This Killer Carb Should Never Be Eaten

Modern science and nutritional information stress that the right carbs are an important part of a well-balanced diet.  Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains get the nutritional thumbs up, while white breads and processed carbs are suggested to be avoided.  I am thankful to live in an era where science-based nutritional information is readily available but I am extremely alarmed by the lack of awareness being brought to the one carb responsible for claiming numerous victims every year, and I pray that none of you fall victim to a clogged carb (carburetor) this spring.

carburetor

Today is March 11, 2018, and spring is rapidly approaching.  If you are living in the southern part of the United States chances are like me, you have already had to cut your grass.  Few things are more frustrating than dusting off the old mower after a long winter only to find out that it will not start, it is dead.  If this has happened to you chances are one of two culprits were to blame, a dead battery, or a clogged carburetor.  If your issue is the former your options are charge the battery and hope it is still good, or make a trip to the nearest battery dealer and buy a new one.  The latter issue leaves you with a few more options, clean the carb yourself, rebuild the carb yourself, replace the carb yourself, pay a lawn mower repair shop to clean, rebuild, or replace the carb, or buy a new mower.  Some of these options may be a little extreme, but I have seen people put a mower to the road simply because the carburetor was clogged.  Better yet, numerous people have given me lawn mowers and bought themselves new ones simply because the carburetor was clogged and they thought it was broken beyond repair.

Thankfully both of the aforementioned issues are fairly easy to avoid and cleaning or rebuilding a carburetor yourself can usually be done for under $20 and learned on YouTube.   To avoid a dead battery at the beginning of the lawn season simply use a float charger.  A float charger  will maintain the charge of the battery without the threat of overcharging.  To avoid a clogged carburetor simply make sure to run the engine until it is out of gas before storing the mower for the winter.  To avoid wasting fuel just to run your engine out of gas, install a fuel shut-off valve which will prevent fuel from advancing to the carburetor when closed.

I hope that none of you encounter either one of these issues when you pull out the lawn equipment this spring, but if you do, I have attached a few links to resources that can not only guide you through the process of fixing the issues yourself, but also save you big bucks in avoiding the small engine repair shop costs.  Good luck, and thanks for reading.

How to clean a carburetor video.

Small Engine Repair Book

Riding Mower Maintenance Guide

I appreciate you stopping by my site, if you found this post informative, entertaining, or helpful in any way please like, comment, follow, and share my site.

Jake

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Ten Things to Look for when Buying a House.

 

Let me begin by stating that I am not a home inspector, licensed contractor, or engineer, but I have completed the educational requirements needed to become a licensed home inspector, an avid home improvement project undertaker, and a buyer or several homes.  With that being said, below are ten things that need to be thoroughly inspected before purchasing a home in order to avoid unwanted surprises and unforeseen home improvement expenses after purchasing your new home.

  1. Brick/Siding/Exterior Protection

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A home’s exterior can often alert you to bigger problems involving other structural features of a home.  The stair-step cracking and pulling away of the brick pictured above is indicative of foundation issues below the home.  Whether brick, vinyl, or wood, inspect the exterior of a home extensively to ensure that it is providing adequate protection from the elements, not rotten, not termite infested, and structurally and aesthetically sound.

2. Roof

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New roofs are expensive.  I recently paid about $7000 for a 33 square re-roof job completed using architectural shingles.  Information on the age of a roof is often included in the information packets offered by real estate companies when selling a home.  Regardless, be sure to perform at minimum a visual inspection of the roof from the ground, but if at all possible safely access the roof for a walk around inspection.  Typically an asphalt shingle roof has a life expectancy of 15 years, an architectural shingle roof 20-25 years, and a metal roof 25-40 years.

3. Floor Joists

jakes subfloorless hall

Hopefully you are not looking to buy a home in which the floor joists can be inspected from inside like pictured above.  If you are looking at a pier-and-beam house do not, I repeat DO NOT agree to purchase it if it can not be inspected from below.  Take it from me and my experience, you can miss so many structural, electrical, plumbing, and foundation issues if the crawlspace of a home is left uninspected.  Do not think that hiring a home inspector will take care of this either, by law home inspectors are not required to go underneath a home to complete an inspection if a crawlspace access door or hole is not a certain height and width and many older homes do not have access ways that meet these criteria, leaving the area “okay” to go uninspected.

4. Subfloor

rotten subfloor

Unfortunately subfloor issues are not always as obvious as the one above.  Subflooring is supported by the floor joists from below and will almost always have some type of finished flooring covering it above.  Sagging or soggy areas in flooring are indicative of subfloor issues but again, inspecting the house from the crawlspace below is often the best method for spotting subfloor issues and further supports my claim for it being absolutely necessary before agreeing to purchase a home.

5. Attic/Rafters

attic

Be sure to access the attic of your potential home in order to get information on  number of the homes systems and components.  Inspect the rafters and flooring for water and pest damage, the roof for past, present, and potential future leak indication, proper ventilation,  and be sure that the attic is adequately insulated for the area in which you live.  It is common for wiring and hvac ductwork to be run in the attic so you will want to be sure to inspect both for function and safety issues.  Purchasing a house without a thorough inspection of its attic would be like buying a car without starting its engine.

6. Electrical

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It is not a good idea to go ripping covers off of electrical panels if you are not a professional, but there are a few things that anyone can look for safely to know if the basic red flags should be raised or not.  For instance you will want to look at the biggest breaker which is often at the top of the electrical panel when you open its door.  Make sure that the house has a 200 amp power supply if you want to use many of today’s modern appliances.  Older homes were often equipped with 60 amp power and later 100 amp power.  These breakers would not suffice in supplying power simultaneously to multiple appliances that are commonplace in homes today.  Another thing to look for is the type of electrical panel used.  Many homes that were built or wired from the 1950s-1980s were outfitted with electrical panels made by the Federal Pacific Electric Company.  These breakers are known to operate without issue for years, but become very serious fire hazards once they experience their first overcurrent or short.  It is best, and safest to steer clear of living in a home with a Federal Pacific electric panel.

7. Plumbing

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If your potential new home is off of the ground you can actually perform a very thorough inspection of the pipes and plumbing of the home before purchasing.  If the home is on a slab the plumbing inspection is pretty much relegated to piping that may be in the attic, connections, and the little bit of pipe that may be exposed at those connections.  Some things to look for are insulation on pipes, correct type of pipe for each application, and of course leaks and disconnects.  It is also a good idea to test every faucet, outdoor hose, sink, and bathtub to make sure that they are functioning properly in order to avoid surprise replacement costs.

8. HVAC System

As with the age of the roof, the age and type of a home’s hvac system is often listed in the information provided by real estate companies when selling a home.  Unless you are a professional hvac technician it can be hard to get a feel for the quality or remaining life of a system by just looking at it and running it for a few minutes.  with that being said, look at it, and run it for a few minutes.  By doing this you can at least determine if it is in working order or not.  Typically hvac systems have a life expectancy of 15-20 years, so if you are buying a home in 2018 and the hvac system was installed in 2000, you can be fairly confident that the system is at the end of its useful life regardless if it blows desert hot and blizzard cold.  Be sure to inspect all hvac duct work as well.  Ductwork is typically run in the attic or crawlspace of a home.  Check for leaks, damage, and proper insulation when performing the inspection.

9. Foundation

concrete foundation

Whether on a concrete slab, or a pier-and-beam style house, you will want to inspect the foundation for cracking, deformation, collapse, and level.  This can be a lot trickier with a home that is on a concrete slab opposed to on concrete piers.  Foundation issues from both types often show up in the form of wall cracks, unleveled or sagging areas in the house, and even by exterior issues such as the one shown in the first picture with the stair-step cracking and separating of the exterior brick veneer.

10. Appliances

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Be certain to look in, on, above, around, and behind all appliances, especially those with water connections and hard wiring to them such as washers, refrigerators, stoves, vent hoods, and ovens.  Inspect the water connections to the appliances as well as the area around them to ensure that there are no symptoms of past, present, or future water leaks.  Also be sure that hard-wired appliances are wired adequately and pose no risk of electrocution when reaching around them or fire due to exposed wire.  If the seller agrees to leave appliances with the home you want to be certain that they work and that you are not just being stuck with their unwanted trip to the dump.

It is impossible to list everything that needs inspecting when buying a home without writing a novel but if you keep these ten priorities in mind you will definitely be ahead of the game.  Do not hire a home inspector thinking that every issue will be addressed, some things you need to see and inspect yourself.  After all, there are lazy people in all fields, including home inspection, and the inspector is not the person that will potentially make the biggest purchase of their life and have to live in it.  As mentioned with the size of a crawlspace opening requirement, inspectors do have legal “outs” for some parts of inspections and if they take these paths you could wind up paying for it big time in the future.

Do not get me wrong, ALWAYS HIRE A LICENSED HOME INSPECTOR BEFORE AGREEING TO BUY A HOUSE, but also put some inspection work in yourself to ensure that you are not jumping into a money pit.  For those of you on the house market I have provided links to two books below that I would not buy a house without.  They are actually the two sources used as  textbooks for the home inspection course that I completed a few years ago.

Home Reference Book

Real Estate Home Inspection

 

Thank you for reading!  If you found this post informative, helpful, or entertaining please like, comment, follow, and share.  I appreciate the support!

Jake

 

 

Living the Dream

“I’ve been officially working with wood since 2013 when my partner, Kyle, and I launched our company Woodward Throwbacks. My dad is a general contractor back in New York and when I was younger I used to go on some of the sites with him. I believe that is when I truly became fascinated with […]

via Bo Shepherd of Woodward Throwbacks — Crafted in Carhartt

Wood Porch Repair

Yesterday morning I started the second stage of repairing the water damaged wood on the porch. I used Abatron WoodEpox which is specifically designed to repair damaged wood especially on old houses. The WoodEpox is mixed in equal parts and kneaded like bread dough. Once mixed it is pushed into the nooks and crannies of […]

via Front Porch Repair – No. 2 — Red Dog Garage

Subfloor Stress Saving Tools.

In my previous post I talked about my summer adventure ripping out and replacing the subflooring in my house.  In this post I will list and briefly discuss ten tools that I feel are absolute necessities to accomplish any subflooring repair or replacement job on the planet.    Though some tools on the list are probably more useful than others on the list, they are not listed in any particular order of importance.  This list is primarily discussing the tools that were most important in the removal of old subflooring, however I did use/need each one of these tools in the installation of the new subflooring as well.  Each tool listed in this post can be bought or researched by following the link provided below each picture.

#1 – The oscillating multi-tool

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Purchase Here

I did not own this tool when I started the job, but I do not think that I could have done/finished the job without it.  Oscillating multi-tools have many different functions and are compatible with many different attachments from sanding to cutting wood and metals.  These tools allow you to cut subflooring flush with walls and thresholds.  Demolition blades that cut both wood and metal allow you to move nail infested boards with relative ease.  This is the exact tool that I used for my project and although it was one of the cheapest oscillating multi-tools that I could find, it was worth its weight in gold.

 

#2 – Reciprocating Saw

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Purchase Here

Reciprocating saws perform similarly to oscillating multi-tools with the exception of having considerably more power and not being able to cut flush with walls or thresholds due to the blade not being offset like that of the multi-tool.  Like the multi-tool, demolition blades made for cutting through wood and metal can be purchased for this tool which make cutting through nailed and screwed lumber a much easier task.  When cutting along walls and thresholds I would typically cut as close as I could to the threshold with the more powerful, quicker cutting reciprocating saw and then come back with the multi-tool for a flush, more precise result.

 

#3 – Circular Saw

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Purchase Here

A circular saw is the way to go to remove subflooring when working in an open area away from walls, thresholds, and other tight areas.  They cut faster than a reciprocating saw and more accurately than a multi-tool.  Typically circular saws have guide plates that adjust for different depths of cut.  This is a very handy feature when you know the thickness of your subflooring.  For example, if you know that your subfloor is 3/4″ thick, you can set the depth of cut on your circular saw to 3/4″ and cut our a lot of material quickly without having to waste time being cautious not to cut through any of your floor joists.

 

#4 – Pry Bars

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Purchase Here

When both removing and replacing subflooring it is often required to remove any baseboards and floor trim in the area in order to cut the old subflooring flush with the wall.  You will likely need more than one pry bar in order to do this without ruining your trim and baseboards.  Pry bars are also needed to pry up old subflooring, move new subflooring into place, and removing protruding nails that will not allow new subflooring to lay flush.

 

#5 – Tape MeasureDSCF5843

Purchase Here

I like to think that this one is pretty obvious, so I will not insult anyone’s intelligence with an explanation.

 

#6 – Hammers/Maul

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Purchase Here

In some areas of my house the subfloor was so rotted that I just knocked it off with a hammer.  Hammers also come into play in positioning new subflooring into place, removing nails, and believe it or not hammering nails in.

 

#7 – Chisel

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Purchase Here

This chisel came in very handy when working in tight corners and places where the subfloor terminated under a wall where I could not get to it with the reciprocating saw or the multi-tool.  When that was the case I would just cut flush with the wall then use a hammer and chisel to remove the remainder of the board that lay between the wall and the floor joists.

 

#8 – Impact Driver

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Purchase Here

Impact drivers are great because they eliminate the need for predrilling a pilot hole before you screw into wood in most situations, which speeds up the building process greatly.  For subfloor removal purposes any type of drill (not specifically an impact drill/driver) will likely be needed in order to remove wood that is screwed to the floor joists.  Prying screws up with a pry bar can damage and split the joists, compromising their integrity.  I would specifically recommend an impact drill/driver for the installation of subflooring due to the fact that it will save you tons of time on drilling pilot holes and will not split your wood without them.

 

#9 – Headlight

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Purchase Here

This may seem a little off of the wall, but my house is not the best lit place in the world and although I did use a work light, I was often working in several rooms at a time and climbing up and down from below the house to back inside the house and the light refused to follow.  It is not practical to carry a flashlight around and I often found myself praying to grow a second, third, fourth, ad fifth arm out of necessity for holding boards and other tools anyway.  A headlight was invaluable to me on this project due to the amount of hands-free portable light that it provided.

 

#10 – Wet/Dry Vac

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Purchase Here

Installing a subfloor on a new construction home would likely eliminate the need for this tool to be on the list of necessities.  I was not installing a subfloor on a new construction home.  I was sawing, cutting, throwing, flinging, hammering, nailing, and screwing all in my one and only home, the place where I live, the place where my wife lives, and the place where my three kids live.  Needless to say if I worked in a dirt and dust production factory I would have been employee of the month.  This wet/dry vac made life a lot easier than it would have been without it.  I still used the old faithful broom and dust pan quite a bit, but the vac not only eliminated the need for them often, it did the job much quicker and more efficiently.

 

I would not attempt to tackle any subfloor replacement job without any one of these tools listed above.  The job could be done without them, but the time and effort that they will save you make it highly impractical.  Should you find yourself facing the task of replacing subflooring I hope that you do not find the need for these tools the hard way as I did.  If you found this post useful or simply liked the read I would appreciate it if you would like, comment, and subscribe below.  Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.  Thank you!

 

Summer of the subfloor.

jakes subfloorless hall

As a middle school teacher and coach I find myself at a loss for leisure time during the months of August through May.  As May 2017 was rapidly running out of days I was beginning to get more and more excited about the relaxing summer break that would soon be upon me.  June was spent mostly catching up on rest and time missed with the family during the busy school and sports year, as well as putting off the replacement of some recently buckled flooring in the pier and beam house that my wife and I bought in November 2015 .  With the arrival of July also came the reality of only having a few weeks left of summer to start and complete my flooring project.  Though planning is not really my strength, I decided to turn over a new leaf.  I researched flooring and installation online, spoke to professional flooring installers, priced and compared materials, and even made a price list.  Once I was satisfied with the data I accumulated I took my $500 end of the year bonus down to the nearest home improvement store and bought some nice premium engineered vinyl plank flooring along with underlayment and a few tools to help the job go as smooth as possible.

 

Just as I had reached the me loving some well-prepared me peak, I began to pull up the old vinyl tile flooring in the utility room.   Now I have heard the quote that “everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face” numerous times throughout my life, but as it turns out plans also go out of the window when you are punched in the gut as well.  With every tile that I pulled up I discovered another section of spongy, rotten subfloor underneath.  I frantically removed tile after tile until I found myself no longer in the utility room, but halfway down the hallway still searching for solid subflooring.  I was in denial for about 2 days before I eventually came back to reality and realized that our entire home was resting on a rotten subfloor.  Uh-oh.

 

rotten subfloor

 

The rest of July and the first two weeks of August I did nothing but demolish and replace subflooring as well as address some water issues that were occurring under my house.  It was a lot of hard work, and I am not nearly finished with the entire house, but it was a great learning experience for me.  I am pretty handy, and even more determined, but it was definitely a challenging job.  Our house was built in the 1950’s when it was very common in our area to use tongue-and-groove 1×6’s run diagonally for a house’s subfloor.  Though this technique makes for a nice, thick subfloor, it also becomes a nightmare to replace when the wood rots.  With a plywood subfloor you can simply cut out the bad sections of the wood, block underneath, and cut a piece of plywood equivalent in thickness and replace.  The 1×6’s on the other hand have each board spanning at least half of the house.  Even if there is one solid board in a rotten area it must be cut out to replace the other rotten boards.  These 1×6 boards also make replacing subflooring one room at a time nearly impossible due to the fact that the board may be very rotten its entire span, so as you try to cut it even with the wall or entrance of one room, it may be crumbling under the adjoining wall or entrance of the next room, making it necessary to begin replacement in that room as well.

 

subfloor by return

 

 

I cannot honestly say that I enjoy the discovery of my rotten subfloor or the money that I had to spend on materials to replace what I pulled out, but I can say that I enjoyed the construction process overall.  I am nowhere near finished with the job, as the majority of our house will still have to have its flooring ripped up and subfloor replaced, but at least I am not completely oblivious to the problem that exist.  I plan on tackling the areas that are in the worst shape this coming summer which will be the master bathroom and living room.  May 2018 may not be filled with daydreams of a lazy, relaxing summer the way its 2017 counterpart was, but at least July 2018 will not hold the same nasty surprise its 2017 did.

 

subfloor butt

Please disregard my butt in the background.  I will have a post about a few tools that made this job infinitely easier than going at it without them shortly.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via the email address on my contact page.  Thanks for reading!

Deebot, or Jesus?

The first time I woke up last night I realized that our electricity was out due to the lack of fan noise and pitch black darkness. The second time I woke up last night I was fairly certain that the rapture was happening.  I was awakened by a loud commotion in the hallway outside of our bedroom that made absolutely no sense to a half-dozed me so I assumed the obvious, Jesus had returned for us.  Kind of scared, and very disoriented, I did what any man would do, I sent my wife to investigate as I speed-repented to ensure I would not be left behind.  Just as I was about to begin the confessions of my teenage years my wife came back into the room with some less than divine news.  Although there was indeed a saver of lives in the hall, it was not our heavenly father, it was Deebot.

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Apparently when the electricity comes back on it triggers Deebot to do its thing, who knew?  This little vacuum is actually pretty quiet and could easily go undetected running at night.  The only reason it was so loud in our hallway was due to my remodeling project that has many uneven thresholds between rooms that must be jumped by this bad boy.  My wife got this vacuum for Christmas and has put some miles on it.  We have  hardwood floors throughout our house and they get abused by dirt, dust, and three babies.  I am very surprised at how effective this vacuum is at reducing dirt, dust, and cheerios on a daily basis.  It is not the most expensive one out there, but I would highly recommend it.  Though definitely not Jesus, my wife swears this vacuum is heavenly, and even though I am kind of disappointed that the roll was not called up yonder, I am pretty happy that I do not have to sweep today.

The link below will provide you with pricing, information, and over 3500 reviews on the Deebot vacuum.

Deebot Vacuum

If you found this post helpful, informative, or entertaining please like, comment, share, and follow my blog, it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for reading.