Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where is Summer?

By Mark J. Donovan

Yesterday when I was closing the front door to my home it dawned on me that I have yet to swap out the glass panel with the screen panel on my storm door. I also remembered that I have yet to install the window air conditioners. That’s how cool and rainy it has been here in New Hampshire for the past month or so.

One cannot help but question the theory of “Global Warming” when on the last day of June, you realize that the last time you experienced a warm summer day was last September. Could we be entering a “Global Cooling” period? With a sample size of only a few months, relative to the billions of years that Earth has existed, it would be almost as irresponsible as the suggestion of Global Warming based on a few decades of data. Instead, it is probably just as accurate to say that we have hit a period of rainy bad luck, or are experiencing the weather oscillations effects of El Nino or La Nina.

Whatever the case, it is time for me to install the screen in the storm door, and put in the air conditioners. If I have learned anything in life, it is that change is constant and that one day I will wake up to a hot, sultry morning in the not too distant future. And who knows, I may find out that I won’t be pulling out the air conditioners until mid October this year.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for some warm, summer weather to arrive soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Eliminate Squeaky Door Hinges

By Mark J. Donovan

Squeaky door hinges can be a real annoyance, however with 5 minutes of work you can eliminate them.

To start with, make sure the hinges are all fastened tightly to the door frame using a screw driver.

Next, remove one hinge pin at a time from each door hinge and wipe it clean with a rag. To remove the hinge pin you will need a hammer and small thin screwdriver. Just slide the thin screwdriver into the base of the hinge, underneath the hinge pin and tap it up and out with your hammer.

Now, lubricate the hinge pin with a little oil or WD40. You can even use Canola oil in a pinch.

Next, lubricate the door hinge itself with a little WD40 or oil and wipe it clean with a rag. Note, make sure you place a rag underneath the door hinges before applying any oil to the door hinge. Otherwise you may leave an oil stain on your flooring.

Slide the hinge pin back into the door hinge and repeat this process for the other remaining hinges.

With any luck your door should be squeak free after lubricating all of the hinges.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Will 3-way light bulbs work with a Dimmer Switch?

3-Way Light Bulbs and Dimmer Switches

By Mark J. Donovan

3-way light bulbs are constructed with 2 filaments in then. The filaments operate at different wattages. 3-way light bulbs work in special lamps that are designed to control which filament(s) are turned on in a 3-way light bulb. When the lamp is switched once the lowest wattage filament is turned on to create a dim light. When the lamp is switched a second time just the highest wattage filament is turned on to create a medium light. When the filament is switched a third time both filaments are turned on creating maximum light.

With a wall dimmer switch there is no way to send a command to the special 3-way light bulb lamp fixture to switch between the different filament settings. As a result the 3-way light bulb effectively does not work with a dimmer switch. In addition, having a 3-way light bulb in a dimmer switch is pointless since the dimmer switch itself will control the level of the brightness.

When using a 3-way light bulb in a lamp that is connected to a dimmer switch all that the dimmer switch will do is control the brightness level for the particular filament setting the lamp is set to.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rain Eroding Soil from around the Foundation

By Mark J. Donovan

Roof rain runoff can play havoc with your yard, particularly around your home’s foundation. If left unchecked the roof rain runoff can cause deep gullies in the soil near the home's foundation. Besides the fact that the gullies are unsightly they also end up acting as conduits for water to penetrate into your home’s basement.

The simplest way to resolve this problem is to install gutters along the roof edge. Gutter down spouts can channel the water away from the home in a controlled and directed way to prevent erosion and the threat of water penetration through the foundation.

However not all folks are pleased with the sight and maintenance required of gutters. An alternative to installing gutters to prevent rain from eroding soil around the foundation is to use mulch or crushed stone around the foundation. The mulch or stone not only prevents erosion but also dresses up the area around the foundation. When used in conjunction with small trees, bushes and plants the mulch or stone can act as a great landscaping base.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Installation of Inexpensive Garden Fencing

By Mark J. Donovan

Every year as I plant my garden, I wrestle with the idea of replacing my old garden fencing or living another year with it. Due to the voracious appetites of wood chucks I am forced to have some fencing around the garden. And due to the tenacity of these not so little creatures I need to install the fence approximately 6 inches into the ground to prevent them from digging under it.

This year I decided it was time to invest in a new fence, but being a fiscally conservative type of person I did not want to spend a great deal of money on it. Heck, why should I spend $100 or more on fencing if I am only going to save $50 dollars on fresh vegetable purchases, if I am lucky.

As a result, I have decided to try this year a plastic type of garden fencing that is 36 inches tall. In addition, instead of using wooden tomato stakes for the posts I decided to use green, four foot high metal stakes that I picked up from the local home improvement store.

The installation was a breeze. All I did was pound the stakes around the perimeter of the garden and then attached the plastic garden fencing to the stakes. The stakes come with little tabs that can be bent to hold the fence in place, however I found 4 inch plastic tie wraps did a better job.

In addition, I elected not to bury the fence this time. Instead, I chose to have the fence sit only 30” high and then folded the bottom of the fence outwards from the garden. My hope is that the wide fence tab that this creates, will make it nearly impossible for the woodchucks to attempt to dig or crawl under.

The beauty of this type of fencing, versus the metal garden fencing material is that I can easily take it down at the end of the gardening season and roll it up nicely. You cannot do this with the metal fencing.

So we will see how the garden works out this year and I will report my findings in the fall.

Stay tuned………..