Should You Mulch Your Plants in the Fall?

It’s time to start prepping the outside of our homes for the cool fall weather ahead. But although we may be starting to feel that chill in the air — that doesn’t mean that you should stop caring for your garden. If you’re asking yourself if you should mulch your plants this fall, you’re on the right track! Landscape maintenance doesn’t end when the weather cools. There are many benefits to mulching your garden for fall plants!

Why You Should Mulch:

 

  • Prevent Erosion – Mulch helps keep soil from washing or blowing away on rainy or windy fall days. This can help prevent erosion and keep your soil and plants healthy.
  • Suppress Weeds – No one wants a garden full of weeds. Mulching can help reduce the number of weeds growing in your garden now — and in the spring!
  • Prevent Moisture Loss – One of the biggest benefits to mulching your garden is that you are preventing moisture loss. This means that when you water your fall perennials or cold weather annuals, you will keep them moist and hydrated for longer. This is especially important as the air becomes less humid in the fall into the winter months.
  • Keep a Consistent Temperature – In the fall it can be cold in the morning, but hot in the afternoon. Mulch helps protect your plants from drastic temperature changes.

 

Need to stock up on mulch and topsoil for your garden this fall? Visit our website to learn more about what we carry or give us a call directly at 203-866-4421.

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Your Bioheat FAQs Answered

Want to heat your home more efficiently this year? Bioheat is a great way to significantly reduce your impact on the environment without spending an extra penny. The best part? You can use this renewable energy product with no modifications to your current heating system. If you’re thinking of making the switch, you probably have a lot of questions. We’ve answered a few of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Devine Bros. below.

Bioheat FAQs:

  1. What is the difference between bioheat and biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a term for pure biodiesel. It is a chain of fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats. It’s the pure fuel before blending. Bioheat is conventional heating oil containing biodiesel.

  1. Is my current oil tank compatible with Bioheat?

The short answer is — yes! All known oil tanks and systems are compatible with Bioheat at blends of 20% or less. If you’re looking for a higher biodiesel blend, it will depend on the materials in your tanks, pumps and fuel lines. Blends higher than 20% typically need materials made from steel, mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, etc.

  1. Do I need to take any precautions when storing Bioheat?

You should treat Bioheat just as you would conventional heating oil. Store your fuel in a clean, dry, dark environment. You should also use Bioheat within 6 months of receipt.

4 .Will using Bioheat void any warranties I currently have in place?

No manufacturers are currently voiding warranties over Bioheat. At blends 20% and lower there should be little or no issues with your equipment.

  1. How do I get my blended Bioheat delivered?

Give us a call! It’s important that you get your Bioheat from a trusted fuel supplier that has the ability to safely store, receive, blend and deliver Bioheat to YOU.

Ready to make the switch? Have more questions? Learn more about the different Devine Bioheat services that we offer — from market pricing to fixed pricing to capped pricing, we offer several convenient programs to ensure that our customers are provided with the fuel they need.

Fall Home Improvement Projects You Need To Complete

Fall is one of the best times of year to finally get to your long list of home improvement projects. While we’re sure you have plenty that you want to do around the house, here are a few projects you’ll want to bump to the top of your fall home improvement project list.

Fall Home Improvement Project List:

  • Schedule an HVAC Tune-Up – Now is the perfect time to schedule at tune-up. This will help ensure that your heating system is continuing to run smoothly before the cool weather hits us and you need to turn on the heat.
  • Maintain Your Concrete PatioWith proper maintenance, you can ensure that your outdoor patio didn’t just look beautiful this summer — it’ll look gorgeous next summer too! Be sure to brush off dirt and leaves as the true fall weather kicks in. Seal your concrete surface and check for any cracks.
  • Clean Your Gutters – As the leaves start to fall, you’ll want to make sure that you take the time to keep your gutters clear. Clogged gutters can make it harder to direct water away from your home, meaning that you might experience a leak next time it rains. And when the weather becomes even cooler, clogged gutters collect water that can then freeze, expand, and break your gutters overnight.
  • Update Your Doors and Windows – Now is the time to become energy-efficient! Update your doors and windows so that you can keep your warm, heated air inside of your home this year — and keep the cold winter air outside where it belongs.

If you run into any problems with your home’s heating system, you need to stock up on oil, or you need building supplies for your landscape, we are here 24/7! Let our family take care of your family! Give our office a call by dialing 203-866-4421 — our dedicated support professionals are here to help you.

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.

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!