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Pressure Washer Tune-up

Pressure washing the patio, grill, and lawn care equipment can be one of the more rewarding spring projects. It’s the top homeowner chore that marks Old Man Winter’s exit and leaves you with a clean area to enjoy the outdoors again. Before starting your weekend of washing – make sure your pressure washer is up to the task. 


Before starting maintenance or equipment repair, disconnect the battery and/or spark plug. Always wear protective safety clothing.


Inspect air filter, fuel filter, oil level and condition, spark plug, and replace if necessary. Fuel should be changed if it has been sitting for longer than a month.

Check the water system from the garden hose washer to the high pressure nozzle. Clear debris from filters and screens as well as anything in the chemical/soap tank. Replace any washers that look worn as well.

Start the pressure washer by following the steps in your owner’s manual. Look for leaks in any of the connections like the hose, wand, or pump. If it's time to replace the hose or wand, you can find them here. If you don’t have pressurized water or notice drop in performance, there is a good chance you need a new pump

Unfortunately you can’t pick up a pump at a local hardware store – but you can order online. The Homelite (Part Number 308653045) is one of the most common replacement pumps around. For under $70 you can replace the part and continue to get years of use out of the machine.

If this is your first season with a pressure washer, a word of caution: cleaning siding, windows, and the exterior of the house can do more harm than good. Vinyl siding, paint, and screens are no match for a 3000 psi hose! Do your research and don’t rule out calling a professional. 

The key to success with any equipment is proactive maintenance. Making sure your pressure washer is in good working order before you need it, avoids aggravation and ensures a successful weekend washing project!

Tune Down for What? Snowblower Storage


Give the machine a once over to identify any loose or broken parts. Addressing problems now will be much easier than next winter, when on the day of the first storm, you attempt to service the machine.

If you are considering selling your snowblower and upgrading to a new machine, the best time to do so are the weeks leading to the first snow fall.  Getting the machine cleaned up and serviced now means you’ll be able to quickly list the old machine at the first sign of snow next season. Additionally, most power equipment stores have the best pricing on new snowblowers in the fall, so quickly selling the old machine means you’ll buy the new one at the best price!

What should be completed for the season ending “tune-down”? Work on outdoor power equipment always starts with the owner’s manual to identify and document specific steps related to your machine. The manual will provide safety steps and part numbers so can easily order replacement parts!  However, the following steps can be completed on most equipment.

- Fuel. Yes, we said it again… gasoline has a shelf life and old gas can harm your engine. You wouldn’t drink milk that’s sat around for a couple weeks – so remove any gas and run the engine dry. Grab a can of “ethanol free” fuel from the power equipment store and run that through until it reaches the carburetor and turn it off.

- Change the oil. It’s quick, easy, and not freezing cold out. Grab a bottle of 5W30 oil and make the change.

- What condition are the skid shoes and scraper blade in? Replace or adjust if needed.

- If chipped paint or rust are a problem, sand and paint to prevent further damage.

- Assess condition of the belts, cables, auger, chute, wheels, and controls. What’s missing, worn, or needs further attention?

- Get a heavy duty cover and store the machine indoors if possible. If storing outside, get it off the ground and sealed up – you don't want flat spots on the tires. Plus, you don’t want to provide a home to this guy!

Many will ask: “Tune-down for what?” The short answer is that the sooner you identify and fix problems with the snowblower, the longer it will last.

Adding a Snow Blower to a Lawn Tractor: Everything you need to know


Want to use a lawn tractor to clear snow? It’s a great way for homeowners with longer driveways to get snow cleared away with ease. Here are some of the most common questions and considerations before turning your tractor into a snow clearing machine

- Storage. Keep in mind the total length of the tractor and snowblower will be considerably larger. Make sure you have room to store AND maneuver in and out when needed!  When changing over to snow clearing mode, you will need to remove and store the cutting deck – and in the summer, store the snow plow/blower. Plan storage accordingly! Any convenience or time saving the tractor may provide is negated when you have to battle to use it!

Simplicity tractors are an example of equipment designed with storage in mind. Attachments fold up easily and will stand on their own. Once detached, the hitch and snow blower will roll easily across the ground. 

- Change over. We mentioned removing the cutting deck and installing the snow blower. While not overly complex, this is a task that requires a bit of planning. Attempting to complete during the season’s first snow fall is just asking for trouble! 

If your tractor has a complex pulley system (common on MTD and Sears tractors), the change over will be more involved. Keep in mind that some tractor snow blower attachments are designed after the fact. Some Cub Cadet and Simplicity tractors will have a quick attach mount that allow for an easy, one or two pin installation. The attachments are very heavy so a “drive-on” connection can be worth the extra money!

- Weight kit and chains.  Adding tire chains to your garden tractor may be helpful if you are clearing snow from hilly or uneven areas. Adding a counter weight to the back of the tractor may help the tires dig in, but be cautious of adding undue weight and stress to the machine. 

Buying the right tractor is an important factor. A rugged lawn tractor with the K57 transmission for example is better suited for attachments.  More often than not, once a wheel weight is installed, it will stay on the machine all year. 

- Stay dry! Adding a protective snow cab to a lawn tractor is a way to avoid wind and snow. Snow cabs are available in two versions: expensive and cheap. If you can afford to spend a little extra, an upgraded cab will have doors that seal and keep heat in – some even have a wiper to see where you are going. The cheaper cabs will keep you dry but the effort involved with constant adjustment, clearing off, and lack of protection make a strong case for the upgraded version.  

Is there a down side to using a lawn tractor as a snow blower? You’ll be clearing huge paths of snow with minimal effort, but clearing narrow walkways, around cars, and other elements that cause frequent turning, can restrict the snowblower. So, don’t throw away the snow shovel, there will still be shoveling involved. 

Keep in mind that the lawn tractor was designed to cut grass on a warm sunny day! Adding another season of use means increase wear and tear. Water and salt can take a toll on the front end, wearing away at the clutch and wheel bearings. Running the machine in heavy, deep snow is possible but will require preventative maintenance to ensure you get the most of the lawn tractor.  

Adding a snow blower to a lawn tractor is a great way to put the mower to good use and tackle an otherwise unpleasant task. In short, the tractor snow blower is a tool that requires a bit of planning and diligent preventative maintenance. You will look forward to seeing a rough weather forecast when you have a 20HP engine throwing snow!


Ultimate Guide to Fall Maintenance

Every lawn-pro knows that transitioning seasons can be an intense project. Our step by step infographic makes shutting down summer operations and preparing for a cold winter an easy weekend project. We tackle everything from lawn to chimney cleaning so you can rest easy this winter!

Our list is broken into three sections – projects to get started on this weekend, things to complete soon, and lastly, items that only need a phone call to schedule. Your home may not require all the steps in the list, but hopefully it provides a helpful guide to getting your fall maintenance started.