Yard Equipment – Spare Lawn Mower Blades Are Handy

Having spare lawn mower blades for rotary style power mowers can be very handy, especially if you’re cutting grass in an environment where rocks, gravel and sandy soil are present. Such soil related material is easily picked up by the vacuum action of the mower and it dulls the edges of the blade(s) very quickly. Even common items like twigs can accelerate wear on the edge of sharp blades until they no longer cut the grass, but simply tear into it.

The idea here is to have a spare blade or set of blades ready to go. That allows you to quickly change out dull blades for sharp ones and get back to lawn care. In your spare time, or during the off season, you can resharpen the blade(s) removed from the lawn mower.

Here is how to tell if your blade needs changing:

Grass has yellowing tips from tearing the stalk instead of shearing it off.
It becomes increasingly difficult to cut taller grass clean and quick.
The edge of the blade is starting to round over.
You hit something unexpected in the lawn.

While inspecting blades, use caution to guard against cuts. Also, to make certain there is no chance of placing your hands into operating blades, simply pull the spark plug wire. This effectively kills the engine and prevents it from starting. Leave the spark plug in place as this will reduce the chance that a blade will freely swing around while you’re inspecting it.

When replacing lawn mover blades, make certain to look closely at the blade to be sure it’s not bent from contacting a foreign object in the lawn or yard. Blades (and the shaft it spins on) can bend easily if they contact something that is solid, like a rock or piece of wood. If the blade is bent, be sure to straighten it first and then sharpen it. If the shaft is bent, the mower may still operate satisfactorily, but if not, it will probably require replacement.

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Using Solar Panels to Power Your Yard Equipment

Solar power is a great alternative energy source, but it has its limits. For example, obviously, the sun has to be shining for the solar cells to generate any electricity. In my area, the spring, summer and fall months generally see the most sunshine (okay, maybe not so much in the fall…) Coincidentally, this is also the time of year when I spend a lot of time outdoors doing chores – raking leaves, gardening, cutting the lawn, trimming hedges, etc.

So, the question I asked myself is…how can I combine my interest in alternative power (solar power) with making my yard chores easier?

The answer was obvious – harness solar power and use it to power my yard equipment. There are three pieces of equipment in my shed I use regularly that use some sort of energy: lawnmower (which uses gas), leaf blower (electricity), trimmer (electricity).

First, the lawnmower. It uses gas, so I had to either convert it to run on water or another alternative fuel, or perhaps get an electric one. Through Craigslist, I was able to trade my old gas lawnmower for an electric one, otherwise the electric one would cost $50. I prefer to buy it used rather than spend $300+ on a new one.

Now I hate cords, because I’m always afraid that I’m going to run the darn thing over. I love the freedom of just walking around without worrying. So I need another solution. I grabbed an inexpensive power inverter that was small enough to fit on the lawnmower, and rigged it on using screws. I connected the inverter to the power cord of the lawnmower using a 6ft medium duty 14 gauge extension cord. Now I just need a DC power source.

This is where the solar power comes in. I have a 2 panel solar array and a few sealed lead acid batteries. The solar array is connected to the batteries through a charge controller and diode array (so the batteries don’t lose their power when the solar array isn’t producing electricity). So I found a nice medium duty batter (used to be in a motorcycle) and connected it to the array. Within a sunny day or two, the battery was charged and I was ready to go.

I connected the batter to the inverter, and strapped it on using a bungee cord. I fired up the lawnmower and adjusted the inverter. Success! The lawnmower started and I can cut my lawn, about 1/4 acre, on solar power.

Now, the other two items. Well, I happen to have a second inverter near the solar battery panel. I took the inverter, connected it to the battery bank and fed it into a normal AC outlet that is laying in the garage. The other two pieces of equipment (trimmer and leaf blower) I don’t mind being corded, so I simply plug right into the outlet in the garage that is powered by solar power and presto!

I’ve managed to take 3 common pieces of yard equipment and “convert” them to run on solar power. You can do the same thing with walk lights, decorative fixtures, even security lights or ones on timers. All it takes is a little imagination, and a few sunny days!

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Don’t Wait to Service Your Tools and Yard Equipment

You’ve been thinking about your snow blower. You know the winter months are quickly approaching, but you haven’t even put away your leaf blower yet! However, you’re aware that if you wait until the first snowfall you’re going to have to scramble to get your snow blower cleaned up, serviced and ready to do its job. And it’s not much different when winter turns to spring and lawn mower repair comes to mind. You know that you must replace that blade before the grass starts to grow.

Each season brings with it a new set of tools and machines for yard care and maintenance around the home. As many have found out the hard way, if we procrastinate in regard to lawn equipment maintenance, tool repair and the servicing of our machines, we may end up reluctantly on our neighbor’s doorstep borrowing a tool or two.

Of course, we’re somewhat ashamed by this, knowing that it could’ve been avoided if we had only carved out a few minutes to clean, oil and service our equipment so that it’s ready to go when needed. It’s a frustrating feeling when we pull the starter cord on our lawn mower, leaf blower or snow thrower for the first time after about a year, only to find that nothing happens.

Stay Ahead of the Game

You’ve probably been working with tools and yard equipment long enough to know what it takes to keep this equipment in good working order. But a little refresher course never hurts. Let’s briefly go over a few things to pay attention to when servicing and preparing your yard equipment for another season. Always keep the owner’s manual around for each piece of equipment to use as a maintenance reference guide if needed.

Snow Blower: Change the oil. This goes for every piece of equipment run by a gas engine. Also, check the tires and make sure they are properly inflated. Take a look at the spark plug to make sure it is not worn or dirty. If you do see signs of wear, replace it. Check the belts for wear and tear, replacing them if they don’t look like they’ll last another season. Also look at the blades and auger to make sure they are sharp and turning evenly.

Lawn Mower: The same basic engine maintenance procedures apply in regard to changing the oil and checking the spark plug and all other connections. Also, look at your blade to see if it needs sharpening or replacing. If it is dull and nicked up, you’ll probably want to replace it. After draining the engine for the oil change, drain the rest of the fuel from the fuel tank, either by running the engine or carefully slipping off the fuel line. Proceed to turn the mower on its side to scrape the underside free of caked grass and debris. You may want to remove the blade for this.

Leaf Blower: If your leaf blower is electric, check the cord for any damage. Take a damp cloth and clean the blower tube. Many of these tubes can be removed for cleaning. If your leaf blower is gas-powered, the same general rules apply as with any small engine; change the oil, check the spark plug and check all connections.

Miscellaneous: When it comes to power tool repair, whether it’s a screwdriver, a drill or a saw, each item has its own unique set of characteristics. But they also have things in common, such as a power source. Whether the tool is run by electricity or is battery-operated, always check the power source and cords for damage and corrosion. When storing, remove batteries or wrap up cords evenly.

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Tips For Organizing Your Yard Equipment

Have you ever gone to your garden shed and found that your yard equipment is in a mess all the time? If this is a fact, then this short article is here to give you some tips on how you can organize your equipment so it is easier to find. Here are a few simple tips to get you started.

Tip 1. The first thing you should do is clean out your shed and place everything on the lawn. Throw away anything that is not being used or is rubbish, this way you will have more room when putting the equipment back in.

Tip 2. The next thing you can look at is working out if you can hang anything like hedge trimmers or whipper snippers on the walls. Make up some simple hooks with some hard wire that can support the weight of your machine. By hanging some of the more flexible items on the walls it leaves you with some extra space on the floor.

Tip 3. If you have things like fuel and other nick knacks that are needed for your machines, why not look into buying some cheap storage boxes that can pack all this into. Storage boxes are great for keeping everything in a tidy compact spot.

Tip 4. If you have things that can be placed on shelves, why not do a little DIY craftsmanship and build a small set of shelves for those things that cannot be placed in a storage box. Shelves come in handy when you have to place something where you can find it.

Tip 5. When placing the rest of your equipment into your shed, set it so it is in a neat row or line that is not too cluttered. If you can make a walking area between your equipment then you can easily walk through your shed and pick the machine that you need without falling over everything.

So as you can see there are many ways of organizing your yard equipment, so why not get started today. You may even find something that you have not seen in a long time.

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