Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Blogging, when paired with the google search engine, can bring to bear some odd results. For example, this blog was, for a few days, in the top five returns for a search involving "cheerleading", "football", and "lockers". Quite a few people followed the link to my page from this search. I can picture some sixteen year old girl's dissapointment when, after scouring the internet for locker decorating ideas, only found my random thoughts discussing if cheerleading is good or bad for young girls. (Yes, I choose to believe that a cheerleader was actually looking for locker decorating ideas rather than the more likely scenario of a horny, balding, middle-aged man looking for porn involving cheerleaders, football players and lockers...I call this choice selective naivetiy).

Anyway, in light of this search phenomenon, I thought I would populate this blog with some useful information that someone might actually be looking for on the net, service reviews of contractors. (It is difficult finding contractors and there is seldom any information on line, however, there are two review sites that I know of: Judy Book and Angie's List. I would suggest checking out these sites as well as this post, if you are actually in the market for contractors).

The Reviews:

CV Electric

Job: Our 1920's home had several electrical problems, namely most of the house was on an archiac fuse box (over fused bytheway) that had been supplemented overtime with more fuses and circuit breakers. We hired CV electric to replace the old fuse boxes and circuit breakers with a modern electrical panel. We also had them prepare our house for a service upgrade (120 V to 200V) and add some plugs/switches in the kitchen and bath.

How we found them: CV electric was a referral from our Realator. She had used them on her home and told us that the company was really good with older homes. We had found another electrician via Judy's Book, but we decided to go with CV electric because we liked the owner (Chris Valentino). The two price quotes we got were very similar but Chris was very personable and actually returned phone calls! (returning phone calls is a rarity in the contractor business, if you find someone who does, it's a big plus). [Chris does most of his work for a general contractor (Jackson Remodeling) who were are looking at for a sismic retrofit. Jackson Remodeling, however, doesn't seem to thrilled with the project and we probably won't go with them. Why give your money to someone who doesn't want it?]

Performance Review: Overall, we were very pleased with the work Chris did. They showed up on time and worked steadily throught the day. The work appears meticulous (they've even labled the actual wires, not just the panel) and it was done for less than we had expected to pay. We will most likely be calling him back when we expand the kitchen and build a second floor on the home. The only oddity (and there is always something) is that they didn't install the switches or the plugs. Chris said he would come back and do that after we've finished all the sheetrocking, painting, etc...but that's seem like a hassle to have to call him back and schedule two week in advance. It's not a big deal as installing switches and plugs is something I can do, it just seemed strange that it wasn't done. For all I know, however, this might just be industy practice.

O'Brien Plumbing

Job: Our house consisted of old iron and glavanized pipes that needed to be replaced. We hired a plumber to install copper pipes from our main water valve into the house. He repiped for the kitchen and the upstairs bath.

How we found them: My wife had looked up several plumber's names in the phonebook and online then gave them to me to call. I went online to research the first name on the list (I can't remember what that company was called). When I went to that company's website, they had an article from the Seattle PI reviewing local plumbers and rated them as the number 2 plumber in the region. The article, gave the number 1 rating to O'Brien plumbing. Anyway, I left a message for the company my wife had found and also called O'Brien plumbing. The first company never called me back, but O'Brien did.

Performance Review: We were pretty pleased with the job. The plubming looks good and he made some good recommendations, such as; replacing some iron drains we were just going to leave in. (It was a good suggestion, after he pulled out the drain pipe he found that it was nearly rotten and could have broke, flooding our basement.) The only oddity with him was that he only worked half days and thus the project took five days, he would work from 9 or 10 until noon or so. We would have preferred that he worked nearly a full day and thus cut the number of day he was working on the project. But, he got the job done, and we always had water after he left, so it wasn't the big of an inconvience to have him there that long. Again, we spent less then we had expected and we will most likely use him again in the future.

That's it, all the other work we've done ourselves. We have ordered windows from an establishment called ProCraft. So far, they've been great partners in the selling but they have yet to be install the window, so we'll let you know. We also have experience with some of the speciality tile stores, I might review them if I get a request.

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