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preventing flood damage

  • How to create and maintain the perfect garden pond

    garden pond

    A pond is an attractive proposition for many homeowners. A body of water brings with it a burgeoning ecosystem of aquatic wildlife and vegetation, as well as aesthetic value. Despite the obvious advantages of having a garden pond, the effort required to actually build and maintain a thriving pond is an insurmountable stumbling block for many. Creating the perfect pond may not be as painstaking a task as you may have anticipated. With this quick guide as a head start, you may find it a great deal easier than expected.

    Construction

    The construction aspect of installing a pond into your garden is far and away the most costly and arduous component of the whole endeavour. Before lining the pond, the turf itself has to be excavated to your desired shape and depth by hand - whether you choose to dig it yourself or hire someone else is completely up to you. From there, a pond filter has to be installed to keep the water clean. A not altogether essential but nevertheless significant step is to surround the pond with rocks, stones or slabs as both a practical and decorative addition.

    Wildlife

    The type of wildlife you intend to attract to your pond will also dictate how you maintain it. Koi fish, while relatively hardy and resilient, require a finely tuned set of conditions in order to flourish. Neutral pH levels, excessive filtering and sterilisation of bacteria are all prerequisites for a koi pond.

    And while your instinct may agree to this in order to cultivate glistening crystal-clear waters, much of the wildlife typical of British ponds actually prefer to operate in much more congested waters full of vegetation. Tadpoles for example, depend on a bountiful source of algae as their primary food source. The Royal Horticultural Society recommends that only around 50% of surface water should be free from vegetation.

    Plants

    Any plants that you choose to inhabit your pond serve a practical purpose as well as an ornamental one. Certain plant species will help oxygenate your pond and some will even attract other species and wildlife. Other pond plants with unassuming names like water fern and floating pennywort are actually invasive and can have a devastating impact on the surrounding ecosystem - be extremely careful which plant life you choose to introduce.

    Cost

    Costs can vary wildly depending on the size of your pond and the type of life you want to live in it. Even within a single species, costs can differ dramatically from one purchase to another. Koi fish for example, a hugely popular pond species, can range in price from £10 to thousands and thousands; it all depends on your preferences.

    Maintenance

    submersible dirty water pump

    Even the most unkempt garden pond requires a certain amount of maintenance. Thinning out overgrown plants and removing any debris that may accumulate in the water are minimum requirements for a healthy pond. A full and thorough overhaul in which a submersible dirty water pump is used to drain the pond is required once every five years.

     

  • Keeping your garden pristine in adverse weather

    Maintaining a garden can be a trying undertaking at the best of times. When the weather isn’t quite in your favour, the work involved can be excessive. Fortunately though, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure the garden that you have invested hundreds of hours of work into remains pristine even in adverse weather conditions - from droughts to floods. Solutions range from permanent to temporary; some require a transformative change in your approach to plant cultivation, whilst others require nothing of the sort.

    Rain

    tt pumps

    Floods caused over £1.5 billion worth of damage during the UK floods of late 2015 and early 2016. Rain is essential for the growth of almost every garden plant yet an overly excessive outpouring can derail the health of even the sturdiest garden. Whilst us Brits are more than well accustomed to receiving our fair share of rain, sometimes it can overwhelm and lead to floods - especially if our gardens lack adequate drainage and runoff.

    The only immediate and 100% effective response is to employ a submersible drainage pump. The trencher range of tt pumps is particularly well-equipped to handle water containing sand and silt, which is common with a flooded garden.

    Wind

    As we transition from summer to autumn, the likelihood of stronger winds multiplies. Burgeoning plants are best supported by wooden stakes that help to prevent them from wilting under the pressure of strong winds. A similarly simple and straightforward countermeasure you can take to safeguard your garden is installing a temporary windbreak - plastic screening tied to a couple of posts is probably your best bet.

    More permanent and natural alternatives require a slightly longer-term approach. Interspersing layers of trees and shrubs can generate a natural windbreak. Similarly, electing to keep trees that border a garden can help to protect the plants within from wind damage.

    Drought

    I am sure the suggestion that areas of the UK are likely to experience drought is likely to raise a few eyebrows, but the effect of climate change has already been dramatic, and drought is a very real prospect every time summer comes around. Ways of combatting drought can consist of the complex and exciting (xeriscaping) to the simple and the mundane (adding mulch and compost).

    Xerophytes are organisms that can survive with little to no water, and are therefore more than capable of outlasting a British drought, which is defined as 3 or more weeks where less than a third of the typical volume of precipitation falls. Acclaimed because of their ability to take on a drought, xerophytes are also popular because they require very little maintenance, making them a very strong choice when a lack of rainfall is predicted. They do however; require an overhaul of your garden if you plan on adopting this approach for your garden in its entirety.

    Simply adding mulch and compost are two far faster and cost-effective ways of fighting drought. Mulch can help off-set high temperatures by up to 10°C, ensuring the soil stays cool and the roots of your plants are able to uptake moisture.

  • How to choose the right sump pump

    sump pumpsConverting basements and cellars into living space has become increasingly popular in recent years. But for them to be usable, it’s important that they stay dry throughout the year. In most cases this means installing sump pumps.

    Many basements use a system that allows water to drain into a basin or sump. A sump pump, as its name suggests, is used to remove this water safely to outside the property. But all sump pumps are not the same: there are various different types, and it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

     

    Types of pumps

    There are two main types of sump pump. Pedestal pumps are designed so that there’s an impeller at the base to draw the water up, but the top part of the pump body is designed to stand clear of the water. Submersible pumps, on the other hand, are designed to operate completely underwater. These are generally quieter in operation and more efficient than pedestal pumps.

    A third type of sump pump you may encounter is the effluent pump. These are designed to remove wastewater from sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, showers and so on. They can handle solids up to half an inch in diameter and should be clearly marked “effluent pump”.

     

    Selecting a sump pump

    If you’re replacing a pump, a good place to start is by looking at the old installation. The size of the sump and the diameter of the discharge pipe will determine the size of pump you need. A look at the existing pump will give you useful information too, as there will be a spec label telling you the horsepower. Unless your pump is struggling to cope, there’s usually no reason to move up to a more powerful model.

    If you have a pedestal pump, then this may be a good time to think about switching to a submersible version. Not only are these quieter and more efficient, as we said above, but they are longer-lasting and make for a neater installation as they’re totally contained within the sump.

    The next thing to consider is the float switch type. Again, there are two types. Tethered switch types need a minimum sump diameter of 14 inches. As water enters the sump, the switch floats up at an angle to activate the switch. The other type is the vertical switch pump - these can be used in smaller 10-inch diameter sumps. With this type, the float to activate the switch moves straight up to turn on the pump.

    To protect your home from the risk of flooding, it may be worth having a back-up system. These are run from a battery so that in the event of mains power failure the water from the sump still gets pumped out. A back-up pump also helps protect against heavy rain that could overwhelm your normal system.

    Choose a good-quality sump pump from us and ensure a long life make sure it’s backed by a manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Sump pumps to sandbags: Flooding essentials for winter 2016

    Local knowledge is an essential starting point for assessing and mitigating winter flooding risk. You can find this out from the local council as well as from the Environment Agency website that covers flooding risk over England and Wales.

    From Sump Pumps to Sandbangs: Flooding Essentials You Need for Winter 2016

    Invest in a Sump Pump

    Even if your property does not lie in the most high flood risk areas, heavy rainfall could cause flooding in your home either by flowing from the outside into a cellar or crawl space, or by raised groundwater levels. This is the point at which you should invest in a sump pump, a type of submersible pump, which will clear away floodwater before it can do much damage to the structure of the house.

    The benefit of a submersible pump is that it is designed to be hermetically sealed and so that water does not penetrate and damage its components. It is best placed in a small pit in the basement of the property. When any water reaches a critical level, the sump pump automatically switches on and removes the water from the basement to an outdoor drain or drainage area, so preventing further damage. The sump pump will also ensure that the basement humidity is kept under control and that any mould and mildew growth is discouraged.

     

    Removal of Vulnerable Belongings

    One precaution ahead of or immediately after a flood warning should be aimed at preventing any water from entering the property. Furniture, electrical devices, and carpets, that are on the ground floor level should be moved upstairs if the property has an extra storey, These are especially vulnerable to the slightest of water damage.

     

    Water Prevention with Sandbags

    Sandbags are a quick option to prevent water from entering the house through the bottom of doorways and some windows. These should also be placed against ventilation bricks on basement walls. Sinks and baths inside the house should be plugged firmly. It is always a good idea to use a heavy item, such as a large tin of beans or the like, to weigh down the plug should any water rise up the drain and force the plug away. Similar plugs are available for toilets and washing machines that are also vulnerable to flood water flowing from outdoors to the interior.

     

    How prepared are you?

     

  • Submersible Pumps: 8 other ways to prevent flood damage

    With nearly six million homes in England and Wales at serious flood risk, it is important to find out if you are living in a flood-risk area and take action to mitigate the danger. The team here at Pump Sales Direct have put together 8 simple tips to follow when it comes to preventing flood damage in the home, covering aspects from submersible pumps to home insurance policy's.

    Flooding Submersible Pumps
    1. Insurance
    Talk to your insurer to check what damage is covered by your home insurance policy and what will be paid out. Insurers will pay for like-for-like replacement or restoring your home to its previous state. You will probably have to pay for other work yourself. Some local insurance companies and brokers offer a courtesy home visit to advise home-owners on any recommended changes they should make.

    2. Home Changes
    Make permanent changes to your home to reduce the risk of flood damage. This may include laying ceramic tiles on the ground floor, replacing chipboard cupboards with stainless-steel, solid wood or plastic ones, and replacing fitted carpets with rugs.

    3. Outdoor Alterations
    Outdoor alterations to resist flood damage include replacing wooden window frames and doors with uPVC ones. However, this may not be permitted in conservation areas, so check with the local council’s planning department. Other repairs include fitting a non-return valve at each drain and water inlet and replacing existing air vents with flood-resistant ventilation bricks.

    4. Flooring
    Ask your builder to raise the damp-proof course and to seal all the floors at the ground level.

    5. Home Electrics
    Make all home electrics safer by raising the electrical socket height to a minimum of 1.5 metres above the ground floor. Make sure that all electrical devices such as TVs are also at least 1.5 metres above the ground floor. Reduce internal flood damage to walls by using lime rather than gypsum-based plaster. Hide all valuable objects on upper floors or on shelves that are very highly mounted on the wall.

    6. Submersible Pumps
    Invest in a submersible pump in case of emergency. Submersible pumps from Pump Sales Direct are the most efficient method of removing flood water quickly.

    7. Sandbags
    When flooding is imminent, block the bottom of external doors with sandbags to stop water getting into the house. Fit covers over the external air bricks. Plastic sheeting will suffice in an emergency if no better cover is available.

    8. Floodline
    If you are living in a flood-risk area, register at Floodline on 0345 9881188 for phone, text or email flood warnings. When the flood is imminent, make sure that all sinks and baths are firmly plugged to stop any water that backs up the outlet pipes from getting into the house. Seal around any toilets and washing machine outlets to reduce the risk of the same type of water back-up. This will also reduce the amount of time submersible pumps will require to remove any floodwater that does penetrate.

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