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The Magazine of Santa Clarita February 2015 : Page 150

w Hen in d rouGHt , t Hink s mart by Ben Honadel H OM E & GAR D E N As the Santa Clarita valley dries up, pool pros are looking for ways to implement water-savings measures. For swimming pools the best water conservation, other than fixing leaks, is by making careful filtration decisions. There are three kinds of pool filters: sand, cartridge and diatomaceous earth (DE), with 99 percent of the pool filters in the Santa Clarita the DE style. All old DE filters have a backwash valve. Backwash valves are used to reverse the flow of water through the filter and allow the circulation pump to flush the filter in order to clean the filter. The problem with backwash valves is that a whole lot of water and mud comes out the bottom of the back wash valve. This wastes about 300 to 500 gallons of water and floods the equipment area making a mess and potentially damaging the other pool equipment. In addition, backwashing a filter only cleans the filter about 25 percent, so you or your service company will have to break down the filter and clean it correctly in a few weeks any way. By following some simple steps you or your pool service company can save water. Always take the filter apart to clean it and never backwash. We put the grids, the parts inside the filter, into a trash can and scrape off all the big chunks of DE, mud and algae. Then we roll the trash can over to a planter or grass area to hose off the grids. Do not wash the grids in the street as it makes a mess and the city could fine the property owner. The DE, mud, algae and water are all very good for grass or plants; think of it as free fertilizer. We also use a small compressor so we have strong water pressure and it has a trigger so the water runs only when we are actually cleaning the grids. We use a shop vac to clean the filter tank instead of opening the drain port and rinsing the tank out with water. Less mess, faster filter cleaning, and less water wasted. There are about 10,000 pools in Santa Clarita; if everyone used these strategies for cleaning filters we could save about 20 million gallons per year. For more information call Pools By Ben at 661-263-7503 or go to there website at www. poolsbyben.com. Spring Improvements continued from page 149 can determine how much more is needed, if they already have some. Seattle-based contractor Ron Rice, of Your House Matters, suggests adding more than the minimum 8 inches required by most local codes — up to 16 inches. For cold climates, installing electric or hydronic radiant heat under bathroom and kitchen floors will provide comfort next season. 5. Switch out inefficient appliances: Sometimes appliances are no longer smart to repair. The determining factors for that should be their age and the cost of repair versus replacement. Here, too, top choices carry an EnergyStar label. If home owners need to replace most of their kitchen equipment and have a limited budget or plan to move, Rice suggests they prioritize and first switch out the range, followed by the refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave — in that order. 6. Repair or replace roofs, gutters, and downspouts: Because of the tough hurricane season last fall and the winter blizzards, roofing contractors in many parts of the country have been busy. Morse recommends that those needing new roofs consider architectural asphalt shingles because of their long warranties (often 50 years), affordable prices, and attractive appearances that work with many house styles. In addition, many contractors have the equipment and experience to install roofs of this material, as opposed to metal. He also recommends that home owners have gutters and downspouts cleaned come spring so that water can flow through them; gutters should be angled away from a house to stop water pooling around a foundation and seeping into the basement. Gutter covers can be helpful but often don’t eliminate all debris. 7. Paint: Damage often shows up at this time of year, especially in climates where there’s been a lot of snow melting or winter rains, Morse says. Use the time to reassess your color choice for better curb appeal. Even changing the front door’s color can make a difference. 8. Prune trees: Cutting limbs that may have been damaged during winter and that might fall on a roof or allow squirrels to enter a house is smart, and it can be a cost savings later on. Called “thinning out,” this method gets excess foliage trimmed to allow more natural light into a house—and cut down on artificial illumination, says Sacramento, Calif.-based landscape designer Michael Glassman. “It opens the tree so you don’t have dead spots in the interior and lets the tree take advantage of air flow rather than chop off the top,” he says. A certified arborist will know the best ways to do this without removing too much of a canopy, which is useful for privacy and shade. 9. Mulch plantings: Along with fall, spring is a key mulch time. Mulch helps plants thrive by holding back weeds, retaining moisture so soil doesn’t dry out, and adding a tidy look, Glassman says. Use bark, shredded fir, leaves, straw, or grass clippings. 10. Replace lightbulbs: When it comes to artificial light, most contractors recommend switching burned-out bulbs to LEDs, which last longer than incandescents, consume less energy, and have come down in price — now often just $10. Quality has improved, too, and they’re dimmable and available in colors. One more thing: Before you hire anybody to take on work, get a written estimate. Better to be safe than sorry. 150 The Magazine of Santa Clarita 661-294-4444

When In Drought, Think Smart

Ben Honadel

As the Santa Clarita valley dries up, pool pros are looking for ways to implement water-savings measures. For swimming pools the best water conservation, other than fixing leaks, is by making careful filtration decisions. There are three kinds of pool filters: sand, cartridge and diatomaceous earth (DE), with 99 percent of the pool filters in the Santa Clarita the DE style. All old DE filters have a backwash valve. Backwash valves are used to reverse the flow of water through the filter and allow the circulation pump to flush the filter in order to clean the filter. The problem with backwash valves is that a whole lot of water and mud comes out the bottom of the back wash valve. This wastes about 300 to 500 gallons of water and floods the equipment area making a mess and potentially damaging the other pool equipment. In addition, backwashing a filter only cleans the filter about 25 percent, so you or your service company will have to break down the filter and clean it correctly in a few weeks any way.

By following some simple steps you or your pool service company can save water. Always take the filter apart to clean it and never backwash. We put the grids, the parts inside the filter, into a trash can and scrape off all the big chunks of DE, mud and algae. Then we roll the trash can over to a planter or grass area to hose off the grids. Do not wash the grids in the street as it makes a mess and the city could fine the property owner. The DE, mud, algae and water are all very good for grass or plants; think of it as free fertilizer. We also use a small compressor so we have strong water pressure and it has a trigger so the water runs only when we are actually cleaning the grids. We use a shop vac to clean the filter tank instead of opening the drain port and rinsing the tank out with water. Less mess, faster filter cleaning, and less water wasted.

There are about 10,000 pools in Santa Clarita; if everyone used these strategies for cleaning filters we could save about 20 million gallons per year.

For more information call Pools By Ben at 661-263-7503 or go to there website at www.Poolsbyben.com.

Read the full article at http://virtualonlineeditions.com/article/When+In+Drought%2C+Think+Smart/1916679/243876/article.html.

Pools By Ben, Inc.

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