October 25, 2014

Time For a New Lawn Mower?

The End of Season sales are a good time to replace that old mower you’ve been dragging out all summer.  Newer models are more energy efficient and the gas models burn cleaner too.  Before you head out to your local home store, take a few minutes to brush up on your lawn mower knowledge.

One of your first decisions is whether you want a gas or electric mower.  Gas mowers are powerful and can handle long, dense grass.  There are many different models available.  On the downside, they require oil, air filter and spark plug changes.  They use a pull start and are often quite noisy.  You need to have a ready supply of gasoline.  Electric mowers are quiet with no fuel or exhaust emissions and require little maintenance other than sharpening the blades.  They start with a simple switch or push button and are generally lightweight.  The negatives of electric mowers include the limits of mowing within 100 feet of an electrical outlet- the length of the cord.  Cordless machines require a rechargeable battery with a limited run time, on average, of 45 minutes.

Both gas and electric mowers come with the option of being push or self-propelled.  Self-propelled mowers are easy to use, they move automatically when you pull a lever and stop when the  lever is released.  ( A safety feature to keep it from running away from you as they do in bad comedies.)  They come in a variety of models, but are more expensive than push mowers.  Push mowers will give you a workout and burn calories.  They are tough to use on hills or yards larger than 1/4 acre.

Side-discharge mowers leave lawn clippings to be raked.  Bag equipped models collect the clippings but add to the weight being pushed.  Mulchers finely chop the clippings and leave them behind to fertilize the grass.

One last tip: measure your gates to be sure the new mower can get into your yard.

Eight Basic Safety Rules For Outdoor Power Equipment

Here are some rules everyone should be aware of before using outdoor power equipment. They come straight from the folks who know how to use them, The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

1 . Know how to operate the equipment.
Read the operator’s manual before using any power equipment. Know where the controls are and what they do. Follow safety instructions.

2. Dress properly for the job.
Wear long pants, close-fitting clothes, sturdy shoes, and safety glasses.Don’t wear anything that could get caught in moving parts (loose jewelry or clothing; be careful of long hair).

3. Handle gas carefully.
Fill up before you start, while the engine is cold. Don’t spill when you fill. Store gas in an approved container in a cool ventilated area. Never smoke around gasoline.

4. Clear the area before you start.
Pick up rocks, twigs, cans, golf balls, anything that could be thrown by mowing equipment.

5. Keep children and pets away from the area until you’re finished.
Never allow children to operate a mower. And never carry children as passengers on a riding mower.

6. Operate equipment carefully and follow recommended procedures.
Always turn off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire before attempting to unclog or work on outdoor power equipment. When leaving equipment unattended, turn off the engine and remove key.

7. Keep hands and feet away from moving parts.
Never work on equipment while it is running. Never remove or tamper with safety devices and labels… they’re provided to protect you and your family.

8. Wear hearing protection.
When working with equipment that generates increased sound levels be sure to protect your ears. Wear hearing protection such as special earmuffs to prevent potentially damaging sounds from reaching your ears without eliminating the sounds you’ll NEED to hear. So protect your ears from sounds that are too LOUD and too CLOSE for too long.

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