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  • How to create a low maintenance garden

    Many people think that creating a garden you can really be proud of requires money, time and lots of planning. And even once you’ve created the garden of your dreams, you need to be tirelessly committed to attending to all of its needs and demands, just to keep it presentable. In reality, with an understanding of the most arduous gardening tasks (and the plants that make them a necessity), you can create a low-maintenance garden you’ll really love.

    Discourage weeds by packing plants close together

    One of the most time-consuming and physically demanding gardening chores is weeding. Identifying the pests, and then uprooting them and ensuring they never return can be incredibly difficult. Remove the weeds, and your garden becomes a lot easier to manage.

    Instead of opting for environmentally devastating weedkiller products (that have also been found to be toxic to human cells), you should instead consider the many more environmentally-friendly methods. Putting some thought into the arrangement of plants can go a long way. By packing your garden full of plants, you don’t give weeds the space to flourish and ruin your otherwise pristine garden – all the while siphoning off precious water, nutrients and sunlight from your favourite plants.

    Container gardening

    Placing all your garden’s plants into a container is another alternative that really works. Within the confines of a container, your plant only has a limited amount of room to grow. Because of this – as well as eradicating the possibility of weeds materialising – you don’t have to bother with another tedious task – edging and pruning. With rigidly regimented boundaries for each plant, there isn’t any space for unwelcome problems to develop.

    Using containers to house your plants needn’t come at the cost of the aesthetic of your garden. Durable containers are available in patterns and colours of all styles, and taking the time to ensure that the design of each container synchronises with the rest of your garden, can create a compellingly vibrant and eye-catching outdoor space. You can, however, just as easily opt for a muted and understated design in line with your own aesthetic taste.

    Incorporate decking or a patio into your garden

    While the initial investment can be an obstacle for some, installing decking, a patio or artificial grass in lieu of a lawn, is a time-saving move long-term. Unlike constantly growing grass, shrubs or trees, a patio (or likewise) doesn’t lock the gardener into a constant, unending and ultimately unwinnable tussle to keep it at a manageable size. As well as giving you somewhere to position chairs and a table, patios and decking are popular because, when done well, they also look great and break up the monotony of an all lawn garden.

    Watering plants

    This point is especially important if you have a large garden, with a massive array of plants that need regular watering. Setting up an autonomous irrigation system will not only save you a great deal of time, it can also be a financially (if you have a water meter) savvy move. By incorporating self-priming pumps into your garden irrigation system, you can more accurately and easily provide your garden the water it needs to flourish.

  • Global risks report: Water

    The World Economic Forum has released its Global Risk Report for 2019. What has the report found regarding global access to clean water? How likely is a water crisis and what can we do to reduce the impact, both at home and on a wider scale? We take a brief look at the major causes and simple solutions.

    Water Crisis

    The Global Risks Report looks at a wide range of risks to our world, including weather, war, disease and recession. According to the report, a water crisis has been given a high likelihood and high impact rating. In fact, of the 30 risks assessed, a water crisis falls within the top ten for likelihood and the top five for impact.

    The current threat of various water crises means that clean drinking water is in limited supply. Even as it stands, 1 in 10 people do not have access to clean drinking water. This adversely affects developing countries where women and girls haul water for miles every day and where 800 children die each day from preventable diarrhea.

    Water crises are caused by a number of factors including climate change, population growth, general water waste, poor infrastructure, the demolition of ecosystems and with rising sea levels, the threat of contaminated groundwater. Some researchers even trace the current global water crisis back to the industrial revolution and consequential water shortages. There are no two ways about it, something needs to change.

    Water Saving Tips

    Averting the water crisis, or reducing its impact, requires global cooperation. Everyone has their part to play from big business to NGOs, politicians and even individual households. There are numerous ways in which you can reduce the amount of water you use in the home. Start by asking your water provider to fit a water meter. This way, you only pay for the water you use, which will encourage you to use less water.

    Always use the eco-option on your washing machine and try to have showers rather than baths. Far too much water simply disappears down the toilet. Encourage your family not to flush unless solids are involved. Also consider installing water-saving pumps and accessories to your existing appliances and systems. A grey water pump, for example, will direct wastewater from the bath, sink and appliances such as your dishwasher and pump it into your toilet or outdoor water butt.

    Circulating pumps can also drastically reduce your water usage, as can the latest energy-efficient central heating pumps. Consider buying a water butt to collect rainwater which can then be used to water your garden. There are so many ways in which you can reduce water waste in the home but it requires collaboration from everyone in the household.

    Of all the contributing factors to the water crisis, water wastage is one that UK households can start working on straight away. You can also pressure the Government and businesses through your purchasing power and with petitions, in addition to donating to international water and development charities.

  • Flamco Pumps: Manufacturer Spotlight

    Our manufacturer spotlight series aims to bring attention to underappreciated or overlooked producers of pumping equipment. And with such an extensive range of manufacturers featured on our website, it can be easy for customers to overlook certain companies. With this in mind, we’ve produced a deep dive into one of our most highly respected and reputed manufacturers: Flamco.

    They have played a pivotal role in shaping HVAC technology and they remain an influential organisation today.

    History:

    Flamco was founded in 1956. At first, it produced wall brackets and pipe hangers. In 1959, Flamco became known for the product which it remains inextricably associated with: the expansion vessel. It began importing expansion vessels into the Benelux.

    The year after, in 1960, it affirmed its association with expansion vessels by producing a line of their own. Originally named the Excon, their expansion vessels transformed the world of heating. Their advent made sealed central heating systems easy to create and the benefits were felt by households and businesses the world over.

    By 2009, Flamco was active in an astounding 67 countries, scattered all over the globe. Today, they have a presence in a startling 70 countries worldwide.

    Values

    Flamco’s main priority is assuring that the quality of its products is unparalleled. Buy a Flamco pressurisation unit for example, and you can expect exceptional efficiency and unparalleled longevity. An insistence on quality extends to absolutely everything surrounding the organisation.
    From its stellar technical assistance that will help you solve even the most difficult to fix problems to the stellar logistical operations that allow Flamco to work efficiently with customers in over 70 different countries.

    As a major manufacturer, Flamco also takes its responsibility to society and the environment incredibly seriously. They closely monitor their annual carbon emissions to look for ways to minimise their environmental impact – a strategy that has already proven successful.

    For example, in 2017, Flamco were able to reduce their carbon emissions by 203 tonnes.

    Products

    Flamco is primarily known for its expansion vessels – and for good reason. They were amongst the very first companies to create quality expansion vessels and their status as a manufacturer is largely thanks to this but they have demonstrated a remarkable aptitude for innovation and consistent quality.

    Their product range is constantly expanding too. Today, as well as expansion vessels, pressurisation units and a range of accessories for heating, cooling and potable water installations, Flamco has incorporated rail, clips and brackets for installing and hanging pipes into their extensive range of products.

    Pump Sales Direct are one of just a select few retailers who can stock affordably priced products from Flamco in the UK. You’ll find a comprehensive range of Flamco products on our site – all with detailed specifications. If, however, you find that your question hasn’t already been answered, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by phone or email.

    Our knowledgeable team will help you with any problem or query you may have. We are 100% committed to providing the best possible shopping experience for every single customer.

  • Smarter hot water solutions

    The world’s supplies of drinkable water are limited and wasteful use of water is something we simply can’t afford. As climate change adversely affects water quality and availability – and a constantly growing population increases the strain on water supplies –the dire importance of efficient water usage becomes clear. Societal attitudes need to change in order for the water crisis facing the UK to be averted: wasting water needs to be as frowned upon as throwing plastic bags into the sea.

    To help you use water more efficiently in your own homes – and do your bit for the environment - we’ve come up with four easy to adopt water-saving solutions.

    Reduce water use with simple behavioral changes

    There are a whole host of really simple changes you can make to cut down on the amount of water your household uses. If you have made a habit of taking baths, swap them out for showers. Always use a full load whenever you are using a washing machine or dishwasher. It is also worth being mindful of running the tap when you don’t need to: brushing your teeth is the most obvious example but you might notice other times where you’re absent-mindedly wasting water too.

    Combatting wasteful water usage with new equipment

    As important as an awareness of the amount of hot water you are using is – and how a shift in your everyday behaviour can radically change this – the right equipment can really help you along in this water-saving quest. To really make a change, outfitting your home with water-saving gadgets and more efficient HVAC equipment should be a prerequisite. With a minimum of effort, fuss and
    investment, you can be well on your way to running a home that wastes very little water.

    More efficient water usage with central heating pumps

    Domestic hot water circulating pumps take the hot water that comes from your boiler and distribute it to your home’s radiators. Unfortunately, unless you’ve recently updated your circulating pump, it is highly likely that your home is currently carrying out this process incredibly inefficiently.

    On our central heating pumps page, you can browse energy-efficient domestic hot water circulators in a range of specifications. So, regardless of your current central heating system or the size of your budget, we are sure to have the perfect piece of kit for you. Our domestic hot water pumps are remarkably efficient.

    Look out for the exceptional energy efficiency ratings that so many of our
    products carry, certifying that they are more than capable of reducing the amount of water your household uses.

    Incentivise sensible water use by installing a water meter

    The less water you use, the less money you use: it’s as simple as that. If the devastating long-term impact of water wastage wasn’t motivation enough, the financial incentive provided by a water meter certainly should be.
    With water shortages in the UK a terrifyingly real prospect - in little more than a couple of decades too – the onus is on homeowners to take action. By instituting a few of these tips in your home, you can help steer the UK towards a more sustainable future.

  • Five spring gardening tips

    There is plenty to do in the garden in the late springtime. You will probably have spent March undertaking tasks such as fertilising beds, putting up supports for plants such as peas and other climbers and cleaning and resurfacing paths. You will also have been sowing vegetable seeds and checking them for weeds once they come through.

    Here are five jobs that commonly require attention in the late spring so that your garden will be looking at its best in the summer and autumn.

    1)      Remember the general maintenance tasks

    -       Order summer bedding and hanging basket plants.
    -       Scrub out that greenhouse; this will eliminate pests and allow more light to get in.
    -       Prepare your beds by digging in compost or manure.
    -       Lift and split up perennial plants to encourage more prolific growth.
    -       Dead head daffodils and tulips, but leave their leaves, which will put nutrients back into the soil for next year’s bulbs.
    -       If you have a garden water pump, check that it is functioning properly, or if needs repairing or cleaning.

    2)      Consider making your vegetable garden more efficient

    -       Remove all weeds from your seed beds.
    -       If you don’t already have them, build some raised beds, which will take a lot of the donkey work out of weeding and managing your vegetable garden.
    -       Cover soil with black plastic to warm it up and keep down the weeds.
    -       Dig a 5cm layer of compost or manure into the beds.

    3)      Prepare for a good fruit crop in the autumn

    -       Protect fruit blossom from late frost by covering with fleece.
    -       Feed raspberry canes and fruit trees with a slow-release fertiliser at the base.
    -       Have you ever tried hand-pollinating peach trees with a soft brush? It can do wonders for your crops.
    -       If you have a large garden and you are finding the watering a daunting task, consider using submersible pumps in conjunction with an irrigation system to make life a little easier.

    4)      Introduce more colour into your garden in May

    -       You can sow sunflowers directly into the ground for a fast-growing ray of sunshine.
    -       Sow nasturtium seeds in pots or the ground; these are good for a burst of colour, and are delicious in salads.
    -       Nigella has very attractive, unusual flowers and seed heads; again, this is an edible crop.
    -       Now that the risk of frost has passed, it's time to get a batch of annual geraniums/pelargoniums. They will flower from now until at least October and look magnificent in pots.

    5)      Don’t forget the wildlife in your garden

    -       A pond is a good way to introduce wildlife into your garden; don’t forget to think about pond pumps for efficient cleaning.
    -       Although you will be mowing the lawn more frequently in the springtime, now is the time to think about leaving an area of grass to grow wild and leave those nettles alone in a few places.
    -       Don’t forget to leave water and food out for birds at this time of year; this is not limited to the winter alone.

  • Three things to consider before buying a pump

    On our website, you’ll find an extensive range of products designed to capably perform in domestic, commercial and industrial scenarios. Whatever pump you’re looking for whether it’s a shower pump, a central heating pump or a sump pump – there are certain characteristics you should be looking for.

    In this post, we’ve summarised three vital things any pump you are considering purchasing should have.

    Reliable

    If you’re going to invest a sizeable amount of money into a pump, you want to be sure that you are going to get value for money. The last thing you need, after whittling down the list of potential options to just one, scouring the internet for the best possible price, and installing it correctly, is the pump breaking down.
    Ensuring that you select a product from a reputable manufacturer with a track
    record of designing and developing long-lasting products is essential.

    Durability is as important a quality as any to seek out in a pump. From leading manufacturers, you get assurances that certain standards are met, giving you peace of mind that, by purchasing a certain product, you have resolved a problem for the foreseeable future.

    Looking ahead, you can expect a high level of performance to be sustained.
    If a product does fail or break down, the consequences can be disastrous. The failure of a central heating pump, in particular, can be disastrous. Responsible for efficiently heating and distributing hot water throughout your home, the breakdown of a circulating pump can disturb everything from radiators to showers to taps.

    Diagnosing the exact issue with the pump can be tricky, and resolving the problem will more than likely require the costly assistance of a professional – underlining the importance of selecting a product that has some longevity.

    Efficient

    In our industry, we have a responsibility to develop products that are environmentally friendly. Manufacturers are more than aware of this responsibility and invest a massive amount of resources into refining their products in search of greater efficiency. All involved parties benefit from more efficient pumps. Manufacturers, consumers and the environment – and society at large – gain from more efficient pumps.

    Quality/Noise

    Above all, you want a product that really works. Buying from highly-reputed manufacturers is the best way to guarantee a quality product. Manufacturers stake their reputation on the performance of their products and opting for a quality brand name is a sensible decision. One thing that rarely accompanies a stellar pump is noise. The best pumps go unnoticed. So, if you don’t want your everyday routine to be disturbed by the whirs and hums of a poorly designed shower pump, you need to spend a little extra.

    By keeping these three things in mind, you should feel better informed to make your next purchase.

    If, however, you’re still unsure of which product is best for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email or phone. A member of our team will take the time to understand your needs and guide you towards a solution that works.

  • How to get the most out of your shower

    There is nothing more annoying than a lackluster shower that dribbles and stutters when you are trying to get ready for work in the morning. However, there are plenty of options that can help to put some power back into your shower.

    Clean the showerhead

    If your shower is suffering from low water pressure, one of the first things you should do is take a look at the showerhead. Low water flow could be due to something as simple as a dirty or clogged up showerhead, in which case a good clean should rectify the situation. If this doesn't make much of a difference, consider fitting a new showerhead.

    Sometimes even kinks or areas of damage in the shower hose could be to blame for affecting water flow, so give the hose a thorough inspection and replace it if necessary.

    If the showerhead or the shower hose are both in good working order, then it is also worth double-checking that the mains stopcock is fully open, particularly if you have recently had plumbing work carried out. The stopcock is usually located under the kitchen sink. Even if it is partially closed, this can have a significant impact on water flow which could limit the power you experience in the shower.

    Purchase a shower pump

    Shower pumps are an effective option for increasing water flow to your shower. They can easily be installed if you have some DIY knowledge or with the assistance of a plumber. Shower pumps can boost hot, cold or both feeds and are automatically activated when the shower is turned on. Water travelling through the system passes through the shower pump, where an impeller then increases the pressure of the water before it gets to the shower.

    A home booster pump, such as the Grundfos home booster, may be worth considering if you want to boost the water pressure not just in your shower, but throughout the rest of your home. As an intelligent device, it measures water flow passing through the pump and only adjusts flow as and when it is needed.

    Install a pressurised unvented cylinder

    If you are seeking a long-term solution to water pressure problems, especially if you live somewhere that has dated plumbing systems, you might consider getting a pressurised unvented cylinder installed. This is a far more expensive and complex job than simply installing a shower pump and is something that should be left to the professionals to handle. Installing a pressurised unvented cylinder requires removing the cold water tank and putting a new cylinder in its place, which feeds directly from the mains.

    Install an expansion vessel

    An expansion vessel, also known as an expansion tank, can also be installed to help maintain constant water pressure, thus improving shower quality. This small tank is used on closed water heating systems to protect them from excessive pressure, by absorbing excess water pressure as a result of thermal expansion.

    Fit a cold water accumulator tank

    If you find that your shower water is more cold than hot, then you might wish to consider fitting a separate electric shower with a cold water accumulator tank to remedy this situation. In this case, the shower obtains cold water from the accumulator tank, which is separate from the mains tank. When the cold water reaches the electric shower, it heats it and emits water from the showerhead at high pressure. The beauty of this option is that it also solves the issue of water pressure drop when someone turns a tap on elsewhere in the house.

  • Industrial uses of submersible pumps

    Energy efficient and very effective, submersible pumps play a vital role in a number of industrial applications. These watertight and easy to use pumps are the ideal solution when you want to remove excess water from a submerged location and are available with single or multiple impellers, depending on how they’re intended to be used.

    How do they work?

    Rather than pulling water out of the ground, this type of pump pushes the water to the surface. It uses less energy and can move the liquid far more efficiently than a surface pump but it must be completely submerged to work properly.

    The engine is hermetically sealed into a watertight body and drives an impeller. This draws water into the pump and then pushes it out through a pipe to the surface. The type of pump you require will depend upon the application and it’s always important to use a pump that’s the right size for the job.

    Industrial uses for submersible pumps

    This type of pump is extremely versatile and can be used in domestic, commercial and industrial situations. Most commonly used for pumping sewage and managing wastewater systems, submersibles are also used for seawater handling, rainwater tanks and deep well drilling. Submersible pump-based irrigation systems have also proved to be low cost, reliable and highly efficient.

    The most popular applications for submersible type pumps include:

    Industrial plumbing: pumps are used to clear flooded areas on construction sites, for clearing excess water and pumping slurries. The Coronada range is designed specifically for emptying drainage pits and flooded areas and features a high-grade stainless steel construction designed to cope with aggressive wastewater.

    Deep well or borehole pumping: where water needs to be pumped from a great depth, a dedicated borehole pump from a reputable manufacturer such as Grundfos will make short work of boosting pressure. This type of submersible water pump is capable of pumping clear liquids from deep underground into storage tanks.

    Pumping sewage: sewage pumps need to be capable of handling dirty water before treatment at the sewage plant. The heavy-duty cast iron DGO submersible sewage pump, Ebara DW range or a submersible dirty water Grundfos Unilift pump from the range are all potential choices, proving capable of dealing with water that contains contaminants and particles larger than 1mm in size.

    Oil industry: submersible style pumps are widely used in the oil industry for accessing oil in both onshore and offshore wells.

    The advantages of a submersible water pump

    Submersibles are more reliable and efficient at clearing underground water than surface pumps because they won’t short circuit when wet. By using direct pressure, this type of pump not only clears water more efficiently but can pump it over long distances.

    There’s no danger of pump cavitation and your submersible water pump won’t lose prime and burn out as a surface pump can. Opt for a submersible dirty water pump with a float switch such as the Calpeda GXVm and you’ll ensure that your self-priming pump works reliably for years to come.

    Although submersible water pumps can only work efficiently when completely submerged, they make the ideal pumping solution for industrial applications where their robust construction and overall durability make them a compelling choice.

  • How to improve your bathroom

    The bathroom is without a doubt one of the most important rooms in the house; one that is frequently used and offers a sanctuary for relaxation. It’s a room that house buyers always like to see looking fresh and up to date, so time or money spent improving it is never a waste. However, if you don’t have the funds for a complete overhaul, there are still changes that can enhance the room. Consider implementing one or more of the following tips, depending on what time and money you have, in order to improve your bathroom.

    Lighting

    Lighting can set the atmosphere for a room. The bathroom is a room that needs to be lit correctly, offering a soft relaxing ambience for restful bathing but with functional lighting for getting ready in front of the mirror. Lighting is even more important in bathrooms without windows. Consider task lighting above mirrors; you can even get mirrors with built-in LEDs which are a great addition. Do bear in mind before making any electrical changes, that bathroom lighting must adhere to strict regulations so be sure to check these.

    Heating

    Think carefully about the heating in the bathroom and you could swap something simply functional in creating a feature in the room. If you are completely refitting your bathroom, you could consider underfloor heating but there are a range of contemporary feature radiators which can really bring a modern look to any bathroom, without disrupting too much else in the room. A heated towel rail can look stylish and has the functional purpose of keeping those towels nice and warm for you.

    Shower

    Nothing beats a shower. A quick blast to wake you up in the morning or leisurely and luxurious at bedtime; it’s so much easier and more practical than a bath. Only, however, if your shower has sufficient pressure. We’ve all experienced showers that are more frustrating than invigorating if the water pressure isn’t there. One thing you can do to improve the situation is to ensure that your shower has an effective pump. There are a variety of pumps from reputable manufacturers which can boost water pressure. Salamander Shower pumps and Stuart Turner shower pumps, for example, can make a significant difference in households with low water pressure problems.

    Storage

    The easiest thing you can do to improve the look of the bathroom is to keep it clean, and the simplest way to do this is to minimise clutter. Keeping surfaces clear of lots of bottles and paraphernalia will ensure that the bathroom has a minimalist look and this can be achieved by providing adequate storage. Under sink storage units are a great way to get everything out of the way whilst keeping it easily accessible. A contemporary styled wall shelf or shelving unit can be an easy, affordable and effective addition, getting everything out of the way and adding to the style of the room.

    Colour

    If significant changes to the bathroom are out of the question, perhaps due to lack of time, money or because you live in a rented property, one thing that you can do very easily is to introduce some colour. A new set of coloured towels and a bath mat need not cost a lot, but can really have an effect. A bright colour can liven up a plain white bathroom which could otherwise look clinical and bare, whereas a soft neutral colour can tone down a bathroom with a garish suite or tiles. Pictures on the wall and attractive bottles of coloured bath salts can all enhance the colour scheme.

  • Keeping your home flood-free

    A flood can cause extensive damage and misery for homeowners, with a lasting and sometimes devastating impact on a property and its occupants. Whilst an insurance policy that covers costs may go some way to mitigating the effects, taking measures to protect against a flood in the first place is the best way to ensure peace of mind.

    Any changes that you decide to make can be either temporary or permanent, however, the more you can prepare in advance, the greater the reduction of any risks. It is important to review your current home insurance policy and to notify your insurer, should any changes be made to your home in order to ensure that your policy remains valid. Otherwise, any improvements you make after taking out your policy may not be covered as most offer like-for-like cover which would simply restore your home back to the condition at the inception of the insurance policy.

    Preparing your home for flooding

    One way to ensure that your home is prepared for potential flooding is to install drainage pumps. These are available in various forms for a range of applications, however, they all will offer a similar benefit to homeowners. Simply put, they can move liquids from one location to another. For domestic properties, drainage pumps are one of the most popular flood defences.

    Drainage pumps for domestic properties are usually compact, with the flexibility to be installed in a range of locations. If an area begins to suffer from water ingress, the pump will kick in and automatically move the water to another location, thereby mitigating the devastating threat of flooding.

    In some homes, the location of the boiler, and its age may require condensate pumps. These can assist in the removal of the condensation created by heating and air conditioning systems. Some systems can create significant condensation which, if not correctly managed, can create issues with damp or indeed long-term damage through seepage. They can be particularly valuable in installations located some way from the drainage system.

    For areas where there is a risk of flash flooding, is worth considering the installation of submersible pumps. These are available in a couple of different forms; those that are suitable for handling dirty wastewater and those that are specifically for clean water. The dirty water submersible pumps are designed for situations where water containing salt and mud and other contaminants may be present. Dirty water models can, of course, handle clean water too, whereas submersible pumps that are only designed for clean water will struggle to handle an occurrence of floodwater containing particulates of any form.

    Should you wish to further protect against any potential damage to your home from flooding, the following three tips may prove invaluable:

    1.      Changing carpets to ceramic tiles. Floodwater will ruin the carpet and underlay beyond repair, often causing further damage to wooden floorboards underneath. Correctly installed ceramic tiling on the lower levels of your home can help to provide a waterproof barrier and is easily cleaned up after the event.
    2.      Relocate electric sockets. Installing sockets at a height of 150cm or more can help to avoid any electrical problems to a home which is subject to flooding.
    3.      Install your boiler or ventilation systems upstairs, or at least high above floor level.

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