Monday, October 29, 2007

Gluing PVC Plumbing Pipes and Fittings Video

By Mark J. Donovan

If you are planning a small home plumbing project, you will probably need to glue together PVC pipes and fittings. When gluing PVC pipes and fittings together it is important that you get it right the first time, as the glue sets up very fast with PVC pipes and fittings.

In this video, Mark Donovan of steps through the process of cutting, cleaning and glueing PVC pipes and fittings together.

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How to Solder Copper Pipes and Fittings Video

By Mark J. Donovan

Are you planning to do a small plumbing project around your home? If so, chances are you will need to do some soldering of copper pipes and fittings.

In this video, Mark Donovan of demonstrates the process of soldering (or sweating) copper pipes and fittings. He goes over the process of cleaning the pipes and fittings, applying flux, soldering the pipes and fittings, and cleaning them after sweating the joints.

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Replacing a Toilet Tank Lever Video

By Mark J. Donovan

Metal toilet tank levers typically corrode and break after just a few years of use. The toilet tank lever is attached to the toilet handle you push down on, and a chain assembly inside the toilet tank that lifts the toilet flapper and causes the toilet to flush.

In this video, Mark Donovan steps through the process of replacing a toilet tank lever.

Why hire a plumber for such a simple plumbing project? In just a few minutes, you will learn all that you need know to quickly fix a toilet tank lever.

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Installing Bike Hanger Video and Recovering Garage Floor Space

By Mark J. Donovan

Are your bikes eating up the square footage of your garage? Well get them off the floor? By installing bike hangers on your garage ceiling you can recover your garage floor space, while still having easy access to them.

In the video below, Mark Donovan steps through the process on how to install bike hangers. After watching this video, in less than half an hour you can recover the floor space in your garage.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leaf Blower Etiquette

By Mark J. Donovan

If I was asked to put together a top 10 list of the worst inventions, a leaf blower would be near the top of my list.

A leaf blower is an extremely loud and annoying machine that provides little to no value to anyone, including the person running it. Yes, it can quickly push a few leaves around, which may help in a few hard to reach locations, but overall it is an extremely ineffective and inefficient way to deal with fall foliage. As soon as a leaf pile or row begins to form, the leaf blower becomes ineffective in quickly moving the leaves. Even the more commercial grade leaf blowers typically become impractical in moving large piles of leaves.

Gas powered leaf blowers, which is the type most homeowners purchase, are two stroke engines that require the mixing of fuel and oil. Two stroke engines are great for being light weight, however they are notoriously loud and heavy air pollutants.

This all said, if you are still of the persuasion to purchase and use a leaf blower, you should at least follow a few basic rules of leaf blower etiquette.

First, unless you live in a rural setting where you’re closest neighbor is no closer than a quarter mile away, refrain from starting up your leaf blower until 9:30 am. Nothing can turn neighbor against neighbor more quickly, than the sound of a leaf blower at 7:30am on an otherwise peaceful and tranquil weekend morning.

Second, know your leaf blower’s limitations. A leaf blower is not going to move a mountain of leaves, particularly if they are wet, in any quick manner. Once you have created a pile of leaves of moderate proportions, turn the leaf blower off and employ your old fashion yard rake.

Third, blowing leaves off to one side of your property in hopes that they will stay put is just pure fantasy. As soon as the first wind picks up, the leaves will begin to strew themselves all over your yard again. Collect your leaves and store them in bags or in a fenced in compost pile.

Finally, do not blow the leaves from your yard into your neighbor’s yard, even though the offending trees may be on your neighbor’s yard. Again, this is a quick way to turn neighbor against neighbor.

By following these basic rules of leaf blower etiquette you should at least keep your neighbors from hating you too much during the fall foliage. However, before you decide to purchase or use a leaf blower you should also ask yourself what real value the leaf blower provides to you. Will it really save you time? Will you enjoy the fall outdoors even more? If the answer is no, or I don’t know, then hold off on buying or using the leaf blower. Instead, pull out the yard rake and enjoy a fall afternoon raking leaves. You might actually find the task of raking leaves to be peaceful and cathartic as you enjoy the peace and quite and fresh air. Readmore »»

Monday, October 8, 2007

Preparing your Garden for Winter

By Mark J. Donovan

Winterizing your garden in the fall is an important step to making sure your garden planting in the spring time is successful.

When the fall foliage has begun to appear it is time to prepare your garden for winter.

Start preparing your garden for winter by removing the old dead plants from the garden soil. Make sure you remove all of the plants including their root systems. Remove them from the garden entirely or pile them on top of the garden to decay.

Ideally you should remove the old plants from the garden and place them in a compost pile. Leaving old plant debris in the garden creates a refuge for rodents and insects. Also, if the plants are diseased it is important to remove them from the garden.

If you decide to leave the plant remnants in the garden leave them on top of it to dry out and till them into the soil in late fall or early spring.

Use some of the fallen leaves to your garden’s advantage. Leaves are high in nutrients and by tilling them into the garden you can improve your garden’s soil.

Don’t waste your money by putting fertilizer into your garden in the fall time. It is also bad for the environment. Without plants in the garden there is nothing to absorb the fertilizer. Consequently it washes away into the local creeks and wetlands causing harm to them.

Check your garden’s soil pH level and see if you should add lime or sulfur to it. Fall is an excellent time of the year to add lime or sulfur. Broadcast the lime or sulfur into the garden and then till them into the soil.

Tilling your garden in the fall time is also good for another major reason. Tilling the garden in the fall time helps to destroy any insect larvae in the soil.

Planting rye grass or another cover crop is also a good idea to prevent erosion and improving your garden’s soil. Simply broadcast it and rake it into the soil per the manufacturer’s recommended levels. In the spring, till the cover crop into the soil about 1-2 weeks before you plan to plant.
With these few garden winterizing tips, your garden is prepared for another great planting in the spring. Readmore »»