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Home & Garden Tips

HOME & GARDEN TIPS

Handyman's Corner

Oven/Microwave

If you have one of the Whirlpool Electric Oven / Microwave combos that were originally installed by John Wieland Homes, then this message is for you. I would be interested in hearing from anybody who has had an electrical problem with his oven.

Immediately after a very nearby lightning strike a few years back, our oven went haywire (and our DSL modem stopped working). Only one of the oven lights would come on and the control panel display was completely out. After several calls to repair companies and parts dealers I learned that these are repaired by replacing a controller board which at the time cost $375. There was no interest in repairing any problem on that circuit board by anybody except me. Troubleshooting and repair seems to be a dying (or dead?) art. I believe that the logic runs something like this: if I replace the entire board then it will definitely work and I know how long it will take to fix. So the billing, timing and reliability is all predictable. And expensive.

I opted to diagnose the problem on my own. In the end, I isolated a blown fuse on the controller board with no discernable damage to any of the other components. I replaced the fuse ($0.37 from FuseCo in Norcross) and everything worked fine. This was a little more difficult than it sounds for several reasons:

1.) It is necessary to remove the oven door and side trim before being able to detach the controller board cover.

2.) The fuse is soldered right onto the circuit board.

3.) This is not an off-the-shelf fuse. I could only find it at FuseCo in Norcross.

I had the same problem two weeks ago. This time it blew when I accidentally short-circuited one of our smoke detectors. (Be sure you turn off the correct circuit breaker!) The repair went exactly the same way this time. Only this time I didn't need to go buy the fuse since I had bought an extra one the last time and saved it!

So, if your display panel goes haywire on your oven, I strongly encourage you to try replacing the fuse before shelling out hundreds of dollars for repair. Call me for guidance if you wish.

John Stephan

 

Yard & Garden Information

Spring Tip

March is nearly over. This is a great time to clean up your yard and apply 12 month insect prevention to trees and bushes that are susceptible to insect damage.

Watering Ban Survival for Your Yard & Garden

Since we are no longer allowed to water our yards, many of us in the Garden Club have been scratching our heads trying to determine how we will manage our gardens this Fall. We have put together a list of ideas we think may help you manage this drought as well.

Grass Maintenance

Avoid fertilizing grass and plants when in a total water ban. Fertilizer encourages plant growth and water is needed for growth. Fertilizer also can act as a drying agent and increase water loss from the plant.

Weed control is absolutely vital during a total outdoor water ban. The weeds are in direct competition for the precious water the plant will receive. Removal of weeds is necessary to ensure the plants receive all benefits from the water available.

Raising the mower blade on your lawn mower can drastically increase lawn survival during a drought. This encourages deeper rooting and allows the longer grass blades to provide shade which helps hold in moisture longer. Sharp mower blades also help reduce the need for water because dull blades shred leaf tips, causing the turf to use more water than necessary.

Keep off the grass. Avoid walking on grass during periods of drought stress. Mow lawns as little as possible during droughts to avoid additional stress. Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in one mowing. Allow mulched clippings to remain on the lawn to help cool the soil and retain moisture.

Reclaimed Water

Using reclaimed water on your yard is still permitted. There are several sources of water you can reclaim.

Extend the drain line from your air conditioner to a favorite tree or plant.

Collect the cold water from your shower while waiting for it to heat up. Three to four gallons of water may be wasted each time you heat up your shower.

Use a rain barrel to capture rain water. When we do get a rain event, even a pop up afternoon shower, do not waste that water. One-inch of rain on 1,000 square feet of roof produces 650 gallons of water. Purchase a rain barrel from a hardware or garden supply stores if you do not want to make your own rain barrel.

Using Reclaimed Water Wisely

Use your reclaimed water on high priority plants first. Water the 50-year-old tree before the $2 annuals.

Save a few gallon jugs. Perforate the bottom with small nail holes. Fill with water you saved indoors or from your AC unit. Place them near precious trees/plants in your garden. They will deliver water slowly to the roots.

Tree bags: Purchase tree or gator bags to distribute water slowly to your trees. These can be found by doing a web search or calling local hardware/landscape stores. Use the reclaimed water you have captured to fill the bags. Water will be delivered to the roots of your trees slowly and deeply.

New Plantings

Hold off fall planting for a month and consider a pot of winter annuals on the porch instead of large beds of pansies and flowering cabbages.

Accept a little damage this year and give nature time to work.

Replace problem plants with healthy, care-free, native plants.

Soil

Build & maintain healthy soil. It protects plants from some pests and diseases, contains organisms that help plants thrive and it stores water until plants need it.

Use compost and mulch to improve your soil. Add extra mulch to hold in moisture around your plants, however, do not put mulch against the plant as that encourages disease.

Use water retaining crystals when planting new plants. These crystals absorb the extra water in the soil and then release it to the roots of plants as needed. Make sure you follow the direction on the container and dont add too much to the soil.

Internet Links

Water restriction details & REPORTING WATERING BAN VIOLATIONS:

||http://www.gwinnettcounty.com/cgi-bin/gwincty/egov/ep/gcNavView.do?path=Home|Hidden+Page|Water%20Restrictions

Backyard conservation: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/backyard/

Rain Barrel Construction: http://www.walterreeves.com/how_to/article.phtml?cat=26&id=1005

Landscaping with native plants: http://www.epa.gov/greenacres/

How to compost: http://www.marquisproject.com/composting101/howcomp.html

 

Garden Club

The Chattahoochee Run and Point Garden Club is made of homeowners who are new and old to gardening, some with lots of experience and others with only a desire to learn more about gardening. We are sharing our knowledge, ideas and even plants, answering each others questions and touring various yards and gardens. Our activities are open to all Chattahoochee Run and Point residents. We would love to have you join us at our next meeting, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, August 27at 1:00 PM. Look for details about our next meeting in the Chattnews. If you have any yard or garden questions please email us at gardenclub@chattrunpoint.com. We will do our best to answer your questions. Click here for a copy of these tips in PDF format.


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