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Wed, Feb. 26

Ask the Contractor: Call YCCA to check out contractor

Q: I hear radio commercials that advise using licensed, bonded and insured contractors. Why should I do that?-Frank in Prescott Valley

A: Using licensed, bonded and insured contractors keeps you from getting ripped off by unlicensed contractor scams. There are always people looking for the opportunity to take advantage of others. Unfortunately, there are those who prey on the misfortune of others in unscrupulous and often illegal ways. Our goal at YCCA is to help you protect yourself with enough information and advice to avoid scams.

Do not feel rushed into making agreements with contractors. It is in the best interest of both homeowners and legitimate, licensed contractors to protect homeowners from scams by unlicensed contractors. (Please visit this link to read about all persons not required to have a contractors license:

There are many reasons to use a licensed contractor, even if you think you can save a few dollars by accepting an unlicensed contractor's bid. It is cheap insurance using a licensed contractor. If the homeowner contracts with an unlicensed person or company, then the homeowner can be held liable for on-the-job injuries sustained by that unlicensed person's or company's employees. Sometimes even the homeowner's insurance will not cover this - all because the contractor is unlicensed. This exposes you, the homeowner, to liability you never dreamed of - all because the contractor lied to you about being licensed.

Using a licensed contractor offers protection to the homeowner in the following ways:

• The contractor knows his trade and has been tested and is bonded for this.

• They must post a bond, which is some monetary protection against violation.

• The State of Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) will help investigate claims and disputes against licensed contractors at no cost to the homeowner.

What has been happening lately is that scam contractors present credentials (license numbers, business cards, etc.) of legitimate licensed contractors, even though they are not affiliated with these businesses. Or the unlicensed contractor presents his license number, and the homeowner does not check this license number through YCCA, and the license has been revoked and/or suspended, and now the homeowner is doing work with an unlicensed contractor. From here, the scam contractor

will try to get money up-front for work to be done. There will be excuses such as needing materials, supplies, etc. There may be promises of getting to the top of the list or obtaining discounts. Once the money is in their hands, you have lost!

The best way to confirm that a contractor is licensed and is who he says he is? Call YCCA; ask the contractor for proof of current liability and workers comp insurance; and ask to see a current bond. Or call YCCA to begin with to get a referral for quality, reliable contractors.-Sandy Griffis, Executive Director, YCCA

Q: I am concerned about taking care of my roof this winter to prevent leaks. I've heard ice dams are a concern. What are ice dams and how can they be prevented?-Louis in Prescott

A: Ice dams are formed when heat from the inside of a home escapes into the attic and warms the roof decking during the winter. This heat, combined with heat from the sun, can melt snow on the roof. Melting snow on the upper roof and in the valleys then runs down toward the eaves as water. When the melting snow reaches the cold eaves and gutters, the water then refreezes. The continual thaw and re-freeze process creates ice dams. The result is water backing up under the roof shingles or behind fascia boards where it can soak through the roof decking or wall sheathing, causing damage to attics, ceilings and walls.

There are three ways to defend against the damage ice dams may cause:

• Insulation

• Ventilation

• Ice and water shield shingle underlayment.

All three work together. Insulation keeps heat from escaping from your home's living space into your attic. Ventilation removes the heat and helps keep the roof deck evenly cool to help prevent snow from melting on the roof. And ice and water shield shingle underlayment is installed at the eaves and overhangs before shingles are applied. This special underlayment helps to prevent the formation of ice dams. - Roger Barton and Steve Peach, owners, Badger Roofing, Prescott

Q: I have recently started to hear the term "green plumber." What exactly is a "green plumber"?-Steve in Prescott

A: Green plumbing is a plumbing industry initiative for the new green marketplace. Plumbing is a highly technical trade and absolutely essential to the health and well-being of every person on the planet. A certified green plumber is concerned with the methods and technologies for water conservation and ensuring a safe, clean and healthy environment. Green plumbers must be accredited.

Green plumbers make a commitment to embrace the "green" movement and marketplace. We do this through education and by installing products that can save energy and promote water efficiency.

Green plumbers are able to conduct an environmental inspection report that will help you work out in detail how much water your residence or business is using and how much you can save. Each inspection report is custom-tailored to your home or business needs and challenges. An audit includes a complete check for leaks on all of the water fixtures in your home and/or business and a review of your previous energy bills and usage, and it defines alternatives that will increase water and energy efficiency. You will save money and do your part to help our planet.

Here are several ways you can have green plumbing: high-efficiency toilets, dual-flush toilets, low-flow shower heads, aerators, no salt water softeners, solar hot water heating, tankless water heating, energy-efficient dishwashers and washing machines, and rainwater and gray-water harvesting units.

It does not take a lot to conserve water and energy, and it takes only a few minor changes to have "green plumbing" in your home and/or business.-Steve Stover, owner, Arizona Green Plumber, Prescott

DID YOU KNOW: You can reduce your water heating costs by lowering your water heater's temperature.

DID YOU KNOW: When you are away from home for more than 3 days, you should turn your water heater off.

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. YCCA, your local trusted referral source, can be reached at 778-0040 or at

Submit your questions to and watch for your answer in the weekly real estate section of the Daily Courier.

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