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Guide to Outdoor Christmas Lights

Joseph Coupal - Friday, November 17, 2017

Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MAWith Christmas just around the corner, you might be wondering what to give those on your shopping list. But have you thought about what to get your yard? A happy yard with a cool Christmas light display puts a smile on everyone who passes by.

Ready to trip the lights fantastic? Here’s what you need to know:

All Strung Out

The essence of any holiday lighting scheme is strings of lights you attach to eaves, roofing shingles and gutters. Lighting strings come with as few as 25 bulbs and as many as 200. Lighting clips make installation easy and are designed to work without poking holes in your roofing or trim.

Specialty clips are designed to add lights around windows and to grab onto brick surfaces.

Choose lighting clips based on the size of the bulbs in your lighting strings and to what building part you’ll attach the strings. Clips grab the light sockets, so you can position the bulbs upright, hanging down or horizontally.

The Great Debate: Incandescent vs. LED

Actually, the debate is over. LEDs win in every measure except initial price: A string of LEDs costs about twice as much as same-sized incandescent bulbs. But because LEDs are so long-lasting, the price differential is erased after two to three years of use.

Last year for the first time, sales of LEDs surpassed incandescents.

Energy efficiency. LEDs use about 10 percent of the electricity that incandescent bulbs do. An incandescent bulb must heat up its filament to produce light, and about 90 percent of the energy it uses goes to producing heat. LED technology sips energy and produces very little heat, which in turn reduces the risk of fire.

Many types of LED holiday lights meet Energy Star guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Longevity. LEDs last two to three times longer than incandescent bulbs. Plus, LED bulbs typically are made of lightweight plastic and less likely to break than glass incandescent bulbs.

Brightness. Incandescents hold the edge, but LED light strings usually feature more bulbs per string. Call this one even.

Like shoes and cologne, Christmas light bulbs have fashion swings. Although mini lights have been by far the most popular during the past decade, larger, more “old-fashioned” bulbs are making a comeback. All styles are available as incandescent and LEDs. Here’s what you need to know to be a true bulb fashionista:

Mini lights look like tiny candles with pointed tips. They are about 1/4 inch in diameter and 5/8 inch tall.

C6 bulbs are smallish strawberry-shaped lights that are often thought of as the traditional Christmas tree light. Bulbs are 3/4 inch in diameter and 1 1/8 inches tall.

C7 bulbs have a similar shape as C6s but are slightly larger and rounder. They are 1 inch in diameter and 1-1/2 inches tall.

C9 bulbs are the big brothers of the holiday bulb family, measuring 1-1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 inches tall. They are frequently used in outdoor applications.

G series bulbs are globular and come in a variety of sizes. They’re found in everything from table lamps to auto taillights. To figure the diameter of a G series Christmas light bulb, take the number that appears after the G, divide it by 8, then round to the nearest whole number. For example, a G15 is about 2 inches in diameter.

Clear, frosted and patterned glass options add pizzazz to the quality of the light each bulb emits.

Rope lights are strings of mini lights encased in flexible plastic; the entire tube looks like it’s lit up. Rope lights are great for wrapping posts and making garlands of colored light.

Lighting Up Outside

String your tree in the evening, with your light strings plugged in so you can see the effect as your build your light scheme.

Evergreen trees look good with bigger bulb sizes, such as the C7 and C9. If you’re lucky enough to have a nice evergreen tree in your yard that you’d like to illuminate, the industry rule of thumb is 100 lights per every vertical foot of tree; large trees may need more.

Larger C7 and C9 bulbs are usually spaced 12 inches apart — a good scale when viewed from the street.

Evergreen bushes are candidates for lighting nets — crisscrossed networks of wires and mini lights that are shaped as a grid. Toss a couple of 100-light nets over your bushes, plug ‘em in and you’ve got giant glowing ornaments along your foundation.

Deciduous trees and posts are tempting targets for candy cane spirals of light. Get lights that are closely spaced, such as mini lights or rope lights. On trees, the bark is usually rough enough to hold light strings in place. You can give light strings a little support with strategically placed pushpins, but don’t drive in a bunch of screws or nails, as you could hurt the tree.

Posts require a little help. Depending on your tolerance for assorted fasteners peaking out of your exterior trim at all times of the year, you can add cup hooks or small screws. Adhesive-backed lighting clips are another option.

Outdoor Christmas Lights

Want to see your whole outdoor lighting display get down and funky? Music synchronization kits turn your front yard into Santa’s disco.

A standard 30-amp plug-and-play system divides your display into 16 separate channels, including weatherproof speakers.

More sophisticated displays run up to 64 channels and include software so you can program your own show and run it off your laptop.

Animated Cartoon Characters

Animated wire frame elves and Santas add a bit of cartoon-like fun to your lawn. You can get penguins that throw snowballs at each other and reindeer that run. The animation can be jerky, like a crude Flash movie, but these are real smile-makers for young kids. Plus, they’re big. Some are 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

Do you need holiday decorations? Contact Monnick supply in Marlborough and Framingham.

DIY Network

Five Good Reasons NOT to Sharpen Your Own Knives

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MAJust because you’re proud of the prowess of your kitchen knives, doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to do your own kitchen knife sharpening. Here are five reasons why it might be wiser (and easier) to send them out to a knife sharpening service:

1) You don’t have the interest or patience to master a new skill. Sharpening takes some training. If you are not paying close attention to what you are doing, you can easily grind away more metal than you need to or, worse yet, completely ruin a perfectly good knife. Especially using a power sharpening system. There’s a learning curve. Respect the curve. No matter what all the DIY knife sharpening experts tell you, sharpening a knife, like any valuable skill, takes time and concentration to learn and get good at.

2) Your time is precious. Sharpening a kitchen knife can, in an ideal world, take only 10 minutes. That’s, of course, if it’s in pretty good shape to begin with. Otherwise, we’re talking more like 20 minutes or more. But, before all this, you’ve got to put in the hours learning how to, correctly, do it. And no matter what all the DIY knife sharpening experts tell you, sharpening a knife takes time and concentration to learn and get good at. Even if you use a power sharpening system, depending on which brand/model you buy, it could take more time for you do it yourself than to pack up your knives and bring them to a quality sharpening service.

3) Easy-peasy sharpening systems can be the least desirable sharpening solution. General rule-of-thumb—the easier the system, the worse it is for your knives. There are some exceptions to this rule, but fast, easy sharpening is not necessarily quality sharpening.

Second general rule-of-thumb—the more inexpensive the sharpener, the worse it will probably be for your knives. Inexpensive sharpeners tend to grind off more metal than is necessary, thereby shortening the life of your knives

4) You don’t really enjoy sharpening. Life is short. Have you heard the saying, “back to the grindstone”? There’s a reason it means what it means. If you don’t enjoy grinding down metal in the first place, it’s only going to get more and more tedious, not less.

5) Quality knife sharpening services are plentiful and affordable. There is a number of top-notch sharpening services that is right around the corner. Really.

For more information on professional knife sharpening, contact Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MA.

kitchenknifeguru.com

Snow Blower Maintenance and Safety Tips

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MAThe weather has been mild, but before a blizzard hits; before you need to start digging yourself out of the snow; while the weather is still unseasonable mild, get your snow blower out of storage and get it ready for winter. This time a couple years ago, we already had snow on the ground. The weather in Massachusetts can turn on a moment’s notice. It is important to get snow blower service. But, it is also best to have that snow blower maintenance done by professionals.

Many homeowners will be using gas-powered snow blowers to clear walks and driveways. While they are a great convenience, snow blowers come with their own risks.

Here are some safety tips while using these machines.

  • First, make "Safety" your goal once you start the engine.
  • Don't try to adjust or repair the snow blower while it's running.
  • Never use your hands to clear a clogged chute. Shut the engine and use the clean-out tool.
  • Don't wear scarves or loose clothing that can get caught in moving parts.

Here’s a brief overview of what is covered during snow blower maintenance:

  • Changing the oil
  • Inspecting and replacing the belts
  • Checking scraper bars and skid shoes
  • Changing the spark plug
  • Replacing a shear pin
  • Replacing the starter cord
  • Fuel system maintenance
  • Tightening the bolts
  • Checking the carburetor

For more information on snow blower maintenance and repair or for information on new snow blowers, contact Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham.

Benjamin Moore’s Paint Color of the Year

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Benjamin Moore Paint Color of the Year is called Caliente AF-290. The color is strong, radiant and full of energy.

"Caliente is the signature color of a modern architectural masterpiece; a lush carpet rolled out for a grand arrival; the assured backdrop for a book-lined library; a powerful first impression on a glossy front door. The eye can’t help but follow its bold strokes. Harness the vitality.”

For more information on Benjamin Moore paint color of the year, or for information on any other interior paint color, contact Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham.

Benjamin Moore

Fall Power Tool Maintenance Checklist

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MAFall is here. The leaves are starting to fall, the temperatures at night are dropping. Yard work and around-the-house tasks start using up some of our time on the weekends. To get the job done efficiently you need the right power tools, and you need to be sure those power tools are running right. Before you pull your fall cleanup power tools out of storage and put them to work, make sure you've prepared them for the workload. This checklist of proper maintenance tips will help get your equipment out of hibernation and ready to run.

  • Have the condition of your spark plugs checked and replace if necessary.
  • Have air filters checked for dirt and damage to determine if any need cleaning or replacement. Clean debris from blowers and trimmers as well.
  • Have your equipment inspected for broken parts, and replace any that are broken or damaged.
  • Check screws and nuts, and retighten them if necessary.
  • Now is a good time to sharpen or change saw chains, and replace trimmer line.
  • Lubricate parts where friction will occur.
  • Check power cords on electric tools for damage or wear.
  • When mixing fuel, use fresh fuel (stored for less than 2 months) and new 2-cycle engine oil.
  • Use STIHL MotoMix® Premixed Fuel in your fuel tanks. STIHL MotoMix® is a highly stable blend that will help to ensure great performance.
  • Don't put your power tool to work immediately-after a season of storage, let it warm up for a few minutes before use.

Remember, for comprehensive maintenance and repair for power tools, see the product manual. For more information on power tool maintenance and repair, contact Monnick Supply in Framingham and Marlborough.

STIHLUSA

Power Tools to Buy or Rent for Getting Home and Yard Ready for Winter

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MANow that fall is here, homeowners are getting their homes and yards ready for the colder weather seasons. If you are a DIY-er, here is a list of the top power tools you’ll need on-hand.

Log Splitter

A log splitter makes light work of chopping wood. Benefits include reducing the physical strain that using a traditional axe places on your back, as well as saving you hours of effort. Be warned, it’s extremely heavy, but the wheels make it easy to move around. At Monnick Supply in Marlborough, we offer rental log splitters if your firewood has been delivered and is ready for stacking.

Pressure Washer

This may be expensive, but they can provide over 50% water saving compared to a garden hose and 35 times more power, easily making it the most environmentally friendly way to effortlessly remove mold, grime, mud and dirt from patios, garden furniture, decking and vehicles. At Monnick Supply in Marlborough, we also offer rental power washers if you want to get your deck and siding ready for fall.

Garden Multi-Care Tool

Whether you want to trim shrubs, clear brambles, cut hedges or prune hard-to-reach-branches, this machine does it all. And despite the fact that it’s an all-in-one, it’s easy to get to grips with and has well-positioned, comfortable handle controls.

Hedge Trimmer

It’s hard to fault an electric trimmer, which comes with an extra handle to extend your reach for taller hedges. It’s fast and leaves a neat finish and can handle larger branches. They are a great value.

Electric or Battery Powered Leaf Blower

Electric or battery operated leaf blowers have enough power to clear leaves swiftly and efficiently. They are light and comfortable to hold.

Chainsaw

Slice cleanly and quickly through logs, branches and thick stems with an electric, battery-operated, or gas chainsaw.

For more information on power tools, contact Monnick Supply in Framingham and Marlborough.

Independent

#HowYouLive

October is Fire Safety Month

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MAEquip your home with smoke alarms and other tools that can help you gain precious seconds in a fire.

Fire Safety Equipment:

Smoke Alarms

If you have a fire, smoke alarms can cut nearly in half your risk of dying in a fire.Smoke alarms sense abnormal amounts of smoke or invisible combustion gases in the air. They can detect both smoldering and flaming fires.

In new homes: The National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72) requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms with battery back-up on every level of the home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. Alarms must be wired together so that if one sounds, they all sound.

In existing homes: If smoke alarms are not already in place, at a minimum install them on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. If a fire occurs inside a bedroom, dangerous gases can cause heavier sleep. For the best protection, install interconnected smoke alarms in each bedroom and throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

To prevent nuisance alarms, vacuum cobwebs and dust from your smoke alarms monthly. Never disable a smoke alarm, even if you experience nuisance alarms while cooking or showering. Instead, use the alarm’s “hush” button. If nuisance alarms are a persistent problem, look for a different type of smoke alarm and ensure they are installed in correct areas in the home.

Use the test button to test your smoke alarms at least monthly. The test feature tests all electronic functions and is safer than testing with a controlled fire (matches, lighters, cigarettes).

If the manufacturer's instructions permit the use of an aerosol smoke product for testing the smoke alarm, choose one that has been examined and tested by a third-party product testing laboratory, and use it in accordance with the product instructions.

If you have battery-powered smoke alarms, replace the batteries at least once a year. Some agencies recommend that you replace batteries when the time changes from standard to daylight savings each spring and then back again in the fall. "Change your clock, change your batteries." Replacing batteries this often will not hurt, but fresh batteries typically last at least a year, so more frequent replacement is not necessary unless the smoke alarm begins to chirp.

If your local area does not observe daylight savings time, pick an easy-to-remember anniversary, such as your birthday or a national holiday, as the day to change the batteries each year.

Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide (CO) alarms at the same time you replace your smoke alarm batteries.

Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years. This is the recommendation of the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Smoke alarms become less sensitive over time.

Be sure to install smoke alarms in areas where pets are and in other buildings that house animals where humans can hear them.

Fire Extinguishers

Consider having one or more working fire extinguishers in your home. An extinguisher rated “A-B-C” is recommended for home use. Many fire extinguisher models are designed for one-time use and cannot be recharged.

Get training from the fire department or a fire extinguisher manufacturer. Fire extinguishers from various manufacturers operate in different ways and there is no time to read directions during an emergency. Only adults should handle and use extinguishers.

Install extinguishers high on the wall, near an exit, and away from heat sources.Extinguishers should be easily accessible to adults trained to use them, and kept away from children's curious hands. Heat may make the contents less effective or cause the extinguisher to lose its charge more quickly.

If you try to use a fire extinguisher on a fire and the fire does not immediately die down, drop the extinguisher and get out. Most portable extinguishers empty in 8 seconds.

Look at your fire extinguisher to ensure that it is properly charged. Fire extinguishers will not work properly if they are not properly charged. Use the gauge or test button to check that there is proper pressure. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for replacing or recharging fire extinguishers. If the unit is low on pressure, damaged, or corroded, replace it or have it professionally serviced.

Before you begin to fight a fire with a fire extinguisher, be sure that:

  • Everyone has left or is leaving the home.
  • The fire department has been called.
  • The fire is small and not spreading.
  • Your back is to an exit you can use quickly.
  • There is not much smoke in the room.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Install carbon monoxide alarms to alert your family to this invisible, odorless, colorless gas before it’s too late. Carbon monoxide is created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. Even a small amount of carbon monoxide can poison or kill a person if it is breathed in over a long period of time – such as overnight while sleeping.

Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.

If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.

Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.

For fire safety equipment, contact Monnick Supply. Fire Safety Day at Monnick Supply is Saturday, October 21, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

redcross.org

Repair and Maintenance for Leaf Blowers

Joseph Coupal - Friday, September 29, 2017

Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MAFall is here and your yard, driveway and walkways are probably starting to get their fair share of debris. Your leaf blower is the perfect way to clean up after a wind and rain storm without using elbow grease. But, common for leaf blowers, they have a hard time starting up when you want them to. Leaf Blower repair is a specialty at Monnick Supply.

Whether you're using a back-pack model, electric or gas powered machine, leaf blowers make life easier pretty much year round. Who has time to sweep when a leaf blower can move leaves and other debris with winds approaching 180 mph. But, when your leaf blower doesn’t start, getting reacquainted with the broom or rake is awful.

Bring in your leaf blower for engine repair and maintenance. Sometimes you need new gaskets, new air filters, fuel stabilizer, or new spark plugs. Regardless of the issue, we will do our best to fix your leaf blower. Or, if you aren’t interested in a repair, you just want a new leaf blower, we have those too.

Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MA specializes in sales and service of all power tools. Contact us for more information.

Lawn Aeration: Why You Need it

Joseph Coupal - Friday, September 22, 2017

Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MAIn this blog, we like to provide customers with a variety of lawn care tips. Today we are going to talk about aerating your lawn.

Why does my lawn need aeration?

Over time, your lawn can become compacted by the pounding of heavy rains and by simply walking on it. The compacted surface inhibits water, nutrients, and air from reaching the plant’s root system.

When is the best time to aerate?

Aeration can be done anytime during the growing season. How many times your lawn needs aerating depends on its soil compaction. The two most popular times to aerate are in spring and fall. Spring aeration gives grass plants a little extra boost and provides faster greening; fall aeration helps strengthen underground root systems while providing an excellent bed for over-seeding.

How does an aerator work?

There are several types of pull and walk-behind aerators on the market. The most common is a core-type unit that removes small plugs from the turf. Core aerators have a minimum penetration of 2 ½ inches and remove plugs anywhere from ¼ to ¾ inches in diameter. Spiking units push small tines into the turf without removing soil plugs. A third type, slicing aerators, literally slice through the soil creating openings. Monnick Supply in Marlborough sells and rents lawn aerators.

What are some immediate and long-term benefits?

Aeration immediately opens up the soil to air, water, and nutrients. The openings allow air penetration and better water movement, and give plant roots a place to stretch out and grow to become more vigorous and dense.

Over time, aerated lawns are less susceptible to disease and thatch buildup. In some cases, the process can even solve small thatch problems. In addition, aeration reduces water runoff and increases turf tolerance to heat and drought.

Aeration is a natural process that has no ill side effects. Even the small plugs left behind by core-type aerators are beneficial. In the process of breaking down, they deposit a light coating of top dressing that helps decompose thatch accumulated at the base of grass plants.​​

For more information, contact Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MA.

ariens.com

Power Tools and Small Engine Repair Q&A

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 11, 2017

Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MADuring this time of year, many homeowners are getting their yards and homes ready for the fall. This means power washers are getting pulled out, snow blowers are getting tested and chain saws are getting used. During this busy season we answer lots of questions. Here are the answers to some of the most common.

If you have power tool and equipment repair needs, contact Monnick Supply or see if we have answered any of your questions below.

Is it alright to run a pressure washer pump without water?

This is not good for the pump, running it without water will burn out the pump and then you will have no pressure when you run it with water. Some manufacturers recommend that you stop the pump altogether when you are not spraying. Pressure washer pumps will get too hot when they are used without water. The water acts as a coolant.

Is it common for small engines that have been in storage for a long time to smoke a lot when you start them?

Yes, any engine, even one that has been stored for a couple weeks will smoke. After using it for a little while, most small engines will stop smoking if nothing else is wrong with the engine.

If the engine continues to smoke, you may need an engine rebuild, new rings, or the crank case may be over-full with oil. The oil level is the easiest to check, just pull out the oil dipstick and check the oil level on your engine.

Why does my lawnmower backfire when I stop it?

The solenoid may not be functioning anymore. If the solenoid does not function properly it will still allow fuel to get through to the engine when you turn the ignition off, which will cause it to backfire. If the fuel is set too rich, this could also cause a backfire. Check your throttle when you turn the key off. If the throttle is wide open, a backfire will also occur. First turn the throttle down and then turn off the key.

If your engine backfires excessively, you may have bigger issues that need professional repair and maintenance.

If I have an old chainsaw that has been sitting for a while does the carburetor kit need to be replaced?

The carb kit only has to be replaced if the chainsaw does not run properly. It may run right for a little while, but then it may start to act up. Diaphragms tend to get hard, so the carburetor will not run properly.

For all of you power tool and small engine repair needs, contact Monnick Supply.


OUR STORE LOCATIONS

Marlborough Store

135 Maple Street,
Marlborough, MA
Call (508) 318-4788


Mon-Fri 7:00am to 6:00pm
Sat 7:00am to 5:30pm
Sun 12:00pm to 4:00pm

Framingham Store

759 Waverly Street,
Framingham, MA
Call (508) 386-9876


Mon-Fri 7:00am to 6:00pm
Sat 8:00am to 5:30pm
Sun 10:00am to 4:00pm

Monnick Supply $$
135 Maple St.
Marlborough MA 01752
United States
(508) 318-4788
Mon-Fri 7am - 6pm
Sat 7am - 5:30pm
Sun 12pm - 4pm
Monnick Supply $$
759 Waverly St.
Framingham MA 01702
United States
(508) 386-9876
Mon-Fri 7am - 6pm
Sat 8am - 5:30pm
Sun 10am - 4pm