Posted by genieSABRE on Oct 15, 2011
Week # 41 – Home Maintenance Tips

Week # 41 – Home Maintenance Tips

Just do it!

Source: Hannif Highclass
Publish:My Blog: 10/15/2011

Home Interior

Organize fall closets

No matter how big of a disaster your closet is, this is one catastrophe FEMA will not be coming to clean up. The beginning of fall is an excellent time to reorganize your closet and ensure everything is in its proper place. Seasonal clothing from the spring and summer aren’t needed anymore so clean them, fold them and stow them away in order to make room for coats, sweaters and other cold-weather gear. An organized closet will save you time looking for your favorite duds, and it will also keep you from having to wear a hardhat every time you open your closet door.
10 steps to a de-cluttered closet CLICK HERE

Home Exterior

Check outside hose bibs for leaks.

A leaky spigot is more than an annoyance. These small, infrequent drips add up over time and waste far more water and money than you think. If not addressed, leaky spigots can also cause structural damage and foundation problems. They can attract animals like ants, rodents and raccoons in search of a reliable water source too.

There is a recent issue of Fine Homebuilding that has an article in it about installing freeze-proof sillcocks. Sorry that I don’t remember which one. I believe that I’ve also seen this in the Home Depot 1-2-3 book. The plumbing book in the “Creative Homeowner” series – “Plumbing. Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Projects” by Merle Henkenius covers it on pp. 90-92.

First, turn off the main water supply to your home. You *should* and need to know how to turn off the municipal water from the main! This is critical in preventing flooding of your home if you have any plumbing breaks/leaks or need to do work. Ask your landlord, or your neighbors if you own ~ since theirs may be located in a similar orientation. you can easily switch out the spigot with a new one but you need to turn off the main then drain the line ~by turning on the lowest spigot in your yard, and the broken one and letting the remaining water flow out~ before you try to replace it.

One reason to install a sillcock (or ballcock or other stop-valve) is to provide an additional shut-off control between the main and any pipe or fixture so that you do not have to inconvenience the whole house/yard by shutting down the main when doing repairs or additions. you can look along your lines from the broken fixture outward, to see if there is one.

Need help -How to fix leaky spigots?
Watch this video


Prepare unheated decorative ponds for winter.

Decorative ponds need some special attention when the weather starts to cool. As temperatures drop, relocate any plants or fish that will not survive winter to indoor aquariums or tubs. Also prepare to reposition your submersible pump. When winter arrives, your pump will need to be moved so it only circulates water in the top level of your pond. This will ensure the water in the bottom of your pond remains as warm as possible for your fish that are not brought inside.

Winterizing Your Outdoor Fountain

Most outdoor fountains are made to withstand harsh elements, but precautions should be taken to ensure that water does not freeze in your fountain and cause it to crack, or damage your pump during the cold winter months. Depending on your zone* precautions may vary. Concrete and cast stone fountains in particular are vulnerable to cracking in the winter if care is not taken to prevent it.

Here are a few helpful hints for keeping your fountain safe during the winter:
If possible, disassemble your fountain and place it in a shed or garage to completely protect it from damaging weather. If storing in a shed is not practical, you will want to follow the instructions below:

  • Prior to the first freeze of the season, drain your fountain completely.
  • Remove the pump and bring it indoors if possible. This is a great time to clean your pump, removing any algae, pet dander, or other debris that may have accumulated over time. It is common to have fall leaves in your fountain – be sure to get these out. Submersible pumps can be stored in a bucket filled with water in a warm indoor area so that the seals and gaskets do not dry out.
  • You may wish to purchase a fountain cover, or cover your fountain with a tarp or other protective material, which can help keep moisture from accumulating. Fill the basin of the fountain with an absorbent material such as burlap or blankets to absorb any condensation that can accumulate and freeze during the winter season.
  • At the very least, turn the bowl(s) of your fountain upside down

These tips will help to ensure that your outdoor fountain lasts for many years to come. Many concrete and cast stone fountains will develop tiny hairline cracks over time after exposure to the elements; these cracks are completely natural and will not effect the functionality of your fountain.

Pond Heaters

Keeping Your Fish Alive in Your Winter Pond

Pond heaters are really not essential to garden ponds, unless you have Koi or any other type of living creature in your pond year round. If you have Koi or other fish in your pond, it’s extremely important that the pond water is kept at a stable temperature to ensure proper health for pond fish.

Pond heaters lie on the bottom of the pond and must be completely submerged when in use. Pond heaters are built with a rubber bumper surrounding them in order to prevent them from touching the sides or bottom of the pond. The controller for the pond heater must never get wet and should be protected from water at all costs.

Fish are usually ok in the pond during the winter, if your pond is deep enough. If you have a shallow pond you should use either a pond heater or a pond de-icer and possibly bring your fish inside, if you have the room. If you see bubbles forming under the ice, it could be methane which can be toxic to the fish if it is not allowed to escape. Wildlife aside, concrete ponds can form pressure cracks in their sides when frozen for awhile. Small ponds can remedy this by placing a pot of hot water on the ice surface until it melts through, allowing the methane to seep out.

Pond de-icers are sometimes mistaken for pond heaters, but are just as important if your pond contains fish and other living creatures. Submersible pond de-icers are not heaters; but they keep a small opening thawed on your pond’s surface in order to allow toxic gases to escape and to allow oxygen to enter simultaneously. Floating pond de-icers can virtually keep the entire surface of a pond thawed because they float on its surface, depending on the volume of your pond. Pond de-icers contain automatic thermo-regulators that turn on whenever the water temperature drops below 40-degrees Fahrenheit.

To determine the size of pond heater you need, consider that it takes approximately 1000 watts of heater to heat 250 gallons of water to 10-degrees Fahrenheit – get out your calculators!

REMEMBER: Real Estate

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and joy in your life.

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Call: Hannif Highclass @ 416.444.4252


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Have you got any better ways to organize the closets or perhaps winterize the ponds? Let us know!
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