Understanding Flooded Basement Repairs

5 Tips For Preventing Mold In A Humid Climate

Posted by on Jul 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Tips For Preventing Mold In A Humid Climate

When you live in a humid climate, preventing mold may feel like a losing battle. After all, mold thrives in damp, humid conditions and grows rapidly. But with mold linked to health issues like allergies, asthma, and respiratory infections, it is important to do what you can to prevent mold from growing in your home. Luckily, there are specific steps you can take to do so, even when you live in a humid region of the country. Here are five tips to try: Buy a Dehumidifier A dehumidifier is a great solution for those living in hot, humid climates. Dehumidification removes excess moisture from the air, leaving comfortable, crisp, humidity-free air behind. Since mold needs moisture to reproduce, a dehumidifier helps eliminate the conditions it needs to thrive. Since basements are often the part of the home with the most excess moisture, some homeowners choose to only buy a dehumidifier for their basement. If you live in a humid climate, however, a whole house dehumidifier that links into your HVAC system is a much better bet. Prevent Basement Flooding Even a small amount of basement flooding can quickly lead to a large scale mold problem. Make sure that your gutters and downspouts are cleaned regularly and direct water away from your home’s foundation and basement. Properly seal your basement windows and consider adding window well covers if you live in an area with a lot of rain. If your basement floods occasionally, you may want to install a sump pump in order to immediately suck away water before it has a chance to cause damage or lead to mold. Properly Ventilate Your Bathrooms Bathrooms are common breeding grounds for mold and mildew, because daily use of the shower often creates the damp conditions needed for mold to thrive. You can counteract this by making sure your bathroom is properly ventilated. If your bathroom doesn’t already have a working exhaust fan, it is a good idea to have one installed. If your bathroom has a window, it’s also wise to leave it open when you shower to help circulate air. Finally, be sure to use a squeegee to soak up excess water from your shower walls and door after every shower.   Declutter Your Home The less cluttered your home is, the more easily air will circulate and the more effectively your dehumidifier will be able to do its job. In addition, if you have excess clutter and furniture blocking air vents, your HVAC system won’t be able to work as efficiently, and condensation may form in the vents, which can lead to the formation of mold. Use this as an opportunity to get rid of any clutter you no longer want or need, and rearrange furniture if necessary to ensure that air vents aren’t being blocked. Look for Standing Water and Leaks Sometimes all it takes is one unnoticed leaky pipe or refrigerator to create a standing water situation that quickly turns into a mold petri dish. Do a water leak audit of your home, looking for puddles or damp areas on floors or walls, and then making any needed repairs. Water stains on walls or ceilings often signify a leaking pipe behind the wall that needs to be repaired or replaced immediately. Windows that aren’t properly sealed will...

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Why Isn’t Your Home Heating Evenly?

Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Isn’t Your Home Heating Evenly?

Do some rooms of your home always feel warmer than others during heating season? Usually, this is an indication that something’s not quite right with your heating system. Here’s a look at the common causes of uneven heating and what you can do about them. Your air filter is dirty and clogged. Your furnace needs to force air through the air filter in order to then blow it through the system. If your air filter is dirty and clogged, it will take the furnace a lot more energy to do this — and not enough air will make its way through. Experts recommend replacing your air filter every one to two months. If it has been longer than this, switch to a new filter and see if that solves your problem. They only cost a few dollars at most hardware stores, so this is a great starting point. Your air ducts are dirty or blocked. If you change the filter and some rooms are still not getting a lot of heat, your air ducts themselves may be dirty or blocked. When this occurs, the ideal amount of heated air won’t make its way into the rooms that are cooler. If you have never had your ducts cleaned, having this job performed is a good starting point. Expect to pay between $300 and $500 to have your ducts cleaned, depending on the size of your home and the economy in your region. As an added bonus, the air in your home will be cleaner and you’ll likely suffer fewer allergy symptoms as a result. Your registers or return vents are blocked or stuck closed. If there’s a piece of furniture, a stack of boxes, or a pile of dirty clothing in front of the registers in the rooms that stay cooler, this item is probably blocking the flow of heated air into the room. You should also check to be sure there’s nothing on top of your air return vents. This could block air from traveling back into your blower unit, resulting in less air being emitted by your heating system overall — and the shortage will mean there’s not enough to make it through the ducts to the rooms furthest up the duct line.  Also take a look at the registers and vents and make sure none of them have accidentally become stuck shut. Sometimes the open/close mechanisms on old vents break, forcing the vents to stay in the “shut” position. If this is the case, you’ll want to replace the vent. Unscrew it from the wall, take it to the home improvement store to ensure you find another of the same size, and screw the new one into the wall in its place. Then make sure you keep the new one in the “open” position. Your furnace’s blower unit is not turned up high enough or is malfunctioning. Most modern blower units have adjustable speeds. If yours is set at too low a speed, the air may not be forced through the system quickly enough to make it to the rooms furthest down the duct line — and these rooms won’t heat properly. Look in your owner’s manual to determine how to turn up the speed or power on your furnace’s blower. Then, turn it up to a...

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Tips For Choosing A Lift For Your New Boathouse

Posted by on Apr 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Choosing A Lift For Your New Boathouse

If you’ve just closed your first sale on a waterfront property with beach rights, you’re probably looking forward to investing in a boat and storing it at your dock. If you want to make sure that your boat isn’t left sitting in the water where a fiberglass hull can blister from prolonged exposure to water and the water levels can fluctuate, you may decide you want to hire a marine construction company to build a boathouse and install a boat lift. The lift will keep the boat out of the water when it’s stored. Here are some of the things you should consider as you choose the lift for your boathouse. Should The Lift Be Manual Or Electric? Most standard boat lifts are electric, which means that you need to have a reliable power supply for it to work. With many coastal areas being vulnerable to hurricanes and heavy storms, this can be a concern. Unless you have a backup generator to power the lift so that you can move your boat if needed after a power outage, you may want to consider a lift with a manual override. Manual boat lifts use a pulley system that allows you to manually lift the boat out of the water. This typically requires a significant bit of effort, though. For this reason, many people prefer the electric lift choices with a backup power system. What Type Of Material Should The Lift Be Made Of? Most boat lifts are made from either stainless or galvanized metal. Stainless steel is usually the best choice if your boathouse is over saltwater. If your waterfront access is freshwater, however, you can opt for galvanized metal because you won’t have the same concerns about salt damaging the metal. You can still use stainless steel in freshwater, but it’s an expense that you don’t necessarily have to have. Will The Bunk Accommodate Other Boats? If you have any potential of investing in a bigger boat in the future, you’re also going to want an adjustable bunk on your lift. The bunk is designed to support the hull like a cradle when the boat is out of the water, so you need one that’s going to be secure. While it’s easy enough to choose a bunk style that fits your boat now, that same one may not fit a newer or larger boat in the future. Consider investing in an adjustable bunk instead so that you are free to alter the dimension as needed if you buy a new boat. It saves you the cost of having to replace the entire bunk system later. What Kind Of Maintenance Will The Lift Require? Most any boat lift is going to require some degree of maintenance on a regular basis. You’ll need to monitor the cables that control the height of the lift, because any damage to the cables can lead to a seized lift. The cables can loosen under the water as well. This can leave you with an uneven lift that tips your boat. Spray the cables regularly with a water-resistant lubricant so that you minimize friction, because that friction contributes to many of the cable problems. This is particularly important in saltwater environments because the salt can damage the cables otherwise. The lift itself should be lubricated regularly,...

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Five Types Of Gardeners Who Would Benefit From Xeriscaping

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Five Types Of Gardeners Who Would Benefit From Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping is a term given to landscaping and gardening methods that focus on cutting the amount of water you need to use to irrigate your garden. There are various ways you can achieve this outcome, but the benefits are attractive to many American gardeners. If you’re one of the five following types of gardeners, consider how xeriscape landscaping could benefit you and your family. The vegetarian chef Around 7.3 million people in the United States follow a vegetarian diet, while a further 22.8 million people say that they largely choose food that is suitable for vegetarians. Unsurprisingly, many vegetarian chefs love the idea of growing their herbs, and xeriscaping is a good way to boost your personal food production. Landscape gardeners that favor xeriscaping will often cut back on water-thirsty lawns and ornamental areas in favor of native grasses and herbs. According to where you live in the United States, many herbs will grow without any additional irrigation, giving you an abundant supply of fragrant, tasty ingredients to add to your latest culinary creation, while cutting back on the amount of water you use in the garden. The low-income family Experts estimate that there are around 10.4 million low-income families in the United States. When your family income is $45,622 or less, you must carefully consider how you spend every dollar, and many disposable incomes won’t stretch to expensive gardening supplies like fertilizer. What’s more, low-income families must also carefully consider how much money they spend on irrigation water. As such, the principles of xeriscaping can allow low-income families to enjoy beautiful gardens that don’t cost a fortune. Money-saving xeriscaping principles include: The use of rain barrels to conserve water Cutting back on areas of grass that need constant irrigation Disposing of household waste via composting If you carefully consider the design of your garden and the way you look after it, you can conserve precious cash for more important household bills. The nature lover Manicured lawns may look beautiful, but these large areas of irrigated turf can wreak havoc on local flower and plant species. As urban areas continue to grow, natural meadows and grasslands may start to disappear, putting many species under pressure. In fact, around 1 in 3 plant species in the United States is now under threat of extinction. Xeriscaping is a great way to conserve and help native species. By cutting back on turf and adding more diversity to your garden, you can create spaces where unusual local species can safely thrive. What’s more, by cutting down on irrigation and fertilizer usage, you can also cut the amount of damage done to your local groundwater supply. The desert dweller Large areas of land in the United States are subject to dry, arid conditions. For example, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas all exist with limited rainfall, so gardeners in these areas must carefully consider how to cultivate gardens that thrive with a small amount of moisture. Xeriscaping gardeners choose species that can thrive in these arid conditions, including cacti and other succulents, but there are plenty of different varieties that can bring a host of colors, shapes and fragrances to your desert garden. For example, coneflowers can bloom for long periods, even with limited rainfall, and these hardy plants can cope with many soil...

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Create A Relaxed, Beach-Like Vibe By Whitewashing Your Worn Out Hardwood Floor

Posted by on Mar 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Create A Relaxed, Beach-Like Vibe By Whitewashing Your Worn Out Hardwood Floor

Is your hardwood floor looking worn out, dingy and scuffed? Instead of tearing it up or paying thousands to have it refinished, why not give it an entirely new look? Whitewashing your hardwood floor to give it a beach-like vibe is a project you can tackle yourself in the span of two days. When you’re finished, you’ll have a relaxed, artsy looking floor that can serve as the base for some unique interior designs. If whitewashing your old hardwood floor sounds like the way to go, follow these steps: Step 1: Sanding and cleaning the floor. Sanding the floor serves two purposes. It ensures that any rough patches are smoothed out so that you don’t get splinters when walking across the floor. It also removes the finish, so your whitewash can soak into the floor boards properly. If you can rent a floor sander, this will make the job go a lot faster. Many equipment rental stores carry sanders and will rent them out by the hour. You’ll only need yours for a few hours. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper, and work your way from one side of the floor to the other. Sweep up the dust, and make sure all of the finish has been removed from the floorboards. If not, keep sanding with the coarse-grit paper until it is. Then, go over the whole floor with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth it out. If you’re not able to rent a floor sander, then you’ll need to sand the floor by hand. Follow the same basic process — coarse paper and then fine paper. Enlist a few friends to help and the sanding will move along faster. Once you’re finished sanding, vacuum up all of the dust with a shop vac. Then, wipe down the entire floor with a damp cloth to remove the last remnants of dust. Step 2: Preparing the whitewash. While you can buy whitewash in stores, it is often cheaper to make your own. Plus, when you make your own whitewash, you can control the consistency. You can make a slightly thicker whitewash if you prefer more even coverage on your floor, or a thinner wash if you prefer a more translucent look. Start by pouring a gallon of white latex paint into a big, 5-gallon bucket. Add a gallon of water, and stir to combine. This gives you a medium-consistency whitewash. Paint some of it on a scrap piece of wood to see if you like the consistency. Add more paint if you prefer it thicker or more water if you prefer it thinner. Step 3: Applying the whitewash. Start on the far side of your room, working your way towards the door. Dip a large paint brush into the whitewash, and then wipe most of the excess whitewash off on the side of the bucket. Sweep this brush back and forth against a section of the floor, working in the direction of the wood grain. Repeat this process across the entire floor until you reach the doorway. Step back and admire your work! Step 4: Applying the protective coating. Give the whitewashed floor an entire day to dry. Then, take a matte polyurethane coating (don’t use a glossy coating — this will make your floor look shiny and unnatural), and dip a large sponge...

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Got A Dead Electrical Outlet? Fix The Problem Yourself

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Got A Dead Electrical Outlet? Fix The Problem Yourself

It can be frustrating to plug something in to an electrical outlet, only to have the item not turn on. In most cases, the problem is small and is typically something you can fix on your own. Here are some steps you should follow if you have an electrical outlet that is not working. Make Sure the Electrical Outlet is the Problem The first thing you will need to do is make sure that the electrical outlet, rather than the electrical item, is the issue. Attempt to plug your item into another outlet that you know is working and then turn it on. If it still doesn’t work, your electrical outlet is not the problem. However, if the item works fine in another outlet, you have now identified that the problem lies with the first outlet you tried. Reset Your GFCI Outlet If there is a GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, outlet, you will want to reset that outlet. Most GFCI outlets are found in kitchens and bathrooms, but can be placed in a variety of other rooms. These types of outlets may have multiple outlets connected to them. If the outlet trips, others connected to it may be affected. GFCI outlets have a “test” and “reset” button on them. Simply press the reset button to reset the GFCI outlet and all those connected to it. Then attempt to plug in your electrical item and use it. If it works, you have solved the problem; if not, proceed to the next step. Check Your Circuit Breaker If you are using multiple electrical items at once, you can trip your circuit breaker. The amount of energy you would need to use to do this varies based on the size of your breaker and the wiring in your home. However, if you trip a circuit breaker, power will be out to a certain portion of your home, including the affected dead outlet. If electricity is working everywhere else in your home except for the outlet, odds are, this isn’t your problem. However, if power went out in only one room, or all the outlets seem to be out in an area, the breaker is most likely your problem. Follow these steps to fix this issue: Unplug any items that are plugged in to outlets that aren’t working. Locate your circuit breaker box. Most are in the garage, but they can be anywhere inside or even outside your home. Look for any obviously tripped breakers. When a circuit trips, it will flip to the off position. In some cases, you can identify this by looking at the breakers. Slide it to the on position to solve your problem. If your box is labeled, flip the breaker for the affected space to the off and on position, if the above step did not solve your problem. If your box is not labeled, you may have to slide all of the breakers from the on to off position and back to find the affected one. If this solves your problem, you had a tripped breaker. Having a tripped breaker once in a while is not a huge issue. However, if your breakers are constantly tripping, your breakers and electrical panel box are not equipped to supply the electricity you are using. A residential electrical...

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Include These Home Rental Features to Attract Tenants without Losing Money

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Include These Home Rental Features to Attract Tenants without Losing Money

Renting your home out as opposed to selling it offers a multitude of benefits you’ll likely enjoy, including the opportunity to take advantage of various tax deductions and the ability to increase your overall personal net worth. But in order to benefit from being a landlord you are going to need to attract tenants and start collecting rental income as soon as possible. A great way to set your rental apart from the competition and ensure that it rents quickly is to include the following comforts with the rental—and they won’t cost you anything if you factor your expenses into the overall rental price of your place:   HVAC Support One of the easiest ways to ensure the comfort of your tenant throughout their occupancy is to install an HVAC system if one isn’t already present or the one there is more than a decade or so old. Installing a modern HVAC system will ensure that your tenants can keep temperatures comfortable indoors all year long while keeping energy consumption to a minimum, which will in turn save them money on monthly energy costs. Modern HVAC systems are typically designed for easy maintenance, so your tenants will be more able to do things like clean the filters with ease and minimize your need to pay for repairs throughout the years. Your dealer might be willing to provide you with a nice discount for your new unit if you have an old one to trade in. Look for air conditioning and heating installation in Essex County, NJ or your local area. Soft Carpeting Tenants will find new carpeting comfortable while spending time indoors, but that’s not the only benefit this feature has to offer. Carpeting happens to trap pollen and dust in its fibers, which improves the quality of indoor air, something tenants with allergies and asthma are sure to appreciate. Carpeting will also decrease the chance of a tenant slipping at home, which keeps liability claims to a minimum. What’s more, carpeting helps to mute noise around the house that comes from things like telephones, televisions, and computers when they are used by family members in various rooms. To avoid having to replace the carpeting between tenancies, commit to having it professionally cleaned once or twice a year. Interior Fans While most people think of using ceiling fans only when they’re feeling particularly warm indoors, they can be used all year long to keep temperatures comfortable. Ceiling fans are effective at reducing the need for air conditioning and heater use, therefore avoiding wear and tear on the overall HVAC system. They’re inexpensive and easy to install, and they use only about 60 watts of power each hour as opposed to an average of 3,500 watts a typical HVAC system uses. This ensures that your tenants stay comfortable year-round without having to face big energy bills at the end of each month. Eliminating Your Costs for These Features To keep your business costs low and maximize your potential profits as time goes on, you can pass some of your expenses to tenants by adding them into your monthly rental rates. You can do this by adding up the total actual cost of each feature you decide to incorporate and then dividing that amount by the number of months your rental lease will be good for. The...

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Proper Garage Door Roller Maintenance

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Proper Garage Door Roller Maintenance

If you have an automatic garage door, then regular service is required to help keep the door in great shape for many years. The average garage door should last for around 10 years before you notice small things breaking and requiring replacements. One of the things that you may see wearing down after 10 years is the rollers that help to move your garage door up and down along the tracks. Without good rollers, the door can stick in place or simply slide down the tracks too quickly. To prevent these problems, make sure to maintain the rollers both before and after the 10-year anniversary of your garage door installation. Lubricate the Rollers The rollers themselves are usually made out of a smooth material that will assist with the movement of the garage door. Steel, plastic, and nylon are three of the most common materials that make up the rollers. Each roller is rated to carry a specific amount of weight, and the 8 to 12 rollers that line the garage door help to keep the weight distributed evenly. Almost all rollers, except for the plastic varieties, contain bearings inside of them. While some bearings may be sealed, the majority are open to the environment. This means that the bearings are likely to dry out over time. This will, unfortunately, keep the rollers from moving smoothly. In some cases, the bearings may actually seize up as well. To keep bearings moving smoothly, make sure to oil them every few months. If the rollers make a squeaking noise, then this is also an indication that they need an extra bit of lubrication. While some people may choose to use water displacing spray like WD-40 on the bearings, this is typically a mistake. This material is meant to clean and to prevent corrosion, but it does not lubricate. To lubricate the bearings properly, use regular motor oil like you would use for your vehicle. A small dab along the center of each roller is sufficient to lubricate each one.  The same type of oil you use to lubricate the bearings may be needed on the garage door tracks as well if you notice a great deal of dirt and debris. These materials can gouge the outsides of the rollers, make them stick, and gunk up bearings as well. Use a wet cloth to remove debris first and then spread the oil along the tracks. Open and close your garage door several times afterwards to make sure that the oil is seated in the bearings and along the track properly. Inspect Hinge Roller Mounts Each roller will attach to the garage door with the assistance of a hinge roller mount. The mounts secure the stem part of the garage door roller. Most of these hinges are steel devices. Unfortunately, they can corrode and form a layer of rust around the cylinders that keep each roller stem protected. This can cause the rollers to get stuck in place. Inspect each hinge carefully for any signs of rust. If you see rust, then use a socket wrench to remove the bolts on the hinge that keep it secured to the garage door. Pull the hinge away from the door and remove the roller if it comes out with the hinge. Wrap a piece of coarse-grit sandpaper around a pencil or a...

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Horsehair Plaster And Anthrax: Understanding Your Risks And The Best Course Of Action

Posted by on Dec 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Horsehair Plaster And Anthrax: Understanding Your Risks And The Best Course Of Action

Prior to 1914, animal hair was used as a binder in most plaster walls. While horsehair plaster is strong, fire-resistant, and acts as a great sound barrier, it also comes along with a risk—the contraction of anthrax. If you’ve just purchased a historical home and discovered that you’ve got horsehair plaster walls, here’s what you need to know. How Great Is The Risk? Anthrax is a disease caused bacteria. The bacteria are found in soil and can infect many types of livestock. An animal that is infected can transmit the disease to a human via anthrax spores, which can be found both in the meat and hair of the animal. There is documentation that anthrax spores have infected humans even after lying dormant for more than 70 years. Since your plaster walls contain horsehair, the risk of contracting anthrax from them does exist. However, there have been no recorded cases of people contracting anthrax through working with horsehair plaster. Of the people who have contracted anthrax via other forms of exposure, 95 percent of them contracted cutaneous anthrax—an easily treatable form of the disease in which exposure happens through skin lesions. The lethal form of the disease, pulmonary anthrax, occurs when anthrax spores are inhaled, but your body can fight off some pulmonary anthrax spores on its own; you’d need to ingest thousands of them in order to actually become infected by the disease. What Can You Do About It? Now that you understand that there is a very small risk that your horsehair plaster walls could contain anthrax spores, you likely want to know what you should do and shouldn’t do about it. What you shouldn’t do is replace your walls. Replacing Your Plaster Walls Doesn’t Eliminate Your Risk. Getting rid of your horsehair plaster walls altogether doesn’t actually lower your risk of contracting anthrax. Because the spores can become airborne during the tear-down of your existing walls, this course of action may actually boost your risk of contracting the disease. Furthermore, replacing your authentic horsehair plaster walls could lower the resale value of your historic home. A better plan. Your best option for dealing with the minuscule risk of contracting anthrax through your horsehair plaster walls is to keep those walls in tip-top shape. In old lime plaster applications, hair was incorporated into the base layer or two of plaster, but there was a finish layer applied on top of that that contained no fibers. In well-maintained old plaster walls, the horsehair is encapsulated by this finish layer and poses no risk of releasing dangerous anthrax spores into the air. Inspect your plaster walls regularly for any signs of damage. If you find a crack or hole in your wall, hire a professional plaster repair service, such as Painting By Jerry Wind, to come in and take care of it. Make sure that the company you hire has experience with plaster in historical homes; lime plaster acts much differently than the gypsum plaster used in most modern building projects. By taking care of any cracks or holes in your horsehair plaster walls right away, the layer of plaster that could potentially pose a risk will remain undisturbed and unable to expose you to any ancient anthrax spores that happen to be hiding deep within your walls.  If one of your walls...

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3 Household Sources Of Well Water Contamination

Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Household Sources Of Well Water Contamination

Approximately 15 percent of Americans get their household water from a private well, not a municipal water system. About 23 percent of these wells contain dangerous levels of contaminants. Some contaminants, like arsenic, come from natural geological sources, while others come from a homeowner’s activities. Here are three household sources of well water contamination and how to keep your well safe. Septic Systems Septic systems are on-site wastewater treatment systems. If you have one, the wastewater from your toilet, showers, and other drains collects in a large, underground tank. Solid waste sinks to the bottom of the tank, where it remains until the tank is pumped, while liquid waste flows out of the tank and into the surrounding ground, known as the drain field. The drain field filters out dangerous pathogens, and then the treated water is absorbed into the ground where it rejoins the groundwater that supplies your well. This process is safe as long as your septic system is well maintained, but if the tank isn’t well maintained, your groundwater could become contaminated. To avoid contaminating your well, make sure to do these things: Get the septic tank pumped regularly so that it doesn’t overflow Avoid flushing non-biodegradable objects which can clog the drain field Don’t plant trees or shrubs near the system as their roots may puncture the tank Don’t drive over the tank as this may destroy the drain field Conserve water to avoid overloading the septic system Pesticides Pesticides are chemicals used to kill insects, weeds, and other unwanted pests, but these chemicals can also be dangerous to people, so you don’t want them in your well water. When you spray pesticides on your lawn, the groundwater that supplies your well may be contaminated. Some people think that the soil would filter out pesticides and protect the groundwater, but studies have proven that this is just a myth. You should assume that any pesticides you spray on your property will find their way into your well water, leading to contamination. To stay safe, try to minimize your use of pesticides, and if possible, convince your neighbors to do the same. Here are a few ways to minimize your reliance on pesticides: Use non-chemical methods to control weeds, like pulling them by hand or killing them with boiling water Over-seed your lawn and increase the mowing height to choke out weeds Learn to ignore pests that aren’t harmful, like ladybugs or non-stinging ants Install birdfeeders to attract natural predators to control lawn pests Fertilizers In the quest for a healthy, green lawn, some homeowners misuse fertilizers and may inadvertently contaminate their groundwater. Fertilizers contain nitrogen, a nutrient that helps grow, but once in its nitrate form, it can easily leach down into the soil and contaminate your well water. This is a big problem because nitrate can cause serious health problems, particularly in babies. Babies who are exposed to nitrate-contaminated well water may lose their ability to use oxygen. To keep your well water safe, you need to use fertilizers carefully. Here are some tips for doing this: Have your soil tested to see if fertilizers are even necessary, as not all lawns require fertilization Avoid over-watering your lawn after applying fertilizer, as this washes the nitrates past the roots before it can be absorbed Clean...

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