that EFynch’s prices are far less than other online options. The reason for this is little known withinin the Online Home Services Industry but, we are changing that.

Other guys- many with the same options we offer Maryland, D.C. and Virginia homeowners- take a S__T ton of money- that is the "easy answer".

Rates Calculated on information collected on 6/12/17. Information on the calculations can be found here.




As a former contractor who still does some handyman work from time to time- this could be one of the biggest problems I have with  guys in our industry. The handyman/ plumber/ contractor/ roofer- those are the guys out there swinging a hammer and risking their health or (even) lives to work on your home. Charging fees to use a service is acceptable (all of our sites cost money to develop and maintain)- but some are just simply absurd.

Below you will find how much those fees are for my fellow “Uber of On-Demand Home Services”.

We calculated each of our competitors fees based on a constant $250 project.



And for reference, here is the original image showing TV installation costs.






No, for the record- Online platforms are expensive to develop and require regular maintenance. They are supposed to bring efficiency to our lives and add convenience.  Uber is successful in the Freelance Economy because the benefits they bring to the table outweigh the costs.

Today- you can spend half a day calling around to get bids, explain/ re-explain your problem and meet with countless contractors BUT- there are better ways. Unfortunately for our competition- we simply do not see them as that alternative.

More information can be found at https://www.efynch.com

Next week we cover "Pay Per Lead"- a popular payment system among sales sites.










Calculations for Home Improvement Services rate calculations. Performed using Maryland/ D.C. Markets where possible.

On June 12th, 2017 EFynch shared a video.  In researching the tech startup wanting to be “next Uber” for Home Services, we found several companies (like us), all with aspirations to go national.

One thing we have a hard time stomaching is the fees that other companies charge. In this video we reference several fees and amounts for a $250 project (our current average project size).

Below is the calculations for  those fees.


Calculations performed by Teris Pantazes


1. Homee: Information provided via home website 855-Go-Homee.

Homee is an on-demand property maintenance service that provides customers with instant access to electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians and handymen from the convenience of their smart phones. The Homee app allows users to find GPS-located service providers and request immediate service. Homee is licensed, bonded, and insured. For more information or to install the Homee app, search for Homee On Demand in the app stores (6/12/17 12:05 PM ghttp://www.homeeondemand.com/news/press-releases/homee-demand-app-connects-nearby-handymen-electricians-hvac-repairmen-plumbers/)


CALCULATIONS:

They charge the homeowner a 30% premium on all jobs. If I am a “skilled” handyman, the homeowner has “agreed” to pay a 30% premium for finding me through homee.

$250 x 30% = $75 


Taskrabbit: Information provided via google.com and task rabbit website

Trusted Handyman Help For Your Home Projects. Low Rates & Reliable Service.
Background checked · Insured up to $1M · Over 1 Million Tasks Done · Cash free payment
Services: Handyman Services, Furniture Assembly, Moving Help, Cleaning Services, General Errands (6/17/17 12:19PM. https://support.taskrabbit.com/hc/en-us/articles/204411610-What-is-the-TaskRabbit-Service-Fee- and https://support.taskrabbit.com/hc/en-us/articles/204940570-The-TaskRabbit-Trust-Safety-Fee)

CALCULATIONS

TaskRabbit collects a 30% of the total transaction when passing the funds from the consumer to the provider. They also charge a 7.5% Trust and Safety Fee which is paid by the consumer. This fee pays for Insurance, Customer Support, and Tasker Vetting.

$250 x 30% = $75
$250 x 7.5%= $18.75

Total Fees $93.75

Round up to $94

TAKL: Information provided via google.com and TAKL website and App.

Find local background checked providers on-demand to check off your chore list- lawn care, handyman services, cleaning services, junk removal & more.

CALCUALTIONS.

Takl charges providers 30% of total preset project fee. There is a blended rate if you are “requested” 20%, Add ons are 10% and providers and handymen keep all of their tips.

Takl charges contractors/ providers/ handyman 30% for jobs. (https://support.takl.com/hc/en-us/articles/217734977-What-are-the-provider-pay-rates- 6/12/17- 12:26pm)

$250 x 30% = $75

When you purchase a service through takl App, they charge an additional 9% service fee- image attached. 6/12/17- 12:26pm

$250 x 9% = $22.50

Total Fees: $97.50



HANDY: Information provided via google.com and conversation with Handy Advisor and GlassDoor

Book Professional Baltimore Cleaners On Demand. Next-Day Availability.
300k 5-Star Ratings · Affordable Pricing · Trusted Professionals · 3.5M+ Cleanings Completed
Services: Home Cleaning, Furniture Assembly, TV Mounting

Handy Charges hourly rates then sends a 1099 cleaner to your home. For home cleaning in Portland Oregon- a cleaner wrote on GlassDoor she makes $20 per hour (https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Handy-2-hours-Reviews-EI_IE680570.0,5_KH6,13.htm 6/12/17 12:37PM- posting was made on 10/22/16)

I then checked Handy for house cleaning. A 3 hour service in Portland Oregon at the time of writing this was $168. Given the hourly rate I calculated that Handy takes $108. However, they did offer a “coupon” making the actual cost $120.60 (which includes a $3 trust fee).

$120.60 / 3 = $40.20 collected per hour.
Contractors makes $20 per hour

$40.20 - $20 = $20.20 (Handy’s hourly fee).

$20.20 x 3= $60.60 for a $120.60 bill or 50.24%.

$250 x 50.25% = $125.63 collected for $250!

To further the calculation on my chart, Handy appears to favor a “subscription model and I chose the 6 month package which is much less expensive for house cleaning.”

With this in mind I did the same math but for the advertised service signing a 6 month agreement. The total cost was $84 for this service (including trust fee- I don’t know if this is a flat fee or percentage).

Since they pay $20 per hour to the cleaner for 3 hours- the cleaner makes (assumed) $60.

84-60= $24 (Handy’s Fee for the cleaning after paying the home service provider).

$24/ $84 = .285 or 29%

29% x $250= $72.50- total fee collected.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The price for mounting a TV in Baltimore Maryland: how to get the best price.

Making sure you get a fair deal and keep your TV Protected: When there is a wide price gap for services- how do you insure a proper deal.  
(The "skinny" on discount installers vs retail)


Baltimore, MD: Having a TV mounted can be stressful. You just spent the better part of a paycheck on a new device and now it begs to be mounted, admired. . . hanging from a wall. . .  and ofcourse "staying there"!

But you read online that the job can be easy however, after a few holes you decide to hire a pro.

Anyone who has ever gone through this process knows a few things.

1. The actual mounts are ridiculously expensive. $80 for a piece of metal!
2. Install prices are all over the place, but why? (*see price list at bottom of article)

Not getting into the mounting prices too much , they are connected to the price of installs in certain circumstances.  The only important part: a good single tilt mount should not be more than $40- anything over is marked up.

Now, why are install prices so "wild" (see the chart below)?

Simply put- they are because the person providing those prices sets them according to their "market". If you are a retail purchaser they assume you will pay retail prices. In a large store the prices can be the highest because they just sold you a TV and with that relationship they can to scare you into "local services". In reality- they hire the local guys, markup the price and you have the same mount mounted to the same wall. If you can break the price down to it's simplest form- mounting a TV is a semi- skilled job which should take a professional under 1 hour. It is NOT a $300+ project.

EFynch has helped with over 1 dozen installs in Baltimore in the past 2 months (about $50 or less in labor). In order to participate in this deal we ask the installer the following questions. We think you should always consider the following as well (explanations below).

1. How many TV have you installed in the past?
2. What methods do you use to find and verify you are hitting (and centered) on the stud?
3. Will you guarantee the TV is level?
4. For smaller TV' where only 1 stud is used- what type of drywall anchors are you using and is that included in the price?
5. If I decided hide the wires after you hung the tv, can you perform this and at what price?

So for the "discount guys" offering services for half the cost, don't hesitate- just ask the right questions.  Like many jobs that run through large national chains or websites- the installation process ends up feeding a few people along the way and you end up paying. In the end you still have the same local, independent guy doing the work.

With proper research the work can be done without an issue. That is our philosophy which is why groups like Baltimore TV Mounting and other groups are great users of EFynch.

It's not that our guys are charging a "cheap" rate to mount your TV, it's that they are giving a fair price.

That is my two cents. Thanks for reading!
Explanation for each question:

1. How many TV have you installed in the past?
     Just because the installer has not been doing this for 10+ years doesn't make him any less skilled then the next guy. Ask about his background and how the pro started installing and mounting flat screen TV's. As long as he has done 20 or so in the past, he should be able to encounter anything that may come his way. ** Also ask them to bring extra bolts, etc- I ask the homeowner if I can keep all extra hardware after a job, you never know when it might come in handy.


2. What methods do you use to find and verify you are hitting (and centered) on the stud?
     You want to hear that multiple methods are used and verify that the installer will drill a pilot hole for each bolt. Acceptable actions should include measuring, stud sensor and a pilot hole. I do not accept using a magnet or "knocking" as the primary method- it is not exact enough.

3. Will you guarantee the TV is level?
     Self explanatory but so often not verified! Asking this questions also alerts the installer that you will expect a proper and clean job. It sets expectations for his quality of work.

4. For smaller TV' where only 1 stud is used- what type of drywall anchors are you using and is that included in the price?
      This is an important factor and happens often. Make sure at least 2 bolts are secured into a stud. The TV should be as balanced as possible and drywall anchors should be tested. If there was previous water damage to the drywall there will be virtually no strength and an alternative anchor may be required (addition of a post behind the wall).

5. If I decided I want the wires hidden or more options, can you provide this and at what price?
     You want flexibility. This also shows that the handyman is capable of doing deeper work and (at the very least) will be confident in the TV mounting and understanding what goes on behind a wall.  Would you hire someone to mix the batter if they didn't know how to bake the cake after? (stretch of an example, I know- but you want to make sure their skills go beyond the specific project you are performing).

So for the "discount guys" offering service for half the cost, don't hesitate- just ask the right questions.  Like many jobs that run through large national chains or websites- the installation process ends up feeding a few people along the way and you end up paying. In the end you still have the same local, independent guy doing the work.

With proper research the work can be done without an issue. That is our philosophy which is why groups like Baltimore TV Mounting and other groups are great users of EFynch.

It's not that our guys are charging a "cheap" rate to mount your TV, it's that they are giving a fair price.


Article written by Teris Pantazes. The opinions and discussion of work performed do not necessarily reflect those of EFynch and this article was written by him as an individual, not on behalf of EFynch.com. This is all opinion and should be taken for discussion purposes only.
EFynch- $45.00 to mount a TV.
Takl- $141.70 to mount a TV
Angie's List- $213
HomeAdvisor- $287 (which just bought Angie's list- luckily the parent company also owns Tindr so hopefully they can swipe right and meet somewhere in the middle).


Home Improvement information and handyman work in Baltimore, Annapolis, Washington D.C., Maryland, etc.