Fall Furnace Care

Have you delayed scheduling your annual fall furnace maintenance appointment? We’re already into December and entering into the heart of the heating season but it’s never too late to show your furnace some love. It is so much worse to have to deal with a problem when your whole house is reliant on that appliance during the winter. Could you imagine how many space heaters you’d have to run to prevent your pipes and family from freezing?

Furnace care and maintenance tipsFurnace Care Checklist

While some of the items on this checklist could be handle by everyday DIY homeowners, there are a few that require special equipment and others that are best left to a professional.

  • Remove soot buildup from the combustion chamber and clean up any debris.
  • Visually look over the flue for any cracks, holes, or corrosion. Small leaks can be seal with foil tape (i.e. duct tape will not work). If the flue is very corroded, it is best to have it replaced.
  • If applicable, replace the oil filter. Be sure the oil valve is closed when working on this filter.
  • Professionals will utilize a special meter to examine the exhaust gases to optimize the fuel to air ratio.
  • Clean out the blower compartment of dust and debris. Open the oil ports and top off with the appropriate lubricant for your specific blower.

DIY Rustic Christmas Sign

Make a simple rustic Christmas decoration out of some inexpensive wood letters, old jewelry and a weathered piece of wood.


  •   Materials for the signWood Letters
  • Weathered piece of wood, large enough for the word you choose
  • Brown Craft Paint
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Foam Paint Brushes (2)
  • Small Christmas Ornaments or Jewelry
  • Christmas Holly Decoration
  • Hot Glue Gun

Piano Bookcase

Please read no further if you’re squeamish. To some, the following project may represent all that is wrong with the world of repurposing, but for our customer it allowed them to keep mom’s baby grand piano minus the expense of storing it and/or keeping it in playing condition.

Moving the Beast

When I went to pick up the piano for this project, I got permission from the owners to disassemble the piano onsite. The owner even helped me take it apart. The worst part is removing the harp, which is made of cast iron and can easily weigh over one hundred pounds. This particular model was an old player piano, so it had even more pieces than a typical piano. Luckily, most all the pieces are screwed together, so with a little patience and elbow grease you can whittle it down into manageable-sized pieces for moving.

Disassembling the pianoRemoving the harp is the trickiest part not only because of the weight, the harp is also where all of the piano wire, or strings, are strung. You can back out all of the tuning pegs if you have the correct wrench for this, but we’ve always used a pair of bolt cutters to cut all of the strings. This way is much faster, but you do have to be very cautious since the strings are very tight and can spring up at you when cut. Always wear gloves and safety glasses when performing this task. Also helpful is to lay a board across the strings as they are cut, which tends to absorb some of the energy as they are cut.

Once all of the screws are out of the harp, and the strings are off, you and a helper can pull the harp up and out of the piano (assuming a grand or baby grand versus upright). An engine hoist would also be helpful for this task and would save your backs, but a couple of strong lads should be able to do this work.

Finish tearing down the piano screw by screw. Remove the legs, the keyboard, and the hammers on the inside. Moving should be a breeze now.


5 Creative Christmas Tree Toppers

Ditch the traditional star or angel in favor of these unique ideas.  Being creative with your Christmas tree is easier than you think.

 Go Rustic

This blogger topped her tree with a craft paper reindeer.  You could do the same or substitute the reindeer for a bird or other woodland animal.



Monthly Roundup: Jingle Bells Edition

Thanksgiving has passed and snow falls have ushered in December and Christmas season. While it is great that we will have a white Christmas, it did make it tricky to get all the lights on the house with the first snow coming in early November in Minnesota. I’ll just have to focus decorating efforts inside this year!

Light Bulb Ornament

Upcycle an old light bulb into an interesting Christmas ornament that is sure to grab people’s attention.
Christmas tree light bulb ornament