Thursday, June 13, 2013

A simple garden trellis for growing squash

We've got three 4x16' raised garden beds at our house.  My family enjoys growing squash and other sprawling vines, but the problem is that they take up so darned much space in the garden.  One way around that is to grow them upward along a trellis instead of sideways.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Replacing the window well covers

It's the rainy season here in Nebraska, which means it's time to replace all the broken window well covers that the careless kids have stepped on throughout the year.  Our house is a little more difficult than most, because the stucco siding on our 120-year-old house has a very random edge right above the basement windows.  This requires us to trim the edges of the window well covers to a perfect fit before we can screw them into place on the window frame.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fixing a Whirlpool agitator

Our Whirlpool washing machine recently stopped agitating the clothes during heavy loads.  (For you non-homemakers, the agitator is that finned post that spins around in the middle of the washer.)  Rather than spend $80 plus parts on a service call, a little bit of research online told me that the cause was likely worn-out agitator dogs.  A new set of dogs cost me only $6 at a local appliance supply shop, and it took me only a few minutes to replace them myself.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cleaning a wimpy water heater

We have a Kenmore Power Miser 12 gas water heater in our home.  It sits on the basement floor, and the combustion air intakes are at the bottom of the heater.  Twice now, the air intake (specifically, the flame arrestor) has gotten clogged with dust and needed to be cleaned.  Read on for more.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Geothermal heat & hot water

I've been trying to nail down the specifics of some of the infrastructure of our new home.  We knew we wanted to use a geothermal heat pump to heat the house because it's dirt cheap (no pun intended) to operate, and with the government incentives currently in place, it's not all that much more expensive to install than a traditional furnace & A/C.  I had heard rumors that it could also be used to provide "free hot water."  Since heating water can use anywhere from 20-30% of a home's annual utility bill, reducing this cost can have a significant impact on a home's operational cost.  I wanted to share what I found about that.