Open your windows and you can almost smell fresh spring air. Let’s just forget that we’re supposed to get 8” of snow this weekend and remember that there’s still quite a bit of standing water and melting snow currently. Now would be a great time to do a proactive check on your sump pump before coming home to a lake in your basement.
If you have a sump pump in your basement it’s obviously there for a reason, but being out of sight it’s also out of mind. So what are a few easy things you can do to prevent a watery disaster? I asked our Licensed Plumbers, Eric & Todd, and here’s a few simple suggestions that they had:
- While it might sound obvious, check the pump before the spring thaw and make sure it works. Sometimes the pump will sit idle for months at a time, and the wet spring would not be the time to discover a problem. Either do a “wet test” and dump a bucket of water into the pit, or if you can safely reach the float, gently lift it and make sure the pump kicks on.
- A good failsafe is to install a battery backup pump as well in case of a power outage or if the main pump fails. Not only will these systems (which are typically less than $200) save your basement in an emergency, they sound an alarm to alert you to the problem. Well worth the investment.
- Another inexpensive solution to a common sump pump nuisance is to replace the standard check valve in the drain pipe with a Quietsewage check valve. This valve has a spring installed in it that quietly closes the flapper, eliminating the annoying slamming sound when they typically close. They are also built into a clear housing so you can monitor the valve in case of a problem.
- Finally, do your best to keep water away from the perimeter of your home. Check your gutters frequently to make sure they are clean, and even consider installing a downspout extension; certain extensions can be removed when you’re not expecting heavy rain, and other can be made permanent and camouflaged under landscaping materials.
And of course when it comes right down to it, if you flat out need a new pump we’re here to help as well. We always have several sizes in stock and can help you with the fittings & supplies you’ll need to get the job done. And if you’re not comfortable with the job you can simply pick up the phone and we’ll have Eric & Todd on the way to get it done for you. Stay dry!
As winter ends and spring begins, Central Wisconsin enjoys its sweetest — and shortest — season: the maple syrup season. A bottle of this liquid gold is the best reward ever. The temperatures will be getting warmer and the days longer which means it’s time to get to Charlie’s Hardware for all your Maple Sugaring Needs! Supplies are in-stock now but don’t last long so hurry by!!
Not only does Charlie’s Hardware have the equipment to make your syrup excursion stick (yuck yuck) but we have the people to help you through the steps.
Here Cindy explains some of the reasons & methods folks use when they make Maple Syrup:
There’s always been the argument of which type of spout to use, plastic or stainless steel. I’ve had people tell me that they have less leaking with the plastic spouts (they all leak a little initially) but the stainless steel holds up much longer than the plastic. That said the plastic is actually easier to clean than the stainless steel because simply boiling them will not completely remove all the dried-up material on them.
The traditional way of collecting maple sap to produce maple syrup is with buckets. The use of buckets has both pros and cons; the buckets are not only more attractive but they’re cheaper to set up if you’re trees are very dispersed, and hold up better against squirrels. The downside to buckets is if you’re trees are fairly close together then they can get a bit expensive. Not to mention now you have to carry heavy buckets through the snowy woods and clean out all the buckets when done.
The more modern way of collecting sap now is with a tubing system, which comes with its own set of pros & cons as well. When using tubing you don’t have to empty buckets & you can use way more taps, which is all cheaper than buckets. On the other hand the darn squirrels can chew through the tubes (see Brad in our Sporting Goods Department for that remedy), and it’s not the prettiest setup ever if you have your trees in front of your house or along the road.
Probably one of the most important tools you can invest in is a hydrometer which will help take a lot of the guesswork out of the boiling process at the end. Not enough boil time will cause thin, easy to spoil syrup, and too much time will cause crystallization and no one likes sand in their syrup.
At the end of the day, nothing beats the sweet taste of Maple Syrup Success; stop by Charlie’s Hardware today and let us help YOUR season be a success!
Charlie’s Hardware February 2017 Special of the Month: D-Con Ultra-Set Mouse Trap only $3 each while supplies last!