There are three most important factors homeowners should be aware of while hiring a termite control company. First, we- termite operators have only few options to control termites which do not involve chemicals of any type. It is not enough that any type of chemical is approved by state. So, homeowners should know what is being used and possible consequences as well as not to be sold on cheap images such as “by Orange Oil we will kill all termites” . Secondly, in this type of service homeowners do not know if termite have been really killed or not. Many times it is even more profitable for a termite company not to kill all termites so that customers will renew year after year, and the termite company will make more money on them. There is no proven way for a customer and even a termite company to really know in what degree extermination was done and what customers paid for after the work is done. So, warranties which are quite different in our industry are important. And thirdly, the pricing: homeowners should know how to distinguish a “junk quote” from a legitimate estimate done after a complete inspection.
Let’s start with termiticides used. There are natural-based termiticides such as Orange Oil, Boracare, Timbor Professional and there are completely composite termiticides such as Vikane (Sulfur Fluoride), Termidor, Dragnet, Premise etc. For natural-based termiticides it also matters in what degree of it is natural-based. Customers have to realize that part of termiticide is the active ingredient and part is passive ingredient in which the active ingredient is dissolved. So, if for instance an active ingredient is only 10% which is natural-based and passive ingredient is 90% and is benzol-based which itself is also organic but at the same time toxic then a huge amount of that benzol is applied to a home by a name of “using natural termiticides”. It is the law that every homeowner must receive a wood destroying organism report before any work being conducted in their property. Also, the report has to mention the name of the termiticide to be used. I have seen many cases when the report from even so-called “major big corporations” mentions only “termiticide approved by state” without even giving the names. Once the name is mentioned then there are ways of doing own research such as EPA website. Also, asking how many gallons of that termiticide will be used and if it will be inside the house or in the soil. Homeowners should know that if no chemicals are used such as heat treatment, electricution, freezing, microwave and beneficial nematodes then there should be no worry about toxicity. However, these are facts about these no-chemical treatments. A complete heat treatment is at least 3 times more expensive than a fumigation as well as it has lot more complications and risk of melting household items than fumigation. It is much more difficult to do a good quality complete heat than fumigation. Even though if done properly complete heat or Thermigation will ensure close to 100% elimination of drywood termites, in practice there are always areas which are very difficult to treat by heat unlike fumigation. Sometimes, heat treatment professionals use foaming one these areas and combine heat with other treatments to achieve a better result. As to electricution, freezing and microwave, they are not a complete drywood termite treatment and at the same time do not ensure close to 100% elimination rate even on limited areas they are applied. Beneficial Nematodes for subterranean termite control are not proven to reach a good elimination rate unlike the industry leader – Termidor produced by BASF. Even though Termidor is a composite chemical, however if it is not applied in large quantities to wood members in a house but only on exterior soil then effects of it will be mitigated. Many operators try not to use Termidor but other subterranean and drywood termite control chemicals due to cost savings. Fumigation with Sulfur Fluoride (Vikane,Zythor) includes using one of the most toxic chemicals known to me. On the other hand it has an ability to go away. However it depends in what time frame it will go away. It goes away quite fast from the rooms but it takes lot more time until it goes away from inside the wood members. Sulfur Fluoride penetrates through the wood members in houses, through pillows, any enclosed areas and can take long time until it will go away. Legal concentration of Sulfur Fluoridewhich will allow to certify structures as safe for re-entry has been decreased 10 times in the last decade. This shows that government is finding more and more reasons not to consider it as safe year after year. This is similar to when asbestos and painting which included lead were legal one time. This is why homeowners should know what is being applied, where, how much of a toxic ingredient is being put in house and what may be the consequences of it unless they do not mind paying 3 times more and instead of fumigating doing a complete heat without any residual protection and applying nemitodes for subterranean termite control without a good warranty.
Secondly, it may seem obvious however home owners most of the time take the claims of companies who say “if termites come back we will come and treat again for no charge” seriously. Especially after they watch a nice TV or Radio ad endorsed again by people who cannot know and do not understand much about this profession. When one builds a patio or home addition no contractor is saying “in case I do not finish the roof or your patio or part of the wall in the add-on and if you see it, I will come and build a little bit more”. The reason is simple- while building patio or addition homeowner can see what is done, in our industry we do not have means to see if all termites are eliminated inside wood members unless one wants to pay thousands to X-Ray the entire house for several days which obviously never happens. In our industry we have a problem of detecting infestations inside the wood members. Even though there are many advanced inspection tools however they have shortcomings and limitations. So, to know what quality of work a company has done or is planning to do there are two main ways of finding it out. The first one is what is the warranty? Is it a serious one or they take advantage of the fact that you cannot know what quality of work is really done? There are several types of warranties in our industry. The first one is no warranty at all which itself says that even though a company will do a work however nothing is guaranteed. There is a re-treatment warranty only on spots treated which says the company will come and treat again the spots they treated previously if termites will come back, however if they appear on other areas, then the company will either charge extra for that or not be responsible if owner does not want that treatments. Re-treatment warranty also does not include wood damage meaning if termites have damaged the wood in that area due to not proper treatment and especially in anywhere else in the structure then the company will not be responsible for it. There is a re-treatment warranty not only on spots treated but for entire structure. Meaning the company will treat only spots detected however if they come from other areas they will treat those too for no extra charge which again cannot include any wood damage if it happens. There is a wood damage warranty which applies only to areas treated which is similar to the above but company says will also replace the damaged wood or conduct repairs only on areas treated. There is also a wood damage warranty which excludes any inaccessible areas such as interior walls even if complete treatments were done. The only reasonable warranty homeowners should consider is when a company does treatment directed to entire structure and guarantees wood damage on entire structure. In that case homeowners will know that the company is motivated to do a good quality work. However, not less important factor is how long the works will take place or how many days the crew will work there. If a company is not giving a wood damage warranty against entire structure and is not putting in writing how many hours and days the repairs and works will last, it doesn’t make any sense to hire them no matter how good of an advertisement they have done and how “nice” was the salesman.
And lastly- the pricing. We are getting so many calls asking “How much it will cost”? We have seen so many company websites including “most popular”, “chosen as exterminator of the month”, widely advertised on TV and radio, who tell “we provide free quotes and estimates”. For fairness I have to mention that some tell “we do not give a wood damage warranty” which tells about honesty, not professionalism or decency. However, if one claims to have “the best termite company in the USA” and at the same time is telling he or she does not give a wood damage warranty by at the same time being in wood destroying organisms business, then it seems to me more than strange. First of all our profession is not only about controlling termites, it is a wood destroying organisms control which also must include prevention and repairs if needed. Many times it is not less important to know other problems the structure may have such as plumbing leaks, problems with roofing which will cause much more damage. Even if it were only about termites how can a company, especially the one chosen as “the best” by TV professionals who do not understand much about termite and wood destroying organisms control say “we provide estimates”. What if there is a subflooring damage in subarea due to plumbing leak? What if the joists in subarea are eaten by drywood termites and need replacements otherwise house will incur much more structural damage and owners will pay tens of thousands on repairs and their home will never be the same? What if the roofing in the attic is rotten by fungus due to water leaks? What if some interior walls need to be opened and plumbing needs to be checked? It is not professional at all when a company says “if you want to do this treatment this is how much it will cost”. How a customer can know what treatment can be done without them knowing the real problem which will be evident only after a complete good quality inspection and being familiarized about main concepts in our industry even if they will not do their research? So, to go back to pricing, when people want to know the pricing, then my question is “The pricing for what”? For you not being irritated by termites so that we will only scare them away or come spend couple of hours at your home pretending as if we did any work since termites will fly away from your eye sight after a day or two anyway but they will continue eating your home which you will not see? Do you know if this is what will take care of the problem? If pricing for “killing termites” then what type of termites, what percentage of them, where, only where you see? Are you sure they are termites? Are you sure they are active infestations or if they are merely signs, not an evidence of termites? Also, do you know what is the main problem- termites or fungus which is much more dangerous?
So, the first thing homeowners should do to get a professional complete inspection, not them waiting for an inspector for hours and he coming and writing something at the back of his business card for five minutes and going away. After that homeowners should be given options and as much information as necessary. So, these companies no matter how “famous” they are who offer merely “estimates” or “quotes” should be ignored by an intelligent homeowners. They should request a good quality complete inspection no matter they pay for it or not since when someone takes time away from home and waits an inspector to arrive and do inspection they already spent lots of time on it. After it do not schedule any jobs finally on spot and especially do not give any down-payments. Request the inspector to send the report, legitimate quote with options, warranties, information about termiticides they propose to use, if they are able to do repairs if needed, if not how they are going to coordinate and communicate with a contractor who will do repairs. And after that homeowners will be able to do a serious work at house instead of throwing their money away, wasting lots of time and many times even having toxic chemicals being put in their houses even it they are approved by state and especially even after that not solving the problem even remotely.
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Now you are very well informed and ready to take care of termite and other problem of your house no matter you see them or not. We service most cities in Southern California. If this is during our working hours – 7:30 am 7:30 pm , you can just call us 800-205-6707, and we will sure answer to any of your questions with great pleasure and professionalism.
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