Cleaning a Mower Air Filter

It’s summer time and while some soak up the sun by the pool, others are hard at work trying to get the mower to start. After all, it’s like what one of our service managers said, “When the grass is green, there’s always an air filter to be cleaned!” Obviously there may be other reasons why the mower won’t start, but a dirty air filter is definitely one of the more common issues. Although a clogged air filter is not a critical situation, it could lead to dire consequences if it goes neglected.

Air Filters

So first off, you need to know what an air filter is. Simply put, air filters are important because they keep air and other junk particles like grass and dirt out of your engine in order to keep it running smooth. If you let the air filter clog up, you could face problems such as poor performance and fuel efficiency, a decreased engine life, or simple mower that won’t start. And what good is a mower that does not start? There are three types of air filters: paper, foam, and dual.

  • Paper Filters – Paper filters keep debris from entering the combustion chamber by trapping dirt on outside of the filter and allowing only intended air through compressed fibers with microscopic holes. These don’t require cleaning, just lift the cover, and replace the dirty filter with a new one. Typically they only need to be replaced one to two times a year, change them when they start to look dirty.
  • Foam Filters – Foam filters include a cotton fabric that must be oiled with motor oil which traps dirt and debris and cling to the outside. This type of air filter is renewable, just needs to be washed!
  • Dual Filters – A dual filter is just what it sounds like, two in one. First it air and other particles pass through the foam portion as a “pre-cleaner” then the rest passes through the paper element. These combinations filters offer the highest level of filtering by far.


Cleaning an Air Filter

To ensure your mower’s longevity, you want to make sure your filters are clean. Remember, paper filters are disposable, no need to clean them. Foam and dual filters on the other hand, requires a few things.

Foam Filters

  • First things first, make sure the your mower is turned off and engaged in brake. For a push mower, pull off the spark plug wire from the spark plug then unscrew the wing nut that holds on the air filter housing and remove the housing.
  • Next wash the filter with hot water and a liquid soap that works well on grease. Detergent works really well. Then you want to soak the filter into the water and soap mix making sure it is submerged all the way. Squeeze the water out of the filter with a paper towel. Remove as much water as possible, you can repeat the soaking and squeezing as many times as you want to get it as clean as you.
  • Next you have to add new and clean motor oil to the filter. The easiest and cleanest way would be to put the filter in a plastic bag and add the oil to the bag. You want to make sure you have the right amount of oil. Too much oil can harm the exhaust, causing it to emit black smoke and too little will allow particles to enter your engine. If you have too much oil you can just use the bag to squeeze out some oil or use a paper towel to wrap the filter and then squeeze it out.
  • Clean any debris from the rubber gasket that seals the air filter to the carburetor. If the gasket has tears or pieces missing so that it cannot create a tight seal, replace the gasket
  • Finally just put the filter back in place and you’re all set

Dual Filters

  • Separate the foam filter from the paper cartridge. Gently tap the paper filter on a hard surface to make the buildup fall off. You do not need to use an air compressor otherwise you risk damaging it, if the paper filter is torn you must replace it.
  • Check the manual to see if the foam filter needs to be washed and oiled. If so, repeat the steps you would do for a foam filter stated above.
  • Use a paper towel to simply wipe clean the area where the air filter sits but be careful to not push dirt into the carburetor.
  • Screw the filter back onto the housing. Make sure there are not gaps between the gasket and the housing to avoid dirt filtering in. Then you’re all done!


So hopefully after reading this post you’ve learned one thing….DON’T NEGLECT THE AIR FILTERS! Making sure you replace them when needed and keeping them clean will be better for your mower in the long run. You can even save yourself a headache and a few hundred dollars. In the case that you do have a problem with your mower, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Howard’s Brothers does Power Equipment Service Repair at all of our locations, we are always happy to help.


Duluth Fall Festival Bicycle Rack Project

Every year, the city of Duluth holds a fun family event in the fall. There’s food, games, rides, prizes and an overall great time! Today, the Duluth Fall Festival is one of the most successful festivals in the southeast, with attendance consistently upwards of 100,000. As a business located in Duluth, we take pride in our community and are happy to attend each year. This year, Howard Brother’s donated buckets of paint to the city of Duluth as a way to help the city’s arts programs and decorate Downtown Duluth. Just in time for the Duluth Fall Festival!


What makes these bike racks even more special is that each bike rack is being painted by local artists, including our very own students from the Duluth High School art program. Projects like these help our local artists gain exposure and keep the arts alive to help inspire creativity.  Although Howard Brothers’ Hardware provided all of the paint and paint supplies for the artists, the bike racks were purchased by the Duluth Fall Festival. This is a wonderful example of private partners working with the Duluth Public Art Commission to bring a community together, which is exactly the the type of environment any city aspires to be. 

Although not all bike racks have been installed yet, this project is coming along great.  We took the liberty of taking a field trip to Downtown Duluth to spot the bicycles below:

These beautiful sunflowers are bound to light up anyone’s day

Here’s Sunshine! The Official Festival Scarecrow

Highlighting W.P. Jones Park

And can’t forget the train!

We can’t wait to see all of the finishing touches and are looking forward to attending the Duluth Fall Festival. If you’ve never been before, join in on the fun this year! It will be a fun event for the whole family.

White Mountain Electric Ice Cream Maker

It is officially Summer Time! Pools, sun, games, vacations, and refreshers are all anyone is thinking about this time of year. There’s another, more popular seasonal item that you might be forgetting all about, ICE CREAM. Yes. Cold, creamy, delicious ice cream is everyone’s weakness when it’s warm out. And who can blame anyone? It’s the perfect summer treat. There’s a reason there are so many different ice cream shops, brands, products, and flavors, people go nut for their favorite ice cream! (and nuts ON top of your Sunday!… I tried) Well what better way to try new flavors than by experimenting with your own ice cream, in your own backyard? What we mean is, we have the perfect machine to make all of your wildest ice cream dreams come true, the White Mountain Electric Ice Cream Maker.

The White Mountain Electric Ice Cream Maker allows making your own homemade ice cream to be a fun and easy task. Making ice cream is fun for the whole family and will give you wonderful memories to look back on. With this great product, you can bring an old-time tradition with a modern electric motor twist into style. The White Mountain Electric Ice Cream Maker comes with everything you need to start making your delicious treats (minus the ice and rock salt but you can get that anywhere):

  • Powerful Electric Motor
  • Delicious Recipe Booklet
  • Stainless Steel Canister with Lid to hold recipe mix
  • Dasher for Churning
  • Long Lasting Artisan Bucket- hand crafted New England White Pine

You may look at all of these parts and widgets and wonder what to do with all of them. Or even wonder how you’re going to make ice cream with it all. Never fear we’ve got you covered. This video explains the process step by step so you can get started on your ice cream making!

Avoiding Heat Related Illnesses: Summer Safety Tips

All across the country, cities are experiencing drastic heat waves. In states such as Nevada, Arizona, and California temperatures were up so high that flights had to be cancelled. People living in these cities are having to take safety measures to keep themselves and their pets cool. In Georgia, however, it’s not AS hot, but still hot regardless. We wanted to take this opportunity to give you a few safety tips!

Dixie Chopper Mowers’ recent Instagram post made sure to point out a few KEY points of beating heat related illnesses this summer.


 Heat Related Illnesses

Summer is in full effect, and now is the time to refresh your knowledge on Heat related Illnesses. First off, according to Web MD, a heat-related illness occurs when our bodies can no longer transfer enough heat to keep us cool. Your body may then have many different reactions to trying to deal with excess heat. For example, people may experience any one of these heat related illnesses:

  • Heat rash – occurs when the sweat ducts to the skin become blocked or swell, causing discomfort and itching.
  • Heat cramps – occur in muscles after exercise because sweating causes the body to lose water, salt, and minerals (electrolytes).
  • Heat edema  in the legs and hands – occurs when you sit or stand for a long time in a hot environment.
  • Heat tetany (hyperventilation and heat stress), which is usually caused by short periods of stress in a hot environment.
  • Heat syncope (fainting), which occurs from low blood pressure when heat causes the blood vessels to expand (dilate) and body fluids move into the legs because of gravity.

The more serious illnesses to watch for include heat exhaustion and heat strokes. Heat exhaustion is especially important for our customers who work outside. This occurs when a person is sweating from either working or exercising in extreme heat and are not drinking enough liquids to replace the lost liquids which causes the dehydration. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include fatigue, weakness, headache, dizziness, nausea, and a change in skin. (pale, cool and/or moist) Severe heat exhaustion may lead to heat strokes which are medical emergencies. During a heat stroke, your body fails to regulate its own temperature thus will continue to rise. If left untreated this could be life threatening.

Preventative Measures

It’s important to remember, most heat related illnesses can be prevented! The two main factors to help you stay safe is to keep your body cool and hydrated. Here are a few ways to do so (gathered by Medicine Net):

  • Alter your pattern of outdoor exercise to take advantage of cooler times (early morning or late evening). If you can’t change the time of your workout, scale it down by doing fewer minutes, walking instead or running, or decreasing your level of exertion.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of a light color.
  • Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics.
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
  • Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
  • Try storing lotions or cosmetic toners in the refrigerator to use on hot, overtired feet.
  • Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you’re ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you’ll have a supply of cold water with you.
  • Take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water.
  • Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water along with sports drinks or other sources of electrolytes.
  • Some people swear by small, portable, battery-powered fans. At an outdoor event I even saw a version that attaches to a water bottle that sprays a cooling mist.
  • I learned this trick from a tennis pro: if you’re wearing a cap or hat, remove it and pour a bit of ice cold water into the hat, then quickly invert it and place on your head.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration.
  • Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products. As an added benefit, you won’t have to cook next to a hot stove.
  • If you don’t have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a shopping mall, public library, movie theater, or other public space that is cool. Many cities have cooling centers that are open to the public on sweltering days.
  • Finally, use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces. Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with a chronic illness, as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Don’t forget that pets also need protection from dehydration and heat-related illnesses too.


Summer may be a fun time to go on family vacations and trips to the pool, but anyone can suffer from heat related illnesses. It’s important to stay hydrated and take any preventative measures to ensure safety this summer. Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!

July 2017 Bargains of the Month

It’s time for our favorite time of the month…… Bargains of the Month! What do we have for July? Only the best deals, of course. Our July 2017 Bargains are just in time for summer time fun mode AND the Fourth of July! You’ll want to make sure you stock up on plenty of fireworks, lawn chairs and the best grilling recipes. Here are a few other items you may have forgotten to include on your shopping list:

Filtrete Allergen Defense Air Filters

When was the last time you changed your air filters? It’s not something that we usually remember to do unless a problem occurs. We have a great special on air filters for July so might as well take advantage.

  • Red, Micro Allergen Filtrete Filter
  • 3 Month Filter Is 90% Effective At Capturing Large Allergens Like Mold Spores & Pet Dander
  • Captures Microscopic Allergens Like Dust, Smoke & Smog
  • Captures Bacteria & Particles That Can Carry Viruses
  • Meets The American Lung Association Health House Program Guidelines
  • MPR Rating 1000
  • Filter Lasts For 90 Days, Color Red.

Usually priced at $14.99 but you can get it for $8.49


4 pk. Halogen Light Bulbs

These light bulbs will brighten up your deck for any backyard get together, make sure you’re all stocked up. Light bulbs always seem to go out at the most inconvenient time, when you DON’T have a spare.

This halogen bulb is 43 watts with a medium base. It has an A19 shape like a standard incandescent. the bulb has a 1.4 year long life and is 4.3″ long. The bulb is soft white in color and saves energy by giving the equivalent lumens to a standard 60 watt incandescent. 5.18 Energy Cost (Based on 3 Hrs/Day at .12 per KwH).

  • Rated Life: 1.4 years
  • Lumens: 620
  • 2700 Kelvin (Warm White) Color Temperature
  • 43 Watts
  • 5.18 Energy Cost (3 Hrs/Day @ .12 per KwH)
  • Medium Base


16pk. AAA or AA Batteries

Do you have a set of fresh batteries? New batteries will come in handy for that flashlight on your upcoming camping trip. It’s always great to have some batteries back up. For ourJulyBargains of the Month, you can pick up a 16pk. of batteries $4.99 instead of $11.99.

  • Ready Power Technology Increases Shelf Life
  • Mercury Free Formula
  • Guaranteed Fresh For 10 Years.


6 pk. Choose a Sheet White Paper Towels

You can never have too many paper towels. With Fourth of July parties, backyard patio barbecues, and campfire smores, it’s a great idea to have back up paper towels. Or if you have guests staying over, extra issue paper wouldn’t hurt. We’ve made sure to save you a few extra bucks on this.

Extra Large-Padded Zero Gravity Chair

It’s the best seat in the backyard! Great for watching fireworks or just soaking in the outdoors. Even has it’s own cupholder so you don’t have to worry about where to place your preferred refreshment. Treat yo self! It’s priced at $49.99, lower than it’s original $79.99.


  • Extra Large, Charcoal Gray & Blue Steel
  • Padded Zero Gravity Chair
  • Side Table & Slide Trac Pillow
  • Comfortable Padded 600D Polyester Material, 350 LB Capacity
  • Conveniently Folds With Side Table Intact Compactly
  • Powder Coated Steel Frame, 24″ x 22″ x 45″.