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Keep your mower in great shape for spring

If you were smart, your mower is tuned up and ready for another season on the lawn. If not, you’ll want to do a little maintenance before even trying to fire it up.

A bad spark plug can cause your mower to run rough or not at all. It wastes gas and causes emission problems, and it can prevent the mower from running at peak efficiency and power. Remove the old spark plug. Take it to the hardware store or auto supply, and buy a new one. Set it aside to put in later after you have tended to some other details.

• Drain the gas tank and oil into containers that you can take to the recycling center or hazardous-waste disposal site in your area.

• Put fresh oil into the mower.

• Refill your gas can with fresh fuel and add gas stabilizer to the can. This will keep the fuel in the can fresher longer. Go ahead and add gas to your mower.

• Clean the air filter. Replace it if it looks really bad. These usually are inexpensive and easy to replace.

• Spray linkage with WD-40.

• Replace or sharpen the mower blade.

Now you can install the spark plug.

Your mower should be ready to go now. If you still are having problems with it, then you probably will need to take it to the pros for further cleaning and adjustments. Remember this next year, and take proper care of your mower BEFORE it sits in the garage or shed throughout winter. Fuel stored in the mower usually is the cause of most of the problems and can be avoided by running it out before storage. Good luck!


Q: We love the new carpet that we installed. It’s just beautiful. We are now having troubles with some of the doors opening and closing. They are dragging against the ground. How do we adjust or trim them down? – Y.R.

A: The doors that are now too long need to be removed and trimmed down. Clamp a straightedge to the bottom of the door along the cutting line. Use a circular saw to do the trimming. Sand the bottom and edges smooth, and paint to match the rest of the door.


Q: We have wood floors throughout the house. They squeak a lot. My husband put oil on them to stop the squeaking. It did help somewhat, but not that much. Now the floors are a little sticky. Is there any way to remove the oil? – R.G.

A: Use mineral-spirits paint thinner to clean the wood surface. This will remove any oil that hasn’t been absorbed into the wood. It also will clean any airborne oil from the surface as well, which is probably what’s making it feel sticky. Sweep a little talcum powder into the cracks and see if that doesn’t quiet them down some.


Q: I have a bar with a marble top. It doesn’t look very good, it’s dull with some stains. I’m not sure what to use to clean it up. How do I get it looking good again? – R.A.

A: Check your hardware store for a marble polish. You’ll need to use an abrasive polish to take out the stains and make it shine again.

When you do get it looking good, consider applying a sealer to the surface to keep it in good shape. Alcohol, acids and grease will leave new stains without a sealer.


Ventilation fans are a good way to improve air quality, cure damp basements and resolve musty crawl space issues.

The XchangeR is a reversible basement fan that is installed easily between floor joints and other tight spots and comes ready to plug into a nearby outlet.

The dual fan system is switched easily from pull to exhaust in just a few seconds. It’s much more economical than a dehumidifier and even can be used to dilute radon levels. If you have moisture problems and have been advised to add ventilation, this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to do so. Check it out at, or call 800-255-4208.