Show Notes: Fall Leaves and Critters – On the House

Show Notes: Fall Leaves and Critters

By on September 19, 2015

It’s time to think about getting your home ready for cooler weather and what it brings along with it. Critters want to move in to stay warm, and feast for the winter. Hang out the NO vacancy sign with some easy tips. If you hate raking all those falling leaves, we have a  few ideas to make them work for your garden.

Thank you to our guests:

Garry Hardiman, the “Bird Man” of Special Service Bird Control:

Chris Preston, Goulds Water Technology a Xylem Inc. brand: 


18 Volt Cordless Tool Ownership Statics

From Tools Of The Trade here are some statics about 18 volt tools owned by remodelers:


A common DIY nibbler tool is an electric drill attachment, which converts the rotary motion of the drill into a reciprocating motion of the jaw.



Gould’s Water Technology a Xylem Inc. brand
What is a constant pressure water system?
• A constant pressure system automatically monitors household water demand, maintaining pressure when multiple water sources are in use

How does a constant pressure system work?
• Enhances the pressure of water that is drawn from either a well or municipal system
• Boosts water pressure to the desired pound per square inch (psi) and maintains that pressure
• Operates with a variable frequency drive (VFD) pump controller that automatically monitors household water demand
o Like cruise control on a car, the VFD speeds up or slows down the pump depending on water demands

Why install a constant pressure system?
• Alleviates the frustration of low water pressure
• Provides a constant, continuous flow of water when multiple items are running once – washing machine, shower, dishwasher, outdoor sprinklers

As a current homeowner or someone building or remodeling a home, how do I know when I need one?
• If you cannot do two water-related things at once without losing water pressure
– For example, shower and water the garden, do laundry and run the dishwasher
• If you have well water or are planning on having a water well installation
– Helps avoid costly repairs because constant pressure system will automatically shut off the pump if it detects no water, loss of prime, and in over-current and voltage situations
• If your position on the city water line isn’t optimal
– Improve your water pressure if you know your home is positioned at the end of the municipal water

What are the benefits of a constant pressure system?
• It automatically increases its speed as faucets, appliances and irrigation systems are turned on in order to maintain the desired pressure at any flow rate
• Reduces or eliminates noisy pipes, due to a soft start/stop feature
• Total system protection
o Avoid costly repairs because it automatically shuts off the pump if it detects no water, loss of prime, and in over-current and voltage situations

How much does it cost?
• As a manufacturer, we don’t disclose pricing information for competitive reasons
• Most contractors, dealers and installers won’t honor the product warranty if a homeowner installs the system

How do I install a constant pressure system?
• This is not a do-it-yourself job because of the complex electronics in the system
o We’ve heard of some people purchasing systems online and trying to install it themselves to save some money.
• Unless you are a certified installer, we DO NOT recommend this
• We believe your safety and knowing that you are getting a good product under warranty is much more important
• Trust the experts and hire a professional
o Constant pressure systems typically use a VFD that works in conjunction with the well system
• VFDs are complex electrical units that require an electrician or certified dealer to install and troubleshoot any issues
o Most contractors, dealers and installers won’t honor the product warranty if a homeowner installed the system

How do I find a professional installer?
• Many certified installers belong to professional associations, like the Goulds Professional Dealer Association
• Ask friends and neighbors
o If you’ve had a good experience with another professional (like a roofer, electrician or HVAC repair technician), ask them for a referral
• Constant pressure system manufacturers — like Goulds Water Technology — also may be able to point you to a certified installer
o You can find an installer in your area on our website at (Goulds is spelled G O U L D S)


Amazing Way To Test Batteries

The test comes to us courtesy of life hacker and how-to guy Kipkay. All you need to perform the test and check if your alkaline batteries are juiced is a hard surface.

Drop each battery (with the flat, negative end down) from a couple of inches up. If the battery is charged, it should make a solid thud and most likely stay standing. If, however, the battery is dead, it will bounce and fall over immediately.

Unfortunately, this will only work with alkaline batteries; so don’t go dropping your Lithium-ion rechargeables. The reason this works is that, as alkaline batteries discharge, the chemistry inside changes and produces Hydrogen gas, creating pressure and making it easier for the battery to bounce and topple.


Say Goodbye To Slippery Steps In The Rain

Here’s an easy surfacing trick to fix slippery concrete: Super-smooth concrete can be etched. Wearing safety goggles and rubber gloves, use a 25-percent solution of muriatic acid.
This powerful chemical eats away the thin top layer of concrete, exposing the sand that was originally mixed into it. This procedure leaves a slightly rougher surface, one similar to fine-grit sandpaper. It provides better traction underfoot — even when it’s wet.
Simply pour it on, let it stand for 10 or 15 minutes, and rinse it off carefully — using a garden hose. To make the surface still a bit rougher, repeat the process until it’s exactly how you want it. Consider it social security for those you love.


Prepare Your Home For Fall Animal Invasions

  1. Rodents Invade Your Home Seeking Warmth in the Fall
    Rodents look for warm, safe places to avoid the coming cold weather. That means mice and other vermin that may be satisfied living outside during the summer start moving into homes for the winter. Mice, squirrels, rats and other rodents chew on wires, urinate and defecate on and around food preparation areas as well as destroying food stores.

How to Protect Your Home from Rodents
Utilize an all natural rodent repellent which utilizes a proprietary blend of organic oils that are scientifically formulated to aggravate the senses of all rodents. The vapors discharged by the granules are a powerful irritant that disorients the invading rodent’s sensitive nervous system, all the while smelling pleasant to humans.

  1. Deer are More Active and Need More Nutrition in the Fall
    In the Fall deer become more active. It is their mating season and the season during which they need to add extra body fat to help them survive the cold and lack of food during winter. The new pressures mean that deer may be more assertive about coming into areas with human population to access nourishment from gardens and landscapes. That means ruined gardens and destroyed trees.

How to Protect Your Property from Deer in Fall
Utilize a well engineered deer fence to protect your garden plot. A good deer fence includes the following elements:
• A height of 7 to 10 feet
• Includes an electrical deterrent
Deer are incredible jumpers and to assure that they can’t find their way over your fence it needs to be at least 7 feet tall. Electric deer fencing is reasonably affordable and provides the additional deterrent of providing curious deer a stinging shock when they touch it. Any deer fence can be made more effective when enhanced with the addition of Deer Repellent Packs.

  1. Small Animals Look to Build Body Fat for the Winter
    Small critters such as woodchucks and skunks utilize the Fall season to pack on body weight to help them survive the cold, food-poor winter months ahead. That means that your ripening vegetable garden makes a very attractive, nutrient-rich source of food. In addition to your vegetables being attractive, the ripening plants attract many of the insects and bugs that are the preferred food of small animals. While hunting for the insects and bugs, invading animals ruin your garden without ever eating one vegetable.

How to Protect Your Garden from Small Critters in Fall
Harvesting your garden in a timely manner and disposing of any over-ripened vegetables helps keep the number of bugs and insects to a minimum and therefore makes your garden less attractive to small animals. Additionally, keeping stalks and other refuse cleaned up from in and around your garden minimizes the potential hiding spots for invading animals. Less cover means more danger to skittish critters.


What About All Those Leaves?

Whatever method of leaf cleanup you choose, don’t push the leaves to the curb for pick-up. Think of fall leaves as garden gold. Leaf mold, or semi-rotting leaves, is high in nutrients and adds substantial organic matter to your soil. You can create leaf mold very easily by simply piling all your leaves and letting them sit for a year or so. The bottom of the pile will begin decomposing first and can be used as a soil amendment or mulch.
Shredded leaves can also be used as a mulch. The leaves must be dry to shred, but moisten them immediately after mulching or the wind will carry them all back onto your lawn. Don’t use unshredded leaves. Unshredded leaves will mat together and form a dense layer that won’t allow water to pass through.
Both shredded and unshredded leaves can be used as the ‘brown’ component in your active compost pile. As I mentioned above, dry leaves piled alone will eventually decompose into leaf mold, which is a type of compost. But combining dry leaves with green garden waste will result in an actively decomposing pile and will speed the process.
The article Rake Leaves and Make Compost & Mulch in About’s Landscaping section, does a good job of explaining the difference of using leaves as compost as opposed to mulch. Both are great uses for your leaves.


Is Your Sump Pump Ready For Foul Weather

Time to Test Your Sump Pump
This is a very easy test that may avoid major water damage to your home.
Slowly pour several gallons of water into the sump pit to see whether the pump turns on. You should do this every few months, but especially after a long dry season or before a rainy one. If it does not start, consider replacing the pump with a new battery back-up style.
Here are some additional testing tips:
If there is a back-up pump, unplug the primary pump and run the back-up pump to make sure it works properly
When testing your sump pump, go outside to make sure it is discharging water
Sometimes the pump can run but not pump any water. This means the impeller has disengaged from the pump shaft or the check valve is installed backwards.
Check the operation of the float to make sure it is not restricted
Clean out the air hole in the discharge line
Listen for any unusual noises when the motor is running
Replace the battery on the back-up sump pump every 2 or 3 years


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