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July 16, 2012

Bob Vila’s 5 ‘Must-Do’ Projects for July

(Continued)

Syndicated —

  • Always follow the manufacturers instructions. Attach the fan's down rod with the ball end toward the ceiling and secure (usually with an included cotter pin). Next, connect the fan's wires to the circuit wires: white to white, black to black, and the grounding wire to the green lead wire of the fan or a grounding screw. Secure all connections with wire connectors and tuck them into the ceiling box. Attach the canopy or medallion using the screws included and install the blades. Make sure all screws are tightened securely to prevent wobbling.

2. Keep up with the pool

Depending on how much of the job you hire out, maintenance, supplies and electrical costs can run between $1,000 and $3,000 a year, with opening and closing, cleaning, checking connections, adjusting pH, adding algaecide, surface repairs and liner replacements. Cost-saving green alternatives are available. Before deciding upon chlorine as your primary sanitizer (it's a major pollutant), consider some of the natural water purifiers, which include saltwater, ionization, oxidation, sonic waves and certain types of plants. And if you're thinking about heating your pool to extend its use into the cooler seasons, consider solar thermal heating. Of all the solar technologies, its payback is the fastest. For more on swimming pool construction, decking, maintenance and safety, check out Swimming Pools 101.

3. Nurture your roses

If you have roses, you know that, although hardy, they do require special care to lead up to their full potential. Since their roots go deep, frequent watering is important. So too is fertilizer, which you should lay down after each flush of new blooms. And to trick your roses into re-blooming throughout the summer, remove the spent blooms and cut the stem down to the first or second five-leaf set. For guidance on rose varieties and their growth habits, consider Roses: 11 Sensational Varieties to Consider.

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