How to Continue Grilling Through the Fall

Summer may be the most popular time of year for BBQs, but just because peak grilling season is over doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy grilled (and seasonal) fall foods. Whether you’re looking to grill dinner or indulge in a tailgating feast, here are a few tips to help you grill this fall.

Tips for Fall Grilling:

  • Add a Patio Heater – If you plan on grilling outside the warm flame of the grill will feel nice, but if you want to warm up the general atmosphere for all of your guests, add a portable patio heater or have a fire pit going while you cook! This is a great way to enjoy cool nights (or days) outdoors while still hosting a BBQ for family and friends.
  • Use Harvest Vegetables – Summer isn’t the only season to enjoy grilled vegetables. Fall is the harvest season! Enjoy squashes, caramelized pears and tomatillos, among other fall favorites.
  • Get Festive With Fall Recipes – There are so many delicious fall recipes that can be grilled! We’ve listed a few of our autumn favorites below. Let us know if any of these inspire you to fire up the grill!
    • Grilled Pork Chops with Apple-Bourbon Glaze – These pork chops take a festive fall turn with a sweet apple-bourbon glaze.
    • Grilled Potato Salad – Potato salad isn’t just for summer BBQs. Take a twist on the classic may-based potato salad with grilled potatoes.
    • Grilled Apple Salad – Yes, you can grill fruit — and what fruit says “autumn” more than apples? Top your next salad with grilled apple rings.
    • Grilled Butternut Squash – Butternut squash is a fall harvest favorite. This colorful vegetable can be grilled to perfection for a seasonal dish.

In need of propane for all of your autumn grilling? Give us a call or visit our website to learn more about our propane services.

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It’s Time to Schedule Your End of Season Tune-Up

Summer is quickly coming to a close. As the weather begins to cool, you’ll want to make sure that your home is prepared for the new season ahead. As you start to tackle all of your fall home improvement projects and maintenance checklists, don’t forget to schedule your end of season HVAC tune-up, too!

Why you should schedule an end of season tune-up:

  • You’ll Prevent Future Breakdowns – Regular maintenance is essential to keeping your HVAC system in good working condition. As a result, your system will be running more smoothly and you can prevent future breakdowns.
  • Your System Will Work More Efficiently – Your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to keep your home cool. With a maintenance tune-up, you can ensure that each part of your unit is working at maximum efficiency.
  • You’ll Save Money in the Long Run – When your system works more efficiently, it is more cost-effective to run your heating and cooling systems. This means that your HVAC system is working to keep your home a comfortable temperature, for less! Also — since you are taking steps to prevent future breakdowns, you are also saving on potentially costly repairs.
  • You Extend the Life Expectancy of Your Unit – When you take proper care of your HVAC system, you extend its life expectancy. This means that your system will run efficiently for longer.

 

 

Ready to schedule your end of season HVAC tune-up? Reach out to our professionals here at Devine Bros!

How to Maintain Your Concrete Patio

We spend a lot of time on our outdoor patios during the warm summer months, but as the season comes to a close, that doesn’t mean that we should stop caring for them. With proper maintenance, you can enjoy a beautiful patio that isn’t just beautiful now, but is beautiful for many years to come. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your concrete patios and keep them in good shape — no matter what season it is!

Concrete Patio Maintenance Tips:

  • Brush Off Dirt & Leaves – As the leaves begin to fall, be sure to brush off any leaves, dirt, grass clippings, etc.
  • Check For Cracks – A few chips may not seem like a big deal right now, but as the colder weather comes, water will freeze and expand inside of any cracks in your concrete patio. Eventually, this will lead to even more cracks. Take the time to repair these chips and cracks in your patio now so that it’s in perfect condition when you use it again next spring.
  • Seal Concrete Joints – Sealing the joints in the concrete will help prevent water from getting in, too. This will help ensure that your concrete is strong during the cold winter months.
  • Seal the Concrete Surface – You can also seal the surface of your concrete patio. This will protect the concrete from dirt, dust and UV rays. It will also help repel water from rain, sleet and snow.

 

 

Visit our website to learn more about our concrete services or give our office a call directly.

Why It’s Important to Schedule Air Conditioning Tune-Ups

When was the last time you scheduled an HVAC tune-up? If it’s been a while, there is no better time to schedule a tune-up than now. After all, regular maintenance is one of the most important aspects of caring for your air conditioning system. Not convinced? Here are a few of the reasons why tune-ups are so important.

Why A/C Tune-Ups Are Important:

 

  • Your System Will Last Longer – Regular maintenance helps extend the life expectancy of your system. Since it is working efficiently, you will experience less wear and tear over time.
  • You’ll Prevent Future Breakdowns – When you schedule regular maintenance, a technician will be able to identify any potential problems early on, as well as prevent future breakdowns from happening down the line.
  • You’ll Keep Your Home More Comfortable – When your air conditioning system is working efficiently, you and your family will be more comfortable throughout the day. Your HVAC system will do its job keeping your home the temperature that you want it to be.
  • You’ll Save Money On Energy Bills – When your air conditioning system is working more effectively, you can save money on your monthly energy bills because your system isn’t working as hard to keep your home cool.

Ready to schedule a fall tune-up? Give our professionals a call! We are here to help you keep your air conditioning system running smoothly — no contract is necessary! Learn more about our services here on our website or give us a call directly at 203-866-4421.

Enjoy Your Pool Longer with a Pool Heater

The summer may be coming to a close — but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a few more weeks in the pool! With a propane-powered pool heater you can enjoy spending time splashing in the water now, well into the Fall. Here are a few of the benefits of heating your pool with propane.

Benefits of Heating Your Pool with Propane:

It’s affordable. Electricity rates can become very costly with time. Propane is an affordable option when it comes to heating your pool.

You enjoy the pool for longer. With a propane pool heater, you enjoy a more comfortable pool day for longer. This means that while all your friends are waiting for their pools to warm up in the beginning of the season, you can enjoy yours right away! Equally, as the temperatures begin to fall and we wind down into fall, you can still enjoy spending time in the pool.

They are more efficient than heat pumps. Heat pumps require warm weather in order to transfer that heat energy into your pool to heat it. Here in the Fall, that warmth is not always readily available. With propane, you don’t have to worry about the temperature outside.

It heats your pool quickly. When compared to other pool heaters, propane heaters can increase the temperature of your pool much more quickly.

If you have any questions about propane pool heaters, or you need to stock up on propane at home, give us a call or pre-register directly on our website! We are here to help you with all of your propane needs.

brick pavers

Concrete vs. Brick Pavers for Your Backyard Patio

Are you interested in adding some flare to your home’s backyard patio? Well, the most important aspect of any patio is the material that lies right beneath your feet. When choosing which pavers to use, consider concrete or brick — but which one is the better choice?

Concrete Pavers

Advantages of Concrete Pavers

  • Cost – The cost of raw materials for concrete pavers are less expensive than that of brick. Cost-effective materials like concrete are needed for those with large outdoor spaces.
  • Choices – Concrete pavers can be colored and designed in any shape or color. Advancements are always being made to this material, which is why it’s constantly moving up as one of the most used paving materials available.
  • Installation – Since concrete is relatively easy to cut, this is the material of choice for DIYers. Concrete pavers can be cut and laid out in a precise format for a smooth and seamless look.

Disadvantages of Concrete Pavers

  • Color – The reason there are so many choices of concrete is because it can be dyed with color pigments. Unfortunately, these colors do not last as long as other materials like natural clay brick.
  • Quality – The surface of concrete will erode gradually over time, leaving behind its smooth and glamorous finish. Concrete won’t look as good over time compared to brick (if it’s not maintained).
  • Life Span – Concrete does hold up under heavy foot traffic, however, it does have a lesser life span than that of clay brick.

 

Brick Pavers

Advantages of Brick Pavers

  • Color – While there might not be as many color choices for clay brick pavers, the color is natural and can be altered by mixing in different colors of clay. Since the color is natural, it will last longer than concrete.
  • Quality – Yes, it is true that brick pavers can chip as time goes on, but this material will hold up more so than concrete. Concrete will erode over time, while brick will only become damaged by stress (due to ice and moisture).
  • Life Span – Brick pavers will stand the test of time. Compared to concrete, clay brick can last decades on end as long as they are properly taken care of.

Disadvantages of Brick Pavers

  • Cost – Brick pavers can be up to 20 percent more expensive than concrete pavers.
  • Choices – Since the color of bricks is natural, there are only so many you can choose from. And not only are colors limited, but they also come in only a few sizes (which are oftentimes altered during the kiln firing process).
  • Installation – Brick pavers are difficult to cut, therefore, a DIY project might not be feasible. Since a skilled installation crew will be needed to complete this job, labor can cost more.

If you’re deciding on a material for your backyard patio, concrete and brick pavers are solid choices — but make sure you choose wisely! We are here to help you with all of your landscaping and masonry needs. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, contact us today at 203-866-4421!

6 Ways to Improve the Efficiency of Your Air Conditioning Unit

Air conditioning is essential on hot summer days, but as any homeowner knows, blasting the A/C to stay cool often also means a high energy bill at the end of the month. Fortunately, there are ways to cool your home for less. Here are a few ways to make your air conditioning system work more efficiently for you

Tips to Improve A/C Efficiency:

  1. Change your air filters. Over time, your air conditioning filters will become clogged with dirt and dust. Make sure that you are cleaning/changing these filters regularly, as when they are clogged, your air conditioning system will have to work harder to keep your home cool.
  2. Install a smart thermostat. Upgrade your current thermostat to a smart thermostat! This home thermostat makes it possible for you to adjust your home’s temperature no matter where you are. It learns your habits so that even if you forget to turn down the temperature at night, your thermostat will do it for you!
  3. Keep blinds closed during the day. Keep the blinds closed when you leave for work. This will help keep the hot sun from heating up your home when you aren’t there.
  4. Turn your thermostat up a few degrees. A few degrees can make a big difference in long term energy savings.
  5. Have a BBQ. Your kitchen oven gives off a lot of heat. BBQ outside on hot days to save on your energy bill and keep your home cool.
  6. Clean around your outdoor unit. Make sure that there are no overgrown bushes around your outdoor condenser. These can block airflow and keep your air conditioning system from working as efficiently.

 

Having trouble with your air conditioning system? We are here to help you with all of your A/C mechanical needs. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, contact us today at 203-866-4421!

masonry | devine bros.

DIY Masonry Tips: Fire Pit Edition

We love spending time outdoors — and on cool nights, there are few things better than spending time with friends and family next to the warmth of a fire pit. Whether you’re sharing a few laughs or roasting some marshmallows, a fire pit can be a wonderful and beautiful addition to your home. If you are thinking of embracing your creative side and building your own fire pit, here are a few DIY masonry tips to keep in mind.

DIY Masonry Tips:

  • Find a flat, level area. You want to make sure that you plan to have your firepit on a flat, level area. It should be at least 25 feet from your home and any trees.
  • Purchase the stone and cement. Measure the area that you want your fire pit to be — and then decide on the type of stone that you would like to use. Get creative with the type of bricks or stones that you want to use in your fire pit design. Then, schedule to have these products picked up or delivered to your home (pro tip: we offer both).
  • Build the foundation. You will want to build a strong foundation for your stones to sit upon. Create a marked out area in your yard. Then, create a separate marketed out area inside of this circle. You will want to fill the outer section of the circle with concrete — the inner section will remain free of concrete for drainage purposes.
  • Lay your brick. After your foundation is built, it is time to lay down your stone work. Mix mortar and then shovel two inches of it for a base. Work in small section and lay your stones on the mortar.
  • Build an inner fire brick wall. You will want to build a fire brick wall inside of the stone. Lay each brick and fill the gaps with wet mortar. Scrape away any excess.
  • Add the finishing touches. Now that the structure is complete, brush away any loose debris and spray it down with a hose — and then spray the interior of the fire brick with black stove paint. Lastly, fill the base with a layer of river rocks.

If you live in Fairfield County, trust Devine Bros. with all of your masonry and landscaping supply needs. We carry everything that you need to create a beautiful fire pit — and all products are available for pick up or delivery. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, contact us today at 203-866-4421!

Why You Should Use Mulch in Your Garden

Tending to your garden can be time-consuming — but did you know that mulch can make it a little bit easier?

Mulch is made up of nutrient rich material that is spread throughout your garden to help enrich the soil. But there are so many other great reasons to utilize it in your garden.

 

  1. Organic Matter: Using mulch adds a significant amount of organic matter to your soil. This is important because it helps keep your garden healthy and makes it more resistant to disease and pests.
  2. Nutrients: Keep your garden all natural. Mulch provides it with valuable nutrients that release slowly into the soil. It also helps prevent vitamin loss in your plants.
  3. Hydration: Mulched soil retains 70-percent more water than unmulched soil. It will keep your soil hydrated longer and prevent evaporation from the sun.
  4. Insulation: Mulch insulates soil all year round. It will keep plants roots cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  5. Weeds: By blocking the sunlight, mulch actually minimizes the growth of weeds. Therefore they won’t be competing for nutrients with your plants. The few weeds that do make it to the surface will be much easier to remove.
  6. Convenience: For more reasons than one, mulched gardens are much more convenient. You’ll spend less time having to water them and you won’t have to spend money on pest control or fertilizers.

Could your garden and lawn could use some “Devine” intervention? If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, look no further than Devine Bros. for all of your landscaping needs. We have Fairfield County’s largest selection of landscaping supplies, all available for pickup or delivery. From mulch to brick to flagstone and concrete, we truly have it all! Contact us today at 203-866-4421.

6 Types of Concrete Mix

Walking the aisles of the hardware store can be overwhelming. There are countless products, all with multiple uses — and the workers aren’t always the most helpful. When choosing concrete, it’s important to know what type of products work and won’t work for the job you’re trying to do.

Regular

Benefits

A simple regular concrete mix is ideal for most general concrete work.

Common Uses:

Applications include: setting posts, as well as building sidewalks, steps, patios, floors, downspout troughs, and more.

Lightweight

Benefits

Lightweight concrete mix will actually provide you with more cubic footage than regular concrete.

Common Uses:

This type of concrete is ideal for pouring slabs, walkways, steps, and more.

Sand Mix

Benefits

Sand mix concrete is a mixture of Portland cement and graded sand.

Common Uses:

Sand mix concrete can be used when less than 2 inches of thickness is required. It’s ideal for patching chipped concrete surfaces and can be used for laying flagstone and paving bricks. It may also be used as grout.

Fiber Reinforced

Benefits

Fiber reinforced concrete mix is designed to reduce the cracking, chipping, and flaking that can occur in concrete. This type of concrete actually contains much more cement and hundreds of small fibers, which gives it more strength and resistance than some of the alternatives. In many cases, you won’t need to utilize wire mesh when using Fiber Reinforced concrete mix.

Common Uses:

Fiber reinforced concrete mix is commonly used for patios, driveways, and sidewalks.

Gravel Mix Fiber-Reinforced

Benefits

Gravel mix fiber-reinforced concrete is stronger than sand mixes.

Common Uses:

This type of concrete is commonly used when you need to create more than two inches of thickness.

Anchoring

Benefits

Anchoring concrete mix is two and a half times stronger than typical concrete. It contains epoxy, so it can actually adhere to other concrete.

Common Uses:

Many homeowners choose anchoring concrete mix to attach railings, gates, chains, and more to existing concrete or blocks.

Here at Devine Bros., we manufacture all types of concrete. So rather than spending hours in the hardware store trying to decide on what you need, let us design and mix a custom aggregate in order to meet your exact specifications.

There’s a reason Devine Bros. concrete mixes are preferred. To learn more contact us today at 203-866-4421.