Water Heater Troubleshooting Advice

When it comes to gas water heaters there are three usual problems that are normally seen. The first one is that the water heater does not heat water at all.  The second is it heats it up but it does not do so in the desired amount and lastly the pilot light does not stay lit. Here are some recommendations from your friendly Minneapolis plumber water heater experts.

No Heat

The first thing that you need to check is to ensure that the gas to the water heater is turned on. To do so, you need to put into PILOT the gas control knob so as to prevent the burner from igniting when you are peering inside. Carefully remove the metal cover located at the bottom and check to see if the burner as well as the pilot light, which is the small flame, located at the end of the pilot gas tube is also lit up.

No Pilot Light

Refer to the instructions on the tank on how to relight it. Check also the gas inlet valve to determine if it has been closed fully or just partially. If it is, just turn the handle parallel to the line and then relight the pilot. If it still does not light up, it is possible that the thermocouple could be at fault. If you live in Minneapolis there are water heater repair experts you can call to repair the problem right away.

Burner not on

To correct the problem, replace the cover and ensure that the thermostat is set to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  If done, turn the hot water faucet on and wait for a few minutes to determine if the water heater burner begins to ignite. If it does not, just leave it running and attempt to lower and raise the temperature setting until it does.

When Burner Ignites

Put the cover back and then turn the thermostat to its correct level. At this point if the burner does not ignite, have it checked by a certified technician.

Check for Gas

If you notice a garlic-like scent, please turn the gas valve control to OFF and then wait until such time that the smell has disappeared prior to relighting the pilot light. If the smell is too strong and does not go away, turn the gas control valve off immediately, open the windows to ventilate and call the utility company.

When it comes to gas water heaters there are three usual problems that are normally seen. The first one is that the water heater does not heat water at all.  The second is it heats it up but it does not do so in the desired amount and lastly the pilot light does not stay lit. Here are some recommendations from your friendly Minneapolis plumber water heater experts.

No Heat

The first thing that you need to check is to ensure that the gas to the water heater is turned on. To do so, you need to put into PILOT the gas control knob so as to prevent the burner from igniting when you are peering inside. Carefully remove the metal cover located at the bottom and check to see if the burner as well as the pilot light, which is the small flame, located at the end of the pilot gas tube is also lit up.

No Pilot Light

Refer to the instructions on the tank on how to relight it. Check also the gas inlet valve to determine if it has been closed fully or just partially. If it is, just turn the handle parallel to the line and then relight the pilot. If it still does not light up, it is possible that the thermocouple could be at fault. If you live in Minneapolis there are water heater repair experts you can call to repair the problem right away.

Burner not on

To correct the problem, replace the cover and ensure that the thermostat is set to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  If done, turn the hot water faucet on and wait for a few minutes to determine if the water heater burner begins to ignite. If it does not, just leave it running and attempt to lower and raise the temperature setting until it does.

When Burner Ignites

Put the cover back and then turn the thermostat to its correct level. At this point if the burner does not ignite, have it checked by a certified technician.

Check for Gas

If you notice a garlic-like scent, please turn the gas valve control to OFF and then wait until such time that the smell has disappeared prior to relighting the pilot light. If the smell is too strong and does not go away, turn the gas control valve off immediately, open the windows to ventilate and call the utility company.

Guide to Safe Farming

You might think what could happen on a farm? Well lots of things if you are not careful. For instance, you can get crushed by the very tractor you’re driving or get wrapped around a PTO shaft.  You could get rammed by an angry sow if you seem too cocky and agitate her. If you are new to farming or planning to invest in one do not let safety hazards stop you from achieving your dream. Here are some farm safety tips to live by.

Personal Farm Safety

Agricultural equipment MN experts recommend not wearing any loose clothing around work areas.  Always use safety equipment the way it was designed. This means using the correct gloves, hearing protection and safety eyewear equipment. If working in a dusty farm environment then respirators and face masks are a must.  If you have children in the farm, do discuss safety concerns with them and be sure you practice what you teach or else they will not follow you if they see you regularly violating safety rules.

Tractors and Implements

Farm equipment MN safety specialists recommend keeping tractor roll-over protection structures in their proper place. If your tractor does not have one yet, be sure to have one installed immediately. Do not let anyone ride on tractor fenders, hitches or any implements and attachments. Do shield all PTO-powered equipment drive shafts and keep kids at a distance away from them. Do not start gas or diesel engines in an enclosed area without any good ventilation in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

Make sure your tractor and farm trucks have first aid kits and fire extinguishers. Regularly perform maintenance checks on these as they have an expiration date.  Do not get off the tractor without ensuring that it is in park or pulling the emergency brakes and do not ever leave any running power equipment unattended.

Livestock

Make sure all your farm animals are in good health and separate those that are possibly ill. Treat all farm animals with the respect they deserve. If you know how they behave you are ready for their actions. Do take extra precautions during birthing or breeding, as they are naturally quite aggressive at this time.

You might think what could happen on a farm? Well lots of things if you are not careful. For instance, you can get crushed by the very tractor you’re driving or get wrapped around a PTO shaft.  You could get rammed by an angry sow if you seem too cocky and agitate her. If you are new to farming or planning to invest in one do not let safety hazards stop you from achieving your dream. Here are some farm safety tips to live by.

Personal Farm Safety

Agricultural equipment MN experts recommend not wearing any loose clothing around work areas.  Always use safety equipment the way it was designed. This means using the correct gloves, hearing protection and safety eyewear equipment. If working in a dusty farm environment then respirators and face masks are a must.  If you have children in the farm, do discuss safety concerns with them and be sure you practice what you teach or else they will not follow you if they see you regularly violating safety rules.

Tractors and Implements

Farm equipment MN safety specialists recommend keeping tractor roll-over protection structures in their proper place. If your tractor does not have one yet, be sure to have one installed immediately. Do not let anyone ride on tractor fenders, hitches or any implements and attachments. Do shield all PTO-powered equipment drive shafts and keep kids at a distance away from them. Do not start gas or diesel engines in an enclosed area without any good ventilation in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Make sure your tractor and farm trucks have first aid kits and fire extinguishers. Regularly perform maintenance checks on these as they have an expiration date.  Do not get off the tractor without ensuring that it is in park or pulling the emergency brakes and do not ever leave any running power equipment unattended.

Livestock

Make sure all your farm animals are in good health and separate those that are possibly ill. Treat all farm animals with the respect they deserve. If you know how they behave you are ready for their actions. Do take extra precautions during birthing or breeding, as they are naturally quite aggressive at this time.

How to achieve a Winter-Ready Snow Blower

Most homeowners weary of a long winter season put away the snow blower and forget about it once spring arrives. However, when the cold season comes by again, the snow blower needs to be ready to work before the first snowfall hits the ground.  Homeowners are faced with a couple of options namely pray the blower starts the moment you need it or perform routine maintenance on the machine prior to the onset of another winter season.

Safety First

According snow blowers MN specialists, prior to any maintenance steps one needs to ensure that the engine is completely turned off which include removing the spark plug and the wire. Normally, the wire and boot are in plain sight either on the top or at the back. Simply pull the boot off as well as the spark plug to prevent any chances for the engine to start by chance.

Change Snow Blower Oil

The location of the oil drainpipe is usually on the side or back of the machine. Simply unscrew the end and tip of the machine to allow the oil to drain out into a can or a drain pan. Next step is to add new oil like 5W-30 (please do check the owner’s manual for recommendations) by inserting a funnel into the hole where the dipstick goes and then pouring the fresh oil in. Make sure to pause occasionally while adding new oil to check if the recommended amount has been put in. Avoid overfilling the engine as it can cause severe damage.

Drain Old Gas

Equipment parts and service MN experts recommend draining out old gas that has been sitting in the tank for months, as this is no longer good to use on the snow blower. There are some machines that feature a drain valve on the bottom of the tank. If your machine does not have this, removing the rubber gas line on the bottom will allow the gas to eventually drain out.

Make sure to replace the spark plugs and replace it with new ones based on manufacturer recommendations. If your machine features a belt, do check for signs of cracking or fraying and then replace accordingly.

Fixing a Jammed Snow Blower

One of the most annoying things to encounter in the dead of winter is a jammed snow blower. Usually a jammed snow blower is quite easy to fix once you are able to locate and remove whatever is jamming it but you also need to ensure you are working safely.  Before you attempt fixing a jammed snow blower make sure you turn it off completely first and wear gloves to avoid risk of serious injury. Here are some helpful tips on how to fix a jammed snow blower

Blocked Output Chute

According to snow blowers MN experts, one of the most common causes of snow blower malfunction is a blocked output chute.  In this scenario, the blower continuous to run but no snow is ejected from the output shaft.  To address this, turn the snow blower off and disconnect the spark plug. Get a shovel and use the handle to rake or break any collected ice and packed snow that is jamming the chute.  Output chutes tend to jam up if you push the snow blower too quickly or if the snow is quite slushy. 

In order to prevent this scenario, slow down the snow blower, as it is only capable of taking in as much snow as the impeller can move. It is not recommended using the chute on a wet or slushy snow, as it will almost certainly result in a jam.

Ice-Blocked Auger

According to equipment part and service MN specialists, a snow blower’s auger will jam up if it is trying to blow snow that is too wet and too fast movement resulting in an inability of the blades to keep up. To correct this, turn the blower off and remove the spark plug to ensure the engine will not start accidentally.  Use a shovel to remove any ice and snow around the auger blades. Once all the snow and ice is removed around it you can now reconnect the spark plug.

Objects

It is not unusual for foreign objects to get stuck inside a snow blower. Most common ones are children’s toys and newspaper. If it is the latter, use warm soapy water to soften it first and then use a long handled tool like a rake handle to remove it. Try prying out the toy with a shovel or rake handle. Be sure the engine is completely off prior to attempting any foreign object.

Improving Power for your John Deere Gator

A perfect way of improving overall performance of your John Deere gator is to get more power out of it. To the uninitiated, the Gator class is a collection of all-terrain utility vehicles that are manufactured by John Deere. If you have a Gator at home, to get more power from it you need to perform regular maintenance.  Buy used equipment MN experts recommend using good quality fuel and keeping the engine clean at all times in order to achieve better performance. Here are some more suggestions to consider.

Power Additives

If you want more power from your Gator utility vehicle, it is recommended that you put non-methanol based power additives. This improves the performance of the Gator by improving its fuel combustion ratio.  Engine cleaners remove debris and sludge that serve to slow your engine and add unnecessary friction.

High Octane Fuel

Gator utility vehicles MN experts recommend using 87 octane fuel or higher. If your Gator is diesel powered use white instead of red diesel. Like most vehicles, the higher octane content, the lesser buildup the Gator receives. John Deere for instance tests their Gator utility vehicles using aviation fuel.

High Performance Spark Plugs

If you have the budget, switch to high performance spark plugs as the firing capacity of the spark plug plays a major role to enhance or detract from the torque your Gator is capable of.  It is also recommended that you regularly replace fuel filters and fuel lines as a clogged fuel line can greatly deter your Gator to achieve the correct fuel and air mixture and any crack in the fuel line sucks in air that alters performance negatively.

Recalibrate

You may also want to recalibrate the governor set-screw on the linkage connected to the carburetor if you happen to own a non electronic fuel injection Gator. The set-screw allows you to determine the Gator’s top-end speed. Simply back the set-screw a little to enjoy additional power.

A perfect way of improving overall performance of your John Deere gator is to get more power out of it. To the uninitiated, the Gator class is a collection of all-terrain utility vehicles that are manufactured by John Deere. If you have a Gator at home, to get more power from it you need to perform regular maintenance.  Buy used equipment MN experts recommend using good quality fuel and keeping the engine clean at all times in order to achieve better performance. Here are some more suggestions to consider.

Power Additives

If you want more power from your Gator utility vehicle, it is recommended that you put non-methanol based power additives. This improves the performance of the Gator by improving its fuel combustion ratio.  Engine cleaners remove debris and sludge that serve to slow your engine and add unnecessary friction.

High Octane Fuel

Gator utility vehicles   MN experts recommend using 87 octane fuel or higher. If your Gator is diesel powered use white instead of red diesel. Like most vehicles, the higher octane content, the lesser buildup the Gator receives. John Deere for instance tests their Gator utility vehicles using aviation fuel.

High Performance Spark Plugs

If you have the budget, switch to high performance spark plugs as the firing capacity of the spark plug plays a major role to enhance or detract from the torque your Gator is capable of.  It is also recommended that you regularly replace fuel filters and fuel lines as a clogged fuel line can greatly deter your Gator to achieve the correct fuel and air mixture and any crack in the fuel line sucks in air that alters performance negatively.

Recalibrate

You may also want to recalibrate the governor set-screw on the linkage connected to the carburetor if you happen to own a non electronic fuel injection Gator. The set-screw allows you to determine the Gator’s top-end speed. Simply back the set-screw a little to enjoy additional power.

 

Car Brake Safety and Maintenance

Without a doubt, the brakes are the most important safety feature of any car. But alas, many motorists do not seem to know how it works. When you are riding a vehicle, the only way it will stop is if the brakes work as they should. It is therefore very important to have regular brake maintenance performed on your car.

How Does a Car Brake Work?

According to brake pads & rotors MN experts, it was a seventeenth century mathematician called Blaise Pascal who was responsible for the principle behind the braking system.  This refers to the change of pressure at one point of a confined fluid is transferred unchanged to all parts of the fluid.  In a vehicle when you step on the brake pedal, pressure is applied equally to all four brakes at the same time.

Basic Brake Maintenance

  • If possible verify the power of braking of each of the four wheels using a brake tester
  • Make sure there is always an adequate

    amount of brake fluid. Check it regularly and replace every couple of years or every fifty thousand miles whichever comes first

  • The brake shoe need to be replaced for every four changes of the brake pads
  • Determine if the headlights and brake lights are working properly

Signs That Something is Wrong with the Braking System

  • If the vehicle slows down but loses brake fluid it is possible that the brake pump is faulty
  • If you hear a chirping noise when braking then the brake disc may need to be replaced
  • If the car brakes slowly then chances are the pads may need replacement or there is not enough brake fluid left

According to brake repairs Elk River MN experts, the main signals that show that brake pads or brake discs are deteriorated and require replacement are:

  • Noise during braking
  • Vibrations during braking
  • Signs of overheated brakes
  • Warning light comes on
  • The occurrence of radial cracks on the braking band

Have your brakes check regularly to avoid problems later. Your safety and that of your passengers is a priority.

 

 

Taking Care of Your Tires the Right Way

Probably the most abused part of a car, the tires are often overlooked when it comes to maintenance checks as most folks give it the old “ tire kick” treatment and if it feels solid that’s it.  However, tires play a very important role in terms of not only the obvious which is to move the car along but also in fuel efficiency and the overall driving experience.

Air Pressure

According to Tires Elk River MN specialists , tire inflation is the most important factor in tire maintenance. It is important to note that the inflation pressure seen imprinted on the sidewall of the tire is the maximum allowable operating pressure as recommended by the tire maker and is not usually the correct inflation pressure for your tires. The tire inflation information can be seen in the owner’s manual or on a label located in the doorjamb of the vehicle, the glove compartment or within the fuel hatch.

Recommendations

  • Tire pressure needs to be checked at least once a month and prior to long trips
  • Tire pressure should be checked when the tires are “cold” or at least three hours after the car has stopped to get an accurate reading
  • Always check the spare tire and never assume it is correctly inflated

Rotation

According to Tires Zimmerman Minnesota experts, your tires should be rotated once every six to eight thousand miles. Regular tire rotation lengthens the lifespan of your tires and in the long run saves you money.

Wheel Alignment

This refers to the adjustment of the car’s rear and front suspension system. Correct alignment will ensure your vehicle handles the right way and lengthens the lifespan of your tires. Tire alignment can become problematic when you pass potholes, railroad crossings or any uneven road surface.  It is time to have the alignment checked if you noticed that you hit something recently or see a wear pattern consistent  only on the shoulders of the tires.

Driving Tips

If  it is not necessary do not speed as the excess heat generated increases tire wear and durability. Try to also avoid fast turns around corners and curves. Avoid driving on the edge of pavement or over potholes if possible.

How do you know if Your Oxygen Sensor is Going Bad?

There are a number of ways a faulty oxygen sensor can wreak havoc on your car’s engine. Due to the important role of the oxygen sensor in your car in terms of ensuring correct air and fuel levels are running the car, any malfunction will result in engine malfunction.  Here is how to determine if the oxygen sensor on your car is going bad.

Poor Gas Mileage

According to tune up car experts, one of the 1st symptoms is poor gas mileage. Oxygen sensors play a big role in adjusting a car’s air/fuel ratio. The mixture of gas and air a car burns in order to produce power is what comprises this. If the oxygen sensor has gone bad it could allow too much gas to be mixed with the air causing in high fuel consumption for your car.

High Vehicle Emissions

The oxygen sensor on a car monitors and adjusts the engine’s air/fuel mixture in order to attain the correct engine combustion which include performance and vehicle emissions. A faulty oxygen sensor will result in a poor air/fuel mixture causing incorrect engine combustion and hence higher vehicle emissions.

Rough Idle on Engine

According to preventive maintenance experts, correct engine combustion is vital to ensuring the highest engine performance. A bad oxygen sensor will cause a car’s engine to idle in a rough and choppy way. This is primarily caused by the less than satisfactory engine combustion firings causing the poor engine performance.

Engine Missing

As mentioned above, a faulty oxygen sensor will cause a car’s engine air/fuel mixture to become restricted or too lean, the explosions inside the engine cylinders also will be affected. If it is too lean meaning there is too much air but not enough gasoline, the engine will misfire. This is most evident when the engine is at its idle state.

Engine Hesitation

This condition occurs when the car is accelerating. A faulty oxygen sensor could misread the car’s air/fuel ratio requirements and could result in too little or too much air to pass through the cylinders of the engine. The result is a hesitant or stumbling engine.

Car Repair Jobs Better Left for the Professionals to Do

Many people love to work on their car themselves and this is not an issue as long as you are aware of  what the consequences are if the engine repairs does not go well.  If it is something simple like changing the oil or the batteries then you could safely do it almost without any hitches as long as you know what you are doing.  However, there are some repair jobs that are best left for the pros to handle. ‘

Paint and Bodywork

This repair job is messy, time consuming and you get exposed to a lot of fumes which can be bad for your health. It is so easy to end up with a totally crappy paint job complete with wet sanding gouges and bubbles everywhere. Moreover, if you do not have enough knowledge about painting cars then it is highly likely you’ll end up with a car that has insufficient clear coats and overspray problems.

Computer Box Repairs

According to complete repairs experts, you need to leave the computer box troubleshooting to a certified ASE master technician rather than try interpreting the problem yourself. Unless you have good knowledge about shift points and air/fuel ratios  just allow a certified tuner to do what he has been trained to do rather than you doing amateur work on something that could really mess up your car.

Windshield Replacement

The reason why a lot of folks want to do this themselves because the labor costs something between two to three hundred dollars. Sure, you can carve one out for next to nothing at a junkyard of your choice but by the time you know about the other requirements such as adhesives, new clips and window trim pieces, the quote you got originally would not look so expensive at all.

Electrical Wiring

There are hundreds of  yards of electrical wiring in a car and that small wire you saw protruding may just be the tip of the iceberg.  Unless you are an electrician yourself, stay away from electrical wiring if you do not want to accidentally short circuit your car or worse cause a fire as a result.

Tips for Maintaining a Stick Shift Car

A stick shift refers to care that feature a manual transmission This allows you to have more control over your vehicle and if done right can make driving more efficient in terms of mileage.  Most cars in the US use automatic transmission to allow ease and convenience when driving but nothing feels better than to use the clutch to determine your gear allowing you to have more control on its performance.  Here are some tips on how to take care of your manual transmission vehicle.

Avoid Clutch Riding

According to Elk River tire and Auto experts a common mistake of stick shift driving is riding the clutch. When using the clutch, press your foot completely down and avoid resting your feet on it as it will easily wear out. It pays to know how your clutch works and doing so will allow you to spend little time riding it as possible.

Brakes

Some drivers have discovered that your car will slow down a little when tapping the clutch however this is not a very good idea as it will not only wear the clutch quickly it will also not turn your brake lights on. What happens is that you will slow down but other drivers will not notice it as your lights won’t turn on.  Use your brakes not the clutch.

Match Revs

The gears on your clutch work by changing the power ratios. If the car’s engine only needs to run at 2 thousand revolutions per minute in order to maintain a specific speed, it will need more of that when you shift it to 2nd gear.  Engine repairs experts say that when you downshift be careful when accelerating or else the engine will lurch as there are fewer revs into a high-ratio gear which puts additional stress on the clutch as well as the transmission and engine. Any of these components breakdown, will result in costly repair work. To avoid this issue, gently press the accelerator just a little wen downshifting.