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    Eley Watering Systems

    Is Your Yard Ready for Spring?
    Here's Your March Checklist.

    Yes, we know that snow is still falling on parts of the country. However, the first day of Spring is only 4 days away and it's not too early to start making plans for a healthy, lush yard for the year.  Here are five tips to help you get you started.

    Yard Clean UpTip #1 - Clean up any debris.  Rake and mow to pick up any leftover leaves on your grass and in your plant beds.  They need proper sunlight, air, and water to help them grow.  I also don’t like to wait too long in my flower beds to start cleaning especially regarding my Hosta’s.  If I wait too long, I can damage their delicate foliage with my rake.

     

    lawnmowerTip #2 - Mow your yard. This will help to the stimulate the root system.  Raking does the same. Mow short to reduce any weed growth now… but raise your blade during the summer so it helps shade the roots when the summer heat kicks in. 

     

     

    dethatching rakeTip #3 - Dethatch.  Over time little pieces of grass die and gather above the soil.  Some are fine because it breaks down by microbes in the soil but if it builds up too fast, the natural process to break it down prevents moisture and air from reaching the grass.  If you have a ½” or more, it can weaken your lawn.  Using a rake (for small areas) or a dethatching machine works well.  You can rent one at a hardware or big box store for $50 for 4 hours or $70 for all day.  I don’t detach every year; only when I see that it has gotten too thick.

        

     

    yard aerationTip #4 - Aerate.  An aeration machine, which you can rent from hardware stores or home centers, pulls plugs out of the soil. These plugs are left to break down into the lawn.  Aerating is considered a great method to help water and air reach the roots of your grass.  I don’t necessarily dethach every year, but I do like to aerate twice a year, in the Spring and Fall.  How often you need to aerate will depend on your soil type.

     

    fertilize yardTip #5 - Apply Crabgrass Preventer/Fertilizer.  Once you have gotten the grass and soil prepared, you will need to put down some crabgrass prevention that also includes fertilizer. Before the weather turns warm and soil temps reach above 55°F, the weed seeds start sprouting.   Using your premium-quality Eley garden hose and watering tools, (of course), be sure to water in thoroughly.  Once this is done, do not disturb the top of the soil or it negates the weed barrier that the crabgrass prevention has created after being watered in.  Of course, if you plan on reseeding or overseeding your grass, you'll want to skip this step.  If the crabgrass preventer stops weed seeds, it will also stop grass seeds from sprouting. This is why grass seeding is usually recommended as a Fall activity.  

    So, in summary, rake, detach, clean up, aerate, and apply crabgrass preventer that contains fertilizer.  Somewhere in there, you might have to overseed or reseed if your yard has sparse grass.   If someone comes back and uses a rake after you put your preventer down, you will need to retreat.  Do these 5 steps and you'll be off to a great start of a healthy green lawn this year.  

    Here are some video links I found that shows how to green up a sparse yard.  

    By Penny Green    How to properly Thatch / Aerate / Seed your lawn

    By This Old House  How to Fix a Patchy, Weedy Lawn      How to Revive a Brown Lawn

     

    Winterizing Your Garden Hose Reel

    For those of us that live in a northern climate, winterizing your garden hose, hose reels and watering tools is a critical item on your fall checklist in getting prepared for winter.  Failure to do so could result in serious damage to your hose, hose reel and tools, not to mention the outdoor faucet and the plumbing feeding it.  You essentially have three options when it comes to winterizing your above-ground garden hose system.   They are:

    1. Heated Indoor Storage
    2. Gravity Drain
    3. Compressed Air Drain

    Indoor Storage
    We often get asked, "Do I need to take my hose reel inside for the winter, or is it okay to leave it out?"  Doing either is fine.  Since our garden hose reels are made of aluminum alloy, brass and stainless steel, the cold winter temperatures and moisture will not harm them.   However, if you have the heated indoor space available, moving your hose reel indoors is a very practical method of protecting your garden hose reel and hose from winter freeze damage.  It is also a very easy method if you own a free-standing or portable hose reel, like a 2-wheel cart or 4-wheel wagon hose reel.  wood post winterization screw You simply disconnect the inlet/feeder hose from the faucet and move the hose reel into the heated storage space.  For wall or post mounted hose reels, however, you’ll have an additional step. For post mounted hose reels, whether it is a wood post or aluminum post, simply remove the hose reel from the post by removing the 4 screws that attach the reel to the post brackets.  For wall mounted hose reels, you can either remove the flange & drum assembly from the axle and leave the wall plate/axle on the wall for the winter, or remove the four wall plate lag screws or anchor bolts from the wall, and carry the entire hose reel assembly indoors for winter storage.  Both of these are explained in the gravity drain video in  the next section.   


    Gravity Drain Method
    This is a fairly simple method of winterization and the one I personally use with my two wall mounted garden hose reels.  The one requirement for it to be effective, is that the hose needs to be able to drain downhill.  If the only direction you can pull the hose off the reel is uphill, then you should not use this method.  Following is a video demonstrating this method.  This video is 7 years old, but still relevant in demonstrating proper winterization technique.  

    Compressed Air Method
    If you own an air compressor, then there is a third option available to you for winterizing your hose reel and garden hose.  The process is fairly quick and easy and very effective at preventing freeze damage to your garden hose reel system. 

    If you don’t already own one, you’ll need to purchase a blow-out plug. There are two types available, (see pictures) both of which are available online or at your local RV dealer.  Once you’ve got your plug, follow these steps:

     

    1. Shut off the water at the outdoor spigot and detach the feeder/inlet hose.
    2. Remove any watering tools from the far end of your garden hose.
    3. Attach the blow-out plug to the female end of the inlet hose.
    4. Apply compressed air.

    The air will force the water out of hose reel and garden hose.  Once the steady stream of water coming out of the garden hose starts spitting air, you’re winterized.  Although this method does not remove 100% of the water, the remnant of water that remains will not be enough to damage your garden hose or hose reel during a winter freeze.  Next spring, when you first attempt to run water through the reel and hose, you may encounter an ‘ice jam’ that is formed by the water piling up all the ice crystals in front of it.  No need to worry.  The water will eventually melt the ice jam and your water will be flowing once again. 


    Hose Reel Covers

    If you are leaving your hose reel outside, you may want to consider adding an additional layer of protection by covering your hose reel and garden hose with one of our premium quality Eley hose reel covers.  Available in two sizes, these covers will not only help protect your hose reel from the harsh winter weather, but also from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

    Polyurethane vs. Rubber Hose.
    Which is right for me?

    rubber hose vs polyurethane hoseThe right hose for you depends on your needs and personal preferences.  In a nutshell, here are the primary differences:

    Weight - The rubber hose weighs twice as much as the polyurethane hose. This is most noticeable while pulling the hose out and reeling it back in.  Advantage - Polyurethane.

    Durability - The outer cover on the polyurethane hose is made of the same material as the wheels on in-line roller skates.  It is the most durable covering we have ever found.  This will be important if the hose is pulled across rough or sharp surfaces, such as rock, or if pulled around stone corners, etc. The outer cover on the rubber hose is softer and easier to tear.   Advantage - Polyurethane. 

    Flexibility - The rubber hose is a softer and more flexible material than the polyurethane.  The rubber hose will wrap back onto the hose reel very uniformly for a nice 'look'. The polyurethane hose is more of a rubbery material.  It has a certain amount of spring or bounce to it. This is an advantage when it comes to kink-resistance, (which is discussed below), but not so much when it comes to creating a nice smooth wrap on the hose.  The poly hose can roll up quickly and easily onto a hose reel, however a picture-perfect looking wrap is not as easily attained as it is with the rubber hose.  Also, the longer lengths of polyurethane hose should only be used with a hose reel. Trying to loop a poly hose into a circular coil on the ground will be an exercise in frustration. Both hoses remain extremely flexible, even in cold temps. Advantage - Rubber.

    Kink-Resistance - The rubber hose is much more likely to kink, like traditional garden hoses, and also retain a 'kink memory', which is what happens when a hose seems to remember where it kinked, and then has a tendency to more easily kink over and over again in that same spot.  The positive side of the rubbery nature of polyurethane hose, is that it has a tendency to 'flip' out of a kink rather than collapse down into one.  Plus, the polyurethane has zero kink memory.  Advantage - Polyurethane.  

    Fittings – The Eley polyurethane hose comes equipped with nickel-plated, crush-proof brass fittings.  The Eley rubber hose is equipped with crush-proof brass fittings.  While they both offer crush-proof strength, the fittings on the poly hose is nickel-plated, which is the same fittings used on most hoses rated for potable (drinking) water.  Advantage – Polyurethane.

    Size/Storage Capacity - Although both hoses provide the same 5/8" ID of water flow, the cover on the rubber hose is much thicker, which is one contributing reason for the additional weight.  The thicker covering also means you can't store as much of the rubber hose on the hose reel.  The maximum capacity of our standard reels with the 5/8" polyurethane hose is 150 feet.  The maximum capacity with 5/8" of rubber hose is only 100 feet.  With the Extra-Capacity Kit, these capacities are 225 feet and 175 feet respectively.  Advantage - Polyurethane. 

    Pressure Rating - The poly hose is rated up to 160 PSI.  The rubber hose is rated at 150 PSI.  Advantage - Polyurethane. 

    Temperature RatingThe poly hose is rated at -40°F to 165°F.  The rubber hose is rated at -40°F to 190°F.  Advantage - Rubber. 

    Non-Marking - The polyurethane cover is 100% non-marking, meaning you don’t have to worry about it leaving marks across clean surfaces.  The rubber hose is a softer material and can occasionally leave marks on surfaces or a small black residue on your hands after reeling the hose in.  Advantage - Polyurethane.

    Warranty - It's difficult to find a warranty period advertised for most garden hoses sold today.  Not so with Eley. Both our warranties are better than virtually any other hose on the market. Our polyurethane hose is warrantied for 10 years, primarily because of the durability of the material, while our rubber hoses are warrantied for 5 years.  Advantage - Polyurethane.   

    Drinking Water Safe - Eley polyurethane garden hoses is "Drinking Water Safe".  The Rubber hose is not.  

    2-Wheel Cart vs. 4-Wheel Wagon Hose Reel

    Without question, this is the most asked question regarding our portable garden hose reel models. The primary differences involve balance, mobility and price. The Quad-Wheel Kit, which converts the 2-wheel cart into a 4-wheel wagon will add $50 to the price tag. What does that $50 buy you?  

    First, it will buy you a bit more 'non-tip' stability. The two additional tires out front adds another 7-1/2" to the width of the front part of the frame and makes it slightly more stable than the 2-wheel model.  Also remember that another significant factor with regards to the hose reel's tippiness has to do with how tight you set the tension on the adjustable cam-lever brake.  

    Second, the Quad-Wheel Kit allows to you maneuver the unit with a simple push/pull action (like a grocery cart), rather than the tip & push/pull action of the 2-wheel cart.  The 2-wheel model will require you to balance the unit while either pushing or pulling it to the desired location.  Their really is no balancing involved with the 4-wheel model.  However, unlike a grocery cart, the 4-wheel model does not have front wheels that turn.  So you'll still have to either lift the two rear wheels, or the two front wheels, in order to change direction with with the 4-wheel model.

    The two extra tires on the front of the 4-wheel wagon does add about 8 more pounds that you'll have to lift-by-tipping, in order to change direction.  We do have a number of customers who state that they believe the 2-wheel cart offers better turn-on-a-dime maneuvering than the 4-wheel wagon.  

    One last point to consider is that you don't have to make the decision right now. The Quad-Wheel Kit is an optional upgrade that can always be purchased at a later date and used to easily upgrade an already assembled 2-wheel cart.  One advantage to buying both now, is that you would be saving about $7 from the total shipping costs of having to ship you the Quad-Wheel Kit at a later date.  Check out all of your options on our Portable Garden Hose Reel product page. 

    Another Unsolicited Email About Our Customer Support

    Every now and then a customer will send us an unsolicited email thanking us for a level of customer service that has, sadly, become too much of a rarity these days.

    Mike B. of Boerne, TX, took a chance on Eley Hose Reels back in September of 2012, when he purchased our popular Free-Standing Garden Hose Reel. Recently, the brass swivel, (also referred to as a rotary union), developed a leak. This is a very uncommon occurrence, as all of our hose reels are guaranteed not to leak for 10 years! Anxious and bracing for a battle, Mike gave us a call, unsure of what kind of hassle he might have to endure to get his problem remedied. On the other end of the line, he was greeted warmly by Scott Jelinek, our Customer Service Manager.  We can only surmise the Mike was pleased with how his dilemma was addressed, because following is the unsolicited email we received soon after.

    Scott

    WOW! I'm extremely impressed.

    I work for a large fortune 200 company with industry leading customer loyalty and the highest customer service scores in the financial services industry. While we ceaselessly strive to improve customer service at my employer, I've come to expect the companies that serve my needs strive for lower performance standards.

    Your company is clearly exceptional and I thank you for your outstanding service to me. You've made me a lifetime customer and a very strong advocate of your products among my family, friends, peers and acquaintances. Thanks!

    Mike B, Boerne, TX

    As you may or may not know, Eley Hose Reels has been a family-owned company since it's founding almost 25 years ago.  It has been our mission from the beginning to provide our customers with the same kind of small-town service we grew up with in our rural Nebraska farming community. Scott Jelinek was one of our early hires back in the 1990's. Nebraska born and raised himself, Scott is a hard-working, detail-oriented kind of person. Always the professional, he is friendly, efficient, articulate and knows our hose reels intimately.  Great job Scott.  

    Eley Customer Service manager Scott Jelinek

    Read more customer emails about Eley post-sale support.