Welcome To Our September Newsletter

This newsletter is published monthly for your benefit.

Every one of us except for a selected few are working hard for our money. Some of us still have some left after the first week, some only have a positive bank balance on payday and some never come out of the red zone. Will if you flush any of that hard earned cash down the drain?  I believe not one person would say “Yes” on that question.
In this month’s newsletter we will focus on ways to save money around the house, in the kitchen and the garden.
One of the greatest unnoticed ways we are squandering money is by sending it down the drain, did you guess water? Yes that is right it runs down the drain and you might not even know about it. With the current water shortage we experience in Windhoek we thought it a good subject for this month.
Our Operational Manager will continue his discussion on Home Improvement, the ladies can save some on feta cheese and we wil; have a discussion on grey water usage in the garden. And then there is the check list for water wastage.

Home Improvement

Ok, so the preliminaries had been taken care off. (I take it for granted that you have taken care of your financial budget requirements)

I will proceed with this discussion as if you are going to DIY, but if you are not, you can use the suggestions as a guideline to check up on your Contractor’s work to make sure he does not skip anything.

Roof

  1. -       Before we get to the actual roof covering we need to inspect and repair all the trusses protruding from underneath the roof on the side of the building.
  2. -       Climb on a ladder and inspect each and every truss and brandering on the outside of the building for any damage.  Typical damage to look for is insect damage, (wood borers), and rotten timbers due to a leaking roof or gutter.
  3. -       The only way to repair a rotten timber is to replace the section that is damaged is to replace.  If you do not feel confident to DIY, get hold of a contractor with valid CIF membership to assist.
  4. -       At this stage you can also trim all tree branches to be a minimum of 1m away from your building.
  5. -       Now, climb on the roof, remove all loose roof nails and replace them with a suitable length of roof screw.  Do not simply knock the nail back in until it feels set again.  There is a reason why that nail became loose and it will simply become loose again in time if you just knock it back in.  Fit a suitable length roof screw with proper grab and new rubber seal.
  6. -       At the same time, inspect all fittings on the roof (Satellite dish, solar geysers, solar panels etc.) for loose screws and or any other wear and tear and do the necessary repairs.
  7. -       If you do have a solar geyser it will also be a good idea to replace the anode at this time.  Also check all the insulation material around the water pipes for UV deterioration and repair if you find any faults/wear and tear.
  8. -       Inspect roof flashings against parapet walls.  If you find any cracks on the seals against the wall, you have to remove all old sealing material, clean out the area and re-do the seal.
  9. -       Also inspect holes that might have been drilled into parapet walls and left open.  If you find any such holes, close them properly.
  10. -       Inspect the remainder of the roof covering and proceed as follows:

 

o    Galvanized and metal tile roofs:

Identify any areas where sheets are oxidized and sand all rust down to expose a clean and dust free surface.

Cover the affected area with a SABS approved galvanize primer and 2 coats of roof paint.

If you find areas where the sheets are very thin and porous, you have to replace the sheets. (There is no short cuts.  Do not let anyone bluff you!)

    1. o    Cement tile roofs:

Inspect all tiles for cracks and all cement joints, on ridges and along flashing's, for any sign of loose matter and cracking.

If you find any loose tiles, replace, or if you cannot find any, you can repair the tiles by gluing the pieces together with an epoxy glue suitable for the application.  I do however recommend replacing if possible.

If you find any loose/brittle cement at joints, remove all the loose matter and replace with fresh cement mixture with the wet component consisting out of 50% water and 50% Tile bonding liquid. I normally make use of PERALIN PERAFIX (B6), but you could use any other which you have handy.

Where you find small cracks between the tile and the cement joint but the cement seal is still strong and 100% in tact, you can paint over the area with a SABS approved acrylic water proofer to fill up the small cracks. (Make sure that you use a similar color than your roof tiles.)

 

    1. o    Concrete roofs:

Get hold of a contractor with valid CIF membership to inspect and do repairs.

 

Gutters

  1. -       First you have to clean out al debris and leaves from your gutters.
  2. -       Now inspect the gutters for any sign of rust and/or leaks First you have to clean out al debris and leaves from your gutters.
  3. -       Now inspect the gutters for any sign of rust and/or leaks, especially in the corners, at the outlets and at any joints.
  4. -       If you find any, sand all rust down to expose a clean and dust free surface. (If you find areas where the metal is very thin and porous, you will have to replace such)
  5. -       After proper sanding, I suggest you apply a good quality heavy duty bitumen sealer to the affected area on the inside of the gutter. (ABE BITUSEAL PLASTIC, comes to mind, but there are others on the market as well.)  Make sure that the whole and surrounding areas are covered properly.
  6. -       After applying the bitumen sealer I usually heat up the area somewhat so that the bitumen can get a bit thinner and penetrate into all small cracks and holes where you cannot get to with normal methods, but be careful not to overheat as the bitumen may become brittle when cooling down again and loose it’s sealing properties.
  7. -       If you have the means and experience you can remove the outlets and stop ends in the corners or open up the joints, and re-do it all from the beginning.  This could render better results in the long run, but needs specialized equipment and skills.
  8. -       The outside of the gutter can simply be covered with normal galvanize primer.
  9. -       Now I suggest you pour water into your gutter and inspect if there are any more leaks and if the water drains properly from the gutters.

 

    • -       If you find areas where water forms puddles or does not drain out, you need to adjust the fall, levels, so that all water drain out.  Any water that remains in the gutters for prolonged periods will cause deterioration. (This is one of the MAJOR causes of leaks in gutters)

    For the Ladies

    Spring time is on hand and it is time for fresh salads, green salads and over all light meals. One thing in common with a lot of these is Feta Cheese, now how about making your own. If you buy milk in bulk it is normally a lot more affordable than buying it  by the box or bottle. But it is fresh milk and it spoil much quicker than UHT or Pasteurized sealed milk.

    HOMEMADE FETA CHEESE

    Take 500 ml of fresh milk, pour in 50ml vinegar. (DO NOT STIR AT ALL)
    Bring to a boil. The milk will begin to separate. When the water is about clear, the curt will separate. Pour off the water and keep the curt aside. Mix with salt or any herbs to taste. Pack tight into containers and store in refrigerator until needed.

    We would appreciate feedback from our readers about the recipes.

    What to do in the Garden this month

    My philosophy of garden refuse is that it should somehow return to my garden. As plants grow it uses up the nutrients in the ground, it bind carbon into plant material and gives of oxygen into the air. By loading my garden refuse on my pickup and driving it all to the dump I do not only waste money I rob my garden of nutrients.
    Mulching
    Mulching is the covering of garden beds with a material to keep the soil cool that in turn reduce evaporation and keep the roots cool. By doing this you do not only save money on water you also help your plants to grow better.
    You can use any material for mulching, stones is a popular mulch for hardened plants but organic material is even better as it break down over time and release the nutrients back into the garden soil. It is also food for earth worms that would aerate the soil and release nutrients for the plants to grow.
    Good examples of organic mulch would be dry leaves, lawn cuttings, bark and wood chips. You can also use the left over charcoal from the braai just make sure that you do not too much  ash on one bed rather rake out the coals for mulch and spread the ashes over a large area like your lawn or vegetable garden.  
    Cover the area as wide as possible around the stems of the shrubs and trees and cover garden beds from side to side to about 50mm high if possible.
    If you have a selection of different coarseness of mulch use the finer at the bottom and cover with the coarsest to protect them from being blown away by the wind.
    Don’ts
    Never use plant material that come from a plant that was attacked by a fungus and died, doing it would spread the fungus to other plants in your garden. Never use Pet animal droppings in your garden, it is full of pathogens that can cause sickness in you and your family.
    Grey Water Usages
    Grey water is classified as water that was used to wash yourself, cloths, floors and dishes. Also brushing your teeth, washing hair and the waist water of fresh water fish tanks. Backwash of a freshwater swimming pool can also be classified as grey water.
    When using grey water you should keep in mind that there is human remains in the water in the form of skin shedding’s and some other bodily fluids. It would thus be preferable to not use this water for topical irrigation purposes rather use a drip or flow type irrigation system to irrigate your garden. It is also preferable not to irrigate your vegetable patch with grey water. You can also use grey water to flush toilets wash cars or outside paving but in order to do that you need to first filter the water and afterwards treat it with a germ killing treatment like ozone or chlorine.
    Grey water however is filled with phosphates that can be beneficial for your plants, and also have other nutrients that you would normally have to add to your garden. If you use grey water in your garden you must cut back on the amount of fertilizer you are adding to your garden. Switch to an organic fertilizer if you are currently using artificial fertilizer as organic fertilizers does not contain as much phosphates as artificial ones.

    A wetland is a good filter option for grey water and if you have enough space it can become part of your garden, the plants in the wetland area will help with the digestion of harmful pathogens and water coming from such a patch is much more suitable for the garden then grey water strait from the source.

    Check list for water wastage

  1. 1. To check if there is a leakage some were that you do not know about or can see do the following:
  2. - Turn of your automatic sprinkler system if you have one.
  3. - See that all taps in your house and garden is shut.
  4. - Take the reading of your water meter in the morning before you go to work
  5. - When you arrive home take the reading again
  6. - If the reading has increased it mean that water is leaking somewhere, to be sure you can repeat this again the next day and see if the meter has increase the same amount for the same time.
  7. 2. Check your toilet, toilets can waist as much as 200l of water a day without you knowing about it
  8. - Remove any coloring blocks from the  tank of the toilet and flush until the water in the pan is clear
  9. - Now replace coloring block to tank or ad food coloring to the tank if the toilet is leaking the color shall appear in the pan within 30 minutes.
  10. 3. Check Your geyser for leaks
  11. - Geysers have two valves to control the pressure inside both with overflow pipes you need to find the outlet of these overflow pipes
  12. - Remember that it is absolutely normal for the Master Flow valve to let out a bit of water every so often.
  13. - You should be concerned if a continues flow is coming from the overflow, this means that one of the valves is not operating as it should. Call us to replace the valve as it is normally not a DIY job.
  14. - Check to see if water are dripping from the tank itself as it might be that the geyser is rusted through or a tank seam is split.
  15. 4. Check garden taps
  16. - Remove the hose from the tap and place a container underneath the faucet if it collects water in 30min time the washers in the tap might be worn or the seat may have an uneven surface, if so the seat must be polished before replacing the washer.
  17. - Also inspect the stem to the handle if water are coming out there if it does tighten the nut to the base of the stem.
  18. 5. Check your water cooler
  19. - A lot of water coolers have a float valve similar to a toilet tank, some however have electronic valves. Check first of all that the water cooler is standing upright as a skew watercooler with a float valve will continuously leak if it is skew enough.
  20. - Check the overflow outlet, this is normally a thick 42mm pipe but can differ in size depending the brand and size of the cooler unit.

  21. 6. Inspect all taps in your house for leakages
  22. -A sign of leakages is a buildup of scale on silver taps, depending on your cleaning habits you should either see it as a clear white or yellowish line or ring but it can also be faint.
  23. -Look at the shower floor if it is damp or wet before you take a shower, that can be an indication of water dripping when you do not look.
  24. -Look for droplets in the bath tubs and hand basins.
  25. If you have done all the inspections and fixed the problems and the water meter still increase it is time to get professional help. With the price of water what it is today it would cost you less in the long run to fix the problem than to keep losing water.