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Can I Build a Shed Attached to a Garage?


Many homeowners have often though about building a shed that’s attached to their garage, this may be an option for some and its also less costly. You will need to consult with your local building authority to find out what your options are.

It’s certainly possible to build a shed attached to a garage. It gives you the storage capabilities of a shed while saving you some building, as one wall already exists. It also gives you added stability with the shed being attached to a larger building. You can build it onto the side of your garage or onto the back, which will keep it hidden.

Attached sheds can range from being a fully enclosed shed to a simple woodshed or lean-to, or even just an open roof extension to house a few things. You can build it yourself or buy a kit. There are some specially made for attaching to an existing building.

However, the first thing you should do is to check with your local building authority. Some zoning regulations don’t allow outbuildings to be attached to the house. You’ll probably need a building permit at any rate. If you live in a homeowner’s association, you’ll need to check with them as well.

Once you decide what kind of building you want to add, you need to plan your shed so that it blends in with the look of the rest of the house. You don’t want it to stick out like a sore thumb or look like it was just plugged on like some odd piece of a Mr. Potato Head.

This is especially important in a homeowner’s association, as they usually have more of an emphasis on appearances and continuity. If you live in an area with no building restrictions, you can just put up a few posts and corrugated metal sheets for a roof. Just remember that when it comes time to sell the house, potential buyers may not be attracted to a nice, modern home with a shed addition that looks like it was rescued from an old farm.

How to Attach the Roof and Walls?

Many attached sheds aren’t quite as complicated as the stand-alone sheds. While you can build a doorway directly from the side or back of your garage into the shed, it’s much easier to just have the shed have its own outside entrance. Cutting through your garage wall will be quite a project, especially if you have electricity in the garage. You’ll need an outer door to the shed anyway if you plan to keep wheeled items such as mowers or tillers inside.

Some people choose to just leave the front of the attached shed completely open to drive in mowers and ATVs, both the front and back, or just have it completely open on all three sides. You can even put a door in the front but leave the back completely open. This will fool potential thieves into thinking it’s a fully enclosed shed while leaving you plenty of room to drive in your yard vehicles easily.

As far as siding, it would be best to use the same type of siding as on the rest of the house, or at least the same as the garage if it is different from the house. If this is not feasible, choose a siding that you can paint the same color as the rest of the house.

Usually, a 2 x 4 is attached flat to the garage wall a few inches above the top of the outer wall posts. This board is nailed to the studs of the garage wall. The extra height is designed to create the roof slope. Rafters are fastened to the top of this board and then to a cap board nailed to the post tops.

How Much Slope Should the Roof Have?

The minimum slope should be figured on allowing at least a quarter inch per foot. This measurement will satisfy many building codes, but it’s best to get that information from your local building inspector before you start. Every municipality and location has its own rules.

Building your shed roof with the same slope as the garage roof will really make it blend in nicely. Using the same type of roofing as the rest of the house will also tie the building in nicely and keep it from being an eyesore.

What Kind of Foundation is Needed?

If you have an enclosed garage, you probably have a concrete slab floor or foundation for that. It would be a good idea to do the same for your shed to keep the floor on the same level. Even if you choose not to construct a walk-through from the garage, your shed will look much better and integrate better with the overall structure of the house if it is on the same level. You can also form the foundation from concrete blocks. If you are just building a simple open lean-to that is basically a roof extension, you won’t really need a floor.

How Do You Make a Floor?

You can use the same flooring you would in a detached shed, ranging from a concrete slab to concrete blocks or other choices. If this is going to be basically rough storage for your outdoor tools and equipment, you might investigate plastic shed bases. These are made of squares of plastic formed into a grid that lock together to make whatever size floor you need.

These are used on many types of smaller sheds. It would be a good idea to extend the gravel outward about a foot around the exterior of the shed to help water running off the roof drain away.

Be sure to level and smooth your dirt, then place landscaping fabric or a vapor barrier over the dirt. Some plastic shed base kits come with a membrane for this included. Lay the blocks in place and attach them according to instructions. For extra strength, you can pour pea gravel or small aggregate into the grids. Backfill around the edges.

How Do You Build a Shed onto a Garage?

There are many ways to do this; we’ll look at a relatively uncomplicated construction that will still do the job. Of course, you can use whatever siding and roofing you wish. For tools, you’ll need a tape measure and level, a post hole digger, concrete, hammer and framing nails, a few concrete nails, metal flashing, plywood, corrugated roofing with roofing screws equipped with washers for waterproofing, and a circular saw.

For lumber, you’ll need 4 x 4″ posts, 2 x 4″ lumber 1 x 4″ sheathing boards, 1 x 2″ batten boards, a 2 x 6″ board for a door header, and pressure-treated plywood rated for exterior use for siding. You’ll also need 4 x 4 x 8″ concrete blocks for the flooring.

Layout the dimensions with your tape measure along the existing garage wall. Mark spots for posts at the corners and every eight feet in between. Make sure your space is square. Use the post hole digger for your posts, setting them in concrete. Make sure they are all straight and plumb.

Posts should be set into the ground about a third of the total length. For instance, 12-foot posts need to be buried three feet deep. This will give you a nine-foot roof with an eight-foot ceiling interior.

Dig out your flooring eight inches deep and level. Lay some landscape fabric into the depression and spread it up and over the edges of the dig all around. Then lay down three inches of gravel or aggregate, tamping it down evenly. Spread an inch of sand over this. Set your blocks into the sand.

Cut half blocks to allow you to stagger the block arrangement and fit them around the posts. Make sure they are all level. Spread dry cement over the blocks and sweep it into all the cracks between the blocks. Dampen it with a garden hose and let it set for a firm floor.

Nail a 2 x 4″ board horizontally on the garage wall a few inches higher than the posts according to the slope you want. Nail it to the garage wall studs. Nail 2 x 4s on top of the posts and others vertically with the flat side to the garage wall to match the posts. Attach bracing boards to connect the posts and wall eight feet above the flooring.

These will be your ceiling joists. Attach rafter braces to the top of the horizontal wallboard and to the post cap board to form your roof slope, leaving enough length at the outer edge for your overhang.

Your 1 x 4 sheathing strips go on the tops, bottoms and centers of the walls for your siding. You can use corrugated metal or fiberglass for a roof or install plywood for roof sheathing if you plan to use shingles. Make sure you install metal flashing that goes up the wall and over the roof. Use a clear sealant to prevent leaks. You absolutely don’t want water to seep between your shed addition and garage wall. Cover your walls with plywood.

The doorway is made of 2 x 4 studs for the outer frame and a 2 x 6 header board. Cut your plywood to fit around it. Additional bracing may be added if needed. A horizontal base plate should be nailed to the concrete blocks. Finish off your shed by painting the exterior to match your home’s color.

Conclusion

If you have the room and it’s allowed in your locale, building an attached shed is a great way to add storage while saving you a lot of the work involved in building a free-standing shed. Just take care to make it look integrated as possible to the rest of the home, and it will be an asset to the home’s value as well as a very useful addition.

Can I Heat My Shed with Propane?


If you spend much time in your shed working on projects instead of using it just for storage, you’re going to find yourself getting chilled in the winter or on cool, rainy days. Of course, winter weather is the perfect time for working on projects that can’t be done in the house, making your shed the perfect place.

Yes, you can heat your shed using propane, there are many portable options for propane heaters and as with any live flame some safety measures are necessary.

You need some heating source to at least keep your fingers warm enough to work when spending time in the shed. Many people turn to propane heaters for their sheds. The heaters are portable, and the fuel is convenient, using bottles that can be traded in when empty for full ones.

People often purchase these heaters for indoor use, especially if they have problems with power going out in the winter. There does need to be some care taken in their use, as with any appliance that features a live flame.

Do You Need Ventilation When Using a Propane Heater?

Since propane heaters, or any heaters that produce flames, do need air to burn fuel and produce potentially hazardous fumes as a byproduct of the burning, it is best to provide ventilation when using a propane heater.

Carbon monoxide can build up inside your shed to dangerous levels, especially in smaller sheds, when they are used with your shed closed up. Add to that the fact that the heater itself is using some of the oxygen you need in order to burn fuel, and you get a double problem.

When using one during the winter in your shed, crack open the window or open the door for a few minutes every so often to clear out the fumes and let some fresh, oxygenated air in. Not only will this help you but will give the heater the oxygen it needs for burning.

Can You Get Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from a Propane Heater?

You most certainly can get carbon monoxide poisoning from your heater. Any appliance that produces a live flame has the potential to produce carbon monoxide fumes. Even a natural gas-burning water heater can cause these fumes. Once they build up to a certain level, they start to affect anyone around them.

Unless you have a carbon monoxide detector, you won’t know about the problem until it starts affecting you physically, and you may just write off the beginning headache as being caused by something else. If your heater is equipped with an oxygen sensor, it is made to shut off if the oxygen level drops to a certain percent, but the carbon monoxide is still in the air.

Can You Leave a Propane Heater on All Night?

Any fuel-burning heater with a live flame should not be left on all night or even unattended. If something should go wrong during the night, you won’t know about it until there’s potentially a big problem.

The potential increases if you are using a ventless heater. If you use the heater in your shed, you don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide fumes overnight, but there is always the potential of fire with a live flame. It’s probably best not to consider doing this.

Where Do I Mount the Propane Tank?

Many of the smaller heater models use propane contained in a canister mounted directly on the heater. If your heater uses an external, separate tank, most likely it will have instructions on how to connect to the tank and how far away the tank should be placed. Propane tanks should never be used or stored indoors.

Choose a place where the tank will be protected under the shed eaves. Placing it on the side opposite prevailing winds will help keep it safe from wind-blown rain and snow. Use some sort of cover to protect your tank during seasons when it will not be used.

Flexible LP hose is available so that you can keep your tank outside and run the hose inside to your heater. If you have a window, you can run the hose through the window opening, keeping the window open just enough for the hose. This has the added benefit of allowing fresh air to come in for both you and the heater and negating the danger of carbon monoxide buildup.

If you don’t have a window, you’ll have to create an opening in your wall for the hose. Make sure it is large enough so that the hose doesn’t get pinched. If you have to create an opening through metal siding, it may be a good idea to use some kind of rubber gasket or a piece of PVC pipe to fit the hose through and protect it from sharp edges.

Some people leave their tank or cylinder in the shed at a distance from the heater, but this is not a good idea and is illegal in many places.

How Many BTUs Do I Need to Heat My Shed?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. One BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. To calculate the BTUs needed for your shed, a good formula is to multiply the number of degrees you want to raise the temperature by the cubic feet of space inside your shed, by .133.

This will equal the number of BTUs per hour that you will need. For instance, a 1,000 square foot shed, or a 10 x 10, will need 18,000 BTUs.

Various factors can affect what size heater you will need with what output. For example, warmer southern U.S. climates require 30-40 BTUs per square foot, while northern parts in zone 5 need up to 60 BTUs. You’ll need to find out what zone you live in and how many BTUs you will need per square foot.

If your shed doesn’t have a ceiling, this will impact the formula as well. If your shed is drafty, has a window, or is not insulated, these factors affect your BTU needs also. If your shed gets a good amount of sun, you may not need as much heating capacity. When shopping for a propane heater, find someone knowledgeable in this area who can help you find out what capacity heater you’ll need.

Many heaters have their BTU rating printed on a label. Your supplier can also help you choose between the models that supply radiant heat and those with a blower system.

Fortunately, propane is an efficient fuel for heating. A 100,000 BTU natural gas furnace will burn around 97 cubic feet of gas per hour. The same-sized propane furnace only burns about 40 cubic feet per hour.

How Do Ventless Propane Heaters Work?

The term “ventless” comes from the practice of installing wall gas heaters in some rooms in homes, requiring ductwork or a chimney to vent the fumes. These were good for heating older homes that didn’t have a central heating system installed when they were built or providing extra heating capacity for the short term, such as in bathrooms to provide additional heat for taking a shower.

Gradually, heaters that didn’t require venting were invented. The ventless heaters have an Oxygen Detection Safety Pilot, or ODS, which acts as a sort of circuit breaker when it detects oxygen levels in the air that are too low for safety.

When oxygen levels drop to a certain percentage, a thermocouple that provides power to the gas valves is heated by the flame. When the oxygen level drops, the pilot flame goes out, the thermocouple cools and stops providing power to the gas valve, causing it to shut.

The system is shut down and cannot be started again until oxygen levels rise to a preset limit. Even if these heaters are equipped with a thermostat, if the heater is shut down due to low oxygen, it must be started again manually.

This technology was originally invented in Europe and is not only used in heaters but in gas-burning fireplaces as well. Since it first started being used over 50 years ago, it has boasted an exceptional safety record. There are over ten million units in use in the U.S., with many more being used worldwide.

How Safe are Propane Ventless Heaters?

Some reports conclude that no deaths have been attributed to the output of a product equipped with the ODS technology. However, the Consumer Products Safety Commission says otherwise, listing 15 occurrences of carbon monoxide poisoning connected with ventless heaters between December 1994 and January 1997. This number includes ten deaths.

While these events are not necessarily attributed solely to propane heaters, any gas-burning product tends to operate in the same way and produces the same kinds of by-products in the air.

Ventless heaters are made to burn fuel cleanly, but you can’t have a flame that is completely pollution-free. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and water vapor are all discharged into the air in some amounts. An aging heater or one that is dirty or has its air intake shutter adjusted improperly can produce pollutants in even higher amounts. Add to this the fact that these heaters don’t produce dry air as do central heating units.

They do produce water vapor, which can add to the dampness in your shed. With more use, the vapor produced by the heater can add to the potential for mold and mildew to form inside the shed. If you choose to use one of these products, it’s best to use it for a limited amount of time each time you work in your shed.

What Should I Do if I Smell Propane?

If you smell propane when using your heater, turn off the gas supply valve immediately and leave your shed. While this can occur when your propane supply is running low, it also can mean that propane is leaking from somewhere or that your heater has become damaged or is defective. Once you are away from the shed, call your supplier for advice.

Your heater should be inspected by a service technician before you use it again. Some heaters come with a safety switch that turns off the heater if it is tipped over, but that doesn’t mean that the fall didn’t jar something loose.

Any time your heater has been knocked over or something has fallen on it, the jolt could loosen fittings inside and cause a leak. It will need to be inspected and serviced before being used again.

How To Care for a Propane Heater

Propane heaters are like other appliances. They need to be kept clean and regularly inspected for problems to work at their best and as safely as possible. Cleaning once a month is recommended. Make sure your heater is thoroughly cool before starting. Check the pilot tube, thermocouple and orifice for corrosion.

A toothpick or sandpaper can clear blockages on these. Check both the fuel regulator for any cracks or corrosion. Check the fuel line along its length for any cracks, leaks or kinks.

You can use a vacuum cleaner to get off any dirt or debris from the heater, using attachments to get into the small spaces such as vent holes and fins. Small paintbrushes or old toothbrushes are great for getting dust out of vents and tiny spaces. You can use canned air to get out dust from the ignition and flame areas.

Be careful not to bump anything out of alignment while cleaning less a sensor be knocked out of kilter, adversely affecting the heater’s efficiency, or causing it not to work at all.

A spray that detects gas leaks is a good investment or you can also use a 50/50 mixture of dishwashing detergent and water with a spray bottle to thoroughly coat the surfaces. The substance is sprayed over the hose and parts. Any gas will create bubbles on the soapy surface the spray creates.

If you do detect a leak, close the tank’s valve. If warranted, try tightening connections near the leak, but don’t overdo it. This may solve the problem, but it’s still best to have your propane supplier take care of the problem.

Conclusion

Propane heaters are a good, economical choice for heating your shed while you work on projects inside. They come in many forms and sizes. Ask for help from the supplier if needed to choose the one best suited for your shed. Take care of your heater as you would any appliance, and it will serve you well for a long time to come.

How to Store a Gas Weed Eater


When it’s time to store your string trimmer for the winter, you can choose to stand it on the floor propped against the wall, lay it down, or hang it up. What’s the best way to store it? Is there any difference between storing a gas versus an electric or battery-powered model?

Is it OK to Store Weed Eater Upright?

While you can just stand the trimmer on the floor propped against the wall, you’re exposing it to the dust and dirt that accumulates on garage and shed floors. It can also be easily knocked down when you’re rummaging for something nearby. If you don’t notice or just leave it on its side, the gas left inside can seem into places it shouldn’t go.

Actually, most manufacturers of gas string trimmers recommend hanging the trimmer vertically with the engine facing upward. This takes the weight off the handle and prevents any fuel left in the system from leaking out and perhaps damaging other parts.

Even if the fuel doesn’t leak, it could flood the carburetor or air filters. While the filters are easy to replace, taking apart a carburetor and cleaning it is not, and is something you really want to avoid if you can.

How Do You Store a Weed Eater for the Winter?

Just as with lawnmowers, it’s a good idea to run the gas out of it, or at least drain it out into a gas can. Then run the trimmer until it stops to make sure there is no gas left anywhere in the system. Gasoline deteriorates with age.

Leaving gas in your trimmer to age leads to corrosion of parts and potentially can lead to water leaking into your system. Even a drop or two can cause damage to your trimmer, leading again to taking apart the carburetor, spark plugs and other parts and cleaning them thoroughly.

While you can add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank for winter storage, the tank is so small that it really is more work to do this than to just drain the fuel and run the rest out. If you do choose to use a gas stabilizer, run the trimmer enough to make sure the stabilized gas gets distributed throughout the system.

Cleaning is important before storage. This is when you use something like a brake parts cleaner or at least a mild detergent to clean off all the grimy film that covers parts of your trimmer. Grass clippings contain a little juice, and this can act like glue with tiny grass scraps to form clumps that cram into all the tiny spaces.

If the string guard on the base of your trimmer is made of metal, you should clean all the grass from it after each use anyway. Damp grass left on there can lead to rust. Even if the trimmer guard is made of plastic, leaving grass gunk on the underside builds up and hardens, making it that much harder to get off later and impeding the string’s movement.

Be sure to check the vent openings that allow air to flow into the trimmer. Grass residue can clog up these fins quite easily. Actually, these narrow air inlets should be checked periodically during use, especially when cutting damp grass and weeds, to make sure they aren’t getting clogged.

An old toothbrush with stiff bristles is great for getting into the air vents and other cramped places. You may even want to use a flat-bladed screwdriver to scrape out the vents and get into some of those tiny places.

Don’t forget to remove the string spool and clean underneath. Clean the cutting blade as well. Clean blades will last longer. The cleaner all the underside parts are, the better and easier the string will advance and cut. If it’s a model that automatically advances string with a tap, take off the cap from the tapping mechanism to make sure no debris has gotten inside the cylinder where the spring resides, hindering the spring’s action.

Clean the air filter or replace it if it’s in bad shape. If you’re handy with machines, it’s a good idea to check other parts, such as the spark plug and springs. The driveshaft should be lubricated with WD-40 or something similar. The motion of the string spool revolving causes vibration which can loosen fasteners over time.

Check all the screws and bolts for tightness and tighten any that are loose. Using light engine oil on the exposed metal parts before storing the trimmer over the winter will help protect them against rust.

How To Store Your Weed Eater Safely

There are all sorts of brackets and hooks that come in many shapes and sizes that will be fine for hanging your string trimmer. One on each side will support it firmly and keep it from shifting, or you can look for a bracket that ends in a U-shaped fork to hold it.

Closet shelf brackets designed to support a clothing rod give good support, as they feature long bases with two attachment points. Some hooks come covered or partially covered with a rubberized coating to keep the hooks from scratching what is hung on them. This will also provide a specific place for your trimmer, so you always know where it is when not in use.

How to Make a Gas Weed Eater Storage Bracket?

If you have a router, you can use a 2 x 6 and bore rounded slots into it to hold the handle and hold other yard tools with long handles. The engine will rest on top of the board. You can also install a horizontal board between two studs in your shed for hooks or brackets.

Place your hooks or brackets on either side of the trimmer the way they would be if it were hanging and measure the distance between them. This is how far apart you attach the hooks on the board. One board between studs can usually accommodate more than one tool.

Conclusion

There are so many gas-powered lawn tools available these days that it sometimes slips our minds that each one takes some specialized care, especially when putting them in storage for the winter. Remember that a little storage preparation will prevent any unpleasant surprises next spring.

How Do You Store a Battery Powered Golf Cart?


Golf carts are just like other outdoor vehicles. They need a little care before storing for a time, and need protection from the elements, especially dampness and moisture.

First, clean your cart to get it ready for storage. Use a water hose and some kind of mild detergent or car washing solution. Make sure you get all the dirt off and grimy spaces clean, taking care to get into the tighter spaces where dirt and residue can hide.

This is a handy time to check for rust spots and repaint them. Rust can only spread if not taken care of promptly. Wipe the cart dry using soft hand towels.

Next, take care of the tires. A regular tire gauge used for auto tires works on your cart as well. Usually, these tires take 20 to 25 lbs. of air pressure but be sure to observe the tire manufacturer’s recommendations. The tires may have the recommended pressure stamped on the sides. If air is needed, these tires are light enough to use a bicycle pump to add air if nothing powered is available. There are also small plug-in tire pumps that can even handle auto tires, so you know they will work for your cart tires.

If you’ve had trouble with a tire over time, it may have a slow leak. Now would be a good time to have it repaired or replaced. If possible, store your cart up on blocks or bricks placed under the frame to get the weight off the tires. This will prevent the tires from forming low or flat spots with long storage.

Drive the cart to its storage place. Open the battery compartment, which is usually under the seat. The seat may lift up or it may tilt to open, depending on the cart model. Invest in some battery acid neutralizer in a spray can. Spray it over and around the battery, following instructions on the container.

This substance acts as a cleaner. You can use an old paintbrush to distribute the cleaner all over the battery. Wait a few minutes, then use water to remove the solution along with any debris the solution loosened. Dry the battery with a towel as well as the area around it.

Clean all the terminals and connections. This is a good time to check the water levels in each cell and make sure they are all filled correctly. Coat the terminals with a gel made to prevent corrosion. Auto parts stores usually stock this item. Make sure your battery is fully charged.

Many carts will not draw any power once the key is turned off. If you’re not sure about your model, check for a switch under the seat that says “tow” or “tow/maintenance” and turn it to the tow setting to completely shut off the electrical system. If you have a dashboard switch that says “forward/neutral/reverse,” set the switch to neutral. Don’t use the parking brake to keep long-term strain off the brake cable. Block the wheels using chocks or bricks instead.

Can You Store an Electric Golf Cart Outside in the Winter?

It’s really not a good idea to store your golf cart outside in the winter. It needs to be protected from winter weather, especially from moisture. If you don’t have an enclosed garage or shed in which to store the cart, consider storing it in a storage facility that is climate-controlled.

Not only will this help keep the cart in better shape, but it will also keep moisture from seeping in and causing corrosion on the wiring and other electrical parts. It will also keep you from having to worry about potential theft.

If you really don’t have any choice but to store it outside, try to at least keep it under a roof and cover it. Many golf cart dealers also offer cart covers. Look for one that is as weatherproof as possible. If your cart is equipped with a rain cover, remove and clean it, making sure it is thoroughly dry before folding and bringing it inside These covers are usually held by a zipper or snaps and are easy to remove and reinstall.

Should You Keep Golf Cart Plugged in All Winter?

You can leave it plugged in during the winter with a trickle charger, but it’s not an ideal solution. Trickle chargers will not damage the battery, but it’s important to keep the charger out of the weather if possible. The charger itself can be damaged by moisture, and dampness in the air can be just as damaging as getting rain on it.

If you aren’t using a trickle charger, even using one that shuts itself off when the battery is fully charged is not foolproof to leave plugged in over the winter. Any electrical glitch such as a tripped circuit could turn the charging back on and damage the battery.

Also, remember that heat is more damaging to the battery than cold, and charging the battery always creates some heat. Leaving the battery on a trickle charger will create periods of heat over the winter as the charger turns on periodically to top off the battery charge. Your battery should come with a guide that will tell you what is best for storing your particular battery over the winter.

How Long Do Batteries Last in Electric Golf Carts?

Usually, the life of these batteries is between five and ten years. To get the maximum life out of the battery, be sure to take care of it. When it starts to take longer and longer to charge the battery or to make it up hills, it’s probably time to look into getting a new battery.

How you use your cart has an effect on its life as well. If you use your cart on the golf course and drive it to and from your house several times a week, the battery won’t last as long as it would if you only play on weekends. Custom features and accessories such as lights, soundbars, radios and USB charging ports also draw power from the battery and can add to the shortening of battery life.

Should I Charge My Golf Cart Every Night?

Actually, this is not recommended. Unlike other batteries, such as those used on laptops and cell phones, a golf cart battery does not have protection against overcharging, especially older models. The battery should not be left on the charger overnight. Instead, the battery should be charged after each use. Choose a charger that will turn itself off after the battery is fully charged so you won’t have to keep checking on it to disconnect it when it’s done. Also, avoid driving the cart to the point that the battery goes dead.

Can You Put a Trickle Charger on a Golf Cart?

This is a good idea for the battery, as trickle chargers won’t overcharge the battery. A three-phase charger for your battery is best. The first phase is charging, which takes up 80 percent of the charging time. After that, it goes in absorption mode, where the charging slows during the last 20 percent. After that, the charger goes into float mode, which is trickle charging.

The trickle charger will send enough power to the battery to keep it charged but won’t overcharge it. Trickle chargers can be used on batteries for your car and other vehicles as well, so they are a good investment.

While leaving your battery on a trickle charger over the winter is not recommended because of the extra heat it creates, if the cart is left in storage at an inconvenient distance, such as a vacation home out of state that prevents you from charging it periodically over the winter, a trickle charger may be the only solution.

Should You Disconnect Golf Cart Batteries for Storage?

Depending on the brand and model of the golf cart, there are some that will draw a bit of power during storage. In this case, there is usually a switch that puts the cart into a different mode and keeps the cart from drawing power. With most cart models, however, once the key is turned off there is no power drain.

This means that disconnecting the batteries isn’t necessary, but it won’t hurt anything to do so either. One recommendation from some manufacturers is to keep the battery charger indoors. Many cart owners have a habit of storing the charger under the seat where moisture can collect during the winter and damage the charger.

The batteries should be charged once per month during winter storage. Fully charged batteries are more likely to be able to withstand freezing weather than those that aren’t kept charged.

How Can I Make My Golf Cart Batteries Last Longer?

Most carts use lead-acid batteries. Your battery life starts with the battery purchase. Paying a little more for a quality battery will save you money in the long run, as the better quality batteries will last longer than the cheaper ones. The good ones often can last over 10 years with proper care.

Charge your battery after each use and use a three-phase charger for your battery. This type is also called a trickle charger. It is great for keeping your battery in good shape over the winter, as it will charge your battery and keep it fully charged without overcharging it or causing any other harm. Of course, it also takes care of your normal charging.

Be sure to follow the directions included with the charger as to which connectors go where and in what order, both when connecting and disconnecting the battery. These batteries will need to be checked periodically to maintain proper fluid levels. Once a month is a good schedule for this.

The fluid level should never go below the plates in each cell. Choose a level surface on which to work in a place with plenty of ventilation. After taking the plastic caps off the battery cells, make sure each cell is properly filled. If a cell needs liquid, don’t use anything but distilled water. Tap or plain bottled water is definitely out for this.

Add water slowly, as you don’t want the level to get too high. The level should never touch the plastic lip that goes down from the plastic cap. The level should be just enough to keep the plates submerged. Any overfilling can lead to acid overflowing, which will potentially damage anything it touches, including your garage floor.

Corrosion can shorten a battery’s life and is always a potential problem when it comes to golf cart batteries. One way to avoid this is to keep from draining a battery down to a lower level than 30 percent of a charge. The longer a battery takes to charge, the more heat is created. This heat will gradually erode the battery plates, making the battery useless sooner.

The acid in a battery, of course, corrodes its own parts eventually. Many parts can have a longer life with a little protection, however. Use a quality, non-hardening sealant to coat the battery’s nuts and bolt, wire lugs and terminals. A think film of pure petroleum jelly is great for protecting the terminals. Any exposed wires will be helped by sealing them with submersible rubber tape. Any good auto parts store should have these items available.

How you drive your cart also can affect battery life. Take it easy when driving your cart. If you let your grandchildren drive it for fun, remind them that it isn’t a dune buggy or ATV and isn’t meant for racing or doing donuts or other tricks. Don’t overload the cart; it should have a weight capacity listed in the owner’s manual. Also, avoid steep hills if possible.

Conclusion

Just like any other vehicle or outdoor machinery, your cart needs a little tender loving care before you put it to bed for the winter. The better care your cart and battery receive, the longer they will last, the fewer problems you will encounter. The less you have to deal with problems or worry about being stuck on the course with a dying battery, the more time you can have fun and just play golf.

Is it OK to Store a Riding Lawn Mower Outside?


You can spend over a $1000.00 for a basic riding lawn mower, or even more then $4000.00 for the fancy zero turn mower with automatic transmission, so taking care of it is vital.

This is not a good idea to store your riding mower outside. Aside from the obvious problems of keeping the mower away from thieves, you can have a problem with moisture, even if you have the mower covered. Remember, ground moisture rises in the air as it evaporates, and can get into places you may not have thought of.

If it gets into the gas tank, you can really have a problem next spring. This moisture also collects on the undersides of things as it evaporates and condenses. You may find the underside of your tarp cover surprisingly wet, which means it’s not protecting your mower from getting damp.

Where Should I Store My Riding Lawn Mower?

A dry, secure place is best for storing your mower. This not only protects it from unwanted attention and possible theft but is best for the mower. If you don’t have a garage or shed, a storage unit will protect it just as well. Whatever you choose, it should be a place that stays dry so that your mower is protected from the elements.

Is it OK for a Riding Lawn Mower to Get Rained On?

Occasionally, this can’t be helped. Maybe you have a big yard to do and are taking a break halfway through, leaving the mower where you stopped. You may leave the mower out when done to cool off before putting it back into the shed or garage. Then one of those unexpected rain showers decides to give your mower a bath. This isn’t a really big deal, and it happens to everyone sooner or later.

If your mower does get rained on, it will dry itself after being run for a few minutes, so wipe off the seat and go ahead and finish the yard. If you are letting it cool off before putting it away and the weather permits, you can let the sun dry it out or go ahead and run it a few minutes more.

If your mower won’t start after it got caught in heavy rain, you’ll need to do some maintenance. Check the spark plug for any moisture, thoroughly cleaning and drying it. Check the gap to make sure it is correct while you have it out. If this step doesn’t start the mower, you’ll have to go further.

Remove the air filter and check it for moisture. You may need to clean it and dry it or you may need to just replace it. If this doesn’t help, you’ll need to move on to the fuel tank.

Drain the gas into a clean container. Look for any water, which will form tiny bubbles that will stay at the bottom. If you find water, you’ll have to take the carburetor apart or get it serviced. Since water is heavier than the gas, it tends to sink to the bottom of the gas tank, which is where the gas feeds to the engine.

Should I Run My Lawn Mower Out of Gas for Winter?

It’s a good idea to do this. Leaving fuel in the gas tank over winter leads to problems. Over time, the gas will start to corrode. It forms deposits in the fuel tank and lines, clogs up the fuel filter, and leaves deposits in the carburetor. If you do leave gas in the tank over winter, it is recommended to mix stabilizer with fresh gas and run the mower long enough to make sure the stabilized gas has worked all the way through the carburetor and fuel lines.

Some authorities recommend emptying the tank after this, then running the mower until it runs out of gas. Others recommend filling the tank back up so there is not enough room for the gas to expand or water vapor to possibly sneak in and contaminate the fuel.

How Do You Winterize a Riding Lawn Mower?

Check the air filter for clogs or damage and replace it if needed. Clean off all dirt and grass clumps from the outside and near any parts or belts. Tighten any loose fasteners. Lubricate the mower according to the owner’s manual instructions. This is a good time to change the oil and filter so you don’t have to do it before mowing in the spring and can just hop on and go.

Take out the battery check the battery posts and connectors on the wires and clean off any corrosion. There are also battery cleaners that come in a spray that neutralizes any corrosion and thoroughly cleans the terminals and connectors. If this is not available, another way is to use an old, stiff toothbrush and moistened baking soda.

Make sure to clean the inside of the posts where the bolts go and clean off any rust on the bolts and connectors. Clean off the baking soda with a damp cloth and let everything dry. You may have to use a little fine-grained sandpaper on the connectors. Some people advise using Coca-Cola to clean battery terminals, but this doesn’t really do any good and can actually cause damage.

Be careful not to get any white or bluish powder you may see on your skin, as it will burn. If you get it on your hands, wash it off as soon as possible. Fully charge the battery. Storing it inside your home for the winter will keep it from freezing. Charge it again before using the mower in the spring. If you have long winters, you may want to charge it a time or two during the winter. This will keep your battery working longer.

If you have a two-cycle engine, pull the starter rope just until you feel some resistance, then let it go. This closes the intake and exhaust ports and helps keep air from corroding the cylinder. If yours is a four-cycle engine, take out the spark plug and add a tablespoon of oil into the hole. Using the starter, rotate the engine several times to distribute the oil. Then put the spark plug back in but don’t connect the wire.

To take the weight off the tires, you can use bricks under the front frame to lift the front wheels. Most of the weight is in the front, so doing this will keep your front tires from forming flat spots.

How Do You Secure a Riding Lawn Mower Outside?

Securing a mower outside is like securing a bicycle. A heavy chain should be passed around the frame and through an immovable object and locked with a padlock. Usually, the front frame or the axles will be good for this. If you need a shelter for your riding lawnmower read my article What’s the Best Lawn Mower Storage For Outside?

Conclusion

Riding mowers are a valuable tool for homeowners with a larger yard. They are also great for getting through some taller weeds that just sprout up out of nowhere but are a pain to push through with a walking mower. Just like any other machinery, they need a little care to operate well, so make sure they are prepared for winter.

How to Build an Under Deck Storage Shed


Enclosing the space under the deck is a great idea to make more storage. When you think about it, it’s a shame that this space is just going to waste. It’s also a wonder that more people don’t think about making this a usable space. If you enclose the space under your deck, you might just start a trend in your neighborhood, and make your neighbors wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that”?

As with any building project, check with your building inspector and homeowners’ association, if applicable, before starting this project. There may be some regulations as to what you will use for siding and flooring, or you may need a building permit. Homeowners’ associations especially may insist that the same siding be used on the enclosure as was used on the house, or that it at least be painted to match.

Be aware that not all your extra stuff can be put under your deck. For instance, firewood or other flammable objects are not a good idea and may actually not be permitted to be so close to your house. Scrap wood or leftover paneling is not a great choice for storing under a deck because of possible termite problems.

Can You Put a Shed Under a Deck?

You certainly can put a shed under a deck. The higher your deck is raised off the ground the more room you will have to do this. If you have a deck extending from a second floor, you can have a full-sized shed under your deck. However, even if you only have three or four feet to work with, the space can still be enclosed for storage.

You will have enough room for boxes, tools, summer playthings such as pool toys, and even your walking lawnmower. You already have your vertical supports built, it just needs some kind of flooring or base to keep moisture from seeping out of the ground into your things plus some siding with an opening. This would be a fine way to use any siding leftover from your house. If your deck is too low there are other ways to store things, read my article How Do You Build Storage Under a Deck? for more information.

How Do You Waterproof Under a Deck for Storage?

Of course, the boards on the floor of your deck are spaced a little bit apart to allow rainwater to drain off between the boards. If you want to make use of the space underneath, however, that’s going to cause a problem. Some people choose to just let the water drip down, using plastic tarps to protect their storage items. Of course, there has to be a way to let the water drain out from under whatever siding they use for the enclosure unless lattice is used.

This is feasible depending on the type of items to be stored. If you’re storing mostly things such as garden hoses, plastic pool toys, kayaks or other plastic items, this will work. Your lawnmower and garden tools can also be kept in such a space if protected by plastic. Other things, such as those kept in storage boxes, might get too damp with a dirt floor.

If you haven’t yet started building the deck itself, you might investigate some of the drainage systems that are made for just this plan. There are membranes made to fit over the joists but under the top boards. They form troughs between the boards that actually act as little downspouts, channeling water off the edge of the deck.

If your deck is already in existence, there are systems that use plastic or corrugated aluminum panels to catch water draining down between the deck boards and channel it to the edge. Some are even custom-made to the size of your deck, and the panels lock together to form joints that are leak-proof. These systems are installed with a slight incline to encourage water to flow away from the house, so it doesn’t just sit there in the panels.

Some systems also include downspouts to which the water is channeled. If your deck is high enough, you can actually install a regular shed with a slightly sloped flat or pitched roof that will take care of the water problem. For more information on drainage read my article What’s The Best Way to Add Drainage Around a Shed?

How Do You Install Under Deck Drainage?

For the panel systems, you can have them professionally installed or buy a kit and install it yourself. Some systems require professionals to install. If you choose to do it yourself, you’ll need some cutting tools, a tape measure, safety glasses, a level, and a drill. You may need a helper as well.

The kit you buy should include installation instructions and a list of the tools you’ll need. Some hardware and perhaps sealant may be provided with the kit, or the instructions will tell you what kind you will need to purchase.

Basically, you install blocks at each corner of the underdeck, using a level to form the slight drop you will need. A horizontal board goes against the house to be used to attach support beams while using the lower edge of the deck for the other end of the supports. If your kit features a gutter and downspout system, flashing for these will be next. The panels are attached to the joists. Everything is sealed to be watertight.

If you don’t want to buy a kit, you can buy some plastic or fiberglass corrugated panels. If you like plastic, tell the supplier how you plan to use them so that he can guide you to the type of plastic you need to withstand the weather for years. When installing, you can use shims or blocks at the outer edge to give you a slope. Having a slope of 1 to 1-1/2 inches is sufficient. What you use to create the slope will be determined by the length of your deck.

Using screws with neoprene washers to fasten the panels to your supports will help keep it watertight. If possible, investigate roofing screws made for installing metal roofing, as they have the same purpose. You’ll need some type of sealant at the places the panels join.

You can let the panels extend out from the deck a bit at the end to drain water off the deck and have it land on the ground away from your shed siding or install a gutter at the end with a downspout to channel the water away. Some choose to install the gutter on the inside of the main deck supports to keep it out of sight.

There are also rubber flanges available to keep water from going between the deck boards. They come in different widths to accommodate different board spacing. One brand has horizontal flanges on the end. A slot is milled into the ends of the deck boards with a router or dado blade.

Then the end flange is pounded into the end of the boards with a mallet, and the rest of the rubber strip is inserted between the boards, leaving a little space at the top so that the rubber strips can act like little gutters to drain the water away.

One thing that needs to be tended to with any of these drainage systems is keeping the deck clean. Any debris, such as small twigs, tree catkins or pine needles, can get between the deck boards and into your drainage system, causing a possible blockage. Cleaning it out would involve a lot of flushing, but even that may not get rid of some of the debris.

Do You Need Ventilation Under a Deck?

If you put in a panel drainage system under the deck, you won’t get as much moisture condensing under the deck board and joists. However, you still have the problem of moisture seeping up from the ground and looking for a place to go. Putting in some kind of flooring system will go far to prevent this, many people use lattice panels for the siding, which provides plenty of ventilation.

If you need more security so that it’s not so obvious that items are being stored under the deck, some landscape fabric attached to the inside of the lattice panels will hide your items and still let in some air. Additionally, you can install some air vents in solid walls. The more airflow, the less likely you will end up with a mildew problem.

How Much Height Is Needed to Build a Shed Under a Deck?

Some people build storage under their decks with a little as three feet of clearance. If you have a hard time kneeling or squatting down and getting back up, you’ll need enough room to at least stand up and walk, even if it means bending over.

How much height you’ll need is really at least partially dependent on how much height you’ll need to get around under there. Also, what you plan to store in it will affect how much height you need. If you want to store bicycles or a riding mower, you’ll obviously need more space.

Keep in mind that a drainage system under the deck flooring will take up a little headspace as well as the flooring you choose to use. If you don’t have enough height for an enclosure, you can build a frame and mount some large drawers into the space. This will be a great place to store all kinds of smaller things that just keep piling up in the house.

Do I Need a Floor for an Under Deck Shed?

Some choose to leave the floor as bare dirt, leaving either a drainage system under the deck board to protect the items. It would be a good idea to install some kind of floor, if for no other reason than to keep moisture from seeping up through the ground and condensing inside your enclosure. There are different options available.

Installing a vapor barrier is necessary as the first step for most solutions. Putting some kind of flooring over the vapor barrier will help keep the plastic from being perforated after years of use. Plastic interlocking tiles are made in many designs and sizes specifically to use as flooring.

However, most types, if not all, are perforated, which is why you need the vapor barrier to be installed first. Artificial deck turf is another option. The artificial grass is short enough so that it won’t interfere with getting items in and out. It will also provide a softer surface in case your shed is short enough to necessitate some crawling around at times.

Some people build an actual solid wood or plywood floor for their items. If this is your choice, it’s best to use a vapor barrier underneath and build your floor raised up a few inches. You want to protect this flooring and joists from moisture and insects just as you would when building a free-standing shed. Read my article What Are the Strongest Shed Floor Materials to Use? for more information on shed floor options.

How to Build an Under Deck Storage Shed

First of all, if your deck isn’t new, you’ll need to check the condition. If it’s showing obvious signs of age or deterioration or is unsafe, it’s not worth the time or expense to build something underneath. Since you’ll need to use the outer support posts as outer framing for your siding, these need to be set solidly and be in good condition.

One way to build a good foundation is to grade the area underneath the deck. Use a level to create a slope about an inch for every four feet toward the side where you plan to put the door, extending the slope about three feet past the intended wall.

Tamp the soil down, then put down some sort of landscape or geotextile fabric. Spread a two-inch layer of crushed stone on top of the fabric, tamping it down solidly, then spread another two inches of gravel and tamp that down.

Next, install whatever water drainage system you plan to use. As noted above, you can use corrugated plastic or fiberglass panels. Any wood materials should be pressure-treated to withstand moisture. The more moisture protection you can provide the better.

You can use the deck joists or add additional supports, as long as you make sure that you have a slope to the front of the deck for the water to run off. Shims can be used to help or wood blocks if needed, depending on the length of your deck.

Putting in a gutter system with a downspout will keep water from just pouring off the end of the deck and will protect the wood there. It will also keep the siding from being constantly splashed with mud during rainstorms. The guttering can be installed just behind the support posts to keep it invisible, with the downspout tip sticking out from under the wall.

Put in additional vertical support posts to attach to whatever siding you choose to use. Using concrete blocks underneath these posts would be a plus. Put in a header to connect your supports all around the three sides. 2 x 4s can be used for both the top frame and additional posts.

Some people also put in a bottom board to make a complete frame, but it’s not absolutely necessary, especially if you’re using lattice for siding. If you do build a complete frame, try to keep the bottom boards raised up a bit to let water any water drain out. Even with a system to keep water from flowing down between the deck boards, rain doesn’t always fall straight down and can be blown into your storage area, especially with lattice walls.

Make sure to have a framework for your door. It probably should be put on one end of the deck rather than the front. This keeps people from being tempted to try breaking in and also makes a more pleasing appearance. The door should be at least three feet wide. Depending on the materials you use for siding, you could use a panel for a door using simple hinges.

Be sure to include some sort of accommodation for a padlock. There are lock assemblies that feature a hinge on the long side that swings back over the hinge itself when it is locked. This keeps people from simply unscrewing the lock system to get in.

The siding can be the same as used on your house, plywood or lattice. Lattice panels are popular and come in either wood or plastic. While the plastic is impervious to rot, if you need or want to match the color of your house, you may opt for the wooden lattice so that you can paint it to match your home’s siding. Be sure to get pressure-treated lattice if you chose to use the wooden type. Both types are easy to cut to size and install. For information on inexpensive siding options check out my article What is The Cheapest Siding For a Shed?

Conclusion

Utilizing the space under your deck will provide great storage space. If your deck is tall and large enough, using this space for storage may mean that you don’t have to have a separate shed, which would be a plus if your backyard space is small.

Building this storage is one of the easier construction projects you can plan around your home and will make it even more attractive. It may even be an added attraction to potential buyers when it is time to sell. Why not investigate the possibilities and keep that space from going to waste?