Archive for the ‘Water’ Category

Winterizing Hose Bibs

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Here is the step by step directions for winterizing your hose bib correctly, to ensure no breakage or bursting when spring rolls around.
Step One: Take Off The Hose
You can’t winterize the hose bib with the hose attached to it still. No brainer right? Detach the hose from the hose bib and drain it completely. Frozen water in hoses can cause holes and leaks too, so to keep your hose over winter it needs to be properly drained. You can lay the hose down and walk the length of it, picking up small sections and letting the water flow out. Imagine a tube of toothpaste, and try not to miss any spots. Once it’s empty, roll it up and store it for the winter months.
Step Two: Drain the Faucet
This step is quite like the steps you take to winterize faucets in your home. You’ll locate the shut off valve for the outside water line (if you have any trouble here contact a plumber to help you locate it) and shut the water off. Once the water is disconnected go back outside and turn the faucet all the way on. This will drain out any water currently sitting in the line.
Step Three: Drain the Valve
Go back inside to where the shut off was, and locate a small brass looking plug or cap. Unplug that cap, so that the valve itself will drain. Draining the water out, without emptying the valve, is useless. You must do both. Once that valve and all the water in the line have been drained, you can close the valve and shut the hose bib faucet off.
You’re Done!
It’s a simple 10 minute job, but it can save you hundreds in plumbing repairs when spring thaws the frozen winter water.

Well Water Testing in Alberta: Why, Where and How

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Well Water Testing in Alberta: Why, Where and How | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamTesting Well Water Before Buying an Acreage

If you are thinking of buying an acreage in Parkland County near Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Edmonton, or elsewhere in Alberta, you probably know that you’ll be responsible for your own water supply and sewage system. When you write an offer to purchase an acreage home, one of your Buyer’s Conditions will likely be a Water Condition, which will require the seller to prove that the acreage’s water is potable and free of bacteria. Your mortgage lender will also want to see this proof. How does the seller in the deal go about meeting this condition?

Luckily, for people in our area, DynaLifeDX (the medical lab located in the Queen St. Centre in Spruce Grove), will test the water for real estate purposes, and your REALTOR® can arrange for the testing. DynaLife supplies the container in which the specimen is collected, and processes it for a fee of $60. Please visit DynaLife’s Well Water Testing webpage for the details.

Living on an Acreage with a Well

If you are new to acreage living in our area, take a look at the Parkland County webpage on Water Systems to learn about how water can be accessed by acreage owners.  As you’ll see, a well on your property is just one possibility.

My blog article of April 2011 entitled “Well Water Testing” notes how critical it is to maintain the health of the well on your acreage property. Today’s article updates and expands the information in that article.

The Provincial Government’s Role: Getting well water tested for real estate and mortgage purposes comes at a cost, is limited in scope and must be done by a private agency, as noted above, but testing of water for human consumption once you live on the property can be done for free by the provincial government and includes more in-depth analyses. It is currently recommended that bacteriological analyses be performed up to 4 times per year, and a chemical analysis every 2 to 5 years. For more details about this, please read Alberta Health Services helpful pamphlet “Frequently Asked Questions About Well Water Testing”.  This pamphlet also lists the circumstances when testing will not be done by the province.

Testing for bacteria is done at the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton (Walter Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre, 8440-112 St, Edmonton AB T6G 2J2 – water testing done in the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory), and chemical analyses are done at the Centre for Toxicology at the University of Calgary (3030 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary AB T2N 4W4 – water testing done in the Environmental Waters Laboratory). ProvLab’s Guide to Services is a large publication detailing the many public health services they offer, with water sampling being one of them.

You don’t have to travel to either of ProvLab’s locations for this service. Spruce Grove’s Environmental Public Health Office is located in the Stan Woloshyn Building at 205 Diamond Avenue. Here, you can pick up special containers in which to collect your samples and drop them off. Hours of operation are weekdays 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. BUT, note that drop-in service is not available so be sure to call them first at 780-342-1380.

Other information about water quality

Health Canada: What’s in Your Well? A Guide to Well Water Treatment and Maintenance  (an excellent and concise article about well health)

Western Direct Insurance: Check Your Water Quality

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development: New online tool for water well owners

Environmental Public Health Field Manual for Private, Public and Communal Drinking Water Systems in Alberta (how to sample, how to interpret the results, how to design, construct, manage and maintain wells, dugouts and cisterns, water treatment, etc.)

Health Canada:  Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development: Water Quality Testing

Looking to buy an acreage? Let me help! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Flooded Basement? Prevention and Cure!

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Flooded Basement? Prevention and Cure! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHow dry is your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area basement?  With one of the wettest summers on record upon us, you might be one of those unfortunate homeowners dealing with a flooded basement.  Whether you’re in the process of cleaning up, or you’ve been spared so far and want to stay that way, check out the following for some good advice:

Preventing the Problem

Steps you can take to prevent basement flooding”, published in the Saturday, July 21, 2012 edition of the Edmonton Journal.

The Homeowner’s Guide to Flood Prevention”, produced by the City of Edmonton.

Before Flooding”, concise and comprehensive factsheet from Alberta Municipal Affairs, Emergency Management Alberta.

Avoiding Basement Flooding”, factsheet from CMHC.

Protect Your Home From Basement Flooding”, from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction  (includes a handy score sheet to determine your risk for flooding).  View their video “Reduce basement flooding”.

Check out also “City of Spruce Grove Homeowner’s Guide to Lot Grading”  and Spruce Grove’s “Residential Lot Grading and Maintenance” information sheet and regulations.

What to Do After a Flood

Cleaning your home after a flood”, Alberta Health Services.

Flood Disaster: What to do before, during and after flooding”, excellent and detailed booklet from Alberta Municipal Affairs, Emergency Management Alberta.

After the Flood:  A Homeowner’s Checklist”, factsheet from CMHC.

Cleaning Up Your House After a Flood”, CMHC free download.

A Guide to Fixing Your Damp Basement”, available from CMHC for $9.95.

Cleaning Up After the Flood: a guide for homeowners”, Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.

City of Spruce Grove Disaster Recovery Program 

See also my blog article entitled “Spring Run-off”, posted April 10, 2012.

Comments or questions about this article?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

The River Valley Alliance

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

One of Edmonton’s nicknames is River City, and the River Valley Alliance is working hard to make that much more than a catchy phrase.

The River Valley Alliance | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHaven’t heard of the River Valley Alliance?  If you are someone who enjoys spending time outdoors and who is concerned about preserving the natural beauty around us for generations to come, this is something you’ll want to learn about and get involved in.

The goal of the River Valley Alliance since 1996 has been to “Preserve, Protect and Enhance” the valley of the North Saskatchewan River.  Seven municipalities within the valley (Town of Devon, Parkland County, Leduc County, City of Edmonton, Strathcona County, Sturgeon County and City of Fort Saskatchewan) collaborate to create a continuous river valley park system connecting the 22+ parks and numerous trails in Alberta’s Capital Region, stretching all the way from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan.  The end product is a continuous span of 88 km, longer than any other urban park in North America. At 18,000 acres, it is also one of the largest, making it 22 times bigger than Central Park in New York City. 

The official River Valley Alliance brochure points out that “the River Valley is a defining symbol of Alberta’s Capital Region, a green corridor along the North Saskatchewan River that offers:

      • a preserve for wildlife and native vegetation
      • an escape to nature for residents and visitors
      • opportunities for year round outdoor recreation, family fun and community events
      • a place to connect to others and with yourself”

The River Valley Alliance | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamRVA’s main role is to coordinate planning and development along the river valley and to access financial and public support for the project.

RVA’s brochure also suggests several ways each of us can get involved in this very worthy undertaking:

“Visit the river valley – share the experience with family and friends

Show your pride – tell people about this unique feature and RVA’s work

Participate – share your river valley stories, photos and videos

Donate – donate to RVA’s work through Canada Helps, corporate giving, or in-kind donations

Connect – contact us or subscribe online to RVA’s e-newsletter:

River Valley Alliance, P.O. Box 2359, Edmonton AB T5J 2R7

contact@rivervalley.ab.ca

www.rivervalley.ab.ca

Thanks to the fine folks at River Valley Alliance for allowing me to quote from their brochure and use their content! 

Comments or questions about this article or about real estate near the river?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Spring Run-off

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Spring Run-off | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAh, spring.  Warm sunny days, robins returning, snow disappearing – and water everywhere.  As a home owner in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere, you do everything you can to protect your property.  Would it surprise you to learn that the leading cause of damage to property is not break-ins or fire or wild winds, but water?  In fact, more than half of all insurance claims, about 1.3 billion dollars’ worth in Canada, are due to water damage.  This type of claim is likely to increase as infrastructure ages, the climate changes, and home owners finish every square foot of their dwellings.

We’ve all seen the stories in the media about flood damage in Manitoba and parts of the US, but that type of large-scale catastrophe is less common than all the other ways water can ruin a home.  And most of the everyday type of water damage, caused by a leaky roof, backed-up sewer or spring run-off, is preventable.  Here are a few things you can do to minimize water problems:

  • Walk around the entire outside of your home, keeping your eyes open for all the places water could get in.
  • Does the grade slope away from your home without any dips where the ground has settled?  There should be no area where water drains back toward the house.
  • Do the downspouts from eavestroughs extend at least 6 feet from the house?
  • Do all doors and windows fit snugly without any cracks where water could seep in?
  • As spring approaches, are you diligent about clearing snow and ice away from your home?
  • On the roof:
  • Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles and repair any problems.  If your roof is older than 15 years, it might be time for a whole new roof.
  • Are the eavestrough gutters free and clear of debris so that water can flow freely off the roof?
  • Check seals around chimneys, skylights and vents to ensure they are water-tight.
  • Inside your home:
  • Regularly check all plumbing (including your hot water tank) and appliances for leaks, and for trouble signs such as rust around a faucet or corrosion around the washing machine hose.  One trick for testing whether a toilet is leaking:  Add food coloring to the tank.  If the color seeps into the bowl after about 20 minutes, you have a leak.
  • Burst pipes can cause a major mess.  Besides checking for leaks, check that insulation in these areas is adequate.
  • Consider installing a sump pump, backwater valve or water sensor, if you don’t already have these items.
  • Examine all ceilings for stains which could indicate spots where water has gotten in.
  • If you store valuable items in the basement, put them in plastic bins up off the floor.
  • Don’t run appliances such as dishwasher or washing machine when nobody is home.

A few other suggestions:

  • When you leave on vacation, even for a long weekend, have someone do regular checks of your residence.  Check all taps and faucets before you leave (turn off the water to the washing machine!), and consider even turning off the main water valve.
  • Review your insurance coverage to make sure you are covered for water perils such as sewer backup and the like.
  • If your home is starting to show its age, consider hiring a home inspector to go over your home with you, looking specifically for problem areas before they develop into full-blown trouble.

I love to hear your comments or questions!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

 

 

Be Green, Save Gold on Water

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Be Green, Save Gold on Water | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAre you a water hog or a water miser?  Chances are, if you’re like most Canadians, whether you live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, you use more water than you should.  This excessive water use costs us as homeowners, in higher water bills, and as citizens, putting a strain on infrastructure and resources.

 Stemming the flow of H2O”, an article in the March 3, 2012 issue of the Edmonton Journal and written by Patrick Langston of the Ottawa Citizen, contains some startling statistics about water use.  For instance, the article states that Canadians on average use 340 litres of water per person per day, the 2nd highest amount in the world.

Other facts quoted in the article:

  • Roughly 65% of indoor water use occurs in the bathroom.
  • One drop per second from a leaky faucet can waste about 10,000 litres of water in a year.  A toilet that keeps running after it’s flushed can waste up to 200,000 litres per year (enough to fill 2 swimming pools!)
  • Standard shower heads release 15 to 20 litres of water per minute.  A low-flow model cuts that amount in half.  
  • A standard 18-litre-per-flush toilet, flushed 4 times per day, uses close to 30,000 litres per year.  Think of how much water (and money!) can be saved by replacing one standard toilet with a low-flow model that uses 6 litres or less per flush.
  • It takes about 265 litres to fill a standard bathtub, more (sometimes much more) for a soaker tub.
  • Most front-loading washing machines use about 75 litres per load, about half that of top loaders.
  • Think you’re saving money and water if you hand wash your dishes?  Hand washing uses about 75 litres, while an Energy Star dishwasher takes about 15 litres per load.

Tips and information abound in this useful article. Some of these things we’ve heard before, like not leaving the tap running when you brush your teeth or wash your hands.  Other tips may be new, such as installing a thermostatic valve in the shower so that the shower can be shut off while lathering without having to re-set the water temperature when the tap is turned back on. 

The article concludes with conservation tips borrowed from the website WaterUseItWisely.com.  This excellent website offers over 100 ways to conserve water, such as:

  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing.  Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Wash vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under a running tap.  Then use the vegetable water to water houseplants.
  • Keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap.
  • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.  Better yet, aim to run your machine only for full loads.
  • Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up.

Read the article  and check out WaterUseItWisely.com for much more information.  Whether the tips you’ll find there are new or old, we all can stand to be reminded of ways we can help the planet and our wallets!

I would be happy to help you find an energy-efficient home!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

Well Water Testing

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Well Water Testing |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you live on an acreage in Parkland County near Stony Plain or Spruce Grove, you may get your drinking water from a well on your property, and you know how critical maintaining the health of that well can be.  But did you know that you can (and should) get your well water tested regularly for free by the provincial government through Alberta Health Services?  It is recommended that bacteriological analyses be performed up to 4 times per year, and a chemical analysis once per year.

Testing for bacteria is done at the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, and chemical analyses are done at the Centre for Toxicology at the University of Calgary.  But you don’t have to travel to either of those locations for this service.  Spruce Grove is home to an Environmental Public Health Office located at 205 Diamond Avenue where you can pick up special containers in which to collect your samples and to drop them off.  Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday mornings.  Call them at 780-342-1380.

The following is an excerpt from the brochure published by Alberta Health Services (no longer available online) entitled “Evaluating Private Drinking Water Supplies and Sampling Instructions”.

A full evaluation of a private water supply involves sampling for both bacteriological and chemical analysis.

Bacteriological and chemical analysis and the evaluation of results against established standards are essential for determining the initial and ongoing safety of drinking water.  Other factors such as appearance, odor and field knowledge also assist in determining the presence of potential contamination or existing pollution.

A bacteriological analysis should be performed quarterly, or when contamination of the water supply is suspected.   Bacteriological analysis includes the presence of total coliforms and E. coli.

A chemical analysis should be performed on all new, redeveloped or unregistered wells and re-sampled annually.  Chemical analysis includes seventeen parameters as outlined in the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.  It is recommended that parents with newborn babies or young children submit drinking water samples for both analyses.

Note that this free service is available only for drinking water for human consumption from a raw water supply.   Alberta Health Services includes the following cautions in their brochure:

“Well water samples are NOT accepted for mortgage purposes, livestock consumption, Giardia analysis, fish disease or algae analysis, or to check the effectiveness of water treatment equipment.”

“Chemical analysis WILL NOT be performed on the following sources:

  • Municipal (licensed) water supplies
  • Water for mortgage approval
  • Bottled water
  • Water from private contractors (including water well drillers)
  • Water collected outside of the Province of Alberta
  • Water from other Government agencies”

You can, of course, hire private companies to test your water for the purposes which Alberta Health Services exclude from their free testing service.  DynaLifeDX Diagnostic Lab Services is one such company performing bacteriological analyses.

In addition to the above information about well water testing, it should be noted that:

  • If you have a shallow well that is close to a surface water body, such as a dugout, river, etc., it may require treatment to ensure its safety.
  • If you store water in a cistern, it should be pumped clean and disinfected with a bleach solution at least once a year to control bacteria and algae.  If a water hauler is used to fill the cistern, ensure the hauler is approved by Alberta Health Services.  Water should be tested for bacteriological quality twice per year.
  • Water from a dugout should not be used for drinking unless filtered and disinfected.  Treated water should be tested for bacteriological quality every three months, and for chemical quality once per year.

I always welcome your comments or questions!  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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