Freezing temperatures don’t happen too often in Houston, but when they do, it’s important to prepare! With the arctic blast scheduled to hit Houston on Thursday, taking the time to prepare your home and yard for the freeze could save you hundreds of dollars on burst pipes.
Prepare Your Sprinkler System
Follow the steps below to remove water and winterize your irrigation system.
STEP 1: TURN OFF THE SHUT-OFF VALVE
On most residential backflow devices, there are two shut-off valves. These are typically covered in blue rubber and are located before and after the actual backflow device.
STEP 2: RELEASE THE WATER PRESSURE
Now that you have shut off the water valve, you must release the water that is in the device so that it doesn’t expand when it freezes and crack the device. With a flat head screwdriver, loosen the two bleeder valves (#3 and #4 as illustrated). The bleeder valves are usually located just under the plastic top of the backflow. Sometimes, they have rubber inserts you have to remove before you can see the flathead screw. When opening these, be aware that the water will spew out for a few seconds and your hands will get wet. NOTE: If the water doesn’t stop spitting out after a couple minutes, you haven’t fully turned off the water in step 1.
STEP 3: LEAVE THE SMALLER BLEEDER VALVES OPEN
This will allow the water to expand and freeze without being hindered and causing damage.
STEP 4: INSULATE YOUR BACKFLOW
At almost all home improvements stores, they carry backflow preventer insulation materials. Amazon and other stores also carry insulated bags that can be slipped over your backflow and secured with velcro.
Following the above steps will help depressurize your system and prepare it for the freeze. There are so many variables that can cause one residents irrigation to freeze and the next door neighbors not to freeze, the biggest being is your backflow preventer being exposed to the north.
A pool is little more than a water-filled hole in the ground—until you add the right accessories. With the right design and features, a swimming pool can become a perfect backyard retreat. But designing the ideal private getaway requires careful planning and a skilled swimming pool builder in Katy, TX, that can create an ideal pool space for your backyard. Keep reading to get a few tips on how to design the perfect backyard oasis.
Add Water Features
Few things can upgrade a backyard pool as quickly as adding a few water features. The look and sound of moving water is incredibly soothing, making your pool into a relaxing space almost instantly. There are countless water feature options out there, so it’s easy to find something that fits your space, pool design, and personal preferences.
Do you want a natural-looking pool that resembles a private jungle getaway? You can include cascading waterfalls over natural stones that tumble beautifully into your pool, or a higher waterfall with a hidden cave behind it. Looking for something with a more modern design? Add a water spout that appears to send water leaping around your pool, or a sheer sheet of water that drops dramatically into your pool like liquid glass. With the right designer, the possibilities are endless.
Consider Outdoor Living
Your backyard shouldn’t be something you think of as separate from your home. It’s another part of your house, another living space that you can transform for your use. Once you install a pool in your backyard, you’re bound to spend a lot more time in this outdoor “room” of yours, so make sure that you design a comfortable outdoor living area.
This should include some kind of comfortable seating in a clearly established gathering area. Just as you would group seating in a living room, you should group seating on your pool deck as well, encouraging conversation when you enjoy the pool with family and friends. To further improve the usability of your outdoor space, consider other outdoor living features like a built-in grill, fire pit, or even a full outdoor kitchen. When your outdoor space has everything you need, you’ll never want to go back inside again!
Add Plenty of Shade
It’s important to think about just how much shade your backyard design is going to have. With all the time you’ll be spending outside, it’s important that you have enough shade to take a break from the sun every once in a while. You can add a shade to your deck—either permanent or retractable—or simply install a few large umbrellas around the pool. While not required, you may also want to think about having a portion of your pool shaded as well, so you can enjoy the water while avoiding direct sunlight, if you wish.
Keep Upkeep in Mind
When designing your swimming pool, consider just how much upkeep the design is going to require. Certain features are easier to maintain than others, but as a general rule, more features mean more things that can break. Pools require a significant amount of maintenance as it is, even with a very basic design. Be sure to ask your designer about the upkeep requirements of various features as you create the design together, so you know what to expect.
And remember that even the features out of our pool, in the surrounding decking and design, will require some upkeep. Outdoor kitchens need to be cleaned. Upholstery and some other outdoor furniture materials should be covered when not in use to prevent them from becoming brittle in the sunlight. Consider the maintenance of every aspect of your design and decide if you’re able to commit to that amount of work. Odds are, you’re not going to enjoy your pool if you simply resent the amount of work it requires.
Make It Functional for You
No matter how beautiful a design is, a pool or outdoor living area is useless if it doesn’t meet your needs. Make sure that the design you create is functional for you and your family. It’s always a good idea to discuss how you want to use your pool before you even begin to talk about the design.
Will you be entertaining in this space a lot? Do you have young kids? Do you want to use the pool to exercise, or just for casual swimming and relaxation? How many people do you anticipate using your backyard space at once? Answering these kinds of questions can help you begin designing your pool with your needs in mind so that the space is more functional for you.
If you’re ready to start creating your own perfect backyard retreat, contact Suncor Outdoors. We’re one of the best pool builders in Katy, TX, and we can help you design a swimming pool and outdoor living space that you love. Contact us to get started today.