Now’s the Time to… Prepare your heating system for the winter

As the nights get colder, many of us are turning on our heating systems for the first time this fall.  Now is a great time to inspect our HVAC systems to insure everything is in good working order before the cold of winter settles in.


Central Air System

  1. Replace furnace filter(s) on a regular basis.  Many filters last about 3 months, but some only last 1 month, so you will want to be sure that you are keeping up with filter changes, especially so now that our units are running so frequently during the cold winter months.  This will insure that you are capturing all the unwanted particles and allergens before they are allowed to recirculate.
  2. Call a HVAC service technician and have them review your heating system.  They will inspect the duct work, lubricate and oil furnace components, clean and test the fan, check the gas pressure, and more.  A professional review of your HVAC system will help prevent problems during the high demand months, and if anything were to go wrong (knock on wood), you would have already established a relationship with a service technician or company to help you out.
  3. If you have rooms where furniture may be blocking the air flow, consider air deflectors to redirect the flow of air.  These are great for pushing air up walls or out from under sofas or beds so that you get the full benefit of the forced air.  We have adjustable products for both wall vents as well as floor vents.
  4. Survey areas of heat loss and remedy those situations with either temporary or permanent solutions.  For more details on what can be done to keep heat locked inside, please view our article Doit Yourself Tips for Lowering Your Heating Bill.

Hot Water Heat

  1. Let the air out of the system by opening valves at the radiators and convectors.  By “bleeding” the system of air, you will eliminate any air that has been built up in the system due to a lack in water pressure.
  2. It is also a good idea to call a professional to have your hot water heat system reviewed every once in awhile.  This professional will often test the water pressure in the system, lubricate the water pump, and other preventative maintenance steps.  These steps can also be performed by the homeowner, if you fill well-informed in doing so.
  3. Make sure that radiators have room to breathe and are not contacting items that could be a fire hazard.  If furniture has been moved and is crowding the radiator, you will want to re-position items.  If window and doors close to radiators are poorly insulated and letting warm air escape, you will want to better insulate them so that heat has a chance to move throughout the home.
  4. Survey areas of heat loss and remedy those situations with either temporary or permanent solutions.  For more details on what can be done to keep heat locked inside, please view our article Doit Yourself Tips for Lowering Your Heating Bill.


Spend a Little – Save a Lot: Wood Hardener For Rotted Wood

pc-petrifier for rotten woodWith so many old houses in our neighborhood, so many of us have situations where water has rotted out wood around window ledges, gutters, downspouts, roofs, decks, and more.

This rotten wood is not only unsightly but it can be an attraction for carpenter ants, woodpeckers, rodents, and other critters.  Instead of replacing the damaged wood, repair the wood and rebuild it with the do-it yourself solution from PC-Products.  PC-Petrifier wood hardener is a water-based liquid that penetrates damaged wood, restoring it to near structural integrity.

How it works?  PC-Petrifier soaks into the rotted wood fibers and gives them structure once again.  It can be either poured or sprayed onto the rotted wood and cures in as little as 12 hours.  It is quite simple and rather amazing how it works!

If the damaged wood needs to be rebuilt after it hardens, PC makes a wood epoxy called PC-Woody that will fill in those holes or corners and provide a surface that can be either painted or stained to match the existing wood.

We recommend these products all the time in our store for rotted wood around downspouts or gutters that may be damaged due to water build-up.  They are also great products to repair damaged wood caused by woodpeckers, who are a big problem this time of the year because fall means that it is mating season.  PC-Petrifier is also a great solution for repairing soft rotted wood around the house that will likely attract carpenter ants or other bugs the longer is sits.

Save money and repair damaged, rotten wood yourself with the high quality products from PC-Products.  Here are links to both products on the PC website:  PC-Petrifier (wood hardener) and PC-Woody (Wood Epoxy).


What’s Trending? Autoseal Travel Mugs from Contigo

contigo autosealDid you know that we stock Contigo travel containers?  Their unique products are some of the most sought-after thermoses around!  And their patented autoseal mugs are the top of the line when it comes to heat retention and ease-of-use.

As the name suggests, the autoseal mouth closes automatically in-between sips, preventing spills and locking in heat!  Go ahead and put the thermos in your purse or lay it down in the car; you can trust the autoseal to keep contents from leaking.  These units are also double wall vacuum insulated!  As a result, hot beverages will stay hot up to 7 hours and cold beverages up to 18 hours.  The autoseal mugs from Contigo are perfect for keeping that caffeine hot while at work or running errands!  Cold beverages stay cold all day and will never sweat.

If cleaning is a concern, the new autoseal lids have an easy clean lid that partially disassembles and allows you to rinse out all the nooks and crannies. The top portion is even dishwasher safe (top rack only).  Take a look at the short video below to see all of the features of the autoseal mugs from Contigo.

Contigo travel mugs are priced around $25 – 30.  Stop by our Housewares department for our full selection.


What’s Trending? A Better Drought Tolerate Grass Seed

Our Jonathan Green grass seed mixtures might be the best seed that money can buy!  Why is this you say?  Well, each Jonathan Green mixture includes some Black Beauty tall fescue.  This turf-grade tall fescue is unique to Jonathan Green and it results in a dark green lawn created by a fine bladed grass that is pleasant to walk on and extremely drought tolerate.  In fact, the Black Beauty grass in Jonathan Green mixtures can grow roots up to 4 feet deep.  With roots this deep, grass will have a better chance to survive the next drought or compete with tree and shrub roots in heavily shaded areas!

Not only are Jonathan Green mixes more drought tolerate than normal, they are also made up of naturally insect resistant grasses.  This is because of the Endophytes that are present in all of their mixes.  Endophytes are a beneficial fungus that resists plants from being eaten by surface-feeding insects that can cause all sorts of problems through the summer.

As a result, if you have had trouble with overly sunny spots, heavily shaded spots, or surface insects in your lawn, consider using genetically superior Jonathan Green grass seed mixes on your next undertaking!  You will not be disappointed!!

Stop in and see one of our sales clerks for more information on Jonathan Green grass seed, or visit their website, seen here.

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What’s New? Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic – Dog and Cat Foods

dr garys small imageNew to our Pet department this week is Dr. Gary’s Best Breed dog and cat foods.  We were excited to learn about this brand just a few weeks ago and even more excited to find out about how many of our customer’s already know about the product and it’s holistic benefits.  We are pleased to stock 9 varieties of dog food and 2 cat varieties in various sizes.  If interested, stop by for a free sample to make sure that your furry friend will tolerate the switch to Dr. Gary’s!

What makes Dr. Gary’s Best Breed pet foods so great?

Veterinarian-Developed – The brand was founded by Dr. Gary Cotton back in 1994, after discovering many nutritionally-induced health conditions in the pets that he would see at his office.  It was determined that altering the diets of these animals would positively affect the pet and their owner, as they would share a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Healthy, Beneficial Ingredients – Each ingredient used in Dr. Gary’s formulas must be of the highest quality and must contribute to the overall health of the diet.  This means that there are no fillers, animal by-products or artificial anythings in a bag of Dr. Gary’s pet food.

A Commitment to Holistic Health – Every one of Dr. Gary’s Best Breed formulas has been derived from “common sense nutrition”.  Each variety is committed to the short and long term health of your pet.  No corners are cut to control cost and the quality of these foods.  This was the founding philosophy of Dr. Gary’s pet foods 20 years ago, and it has not changed to this day.

For more information on the particular varieties we carry, please visit our featured brand page on the Best Breed pet food.


What’s Trending? A Better Ironing Board from Brabantia

ironing_board_small_image_resizedAre you sick and tired of flimsy, wobbling ironing boards that feel like they are going to collapse with the smallest amount of weight?  Brabantia ironing boards are far from wobbly, in fact, they are the highest quality ironing board that we have ever come across!

With Brabantia, you no longer have to hassle with a weak, non-supportive ironing board.  On carpets or hard surfaces, Brabantia boards lock into place and and remain secure during use.  Go ahead and place a full load of laundry on the board to fold, or press down firmly on those stubborn wrinkles!  This board will not budge.

Brabantia boards are not only strong and stable, but they also offer a great performing iron surface.  Each board is made up of a heavy duty coated steel mesh and then covered with a padded cotton ironing board cover.   The padded cover prevents marks and creases in the material caused by the mesh backer or the edges of the board.  Lastly, when done ironing, simply lift the lever under the ironing surface and the board will collapse for storage.

Brabantia is committed to making only the highest quality ironing boards and that is why each one is backed with their 10 year guarantee!  If you are tired of wobbly ironing boards that offer no padding, then stop by and check out the full line-up of Brabantia boards.  We hope that you will be as impressed as we were and still are.


Now is the time to: Repair dead grass in lawn

This year has been tough on our lawns.  This spring started off wet and then humid and warm.  Then came summer and, even though we may not have had the hottest of temperatures, the days were dry and our lawns suffered from drought-like conditions for a long while.  The result of this far from ideal weather, is dead patches and areas of pour grass quality and many weeds.  This fall is a great time of the year to remedy some of these conditions through reseeding and fertilizing your lawn.  In this article, we will focus on reseeding.

Did you know… the fall is actually the best time of the year to seed?  By seeding now, you will see quick results because the soil is warm and the days/nights are cooler.  Unlike the spring, you do not have to wait for the soil to warm up from a cold winter.  Also the days and nights are cooler, so the soil will not dry out as quick and grass seed will stay moist for longer.  This goes a long way to seeing great grass seed results.  With quick germination, you reduce the chance of weeds from growing in these bare spots before the grass seed has a chance to thicken in.

What is the best type of grass seed to use for my lawn?  This answer depends on what type of conditions your lawn experiences.  The more shade that you receive, the more fescues that you will want to have in a mix.  The more sun you receive, the more ryegrass and bluegrass that you will want to have in the mix.  There are many great choices but the fact is that most are very similar.  They are all typically made from the same turf types, but the proportions of the mixture will vary depending on how much sun the area will get.  Of course, our sales clerks are here to help you with this choice.  What we often find is that one part of the lawn will need a mix that is more sun/drought tolerate and certain parts would do better with a more shade tolerate mixture, so you might need to consider a few different bags.

Here are the steps for reseeding your lawn…

  1. Prepare the soil.  Remove dead turf and kill or pull weeds in the areas of concern.  It is important to have “seed to soil contact” so all of the dead grass will need to be removed to ensure a nice bed of soil for seed germination.  Make sure that the top 1/2″ to 1″ of soil is loose and loamy so that the tender roots of young plants can find water and nutrients.
  2. Apply grass seed, mulch and fertilizer.  Use top quality grass seed mixes, like those from Scotts and Jonathan Green.  Sprinkle the grass seed moderately, sort of like “sprinkles on a cookie!”  Mulch and fertilizer are optional, but recommended for the best results.  We suggest that you try spagnum peat moss as the mulch.  This product is the main ingredient in potting soils, so it is lightweight, inexpensive, and very moisture retentive!  Fertilizer should be the last application.  You will want to use a starter fertilizer or a fall fertilizer as long as it does not have any weed control in it.
  3. Water regularly.  This step is not easy and where most people lose the battle with new grass seed.  It is important to water for quick germination and continued growth until the seedlings have a chance to deepen their roots.  You will want to water about 20 minutes a day.  We suggest that you do this in the morning, so that the water will help the grass get through the heat of the day.

And that’s it!  After about 2-3 weeks, you should be looking at a pretty nice lawn that will slowly thicken in over another week or two.  Now is a great time to seed, but you can really perform this work all the way through October as well.  After that, your results will sort of depend on the weather, so if it is getting too cold in November, you might want to hold off until spring.

Thanks for reading,

Derek Satterfield

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Now’s the time to: Plant Spring-Blooming Flower Bulbs

spring-blooming flower bulbsWe just got in our full assortment of flower bulbs from Holland and they are looking great!  Now through the early parts of November are the best times to plant spring-blooming flower bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, and more!  These flowers are the first blooms that we see each spring and are such a welcome sign to our gardens after a long and cold winter.  These bulbs are really simple to plant and they will come back year after year; there is no maintenance or replanting needed.  Stop by soon for the best selection and plant any time before the first frost!

Now’s the time to: Clean your gas grill

grill cleaning resizedWe are asked everyday, what is the best way to clean a barbecue grill?  The answer will vary slightly depending on the grill and how dirty it truly is.  Regardless, you will want to maintain a clean grill so that you may prevent flare-ups, get more even cooking temperatures, and extend the life of your cooking grates and grill components.  Here are some tips that we have compiled, followed by a helpful video from Weber regarding how to clean one of their gas grills!

Exterior of grill:  Wash with a solution of warm soapy water and a non-abrasive scrub pad or soft sponge.  An all purpose degreaser or grill cleaner will work in this case as well.  Stainless steel surfaces should be cleaned with a stainless steel cleaner, being sure to always wipe in the direction of the grain as to prevent scratches.

Interior of grill:  A plastic putty knife will be your best friend here!  With the putty knife, you will want to scrap the insides of the cook box, allowing the grease and grime to fall down into the catch pan below.  You may use warm soapy water, or an all purpose cleaner/degreaser of your choice to wipe down the surfaces.  The key here is to get rid of grease that might have accumulated.  By doing so, hot grease will not catch fire and cause a flare-up.

Cooking grates:  Our cooking grates probably show the most wear.  To remove the large baked-on food and grease, you will want to preheat the grill for about 5-10 minutes and use a good stainless steel grill brush to knock off the large mess.  If this isn’t enough to clean them entirely, then you will want to let the grill cool down and remove the grates.  Bring them inside, where you may soak them in your sink with a soapy solution or use a grill grate cleaner such as those from Goo Gone or Weber.  If the cooking grates are really dirty, you may choose to use ammonia to clean them.  Simply place the cooking grates inside a black plastic bag and allow it to bake in the sun for a day.  Once removed, the dirt will be loosened up entirely and can then be hosed off.  For step by step instructions, please visit this page on eHow.

Flavorizer bars:  Like the cooking grates, heavy messes on Flavorizer bars can cause hot grease to puddle and flare-up.  Build-ups can also lead to corrosion of the bars over time, so it is very important to keep these bars clean.  Weber calls them Flavorizer bars, but they are the bars/panels that sit below the cooking grates and protect drippings from falling directly on the burners.

Burner tubes:  Simply brush the burner tubes clean with a grill brush.  You will want to brush them in the opposite direction of the direction that they run, so as to push dirt away from the holes instead of back in.

Catch/grease pan:  Scrap catch pan free of build-ups with a putty knife.  Use soap and water if you desire.  Never line the catch pan with aluminum foil.  Empty the grease pan if full of drippings.

Thanks for reading everyone, and happy grilling!

Derek Satterfield


Spend a Little – Save a Lot: GoJo Pumice Hand Cleaner

If you have been doing projects around the house, chances are that your hands are taking a beating.  They are being covered in soil, grease, dirt, paint and random sticky substances that came from somewhere!  At the end of your project, if you are looking for a better way to quickly clean your hands and arms from those dirty, grimy substances, you should try GoJo’s hand cleaner.

GoJo’s hand cleaner is made in a smooth formula as well as the pumice cleaner.  They both remove the same dirt, grease, tar and paint, but the ones with added pumice will be a little more heavy duty for those tougher applications.  What makes GoJo’s hand cleaner unique is two-fold.  1) It’s cleaner uses very little water.  Just a few drops is all that you need to move the product around and to coat your hands.  If no water is available, you can simply rub briskly and wipe dry.  2) It is highly effective on removing sticky and oily substances.  When GoJo’s hand cleaner is activated on our hands, it pulls the dirt and tar away from your hands with little effort.  These messes are often the toughest to remove, but with GoJo they are easy to take care of.

For about $4 this product is a great addition to anyone’s garage or ‘slop’ sink.  Available in the original formula and the natural orange formula.  Both are available with or without pumice.  GoJo is sold everyday in our Automotive Aisle near Housewares.