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  • Writer's pictureDIYTechnician

Ready for Winter? Here's some things you need to do to prepare

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Fall is upon us and winter is right around the corner. The days will be getting shorter and wintertime preparations can begin right now to avoid last minute emergencies and inconveniences associated with procrastination that we are all guilty of. Do you have a generator?Are your small engines and machines fuel tanks empty or fuel stabilizer added? Do you know how to install tire chains? It's questions like these you will need to ask yourself. You can use this as a checklist if you'd like. Don't forget to add in covering your pipes and outdoor spigots. If you have a wood stove and burn wood to keep warm, you may want to make sure you ask yourself if your chimney is cleaned. Maybe you don't have a wood stove but you have a pellet stove instead. Do you have enough pellets to last. Don't wait too long to get those pellets ordered either as there could be a last minute scramble once the cold hits. How about those vehicles of yours, are they ready for winter? Best to get that oil changed now rather have to wait until it's cold and dark to do it. Do you have emergency lighting and extra candles. You can even make some of your own to get you buy if you have the supplies.


Is Your Chimney Swept Out and Cleaned?

Performing this once a year (minimum) will prevent creosote build up.The first thing I did was grab a chimney sweeping brush. Each section can be assembled and disassembled easily which allows for you to sweep the entire length of your chimney. I recommend you use some kind of fall protection device (fall gear) before attempting to climb on your roof and sweep out your chimney. My roof has pitch that is friendly to where if I did slip and fall I wouldn't go over the edge. Next I popped the top cap off the stove pipe by slowly working it off. I took that and cleaned it out really well too. Then I inserted the first sections of the chimney sweeping brush down into the bore and worked it back and forth removing any creosote along the way. Started adding lengths of each section and repeated this process until I bottomed out. if you have a horoscope camera it would prove to be extremely helpful in doing the inspection of the inner bore of the stove pipe as you could identify any weak or wearing spots within the bore that you can't see from the top or bottom. Do as much of a visual inspection as you can while you are performing this. Pretty simple job but can be dangerous if you don't take the proper safety precautions. This is a great summertime job to do. This is the logical time to do it as the roof is less likely to be slippery and you are mostly done making fires for a couple months.


Paid amazon Link to chimney brush kit: https://amzn.to/3b4JFUc


Is Your Pellet Stove Cleaned?

I really love this pellet stove. I've always burned wood for heat in my woodstove but have grown to love this pellet stove. There are some special cleaning tasks that need to be performed to keep it healthy and functioning properly. Along with cleaning out the ash with a shop vac I like to keep the front glass clean as well for maximum visibility of the pellet stove's flame. For cleaning the glass we found that a magic eraser worked really well for getting the bulk of the tightly adherent soot that likes to stick around the glass. We also will use a vinegar solution for a finer shine and cleaning as well. I'm finding that this pellet stove is not as much mess as dealing with wood kindling and logs. The pellets come in plastic bags for easy storage. We keep a decorative trashcan next to the pellet stove to store pellets and use an old paint bucket with a handle on it for a pellet scooper to dump them into the top of the stove. The stove has a blower built into it that helps circulate the heat nicely. This is how to clean out your pellet stove and then also reload the pellets. I recommend doing this once a week see what happens here just open this up what happens is it all collects down in there you can see and then we just need to clean that out of there make sure the stove has been off for a long time it's cold to the touch. You'll need to get and use your scraper and also loosen those two wing nuts down there, then pull that plate out and get it all clean. For the sight glass panel, we'll hit it with the vinegar water vinegar water solution and then the magic eraser. It helps if you get the shop vac out and use it. Pop the top panel shutter door to load the pellets. You may ask how much is it for a bag full of pellets? Right now it's five dollars or so for a bag. You may also ask how long does a bag last in the winter and at what temperature? I try to keep it at 65. At 65F how long does a bag last, do you think couple days probably six to eight hours a day okay so maybe 10 bucks a day. When loading them, to make room for more pellets i'll just squish them down a little bit further. There we go make sure your rails are clean getting the pellets out keep it clean there you go you're ready to roll all right after you got your pellet stove cleaned out and loaded up here's how to operate it so what you'll do is you'll set your feed limit and the speed and that's what the pellets will drop into the auger at that but you want it about a three or a four you know if it's too slow it won't heat up enough and if it's too fast you'll just go through a lot of pellets here's the igniter switch. If you have any issues with your igniter you can do it manually by disabling that and you can light your pellets manually. This is for the fan so when you want a constant burn just a continual burn. I don't do it this way b/c I go through more pellets but I just do the room temperature thing and then I usually keep my fan speed about here (see vid)......so not all the way but about three quarters and when we're operating this it's mostly like in the 30s and low 40s during the winter months here. I try to keep the thermostat and my room temperature to about 65 to you know my kids always will bump it up to 70 but I like to keep it at 65. it keeps the cost of the pellet stove and running the blower and buying pellets um easier all right so i'm going to do um 65 70ish and then i'm just going to turn my dial and the pilot light's already lit right so we don't need to do any auto igniting or disabling right yeah okay and if the pilot wasn't lit we would do auto ignite and it would ignite and then if that didn't work we would disable it and light it with a lighter right okay all right so we're just waiting for it to come on now and it takes about 10 minutes for it to kick on after you get it started okay so once you get this going and this going and your feed limit set this is what starts it right here right okay so about 10 minutes after you kick it on to what you want yep and then it'll fire up you'll see a spark but right now all you can hear is the auger moving the pellets and loading them and then it'll heat up and then it'll catch fire yeah so if you're new at this you might think at this point it's not working you just have to give it a little bit of time for it to kick on you. #harman#pellet#fireplace#pelletstove#heat#harmen#pellets#stove#woodstove


Do you have Emergency Lighting For Power Outages?


To make this DIY Monster Energy Can Themed Decorative Tiki Party Lamp you will need an empty Monster Energy Drink Can like this one, some lamp oil, some torch wick replacements, drill bit approx the same or slightly less than the diameter of the torch replacement wick and a drill. It's a good idea to put a bunch of rocks in the bottom of the can to keep it from easily toppling over. The lamp oil will only provide a certain amount of weight but once it gets low the can can easily be flipped over causing a fire. This is made for outdoor use only and not around anything combustable. I took the lid and drilled a hole through the it and ran the torch wick through it. Now you basically have a tiki torch. Extreme caution should be taken to make sure this stays away from anything that will catch on fire. This was an easy and fun project with an original spin on it. If Monster energy drink can themes aren't your thing, than you can paint this creative colors or wildly decorate them. I'll post some paid links to the materials below.

Lamp Oil: https://amzn.to/2Ak2HbX

Wicks: https://amzn.to/3f6leao

Screwtop Monster Energy Drinks: https://amzn.to/3hbPT7X

Cordless Drill: https://amzn.to/3cQnSiU


Here's the steps in summary:Get an old Monster or aluminum can like this with a screw top lid.You'll need some lamp oil and a good size tiki torch wick.Drill a hole through the cap just barely under the size of the wick so that way there is a snug fit.Run the wick though the hole in the lidPut some rocks into the bottom of the can so it doesn't blow over easilyFill up the can with the lamp oilScrew the wick and the lid back onto the can and light itThat's it, your done and have a great burning source of flame and light.


Is Your Garage Door Sealed?

This kind (the existing kind) is fastened with nails so it doesn't have a rail system like the other type so you can buy different kinds of kits just depending on the one you want to go with. This one just gets fastened right to the bottom with nails which is how the existing one is fastened as well. So the first thing I need to do is pull on the release handle to get the garage door loose because that'll allow me to access it right here at eye level rather than too high and this just puts it right at a good working height. So as you can see the reason I need to replace it it's all is because the existing one is all dry rotted and old so i'll go along the bottom starting at one end to the other and just pul the old stuff out. I'll need to try and pop these nails out so it's gonna take a little while but well worth the effort so the critters won't get in and it'll keep it a little bit more heat and weather efficient keeping the breeze out. As I go along I realize this tear out is not exactly going to be quick. I'm just going to rip the old one off and it actually comes off really easy is I just go along there with a hammer and get those up as well as little pry bar. I'll get it all cleaned up too and get any debris or dirt out of there. Once I've got all the nails removed, now i'm just going to stretch out the other piece I purchased at Lowe's and it's 16' piece in length. I like how it comes with fasteners for it. So they are black and subtle. If the bottom weather stripping runs longer than your door you just take some scissors and clip off the end. Here's a paid link to some garage door seal:


Frost King G16H Nail-On Rubber Garage Door Bottom Seal, 2-1/4-Inch by 16-Foot, Black: https://amzn.to/3z8DwkS


Tile Mate (2020) 1-pack - Bluetooth Tracker, Keys Finder and Item Locator for Keys, Bags and More; Water Resistant with 1 Year Replaceable Battery:


Do you know how to Install Tire Chains?

It's a good idea to do a dry run on installing these before you find yourself doing it for the first time out in the snow. Better to get familiar with it on dry ground already before it's an emergent situation. Here's the steps to getting this done.

1. Get the chain laid out on ground to get spread out

2. Drape chain over tire

3. Roll vehicle forward for easy backside connection

4. Connect inner or inside most chain connection

5. Connect outer or outside most chain connection using long piece for leverage grabbing as high on link chain as possible for the most tension

6. Fold over and lock into place with hook

7. Install outer rubber circular piece using hooks

Good to go.

Paid link to a Security Chain Company QG2221CAM Quik Grip Light Truck CAM LSH Tire Traction Chain - Set of 2:


Is your Oil Changed?


DIY Oil Change | How to Change the Oil on a Nissan PathFinder [Basic Oil Change Nissan]. I'm gonna do an oil change on this 1998 nissan pathfinder so the oil filter is located basically here but straight down underneath in order to get to it you got to remove this this plate here so it's done with the 10 millimeter and there's the filter right there for draining the oil the plug is right there. 14 millimeter. Once it's all done draining just put the plug back in. All right now to take that oil filter off. They didn't crank it down too bad so it's just hand and tight which is nice put it back on the same way too okay now i'm just gonna install this new one right where i took that other one off. What i like to do too is get a little oil on my finger and then just lube up that gasket just a little bit. I've got just over about three and a half in there let's take a look at the dipstick see what it tells us....it's actually looking looking full so we're good to go now.

Paid link to Groz - 41960MFK No Mess Oil Change Kit with 4-1/4 Gallon Drain Pan: https://amzn.to/3E8FBB3

FRAM Extra Guard PH6607, 10K Mile Change Interval Spin-On Oil Filter, black: https://amzn.to/3C4JKnT


Do you Know How to Start Your Chainsaw?


It's best practice and recommended by manufacturer that you start the chainsaw with it on the ground vs. how it's shown in the demo video. This example was done on an MS-250 model chainsaw. Be sure it's got bar oil and properly mixed gas. This is a simple video on starting your saw. If you don't know how to start a still chainsaw you might be there pulling on it right for a long time so one of the tricks all right...actually the trick for starting this obviously make sure you got your bar oil and your gas mixed right. This one here is a still ms 250 but this goes for all steel chainsaws and to start them right. You'll want to push the black switch in the back all the way toward the bottom (toward the ground) and give it 4 good cranks and it should pop for a second and then die. Once this happens, take that black switch and tick it up a half a click and give it another good crank. It should now start.


Paid link to a Husqvarna 20 Inch 455 Rancher Gas Chainsaw:


Got Firewood Dry and Ready?


In this DIY Homemade Pallet Firewood Wood Storage Bin-Repurposed Pallet Wood video I demonstrate how to simply construct a useful and practical all weather log seasoning rack. Since I used so many pallet slats for other projects I had many of the big pallet cross member pieces left over. Typically I would slice them up into burnable pieces and use them for getting my fire started as they are great for this. In this case I needed racks in which to store all of my firewood so these were just what I needed. So I started sorting them out and getting 4 that were nearly identical to start out with and then of course pulling the nails out of pounding them in. In some cases I had to knock them off to the side and pound them flush. The reason to start out with 4 that are identical is so the sides will be close to equal height. For the bottom all you'll need is two that are nearly identical. The top is less important as long as you have pieces that are long enough as you can trim the top or even use slats if you have long enough ones. As far as the nails go, whenever I pulled them I tried to staighten them if needed and save them for future use. In this case I was able to reuse them for building these things. After sorting the pieces I laid them out on the ground in a "U" shape making two identical parts right next to each other. The bottom portion of the "U" gets nailed together to the side pieces. Once the two identical parts are constructed I stacked them on top of one another. I then used some pallet slats as securing pieces to hold the two modules together. After standing the pieces upright I completed the square by nailing the top portion on. This adds strength to the side pieces when storing firewood and also adds to the visual appeal. These are nice to make because they are free and also you can make as many as you want and stack them next to each other in a nice organized fashion without the fear of your firewood falling over. It also makes it easier to secure a tarp to it if you need to keep it dry.


Is Your Pet Kennel Covered?

This is a demo tutorial style video is an option for you to put over your chain link dog kennel enclosure/dog run. This was a very fun project with the total cost on it being just over $300 from home depot for boards, plastic sheet roofing, screws, and clamps.

After i bought this stuff i found out that of you apply for a home depot credit card you can get 50% off. Damn the luck.

This particular dog kennel was 8’ wide and 12’ long and it wasn’t square. The kennel had to stay as is so i had to work around the unsquareness.


Lucky Dog 61528EZ 10' x 10' x 6' Heavy Duty Outdoor Galvanized Chain Link Dog Kennel Enclosure with 2 Configurations: https://amzn.to/2PXYAGB


Visit my website for step by step directions complete with lots of pictures: https://www.diy-technician.com/post/diy-building-outdoor-chain-link-dog-kennel-roof-dog-kennel


Here are the clamps I used to hold the wood portion to the galvanized tube. Paid link to a Sigma Electric ProConnex 1902 EMT One-Hole Strap 3/4-Inch, 50-Pack: https://amzn.to/342kxMZ


Generator Working and Ready to Run?

This Craftsman Generator purchased from Lowe's will power a refrigerator, pellet stove and coffee maker at the same time with no problem. This generator is super efficient on gas. The gas tank on this is actually larger than I expected and on top of that it doesn't use as much as an old school camping generator. While it's not as quiet or as light as a Honda generator it definitely gives it a run for it's money. This generator is NOT big enough to power a house during a power outage but will operate different appliances. It's not equipped to handle the whole load of a house but it's nice and quiet. You can't operate your washer, dryer, dishwasher or hot water heater. Make sure to place your generator in a well ventilated area while it's running...most people leave them outside. If you are worried about theft maybe throw a chain and lock around it. It powers your USB for phone charging, powers lights, fridge, pellet stove, space heater, etc.


It's possible you may ask:

How do I operate a craftsman generator?

How does a generator work?

How to start a generator?

Is a Craftsman generator any good?

Can I power my house with a craftsman 2300W generator...Answer..NO..only individual appliances

Where do I buy a generator

Is it worth the money

What kind of gas does a craftsman generator take? Regular non mixed gas..just like a car

How do I start a craftsman generator

What can I operate off a craftsman generartor

Honda vs. craftsman

How to add oil to a craftsman generator

What does the economy button on a craftsman generator do

How much is a Craftsman generator

How quiet is a craftsman generator

What will a craftsman generator power up

Can I run a dryer off a 2300W craftsman generator? NO!!!

Can I get hot water from 2300W craftsman generator? NO.

Can I do wash with a craftsman generator? No.

Can I run a dryer with a craftsman generator. No

Can I run a refrigerator off a craftsman generator. Yes.

Can I run a space heater off a craftsman generator. Yes.

Can I run a pellet stove off a 2300W craftsman generator. Yes.

What does a generator do?

Does a generator take regular gas?

Will this charge my phone? Yes..Very well

Is it easy pull start for a woman? yes it's very easy

How long will a full tank of gas will last? at least 6 hours at full load

How loud is a 2300W Craftsman generator? Very quiet

How noisy is a 2300 W craftsman generator? Very quiet but not as quiet as a Honda

Can a small woman lift a 2300W generator? It's little hefty when full however not too bad

Is this a good camping generator? Absolutely


Paid link to a Craftsman C0010020 2200i 50St/CSA Inverter Generators, Red, Black:


Slippery Wood Deck Solution-What to do about a Slick Porch or Deck


Simple cheap and easy solution for remedying the safety hazard of a slippery deck or porch. Decks get super slick during the winter months and can be fatal. Check out how to decrease your chances of a catastrophic fall for super cheap. The ECO rug from Lowe's or Home Depot is just over $20 and can be rolled out in no time flat over the surface of the porch or deck. It's fully penetrable so it will not collect water and is also made from recycled water bottles. This is the best way to give you the grip you need to so don't take a bad spill as many people do.


Here's a paid link to a 6' X 9' one: https://amzn.to/2N9S1zi


Is your House Floor Insulated?

In my "DIY Home Floor Insulation Installation Tutorial Demonstration | R-21 Kraft-Faced Fiber Glass" video to get started i'm getting ready to insulate the whole underside of this house here and here is the official transcript from it. "So what i'm going to do is take a measurement. first how much this spans so i know how wide i'm gonna need


okay so i'm gonna need roughly 28 and a half inches this one's 29 inches just under 28 and a half on that one all right drag my uh insulation bundles down here uh from the uh from the truck and from lowe's and this is what i'm using and then i'm going with the uh this here it's a 15 inch wide so i'm just gonna start over here in this corner i've got some twine just starting this corner i'm going to do i'm going to kind of do it in half you know so and then kind of span it because they didn't make anything this wide they didn't have anything available i should say so i'm gonna have to double up and then just put them kind of side by side all right aside from the insta installation uh here's what i got some gloves staple gun some extra staples a mask keeping my eyes of course some twine so i'm just going to string it across there kind of hold it in place with this and the staples all right to get started first of all i'm gonna i'm gonna put some string across from here to here right but and then i'm gonna slide the insulation down but those things i'm gonna bend them this way because i'm gonna be pushing the insulation kind of back up in my pocket so i want it hanging up on these things any nails coming through


stuff like that bending back that way i'm going to be pushing the insulation that way i don't want anything to hang it up i got my knife here too because when i get back to places like this i'm going to have to cut around it and just kind of fold it or mold it form it around


go ahead and cut this open


now when i install this i'm going to go paper first i'm going to go i'm going to put the paper up against the roof there i say roof but the paper is going to go against the uh the flooring here so it's going to be insulation side out


okay what i did is i just started right over here in this corner it's kind of zigzagged it across right so i'm just leaving room to slide the insulation up here so i can just kind of walk it along and i'm just using the twine and the staple gun just kind of zigzagging it you can always come back and put a couple more across after you got it in too


bad progress so far


all right so what we've been doing so this spans like anywhere from 28 and a half to 29 inches so we've got two of the uh the r21s 15 inches a piece wide just kind of slammed up in there and then what we'll do is we'll go along we'll kind of staple it on the edges and then once it's stapled and kind of secure in place then i go ahead and run the run the twine across just zigzag it one thing that's really nice about this is if you have two people one person can kind of hold it up in place and the one come behind you and staple the edges and uh as opposed to trying to do it with one one person's is tough uh i did the first couple like that and then uh and then uh we did the teamwork on the for the majority of it so still got still got a ways to go but she got quite a bit done already


well as you can see there's a lot of cutting going on when you get back into these small little spots like this so you know just gonna if you have somebody cutting for you or you can get up here and measure have them hand it to you but uh you know stuff like that oddball stuff just kind of getting in here and i gotta go around all that stuff go around the pipe hangers so i'm almost done here i'm just kind of some old water damage there uh but i mean really about 95 done i got a little little slices like that out here in the middle just a little piece work to get done so this kind of takes some time some measuring getting out and cutting it coming back in and putting it up so getting there this is like day four i think and so i still have to twine the majority of it but 95 percent of the insulation is actually up in place and hung stapled up so


all right after about uh three solid days under here i got this sucker all


insulated now i just need to go and it's way back there it goes way back there that's where it's real tight but now i need to go through and just with my staple gun and twine and just twine everything up right so it looks like i'm just kind of zigzagging it across stapling to the side members or the trusses or whatever you want to call it floor beams and uh you know giving it something to to hold it up other than just the staples so that's a whole another couple days work probably but the main goal here was just to right away is to get it get it get the insulation up but i did uh twine this one so you can kind of see what that looks like."


Is That Summertime Hammock Put Away?


This Hammock came from amazon and was used. The people who returned it had one of the poles assembled the wrong way so it took some tweaking to get it to fit right. The hook for the net was installed on the wrong side of the pole. Once fixed and returned to proper position this thing was really nice.


Here is a paid amazon link to one with description below:

PNAEUT Double Hammock with Stand 2 Person Heavy Duty Traditional 2 People Rope Hammocks and Stand with Pillow for Outdoor Porch Patio Garden Backyard Outside Max 450lb Capacity (Burlywood):


Traditional Rope Hammock which is hand-woven with classic net-like cotton rope. Wooden sticks not only plays a role in balancing the hammock, but also forms a simple and powerful design with white cotton rope to hit you directly.

Ultra-Comfortable Structure: The tight mesh cotton rope weave promotes air flow and helps relieve physical fatigue. We also prepare a small pillow for you to increase comfort. The strong metal hook can adjust the height of the hammock. We recommend adjusting Higher can provide a more balanced sense of support.

Heavy Duty 2-person Stand: It has the stronger and durable steel stand, a hook with a metal buckle. Max 450-pound weight capacity easily accommodates up to two people at once.

EASY ASSEMBLY: Simple design concept, without any tools, young woman can install it in 10 minutes. Just do it NOW !

Wide application scenarios: This hammock is very suitable for reading, relaxing, and resting in the garden, terrace, backyard, poolside or balcony. You can feel this weightless comfort with friends or family. If you go camping, traveling, or You can easily bring the hammock to use, let us feel it soaked in the sun.


Is That Brick Fire Pit Ready to Go?



Placed a nice metal fire ring inside the brick for easy clean up and decoration. One nice thing about living where I do is that it's legal to have little backyard bonfires. Many good times are had with get togethers around a fire. I needed to move locations of my fire pit so I decided to make a video while I made this new one. To get started I marked a counterpoint in the middle of my rough circle and started over turning the dirt with a shovel and breaker bar as it was very tough and rocky. Then I started digging out the hole in the ground deep enough to accurate the height of my fire ring that I wanted to put in the ground. I decided I wanted to inset this one into the ground for the most part rather than have it be mostly above ground. Once I dug enough dirt out to where I thought it would be deep enough, I started to test fit the metal fire ring for depth purposes but then I also used it as the template for which to create the circular brick portion around. With my digging tools I started widening the circle a little bit to make it large enough to fit the bricks. It was important to keep the bottom flat so the the bricks would be level. Once I got the bottom of the pit level I used my 3 foot level to make sure it was level. I was then able to stack all of the bricks in there in a circular pattern and then add the metal fire pit inside it. It turned out just as I planned and ended up using it quite a bit.

Paid link to a Fire ring on amazon:


















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