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Renovation House

When to Replace a Whirlpool Bathtub

When to keep an old whirlpool and when to replace one. Many people get concerned over the hygienic safety of an old whirlpool bathtub. Whirlpool bathtubs can have a life in excess of 30 years and still perform and look as good as when they were new. Others will have problems with water retention in the pipes if they were not manufactured on installed properly. One way to test this is to fill the whirlpool and run the pump for about 15 minutes. You should not see any black algae or flakes of dried algae in the water. The presence of live or dead black algae is an indication the pipes or pump is retaining stagnant and unhealthy water. This is basically bacteria infested water or what is left after the water has evaporated. A well functioning whirlpool will not do this.
Black Algae from water retention in a whirlpool bathtub
If you have a black algae problem, you can’t immediately assume that the whirlpool has to be replaced without inspecting the pump first. Make sure it is elevated above the bottom of the bathtub and that water is not being trapped. This is most common in cultured marble whirlpools that were manufactured in the late 1980s to about 2000. Many of these bathtubs were jetted on the job site and the quality control was random. If this is your situation, you can elevate the pump with a block of wood about 4 inches and it may solve the problem, if there is not additional water retention in the pipes. You can make this correction and then run the bath with cold water and 16 ounces of bleach or 2oz of pool shock. This will temporarily solve the problem. If it reoccurs then you will have to re-plumb or replace the whirlpool.
Removing to whirlpool without damaging it
Removing the whirlpool is difficult to do without damaging the shell. If the bathtub is sitting on top of the tile it may be possible to remove it without damage to the shell. If the whirlpool is tiled in, you should plan on replacing it. If you can successfully remove the whirlpool without damaging it, you can bring it to a local tub jetter and have it refitted with new jets pipe and pump. In most cases people choose to replace the whirlpool bathtub for the small difference in cost between a new whirlpool and the repair. In general, culture marble bathtubs are the most difficult to remove due to the weight and that they are very easy to crack.
Determining the condition of the whirlpool bathtub pipes
After you remove the whirlpool you can cut one of the flexible water pipes and inspect the color of the interior pipe. If it is black with discoloration, then it has to be re-jetted or replace. If it is in good shape, see if you can identify a low pipe that may be retaining water. If you a diligent it is sometimes possible to make the repairs and save the whirlpool without re-jetting.
Whirlpool bath Finnish considerations
Acrylic finished bathtubs tend to hold their finish and shine for years unless they have been exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals or where damage by cleaning after the original construction of the home. This is usually the case with finish issues. On the other hand culture marble tends to yellow with age and it is often replace for cosmetic reasons. If the cultured bathtub is exposed to direct sunlight over the years it will definitely have discolored.
Whirlpool Jet and component replacement and refinishing
Many older whirlpools are replaced because the jet finish is no longer in style or does not match new bathroom hardware. It is possible to replace the interior jets and whirlpool fittings on all bathtubs. Your best course of action is to go to the whirlpool manufacture and check if they are still available. Most will be, if under ten years old. It is important to photograph each component of the system in addition to the model number and year of the bathtub. Most whirlpool manufactures do not make their own jets and therefore the manufacture of the jets may have several versions. There are over a Thousand different jet models and brands. Many of these jet systems look the same but have different thread size or diameter. If you are handy, it is also possible to paint the jets with an enamel spray paint. Don’t attempt this without removing the whirlpool components first.…

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General Article

July in the Flower Garden

July in the Flower Garden

Mid summer in the garden is the time when you can take some time to relax and admire the fruits of the your labour. The flower borders are in full bloom and the garden is buzzing with life. However, even in the smallest garden there is still plenty to do, from making sure containers and borders are well watered to deadheading roses. So before you get too comfortable in your deckchair, read this short reminder of some of the vital jobs to be getting on with in the flower garden during July.

Keep your Herbaceous borders looking stunning by cutting back early flowering perennials when they have finished flowering. If you are lucky, many including delphiniums and lupins will flower again before the summer is out. It is also important the you regularly deadhead roses this month, particularly those that repeat flower and feed to keep them producing new buds. Spray those roses that are susceptible to diseases such as mildew and blackspot with a fungicide. Other shrubs to deadhead include peonies and pansies.

Many garden shrubs will put on a lot of growth at this time, so cut back shrubs such as kerria, ceanothus and weigela. Also cut back the many whippy growth shoots on wisteria to about 20cm. It is also a good idea to give shrubs a good feed at this time. July is a good time to propagate shrubs. Take semi-ripe cuttings of shrubs such as cistus, lavatera, honeysuckle, rosemary and viburnum.

Pinch out the growing shoots on summer bedding plants such as fushia to encourage bushier growth. If you have grown sweet peas make sure you pick the flowers regularly to encourage the plants to keep producing. Cut lavender in full flower for drying. Now is the time to start planting autumn flowering bulbs such as autumn crocuses, colchicums and nerines.

Spent flowers on annual bedding plants like geraniums should be regularly removed to stop the plants putting their energy into producing seed and encourage them to continue flowering. Also regularly feed and water hanging baskets as they can be difficult to rehydrate once they have completely dried out. Its not too late to plant up any spare garden planters with summer bedding displays. Group a number of pots together filled with a mixture of summer bedding and herbs to brighten up patios or fill in gaps in the flower border. It is however, very important to make sure these containers are watered regularly and not allowed to dry out.…

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House Improvements

Top Plumbing Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Burst pipes can be a disaster. And you won’t just need a plumber, either. While the plumber will replace the pipe-and should ensure it doesn’t happen again-even a small crack can release hundreds of gallons of water into your home each day, destroying possessions, causing structural damage and creating the kinds of conditions that dangerous molds love.
First a Little Physics: Why Do Pipes Burst?
Water expands when it freezes. Think of ice cubes-when you first put the tray in the freezer, the water is neatly contained in its little compartments. If the tray is filled a little too full, however, when you go to add a cube to your drink, you’ll find they’re all frozen together. At some point the water in each compartment expanded, overflowed and fused with its buddy in the next compartment over.
The same principle is at work when pipes burst.
Interestingly, though, it’s not usually the outward pressure of expanding water on the pipe walls that causes the pipe to burst. Here’s why. When a pipe is completely blocked by ice, water gets trapped between the ice dam at one end and the closed faucet at the other. As water expands further down the pipe and freezes, pressure builds up between the blockage and the tap… and the pipe will burst at its weakest point.
Think Prevention: Winterize Your Plumbing
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure… and in the case of frozen and burst pipes, a little prevention will save you whack of cash and some huge headaches, too.
Here are four tips worth taking as winter gets closer.
1. Wrap up to stay warm. Check that any pipes close to the exterior walls or floors in a basement or crawlspace are properly insulated. Insulation value increases with the thickness of insulation you use, so don’t be afraid to wrap to the max. Not sure if you’ve got enough insulation? Call a plumber to do a quick assessment.
2. Keep the heat in… and the cold out. Seal up any air leaks near your interior pipes to make sure they aren’t being exposed to freezing outdoor air. Cover any nearby outside vents that could let cold air. Don’t forget to check that there aren’t any gaps or cracks where the pipes enter your house, too.
3. Turn off the taps. Outdoor water taps are a recipe for pipe disaster if the pipe running between the tap and the interior pipe freezes and bursts. Turn off the exterior water source… and don’t forget to turn on the taps to drain all remaining water.
4. Keep the heat on. If your furnace quits, your basement pipes won’t stay warm for long. Invest in a little proactive heating maintenance to keep your water flowing well all winter. Even if your furnace is functioning properly, if your thermostat is turned down too low or you’ve closed all the vents in your basement, it may not be warm enough to keep pipes from freezing.
Plumber’s Wisdom: How to Fix a Frozen Pipe
Sometimes our best efforts at prevention aren’t successful. Or an early cold snap catches us unawares. If you turn on your tap and nothing comes out-and this is problem your neighbours aren’t also experiencing-here’s what you should do.
1. Stay calm. Just because your pipe is frozen doesn’t mean it has-or will-burst.
2. Turn off your main water valve. This is absolutely necessary if you know your water pipe has burst, as it’s the only way to stop the flow of good ol’ H2O. But it’s a good precaution if your pipe is frozen, just in case there’s a small crack you’re unaware of because the water is frozen.
3. Try to locate the frozen section. This will be a part of the pipe that is noticeably colder than the rest… and there may be more than one if you have multiple blockages.
4. Turn on the cold water tap closest to the frozen section of pipe. This will let the water escape safely down the drain when it melts.
5. Warm the pipe. A hairdryer is best-unless the pipe has burst and there’s been a flood, in which case you should never operate electrical devices in the area. Start near the closest tap and work your way towards the frozen sections. Never use an open flame to thaw a pipe-it’s a fire hazard and could harm your pipes.
6. Inspect the pipe for cracks. You’ll want to know you won’t cause a flood when you turn your main water valve back on.
7. Fix the problem. Call in a reputable professional plumber to assess the situation and make recommendations.…