Introduction to Lawn Mower Spark Plugs

If you own a lawn mower, you likely know that you have spark plugs in the engine. These spark plugs need to be changed occasionally as routine maintenance!

However, if you find yourself asking what a spark plug actually is, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. A lot of people know very little about their vehicles. The good news is that, since you are reading this, you are seeking to learn more.

What Is a Spark Plug? What Does It Do?

As you may know, your engine moves the wheels by igniting fuel in cylinders. The pistons in these cylinders are moved by the burning fuel and turn a crankshaft. This rotational movement is transferred to your wheels to move the vehicle. To ignite the fuel, your engine needs a spark. Every time a piston goes through its cycle, the spark plug sets off a small electrical spark to light the fuel/air mixture and continue the process. Although small and humble, spark plugs are really important. Without them, your engine wouldn’t start, and you wouldn’t get anywhere.

Types of Spark Plugs

There are several types of spark plugs. These are primarily differentiated by the type of metal used in the electrode. There are copper/nickel, platinum, double platinum, iridium and double iridium spark plugs. When you want to buy new spark plugs for your lawn mower, you need to be careful to get the right type. The simplest way to check this is by looking in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Your manufacturer included details on the spark plugs you need in there. Another option is to use a VIN lookup free tool at your favorite auto parts store. This will help you find the right spark plugs for your make and model.

Changing Spark Plugs

Although it may seem intimidating, changing spark plugs is a relatively easy process. You’ll be back to mowing your lawn in no-time! It is a great starting point for anyone who is interested in working on vehicles. All you need to do is disconnect the wire, remove the spark plug, gap your new spark plug, then install and connect the new one. The most complicated part of this process is gapping. Fortunately, this is also easy if you take the time to learn what you are doing. Gapping is changing the distance (or gap) between the two electrodes to match the voltage and amperage of the engine. You may wonder what happens when plugs aren’t gapped properly? It could damage your engine and cause misfires. With a feeler tool and a little patience, all you need to do is slowly adjust the electrode to be the same distance apart as those on your old spark plug. Again, with a little patience, this is hard to mess up. The feeler gauge does most of your work for you.

Get Started

Now that you know a little bit about spark plugs, you are ready to change them in your vehicle. This is a quick and easy process. Just head to your favorite auto parts store to find the right plugs and pick up some tools. You could be a DIY mechanic in no time.


Everything You Never Knew About Aerating Your Lawn

A green lawn is a beautiful thing, but as you likely already know by now, it takes way more work than you expect to keep it green!

Photos Via: Style Blueprint

Even if you are watering 1.5 inches every week (in the mornings, so your lawn doesn’t become a mildewed swamp), mowing to the exact height of 2.5 inches (with razor-sharp mowing blades, you might add) and sprinkling nitrogen-rich fertilizer every fall, you still probably aren’t doing enough to guarantee a healthy lawn.

That’s because you aren’t aerating, or ensuring that air is getting to your grass’s crown and roots. If this is the first you’re hearing about lawn aeration, read on for all the info you need to know about this mandatory chore.

What Aeration Does

Grass is a plant, and plants don’t have lungs — so why would your lawn need better access to air? The truth is that even though plants don’t have lungs, they do take in nutrients from the air. Most notably, grass (and all plants) use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen through photosynthesis; in fact, a 25-square-foot lawn creates enough oxygen to support one person for an entire day, and a 50-square-foot lawn can support a family of four. Thus, it is critical that lawns have sufficient exposure to air, so they can take in enough CO2 to grow healthily and emit the oxygen you need to breathe.

However, aeration provides another crucial function: loosening compacted soil. Over time, the dirt around your lawn’s roots becomes tightly compressed, due to constant use (i.e. you and your family walking on the lawn) or things falling onto it, like tree litter and snow. When this happens, your grass’s roots have a harder time growing through the soil, and water, air and other nutrients are less likely to get absorbed. Thus, it is imperative that you aerate your lawn to ensure your grass has space and access to vital components for health.

What Aeration Is

By now you might accept that aeration is important, but that doesn’t get you any closer to performing it properly on your own lawn. First, you need to understand what the process of aeration entails. At its most basic, aeration is poking holes into your lawn. This will give the soil space to expand, which in turn relieves pressure around the roots. Additionally, the holes allow moisture and air to flow into the soil, improving the grass’s health.

You don’t want the holes to be too big; this will damage your lawn and leave unsightly patches of bare dirt. However, you also don’t want the holes to be too small, or else the effort won’t successfully help your lawn. Also, just a few holes won’t do. Experts say that aeration holes should be between 2 and 3 inches deep, .5 to .75 inches in diameter and 2 to 3 inches apart. It is typical to aerate once per year during the active growing season, which falls in late spring and early summer for most lawns. Still, you want the soil to be plenty moist when you aerate, or your job of punching holes and pulling out plugs will be much more difficult.

What Aeration Needs

Larger lawns generally require more expert care because they have a greater chance of developing unsightly problems. When it comes to aeration, larger lawns usually necessitate the use of large and expensive machines, like core aerators, which can seriously damage your lawn if used improperly. Thus, if you do have a larger patch of grass — and if you are uncomfortable using bulky, noisy machinery — you might want to hire professionals to aerate your lawn for you. Since this task only occurs once per year, it isn’t too costly, and it could save you big on repairs to your lawn in the long term.

If you have a small lawn, you can probably aerate yourself using smaller and more manageable tools. Manual aeration tools include things like pitchforks and shoe spikes; these allow you to walk around your lawn and drive holes where you see fit. You can also rent machinery from your local hardware store, but you should real the manual before operation to prevent harm to your lawn or you.

Aeration is one of those tasks that most homeowners don’t talk about, which means you might not have learned about it before you gained a lawn of your own. Fortunately, it isn’t too late to start aerating your lawn and ensuring the lushest, greenest grass in the neighborhood.


How Important is Your Lawn’s Look When Trying to Sell Your House

Are you trying to sell your home? Sprucing up your lawn for a quick sale is not that hard as you may think. Keep reading for our easy tips!

Photo: Solara Custom Doors and Lighting

So you’re trying to sell your home. Two words: deep breath. This can be a stressful undertaking but there are things you can do to sell your home easily. First and foremost, you obviously need to make sure your house is in shape to sell it. Unless you know it’s going to be a knock-down, it’s well worth your while to do some home improvement projects, particularly to your bathrooms and kitchens (which can raise the resale value). However, what many might not consider to their detriment is the curb appeal (or lack thereof) of their home. If you’ve watched HGTV, you likely know that this is the overall aesthetics of your home as potential buyers pull up to the curb. How is the paint looking? How are the shutters holding up? Are there any trees that need to come down? There are many factors that make up curb appeal, and one of those is your lawn. How important is the look of your lawn when trying to sell your home? We explore that below.

How Important is a Great Lawn?

In sum, it’s pretty darn important. The lawn is likely the first thing potential buyers will notice when pulling up to the curb—hence the relevance. However, there are exceptions. If you live in California, for instance, those looking to buy a house are less likely to be as consumed by this, as brown or at least less-than-perfectly-green lawns have become the norm due to their near-permanent drought situation. In other areas of the U.S., you want your lawn to be as green and well-manicured as possible.

Photo: Via Houzz

If you don’t have time to tend to it yourself during the sale process, outsource this to someone who will. We often talk about our love of lands like Ireland and Iceland for their lush and green countryside, so the last thing we want when trying to sell our homes is for prospects to see dead and dry landscaping. If you do live in an area that’s prone to droughts, you might think about replacing the grass with turf or even drought-resistant plans like succulents and rocks. A lot of people in California are going with the latter option, and you wouldn’t believe how polished this can look when done right. And the huge extra bonus is that there would be no more mowing the lawn!

Other Lawn Essentials

There is a lot more to making your lawn presentable than having green grass. You need to make sure your hedges are trimmed, particularly the ones that adorn walkways up to the home. You only get that once chance for the first impression. Trim your rose bushes and trees, rake the leaves, pull weeds from your well-designed garden, and simply make everything look well-tended to. You might even consider taking a photo and/or having an outside eye come over to look. Either of these tactics would ensure that you’re not missing something due to the fact that you’re walking by these things every day.

Photo: Bosenberg and Company Landscape Architects

Don’t Forget the Bells and Whistles

We all know real estate agents have their tricks. They take photos of the home in just the right light and at just the right angle. They stage the home or sometimes even have professional stagers come and do it for them. They’ll have scented candles going or even bake cookies so that the smell is inviting. So if your real estate agent is taking these great pains to make your home look as appealing as possible, you should, too.

Just as you would with a fresh coat of paint inside and tweaking bathrooms and kitchens, you’ll want to add things like pops of color to the outside of your home. Consider putting in bushes that flower and/or potted plants. Hang them from trellises and have them greet your prospects on the front porch. If you anticipate having some visits at night, highlight the best parts of your lawn and landscaping with spotlights. Any of these added touches will surely make a huge impression on potential buyers, even if it’s on a subliminal level.

So just how important is the look of your lawn when trying to sell your home? We’ll say it again—very much so! But don’t let the thought overwhelm you. You don’t have to do a complete overhaul, but you should consider some of the aforementioned tactics in cleaning up your lawn and landscaping. Once you do that, your home will surely fly off the market.