How to Get a Greener Lawn


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For many homeowners and avid gardeners, a perfectly green lawn is the ultimate summer statement. But getting there can be a time-consuming and difficult goal. If being the proud owner of an enviably green lawn is your dream, the goal shouldn’t be absolute perfection, but you can work toward a greener and more uniform lawn. Here are five ways to get there.

1. WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE 

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During hot and dry weather, it’s important to keep your lawn hydrated. That doesn’t mean wastefully drenching your lawn in water unnecessarily, though. Here are a few ways to do it: 

  • Learn how to effectively water your lawn and only water when absolutely necessary. Most lawns can withstand periods of drought without long-term, permanent damage. This will save water and money on your water bills! 
  • Keep the height of your lawn cut a little higher than usual so only the tips of the grass are cut.
  • Keep grass clippings on the lawn to reduce water evaporation from the sod.

2. CONSIDER YOUR LOCATION 

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Make sure you choose the type of grass that’s best suited for your particular conditions. There are a variety of grass types for different climates, soils, shade conditions, and purposes. Know what your lawn will be used for and choose the right type of grass: is it a formal or ornamental lawn, will be used for play or heavy traffic, do you want to minimize weeds, or do you want it to thrive in a low-water environment?  

3. MOW THE RIGHT WAY

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Properly and consistently mowing your lawn is pivotal to maintaining a healthy, green lawn all season long. Starting around the beginning of May, grass will start to grow like crazy in most parts of the country. To keep your lawn in tip-top shape, it’s important to have a regular mowing routine and stick to it as much as possible. About once a week is usually the right mowing frequency for most lawns in the late spring and summer. You can lessen the frequency in fall and winter, usually about every 10 days to two weeks.  

Before you mow, ensure all debris is clear from the lawn, and gently rake the lawn to lift and straighten up the grass blades. Aim to do a gentle mow early in the mowing season, so you remove only the tips of the grass. In the summer, you should aim to remove about one-third of the growth in each mow.  

4. AERATE AND FEED YOUR LAWN 

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In the spring and fall, it’s helpful to rake the build-up of dead grass. It’s also recommended to aerate the lawn using a special aerating tool that can push down into the lawn about three inches deep. These tasks will help get air into the soil to improve drainage and minimize the risk of fungal disease affecting your lawn. 

After aerating your lawn, you may want to rake compost and grass seed into the grass as a supplement. You can also feed your grass, just make sure it’s a food made for fall feeding.

5. FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT 

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When in doubt, consider installing artificial grass. There are a lot of benefits to an artificial lawn: low maintenance, consistent appearance, no mowing, no weeds, great for pets. The downside is the cost of installation, and the undeniable allure of a real lawn. As far as environmental concerns go, it’s a toss-up: some people say an artificial lawn eliminates the need for fertilizers and helps cut down on precious water usage, especially in arid climates. Others say real plants are better for the environment, soil, and drainage concerns. There’s no right or wrong option here, so just determine if an artificial lawn is right for you and embrace whatever choice you make! 

Getting the green lawn of your dreams can bring a real sense of pride and accomplishment. Just like the rest of your home. Protect the systems and appliances in and around your house with an American Home Shield home service plan. Just like the right combination of elements that result in a green lawn, there’s a plan that’s just right for you and your budget.  

DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Please be sure to take the appropriate safety precautions and ensure your project complies with any applicable federal, state, or local laws and regulations. 

10 Steps to Drain Water Out of a Washing Machine


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We know how annoying can be when you go to your laundry area to transfer a load of clothes from the washer to the dryer, but water remains in the washer tub even though the cycle has finished. It can be confusing, frustrating and inconvenient when this happens. You can turn on the spin cycle to see if the water will drain, but if that doesn’t help, you’re right back where you started – with a load of soaking laundry and a washer full of water.  

Why Won’t My Washing Machine Drain Water? 

There are a few possibilities why your washing machine won’t drain. that might happen. Your washer may have a clogged drain hose or the pump may be broken. A broken lid switch or belt could also be the culprit. It may even be something as simple as the hose being jammed. Whatever the reason, the water will need to be drained from the washing machine before any work or diagnosis can be done. 

What Does the Drain Function on a Washing Machine Do? 

It removes the water from the tub during the spin cycle. The washer pump forces water from the bottom of the machine into the drain hose. The drain hose loops to the top of the machine, and then down to the drain, enabling the tub to fill. When the water reaches the bend in the hose, it goes out of the drain. 

How to Drain Water Out of a Washing Machine 

If you have water in your washer that hasn’t drained, you have a couple of options: 

One is to bail it out, but that can be a time consuming and tedious process. It can also be hard on your back to bend over to reach the bottom of the tub repeatedly. An easier way is to let the drain hose and gravity do the hard work for you. Here are some of the things you’ll need to have on hand for the task: 

  • Bucket
  • Screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Sponge and towels
  • Clamp 

Step 1 – Turn off the power 

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Unplug the washer from the outlet or turn off power at the circuit breaker or fuse box. While not mandatory, it’s also a good idea to turn the hot and cold water connections to the washing machine just to be safe.  

Step 2 – Locate the drain hose at the back of the washer 

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First, look to see if it is bent or kinked, which may be blocking the water flow. If that’s the case, simply straightening the hose may fix the problem. If the hose has no visible bends or kinks, then disconnect it from the drain, unscrewing with a clamp attached if necessary. Be sure to keep the hose higher than the washer tub until you’re ready to empty the water.  

Step 3 – Prepare your bucket and drain hose 

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Get the bucket in place and drop the hose lower than the washer tub into the bucket. If the bucket fills, raise the hose above the washer tub until you can empty the bucket and start to fill it again. If the water doesn’t flow freely, the filter may be blocked, which you’ll need to clear before continuing. 

Step 4 – Check for and remove all clogs in the drain hose 

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Once the water has drained, check the hose for a clogged piece of clothing or a soap blockage. Loosen the clamp that connects the hose to the bottom of the tub and inspect the inside. If you see something clogging the hose or a clog where the hose connects, remove it with your pliers and reconnect the hose. 

Step 5 – Check for deeper clogs in the drain or beyond  

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If the hose is clear, there may be a clog in the drain or beyond, which means you’ll likely need to use a plumber’s snake to clear it.  

Step 6 – Inspect the washer pump 

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Check the washer pump, to see if it has a clog or a broken impeller, belt or a leak. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for a diagram of your unit’s pump location and parts. In most cases, you’ll notice an unusual noise when the washer is operating that indicates a bad pump, or leaking may also be a sign. If you have a bad pump, you’ll need to replace it or call a qualified service technician for help. If you replace it yourself, be sure to purchase the same pump model.   

Step 7 – Inspect the washing machine lid switch

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To see if the lid switch is working, depress it by hand. If you don’t hear a click, it may be broken and need replacing.  

Step 8 – Inspect the washing machine for damaged belts 

To see if damaged belts are causing your drain problem, unscrew the access panel and check the main belt and the pump belt. Refer to your manufacturer’s diagram to locate these parts. 

Step 9 – Check to see if your configuration includes a washing machine drain vent 

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A drain vent allows air in which can help prevent a vacuum that could hamper water draining properly from the machine.  If there is a gap around the drain hose where it enters the drain, you may not need a vent. You should have a vent if building codes require one or if your washer is more than four feet from the vent stack for proper draining. 

Step 10 – When in doubt, call a service professional for help 

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If you’ve drained the water from your washer and inspected the hose, pump and lid switch and still can’t pinpoint the problem, you’ll probably need to call a professional plumber or washing machine service technician for help.