Wicklein’s Water Garden is considered one of the best pond installation and repair companies in the Baltimore area. We bought an old house that was originally built in 1930. The original owner used a lot of the latest materials. They had some outdoor lamps on the house made out of copper which wasn’t new, but another two on the porch combined aluminum and copper. Cast aluminum was a new building material back then.

Concrete Was New and Exciting at One Time

Believe it or not, so was concrete. The fireplace is lined with brick, but the sort of French Provincial style hood above it (you couldn’t really call it a mantle) is made of cast concrete and above that is wood. Most people don’t realize it is concrete until I point it out and then they are amazed.

House Problems

The heating system from day one was forced hot air and not radiators. This was very cutting edge for the 1930s. You would think that this would make it easy to add air conditioning. Alas, you would be wrong. Since heat rises, they didn’t need returns on the second and third floors. The only returns were on the first floor and in the basement. When air conditioning was added, this meant that the air conditioning on the second and third floors was very inefficient. We had to figure out a way to get a return up to the upper floors. We gave up for the third floor and installed a heat pump instead.

Unfortunately, they decided to use galvanized pipe instead of copper pipe. Big mistake. The copper pipe would still have been fine. The galvanized pipe was shot. The only good thing is that in the 1930s the pipe would have probably all been the same size and you get water temperature changes in the shower when someone flushes the toilet. The new way is to use larger diameter pipes and decrease the size as you move further away. So no problems while you are in the shower.

The electric system was state of the art for 1930 but not now. With computers and cable and TV it was totally antiquated. So the entire electrical system had to go. If you think plumbing is bad to replace, try electrical. Plumbing goes to just a few rooms. Electrical goes to every room and almost every wall. What a project.

Pond Problems

There is a pond outside. Although it had water, there were cracks in the walls and some of the flagstones that were around the edges in a border were coming loose. A pipe that went to the pond hadn’t been drained in the winter and froze and needed to be repaired. The light in the pond was full of water and no longer functionings.

Solutions

The company came in and drained the pond into a number of large plastic tubs. They tossed the gold fish into the tubs and cleaned out the slime and fish poop from the bottom. Then they took out some of the lily pads that had overgrown. Then they dried and cleaned the pond. Next they patched the cracks, parging the insides where necessary and cemented the border stones back into place. They said fixing the light in the side of the pond would be too expensive so they sold us some small lights that sit in the pond and a wire comes out and plugs in to an outlet.

So then we needed to call in an electrician for the extra plugs to redo some of the wiring. One of the things we needed a plug for in addition to the pump for the fountain was a new device they sold us. The water runs from the pump through a hose and then through this contraption where the water is bombarded with UV light to kill the algae and stuff so the pond doesn’t get dirty and cloudy as fast.

Then they suggested covering the bottom with small rounded stones. Some the size of pea gravel but most an inch to 3 inches long. Most were sort of egg shaped and not round. It looks pretty good, but makes cleaning the pond more difficult.  All in all though, the pond looks and performs much better than it did.

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