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Monthly Archives: November 2017

  • How to Protect Your Home from Winter Damage

    The harsh winter months are upon us and many of us are concerning ourselves with how best to wrap up warm. It is however, equally important to remember that our homes are as susceptible to the cold as we are. Freezing temperatures are capable of bursting water pipes and tearing apart driveways and roofs. Learning how best to combat these threats is a necessity for the maintenance of your home.

    The threat: Frozen or burst pipes

    lowara pressure vessel

    One of the most common issues associated with the cold of winter is frozen or burst pipes. A lack of care when it comes to preserving the warmth of your home during winter can allow low temperatures to cause devastating damage. In such conditions, the network of pipes that provide homes with heat and water are especially vulnerable. Biting cold brings with it frozen or even burst pipes - and the same applies to hot water storage tanks. Even the hardiest lowara pressure vessel can suffer in freezing weather.

    The solution

    The first, and most obvious, countermeasure is to ensure that all pipes in exposed areas are properly outfitted with lagging material. The insulating material will better preserve the temperature inside at-risk pipes - shoring up their defence against the cold. Other precautionary measures that are simple yet effective include: fixing leaky taps, eliminating draughts and assuring the health of your boiler by having it regularly serviced. If you are going away for a considerable period of time, it may be worth leaving your heating on while you’re away to stifle the debilitating effects of prolonged cold on the home.

    The threat: Freeze-thaw weathering

    freeze-thaw weathering

    The second prominent scourge of winter is freeze-thaw weathering. As the temperature see-saws between below freezing and above freezing, water alternates between liquid and solid form. This expansion and contraction can test the mettle of any space where water has accumulated - from vacant roof tiles to gutters to driveways riddled with gaps.

    The solution

    To stave off the meddling influence of freeze-thaw weathering, it helps to put up a number of defences. Clearing out gutters, replacing any broken or missing roof tiles and filling in any depressions and divots in your driveway are all important steps. With any potential vulnerabilities covered, there are no spaces for the cold to exploit.

    The threat: Ice dams

    Ice dam

    In particularly cold temperatures, ice dams can appear. Ice dams are ridges of ice that form on the edge of a roof. Because of their location, the ice prevents all of the snow and water that accumulates behind it on the roof from funnelling into the gutters like it normally would. With nowhere for the water to go, the likelihood of it seeping through the roof and tarnishing the ceilings beneath is dramatically increased.

    The solution

    To prevent the formation of ice dams, the best preventative measure you can take is to ensure that your roof is sufficiently insulated. Aside from measures you can take in anticipation of ice dams, the only reactionary measure worth taking is getting yourself a roof rake - a device with a telescoping handle that will allow you to scrape away any recalcitrant ice or snow before it has the chance to form an ice dam.

    With all of these tips and tricks under your belt, you should be well-equipped to deal with anything winter can throw at you and your home.

  • Innovative Ways to Keep Your Home Warm this Winter

    With the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer, more and more of us are reaching for that extra blanket or hot water bottle in a desperate attempt to cut back on our energy bills. More often than not though, these attempts are in vain. But what if I told you there are a number of simple and cost-effective ways you can keep your home a few degrees warmer without breaking the bank?

    Grundfos Magna 32

    DIY draught excluders

    In the modern age, it is easy to obsess over increasingly intricate and complex technologies and how they can make our lives better - and the same certainly applies to heating. But sometimes we are better off looking to the past and the use of draught excluders is one such example. Designed to prevent heat escaping from beneath your door, draught excluders are a necessity for a pleasantly warm home. If you are feeling particularly money savvy, you can easily create one of your own using nothing more than an old pair of tights and a few socks.

    Imitating double glazing

    You don’t need to shell out on double glazing to reap the rewards of it. In spite of its garish appearance, bubble wrap is a surprisingly effective alternative to double glazing. Thanks to its insulating properties, it is a more than worthy mimic. By coating your windows with bubble wrap, you can keep your home considerably warmer. Because of its appearance though, it certainly isn’t going to appeal to everyone. There is another option for the more aesthetically conscious - a transparent film.

    Capturing sunlight during the day and keeping it trapped at night

    If you aren’t going to rely on conventional heating methods during the winter months, you have to make the most of what little sunlight is available to you. The most effective - and simplest - way to do this is to open your curtains during the day and close them during the night. Any sunlight that filters into your home during the day will have a warming effect and closing your curtains or blinds when the sun goes in will ensure as much of the heat is retained as possible.

    Installing the right heating pump

    As much as you can maximise the temperature of your home using a variety of DIY methods, there is no substitute for a quality heating pump. The Grundfos Magna 32 is a stellar example. As an ‘A’ rated circulator, it is widely recognised as one of the best on the market today - and it owes this status to its efficiency. It uses up to 80% less energy than a ‘D’ rated circulator, culminating in an annual saving for the average household of around 10% on electricity. Whilst saving both energy and money, the Magna 32 will ensure that you have hot water whenever you need it - whether that be to run a hot bath or to switch on a radiator.

  • The Evolution of Irrigation

    Put simply, irrigation can be defined as the process of applying water to a crop for the purpose of aiding its growth. Thousands and thousands of years ago, the incorporation of irrigation as a mainstay of human society, also formally marked the transition of the human civilisation as a species; from one primarily composed of roaming hunter-gatherers, to the more cohesive, conventional agrarian society that is more familiar to us today. For that reason, the importance of irrigation cannot be overstated, and it retains its importance today as a cornerstone of modern society. In order to chart how irrigation has evolved and changed over the years, we have put together this whistle stop tour of the most important benchmarks in its transformation.

    qanat (1024x683) Qanat

    While archaeological evidence tentatively proves the existence of 8000 year old irrigation canals in both the Middle East and South America, the exact origins of irrigation remain murky. The first development of any significance in the world of irrigation however, is more clear-cut and first materialised around 550BC. A product of Mesopotamian ingenuity, the qanat allowed farmers to repurpose ground water for crop irrigation for the first time in history. Mesopotamians used the collective effect of a vertical well and an adjacent channel to generate a source of surface level water.

    The growing population of the 1700s propelled the rise of the European agricultural revolution. The unprecedented experimentation of the era gave birth to a host of irrigation techniques - increased experimentation with crop rotations, improved livestock breeding, the invention of seed drilling, the use of fertilisers and the introduction of new forms of machinery.

    impact sprinkler (1024x683) Impact sprinkler

    It wasn’t until 1932 though that any of the techniques we are familiar with today rose to prominence. Building on the arrival of the domestic lawn sprinkler thirty years earlier, the invention of the impact sprinkler became the building block upon which modern irrigation was founded. As the impact sprinkler became more and more popular, it ushered in a new era of automated watering. American farmers had hitherto been reliant on gravity to carry water along the antiquated furrows that supplied rows upon rows of crops with nourishment.

    The next major development in agricultural irrigation came in the late 1960s with the introduction of drip irrigation. Not only did it do a better job of increasing crop productivity than any technique that preceded it, it also did so using a far lower amount of water. And thus, the practice of micro irrigation was born. Characterised by small fixtures that are capable of administering water with unerring accuracy, micro irrigation has since become a mainstay of agricultural irrigation.

    jabsco pumps Jabsco self priming pump

    As you’d expect, irrigation systems have become infinitely more complex as time has passed. The pressurised systems that power both of the most popular administration methods - sprinkler and drip irrigation - are always composed of a water source, a pump to pressurise the water, a network of pipes that distribute the water from the pump, as well as the sprinklers or emitters themselves. The centrepiece of these systems is the pump, and without one of sufficient quality, any crops are unlikely to flourish. Jabsco pumps provide a range of versatile pumps that can adapt to often tricky pressurised irrigation systems.

  • An Introduction to Agricultural Irrigation

    For the unfamiliar, agricultural irrigation is the manual application of water to land for the purpose of growing and sustaining crops. What sounds like a simple process is actually bewilderingly complex at times. With climate and crops differing by region, a variety of irrigation techniques have emerged, which, while useful, also serves to complicate matters further. To help you sift through the confusing world of irrigation, we have produced this guide to the most popular, effective and efficient techniques.

    Flood irrigation

    flood irrigation

    Flood irrigation is the oldest and most inefficient form of agricultural irrigation. As its name suggests, flood irrigation essentially consists of allowing water to flow freely through a field of crops. Its haphazard application makes it an attractive choice for farmers that are reluctant to splash out on a complicated (and sometimes expensive) delivery system of pipes and pumps, but it also makes it extremely inefficient. Over half of the water intended to nourish crops is actually lost to evaporation, run-off, transpiration and infiltration of unintended areas, making flood irrigation a poor choice for those who are environmentally conscious.

    Pressurised irrigation

    Unlike flood irrigation, which can occur almost without human intervention, drip and flood irrigation is reliant on an elaborate system that provides them with a supply of pressurised water. Composed of a water source, a pump that is capable of pressurising the water, as well as a means of actually transferring water to the crops; pressurised irrigation systems are far more complex than their flood irrigation counterparts. This complexity allows pressurised systems to be far more efficient and effective, but it also makes them far more likely to break down.

    Drip irrigation

    self priming pump

    Drip irrigation is, by some distance, the most efficient form of agricultural irrigation, but it is also one of the most difficult to maintain. A network of pipes, interwoven with emitters at strategic locations, allow water to be dropped directly onto the root zone of crops with unerring accuracy, so much so, that it can result in a 95% distribution uniformity, which, for the unaware, is a measure of how evenly water soaks into the ground during irrigation.

    Sprinkler irrigation

    Sprinkler irrigation works in much the same way as drip irrigation does, just in a slightly less efficient manner. Water travels from the source, becomes pressurised thanks to a self-priming pump, and is then distributed across crop fields by a selection of sprinklers. If the sprinklers are positioned optimally, and water is applied in a uniform fashion, sprinkler irrigation can be relatively efficient. What makes sprinkler irrigation less efficient than its pressurised cousin drip irrigation, is that it can be thwarted by adverse weather conditions - even a simple breeze can drastically affect the trajectory of water from sprinklers.

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