Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?

Quality is very important to me and I’ve made the commitment to reviewing products when I can. As a reviewer there are certain things needed to ensure the review is useful and true. Thus, I was able to explore the question “Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?” with a real world experience. That is, it was with great shock and frustration that I encountered Home Depot’s archaic online review policy (homedepot.com, homedepot.ca).

The Background – On the Hunt for an LED porch light

I’ve been on the hunt for about 5 years for an “LED porch light” but just saying that doesn’t do it justice. If you’ve ever shopped for LED light bulbs, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with the number of specifications you need to keep in mind. Lest you buy the wrong bulb and spend endless trips to the store to find the right one. So, our specification for an LED porch light are:

  • “suitable for damp locations”
  • have a temperature rating of at least -20C (ideally more of course since we live in Canada)
  • at least 100W incandescent equivalent (1500 lumens or more)
  • “A” shaped bulb (A19/A23) – this is the classic bulb shape
  • Medium or standard base (“E26”) – the standard North American light bulb screw-in socket size of 26mm diameter
  • dimmable since most porch lights are on a low-level light until they detect motion and output more lumens
  • colour temperature of 2700K (like an incandescent bulb)

For the last 5 years there have been absolutely no bulbs with these specifications at Home Depot and I’ve been testing various inexpensive LED bulbs from Amazon; some are even only indoor rated! Suffice it to say, they start flickering in the 6-18 month range.  

LED Porch Light Found at Home Depot

Until recently when I was looking again at Home Depot, I found the “Ecosmart 100W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb (3-Pack) – ENERGY STAR” (Model # B6A19100WESD01)”. The Home Depot site link for this product can be accessed by clicking here.

It looked good on paper and the online reviews looked ok. The cost per bulb was $7.42 CAD. Quality indoor bulbs are a bit cheaper than this so this seemed reasonable for an outdoor capable bulb. Upon connecting it the first day it seemed to work ok. I posted this review thinking I could modify it later when I had more operating data:

“Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Not Listed as “Outdoor” But…

Body: I bought these to use as porch lights; so outdoor. The box says “Indoor” which is opposite from the online listing. It does say “Minimum starting temperature -20 C (-4F)” and “Suitable for damp locations; do not use where directly exposed to water”. I suppose it may be able to be used outside so I’m giving it a try. I’ve installed the bulb in summer and I’ll try to post again how it does through a Canadian winter (-30 to -40 C). It’s really hard to find 100W equivalent 2700K outdoor LED bulbs so beggars can’t be choosers!”

LED Porch Light Goes Wrong

However, within 2-3 days, it started flickering immediately on start-up. With LED bulbs this indicates a shoddy/inexpensive LED controller which is a common issue of cheaper LED bulbs. I’ve encountered this issue with LED bulbs many, many times and because of this it’s rare to achieve the “long operating life” promised by LED bulbs.

The solution, of course, is to source a more expensive bulb. This is usually from specialty lighting stores that are not local. I found a replacement on 1000bulbs.com, which is a site that has a good filtering/search mechanisms for bulbs, and then sourced a somewhat more favorable price on amazon.ca once I knew what I was looking for. The replacement bulb cost $14.07 CAD. The cost, being approximately double, the bulb also came with a -30C rating and a 25,000-hour bulb life (15,000-hour is the typical bulb life). When I plugged it in, you can tell right away it has a quality LED controller.

Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?

Back to my home depot review and answering the question “Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?”. I was excited, so I provided a more favorable review of the the Ecosmart bulb than I should have. But when I asked Home Depot Chat Support to modify or delete it, they quoted me this:

“Home Depot does not guarantee that you will have any recourse through Home Depot to edit or delete any content you have submitted. Ratings and written comments are generally posted within two to four business days. However, Home Depot reserves the right to remove or to refuse to post any submission for any reason.”

This means if a reviewer submits a review, they cannot edit or delete it after. As in my situation, say the product works great day 1 but by day 3 it’s not working, the reviewer has no recourse. You can’t go online and edit your review. You can’t take your review down by deleting it. Instead, you get to look like a chump if you think the product is great and days later it’s a piece of crap. Basically, Home Depot owns your review. Sure, Home Depot is allowing you to “make an honest review written by a customer” but it’s static, which makes it useless. Home Depot moderates all reviews anyhow, so I don’t understand this requirement.

Conclusion on Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?

When I raised the issue of “Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?” on reddit, user ShinyYoshi surmised “I suspect they don’t allow editing or deletion of reviews because they don’t want positive reviews being changed to negative ones or vanishing. From what I have heard, negative reviews don’t even get approved for posting. I would recommend posting/trusting reviews from other sources.”

My recommendation: Avoid Home Depot reviews until they address this issue and rely on reviews on other sites. Amazon comes to mind. You can run Fakespot (fakespot.com), ReviewMeta.com or any other review analyzer to determine the overall trustworthiness of the specific URL’s reviews since fake reviews can creep into any review site despite the sites trying to moderate all reviews.

About the Author

Trevor Textor loves, loves, loves quality products. So much so that he’s been accused of having ugly things that work really, really well. On his journey for quality he has shared his knowledge as a reviewer as a Google Local Guide, which can be viewed by clicking here, and as an Amazon Reviewer, which can be viewed by here. If you’d like to get in touch with Trevor click here.

Alberta Radon Levels -We’re at risk! Please Share!

Alberta radon levels are quite high. Only recently has testing improved to determine how bad this problem is. We recently completed our radon mitigation for our house and levels went from 435 Bq/m3 to 8 Bq/m3.

150 Bq/m3 is equivalent to smoking a half pack of cigarettes/day or if a person smokes already multiplies that smoking risk by 14 times. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. 100 Bq/m3 is world health organization limit, 200 Bq/m3 is Health Canada and 15 Bq/m3 is what is prevalent outdoors (normal radon levels).

1 in 6 homes tested in 2017 had dangerous levels of radon gas (over 200). Most of Alberta and Saskatchewan are at high risk of high radon levels (check out radon potential map at left).

Forced air systems just move it all around the house and “leaky” house doesn’t really help (it’s the pressure pull of heating a space that is the issue); a house either has high levels or it doesn’t. Even our garage (no basement) was at 150 Bq/m3 and it’s as leaky as it gets. The mitigation process seals all the basement large open holes and helps mitigate basement smell (since it’s sucking all the moist earthy air below the cement and blowing it out the side). 

Thanks to Radon West. This company is also the one helping with the UofC radon study. Learn more here: https://www.radonwest.com/pages/learn

Note: In Canada we side-wall vent. Rooftop vents ice up in our cold weather. Canadian studies on dissipation is that within a meter of the vent the radon reading is at normal outside levels; Meaning it dissipates extremely quickly. 

More on risks of dying from lung cancer, radon and smoking: https://www.rssi.us/radon-health-risks.htm

Radon meter I purchased; Radon West confirms it is very accurate for a residential unit. A +/-10% reading is available from it within 7 days. Our unit is loaned out to friends and family pretty much constantly. Corentium Home by Airthings, Radon Gas Detector, Canadian Version in Bq/m https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00H30TLPA/

UofC Calgary study (home owners may be able to get testing for free): https://evictradon.ca/

About the Author

An avid writer, Trevor Textor has been quoted by Reader’s Digest, NBC News, Reviews.com and MarketWatch.com among others. As a freelancer Trevor has a “swiss army skillset” and has proven able to successfully assist many small, medium and large businesses in most areas of their business. Ask Trevor if he can help: https://www.textor.ca/contactme/.

Published in Reader’s Digest “11 Hidden Reasons Your Internet Is So Slow”

Yes, the Reader’s Digest. Access their article here:

11 Hidden Reasons Your Internet Is So Slow (Oct 1, 2018)

They quoted a popular post I wrote in 2015:

Forget a bandwidth upgrade! Try these 4 things to make the home internet experience better

Note: Reader’s Digest is owned by “Trusted Media Brands, Inc.” and the article may also be displayed on other sister sites such as Family Handyman: https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/diy-home-improvement/hidden-reasons-your-internet-is-so-slow/

Forget a bandwidth upgrade! Try these 4 things to make the home internet experience better

Seeking Better Connectivity

I work exclusively from home as a telecommunications consultant so a better home internet experience is critical. I made it better all despite having the smallest bandwidth package my ISP offers: 25 Mbps download & 2.5 Mbps upload.  I did have to upgrade at one point though. I initially had 0.5 Mbps upload. This is insufficient for video conferencing.

The house has two smart TVs, two workhorse desktop PCs & three tablets/smartphones. There can be concurrent sessions of Netflix running (Netflix running on HD only uses about 1 Mbps, Ultra-HD or 4K will require 15 Mbps – but that’s the future). I often use the internet for voice & video conferencing for work; connecting to the USA and abroad.

For all the techies out there, I should mention I live in western Canada, meaning all our internet traffic routes down to the USA (Seattle I think). All the Netflix and Google caching servers then are pretty far away. And if we need to reach eastern Canada the traffic routes down to the USA and then back up.

How To Have a Better Home Internet Experience

The principles I lay out here should work with any ISP and any geographic location. I need to stress this – Since I work from home my internet connection (and WiFi) must be highly functional. But only 25 Mbps? Here’s how I did it.

  1. We want “speed” not bandwidth. I wrote a separate article explaining the difference: https://www.textor.ca/bandwidth-and-speed-not-the-same-thing/
  2. Have the internet provider check the home’s internet’s signal levels. NOT bandwidth. They are required to repair any signal deficiencies, likely for free. This will help prevent packet re-transmissions and is particularly important for voice & video. This kind of problem is unlikely to show up on internet speed tests.
  3. Make sure the home computer is connected via wired Ethernet for performance reasons; especially if you feel that you don’t know what you are doing. This is because wired is a closed system where variables can be controlled. Wireless is an open system and the environment (and performance) is constantly changing.
  4. Make sure home routing/switching gear is top notch. $20 gigabit switches are fine, but routers under $200 will likely not function well. This is because routers are essentially PCs with purpose built software. They make them cheaper by putting in less expensive CPUs and less memory. A router above $200 will actually weigh more. This is a good thing. More CPU and memory takes more metal.
    • WiFi – If integrating WiFi into the router, purchase an 802.11ac (latest standard) even though the consumer electronics cannot use the better bandwidth. Do not use the WiFi from the internet provider, if it was included with the ISP modem. The new technology in 802.11ac makes sure there is better signal to the device. Also make sure the WiFi router has at least 6 antennas (meaning 3 internal radios). Expect 2.4 Ghz to work better than 5.4/5.8 Ghz. This is due to physics and also, I believe that developers have spent less time ensuring 5.4/5.8 Ghz work as well.
    • Seems I’m not the only one to recommend a better Router. Simon Batt explains “7 Reasons Why You Should Replace Your ISP’s Router“.
  5. Have a good computer (good hardware). The processor and memory affect how fast bits & bytes can be converted and put on the internet. The rule of thumb is that if the consumer pays less than $1000 for the computer (desktop / laptop, not tablet), it probably is not that good and will need to be replaced in 2-3 years. With a computer over a $1000 expect it to last 3-5 years.

The Result

Prior to these changes I had problems all the time with Netflix. Now it is noticeably less frequent. I also had problems with video conferencing. Now when there are problems, I diagnose the problem as coming from the alternate party’s connection. That is, my audio/video is good on their end but their audio/video is bad on my end. It’s usually upload that is the problem and that is likely a result of each user’s upload rate with their ISP (asynchronous service). All in all, I now have a better home internet experience.

PS. This Cisco article nicely illustrates that really good CPU/memory are needed in the router, if not a specifically developed ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit).
https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/cisco-launches-silicon-one-enters-component-biz/425219

About the Author

An avid writer, Trevor Textor has been quoted by Reader’s Digest, NBC News, Reviews.com and MarketWatch.com among others. As a freelancer Trevor has a “swiss army skillset” and has proven able to successfully assist many small, medium and large businesses in most areas of their business. Ask Trevor if he can help: https://www.textor.ca/contactme/.

Library Rethink!

Lots of things are online now. At the Calgary Public Library (and probably most libraries in North America), you can get movies (hoopla), books (OverDrive) and music (Freegal), all without ever visiting a library. And now, a library card is free! (really, was $12/year such a burden? You park downtown once and you’ve paid for a library card 3 times over. Click here to learn more. My family loves our library!

Very Important Home Repairs – Attic Ventilation

A well running attic is critical for your home’s comfort… and to prevent water damage!  If your home was built circa mid-1980s it is likely that all your attics are broken (unless someone fixed them already). My father, a building inspector, tells me this was because it was fashionable to blow in insulation in the 70’s/80’s but no baffles were pre-installed to keep the soffits from being blocked. This is an inexpensive repair and well worth the effort. Check that soffits are not blocked and that there are gable vents. An active vent may indicate a work-around as all you need is inactive vents if the soffits are not blocked. What happens if your attic is broken? Interior is extremely hot in hot weather, extremely cold in cold weather. Air conditioners work overtime. Ice dams occur. You will get water damage (with mold & rotting wood) at extremely cold temperatures (-30C / -22F) due to the temperature differentials (ask me how I know).

http://www.dspinspections.com/atticventing.htm