Tips on Maintaining Your Garden’s Pond This Summer

Marketing W. P. Law, Inc. - Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Duo Pro dual-contained piping system

Ponds provide a beautiful centerpiece for any garden, but only if you maintain them properly. Summer weather complicates maintenance, but through the following tips, you can keep your pond beautiful no matter the season:

Astute Aeration

If your pond contains fish, it is essential to increase the aeration. Hot weather lowers the water's oxygen content while simultaneously making the fish consume more oxygen. To save your fish, it is necessary to step up the aeration

Comprehensive Cleaning

Clean your filter as necessary throughout the summer. The typical filter needs to be cleaned on a weekly basis, but the specifics vary by device, so follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you use a biological filter, don't clean it more intensively than instructed, as this will kill salutary bacteria.

Replenishing with Rainwater

The summer heat can evaporate pond water, so replenish it as needed. Because tap water contains fluoride and other nutrients that cause algae growth, however, it is not ideal for your pond. Instead, collect and use rainwater.

Dealing with Debris

Leaves, twigs, and other debris that accumulate in your pond can trap fish and animals while disrupting the water’s beauty. Remove them with a net, but leave some around the edges so that larger creatures can enter and leave the pond. When you remove debris, wash it in a bucket first, and if any creatures come out, return those to the pond.

For more information on pond care and other water maintenance topics, contact W. P. Law today.

Tips for Choosing the Best Grill for Your Outdoor Kitchen

WP Law - Monday, February 27, 2017

Outdoor living spaces are becoming very popular. If you’re looking for a new grill for your outdoor kitchen, it can be difficult to know which grill will best suit your style and space. Here are some valuable tips for choosing the best grill.

Think About Storage Options

Even in South Carolina, the weather can get intemperate sometimes. When that happens, you’ll want to be able to protect your grill from weather extremes. If you sometimes go away for vacations, that’s another time you’ll want to cover or store your grill. Think about what storage options the grill has, and whether that will be sufficient for your needs.

Consider the Grilling Capacity

Compact grills are ideal for decks and patios with little space, or for small families. But if you have a large extended family or like to host backyard BBQ parties, you’ll be happier with a larger grill that has the surface area to cook lots of food at one time. This will allow you to put food on the table faster so guests and family can eat at one time instead of standing in line for more burgers.

Consider Built-In Models

If you are like to grill outside on most days, you might be better off with a built-in grill. These models are designed to fit in nicely with the motif of an outdoor kitchen and will help your family to relax outdoors while you cook. Built-in grills add to the décor and frequently offer extra amenities like warming trays, coolers and food prep areas.

To see grill models in person or for more information about outdoor kitchens, please contact us today!

Maintain your backyard water feature with these 4 tips

WP Law - Thursday, October 27, 2016

A water feature or fountain can add something truly special to your yard - a dynamic layer both when seen and when heard. As long as it is running it draws attention. Some water features can even attract birds. When your fountain stops running it can quickly become an eyesore. Here are some tips for maintaining a fountain or water feature.

1. Cleaning

Fountains should be cleaned every one to three months. Additives to reduce algae are also useful. Larger water features benefit from a deep clean every spring and fall, including an inspection for leaks. Ponds should be skimmed weekly to remove leaves and other debris.

2. Keep things moving

Static features such as ponds should still have water circulated with a pump. Aerating the water reduces algae buildup and prevents mosquito larvae from hatching. It can also attract birds more than a stagnant pond. If you have fish in your pond they need a certain level of aeration to breathe properly - talk to an aquarist about the specific needs of the fish you are keeping. It is worth considering adding at least a couple of insectivorous fish to control mosquitos.

3. Check pumps regularly

Pumps can easily become clogged. Filters and screens reduce, but don't eliminate this - any debris gathered on the screen should be removed often. If there is any change in water level or any odd noise from the pump, check it immediately. If you turn your water feature off for the winter, then try to store the pump inside. This is particularly important for pondless water features.

4. Shade your feature.

Direct sunlight increases water evaporation, potentially causing problems with your pump and increasing the risk of algae. If you have a pond that is not located in a shady location, add shade plants around the edge to shade about 60 percent of the water surface.

If you are in doubt, then contact an expert. WP Law, Inc. has the expertise to repair and maintain fountains and residential water features, and they can both install and repair water features and advise you on the best way to do it yourself.

Determining the right sump pump to use for your space

WP Law - Thursday, October 20, 2016

How hard could it be, right? You go to the nearest home improvement retailer, buy the pump that looks like the best deal, and 30 minutes later you are ready to install. Except it’s not as simple as that. The sump pump you choose now could prevent a lot of issues later. Even worse, it could add to them.

Submersible vs. Pedestal

Submersible pumps—those that are installed below water—are preferred in most situations. For one thing, being underwater makes them less prone to overheating. But your space may not accommodate a submersible pump, which means you will need to consider a pedestal pump. You will also need to consider the capacity of the impeller and the size of solids it can handle. One that is too small may clog easily and often.

Size matters

Sump pumps are available in a variety of horsepower options. However, even choosing between pumps with 1/3 or 1/2 HP can have consequences. If you select a pump with too little horsepower, it will not be able to keep up with water flow in some situations. A pump with too much HP will cycle on and off more than it should, which can damage the pump.  Therefore, you must estimate the gallons per hour (GPH) your sump pump will need to handle at the highest rate of flow.
Other issues to consider include mechanical vs. pressure switch, how to estimate the rate of water flow in your space, and more. Even if you do choose the right sump pump, proper installation is never a given. And that can also affect the performance of a sump pump.  Therefore, we at WP Law, Inc. would love to learn more about your requirements. We can help you choose the right fit for your space needs before you invest your first dollar. To discuss your plans further, please contact WP Law, Inc. to talk with one of our sump pump experts. It could save you a lot of hassles down the road.

5 Tips When Planning An Outdoor Kitchen Area

WP Law - Thursday, July 28, 2016

When crafting your ideal outdoor living space, you’re overwhelmed with options from modern-style furniture to old-fashioned stones. Obviously, you want to want a space that’s functional. However, you also want the area to wow guests. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the elements in your outdoor kitchen area.

1. Size Matters

What you're doing with your outdoor kitchen area should reflect in the design. For instance, if you're going to cook for a large crowd, you need a large space. 

2. Think of Function 

One of the main focal points—and one that’s the most functional—is the grill. You want one that fits your needs. If you don’t grill much and don't grill foods in large quantities, you don't need a large grill. You'll just be wasting space and charcoal or fuel. 

3. What You Grill With Matters

Make sure when you design your area, you think about what you plan on cooking with. You might want to consider a charcoal-gas combination grill if you don't have a preference or enjoy both.

4. What You Grill 

Take into consideration what you typically grill and what you'd want to grill. You can create an ideal space with burners and multiple-layer grates. Consider if you want space to hang or store your utensils for the convenience of not having to walk in between your home and outdoor kitchen.

5. Location

Location is everything when planning for a kitchen outside. You need to keep in mind whether you want it right off of your home or further away. You need to determine how much landscaping is required in order to create the space. You don't always want a gigantic project that requires a great deal of time and money. 

You want your dream outdoor cooking space, but you need to take into consideration a few factors. These tips help to optimize the space you have. Not to mention, you must keep in mind your goals during the design phase. To learn about building an outdoor kitchen space in your area, contact the experts at W. P. Law, Inc. today. 

Can I Use A Sump Pump For My Water Feature?

WP Law - Thursday, June 23, 2016
water feature

A sump pump is designed to remove water from the sump basin of your home's basement. However, in some cases, you can use these pumps for other purposes. In most cases, if your sump pump is compatible to use with a residential fountain, pond or other water feature, its box will note that fact.

If your sump pump is not compatible with residential water features, it will likely do the simple job of pumping water, but there will be several drawbacks.

Lack of Energy Efficiency

Sump pumps use more energy than many other types of pumps. If you use a sump pump instead of a submersible or external garden feature pump, you will unnecessarily waste energy and drive your bills higher than they should be. In contrast, a garden feature pump with a direct or magnetic drive can help to keep your energy costs under control.

Not Designed to Be Used Constantly

Sump pumps only turn on as needed. When used in basements, their on-off switch is triggered when the water in the sump reaches a certain level. They are not designed to be used all day long. Unfortunately, however, most residential water features require constant pumping.

Run Hot

In addition, because they are not designed to run constantly, sump pumps tend to become very hot if you leave them on. The heat they generate can increase the temps of water to levels that are intolerable to fish or that encourage the growth of certain algae. Finally, these pumps don't have built-in elements to stop them from overheating, and as a result, their motors may become too hot and burn out, forcing you to replace them.

Luckily, although sump pumps aren't suitable for most residential water features, there are great alternatives. The pump you should select varies based on the size of your water feature, your climate, whether or not you have fish and several other factors. Want to find the perfect pump for your water features? Contact W.P. Law, Inc. today for more information.

How can I improve the flow of my pond pump?

WP Law - Thursday, May 26, 2016
small pond

A backyard pond, of any size, can help give your landscaping a serene, peaceful air. Ponds can also add year-round interest to your perennial beds and be a home for decorative fish like koi. However, one of the key secrets to keeping your pond healthy is making sure that you have enough water circulating through your pond. Too little and your pond can develop algae and become an eyesore rather than an oasis.

Ways To Improve The Flow Of Your Pond Pump

To keep the water flowing steadily through your pond pump, consider the following:

  1. Make sure that you have the correct sized pump. Pumps that are too large or too small for the size of your pond will work inefficiently, restricting the water pressure and flow.
  2. Check the pump system periodically for blockages. Like any outdoor plumbing system, dirt, leaves, and other debris can get lodged in the hoses connected to the pump or in the filter and cause your system to underperform. Such debris can also cause your pump motor to have to work harder (for lesser results), shortening its lifespan.
  3. Make sure your piping is properly sized. Undersized pipe creates more friction loss which can reduce the flow because the pump operates further left on its performance curve.

To learn more about keeping the pump in your outdoor water feature running smoothly, contact W.P. Law Inc. today. We've been helping Carolina homeowners, like you, with their pond and irrigation needs for more than 40 years.

3 Possible Reasons Why Your Pond Is Losing Water

WP Law - Thursday, April 28, 2016
Small Residential Pond

Having a pond or a water feature in your back yard is relaxing and adds charm to most any property. Ponds are also versatile. You can stock them with fish and beautiful aquatic plants or simply enjoy their restful and decorative effect. However, one of the few problems commonly associated with backyard ponds is losing water. While some evaporation is to be expected, a rapid decline in the water level can be a symptom of a more serious problem. Losing water in your pond can also be expensive and put your fish and aquatic plants at risk.

Why is my pond losing water?

  1. There's a leak in your pond plumbing. While a pond may look natural, it actually operates with a plumbing system that circulates the water and allows you to add water easily. If leak develops in a pipe or fitting, your water level will decline.
  2. There's a leak in your pond liner. Some ponds use a soft vinyl liner; others have a hard shell liner. Either way, if this liner is punctured, you'll start losing water out of your pond.
  3. The edges of your pond liner have become unattached. Many pond liners are secured by tucking the edges of the liner underneath rocks that line the perimeter of the pond. If one or more of these rocks becomes dislodged, water can escape from the pond into the ground surrounding the pond.

If you notice your pond losing more water than can be explained by evaporation, you need to have a pond specialist evaluate the situation. Ignoring the problem can not only cost you extra dollars on your water bill, but also can cause your fish and pond plants to suffer and even die. To learn more about keeping your pond from losing water and/or repairing an existing leak, contact W.P. Law, Inc. We've built our company on finding economical solutions to our customer's problems.

How can I get an old well into working condition again?

WP Law - Thursday, March 10, 2016
Old Well

An older, nonworking well can seem like nothing more than a nuisance on your property. Even if you've been at the location for years, old, nonworking wells can be revitalized. If you are thinking about bringing back into service here are a few things to consider.

Inspecting the Problem

The first step is always to determine the underlying problem and the overall condition of the well. If you have yet to do so, hire a professional well driller to provide a full inspection. Remember, too, that conditions can change and information passed down from other owners can differ from actual circumstances.

An inspection will confirm critical information about the well such as the depth and flow rate. It will also determine the condition of the mechanical components of the well such as the pump, motor, wiring and casing. Water quality is also a big issue depending on how the well will be used and water testing is often necessary. This information gathering can then outline a few steps you can take to get that old well back up and running again.

Assessment, Treatment, Replacement

A customized solution for your well is necessary. It may involve these three elements:

  • Assessment: Evaluate the physical characteristics of the well, the condition of the pumping equipment, and the water quality.
  • Treatment: Treating the well with chlorine may be necessary to kill harmful bacteria.
  • Replacement: Replacing the pump, pump motor, wiring, and drop pipe will allow for many years of renewed service.

Which is the right solution to your well problem? That depends on many factors. If you are considering drilling a new well, hold off long enough to have a professional out to look at your current well or an older well on the property. Of course, it is helpful to know why this well is no longer used, but many times the right help can help resolve these problems for you.

W.P. Law, Inc. is here to help you. Contact us today to discuss the specific areas of concern you have as well as why you think your old well is no longer usable. Chances are good repairs and replacements can happen to help get that well back up and operational in no time.

3 Things To Watch Out For With Your Pond Pump This Winter

WP Law - Thursday, February 18, 2016
Backyard Pond in Winter

If you have a backyard pond or water feature, you know how peaceful and serene the sound of bubbling water can be and how relaxing it is to spend an afternoon fishing. However, these pleasures are dependent on a healthy pond and pump. It's the pump that keeps the water moving, an action that not only sounds serene, but helps to keep algae from forming in your pond and adds essential oxygen to keep your pond fish alive. Proper winter care and maintenance of your pond pump is essential to keeping your pond's eco-system healthy.

How to winterize your pond pump this winter

  1. Turn off the pump when the water temperature reaches 40 degrees. In the south, you can usually keep you pond pump running all year round. In colder climates where ponds can freeze over during the winter it is usually a good idea to shut things down for the winter. Water can freeze in pipelines and cause damage to the system including the pump if is becomes starved for water.
  2. Shovel or sweep the snow off of your pond. Some plant growth is necessary to provide oxygen for your fish and sunlight is essential to the photosynthesis process. Too much snow atop the ice on your pond can keep the sunlight from reaching the underwater plants, thus starving your fish of oxygen.
  3. Consider draining the pond. If you have a small water feature that does not contain fish, you may want to consider draining the pond and removing the pump. This will make it easier to clean things up and get started in the spring and you eliminate the possibility of freeze damage to you pond pump.
    1. To learn more about keeping your pond healthy this winter and for all of your pond supplies, contact W. P. Law, Inc. We've been helping southeast farmers and homeowners for more than 45 years.

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