Friday, April 11, 2014

Snow Blowers: Get them Ready for Storage – North Attleboro

It may not seem like it but it'll soon be safe to put away your snow blower. But if you just shove it in the shed and forget about it, you might be sorry next winter. Do a little snow blower maintenance now and next season your snow blower will start right up, no problem. Here are the steps to take.

Run the engine dry. The single-most important task to guarantee starting next winter is how you deal with remaining fuel now. Some experts say that you can leave fuel in the tank as long as you’ve added stabilizer, especially one designed to withstand the troublesome effects of ethanol in the gasoline. But a dry engine offers the best odds against the effects of oxidized gas and ethanol.

Siphon out as much of the gas as you can. (You can add it to your car’s fuel tank.) Then start the snow blower and run it dry. Since a bit of gas remains in the fuel lines, consider adding a few ounces of ethanol-free fuel, sold in Sears, home centers, and some outdoor-gear dealers. Then run it dry again. After the engine cools, drain the carburetor bowl. And when you fuel up next winter, use only fresh gas to which you’ve added stabilizer.

Change the oil. Today’s snow blowers have a separate oil reservoir like those in cars, and larger models have a bolt you loosen. Tip the machine back, and you can easily drain the old oil into a container. Once you’re done and you reattach the bolt, refill to the desired level. Your owner’s manual will list the proper type and grade of oil to use.

Swap out the spark plug. This is what ignites the fuel so the engine can start and run properly. If you didn’t replace it before winter, do it now. (Your owner’s manual may recommend a more specific frequency.) Coat the plug’s threads with anti-seize compound, and the plug should be easier to remove next year.

Stock up on spare parts. Two-stage snow blowers have shear pins that protect the engine and transmission by breaking if the auger hits something too hard. Keep extras on hand and resist the urge to swap in an ordinary bolt and nut. Also keep extra drive belts; you’ll typically need one for single-stage machines and two for two-stage models. This is also a good time to check for fraying in your pull cord.
Tighten fasteners. Check and tighten any loose nuts and bolts, especially on control linkages, which tend to loosen from the snow blower’s vibration. And on two-stage models, adjust the auger's scraper and skid shoes so the metal auger housing comes close to the surface without contacting it.

Check the tires. Snow blowers get the best traction with the right amount of air in their tires; owner’s manuals typically recommend 15 to 20 pounds per square inch (psi). Your owner’s manual will have the precise specs for your machine; it’s also on the side of the tire. Be sure to check tire pressures even on a fairly new snow blower, since many are shipped with over-inflated tires to reduce the chance of damage on the way to the store.
Take care with batteries. If you have a cordless-electric model, follow manufacturer recommendations (check the owner’s manual) to be sure they’ll last as long as possible. Recharging batteries, for instance, should be avoided in freezing temperatures.

Taking care of old fuel and picking up spare parts are things you should do now on gas models. Seasonal snow blower maintenance ensures you will have a snow blower that will perform when you need it next winter.

For more information on maintenance for snow blowers, contact J&J Small Engine Clinic.

Stop Using Drain Cleaners in Your Clogged Drains – Boston, Worcester

While most people turn to strong drain cleaners when they have a clogged shower or clogged sink, the effects of these overpowering chemicals can damage both pipes and the environment.
Instead of turning to drain cleaning products, call a plumber. A plumber can professionally and safely unclog pipes without using dangerous and destructive chemicals.

Here are a few of the negative effects of over-using drain cleaners.
Where the Drain Cleaners Go
Although using a drain cleaner sparingly is just fine, many people turn to drain cleaners for all of the plumbing problems that they experience. Many people don’t realize what happens to the drain cleaners after they’ve left the pipes. The acid and alkaline from the drain cleaners are treated at the local sewage plant, and then liquidated back into the water supply. As you can see, frequent use of drain cleaners becomes not only harmful to the pipes that they pass through, but to the local environment, as well. A safe alternative to this would be to call Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating to have your pipes and drains professional cleaned. It’s a much safer and more effective option.

Mixing Drain Cleaners with Other Chemicals
When a drain cleaner gets poured down a shower or kitchen sink drain, it comes into contact with previous chemicals such as shampoo, soap, bleach, and an array of other substances. This can be particularly dangerous. When the chemicals break down, they form unnatural substances that can be toxic. You can avoid creating potentially toxic substances by reducing how often you use drain cleaners in your home. If you have been using a drain cleaner on the same drain for a long period of time, you need to have it looked at by a plumber. There is probably a serious problem going on with your pipes that powerful drain cleaners won’t fix. Continuing to use strong drain cleaners will rapidly deteriorate your pipes, leaving you with a multitude of problems.

For more information or for assistance with a clogged drain, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.

Be Sure Your “Stuff” is Insured - Fairfax, VA

Many expensive items we buy, vacations, and business trips we make are insurable. But is your stuff worth insuring? Is it actually insured? Sometimes people assume they have insurance coverage when they don't.
The worst time to find out you don’t have coverage is when something you need or value has been lost, stolen or damaged. That's why evaluating available insurance coverage options on your belongings is a good idea.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you decide whether or not you should insure your stuff:
Take a look at your deductibles and coverage: Maybe you have homeowners insurance and assume that it will cover an expensive appliance. But many homeowners have deductibles that exceed the value of the appliance, so in effect, the appliance is unprotected. Maybe you rent and assume your landlord’s insurance will cover damage to your belongings. Chances are, your stuff isn't covered.

Look closely at replacement costs: Many consumers purchase items like smartphones and tablets through a carrier that subsidizes the actual cost. However, if your smartphone or tablet is lost, stolen or damaged and you don't have insurance on it, you may be required to pay the true purchase price to replace it, which can be considerably higher than the original price you paid.

Evaluate the true cost of self-insurance: Some people assume it's cheaper to just pay out of pocket to replace lost, stolen or damaged items rather than insuring them. That depends on the rate you pay and the cost of the item you're replacing. It's important to make an informed decision.

For more information on the right insurance coverage, contact TriState Business Insurance.

Chocolate (in Moderation) is Good for Your Teeth – Newport News, VA

 Easter is coming up, which means plenty of chocolate bunnies. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Now, you can even feel less guilty when you eat it because studies show that chocolate is actually good for your teeth and for your overall health.
Regarding oral health, chocolate contains antioxidants called polyphenols and flavanols. Polyphenols prevent bacteria from turning the sugar and starches in chocolate into acids that cause tooth decay. As far as your overall health, polyphenols and flavanols help reduce the chance of hypertension and stroke and may even help protect the heart. Dark chocolate is particularly high in flavanols – and has more antioxidant power than green tea.
Chocolate also contains cocoa butter which is actually healthy for you and your teeth.  When you eat chocolate, the cocoa butter coats your teeth, which prevents plaque from sticking  to your teeth. And the type of fat in cocoa butter does not raise cholesterol.
However, chocolate is high in calories so if you’re watching your weight, don’t eat too much. Just three 1-ounce pieces of it a week will benefit your oral and physical health.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Keep Back Pain from Becoming Chronic Back Pain – Franklin, MA

Back Pain is now the number 1 cause of job disability around the world. About one in 10 people suffer from lower back pain. As your back gets older, occasional aches can turn into chronic, perhaps disabling, pain. Here are some suggestions aimed at making sure that doesn't happen.
  • Don't baby your aching back. Cutting back on activity because of temporary pain can lead to muscle weakness, which can make things worse.
  • Keep up a regular program of "core" exercises because those middle-of-the-body muscles are the ones that support your lower spine.
  • Stay limber, because tight muscles can increase pain.
  • Watch your posture. Focus on standing upright, and don't slouch when you sit.
  • Get enough sleep. Poor sleep alters brain chemistry, and you are more prone to developing a chronic pain state.
  • Stay positive and relax. The spine's close relationship to the brain means that maintaining a good emotional state can have physical benefits. For example, stress-relieving deep-breathing exercises can lessen the pain of a sudden backache.
Besides lost productivity and years of life, the biggest problem with chronic back pain is how to treat it. There are standard pain killers, minimally invasive procedures, and even surgery in severe cases. Some people prefer acupuncture or even more intensive medication like opioids–which raises addiction concerns. Being sedentary is thought to be one of the causes of back pain, so one the most effective treatments turns out to be exercise.
There is no magic bullet to prevent the onset of lower back pain, especially if it’s brought on by age, but there are ways to keep the changes at bay. For more information on the non-narcotic treatment of chronic back pain, contact Franklin Pain and Wellness Center.