Friday, January 10, 2014

Getting that snow thrower to start

OK, so the biggest storm of the year just happened, but you never know when the next one will hit. You might have given up on your snow thrower that will not start. I would have, but it’s only a few years old and I was determined to get it fixed before the big storm. Here’s a couple things that seemed to work.

1. Remember to always run the gas out of the machine at the end of each year. I didn’t do this, and I believe it led my problems getting it started this year. Over time the old gas turns to a varnish, gums up and attracts water in the carburetor.

2. Change the spark plug and check the oil.
3. Drain the old gas by removing the screw at the bottom of the carburetor.
4. Spray some starting fluid into the empty gas tank and into the hole where the spark plug goes. Read the directions for proper use of the starter fluid.
5. Put fresh gas into the engine along with some fuel stabilizer.
6. Start with the choke on and with the run lever on slow. This might take a good 20 pulls, so keep trying. If that doesn’t work you can always take it to the shop.

Always work in a ventilated area and when draining oil and gas, make sure to dispose or store in the proper manner. Good luck.

Goodbye, Ugly Popcorn Ceiling!

There were two things that almost prevented us from buying our house – the kitchen stair area, which is a bit awkward, and the popcorn ceiling in the family room.

Our house was built in the 1930s, but there’s an 1980s addition on the back. And they did the popcorn ceiling effect. It was hideous, as most popcorn ceilings are.

 But it’s also forgiving. Our plan originally was to scrape away the popcorn, but we soon realized that wouldn’t work (there were countless layers of paint over it). So instead we created a beadboard ceiling.

A few things we learned – the cheap, pliable, paperboard “beadboard” they sell in the stores and say you can use on the ceiling doesn’t work. Or at least it doesn’t work on ceilings that aren’t perfectly level and flat. The popcorn, and the age of our house, prevented us from using it. (Frankly, it also looked very fake. I suppose it would be OK on a very high, two-story-ceiling because it wouldn’t be so obvious.)

So I went back to the store and purchased real pine boards. It was much more pricey, but the end result was worth it. I think you’ll agree.

The finished ceiling

Furring strips attached to the joists hold the planks.