The easy way to buy cheap food to $ave money

Sunday, August 29, 2021
How to save money on the food bill

How to save money on your food bill

Saving money on the food bills a great way to help ensure you have enough cash for other things like bills, bills, bills.

Groceries can be dreadfully expensive at the best of times (even worse during a flu pandemic!), so putting a few items back on the self and choosing to purchase in bulk will help you save money.

You can also try to save money on shopping and yet still manage to eat quite happily and healthily.

One does not have to entertain a diet of 'bread and jam' all month (or noodles if you're a 'poor' student)  you can enjoy a wholesome variety of food on your set budget.

To make an immediate impact on shrinking at food bill, you can start by not spending your cash on the obvious and easy things such as fast food (Big Macs and supervising gotta go), potato chips and lollies.

It's probably too obvious a thing to say but cutting back on the booze consumption is an easy way to save money. We're not saying to become a teetotaller but maybe don't drink during Monday Night Football?

But you are an adult so live your life how you see best.

Planning ahead of time 

You've probably already planned ahead for the week's meals already - because that helps you allocate according to your food budget. When you did this, you may have already checked your pantry for what you already have - so you don't buy something twice and also because it may give you meal ideas to base around things you already have.

That's a fancy way of saying make a list and stick to it when you are inside the supermarket.

Easy tips to spend less cash on food:

  • Buy meat that is on special or sale. Consider eating more pork as it is usually the cheaper option over beef. 
  • Avoid splurging on pre-made food packages and meals. They are money makers with good margins for the supermarkets. If you can make your own meals at home as much as you can, this will serve your wallet well in the long term. 
  • Use the phone apps that big chains like Walmart offer - there's plenty of deals to be had. 
  • Do not shop on an empty stomach or you will buy that cooked chicken that smells so good (supermarkets like to have nice smells in their stores)
  • You could try to take a set amount of cash and spend that and no more.  
  • Don't throw away leftovers. Made too much pasta tonight? That's a tuna bake for tomorrow. Or so the classic and take your leftovers to work for lunch. 
  • Consider growing vegetables or herbs and spices - spring onion and chives are dead easy to grow! Our potato garden at home is doing quite well!
  • If you have time, go to two supermarkets and only buy the specials that you need. But don't spend an hour driving to the second supermarket as any savings gains could be erased when you factor in the price of petrol. 
  • Do you really need all that bottled water? Unless you reside in Flint, Michigan, your local tap water is probably fine. 
  • Try to shop without your beautiful children  - little ones can often make angry demands of you which you can often fall into the trap of giving into to avoid an 'in-store moment' ;) It's always nice to have some alone time if possible. 
  • Anything precut or prewashed is going to cost you more. Save money and buy the whole head of lettuce. Pre-cut grated cheese? Give me a break and as for pre-peeled oranges, wrapped in all that plastic, give me strength!
  • If you realize that something perishable won't be eaten before it goes off - freeze it. Maybe you were going to eat those meatballs before you went out - instead freeze your balls!
  • Purchase 'bagged potatoes' in bulk over loose potatoes as they are usually are much cheaper to buy. 
  • Get a Soda Stream and make tonic rather than drinking sugar fizz pop. 

Buy generic value brands

Most big supermarkets have a 'house brand' that offer genuine value.

I personally use house brand shaving cream because it saves me a small fortune as the big shaving brands are stupidly priced!

Items like household cleaners will usually contain the exact same active chemical as the fancy name brands - this means they absolutely work just as well but are often priced 25 per cent cheaper (washing laundry power is a great example (the cheap wash powder is great for homebrewing too!).

Many such value brand products are simply made by the producers of the name brand but are re-packaged and re-marketed. Value brand pantry staples such icing, flour and other such staples of the baking industry won't make your cake taste bad, and sugar is simply sugar, no matter how it's packaged or branded.


Most 'cheap' or 'mid-range' shampoos will clean your hair just fine - why buy shampoo from the salon then? Apart from natural vanity of course...

One product we totally think is always overpriced is plastic rubbish bags. While the world seems to hate plastic bags and straws these days, we still need strong trash / bin liner bags.

Swapping to generic bags will usually do the same job as name brands.

Swap to cheaper pet food

Many animal lovers will hate to do this, but your pet dog or cat can live on generic or low budget branded pet food quite easily and at least for the short term.

If you think you can't starve poor Felix of their precious snippets and bites sourced from the local vet clinic or butcher, then perhaps mix it up a bit and every second round, add some house brand pet food into the mix.

Whether dearest Felix chooses to eat it is another story... the reality is that your family household needs should come before your pet's. Many pet owners will disagree of course but they have to ask themselves why that's the case for themselves.

buying in bulk to save cash
Ross Geller always knew that bulk buying washing powder was a great way to save cash - Uberweiss!

Sometimes buying in bulk is actually a scam!

Bulk-buying can save money, no question BUT you must keep a sharp eye out for the shameful tricks supermarkets will pull on a buyer who is looking to buy in bulk.

The classic trick is to charge a price for an 'in bulk' item which is actually more expensive per unit or gram than the individual unit. What they are doing here is preying on the mindset of shoppers that 'buying in bulk' is always cheaper across the board.

It's not.

Supermarkets are relying on the belief that their customers will continue to buy the bulk item reasoning it's mere existence will mean they save money. Supermarkets take want to take advantage of that psychology and pricing decisions accordingly.

If you have to do some maths comparing bulk-sized when buying in bulk, it's worth your time. I trust the supermarkets that actually disclose price per gram or unit labelling.

You may wish to buy only what you actually may need. There's no point stockpiling 30 pounds of flour is there?

Depends on what you do during your weekends, I guess.

That said, stocking up is not a bad thing per se. If you have a spare freezer to put some of that mincemeat you got on special, then why not.

 A well-stocked freezer is always a source for homemade meals - especially if by knowing you can make pasta and meatballs, you won't go to the supermarket just to source that one meal, because what happens when you are there?

You buy many extra things you didn't intend to!

So, check the freezer before you go shopping. You might not need to leave the house!

how to save money your food bill

Shop around for vegetables at local markets

Some supermarkets charge killer prices for vegetables, especially when food stock is out-of-season.

The solution?

Visit a good old fashioned gardener's market. Odds are on that you can save around 20 per cent on quality fruit and vegetables.

Many markets spring up in urban areas on weekends. Check some Facebook groups in your local areas for details.

If you have little time, this one will be hard. But, this is one of those times when you should take the kids out - veggie markets can be fun - ours is near the harbour and the kids love buying fish from the boat - well the love the fisherman throwing fish cuts into the water and watching the Eagle Rays come in for a bite or two.

Check the Facebook groups too, many niche providers are bypassing supermarkets and selling directly to consumers via Facebook pages, their own sites and subscription services too. 

Loyalty cards help save you cash 

If you are not too fearful of Big Brother, consider joining up for the loyalty card.

Sure, a loyalty card means the supermarket can analyze your spending habits and market to you accordingly but who cares if your goal is to save money.

Loyalty cards will often give discounts to only customers using those cards and they will often have a rebate or voucher system that basically gives you some of your own money back to spend in-store when you have spent a certain amount.

If you save them, up, this can be pretty handy at Christmas time!

In the same vein, using coupons is still a really big thing in several countries, particularly in America. The wise use of coupons, particularly on products you already intended to buy, will totally lead to savings on your food bill.

Let's talk about meat 

We are not saying you need to go vegetarian but cutting meat from a meal or two each week will save you plenty of cash as it's often the most expensive component of the grocery bill.

Many families and roommates often choose to do 'Meat Free Mondays' or similar and make a simple dish such as mac n' cheese, tacos, lentils, bean burgers with avocado or fried vegetable noodles.

My personal favorite at the moment is a dish where the remain ingredients are onions, garlic, peppers and oil mixed with whatever other veggies are in the fridge...

If you make the meals flavoursome with additional herbs, chives, and other goodies like spring onion, you're onto a winning meal and no one will complain about there not being any meat!

Now you've got your saving on groceries sorted, perhaps it's time to think about how to save money on the power bill!

How to test a fish tank or aquarium for water quality

Sunday, October 25, 2020

fish tank test kits

Just as you drink and bathe in fresh water, your pet fish need clean water to drink and swim in too.

Given that fish can be extremely sensitive to chemical treatments being added to their water and even to temperature changes (tropical fish are famous for needing water within the right ranges or they die) then as a pet owner, there's a moral duty on you to ensure the quality of the aquarium water is just right.

You just don't want a dead fish in the tank right?

So, when checking the quality aquarium water, what are you actually testing for??

The correct temperature is a pretty easy starting point. 

As a responsible pet owner, you will already know the temperature that is correct for your fish and you will simply use your thermometer or digital meter to take a reading to check. 

Some aquariums simply have a thermometer permanently placed inside the water so readings can be regularly monitored.

Fish also need to be able breathe without a struggle.

Naturally then, you’re going to want to ensure your aquarium has a working oxygen pump

When testing specifically for fish water quality, these are your typical checks using a test kit:
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • Ammonia
  • pH level

Like all animals, fish excrete and then have to swim around in it. Over time this can build up making their water pretty disgusting so a health check on the water so you know when to change it or to work out how efficiently your filter is working is good practice.

High nitrate levels will stress your fish and also provide a catalyst for algae growth (phosphates too) and everyone hates it when fish tanks get overgrown with green algae (and all over the gravel). You can't enjoy your fish if there's nothing but green on the glass.

Many fish experts stated that if you detect ammonia in your water then you should immediately add 20 percent fresh water to reduce stress on your fish. Then gradually make adjustments to the water over time.

As aquariums ‘bed in’ over time, the pH level can change. Too much alkalinity is not good for fish so keeping an eye on that level at the start of getting a tank up and running is quite crucial for supporting healthy fish. 

Any sudden changes in pH due to a new addition to an aquarium (e.g. plant material, food, new water) will likely stress your fish somewhat so bear that in mind and don't make too many changes at once.

The good news is that there are plenty of test kits out there for both freshwater and saltwater which allow you do a health check on your water very simply, and just like testing most pool water, it is just a matter of taking a test strip and dipping it into the sample and then comparing the results to the color chart to determine the level of pH, nitrate or ammonia.

Did you know you can add salt to your beer to reduce bitterness?

How long should homebrew stay in the fermenter drum?

Monday, September 28, 2020
The short answer is provided you have sterile conditions, you can leave the beer in the fermenter for months and months to age quite nicely. It's almost a 'set and forget' kind of product which is ideal as a finely aged beer will be a fine drink indeed. 

So, there is no set maximum time limit, however, there are a few things consider as to timings.

A lot of 'casual' beer brewers will likely adhere to the beer recipe or instructions on the malt kit and leave their wort to ferment for around a week to ten or days.

This usually allows enough time for fermentation to have completed.

And technically that's OK, and it's time to bottle.

But such timings completely ignore that there is a whole range of chemical processes happening in that wort you're fermenting that benefit from time left in the fermenter.

Yes, your trust yeast will likely have fermented enough alcohol to make a very drinkable beer but there are still a few things that happen - for example the yeast has to get rid of smells and other leftovers from the fermentation process, so giving it more time in the drum is of great benefit here. 

Weeks and months is better than a couple of weeks.

Have you ever heard of acetaldehyde

It is a by-product of brewing that you will find in your wort. This chemical is formed at the start of the fermentation process. It tastes much like a sour green apple does and is not really conducive to a good brew. If you brew too early, you will get this taste in your beer (more so if it's a light beer and one with little hops).

By giving your beer batch time to dissipate the acetaldehyde, you'll have a beer tasting beer.

We're firm in our the view that it is better to leave your beer to address these kinds of smelly issues in the first fermentation rather than the secondary fermentation which occurs when bottle conditioning.

Is it true that a wort left for a long time is harder to carbonate when bottled conditioned?This is a maybe type answer.

If the beer has been left in the fermenter over winter, for example, the yeast could have become quite dormant so the bottled beer will need to be warmed for the yeast to come 'back to life'.

A trick some brewers have found is that when it comes time to bottling a long-settled wort, give it a small stir up 2 days before you bottle. It causes the yeast to mix back into the beer (it will have settled at the bottom of the fermenter. If you move the fermenter into a warmer place, then your bottled beer with have a shorter carbonation time.

So the true answer is maybe, because bottling conditions may vary. 

How do I get remove the 'apple taste' by beer wort?

Like we alluded to above, let the yeast take it's sweet time to convert the acetaldehyde into ethanol (alcohol).

Exceptions aside, the longer you condition your beer, the greater reduction in acetaldehyde that will occur and the beer your beer will take.

Stout beers have even more to work through so they can happily take longer in the primary.

We like clear beer

Another benefit of leaving the beer in the primary for longer is that there is a greater chance that your beer will clear more sediment to the bottom into the trub, thus giving you clearer drinking beer.

Many a brewer likes to see their lager look like a lager - that classic light yellow / orange combo.

At the end of the day this comes down to personal preference as the beer taste is not generally affected too much by sediment.

It's also important to consider the role temperature can play in brewing. If you want a short fermentation period but it's cold, then you may have to simply allow more time because the yeast slows down the alcohol production process when chilled.

What about leaving beer in for extra long times like 3 months?

Many brewers have reported leaving batches for months and suffered no issues.

I'd reason though that the beer was stored in a cool place - a beer wort left in a hot environment is sure to fail as the yeast would probably get cooked.

The lid was probably screwed on very tightly as well and the beer must be kept out of the light. Putting a sheet over it will certainly keep dust and spiders out!

The risk of developing 'autolysis'

Autolysis occurs when the yeast cells die, giving off some potentially 'off flavors'.

These could be hydrolytic enzymes, lipids, and metal cations that can contribute to off flavor.

If you've made a healthy batch with a quality yeast, pitched at a good temperature and brewed in a stable environment, then the risks of autolysis are quite low.

If you are quite concerned about this, you could counter by racking your beer to a secondary, thus removing the yeast cake from the equation and dying yeast is thus removed from the equation (yes there will be a residue of it but not so much it causes you an issue).

It's important to note, the same process begins again when the beer is bottle conditioned - more sugar is added to the beer for the yeast to eat - this is because CO2 is the by-product of fermentation and is trapped in the beer.

So how long should a condition my bottled beer then?

It's now quite a reasonable question to ask how long you should condition your beers for. All beers will strongly benefit from being bottle conditioned for at least three weeks before consumption. That's at a minimum.

In my experiences, my brews start to become very drinkable at the 5 week mark.

Time needs to be on your side if you wish to make good beer, so make that time. 

Be patient. 

While you're waiting, give your gear a good clean and plan out that next all grain recipe!

How supermarkets use psychology to trick you into spending more money

Monday, September 21, 2020

How supermarkets manipulate you into buying more food in store

How supermarkets manipulate you into buying more food 

While an old school economist from Chicago may tell you that's upermarket customers are 'rational actors' who make decisions based on price efficiency, supermarkets - with their behavioral analysis knowledge - have their customers so well figured out, they know what they will do before they even enter the store. 

And while you may think you are shopping on price alone, it is not that simple when you are walking into a real time shop experiment and you are the little mouse looking for some cheap cheese. 

The psychological tricks that supermarkets employ on customers are quite simple but they come with a science pedigree - just like Walmart knows your sixteen-year-old daughter is likley to be pregnant, they know what day you like to shop and what specials you like to buy.

The classic trap is to advertise cheese so cheap that you come into the store because you cannot resist the price in the hope you''ll buy some extra items and then check out with your...

Ever heard of a loyalty card?

The data collected about your shopping behaviours can now dissect your buying habits into ones and zeros. 

Is that loyalty card connected to other businesses? The supermarket now knows that you like to fill up the car with petrol on the way home for example. So, hence they sell you receipts that come with fuel discounts.

Once they have you in-store, that's when the sneaky supermarkets launch their playbook of tricks and psychological ploys to get you to spend longer in store to spend more cash.

Which can be really tough when you are trying to save money on the food bill!

Supermarkets are living laboratories that study human buying behavior.

Have you ever noticed all those cameras in the modern shopping complex and asked yourself, why so many security cameras?

They are not just for catching cheeky shoplifters (a money-saving measure we do not recommend you try!) - the majority of them placed down the aisle are there to monitor and observe consumer traffic patterns. No doubt they will also be monitoring your physical appearance too. 

What body shapes are customers?

What sex? 

Do different sexes and body shapes behave differently?

When and why? 

Where do they look first?

You can bet they are using this data to figure out how to sell more to you.

This is because supermarkets that understand how their customers think and make purchasing decisions are able to plan the shopfloor layout more efficiently.

The classic example of this is supermarkets know that people will often tend to enter the store with a set mental list of what they want and it's usually the basics like bread and milk.

And that's exactly why eggs, dairy & milk, and bread are often positioned farthest from the store's entrance as possible so you walk all the way past other attractive food items. 

Indeed, eggs are often situated in random or seemingly 'unnatural' places to encourage first-timers to the store to walk around looking for them!

Lean mean green vegetables

why fruit is at the front of supermarket entrances

Vegetables and fruit are placed at the entrance deliberately  - this because it's well proven that consumers are vastly more inclined to pick more items at the start of their shopping experience. 

Your brain's wiring also comes into play here. You are buying 'healthy food' so you feel good about yourself. Maybe you will add an extra 5 carrots to your bag, 

At the same time, your brain is being brutally bombarded with a range of vibrant colors and wonderful smells.

The bakery is usually right next to the vegetable section because the bread smells nice. 

Fruit displays are often backed against well-cleaned mirrors to add volume and light vibrancy to the fruit. 

The supermarket is appealing to your brain with these signals saying, yo dude, this is a great place to shop!

Note when we say bakery, this does not include standard loaves of bread for making sandwiches with, other than speciality items. 

No, your standard sliced loaf of bread will be far away from the vegetables. You want toast bread? Sure but you gotta walk to the other side of the store. 

Maybe along the way, you'll discover and pick up a few well-placed items at the end of the aisle... Maybe a copy of Dune?

The supermarkets are hoping that you will feel a little bit smug about all the healthy food that you put in your shopping trolley that'll you'll consider that enough of a reason to buy some biscuits or other junk type food.

So how does this affect you, the keen dollar saver? 

The eyes have it

Forget the shop layout, you're already a modest mouse caught in that well-planned wheel, look at the shelf layout (whilst staying true to your shopping list of course).

Your eyes will naturally gravitate to the product that's been placed in your eye line / at face level.

This is where the most expensive goods and groceries are positioned. Because your eagle eyes will often become psychologically attached to the first item that you find when you are looking for a particular item.

Would it also surprise you to discover that many brands hand over cash to the supermarket for the right to having their goods placed directly in the customer's line of vision.

This practice is known in the business as paying a 'slotting fee'.

Supermarkets will also put kid-friendly things at the kid's eye level.

That's some real street-level cunning right there.

The implication of this of course if you are looking for cheaper items, look on on the bottom shelf for them. 

Impulse power, Mr Sulu

Another classic trick played on shoppers is to put goods that could be bought as 'impulse purchases' by the checkout lanes.

Lollies, magazines, those small hand-sized deodorant sprays, magazines, chocolate, and the classic packet of 'chewing gum' - these impulse items are placed there so you will add a couple of extra dollars to your shopping total. 

Now if even one in ten or twenty customers does this, those sales will add up for the Supermarket Owners over time.

To be fair some product placements will benefit the customer, such as peanut butter next to the jelly. and beer next to crisps and chips, baking yeast next to flour ...

Keep a beady eye out for 'pricing specials' scams

Ever seen a supermarket market pricing sticker with the words 'best buy' or 'great deal'? 

Is it really a good deal?

How do you know it's a great deal? 

Is there actually a price saving on offer or has the item simply had some puffery on the sticker placed next to it?

Perhaps a sign that simply says 'Three for a dollar' when the single item is also a dollar?

You would of course never fall for such a simple pricing scam, would you?

Of course not.

Well, people do and that's why supermarkets will keep advertising this way in-store.

Other tricks supermarkets do:
  • A few select products are sold at a loss to the store. This is so you recognize the price as being really good and it gets you into the store. Meat is a classic 'loss leader' as is orange juice.
  • Larger shopping trolleys will tend to be filled up more by the user
  • Supermarkets and strip malls will play music with a slow tempo so your walking around speed matches the music and you spend more time in the building which increases the odds of you adding that one extra thing to your basket.
  • The most profitable products are often placed at the end of the aisle. People often notice them....
Now you've learned about this, you know it's a shopping trap. The best advice is always to stick to buying what you need and not what you want!
One final, teach you to suck eggs thing   - write a shopping list out on your cell phone!

Can you die of methanol poisoning from homemade beer?

Friday, September 18, 2020

Can you accidentally make methanol when home brewing beer and go blind or die?

The short answer is no. 

Read on for why it's impossible to produce lethal levels of methanol when brewing beer. 

From time to time newbie brewers ask if they might accidentally distil methanol when getting into beer production.

This is because methanol is quite a dangerous alcohol and has a reputation of making those exposed to too much of it go blind. It is indeed quite toxic to the human body and it will cause some very nasty side effects - ranging from total blindness to the worst of which is death by poisoning.

Everyone has heard the stories of some hard Russian sailors on a fishing boat going blind from drinking homemade spirits right but is it really a common thing?

The answer to the question is that the ordinary beer home brewing process makes the alcohol called ethanol - not methanol. So you can't get methanol poisoning, no matter how much extra sugar you add when trying to make a high AVB batch.

Some methanol can be produced but this is at such minor levels that have no effect on the beer or effect on the body when consumed.

Fruit beers that contain pectin could have slightly higher levels of the spirit but the effect is still negligible.

The reality then is there no risk of making a beer batch of methanol and going blind. It's more likely that you will just get 'blind drunk' and have a wicked hangover on Sunday morning. 

There are however some genuine risks if one is distilling alcohol i.e. making spirits - backyard operations can indeed produce batches where the methanol content can be lethal (or more sinisterly methanol is added deliberately and sold on the bootleg market). 

It's for this reason, most countries in the world have made the distillation of spirits illegal - plenty of stills can be bought on Amazon though!

It is allowed in New Zealand but only for personal consumption, you can't sell it or share it with mates. 

The science of distillation is quite complicated and there appears to be a myth around methanol production. The key point to understand that if you are homebrew brewing beer, there's no risk of making a killer brew.

Distillation on the other hand... stay away from that unless you've been properly trained or are making a batch under the watchful eye of an experienced distiller. 

What is the treatment method for methanol poisoning?

Methanol toxicity is the result of consuming methanol...

The horrific symptoms may include a decreased level of consciousness, poor coordination, vomiting, abdominal pain, and a specific smell on the breath. The famous effect of decreased vision or blindness may start as early as twelve hours after exposure to the liquid.

The blindness is caused by the methanol being broken down by the body into formic acid when then has a debilitating and damaging effect on the eye's optic nerve.

There is a cure that is time-sensitive. The sooner the antidote, fomepizole, is taken, the increased likelihood of a good outcome for the victim.

Other treatment options include dialysis and consumption of sodium bicarbonate, folate, and thiamine.

This is of course, not medical advice. If you have a consumption incident, seek medical services assistance immediately. 

And stay away from dodgey Russian sailors...

How to re-start a gas flooded chainsaw

how to re-start a flooded chainsaw

Tips to re-Start chainsaw flooded with gas

I first learned to use a chainsaw year ago at a Scout Jamboree. It was loose as, they basically said here you go, kid, chop up that log. I think I had ear muffs but definitely no safety gear. It was awesome but I did manage to stop the engine somehow and I would not restart it despite trying a lot.

Turns out my efforts to restart had meant I had flooded the engine with petrol and one of the 'experts' had to show me how to restart the saw. Turns out, flooded engines are a pretty common thing!

Tips on starting a flooded chainsaw

Before you begin your activity, it's always best to ensure you have fresh petrol in your engine. If you've got a mixture of oil and gas that's older than a month or two, it will be harder for your engine to re-start.

If you have tried several times unsuccessfully to start your unit, it is most likely flooded with petrol. A key tell is that you can smell gas. 

'Flooded' means excessive fuel has been pumped into the engine (when you pulled the starter chord), the volume of which has prevented and displaced oxygen which is crucial for igniting the fuel. 

The best advice is that you should not prime the engine again as you will add to the problem! 

You may have pulled the start chord a few times and let the choke out with no luck. You may think priming the engine would be a good idea - but it's not, you are simply adding more fuel where it is not needed

Two methods you can try to clear the chainsaw of the excess fuel 

The first is the easiest and most common method.

You need to be patient and let your chainsaw sit idle for at least 15-20 minutes to allow the excess fuel to evaporate from the engine.

Maybe go make a cup of hop tea while you wait or check out some Darth Vader quotes.

Once you've done that, you can not attempt to restart your engine in the normal manner.

This method will work best with a mildly flooded engine and the same principle applies to re-starting a lawn mower as well.

The harder hands-on method to re-start a flooded chainsaw:

  • Make sure the chain break is 'on'. Safety people!
  • Turn the choke to 'off' position.
  • Activate the 'fast idle' (do this by engaging the throttle lock/trigger assembly or pulling the choke out and pushing it back in)
  • Turn the on/off switch to 'on'.
  • Hold the saw firmly on the ground as you do during normal starting, and pull the starter chord sharply until the saw starts. Do not pull the starter rope out to its full length. Employ short, brisk pulls in a continuous fashion.
If the engine does not start within 15 pulls then the spark plug may have become 'wet fouled'. If you suspect this has occurred, remove the spark plug and look for moist wet deposits on the electrode. 

Remove with a dry cloth. 

While the plug is out, here's your chance to remove any fuel in the engine via the spark plug hole. 

Here's an excellent video tutorial lesson on starting your saw:


Sunday, August 30, 2020


best work fan for job site - dewalt

The Dewalt job site cordless fan is one of the most popular fans on the market, you could also say it's the coolest...

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Fan for Jobsite, 11-Inch, Tool Only (DCE511B)
Rated 4.8 out of 5 by 2802 reviewers on
A hard-working unit, this fan will run off the Dewalt battery system for hours, almost effortlessly - meaning it is a nice and quiet unit which is great when all you want to do is watch the paint dry in peace. 

Obviously, its rugged design means it works just as well outdoors and indoors and it can take the 'bolts and jolts' that are the usual hazard on worksites and garages. 

It's not so big that it can't be easily stored away when not in use and chuck it on the back of your ute or pick up with no worries. 

You can plug in the standard 120-volt cord or connect a Dewalt battery (20-volt maximum) to it. As the reviews below show, you will get plenty of 'air time' with this Dewalt fan

Here's the specifications from Dewalt:

  • Corded or cordless use (the extension cord will need to be bought separately) 
  • Multiple hanging arrangement options - freestanding, hang hooks, and standard wall mount 
  • Variable speed control - wide-range so you control the speed you want; Airflow - 500 
  • Testing to IP54 standards - meaning it has 'ingress protection' from dust, dirt, splashes of water etc.

The unit has three blades which are 7 inches long and they will turn and turn all day to keep the air moving to keep you cool and to also help expunge unwanted smells such as smoke from soldering or other discharges like Dad farts.

You can even use it to help dry painted walls, drywall (plasterboard), and plaster mud.

worksite fan battery powered dewalt

But if you want to know if the Dewalt fan truly is worth your time and money, check out these reviews from actual users who have ponied up their cash on Amazon:

"Love this fan so far. The fan pivots back more than 90° as you may see from my picture. I was concerned th
e bigger flexvolt battery wouldn’t fit in it but it does with ease. I’m currently conducting a run till dead test to see how long it will run at high-speed with Dewalt’s strongest battery the flex volt 9.0 AH battery. Seems pretty well-made, however, I’m going to hang on to the box to carry it in just to protect it.

I hope the DeWALT comes out with a carrying case for this. The hooks pull out from the base allowing you to hang the fan on the job site, which is a nice touch. As many have already posted you can plug it in but not while you have a battery in the battery socket. To use AC will need an extension cord with a female plug on one end just as the DeWALT power pack inverter uses."

"I am very Happy with this unit after day one. I placed a DCB203 20V Max 2.0AH Compact XR Li-Ion Battery Pack (Smallest they make) into the Fan, turned it on low at 10:45am. At 10:28 PM the unit is still running. On Low speed, you can not even hear the unit running. Will be running the unit on Medium speed this weekend, same battery."

So it will run all day. 

"This thing is made STRONG. This last week at the market I was pulling it down and it slipped. It fell from about 6ft and hit concrete. Didn't even scratch it. I'm not saying drop it on purpose but I thought for sure it would have been damaged if work at all. And it turned in and worked perfectly! I love this fan!

It's tough and durable. 

This is the 2nd fan I've bought. I love it! I use it for a weekly Farmers market tent. I hang it from the frame and it keeps my customers cool while they shop. My original purchase was for the fan, battery set and charger. A full charge battery will run this fan on high from 8:30am-2:00pm and still have over half charge. It creates a nice breeze. Made 100* market days much more bearable. Highly recommend this little workhorse."

It does the business required. 

"I purchased this fan for the specific purpose of having some kind of cooling device available during a power outage. As such, I wanted to know exactly how much cooling time I would get from one battery. I'm using a 60-volt, 6.0 Ah "flex-volt" battery; however, my 20 volt, 4.0 Ah battery also (obviously) works.

I turned on the variable speed fan to half speed; it's VERY quiet. The design of these batteries is such that they don't slowly wear down--instead, they just quit when the voltage drops too much--so, I suppose it could quit at any moment. But, after twelve hours, the fan is still going strong, and the battery still has 2 of its 3 charge level lights on (3 lights would be a full charge). I have to tell you, I am damned impressed! Well done, Dewalt!"

If that doesn't convince you, check out the unit on Amazon.
DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Fan for Jobsite, 11-Inch, Tool Only (DCE511B)
Rated 4.8 out of 5 by 2802 reviewers on
Dewalt not only make fans, drills and other tools - they make quality safety glasses!
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