Archive for April, 2010

Lawn Mower Maintenance

Most urban homeowners own a lawn mower and use them one a week to mow their lawns which are usually not very large in urban areas. Lawns in rural areas or estate sized lots may have large Lawn Mower Maintenancelawns and may use riding lawn mowers instead. Regardless of how often you cut your lawn and how big your lawn is, the engines and the cutting surfaces should be maintained on a regular basis. Failure to look after these machines usually ends up with repair costs and / or needing to purchase a new lawn mower. Poor lawn maintenance, especially a dull lawn mower blade can cause your lawn to have a clipped torn look to it.

A new lawn mower can cost over $200 and the more expensive ones can cost well over a thousand dollars. Either way most of us do not have money to throw around and who wants to buy a new lawn mower every couple of years.

There are basic things that need to be done to ensure that your lawn mower will last 10 or even 20 years. Mine is going on 23 years and the only thing I have replaced on it is the spark plug! So what is the secret.

Lawn Mower Maintenance – Change the Oil

A bottle of engine oil, an adjustable wrench, an oil reservoir all of which might cost you $20! And the ability to change the oil in the engine at least once per year. Once you have the tools, the oil only costs $4 or $5 per year.  You can take the lawn mower in to have the oil changed but you will probably pay something in the neighborhood of $50 to $75, which will include an oil change and also sharpening of the blade, and checking the status of the spark plug and also the spark plug gap. I would rather do it myself and save the $75.00!

Change the oil regularly, at least once a year and check the oil level prior to starting the engine each time. Your lawn mower will last many years with this basic level of maintenance and save you hundreds of dollars!

One word of caution. Always disconnect the spark plug wire if you plan to do any work on the engine to avoid any possibility of accidents. Follow the guidelines in the manual and make sure that the oil drain plug is securely tightened to avoid any possibility of oil leakage. Finally dispose of your old oil properly by taking it into an oil disposal facility.

Other Basic Things to Do

A variety of things could cause additional expenses when it comes to your lawn mower. You can avoid these with simple activities and prolong the life of the deck and the wheels. We have talked about the engine and changing the oil, however there are other things that can and should be done.

For example, use gasoline freshener. There are many trade names, however basically they are additives that will keep the gasoline fresh. They help to avoid gumming up of some of the smaller parts in the carburetor. Especially over the winter when your lawn mower is not used.

Check the air intake and try to keep the air filter clean. This ensures maximum air intake, clean burning of the gasoline and smooth running of the engine.

After every time you use the lawn mower, clean off the deck and the underside of the deck. Build up of grass clippings on the deck and the underside can  cause the metal of your lawn mower deck to deteriorate. This will take several years. Most consumers may not even notice it until it is too late. Keeping it clean will avoid buildup of grass clippings. More importantly eliminate the acid that eats into the metal of the lawn mower deck.

Summary

Change the oil on a regularly basis and keep the air filter clean. Use gasoline freshener and keep the metal housing clean and free of grass clippings. Perform all of the maintenance yourself following the guidelines in the manual. If you are unsure about something you can always talk to your local small engine mechanic to get some advice. Most will be glad to help you provided that you purchase the needed parts from his or her shop!


Reduce Your Homes Operating and Maintenance Costs

Your Homes Operating and Maintenance CostsWe decided to start this blog about how to save some money while maintaining our homes. After watching many people lose their homes due to the economic down turn. Also the significant economic hit that everyone took over the 2008 and 2009 period. Your Homes Operating and Maintenance Costs represent a large portion of your monthly expenses. A large repair can sometimes make the difference between staying and leaving. They are only now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone is trying to conserve their funds until they get a new job or even if they have a job. Every dollar in your pocket is one that can help you and your family in the future. Keeping your homes operating and maintenance costs to a minimum over the long term will help maintain the value of your home.

This is the first post and I guess it is pretty general in nature. But that is ok, we wanted to introduce the topic and set the stage for more posts to come. Some people can literally save thousands of dollars every year ! That is more than enough to enjoy a nice vacation or pay off a few extra bills that we all have.

If you could fix something yourself or complete an upgrade without having to call a repairman, wouldn’t that be a nice thing! Imagine having a repairman come over to fix a tap to replace a 50 cent washer. Then be charged $50 or $75 for the guy to show up! Some even charge more than that.

One of my motto’s, even if I screw up the first time, or have to buy a new tool, I am ahead of the game. Since I have saved money or I have a new tool I can use for other jobs or both! Over the years I have reused those tools many times. As well for various maintenance related activities and saved a bundle of money. You can do this too, just remember to always use the right tools and do the job in a safe manner. If you are uncomfortable with doing a particular job do not hesitate to hire the experts to do the job for you.

Your Homes Operating and Maintenance Costs

Monthly Operating Costs

We hope to be able to post a new blog post every week. Covering topics on how to reduce your homes upkeep costs and your annual maintenance costs as well as annual operating costs. There are a lot of common sense things that can be completed. Then there are areas that fall into the upgrade area which will not only make your home more sale able, but they will also reduce your monthly utility costs. We sometimes call this monthly operating costs.

Either way there is a real trade off between money saved and the amount of money you need to spend to save that money. Spending a $100 to reduce your heating costs by $200 a year would be a reasonable deal. However if you need to spend $10,000 and it takes 10 years to pay it off with savings, you may want to reconsider unless there are other reasons to spend the money. Maintenance or repair of some thing is usually a trigger, so you may as well invest in something that will save you money. Low flow toilets are a good example of this sort of thing.

This particular post is general in nature. However we plan to complete posts each week about Your Homes Operating and Maintenance Costs, which will fall into one of the major categories:

  • Energy Savings
  • Cost Savings
  • Repair
  • Maintenance
  • and more as we complete posts.

Initially we will focus on summer time issues. However as we draw closer to the fall, there will be more posts aimed at the fall and winter. People in northern climates must pay a great deal to heat their homes and run their lights.

Send in Your Thoughts and Ideas

This is a great opportunity for people to follow us and contribute to any of the posts that we put out on our blog. If you have a particular subject that you would like to hear about, please leave a comment. We will glad to consider it for our blog.  As time permits we want to also cover energy saving devices that are just coming onto the market. Such as windmills and photo optic systems that generate electricity and push power back onto the grid.


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