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5 solutions for spring home and garden issues

Posted at 2:35 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-26 09:28:59-04

Warmer weather has finally arrived, which means it’s time to take stock of the house and yard.

Whether new home and garden issues have popped up throughout the winter months, or some things ended up getting ignored last year, now is the time to tackle them in order to enjoy the upcoming summer — indoors and out.

1. Sprinkler system spruce-up:

For sprinkler systems that are clogged or have completely quit working, 90 percent of the time the fix is a simple one, according to Family Handyman.

If a sprinkler head is broken, it’s easy to replace and can be found at most home centers. Simply dig it out and replace it with the same kind. Make sure it doesn’t stick up above ground because most breaks occur when sprinkler heads are run over by lawn mowers.

If a sprinkler head is clogged, dig it out, disassemble it and clean out dirt and debris from the screen basket in a bucket of water.

If the system’s water pressure is low, check the valves on the backflow device to make sure they're fully open, advises Family Handyman. Turn the valve on the horizontal pipe first, then the vertical pipe valve. The valve is open when the handle is parallel with the pipe.

If low pressure is due to a leak, look for a series of heads that aren’t working right. The leak will be between the last head that works correctly and the first one that doesn’t. Low pressure can also be the result of a crushed pipe from roots, so replace damaged sections.

Electrical problems can be caused by a bad transformer, solenoid, or voltage controller, any of which the homeowner can replace without a repairman.

If problems persist, GoDirect Plumbing, Sewer & Water can assist residents of Denver and surrounding neighborhoods.

2. Faded fencing fix

Taking care of faded wood fencing as soon as it is noticed not only improves the look, it helps the fence last longer. Sunlight is the culprit here. It degrades the lignin (chemical compounds) that bonds wood fibers, letting water penetrate the wood and turning it gray, according to This Old House magazine. Semitransparent stain fortified with UV blockers can easily be applied and will stop the damage while refreshing the look of the wood at the same time.

Simply brush away debris with a broom, then brush on a nontoxic deck cleaner, rinse and allow the fence to dry.

Finally, use a landscape pump sprayer to apply stain.

3. Watch what you flush

One problem every homeowner dreads is a sewer line backup. There can be several causes for this unsavory issue. Sometimes, the problem lies in just a particular sink, tub or toilet. But if there is backup with every drain in a home, it’s likely due to a main sewer line clog.

Flushing anything other than toilet paper can cause a clog. Never flush diapers, feminine napkins, baby wipes or anything else that won’t dissolve. Never pour grease down the drain. It hardens when it gets cold.

Tree roots can cause sewer backups — even trees that aren’t in a homeowner’s own yard. They can also be the result of broken sewer lines, usually old ones.

Avoid using caustic chemical drain cleaners that can damage plumbing. If a plunger doesn’t fix the problem, call a professional plumber. Repairing a sewer line backup is not a job for an amateur, and not acting quickly can result in unhealthy conditions for your family and more costly repairs.

It’s also important to remember that these days your yard doesn’t have to be torn up to get a sewer line replacement.  Check out this video to see an innovative and less invasive way of repairing/replacing a sewer line.

 

For help with any home sewage, water or plumbing repairs, give GoDirect a call at (303) 288-0039 and visit online at godirectservices.com.

4. Update the A/C

A home’s central air conditioning unit will run better and save homeowners money in cooling costs (up to 40 percent, says This Old House) if someone cleans it. Trim bushes, shrubs or overhanging branches that can hamper airflow. Next, turn off the power to the A/C unit.

Remove leaves, grass clippings, twigs and dust from around the unit that can reduce efficiency. Then carefully brush out debris from the fins, being careful not to bend them. Hose down the unit and straighten bent fins with a fin comb. The owner's manual will tell you where to apply lubricating oil.

5. Unclog the gutters

If a home’s roof looks like Niagara Falls during a heavy rain, it could be due to clogged gutters and downspouts. If there are no special gutter guards installed to keep debris out, remove all the debris that collects in gutters throughout the year. Pay special attention to downspouts that often get clogged with leaves, twigs and other debris.

Check all the spikes that fasten gutters to your home to make sure they’re securely fastened. Install new ones if they’re not.

Likewise, replace loose rivets in downspouts. Check for leaks such as holes in gutters and cracked caulking at seams, advises HGTV. Remove old caulking and replace with bead silicon sealing.

After the gutters and downspouts are firmly in place, take a pressure washer to them, making sure not to blow the shingles off the roof. If gutters are rusty, sand them, and prime and paint them with a rust-inhibiting paint to give the gutters a fresh look.