Is Your Deck Summer-Ready?: Maintenance Tips from Teche Handyman Services.

As temperatures rise and Easter nears in South Louisiana, people will undoubtedly take to the great outdoors for recreation, entertainment, and quality time with family.  Whether it be grilling steaks, boiling crawfish, or simply relaxing outside, we often enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of our own deck or patio.  Decks not only add to the aesthetics of a home, they often add value to a home as well along with providing a great area for recreation and relaxation.  As enjoyable as these structures are, I have been surprised in my work as a contractor to see how many of them go unattended in terms of maintenance which eventually renders them both unsightly and unsafe.  To help you avoid some of these mistakes I have listed a few maintenance and safety tips below that will help keep your family safe and enjoying your deck this summer.

deck collapse
photo from TODAY

According to the Director of Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory at Washington State University Don Bender, “Decks cause more injury and loss of life than any other part of the home structure.”  The Virginia Building and Code Officials Association says that much of this is due to faulty construction methods, incorrect or unsuitable materials, and lack of maintenance.  Below are five tips that should help keep you from becoming one of those severely injured or worse.

  1. Examine support posts and beams for rot, splitting, or shifting

rotten post

2. Examine all attachment points between house and deck if attached to home

deck ledger

3. Inspect all fasteners (nails, screws, bolts, brackets, etc.) for improper use, rust, and             corrosion.

4. Inspect guards and railings to ensure they are securely attached.

5.  Use grills, heaters, fire-pits, and bbq’s cautiously and ensure safe guards are in place (such as this grill mat ) to prevent fires.

 

Regular deck inspection and maintenance is key to the longevity of your deck.  I believe that much of the degradation that decks suffer is due to the belief of homeowners that it is an outside structure made of treated wood, therefore it does not require ongoing maintenance.  The unfortunate fact of the matter is that any structure or system of your home needs regular maintenance to perform as well as it should for as long as it should.  Yes it cost a little time and money here and there to properly maintain your deck, but replacement will cost a lot of time and money at once should you neglect it..  Thanks for reading.

If you are not exactly sure what to look for when performing a deck inspection or have any questions, call Teche Handyman Services, LLC @ (337) 943-7969 for comprehensive deck assessment, maintenance, and/or repair.

Teche Handyman Services is Acadiana’s Premier Home Improvement Contractor.

Did You Know that Amazon Can Mow your Lawn, Clean your Windows, and Mount your TV?

 

lawn mowing

I love Amazon and the convenience it offers to buy and receive pretty much anything we could want without ever having to leave the comforts of home.  From tools to produce there are only a few number of things you can not purchase through the site, and apparently that number is shrinking .  From lawn maintenance to electrical wiring, and mounting a television on the wall to computer repair,  Try Amazon Home Services offers a variety of home maintenance tasks to be purchased from their site.  They do all of the leg work in finding qualified, insured, and reputable professionals, you just order the service.

The link below will take you to a complete list of services, customer reviews, professionals in your area, and more information on the services that can be purchased through Amazon.

Try Amazon Home Services

Simple Lawn Mower Trick

 

It is not uncommon to find a mower similar to the one pictured above in the sheds and garages of homeowners across the country.  With the high price tags of zero turn mowers and the labor involved in walk behind mower operation, this popular style of riding lawn mower offers a nice compromise of out of pocket and physical labor expense.  These types of homeowner grade mowers are functional and dependable, but many brands and models often come with one feature that can be a huge nuisance when used to maintain a lawn, a safety feature that kills the engine when the blade is engaged and the mower is shifted into reverse.

Fortunately there is a way to eliminate this annoying feature with a simple solution costing most homeowners little to nothing except a few minutes of time, and requires one material that many people are likely to have laying around the house or shed.  All you need is a piece of sheathing from some electrical wire or some type of semi-robust piece of rubber to solve this issue.  The pictures and captions below will describe the process.

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First you will need to get a piece of rubber coating or sheathing and cut it to a length of about 2 inches.
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Next use a knife to cut a slit in one side of the sheathing so that it can be slid onto the part that needs to be covered coming up in a few steps.
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The sheathing should look like this after being sliced. Obviously it does not have to be perfect.
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Next, locate the shift knob on your mower. (The knob/lever used to shift the mower into forward, neutral, and reverse pointed to by the white arrow)
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Look below the fender and locate the shift rod that is connected to the knob above the fender. (Indicated by the white arrow)
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The rod connected to the shift knob above will be connected to a metal piece below the fender (indicated by white arrow) that is pushed back and made to contact with another metal piece (indicated by red arrow) which causes an electrical contact, signaling the motor to kill. There is wiring connected to the piece indicated by the red arrow that can be disconnected to avoid killing the mower, but I find using the sheathing to cover the metal piece to be a better method since it eliminates the chance of messing up the wiring harness or allowing the disconnected wire to corrode or contact anything else and short.
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Lastly, slide your piece of sheathing, coating, or rubber scrap over the metal piece that was indicated by the red arrow in the previous picture and you are done! This picture gives a good visual of how the sheathing prevents contact between the two metal parts when the mower is shifted into reverse, preventing the electrical signal for the mower to kill. I have used this same piece of sheathing since I bought the mower and the only time it has come off was when I pulled it off to take these pictures.

Below is a video of the same process featured in the pictures.  I apologize for the amateur cinematography.

I prefer to use the sheathing to cover the metal piece opposed to disconnecting the wires from the wiring harness for several reasons as previously mentioned because I do not want to take any chances of voiding the factory warranty.  If the electrical connectors used to connect the wires from mower to wiring harness would break or have some type of adhesive on them it would be broken when the wire was removed making it obvious that the harness had been tampered with.

Thank you for stopping by my site, I hope this information is helpful.  Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me using the email address on my contact page.  For additional lawn mower care and maintenance tips from tool-school.com click here.

If you found this post to be helpful, informative, or entertaining please be sure to like, comment, and share via the sharing button on the bottom of the page.  Thanks again!

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