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- Cool Tools: A Triple-Threat to Help Your Garden Thrive
Cool Tools: A Triple-Threat to Help Your Garden Thrive
The newest multitalented water wand from HYDE delivers a trifecta of weeding, feeding, and watering capabilities that will help your lawn and garden survive the summer.
Summer teases us with warm breezes and long days just perfect for relaxation and repose. But for many homeowners, too many so-called “lazy” summer days are spent performing the backbreaking work necessary to maintain or beautify the yard. When you’re not straining to spread weed killer on the grass or direct water into awkwardly positioned planters, you’re hunched over scrubbing the patio furniture or cleaning the sidewalk. If you’re ready to take a vacation from all this strenuous summer activity, look no further than the HYDE PivotPro Garden Wand Kit for your salvation. Whether you’re tasked with weeding, feeding, or watering the garden, or just tidying up around your property, this must-have multi-tool—complete with a pivoting three-setting spray nozzle and a weed-feed additive dispenser—can eliminate the stress and fatigue of getting your lawn and garden in tip-top condition.
Effortlessly and Efficiently Weed Out Unwanted Greens
Unsightly weeds can be hard to reach and even harder to tame when they grow in hilly terrain or in awkward nooks and crannies of the lawn. Add to this the difficulty of pushing a weighty walk-behind spreader up and down those same slopes, and it’s easy to see how applying weed killer could seriously strain your arms, legs, or back. If, however, you swap out the standard spreader for the lightweight HYDE PivotPro Garden Water Wand, which attaches to an unrolled hose, you can weed the lawn at your own pace and in a comfortable, upright position.
To make the most of this smaller and smarter garden helper’s weeding capabilities, start by connecting the PivotPro to your garden hose. Then, simply pour the liquid weed-control concentrate of your choice into the tool’s 16-ounce weed-and-feed additive dispenser. Set the liquid ratio dial to the concentrate-to-water ratio recommended by the product’s manufacturer, and toggle the mix control switch to the “on” position. Water from the garden hose will dilute the concentrate as you work your way down an overgrown sidewalk or along the edge of the garden, gently sliding the handle to adjust the spray angle. Thanks to the wand’s 135-degree pivoting nozzle, you’ll have easy access to tight corners and narrow corridors, and even around irregularly shaped bushes.
Nourish Your Turf
When you’re finished weeding, there’s no need to switch out tools before you tackle your next seasonal to-do. Because you can remove, wash, and refill the detachable dispenser with any additive, you can put the PivotPro Garden Water Wand—the same one that you just used for spreading weed killer—to work fertilizing your lawn. The tool’s versatility means that you can save time, money, and storage space.
After you’ve thoroughly cleaned out the weed-killing concentrate from the dispenser, refill it with fertilizer concentrate. Here again, you have full control (and flexibility) when it comes to the feed-to-water ratio your plants require. The wand’s automatic liquid ratio adjustment mechanism ensures optimal fertilizer spread with no measuring, calculations, or manual premixing required on your part, so you can transform your nutrient-starved grass into a luxurious lawn in a fraction of the time it used to take.
Water More Than Just Grass
While the PivotPro Garden Water Wand delivers a quick one-two punch of weed killer and fertilizer to a lackluster lawn, it can just as easily be used to rinse or clean countless items throughout your yard. Toggle the mix control switch on the wand to the “off” position, so its nozzle will spray only plain water. The jet, fan, and shower modes of the three-setting spray nozzle—as well as the wand’s 46-inch reach—offer remarkable flexibility: You can direct a gentle mist over the rim of a hanging planter, then maneuver down to ground level to hose off dingy tools, shoes, or garden furniture with a powerful jet of water. Better yet, fill the dispenser with soapy water to turn the PivotPro into an all-purpose cleaning tool for all seasons! Wherever you put it to use, the PivotPro Garden Water Wand can help you attain greener pastures on your own home turf.
Purchase HYDE PivotPro Garden Water Wand, $39.99.
Watch the video below to see the HYDE PivotPro Garden Water Wand in action!
This post has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.
- How To's & Quick Tips >
- 5 Even Easier Fixes for Household Problems—All in 1 Innovative Can
5 Even Easier Fixes for Household Problems—All in 1 Innovative Can
Finally, you can put the power of WD-40 to use in even the most awkward and annoyingly tight spaces, thanks to the long, flexible applicator of the product's new can.
An essential at job sites, in workshops, and on garage shelves for more than 60 years, WD-40® Multi-Use Product has earned the trust of do-it-yourselfers by solving hundreds of problems in both household and professional settings. It works to un-stick, un-gunk, and protect virtually any item that has moving parts. Yet, while its multitasking formula and short, stiff applicator consistently delivered positive results, success still required very precise aim on the DIYer’s part and often necessitated stooping, twisting, or reaching awkwardly around. The product’s latest packaging, however, makes the go-to fixit a whole lot easier to use on a wide variety of projects.
Fear not: The formula you’ve long relied on for repairs at home and at work remains the same. But now, the brand-new flexible straw on WD-40 EZ-REACH™ enables you to apply the tried-and-true solution in tight or inconvenient spots without having to twist yourself into a pretzel to get it where it needs to go. Using just two fingers, you can easily shape and reshape the eight-inch applicator into any angle, curve, or hook necessary to lubricate hard-to-reach cracks and crevices. The new straw can reach around corners, maneuver between staggered fan blades, and even arch over tall items to spray WD-40 exactly where you need it, providing greater precision with less time and effort than ever before. No more creaks. No more squeaks. No more frozen push buttons or pulleys. No more wasted product.
Stock up, and say goodbye to scraped knuckles! We’ve rounded up five handy ways that the new flexible applicator on WD-40 EZ-REACH™ can make daily DIY projects and repairs a cinch.
Loosen Under-Sink Plumbing Connections
No need to scoot about and twist yourself into knots under the sink just to fix a clogged trap. With a can of WD-40 EZ-REACH™ in your arsenal of tools, you can lubricate the entire circumference of a stuck galvanized or metal plumbing joint by contorting your spray nozzle, not yourself. Simply twist and reshape the metal flex straw to hook around the back and sides of the connections. Saturate the joint thoroughly and give it a few minutes to work its magic before using a pipe wrench or water pump pliers to twist the connections loose.
Keep Mower Blades Clean and Sharp
Savvy homeowners and professional landscapers alike know that clean lawn-mower blades create sharper cuts than dull, gunked-up ones—and already entrust WD-40® with keeping their mower blades cleaner for longer amounts of time. They’ve seen for themselves how the go-to lubricant makes it easier for grass clippings to slide off rather than stick during the job. But tipping the mower on its side after each run to remove the blade and apply a coat of WD-40® isn’t easy. With WD-40 EZ-REACH™, however, you’ll spend less time underneath the machine because it’s so much easier to reach behind the blade. Just bend the flex straw upward to direct the spray toward the blade and the undercarriage to keep grass from sticking and prevent hard grass deposits.
Repair Noisy HVAC Fans
Shrill squeals every time the AC kicks on can drive you up the wall, especially when the ductwork carries that annoying sound throughout the house. With a little WD-40®, however, you can lubricate the HVAC blower fan assembly and achieve blissful peace and quiet. Before you tackle this repair, first turn off the breaker to the HVAC unit. Remove the cover from the squirrel cage fan, then bend the straw of the WD-40 EZ-REACH™ can to aim between the fins. Thanks to the straw’s pliable length, you’ll be able to easily and directly spray the shaft to silence the squeaking.
Extend the Life of Your Garage Door Opener
Over time, corrosion causes garage door opener chains to bind, putting unnecessary stress on the motor—enough to potentially cut its life short. Spare yourself the inconvenience and expense of replacement by preserving your current machine with a yearly application of lubricant. With the garage door closed, climb a step stool or ladder and let the hooked straw of WD-40 EZ-REACH™ provide just the boost needed to spray the top of the opener chain. You’ll want to coat the entire length of the chain, from the door to the opener. The lubricant will seep down into the links to remove rust, cut friction, and ultimately extend the life of your garage door opener.
Slide Closet Doors with Ease
You probably already reach for WD-40® when it’s time to silence a squeaky door hinge, but did you know that you can also ease the motion of a sliding closet door, thanks to the new and improved applicator on WD-40 EZ-REACH™? With the door in its open position, bend the straw to reach above the wheel assembly, which is tucked between the top of the door and the trim. While you’re at it, carry the can over to any pocket doors to smooth out the movement along their tracks in the same manner.
Save yourself the hassle of any of these five home improvements by purchasing WD-40 EZ-REACH™ today.
This post has been brought to you by WD-40®. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.
- How To's & Quick Tips >
- How To: DIY and Apply Your Own Deck Cleaner
How To: DIY and Apply Your Own Deck Cleaner
Keep your platform for outdoor fun looking great for pennies—without harming nearby plants.
Your deck gets a lot of traffic. Muddy shoes, spilled food, and wet dogs can leave it dirty, stained, and smelly. Even a deck that’s not a party platform is up against the elements—pollen, leaves, and algae all take their toll. But you needn’t use a harsh, expensive deck detergent to restore it. In under half an hour, you can mix up a batch of homemade deck cleaner, apply it with a deck brush, and then rinse away all manner of dirt and grime.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Garden hose
- Large plastic bucket
- Warm water
- Powdered oxygen bleach
- Deck brush with attached pole
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
- Borax (optional)
Clear the deck of whatever furniture, grill, gardening containers, and other miscellaneous outdoor equipment you can easily stash elsewhere. Spray the deck amply with plain water from your garden hose to loosen and soften mud and debris, making it easier to remove.
While the ingredients suggested here are relatively safe and won’t damage garden greenery, it’s a good idea to dress in goggles and rubber gloves to protect sensitive eyes and skin should the homemade deck cleaner accidentally splash.
Pour 2 gallons of very warm water into a plastic bucket, large enough to accommodate a deck brush. Add 2 cups of powdered oxygen bleach (found in the laundry detergent aisle), which is milder than liquid chlorine bleach. Submerge the brush and stir gently until powdered bleach completely dissolves. Then add 1/4 cup of liquid dishwashing soap and stir just enough to disperse it through the solution.
Liberally saturate the deck by dipping the brush into the homemade cleaning solution and sloshing it over the planks. Starting at one end and working your way to the other, scrub with the brush to work up a light lather, rewetting the brush’s bristles as needed. Give the solution 15 minutes of dwell time to allow the oxygen bleach to work.
Spray off the DIY deck cleaner with the garden hose. Let your deck dry naturally and completely in the sun’s rays before redecorating it.
SEASON-LONG CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE TIPS
• Banish mildew with borax. If your deck has visible mildew stains, add 1 cup of powdered borax to the solution at the same time you add the oxygen bleach. Borax, found in the supermarket laundry aisle, is a natural mineral compound that won’t damage nearby landscaping plants. Apply the solution as instructed above.
• Treat stains with oxygen bleach paste. To treat a stubborn stain, mix just enough warm water with a small amount of powdered oxygen bleach to make a paste. Apply directly on the stain with a stiff-bristle brush and leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse.
• Sweep away dirt promptly. A light sweeping—daily, ideally—will free your deck of loose dirt, leaves, and other debris before it can be ground into the wood surface.
• Apply a penetrating sealer once a year. Wood is a product of nature, and even pressure-treated decks will eventually succumb to harsh UV rays, wet/dry cycles, and temperature fluctuations. To add years of useful life to your deck, treat it annually with a good penetrating sealer. The best time to apply a sealer is after a thorough deck cleaning!
Now that your deck is clean as new, take a look around you. If wood handrails, balusters, even outdoor wooden furniture seem less than fresh, mix up some more deck cleaning solution to safely restore them and you’re fully prepared for any outdoor gathering large or small.
- Lawn & Garden >
- DIY Lite: Easy Tiki Torches for a Bug-Free Backyard
DIY Lite: Easy Tiki Torches for a Bug-Free Backyard
Light up your backyard without attracting any bugs to the party when you build this trendy design for a DIY tiki torch.
Nothing spoils an outdoor gathering like unwanted guests, namely the buzzy ones. Enjoy summer nights free from the mosquitoes by staking a few tiki torches around your backyard party. Filled with citronella oil or citronella tiki torch fuel, they’ll keep bugs at bay while you and any invited guests play. This particular pro-quality setup—with likeness to the ever trendy industrial wire pendant lights—actually boils down to six easy steps and a handful of creative materials. Follow the easy tutorial below to make one DIY tiki torch, and repeat until your yard is fully illuminated past sunset!
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Mason jar
- Fruit picker basket
- Cutting pliers
- Copper spray paint
- 3⁄4-inch copper pipe (5 feet)
- 3⁄4-inch copper pressure slip coupling
- Cotton swab
- Rubbing alcohol
- Adjustable stainless steel pipe or hose clamp
- Tiki torch wick or 100 percent cotton rope
- Citronella oil or Tiki fuel
The actual citronella candle and flame for your DIY tiki torch will be housed in a sealed 8- to 12-ounce glass mason jar. To convert the canning staple, you’ll need to first perforate the lid so that you can thread the torch wick through it. Place the lid on a piece of scrap wood, then position a nail at its center and tap with the hammer until it pierces through the metal into the wood. Pull out the nail using the hammer’s claw; the resulting hole needs to be a tight fit so that the tiki torch wick stays in place.
Set the punctured lid and jar aside until you fill it up in the final step.
To create the wire cage support in this DIY tiki torch, we started with the unique wire design of a fruit picker basket. Intended for pulling ripe fruits from tree branches, this orchard tool possesses a diameter just wide enough to hold a 12-ounce jam jar—our soon-to-be citronella candle. Look for one without an extension or telescoping pole for less than $10, either online at Amazon or in the garden center of your big-box home improvement store.
Peel out the soft cushion (meant to keep each piece of fruit free of bruises while picking), and use cutting pliers snip the metal ends that look like rake tines where they connect with the top arched wire. After you make your cuts, your basket’s trimmed side should still be higher than the other, but sleeker without claws—and so begins the transition into a more industrial candle holder.
Spray paint the fruit picker basket and the mason jar lid. Apply several coats (remembering to allow adequate dry time between each) to cover both pieces completely with the copper paint.
Take the 5-foot length of 3⁄4-inch copper pipe and slide a matching 3⁄4-inch copper pressure coupling over the top end; this addition will add extra thickness to the pipe so that you can snugly slide the fruit picker basket over top.
Pro tip: If you need to remove a red sticker from either of your copper pipe pieces, simply wet it with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol for a clean and easy peel.
Slide the narrow end of the fruit picker basket (the part that would typically attach to a telescoping pole) over the end of the copper pipe and the pressure coupling. Unscrew to open up a stainless steel pipe or hose clamp, wrap it around the base of the basket, and tighten the screw once more in order to hold the clamp (and basket) in place.
Fill the mason jar a quarter to a third of the way with tiki fuel or citronella oil. Thread the wick—either a specific tiki torch wick or 100 percent cotton, but not nylon, which melts—through the lid so that 2 inches stick out the top and several inches hang beneath. Twist the lid onto the jar to seal it, and let the wick soak for about 10 minutes before lighting the candle.
While that’s working, go ahead and plant your new torch (or torches, if you’ve built a few according to these instructions) in the backyard. Ensure that the pipe is sufficiently stable by driving it into the ground before you place the candle in shiny copper cage. Then light the candle at the start of the evening, and refuel whenever supply looks low for outdoor festivities minus any unwanted guests!
Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.
- Lawn & Garden >
- Bob Vila Radio: Keep Backyard Mosquitos at Bay
Bob Vila Radio: Keep Backyard Mosquitos at Bay
Get those biting bugs to buzz off by identifying and eliminating any mosquito breeding grounds and hiding spots that may exist on your property.
With Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses on the rise, it’s a good idea to take a close look at the mosquito control measures you use on your property.
Mosquitoes multiply in standing water, so double-check your yard for any spots you might have missed. Make sure flower pots and plant saucers are empty. Bird baths, water bowls for pets, and kiddie pools should be all emptied and refilled regularly so that any eggs laid there don’t have a chance to turn into biting bugs.
If you have water that can’t be drained, like a fish pond, don’t worry. Hardware stores carry specialized chemicals to add to the water that will bump off mosquitos without harming your fish. Also, because mosquitos love to live it up in damp leaves and other organic material, don’t forget to keep a rake handy—and to use it often!
Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!
- Contests & Give-Aways >
- Official Rules: Bob Vila’s $5,000 Dream Office Give-Away from BDI
Official Rules: Bob Vila’s $5,000 Dream Office Give-Away from BDI
Bob Vila’s “$5,000 Dream Office Give-Away from BDI from BDI” (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by BobVila.com, LLC, Post Office Box 835, West Barnstable, MA 02668 (“Sponsor”). The Sweepstakes consists of one (1) drawing. The Sweepstakes Period will begin July 31, 2016 at 12 PM EST and last until August 31, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. At the end of the Entry Period, there will be one (1) drawings in which one (1) potential winner (“Winner”) shall be selected from all eligible entries received for each prize available during that Entry Period by employees or representatives of the Sponsor to receive the prize designated for the Drawing for that Entry Period. The winning entry will be chosen at random. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ODDS OF WINNING WILL DEPEND ON THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES RECEIVED. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. ONLINE ENTRY ONLY AND INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIRED. AFFIDAVIT OF ELIGIBILITY AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY FORM MAY BE REQUIRED.
Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Void in all other geographic locations. Employees of Sponsor and its respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies and any other entity involved in the development or administration of this Sweepstakes, and their immediate family members or household members are not eligible to participate in or win the Sweepstakes. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any person who fails to meet the eligibility requirements or any person it determines, in its sole discretion, to be sufficiently connected with the Sweepstakes such that such person’s participation could create the appearance of impropriety. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means are void, and Sponsor expressly reserves the right to disqualify any entries that it believes in good faith are generated by an automated program or via scripts. Entries that are determined, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor to constitute advertisements, commercial messages, or “spam” will be disqualified and deleted.
Void where prohibited by law. All applicable federal, state and local laws apply. No purchase is necessary to participate in the Sweepstakes. You may enter any given Drawing one (1) time per household per day by visiting the BOB VILA website at http://www.bobvila.com and submit your name and email address using the online “$5,000 Dream Office Give-Away from BDI” submission form. Each entry submitted in response to a Drawing and in accordance with the Official Rules will constitute an official entry. Duplicate entries submitted through either method within one day will be deemed void. If you do not have internet access, alternative means of entry for each Drawing is available by faxing your name, address and phone number to the Sponsor at 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. One (1) alternative entry per household per day. Any additional entries submitted via fax within one day will be deemed void. Entries received after the end of the Sweepstakes Period will be deemed void. Normal time, toll, connection and usage rates, if any, charged by your Internet service provider will apply.
All prizes (or in the event of a lost, misdirected, or otherwise unavailable prize, a prize of equivalent value) will be awarded. In no event shall the Sponsor be obligated to award more prizes than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules. Winner shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of their prize. To receive a complete list of winners or a copy of the Official Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Prize Fulfillment, BobVila.com, LLC, PO Box 835 Barnstable, MA 02668. Specify winner’s list or rules on your request.
The Winner will be notified by email, or in the case of alternate entry, by phone; Sponsor reserves the right to determine the method of notification. Winners must claim their respective prize within twenty-four (24) hours after the date of notification of their prize. A Winner’s failure to respond to the prize notification within the specified twenty-four (24) hours will be considered such Winner’s forfeiture of the prize and an alternate Winner may be selected from the pool of eligible entries. If an entrant is found to be ineligible, an alternate Winner may also be selected from the pool of eligible entries. Sponsor reserves the right to ship prizes directly to the mailing and/or email address (as applicable) provided by Winners during their entry to the Drawings.
The prize for the Drawing shall be the Winner’s choice of one (1) piece of BDI furniture from each category (Category 1: Sequel Lift Desk 6052 (MSRP $2205) with optional drawer (MSRP $280), or Sequel Lift Desk 6051 (MSRP $1905); Category 2: Tall Mobile File Pedestal 6005 (MSRP $890), or Low Mobile File Pedestal 6007-2 (MSRP $845); Category 3: Sequel Storage Cabinet 6015 (MSRP $1525), Sequel Lateral File Cabinet 6016 (MSRP $1565), Sequel Multifunctional Cabinet 6017 (MSRP $1675), or Sequel Return 6002 (MSRP $1145), with optional Back Panel 6009 (MSRP $235) and Return end Panel 6012 ($135)) in choice of four stains. No transfer, substitution or cash redemption will be awarded in lieu of Prize. Limit one prizes per winning entrant per Entry Period. Prize provider shall arrange for prize delivery within 30 days from end of the Sweepstakes Period. An entrant or winner may be disqualified from the Sweepstakes, and his or her entry may be deleted, if he or she fails to comply with each provision of these Official Rules, as determined in the sole discretion of the Sponsor. Participation in the Sweepstakes is at entrant’s own risk.
Sponsor shall not be liable for (1) failed, returned or misdirected notifications based on inaccurate information provided by the winner on the Drawings entry forms, (2) entries and responses to winner notifications which are lost, late, incomplete, illegible, unintelligible, postage-due, misdirected, damaged or otherwise not received by the intended recipient in whole or in part or for computer or technical error of any kind, (3) any electronic miscommunications or failures, technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions which may limit an entrant’s ability to participate in part or wholly in the Sweepstakes, (4) any technical malfunctions of the telephone network, computer on-line system, computer equipment, software, program malfunctions or other failures, delayed computer transactions or network connections that are human, mechanical or technical in nature, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from downloading any part of this Sweepstakes or (5) any warranty of fitness or merchantability of any prize or the function or operation thereof, which shall be the sole responsibility of the manufacturer of the prize.
Sponsor does not make any, and hereby disclaims any and all, representations or warranties of any kind regarding any prize. Unless prohibited by applicable law, your entry constitutes your permission to use your name, photograph, likeness, voice, address (city and state) and testimonials in all media, in perpetuity, in any manner Sponsor deems appropriate for publicity purposes without any further compensation to such entrant. By entering or accepting a prize in the Sweepstakes, Winners agree to be bound by these Official Rules and to conform to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. When applicable, the Winner (or, if the Winner is a minor, the Winner’s parent or legal guardian) may be required to execute and return to Sponsor within three (3) business days an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability and Publicity Release and relevant tax forms to be eligible for the prize or an alternate winner may be selected. Winner may be required to furnish proof of identity, address and birth date in order to receive a prize.
By entering, an entrant agrees to indemnify, release and hold harmless Sponsor and each of its respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliated entities, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from any damage, injury, death, loss, claim, action, demand, or other liability (collectively, “Claims”) that may arise from their acceptance, possession and/or use of any prize or their participation in the Sweepstakes, or from any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, regardless of whether such Claims, or knowledge of the facts constituting such Claims, exist at the time of entry or arise at any time thereafter. Released Parties are not responsible or liable to any entrant or to any Winner or any person claiming through such Winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action, regulation, order or request by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action, regulations, order or request proves to be invalid), equipment failure, threatened terrorist acts, terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond the Released Parties’ sole control.
The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing, electronic or human errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes; (2) viruses or technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications or entry information, any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, failures or technical malfunction of any computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, email, players or browsers, whether on account of technical problems, traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing; (3) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (4) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Sweepstakes; (5) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes or the processing of entries; (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any prize; or (7) late, lost, misdirected, illegible, incomplete or mutilated entries or for theft, destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. These indemnification and release provisions shall survive expiration of the Sweepstakes.
Persons found tampering with, abusing, or otherwise disrupting any aspect of this Sweepstakes, or otherwise attempting to defraud Sponsor, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and their entries will be deleted. If disqualified, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the entrant’s eligibility to further participate in this Sweepstakes and future promotions and sweepstakes of Sponsor or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. Any attempt by an entrant or any other individual to undermine the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. This Sweepstakes is strictly for promotional and entertainment purposes and may not be used in connection with any form of gambling. In the event this Sweepstakes is challenged by any legal or regulatory authority, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the Sweepstakes, or to disqualify entrants residing in the affected geographic areas. In such event, the Sponsor shall have no liability to any entrants who are disqualified due to such an action.
Sponsor reserves the right to modify these Official Rules in any way or at any time. Sponsor reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this Sweepstakes should viruses, bugs or other causes beyond their control corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the Sweepstakes. In the event any portion of this Sweepstakes is compromised by any non-authorized human intervention, actions of entrants, or other causes beyond the control of Sponsor which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, corrupt or impair the integrity, administration, security, or operation of this Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to suspend, modify, abbreviate or terminate the Sweepstakes without further obligation.
If Sponsor elects to abbreviate the Sweepstakes, Winner(s) will be determined from all eligible entries received for Drawing(s) prior to the action or compromise giving rise to the suspension or termination of this Sweepstakes. In the event of cancellation, abbreviation or suspension, Sponsor shall promptly post a notice on the Sweepstakes entry page to such effect. This Sweepstakes shall be governed by New York law. By participating in this Sweepstakes entrants agree that New York courts shall have jurisdiction over any dispute or litigation arising from or relating to this Sweepstakes and that venue shall be only in New York City, New York. The failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any part of these Official Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, that part will be enforced to the maximum extent permitted by law, and the remainder of these Official Rules will remain fully in force.
- Major Systems >
- Meet the Cost-Effective and Customizable Alternative to Central AC
Meet the Cost-Effective and Customizable Alternative to Central AC
Are you ready for the hot times head? This year, beat the heat and keep your home cool all summer long with a versatile, unobtrusive system that doesn't require bulky ductwork—or the extensive renovation it typically entails.
Summer never fails to usher in higher temperatures. And, unfortunately for the typical homeowner, the season also tends to bring higher energy bills. After all, homeowners across the country rely on air conditioning to maintain a comfortable indoor environment, and as conventional cooling options are infamous energy hogs, their operation usually incurs a considerable cost. Year in, year out, you may face a familiar, frustrating choice: Unable to have both at once, you must trade comfort for savings, or savings for comfort.
Only one innovative technology enables homeowners to enjoy both. Mini-split systems from leaders like Fujitsu General minimize energy consumption and running costs without sacrificing performance. Whereas older, increasingly outmoded systems typically score Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings between 4 and 10, the Fujitsu mini-split operates at a jaw-dropping 32 SEER. Indeed, many Fujitsu mini-splits are certified by Energy Star for their ability to deliver cooling at a savings of up to 25 percent over less efficient systems.
Another reason for the growing popularity of mini-splits—easy installation. Traditional central air can be challenging to retrofit or extend, in large part because it depends on elaborate networks of ducts. Mini-split systems, by contrast, can be completely ductless, if desired. For this reason, they are often much more compact, taking up only a fraction of the space ducted systems occupy. Because they’re so compact, mini-splits lend themselves to unobtrusive installation that entails neither the hassle nor expense of remodeling.
A basic mini-split consists of nothing more than an outdoor condenser and an indoor unit. (Here, in contrast with traditional AC, there’s no need to make room in the basement or attic for an evaporator.) Thin copper tubes, narrow enough to fit through a discreet, three- to four-inch opening in the home exterior, run between the condenser and indoor unit. Those tubes carry refrigerant from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit, so it can distribute conditioned air into the space.
A single outdoor condenser can power multiple indoor units. With Fujitsu, in fact, a single condenser can run as many as eight indoor units positioned throughout the home. To help homeowners incorporate all those indoor units discreetly, manufacturers like Fujitsu offer a range of designs. Wall-mounted units install above eye level, while floor-mounted units work best in rooms with minimal wall space, such as kitchens. Slim-duct units, yet another option, can be recessed into the ceiling, where they remain virtually hidden.
Want even more evidence of mini-splits’ versatility? Look no further than their ability to target temperatures on a room-by-room basis. With traditional central air, if you want to cool any room, you must cool all rooms. Besides being unnecessarily expensive, all-or-nothing cooling ignores the fact that different family members often prefer different temperatures. With a mini-split, you can not only save by cutting back on cooling in rarely used rooms, but you can also put a stop to feuds over the thermostat setting.
Perhaps best of all, homeowners can depend on mini-split systems for comfort, not only in summer, but in each and every season, year-round—that is, if the outdoor condenser boasts inverter technology. Take the Fujitsu Halcyon, for example. Here, the push of a button switches the system from cooling to heating mode. In cooling mode, the condenser draws heat from inside the home and expels it outdoors. In heating mode, the operation reverses, harvesting heat from the outdoor air and channeling it indoors.
More attractive than window units, more compact than central air-conditioning systems, and more efficient than either one, mini-splits offer a compelling climate-control alternative that, while already popular in Europe and Asia, hasn’t yet gone mainstream here at home. That’s all changing, though, as more and more homeowners discover the features and benefits of versatile mini-splits. Ready to take the next step? To find a Fujitsu General contractor near you, call 888-888-3424 or go online right now to visit www.constantcomfort.com.
This articles has been brought to you by Fujitsu. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.
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- How To: Custom-Build The Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen
How To: Custom-Build The Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen
Earn your stripes as a DIY and grill master when you build this outdoor kitchen equipped with a concrete countertop, built-in cutting board, and extra storage—all you could possibly need for your next backyard BBQ.
Whether you’re accustomed to hosting the big barbecue or simply enjoy the occasional family dinner from the grill, you’re likely familiar with the inadequate storage and prep space around a standard outdoor cook station. Rather than spending thousand of dollars on the latest all-inclusive grill station, build yourself a custom unit that’s comparable to your indoor kitchen. This DIY design incorporates any portable grill into an outdoor kitchen station that also features concrete countertop, built-in cutting board, and lower shelf—all mounted on wheels to move about easily.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Portable grill
- 6mm plywood
- 2×2 lumber (64 feet)
- Wood glue
- 2-1⁄2-inch nails (18)
- Cutting board
- Rebar (143 inches)
- Concrete (33 pounds)
- Plastic bucket
- 1×6 lumber (16 feet)
- Garden cart wheels (2)
- 2-1⁄2-inch screws (44)
- 2-inch metal brackets (8)
- 3⁄4-inch screws (16)
- Wood stain
- All-purpose glue
- Palm sander
Start this project by making the concrete counter so that, in the few days it takes to cure, you can turn your attention to the wooden base.
Our grill was 13 by 20 inches, so we planned the total countertop to be 20 by 44 inches. But the best part of any DIY project is that you can adapt the design to meet your own needs! Keep in mind: You need at least 3 inches of concrete all around the grill. If yours is no larger than 14 inches by 24 inches, you can follow along with this tutorial and simply adjust the inset to accommodate the grill. Otherwise, here’s the basic formula we used to determine dimensions for the countertop and, therefore, the outdoor kitchen cart:
Your grill’s length + 3 inches to the left + a 18-inch wide prep surface = Your cart’s width
Your grill’s width + 3-inch lip around front + 3-inch lip around the back = Your cart’s depth
For the rest of the tutorial, we’ll stick to actual dimensions used.
Since most of the countertop will be concrete, you’ll need to build a mold with interior dimensions that match what your plan. Cut your 2×2 lumber so that you two 44-inch pieces (the same length as the cart) and two 23-inch pieces (3 inches longer than your cart’s width). Arrange them on 6mm plywood—FYI, this will be the top of your concrete counter when you undo the mold—so that the two longer pieces are parallel and a shorter piece connects them at each end to make a box. These will be the walls to your mold.
Apply wood glue wherever your 2×2 pieces meet one another, and reinforce the corners by hammering one 2-1⁄2-inch nail through each end of the 23-inch cuts. Then glue the open rectangle to the center of your plywood and secure with nails, one at the end of each 2×2 piece.
Next, build a rectangular frame from 2×2 the size of your grill to hold its place in the left side of the concrete mold. Since ours is 13 inches by 20 inches, we cut two 13-inch-long pieces and two 17-inch-long pieces (which, when added to the two 1-1⁄2-inch-thick 2×2 sides, make up the 20-inch sides).
Measure in 3-1⁄2 inches from the left wall and draw a line all the way down using pencil, then do the same for each long side. Glue one 13-inch length inside the first penciled line you drew. Next, position the two 17-inch pieces parallel inside their pencil lines so that each have one end touching the 2×2 already in place; glue these to the 2×2 and the plywood. Finally, glue the second 13-inch length to the open ends of the frame and plywood.
We’re also integrating a wooden cutting board on the open side. Since the plywood will be removed to reveal the top of your counter, you cannot affix the cutting board to it with nails. Instead, place your cutting board in place first where you’d like it to set. We also fastened extra scrap wood behind it using nails to steady the addition as the concrete cured.
Next, prep a rebar frame along the perimeter of your countertop’s features to help strengthen the concrete; otherwise, you risk breaking the concrete when taking the counter out of the mold. Cut and lay two 43-inch pieces on the edge lengthwise, and cut three more 19-inch pieces to lay perpendicularly as seen above.
Two important things to know: First, the rebar needs to be totally connected wherever it intersects with another piece, so wrap wire at each intersection. Second, the rebars should not laid directly on the bottom. To prevent it from sinking to the bottom of your mold (and potentially peeking through the top of your counter), form W shapes with the wire behind the rebar at each intersection to help raise the structure from the plywood panel, then lay it into place halfway through your concrete pour.
Once you’re sure all of the wood glue has dried, you can start to prep the concrete. Fill a plastic bucket with dry concrete and mix with water using a trowel or a large kitchen spoon, carefully following the package’s instructions. Rather than make the entire package at once, work with several small batches at the time. The more concrete, the harder it is to mix—and the heavier it is to pour.
Pour each batch evenly across the entire mold, as if in layers. When you’ve filled the mold halfway, lay your rebar frame. Then cover and continue until your mold is completely filled.
Tap lightly along the edges of the mold with a hammer. This releases trapped air bubbles and ensures that the concrete is homogeneous. Let cure for a few days, or as long as the packaging’s instructions require. When ready, you’ll un-box a 1-1⁄2-inch-thick concrete counter.
Next up: The wooden base for your DIY outdoor kitchen. Cut four 30-inch lengths from the remaining 2×2 lumber to make its legs, and drill holes and screw garden cart wheels to the bottom of two. Washers and any other hardware included with your wheel will twist onto the opposite side of the leg to keep each from falling off.
Now, the four legs need to be exactly the same length in order to keep your grill cart level at all times. Since the wheels add a couple of inches to the two legs depending on the size you picked up, you’ll want to cut a some from the non-wheeled ends to compensate. Line bottoms of your four legs (wood and wheels) to determine how much needs sawed off, pencil your marks, and cut.
Space the two legs (one simple leg and one with a wheel) 41 inches apart and glue their tops so that you can adhere a 44-inch 2×2 across them. Reinforce with two 2-1⁄2-inch screws through the top at each end.
Next, measure 20 inches down and connect the legs with a 41-inch 2×2. Again, glue and screw into place (two screws at each end).
Repeat Step 7 to build the second side of your cart’s frame. In order for both wheels to be on the outside of the cart, build this second side as a mirror image of the first (see above).
Flip the two sides so that the wheels are in the air and on the outsides of the legs. Connect their top corners (the ones now resting on the ground) with 17-inch cuts of 2×2. Glue each into place, then use 3⁄4-inch screws to reinforce each corner with a 2-inch metal bracket—you want to make certain that the structure is strong enough to support its concrete countertop.
Glue two more 17-inch cuts of 2×2, this time 20-3⁄4 inches below the top ones. This time, drill two 2-1⁄2-inch screws through each leg into the new additions.
Stand the cart upright so that you can attach a bottom shelf made from the 1×6 lumber.
Cut the lumber into 40-inch pieces and fit them to lay over the 17-inch 2×2 support at either end of the grill cart. We purposefully installed the side 2×2 supports so that they were 3⁄4 inches below the 2×2s along the front and the back, so that when you lay the 1×6, it will be even with those 40-inch supports already in place. If there’s a little gap, evenly these three new slats to make it less obvious. Attach first with glue, and then screw down through the top, two into each end of every slat.
Brush on one to two coats of stain, depending on the color you want to achieve. Be sure to allow the structure to dry completely after each coat. Once the stain dries, apply at least two coats of acrylic varnish.
Now, you’re ready to assemble the two parts of this build.
First, check that the concrete top is dry. To undo the wooden mold and reveal your concrete creation, remove the nails one by one and pull.
Next, cover the top of the cart with all-purpose glue and place the concrete counter on top. Ask for some help before you lift: Its weight requires at least two people to carry the counter and flip it right side up onto the wooden base. Wait for the glue to dry before you continue.
Sand the edges and the wooden cutting board, if needed. Then use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away all of the dust from sanding.
The hole in the concrete should be exactly the dimensions of your grill, meaning that if you place your portable grill in right now it would drop through to the lower shelf. To prevent any damage to your grill, screw four 2-inch brackets (one in each corner) into the concrete as well as the wood frame immediately beneath; their open bottoms will hold the grill in place.
Pro tip: When you switch from drilling holes in the wood to boring concrete, change to a masonry bit and then work slowly.
Fit the grill into place in the top of your DIY outdoor kitchen, and get ready to turn up the heat! A job well done deserves a burger made to the same specifications.
Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.
- Major Systems >
- Save Water, Energy, and Money with This One Swap
Save Water, Energy, and Money with This One Swap
Installing a low-flow shower head can yield buckets of savings. Read on to learn more about this quick, budget-conscious DIY.
Believe it or not, showers use (and waste) more water indoors than any other single household activity or chore. In fact, showers account for nearly 17 percent of the total amount of water used inside the home. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that translates to about 40 gallons per day for the average family; factor in the number of households in the United States and this routine hygiene uses up a whopping 4.9 billion gallons of water by day’s end. Whether your focus is on decreasing your water bill or conserving our planet’s scarce resources, you can take a big step toward your goal with one small change: replacing your shower head. Swapping out an old, gallon-guzzling shower head for an EPA-certified model can save your family an average of 2,900 gallons per year.
Wasting less water during each daily shower means you’ll spend less money on the water bill—a increasingly vital concern for the typical household. Indeed, the average monthly water bill has climbed 41 percent since 2010, according to Circle of Blue, a water-monitoring organization. But beyond simply saving H2O, a low-flow shower head can also shrink a second utility bill—your energy bill. “Less water out of the shower head is less water that you need to heat up,” says Daniel O’Brian, a technical expert from online retailer SupplyHouse.com. And O’Brian isn’t just talking about chump change: According to EPA figures, the average family switching to an especially low-flow shower head could save more than 370 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power a house for 13 days.
So, does your current shower head offer room for improvement and the possibility of savings? “Shower heads installed prior to 1994 could have flow rates of upwards of 5 gallons per minute (GPM), which can be excessive,” O’Brian says. For comparison, all models made and sold in the United States after January 1 of that year were required to have flow rates that max out at 2.5 GPM—half the previous output—and some stand-out shower heads perform even better. Models labeled ‘WaterSense’ have flow rates of 2 GPM or lower, and are considered ultra high efficiency. To find out if you’re one of the many homeowners or renters whose bills could benefit from a switch, try this easy one-minute experiment: Place a bucket marked with gallon increments underneath your shower head, and turn on the water at whatever pressure you typically set for a shower. Time how long it takes the water to fill the bucket to the one-gallon mark. If water reaches that mark in fewer than 24 seconds, your shower head is putting out more water than necessary for a comfortable shower. This means that you could save water by switching out your shower head.
While early models of water-saving shower heads were plagued with problems, from weak flow to sudden temperature variations, there’s not much of a downside now. Updated designs corrected many of these past deficiencies, and today’s low-flow models offer satisfying shower experiences that are equal to, or in some cases better than, those offered by conventional shower heads. Low-flow models sport a selection of finishes as well as adjustable spray patterns and modes, with settings that range from a gentle mist to an invigorating massage. Better still: Water-saving shower heads are comparable to their standard counterparts in cost, and offer basic, mid-range, and luxury styles to choose from to suit any budget. While a modestly priced model can certainly get the job done, higher-priced shower heads generally include extras, such as a radio, rainfall settings, and handheld options.
“As with many products, do your homework before buying a low-flow shower head,” advises O’Brian. First, familiarize yourself with the two main types of water-saving shower heads. Aerating models mix water with air, creating a misty spray that gives the illusion of increased flow, while laminar-flow shower heads emit dozens of parallel streams. Because these don’t mix air into the water, they tend to retain heat a little better than aerating models. Once you’ve settled on a model to suit your household’s needs, installation is generally a breeze. “In most instances, you simply shut off the water, unscrew the old head, and screw on the new one,” O’Brian says. “You might find an adjustable wrench comes in handy to remove the old head, and a little bit of plumber’s tape wrapped around the threads can help prevent leaks.” In less than an hour, you can have a new shower head in place. Your DIY project will start paying for itself almost immediately.
For help sifting through the variety of water-saving options available today, including models from industry-leading brands like Jones Stephens, Wal-Rich, and Zurn, contact the experts at SupplyHouse.com.
This article has been brought to you by SupplyHouse.com. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.
- Lawn & Garden >
- So You Want to… Hang a Porch Swing
So You Want to… Hang a Porch Swing
Before you can relax on the ultimate piece of folksy outdoor furniture, you’d better read up on the basics.
A porch swing symbolizes one thing: leisure. That’s why it became such a popular fixture in the mid-19th century and why it retains its appeal today. There are various ways to enjoy its simple charm—whether curling up with a good book or exercising your legs while chatting with loved ones—but first you’ve got to pick the perfect place, confirm its structural integrity, and familiarize yourself with installation. Ahead, your porch swing primer!
Choose a size and a spot. A porch swing can be a single-occupant hanging chair, or it can be wide enough to hold several people. A 4-foot swing comfortably sits two adults, but swings also come in 6- and 8-foot lengths. Decide how many people might typically pile on at the same time, allowing 2 feet per person.
As to placement, find a spot below a sturdy beam or joist that allows an arc—the distance the swing travels back and forth—of no less than 4 feet. An ideal place would have 3 to 4 feet of empty space fore and aft of the swing and at least 14 inches of clearance on each side. The swing should hang at least 17 inches from the floor so the average occupant’s feet can touch the floor.
Also consider the view. If you wish to admire your front yard and easily wave to neighbors, position the swing to face forward; if you prefer a more private space for reading, contemplation and intimate conversation, consider aligning the swing sideways.
Consider structure and safety. The beam or joist that supports the swing’s hardware—and the fasteners themselves—must be sturdy enough to bear at least 500 pounds. Never install swing supports in something as flimsy as plywood or bead board. A single 2×6 load-bearing joist or beam can support a two-person swing, but a 2×8 is even stronger.
A porch swing hanger kit comes with the proper hardware; if gathering the hardware yourself, however, make sure it’s made of galvanized or stainless steel to withstand the elements. If you use a rope instead of a chain, it should be marine-grade braided nylon or polyester.
Get familiar with installation. Porch swings hang from either two-chain and four-chain suspension systems. The former design has one chain on each side that branches into two separate chains that attach to the front and back of the armrest. Others use four separate chains; the fasteners on each side support two separate chains—one that connects to the front of the swing and one that connects to the back or bottom.
You also have a choice of fasteners. Porch swing hangers made specifically for this purpose include a base, hook, and comfort spring. Or you can use eye bolts or S-hooks that have 4- to 6-inch shafts. Install the fasteners 2 to 4 inches wider than the swing’s length at each end to prevent the chains from rubbing against the swing and to better distribute weight. When installing the fasteners, drill a pilot hole that’s slightly smaller than the hardware so you have a snug, secure fit.
No porch? No problem! You can also be a swinger if your porch’s beams or joists are inadequate. Simply hang a porch swing from a stand-alone frame or turn to that trusty oak or other hardwood tree with a thick, strong, healthy limb. Loop each chain around the limb and secure it with a large, weather-resistant bolt. To protect the branch from wear, wrap a rubber hose around the chain where it loops around the branch.
Inspect your swing at least once a year. Check the seat for splinters or loose parts and repair. Also replace any fasteners that seem rusty or worn. But right now, kick back and relax!