Spend a Little – Save a Lot: O’Keeffe’s Hand Cream Solves Dry, Cracked Skin

The winter is the season for moisturizing!  For myself, I feel that I can never moisturize enough during the winter and if I don’t keep up on applications, my hands or feet can become so dry that they crack and split.  As a result, my fingers can bleed or sting because of how overly dry they have become.  That is where a restoring cream such as O’Keeffe’s Working Hands can come in.

O’Keeffe’s hand cream is the leading hand cream for people who work with their hands and it provides guaranteed relief for dry hands.  This non-greasy formula is highly concentrated and a small drop will coat your hands easily.  In order to get the best results, apply after washing hands or bathing, and immediately before going to bed.  Take a look at the pictures below of an individual that used O’Keeffe’s Working Hands before bed and three times daily for one week; the results are quite impressive!

For dry feet that crack and split, try O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet foot cream!  Both are in-stock year-round in our Hardware Department and sell for about $8.  Save your hands and your feet this winter, with O’Keeffe’s!

working hands for bottom

What’s New: Toilet Supply Lines with Metal Connectors

metal nut toilet supply lineNew to our store is a toilet supply with metal connectors.  Some condominiums and apartment buildings are requiring these to be used with any new toilet install.  Why the change?  This is often a requirement now-a-days with apartment complexes because plastic connectors are more likely to break over time and cause a flood to an apartment that sits below the leaking connection.  The result can be thousands of dollars in damages!  Be sure to check with your building code in regards to a new toilet install.  If unsure, we suggest you go with these new ones with the metal nuts since they only cost a few dollars more.

Please note, we don’t want to scare you from using ones with plastic connectors, since they have been used for decades with limited occurrences of such.  It is important to not over-tighten plastic fittings and to replace them when they are getting old.  Certainly, if you are installing a new toilet, we would always recommending starting with a new flexible toilet supply line.  They often have a limited warranty of about 7-10 years, so with a new toilet should come a new supply line!

Currently, we are only stocking the new toilet supply with metal connectors in a 12″ length, since it is the most popular size.  If you have any questions about these products or more, please stop in and talk to our experts in our Plumbing Department.

What’s New: More LED Bulbs – Shapes And Strength

led bulbsThe growth and popularity of LED replacement bulbs has been quite remarkable over the past year.  I can’t say that we are surprised, since LED bulbs offer so many benefits, including a cooler burning light, more energy efficient light (almost 90% savings as compared to incandescent bulbs), tremendous durability (about a 20 year life-expectancy), and much more.  Years ago, the light color was inconsistent and the options were not there to switch all of your lights over to LEDs.  If you had a room that had some candelabra base bulbs and some with larger medium base bulbs then you would have had trouble blending the LED lights together with what was already in use.  Now the price has gone down and the quality and innovation has gone up.  As a result, the market for LED replacement light bulbs is booming!

We have customers using them inside chandeliers and ceiling fans, as well as floor and table lamps of all types.  The upfront price of LED bulbs is noticeable when comparing them to incandescent choices, but when you factor in the 20-year life expectancy out of a single bulb, the price of LED bulbs actually becomes significantly cheaper than incandescent lamps that have a life span of 1-2 years.

With the introduction of GE brand LED bulbs to our store, our selection has grown tremendously.  We now stock candelabra base low wattage bulbs for the most delicate light in a chandelier.  We also stock bathroom vanity globe lights, flame tipped bulbs, mini ceiling fan bulbs, push-in type flood lights, screw-in flood lights for recessed lights, and so much more.  Stop by our Housewares Department to see our full selection of LED replacement bulbs from both GE and Greenlite!

What’s Trending? Dog Safety and Ice Melters

pet safe ice melter 2Despite the cold temperatures, our dogs still need to go outside for walks, run around in the yard, or at the very least… do their business.  As a result, our pets are coming into contact with ice melter in some form or fashion.  In this article, we try to highlight some of the key points that we have discovered when it comes to pet safety and ice melters.

  1. Is there a pet safe ice melter?  There is no perfect solution that both melts ice and is 100% safe to pets, but there are some safer options for sure.  In general, “pet safe” ice melt will exclude rock salt (sodium chloride) from its ingredient list.  Because of its harsh texture, rock salt will cut or scrap dog paws more so than other ingredients.  We have a few salt-free ice melters, but the safest one is the Sure Paws product from Safe Step.  This product is a mixture of only two ingredients, magnesium chloride and potassium chloride, which are more gentle on pet paws and do not cling to the feet as much.
  2. Can irritation be caused from other products?  Prolonged contact with “safer” ingredients such as calcium chloride or magnesium chloride can cause the pads on their feet to dry out and become irritated.  A dog’s feet dry out because of the natural moisture absorbing qualities of these safer ingredients.  It is best to wipe your dogs paws when they come inside to be sure that these products don’t linger around on their feet.
  3. Is there a way to provide traction, without melting snow?  There are some new products that only provide traction.  We sell a product called EcoTraction  which has been really popular for those with new concrete or stone work, as well as those with pets.  Its naturally gritty texture embeds into snow and ice to prevent slips and falls.  And its characteristic green color allows you to see where it has been applied and where it may need to be reapplied.

All things considered, these are the suggestions that we have to help keep your pet safe this winter!

  • Use safer ice melters, with little to zero, rock salt content (sodium chloride)
  • Use only enough ice melter to melt what is present, sweep away excess so that it is not tracked into the house
  • Wipe off your dogs paws when he/she comes inside, especially when contact with ice melter was known.  This can be tough, but maybe treats will help the cause :)
  • Limit time outdoors, so that they do not catch hypothermia or have other complications
  • Prevent ingestion of dangerous products, especially anti-freeze that might have dripped from a car.  Keep ice melters out of the reach of pets or closed in a tight-fitting storage bin.
  • Consider using a product such as Musher’s Secret.  This is a all natural wax that protects paws from the cold of snow and ice and prevents them from drying out.  Simply use on a weekly basis.

What’s New? Greenworks Cordless 40V Snowblower

greenworks cordless snowblowerNew to our store for 2016 is the Greenworks cordless electric snowblower, and we are excited for this powerful little unit!  For years, we have sold electric snowblowers, which work well and don’t have trouble starting year after year, but you still had the extension cord to hassle with.  Forget the extension cord with the new Greenworks 40V lithium cordless snowblower!

We have been getting quite a bit of interest on this snowthrower, and the two questions that we always get are (1) how long will the battery last and (2) how far will it throw the snow?  This 40 Volt lithium battery offers the best in battery life and extended power that last for the duration of the charge.  The battery will last up to 45 minutes of run time and will throw snow up to 20 feet away!  These are numbers slightly less than gasoline units, but very suitable for most driveways and sidewalks in our area.

Other benefits and features of this Greenworks 40V cordless snowblower are effortless starts with no messy oil and gas to worry about.  There is no maintenance outside of charging the battery before each use, so you can be sure that it will start up year after year without any hassle.  Like all snowblowers, this unit features a 190 degree re-directional chute to aim the snow where you need.  Clearing width is 20″ wide and up to 10″ tall.

Finally, customers are wondering what others have thought about the unit… is the feedback good?   This unit is brand new to us, so we don’t have direct feedback, but it is well reviewed online and customers are really liking how much power it packs in such a small and lightweight frame.  Greenworks has been a great line-up for us all year; we started with their lawn and garden power tools this spring and the feedback has been very positive, so we are confident in all that they make.  Stop in to see all of the very cool features of this cordless snowthrower.

What’s Trending: Humidifiers and Their Many Benefits

humidifer in useNow that the cold air is upon us, our heating systems are up and running and the air inside our homes is becoming quite dry.  When humidity levels inside our homes reach as low as 10-20%, many of us suffer from dry or itchy skin, nosebleeds, scratchy throats, cracked lips, or even the increased appearance of wrinkles in the face and hands.

Do you know that alleviating all of these symptoms can be as simple as installing a single-room humidifier in your bedroom?  When humidity is kept between around 30% in your home (or especially where you sleep), our nose, throats, lips, and skin will always be looking and feeling their best!  Setting up a humidifier in a single-room that we occupy frequently, such as a bedroom, can make all the difference.  Because we are more comfortable in a well humidified room, we will experience better sleep, wake up less often, and wake up feeling more rejuvenated.  Benefits extent beyond sleep and our skin, proper humidity will comfort our sinuses when we have a cold or are battling allergies, promote healthier houseplants, protect wood furnishings, reduce heating bills (because heat is transferred more efficiently), and reduce the amount of electric shocks.  It’s amazing that something as simple as a humidifier could provide so many benefits, but they really do… so how much do they cost and which one is right for me?

Single-room humidifiers range in price from about $30 all the way up to $300 so there is an option for every home and every situation.  There are less expensive warm or cool mist humidifiers that all sell for less than $70.  They are by far our most popular units because they are economical but also very effective, especially when you are talking about using them for only a couple months out of the year!  The more expensive units would be the those that work through cold-air evaporation.  These units do not encourage an increase in white dust and will often clean the air as it humidifies, so there are a few added benefits to one of these units.  Choosing between all of the models available depends on your needs and how much you are looking to spend.  If you are interested in home humidification, we invite you to stop by our Plumbing department to see our full selection of humidifiers!

Thanks for reading everyone!

humidifiers product images

 

What’s Trending: Battery Operated Lights

battery_operated_lightsEvery year, we seem to get more and more requests for battery operated lights.  The good news on this front, is that improvements are made each year and more options continue to be available!  5-10 years ago, battery operated lights were not practical.  You would spend $5 on batteries and the lights would literally last only one night.  Now with the popularity of LED bulbs, battery operated lights of all kinds are becoming a practical and cost efficient solution for small displays of all types.  LED lights use less power, which is allowing lighting manufacturers to make longer strands of lights with battery life that is about 4x longer (3-4 weeks when run on a timer).

The number one location our customers are using battery operated lights are for wreaths hanging on a front door.  However, they are super handy for garlands on banisters, wreaths hanging on interior walls, centerpieces, nativity scenes, and so much more!  Anywhere plugs are not handy, battery operated string lights should be considered an alternative during the holidays.  Outdoors, these lights have some limitations however, because battery packs are typically not weather resistant and frigid cold temperatures could cause the lights to burn dim.

The most popular options this year have been our LED 35 and 50 light options from the Vickerman company.  Both options are great for small decorations such as 24-30″ wreaths or short garlands and centerpieces.  These lights are rated for indoor and protected outdoor use.  And best of all, the battery packs have a timer (4, 6, or 8 hours on) or a dusk to dawn setting.  Once you set them to what you would like, you can forget about them all season long.  They come in both warm white and multi-colored.

Stop in-store and see our full selection of battery operated light sets, we have dedicated a full end-cap in our Christmas department for them this holiday.

 

Now’s the time to… Winter-ize your lawn mower for storage

Because the mild weather has hung around longer than usual this year thanks to El Nino, we are writing this article later than usual.  Every spring though, we hear from countless customers about mowers being hard to start or running poorly after they were stored all winter long.  To avoid these frustrations is is important to maintain and store your lawn mower properly.  We suggest you follow these steps before storing your mower for the winter…

Use fuel stabilizer on your final fill-up:  Fuel stabilizer will keep gas fresh for at least 90 days and is a good idea to use with your final fill-up of the year.  The new Briggs and Stratton Advanced Fuel Formula is an additive that can keep gas fresh up to 2 years!  In the case of your lawnmower though, we recommend that the gasoline that is inside never be over 30 days old.  This means that at the end of the season, it is best to run your mower dry of gasoline – which is touched on in the next section.

Run mower dry of gasoline:  This is the most critical step in storing your mower for the winter, and there are two ways to do so.  The easiest way is to start your mower as you typically would and allow it to run dry and stall out.  You will then want to start it up one more time, and let that last little bit run to stall out a second time (if possible).  The mower should be sufficiently dry to store at this point.  The other option, depending on your lawn mower model, is to use the drain plug that is located on the carburetor bowl.  You may drain the entire gas tank (and carburetor) free of gasoline by loosening this screw and draining it into a bowl of some sort for safe disposal.

Adding oil to the engine to lubricate pistons:  This is performed by removing the spark plug and adding about 1 oz of oil to the engine.  Be sure to check your owner’s manual to see if this procedure is recommended for your engine.  After the oil is dropped into the engine, you will pull the cord a few times (with spark plug disconnected) so that the pistons are lubricated evenly.  Please reference your mower’s owners manual if you are unsure whether this procedure is recommended for your particular mower.

Charge battery (for electric start or cordless mowers only):  Not charging your battery before the winter can cause the battery to drain too low and fail the following year.  For gasoline models with an electric start battery, you will want to charge the battery for a full 24 hours before storing.  If stored in a unheated room or garage, you will want to recharge every 3 months.  If storing a cordless mower, then you will want to charge the battery fully now and periodically throughout the winter.  If the batteries are removable, then give them a full charge and bring the battery inside so that it is not harmed in any way.

winterizing your lawn mower

 

 

What’s New? Bissell Commercial Vacuum Cleaners

Bissell Commercial vacuum cleaners are now available in our store!  They are the preferred choice of many resorts, restaurants, and professional cleaning services, because of their durability and function.  Even though, we are not stocking every unit they make, we do have some of their most popular units, including the Lightweight Upright, the DayClean Quiet Upright, the Little Hercules Canister, and several cordless stick sweepers.

Some features of Bissell Commercial Vacuums that make them so special:

  • High filtration disposable dust bags (most models)
  • Quality operation – around 70 dBA
  • Ultra long power cord for large radius of cleaning
  • Adjustable brush roller adapts to hard surfaces, area rugs, and carpeting
  • Easy to transport carry handles and/or large roller wheels

We are also stocking a large assortment of Bissell residential vacuums.  These units are bagless, ultra convenient, and vary in function from a steam mop/vaccum to a portable canister, to a high-powered upright!  There are too many models to write about them here, so if you are in the market for a vacuum, please stop by our housewares department and ask for some advice – we will be happy to help you!

 

Introductory Video on the Bissell Lightweight Upright (A proven favorite!)

Now’s the time to… Install pipe insulation and heating cables

pipe insulation resizedSo many of us had issues with frozen pipes last year because they were not insulated well enough to resist the deep, freezing temperatures that we experienced.  Others of us, had issues with large icicles that weighed down gutters and posed a safety hazard for those that walked by.  Now is the time to prevent those situations from happening this winter by installing pipe insulation and/or heating cables at problem areas.

Problem: Pipes are freezing either in areas that are poor insulated or not insulated at all.  Solution: Install pipe insulation around the water supply lines for both the hot water and the cold water.  You will also want to inspect areas around these pipes that are poorly insulated and might be causing a draft of cold air.  If the situation is really bad and insulating still may not provide enough warmth for the pipes, you may want to install heat cables to the water lines.  These turn on automatically when temperatures of the pipe reach a certain level.  They are easy to install and work through a standard 120 volt plug.

Problem: Long, dangerous icicles are forming.  Or the freeze/thaw around the gutters has caused water to penetrate inside the home through areas that are not watertight.  Solution: Install roof and gutter de-icing cables along the gutters/roof line to ice dams when needed to keep your gutters free flowing.  These must be installed now, so they they prevent the ice from forming and lay tight to the roof shingles.  Professional roofers may be necessary to perform these the next two steps, but you may want to consider ways to vent the attic space below the roof, so that those temperatures changes are not experienced.  Also proper insulation above the interior ceiling will also prevent the heat from raising and melting the ice dams from underneath.

Pipe insulation and heating cables are handy products to use during the winter months, but now is the time to install them.  So if you have battled with freezing water pipes and melting ice dams, then you might want to consider some of these do-it yourself solutions.

heating cables resized