Tag Archives: property maintenance

Land And Lake Management

There is a lot of land in the United States That is not being used. Some of this land is native habitat and conservation land, and that is great. Such lands serve multiple purposes meeting important needs like preserving native habitats for maintaining biodiversity, wildlife preservation, erosion control, and aesthetics, to mention only a few. I consider this to be productive, and this is not what I am talking about.

The fact is, that much of the land mass of the United States is owned by people who do not use the land to produce anything, but who bought the land with some vague vestigial sense of an agrarian lifestyle, but who have little concept of what that entails. The same is true with ponds and lakes.

There is an indelible imprint on the human psyche urging us to posses land and live near water even though modern technology has solved most of our agricultural and water delivery needs in most of the western world. It is primal self-preservation which spurs us on.

I will be the first to say that there is nothing wrong with this, and in fact, it may be wise in the event of a tragedy of some type, (don’t think that such a tragedy cannot happen) but what do we do with that land, and those bodies of water if you are not quite ready or able to plow yourself right into farming?

People love being near lakes.

Even if you are just saving the land for the day when some great disaster strikes, or until retirement, whichever comes first, you can’t just let acres of land and water sit idle. They will revert, and what they revert to will not be pretty! They must be maintained, just as our homes and lawns must be maintained, and most of us lack the knowledge, skills, and equipment to handle more than an acre or two of land or water.

Your options are, to do nothing, to do the work yourself, to pay someone to do the work, or to find creative ways to handle the opportunity. That’s where Home And Garden Press can help!

In our sections on Land Management, and Lake Management, we deal with these issues, and offer advice and creative solutions for the perplexing problems of property owners.

Maintenance Checklist: Plumbing

Maintenance Checklist: Plumbing

Safety first!

Anytime that tools are used, there are dangers, so use them appropriately, and follow all applicable safety practices. Plumbing safety practices go beyond those of most other maintenance topics. There is more potential for microbial activity. Take special care when servicing plumbing drain waste and sewer lines.

Interior:

Hot water heater attic installation

Plumbing is both an indoor and outdoor concern. We will start with the indoor, or interior of the home.

Hot water heater

Things to check:

Look for leaks and drips, particularly around fittings and connections. This is the most likely place for a leak to occur.

The TP, or top pop valve is always a concern, this valve “pops off” if pressure reaches a dangerous level inside the hot water heater. Most are set to open at around 150 pounds per square inch. TP valves should be checked at least once a year. TP valve activation is usually accompanied by hissing, or the sound of running water, and possibly, the presence of moisture.

Hot Water Heater Repairs: Top Pop Valve

Toilets

As with all other plumbing fixtures, leaks are the most prevalent at the fitting connections. The flushing and filling mechanism opens a drain when the handle or button is moved, and then seals the tank to allow refill, while simultaneously opening a supply line valve which refills the tank to a predetermined level, and the water supply valve is closed by a rising float.

This float and flapper mechanism is simple, but there are a few things which should be checked. The seals, and the flapper may shrink, or crack, which can cause annoying leaks, the filler mechanism may wear out, or become clogged, preventing proper operation. This is evidenced by intermittent, or constant running water. A good inspection would involve looking at the mechanism as it is working, checking for leaks around the supply, drain, and other fittings.

Showers and tubs

Showers and tubs have supply lines, and drains, and with showers, there will be a shower valve, supply line, and a shower head. Check for leaks around these.

Some repairs can be accomplished fairly easily, but most require getting into the plumbing chase, or the wall behind the tub or shower. In such cases, unless you are an accomplished handyman, the work might be best left in the hands of a professional plumber.

Sinks

Sinks have drains and supply lines, both of which are easily accessible, and these areas should be should be checked for leaks. Repairs are straightforward. Most have shut off valves installed under the sink.

Exterior

Most exterior plumbing supply line problems involve line breaks due to activities like digging. The majority of outdoor plumbing problems have to do with clogged drain lines. There are, of course, outdoor water supplies to external faucets, and irrigation lines as well. Where irrigation is concerned, back flow prevention is important, and proper irrigation head adjustment is a must for both your lawns health, and water use.

Things that should be checked are wet spots in the lawn, or around the foundation.

Related repair articles coming soon:

Changing a top pop

Repairing a faucet washer

Replacing a valve seat

Repairing a solder joint by sweating


Lake Management Costs Property Maintenance

Lake Management Costs Property Maintenance

Many people who move from urban areas into semi suburban, or semi rural areas, buy properties which include elements with which they are unfamiliar. The cost for lake management can be a little surprising, but the cost of not managing a lake can be much higher!

Large pasture like lands which once served as grazing areas for cattle, have now become back yards. Stock tanks, or ponds once used for watering cattle and other livestock have now become recreational fishing lakes or ponds. In many cases, the new owners realize that they do not posses the information, or the equipment needed to maintain such amenities.

Mowing large areas repeatedly can become very expensive very quickly, but there are mowing alternatives which can help.

Lake management cost considerations

Ponds and lakes can present a somewhat different set of problems. Lake maintenance, like pasture maintenance can get a little expensive. Potential property owners should take this into consideration before buying. In most cases, maintaining an acre of water, will cost as much to maintain as an acre of lawn, and such costs should be considered in the overall package.

What are these issues?

It would be a mistake to think that a lake or pond will take care of itself. It is a living organism teaming with living things, which will tend to get out of balance from time to time. Some things will grow there which might be alright if it were a body of water setting in the middle of nowhere, but not in your back yard. Getting, and then maintaining balance is your goal.

Aquatic weed control and lake management

Aquatic weed control will be the primary concern. Without it, the lake will become overgrown with vegetation, and all sorts of undesirable wildlife, including insects and rodents. Controlling aquatic weeds with herbicides, mechanical controls, or biological controls can be difficult and costly. Preventing their return through controlling water quality and water depth is the best alternative.

Water quality

One of the most important elements related to aquatic weed control, and lake management in general, is water quality. This both effects, and is effected by lake weeds. Maintaining proper pH and proper fertility helps to bring the cycle into balance. This involves testing the water, in most cases, correcting the pH will include the use of lime, fertilizing the pond or lake, or, if excess fertility is the problem, creating a vegetative buffer, or barrier to run off containing high levels of nutrients. The cost for this can be substantial.

Water depth

Water depth is another consideration related directly to controlling aquatic weeds. Weeds tend to occur in shallow water, and raising the water level, or dredging can be expensive.

Aquatic recreation

If the pond or lake is to be used for fishing, the cost for preparation and stocking should be taken into account. The same is true with other recreational activities, docks, boat houses, and other additions may be needed.

Lake maintenance costs

At this time, and in this location, the cost of caring for an acre of lawn per year is estimated by various state agencies as about $2,600.00 per year on average. Our experience has been that this is similar to the cost of maintaining an acre of water, although there are occasional spikes in activity which will raise the cost a bit. This should help those who might be in the process of considering a property with a lake or pond, or those already in possession of such properties to count the cost of lake maintenance in the overall property maintenance cost.

Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state
Caddo Lake