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.

 

Summer Heat | Devine Bros.

How to Save on Cooling Costs this Summer

No, the heat isn’t on — it’s the ozone layer. Summer is here and continues to make its presence known daily. Although you may be tempted to leave your air conditioner running, you certainly won’t be thrilled to see your electric bill next month. While it may seem impossible to stay cool on 90-degree+ days, the goal IS attainable. Shut the A/C off, and try out these cost-effective cooling tips:

Change Your Routine

When the temperature changes, so should your routine. This doesn’t mean taking off from work, but to simply modify your daily choices.It’s all about the cool compromise.

  • If it’s too warm in your home, cook dinner outside on the barbecue.
  • If it’s too hot outside, save yardwork for evenings or for a cooler day.

Clean the Filter

Although you’re trying to keep your air conditioning usage to a minimum, eventually you will need to use it. Before turning the unit on, be sure to clean/replace the filter. Most air conditioners work overtime because a dirty/old filter creates blockages within the air passages. By giving a little TLC, your A/C won’t use as much energy. Pro Tip: After you initially clean your filters, be sure to maintain them regularly.

Block the View

Are you a morning person? Keep your blinds and curtains closed. It may be tough to block your awesome view, but it will help maintain a cool temperature within your home throughout the day.

Your Biggest Fan

Despite what you may think, using a standard blade fan will make a huge difference. Although fans don’t have cooling regulators like A/C units, they’ll circulate the air throughout a room. If you give a fan about 10 minutes, you’ll notice a much cooler temperature inside your space.

If you live in Fairfield County, trust Devine Bros. to keep your air conditioner in tip-top shape this summer. We offer air conditioner repairs, installations, and tune ups, and have one of the largest inventories of landscaping supplies in southern Connecticut. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, contact us today at 203-866-4421!

Couple and Air Conditioner Technician | Devine Bros.

Air Conditioning Tips to Live By

With temperatures rising every day, were in the beginning stages of a hot, hot summer! That means cranking your air conditioner to beat the heat, but with comfort comes a hefty price tag. Here are a few air conditioning tips to live by this summer so you’re not drowning in electric bills — or sweat.

Check Your Air Filters

When you run your air conditioner, dust and allergens can clog your filter. This makes it harder for your HVAC system to cool a room. During the summer months, be sure to check your air filters regularly. We recommend once per month and replace them as needed.

Shade Your Unit

If the air around your air conditioning unit is hot, it will have to work harder to cool it. That’s  why it’s important to properly shade your cooling system. Cooler air requires less energy to bring it to your desired temperature.

Make Sure Your Thermostat Isn’t Receiving Excess Heat

Your thermostat reads the temperature of the air surrounding it — so if it’s in an area that receives direct sunlight or additional heat, it will think your house is warmer than it is. Make sure to remove any excess heat sources and if necessary change the location of your thermostat.

Strategically Set the Temperature

The optimal temperature for energy savings is actually 78-degrees. When the thermostat is set more closely to the temperature outside your air conditioner consumes less energy. To slash your energy bill, set your thermostat according to the weather forecast.

Purchase a Programmable Thermostat

By investing in a programmable thermostat, you’ll be able to schedule when you want your A/C to power on and off. We recommend the Nest Learning Thermostat — it learns your temperature habits in about a week and you can adjust it from your smartphone or tablet.

Schedule a Tune-Up

Remember, to ensure the longevity of your HVAC unit be sure to schedule a professional tune-up once a year. Our 16-point air conditioning tune-up is $161 for the first unit and $111 for each additional unit.

If you live in Fairfield County, trust Devine Bros. to keep your air conditioner in tip-top shape this summer. We offer air conditioner repairs, installations, and tune ups, and have one of the largest inventories of landscaping supplies in southern Connecticut. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, contact us today at 203-866-4421!

Woman Watering Plants | Devine Bros.

Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality This Summer

Your home should be a tranquil domain that promotes health and relaxation. That’s why you need to take action to rid it of airborne contaminants that can negatively impact your family. Devine Bros. is here with some helpful tips on how you can improve indoor air quality this summer.

Ditch the Scented Candles

Who doesn’t love burning a good scented candle? The truth is with each use they actually release very harmful carcinogens into the air. For a relaxing fresh scent, opt for essential oils. Diffusing a mixture of lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree oils not only smells amazing, but will begin to remove airborne fungi from the air in less than one hour.

Dust and Vacuum Regularly

Cleanliness is happiness. We know it’s easy to let dusting and vacuuming fall to the wayside, but by neglecting these simple household chores you’re opening yourself up to indoor allergens. Try using a microfiber cloth when dusting. They trap particles while you clean so you won’t have to deal with flying dust particles.

Cultivate Houseplants

Whip out your green thumb! Houseplants naturally purify the air, help balance out humidity, and add more oxygen in your home. We recommend potting some Boston ferns, cactus plants, English ivy, lilies, reed palms, and/or tillandsias.

Regulate Moisture Levels

Humidity can be a tricky thing to regulate — but it must be done. Too much of it can have a negative impact on your home and family. Invest in a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from your home during those muggy summer days.

Need help assessing the indoor air quality in your home? If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding Fairfield County area, the experts at Devine Bros. have you covered! Contact us today for your FREE consultation: 203-866-4421.

Ceiling Fan | Devine Bros.

Ceiling Fan Fundamentals for Saving Energy

It’s no secret that running your heating and cooling system can cost you big bucks, but did you know that you can supplement this through the use of ceiling fans all year round? Cut your energy costs by adopting these ceiling fan fundamentals.

Adjust your ceiling fan in the summer so that the air blows downward. The majority of ceiling fans have both clockwise and counterclockwise settings. Your summer setting depends on the angle of your fan blades. The easiest way to figure out which setting to utilize is to stand directly beneath the fan and turn it on. If you immediately feel a breeze, you’ve found your summer setting. Typically this is the counterclockwise direction. Fans cost pennies per day to operate, so by circulating your air downward in the summer, you’ll be able to run your air conditioning system less, saving yourself money.

Set your thermostat higher in the summer. When you’re using the correct setting, ceiling fans will make warm rooms feel cooler by circulating the air. This means you can set your thermostat to a warmer temperature and still feel comfortable. Instead of running your A/C on 69 degrees, try setting it to 72 degrees and run a fan on high to stay cool for less.

Remember to turn your fans off when you leave the house. While ceiling fans may be cheap to operate, it’s important to turn them off when you don’t need them running. This will only add to your power savings as time goes on. Try using a Hunter Fan Company SimpleConnect Programmable Control box. This device works with most pull chain ceiling fans and connects to bluetooth so you can program your fan from your smartphone. — Pro Tip: It’s available on available on Amazon and also allows you to control your fans light!

Don’t forget to adjust your fan setting in the winter. It must seem counter productive to run a ceiling fan in the winter. However, switching the setting so that air blows upwards in the winter will actually circulate warm air throughout your room. This means your furnace won’t have to work as hard, thus cutting energy costs.

Ceiling fans not cutting it when it comes to keeping you cool? Your air conditioner may not be working efficiently. If live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or any of the surrounding areas we’d love to come take a look.

The air conditioning experts at Devine Bros. have been keeping Fairfield County, Connecticut residents cool for years. Our home cooling services include professional A/C installations, repairs, replacements, tune-ups, and more. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our trained technicians: 203-866-4421.

Brick Pavers | Devine Bros.

DIY Masonry Tips | Pavers

Planning a DIY masonry job this summer? You can give an area or room a unique look by installing brick pavers! These stones are similar to construction bricks but thinner. The job is similar to installing tile. However, there are a few things you should know before laying those pavers yourself.

First things first, you’ll need to pick up a few supplies. Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need:

  • Measuring Tape
  • Spacers
  • Rubber Grout Float
  • Notched Trowel
  • Short-Nap Roller
  • Level
  • Chalk Line
  • Gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • Wet Saw
  • Thin-Set Mortar
  • Grout
  • Brick Pavers
  • Brick Sealer

Cut the Brick

When cutting your bricks, you’ll need to use a wet saw to achieve smooth edges. This tool utilizes a diamond-impregnated blade that’s cooled by water. — Pro Tip: For cutting precise square notches to accommodate irregular spaces, raise the brick as you push it towards the corner cut.

Prepare the Thin-Set Mortar

Up next it’s time to prepare the thin-set mortar. You’ll want the consistency to be that of toothpaste. Make sure to only mix what can be applied in 20 minutes time. This material can be quite dusty so mix it outside or in an area with good ventilation.

Apply the Thin-Set Mortar

Grab your notched trowel to begin spreading the mortar. To create a level bed, hold it at a 45-degree angle and create grooves to help hold the brick in place.

Lay the Brick

Start from the center and work your way out by pressing firmly on each brick and gently twisting them in each direction to ensure they are set securely in the mortar.

Apply Sealer

Sealer is important to make sure your pavers don’t absorb too much moisture from the grout. You can use a short-nap roller, a paint brush, or a sprayer. Once you’ve applied a coat, allow it to cure for at least 24 hours.

Apply Grout

Once the sealer has dried completely, use the same method to apply the grout as you would for a tile floor. Using a rubber grout float, force as much grout as possible into the brick joints. Be sure to hold the float at a 45-degree angle to the grout lines.

Clean Up

After allowing the grout to cure, wipe away the excess material using a clean sponge. Rinse the sponge and repeat this until the all of the residue is gone.

If you live in Norwalk, Connecticut or the surrounding area and are looking for high-quality masonry supplies at a reasonable price, look no further than Devine Bros. We have a wide variety of masonry and landscaping products available for pickup or delivery — contact us today to learn more about our inventory: 203-866-4421.

What You Need to Know About Replacing Your A/C Filter

Have you taken the time to change your cooling system’s air filter this year? By regularly changing your air filter you’ll extend the lifespan of your unit, improve energy efficiency, maintain good indoor air quality, and prevent breakdowns and repairs.

How often does my air filter need to be replaced?

There are many factors that go into the life of your air filter. For example: the density of airborne contaminants, how frequently you’re using your cooling system, as well as the type of filter you’re using.

  • Fiberglass filters can last up to 30 days.
  • Pleated filters can last up to 90 days.
  • Washable filters can last up to five years but must be cleaned every 30 days.

While there is no golden rule when it comes to the lifespan of your air filter, be sure to check it regularly until you’ve figured out your home’s cycle.

What size replacement filter should I buy?

You can easily find out what size air filter your cooling system requires by checking the frame of the one you’re replacing. This information is also located in the owner’s manual.

How do I change my air filter?

Air filters in most modern air conditioners are located near the blower unit. Some other places the filter might be found, include: near the central air return register, near an attic air handler, near a basement air handler, or next to an electrostatic air cleaner. Once you’ve located the air filter, remove the grill/box cover that holds it in place. Next, remove the dirty filter.

  • If it’s a washable filter clean it thoroughly before returning it to the unit.
  • If it’s a disposable filter, throw away the old one and insert the new one with the arrow pointing towards the blower.

Pro Tip: Remember to record the date each time you clean or change the filter on your air conditioner so you can easily figure out when it needs to be changed next.

Should I call a professional?

While changing your filter is relatively simple, we recommend scheduling an air conditioning tune-up each year. During a standard tune-up, Devine Bros. will clean or replace your air filter, show you how to do it yourself in the future, and service your unit from top to bottom.

If you live in Fairfield County, trust Devine Bros. with all of your air conditioning needs. Contact us today at  203-866-4421.

Concrete Path | Norwalk, CT | Devine Bros.

Important Questions to Ask Before Your Next Concrete Project

Taking on a concrete project can be stressful. That’s why it’s important to hire an expert contractor to handle your job from start to finish. We’re here to tell you what questions to ask and why you should choose Devine Bros.

What kind of experience do you have?

Experience is a key factor when choosing any service, but it’s especially important when it comes to concrete. Who would you trust more: a contractor that has 40 years of work under his belt or the one on his first job?

Residents of Fairfield County, Connecticut have trusted Devine Bros.. for nearly 100 years.

Do you have any recommendations for my project?

Be sure to have any potential contractors visit your property prior to hire. A skilled contractor will likely have suggestions that you haven’t considered.

Devine Bros.. can provide stylistic recommendations that fit well with the look you desire.

How should I prepare for the job?

Once you’ve chosen a contractor, there are a few things to do to prepare for your specific project.

Devine Bros. is here to guide you through the process from start to finish. We’ll provide instructions on how to prepare for the job and keep you updated through completion.

Devine Bros. operates two ready-mix concrete plants in Fairfield County. We have lightweight structural concrete, high strength microsilica concrete, and can even create a custom blend designed to meet your specifications. In addition, we’re certified by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and the American Concrete Institute.

If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or any of the surrounding areas, Devine Bros. is just a phone call away. Contact us today at 203-866-4421.

Thermostat | Norwalk, CT | Devine Bros.

How to Save Money with Your Thermostat

As temperatures rise, it’s everyone’s first instinct to crank the A/C, but using your air conditioner to cool your home 24/7 can get expensive. That’s where we come in! Did you know that your thermostat plays an integral role in energy savings? Read on for key ways to keep cool without breaking the bank this summer:

  • Strategically Set Your Thermostat: Believe it or not, 78-degrees is the optimal thermostat temperature for energy savings. — GASP! Say it ain’t so! — Shocking we know. Your air conditioner uses less energy when the thermostat is set more closely to the temperature outside. Set your thermostat according to the weather forecast to slash your energy bill.
  • Invest in a Programmable Thermostat: One of the easiest ways to cut cooling costs is to purchase a programmable thermostat. You’ll be able to schedule your A/C to automatically turn off while you’re at work and on right around the time you plan to return home. This eliminates the need to manually fuss with the settings every day. Just set it and forget it! (Pro Tip: Check out the Nest Learning Thermostat — it learns your temperature habits in about a week and is compatible with Amazon Alexa. You can also adjust the temperature from your smartphone or tablet.)
  • Acclimate to Higher Temperatures: Though it may be unbearable to imagine, getting your body acclimated to warmer temperatures is extremely beneficial to your budget. Try raising the temperature gradually. If you’re comfortable in a 68-degree atmosphere, try raising the thermostat one degree per day until you work up to 78-degrees — or whatever you can comfortably handle. You’d be amazed at how quickly you’ll adapt.
  • More Ways to Save: Of course, there are ways to supplement that higher thermostat setting to stay cool.
    • Block the Sun: Invest in blinds and/or curtains to block the sun’s rays from baking your home in the afternoons.
    • Open the Windows: Temperatures can drop up to 20-degrees in the evenings. Give the A/C a break and crack open the windows to stay cool and get a dose of fresh air in the process.
    • Install Ceiling Fans: A great way to supplement your cooling system is to install ceiling fans in various rooms of your home. They only cost pennies per day to operate and circulate the air, making warm rooms feel cooler.

If you live in Fairfield County, trust Devine Bros. to help get your home ready for the summer months. We offer air conditioner repairs, installations, and tune ups, and have one of the largest inventories of landscaping supplies in southern Connecticut. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, contact us today at 203-866-4421!