Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Regular Maintenance

While you're cleaning out your gutters and changing the batteries in the smoke detectors, don't forget your furnace air filter.

This one was installed last fall. I use Honeywell filters that are pleated and about 4" thick. Pretty nasty looking.

The back side is nice and clean. This is what the new filters look like (except for the wire mesh which is only on the back side). The 4" thickness along with the pleating increase the surface area tremendously compared to a generic 1" filter. Because of the extra surface area I only have to change the filter twice a year.

Ghetto Metal Fabrication

Back to the rototiller I got for free a few weeks ago. I didn't notice it right away, but there was no shield around the tiller blades. This wouldn't keep it from operating, but it would make using it a very dirty operation for me as it would throw dirt all over me.

Time to do a little metal fabrication!

A few years back I did a lot of metal fabrication in the garage of our previous house. This Humvee replica was built on a Chevy Suburban chassis. Everything brown was fabricated from scratch. The cammo parts are military surplus, and the doors are replicas. Compared to this, a dirt shield for an old rototiller should be a piece of cake!

First step was to remove the motor from the tiller. Four bolts and the throttle cable were removed in about 5 minutes.

The lower unit only needed a little de-greasing.

I had enough spare sheet metal laying around to do this, but most of my metal working tools are still packed up. This was a pretty simple job so I went with hand tools. Aviation snips, a 24" x 24" sheet of aluminum, a 3 pound mallet, and cordless drill is all I needed.

The back end of the sheet was cut to fit over the frame and the sides were bent down. The aluminum bends easily, so I didn't have to use a metal brake.

It's probably wider than it needs to be, but I can easily trim it back later after I try it out for the first time. As it sits now it should easily keep me from getting covered in dirt. Total work time, about 90 minutes.

The thin metal would benefit from a couple of beads being rolled into it, but it's not worth the effort right now until I get a chance to try it out.

After mounting the engine it fired up on the 3rd pull. Life is good.

Spring Gutter Cleaning

We've had a lot of rain over the past few days, and it looks like it'll keep up for at least another day or two.

Since we moved in there have been pretty regular "issues" with the downspouts, as they get a pretty good build-up of leaves and twigs which can block the flow and plug the downspout. Plugged downspouts lead to water coming in at the foundation, which has meant water getting into the basement.

I took a little time when the rain stopped to go check the downspouts, and found that two of the four had some build-up. Neither was too bad, but one of them could have easily escalated to full blockage with a little more debris.

Five minutes of work and they're all cleaned out and ready for more rain. I also found that one of the drain lines was ready to come disconnected, which would have let all the water drop straight down to the foundation. Probably from the kids playing around it, would be my guess.

The blockage I get now is nowhere near as bad as it was last year thanks to the tree trimming I've been doing. Trees which were overhanging the house were cut back as much as possible, so now much of the junk ends up in the gutters thanks to the wind. I won't cut the trees back too much more, as they'll really start to look hacked up if I do that.