Winterizing Your Swimming Pool



The leaves are changing color and the weather is getting cold. As the warm memories of summer months start to fade away, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your swimming pool.

Pool closing time is usually a sad time for everyone, but this is beneficial as it can protect your pool from damage caused by frozen water. Plus, it saves you a lot of time and money when you re-open it in the spring.

Follow the steps below to make pool winterizing a breeze.

Balance the water

Adjust the water to its recommended levels of chlorination, pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness 4 to 7 days prior to closing your pool. This protects the pool from scale buildup and corrosion.

Clean the pool

Make sure that the pool is clean before winterizing. Scoop out any dirt, insects, leaves and other debris. You can either use a vacuum or just fish them out with a net. Then, clean the skimmers and waterline with a brush. Also, remove handrails, ladders, pool cleaners, vacuums, slide, wall fittings, heaters, skimmer baskets or anything else that shouldn’t be on the pool.

Reduce water level

Lower the water level to approximately 6 inches below the return jets and skimmer line. Never drain your pool completely during the winter months as this can lead to damage.

Drain the equipment

Water that is not drained out of your equipment can expand and crack in the winter. Make sure that the filters, pump, heaters and chlorinator are totally drained of water. To do this, you’ll need a shop vac or a compressor. Disconnect hoses from the filter and skimmer. Then, store them in a dry place.

Cover the pool

Place a winter cover on the pool’s surface. Make sure it is installed and tied down securely. This is important so as to prevent dirt, leaves and other debris from getting in.

If you’re not confident that you can winterize your pool on your own, we highly recommend hiring a swimming pool professional.



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Things to Do Before Finishing Your Basement


Your basement is a space with lots of possibilities. It can be transformed into any imaginable setting – laundry room, family room, extra bedroom, gym, home office etc.

A finished basement is a great addition to any home. It provides that extra bit of living space and enhances the value of your home. But there are a few important things you should think about first. Be sure to read these tips before you get started on your project.

Dry it up

Eliminating water problems is expensive and time consuming, but you have to address this issue first before you start any remodeling. Moisture can impact floors and basement walls, causing dampness. The last thing you want is a moldy basement after spending thousands of dollars. Do not start the project until you’re sure that your basement is dry and protected.

Know the code

As with any other home improvement projects, basement remodeling will require a permit. Check first with your local municipality about building codes before you begin. It is also best to find out what their process entails and how long it would take to secure a permit. Since plumbing and electrical work is expected, you must learn about licensing and permit request.

Have an escape route

Where possible, plan for doors and windows. The windows in a finished basement should be close enough to the ground to reach and big enough to climb out of. These windows do not only provide an easy-access escape routes in case of emergency, they also let in loads of light.

Test for Radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can pose a threat to your family’s health. In fact, it is attributed to more than 20,000 lung cancer cases in the United States every year.

While radon is often found in above-ground living areas, it can enter your home through gaps and cracks in walls and floors. We recommend that you run a radon test if you are planning to finish your basement.



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Avoiding Plumbing Disasters While on Vacation


You’ve bought your tickets, planned your itinerary and packed your suitcases. Everything is set and everyone is excited. But coming home from a memorable trip and learning that a pipe leaked or burst while you’re gone can be downright devastating.

Whether you’re leaving for a long weekend or a month-long getaway, proper preparation can help prevent coming home to a disaster. Here’s how to prevent plumbing disasters while on vacation.

Test your sump pump

Sump pump helps keep water out of your basement. If a major storm comes while you’re gone and your sump pump fails, you could come home to a flooded basement.

It’s a good idea to test your sump pump before you leave. Dump water down the sump pit and make sure that it’s in proper working condition.

Check for leaks

Even a small leak can turn into a large problem if left unattended. Inspect the water heater for cracks and rust. If that water tank leaks, you’d better catch it quick. Inspect the hoses, making sure that there are no leaks or kinks. Also, check all the pipes under the sink as this may also be a source of undetected leak. If you do find something, be sure to address the problem as soon as possible.

Turn off main water valve

Locate your main water shut off valve. If you don’t know where it is, look for you water meter. It should be located nearby. Turning off the main water valve cuts off water to the house. This is your best protection against catastrophic water damage.

Ask a friend to help

Ask a neighbor, a friend or a relative to check on your home periodically while you’re away just to make sure everything is in order. It may be a good idea to give this person a key to the house. Also, make sure that he or she knows where the main water valve is located in case a pipe bursts or leaks.

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Importance of Flushing Your Water Heater



Water heater manufacturers recommend flushing your water heater at least once a year. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t even bother to maintain their water heater and decide to skip this step altogether. They would take it for granted until it stops working or end up with a cold shower.

Here are some reasons why you should flush your water heater.

Extend the life of your water heater

Over time, small bits of rock, dirt, minerals and other debris can work its way into your water heater. As a result, your water heater works harder and takes more time to heat the water. Eventually, your tank may rust and slowly be eaten away until you have no choice but to replace it.

Flushing your water heater can help the unit last longer by flushing out debris that can cause it to malfunction. Compared to the cost of new water heaters, routine flushing is a bargain.

Prevent sediment buildup

Every year, thousands of gallons of water enter your water heater. As water is pumped into the tank, tiny amounts of sediments, dirt and minerals such as lime and calcium settles at the bottom.

While small accumulations of sediments are not considered a serious problem, too much of it could impede your heater’s performance. Flushing helps control sediment buildup and keeps it running efficiently.

It is important to flush your water heater regularly before it can do any harm to your water heater. Sediment build up can clog the drain valve and potentially decrease the amount of hot water the tank can hold.

Reduce noise

You’re about to fall asleep and you suddenly hear some bubbling, crackling or popping sounds. It’s late at night and you’re wondering where the noise is coming from. The culprit is your water heater. If you hear these sounds, we bet you haven’t flushed the heater before. If you want the noise to go away, your best move is to flush your water heater.


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