Spring is the Time to Open Your Swimming Pool

swimming pool

1. Take the Cover Off
The very first thing you need to do is remove the cover from your pool. If you have a safety cover, you will need an installation rod and hex key to remove the springs from the anchors and screw them down flush to the concrete.

If you have a standard tarp cover with water bags, just remove the water bags and empty them to store for the winter.

Make sure you drain the water off the cover and remove any large debris before taking off the cover. It will make your job a lot easier and it will prevent that stuff from getting into your pool water.

Next, take the cover from one end of the pool and continually fold in half until it’s easy to remove the cover from the pool.

Remove the Winter Plugs

Walk around your pool and find all the return lines. Remove the winter plugs from the return lines and step jets.

Remove the ice compensator from the skimmer buckets. Depending on how you closed it, there should be a plastic bottle, sponge, or “gizmo” in your skimmer that prevents the ice from cracking it. Replace the baskets.

At this time, make sure your pool is filled mid-way up the skimmer opening before starting your filter system.

2. Get Your Filter System Ready

Before you start your filter system, make sure all of the drain plugs are properly installed. Your filter system should have one main drain plug and your pump may have two.

Replace the pressure gauge on your filter as well as any other parts that belong.

Check the o-ring on your pump lid to make sure it’s in good condition. Bend it between your fingers to check for cracks. If everything looks ok, just apply a Teflon-based o-ring lubricant before screwing the pump lid back on.

Once everything is in place, start your filter system.

Note: Your pump may have to be primed if no water is coming through. Turn off the pump and remove the lid. Fill the pump housing with water. You can use a hose or a giant bucket of pool water to do this. Replace the lid and your pump should prime itself.

3. Test and Shock
Once your pool is up and running, take a water sample to your nearest pool dealer to get a professional water analysis done. Make sure you pH and alkalinity are properly balanced.

At this point, it’s a good idea to add the proper sanitizer to your water (i.e. chorine). Also, shocking your pool right away is a good idea too.

4. Cleaning Up
Make sure you clean your winter cover before storing it away for the season. Check your local pool supply dealer for winter cover cleaner.

Also, vacuum your pool using a manual vacuum at first to get all the heavy debris out (if there is any). After that, you can continue to use your automatic pool cleaner.

Opening up your pool is easy and takes no time at all. Ask a friend or neighbor to help and drink plenty of water, or beverage of choice, while working in the heat.

Happy Swimming!

Advertisements

How To Get Rid of the Clutter

before after clutter

When your home is on the market keeping your home neat and tidy all of the time isn’t always easy.   A cluttered house is a big turn off for buyers.  Buyers have a hard time seeing through the clutter to the home’s attributes.  Follow these few tips and learn how to take control of the clutter in your home.   By de- cluttering your home rooms look cleaner and larger.

Take One Step at a Time

Working one room at a time, divide everything you own into three piles: keep, donate or sell, and trash. This can be a time-consuming process, but it’s a great way to uncover problem spots in your home or in your daily habits. After this step you can see what is left and can start to determine your storage needs.  Next, with you “keep” pile determine spots for storage solutions so items are easily accessible and likely to be returned. Example, install hooks to hang coats, hampers in kids rooms, a nice bowl at the entry for keys, etc.

Maximize Space

As you look for organizational opportunities, assess each room’s unique possibilities for transforming unused space. Can you add a rack, shelves, or another solution to the walls to take your storage vertical? Are there specially sized bins that could capture the area under a bed or between the refrigerator and wall? Is it possible to replace or add furniture that pulls double duty as storage, such as a lidded ottoman or a bench with drawers and baskets underneath?

Be a Smart Shopper

It’s finally time to put everything in its place. Decide exactly how many storage products you need, including the kind, style and the size. Putting together a complete list before shopping prevents buying lots of pretty bins that end up unused while clutter continues to mount. If you prefer items that match your decor, try to find solutions you can label.

Stylish Storage

You don’t have to stick to the organizing store or aisle when looking for storage. You can find solutions anywhere when you get creative. In the kitchen, install a vertical magazine rack inside a cabinet to store pot lids. For the bathroom, a magnetic strip in the medicine cabinet can hold tweezers and small tools, and a plastic tub with a handle is a great way to tote accessories from the closet to the tub or vanity. In your bedroom, place a ladder against the wall to hold extra blankets.

Source – Better Homes & Gardens

Preparing For Your Spring Garden

Daybreak 2007

It is time to start thinking of those Spring & Summer gardens.  Although it is not time to plant them yet there are several things that a good gardener does during this time of the year.  With this Winter being so unpredictable, and wonderful Spring like days, I repeat do not plant yet.  Just prepare for those gardens and your landscaping will look fabulous in the days to come.

Prune Trees
Most fruit trees (or those that flower) benefit from being thinned every year, this also includes Butterfly bushes. This encourages a more open habit that keeps the trees healthy and makes it easier to harvest fruit when they produce. The best time to prune is before new growth develops and after the threat of a hard freeze is gone.

Prune Roses
Prune your roses just as or before new growth emerges from the canes. Cutting your roses back encourages strong, healthy shoots that will produce lots of blooms. A trim also gives the plants a more open habit, which helps them resist diseases such as black spot.  It is also a good time to fertilize them.

Pull Back Winter Mulch
If you spread a layer of winter mulch to protect your plants from the winter, you’ll want to remove it when plants begin to grow and danger of a hard freeze is past.

Test Garden Tip: Keep mulch or some type of covering handy to protect your plants in the case of an unseasonably late arctic blast.  Or a bed sheet will work equally as well.

Plant Trees and Shrubs
Spring’s cool, moist conditions make it the perfect time to add trees and shrubs to your yard. There are many reasons to grow trees and shrubs: They add value and beauty to your property. They can shade your home, reducing your summer energy bill.

The most common mistake when planting trees and shrubs is planting them too deeply. The root flare, where the roots meet the trunk, should be at or just above the soil level.

Cut Back Ornamental Grasses
Cut back ornamental grasses to about 4 inches tall before or just as they put out new growth. This is also the time to divide ornamental grasses, if you wish to do so.

Divide Overgrown Perennials
Give older perennials new life by dividing them. Dig up varieties (such as iris, black eye Susan, bee balm, aster, spider grass, and many hostas) that form dense clumps and split them apart. They’ll bloom better when they’re not crowding each other out.  Find a friend or neighbor and swap varieties to enhance both of your gardens.

Grow Early Vegetables
While tomatoes, peppers, and squash love hot summer weather, you can plant carrots, radishes, spinach, and other cool-season varieties while there’s still a bit of frost in the air. They’ll withstand light freezes easily, but need to be covered if the temperature drops into the low 20s.

Stop Weeds When They’re Small
Weeding is usually voted gardening’s most dreaded task, and as such, it’s often put off. But it is a necessary evil so get down there and pull them by hand, use a hoe, or otherwise remove weeds while they’re little, and you’ll make the job considerably easier later in the season when it is sweltering hot. Small root systems are less work to pull, and if you get them before they go to seed, you’ll have fewer weeds in the future.

Spread Mulch
When the soil has warmed up and dried out in spring, spread a 2-inch-deep layer of mulch (such as shredded wood, pine needles, or compost) over the soil surface to discourage weeds in your planting beds and hold moisture once hot summer days arrive.  I would wait until all of the flowing trees discard their flowers and wing dings for a clean look.

Source – Clemson University, Farmer Almanac, BHG

Real Estate Myths or Facts?

myths vs facts

Now that the real estate market is significantly bounding, buyers and sellers are back looking for deals. They come into the market with assumptions about how the real estate market works.

Their assumptions may come from TV reality shows or watching their parents’ house-hunting experiences. Maybe they’ve learned about real estate from a co-worker’s recent home buying or selling experience. The trouble is, their assumptions are sometimes based on outdated or generalized “real estate myths.”

Myth: Spring is the best time to sell a home

Real estate seasons used to be based on the summer and the end of the school year. Families were the typical buyers or sellers, and they wanted to move during the summer so their kids could start anew in their new school. That’s how spring became the prime selling season because buyers typically take 3 – 4 months to purchase from the time they start looking.  There are still more homes for sale in the spring,  but, that is not necessarily the best time to sell a home anymore.

 Reality: The best time to sell is Winter

Today, more than half of buyers aren’t married, so their decisions aren’t based upon school schedules. So spring isn’t as relevant as it used to be. Instead, the best time to sell a home is in November, December, January and February.

The real estate market is your typical supply and demand economic theory. Most sellers assume buyers aren’t seriously looking during the winter. There are fewer homes on the market in the winter so buyers have to hunt harder to find the home of their dreams.  It is a sellers paradise season to sell their home.

Myth: There is only one dream house for me

Once you’ve finally found that perfect house, the inclination is to think you won’t find another that you like nearly as much.  Be very careful here and don’t let your heart overrule your financial capabilities.  Just because you can get a loan for a certain amount doesn’t necessary mean you should.

Reality: There is always another house

If something doesn’t feel right or the price is too high, don’t be afraid to wait for the next one. As long as you have realistic goals, no house will ever be truly one of a kind.  Every house has different strength and weaknesses.  If you cannot afford it or it does not met your “must have” attributes, keep looking.

 Myth: I need perfect credit

We highly recommend going to a lender first to get pre-approved so you will know how much house you can afford and that you have the ability to purchase. With the recent housing bubble came a wave of lending restrictions and loan tightening. Most people assume that they have to have stellar credit to get a loan these days, but that’s not always the case.

Reality: Shop around for a reputable lender

Lenders are often willing to work with buyers who have less-than-perfect credit. If you’re concerned about your credit, you may want schedule an appointment with a lender and find out the status of your credit and if it is not up to par they can assist you with ways to improve your credit score.  This is a step that is commonly skipped before you buyer enter the real estate house hunting process. It is true that people with higher credit scores are offered the lowest interest rates on mortgages.

Myth: Start with a low offer

There is no tried and true strategy for making an offer on a home.  The best thing you can do is hire a full time seasoned Realtor to assist you with this process.   The seller could have overpriced or underpriced the home on purpose.  Most buyers assume a full price offer is just nonsense. But times have changed.

 Reality: Low offers may get you nowhere fast

A buyer in a seller’s market (when there are fewer houses on the market or in a particular price point than buyers) today are wasting their time making low offers right from the start. It’s likely a home that’s priced right and shows well can receive multiple offers, sometimes even over the asking price. It is also possible you will offend the seller and they will refuse to sell you the house.  Again, choose a Realtor that is familiar with the market you are looking to buy in that is knowledgeable.  They will assist you in putting together a fair offer that will get  you into your dream house vs writing offer after offer after offer.

 Myth: The cash offer is the best

There’s an assumption that a seller, considering two different offers, will always go with the cash offer because there’s less risk. As a result, many buyers who hear they’re competing with a cash offer assume they won’t get the home. They may not even make a formal offer. At the same time, many cash buyers assume that because they’re paying cash, they can make an offer below the asking price, and it will likely be accepted.

Reality: Savvy sellers might not care

Consider a seller with a home priced at $250,000. The seller receives two offers: One is a cash offer of $225,000. The other is an offer for the full asking price, with 25 percent down, a bank pre-approval letter and swift contingency periods.

A good buyer’s agent when learning their client is competing with a cash offer will arm the listing agent with financial data supporting their client’s finances, such as a credit report and verification of income or assets. The agent might even arrange a call between the seller and buyer lender.  Cash is not always king.  The bottom line is.

Source – Zillow, Credit.com

Spotlight Neighborhood of the Week – Harpers Ridge

harpers ridge

Harper’s Ridge, long-established as one of Anderson’s premier neighborhoods, offers a relaxed, country-like setting within minutes of Anderson’s best shopping. Homeowners enjoy large lots with mature landscaping not found in the newest subdivisions.  The rolling landscape lends itself to walkers and joggers who like to take advantage of the varied routes within the neighborhood.  Tennis lovers practice their swings and meet to play matches on one of the two courts in the commons area.  Every spring neighbors gather in the commons for a barbecue with music, games and some friendly competition.

Harper’s Ridge students attend North Pointe Elementary, McCants Middle and T.L.Hanna High, Anderson Five District schools consistently ranked among South Carolina’s finest. Harper’s Ridge offers a rare quality of life-the perfect balance of privacy and community.  For more information on this fine neighborhood click here.

To search for homes or lots in Harpers Ridge click here.

Winter Preparedness Is Important

 

winter house

 

With temperatures today colder than the freezer if you haven’t taken time to make precautions for the winter I would say now is definitely the time. Getting your home ready for winter storm season entails more than insulating pipes and re-caulking doors and windows. Create an emergency kit. Keep a list of supplies in case you and your family aren’t able to leave the house during a winter storm or other disaster.

In the case family members are separated from one another during a winter storm (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are in school), have a plan for getting back together. Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, the police or fire department.

Monitor severe weather. Be familiar with winter storm warning messages. Know how the public is warned (siren, radio, TV) and the warning terms for each kind of disaster in your community. Some examples:

Winter storm watch—Be alert, a storm is likely.

Winter storm warning—Take action, the storm is in or entering the area.

Winter weather advisory—Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists.

Frost/freeze warning—Below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause damage to plants, crops, or fruit trees.

Flash flood or flood watch—Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.

Flash flood warning—A flash flood is imminent–act quickly to save yourself because you may have only seconds.

Flood warning—Flooding has been reported or is imminent–take necessary precautions at once.

Make sure you have sufficient heat. Because regular fuel sources can be cut off during a severe storm, have safe heating equipment available. If you have a fireplace, make sure you have a supply of dry seasoned wood enough to last several days. Small wood, propane, kerosene heaters or even a camp stove can also be used for warmth, just make sure it is well-ventilated.

Keep pipes from freezing. Know how to shut off water valves. To protect pipes, wrap them in insulation or layers or old newspaper; cover the newspaper with plastic to keep out moisture. Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.

Be prepared to help others. Check on elderly or disabled friends, relatives, neighbors or fellow employees.  A friendly call to check on those in your community means the world to those around you.

By preparing ahead of time, you can make good decisions and take action during a emergency.

HOT TOPIC – District V Discussing Block Scheduling for High Schools in Anderson SC

Tonight at 6:30 at the Anderson School District 5 Office trustees will hear a plan for a new high school schedule that will reduce the number of classes students take each semester to four instead of eight.

Up for discussion is the plan for students will take each class every day under the four-by-four block schedule. Superintendent Tom Wilson plans to present this plan at the committee meeting. Students will be able to take electives at any high school campus.  This method class scheduling is similar to a college setting.

All students will ride the school district buses to the other campuses for their off-campus electives. Currently students have the option to drive or ride the bus. Class credits will not change.

Trustees are not required to vote on the measure. Plans to institute the new schedule are underway.

High school students now take four classes each day, but eight classes each semester. They rotate their classes every other day.  It is called “A day / B day” scheduling.  One thought process is that “A/B day” scheduling allows students to continually build skills with out a wide gap in time – for instance Math.

Get involved and find out more.  Information below regarding meeting details.

Anderson 5 committee meeting

What: Presentation of proposed block schedule

When: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: District office, 400 Pearman Dairy Road

 

Anderson 5 board meeting

When: Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: District office, 400 Pearman Dairy Road

Contact: District Office, 864-260-5000