We’ve Got the Dirt on the New General 4-in-1 Soil Condition Meter


General Tools is one of those companies that works quietly in the background, a bit like the tools they produce. They aren’t flashy, and when they put out a tool, they don’t come out with a fancy new model very often. Their logo hasn’t changed in…ever? The spartan yellow and black packaging just sort of hangs on the wall, like the geeky kid at the school dance wearing the shirt his mom picked out, being upstaged by the popular kids. But just like the geeky kid, General Tools are smart, precise and reliable. I have General measuring tools in my toolbox that have served me for over 20 years. Scribes, plumb bobs, bevel squares, micrometers, stair gages… these things are one-time purchases, the kind of tools that you can pass down to the kids. I own a few of their digital test instruments as well, a moisture meter and an infrared thermometer, which also have served me well, but again, nothing flashy. So, I am cautiously optimistic when it comes to my first experience with one of their agricultural products, the new “4-in-1 Soil Condition Meter” which was provided to us by General for this review. [Read more...]

How to Install a Pet Door – A Tale of Two Kitties

pet door

Installing a pet door for your cat or dog isn’t really a tough job, unless you’ve got mean-mean kitty biting you the whole way. With the right tools, you don’t even have to remove your door for installation. Let your pets roam freely outdoors without having to have opposable thumbs to operate the door handle with a simple-to-install pet door. We’ll walk you through the steps in this basic how-to. [Read more...]

RoboReel Water Hose Reel Review – A Reel Robot for Your Garden


A while back we reviewed the RoboReel Power Cord System. While expensive for what amounted to the smartest, most full-featured extension cord you’ve ever seen, we found it to be quite handy. The overheard version we installed in HomeFixated’s Global HQ gets regular use – it’s immensely convenient. Last year, RoboReel shipped out their new RoboReel Water Hose Reel for review, and we’ve been evaluating it since. Will this H2O-centric robot turn your garden and car-wash duties into blissful relaxation? Better yet, will it eliminate the horrors of trying to coil a messy, muddy garden hose by hand? Answers to those questions and many more you might never have thought to ask lie ahead! [Read more...]

Ryobi P325 Airstrike Nailer Review – The 16-Gauge Has Landed

ryobi p325

A few months back, we took a look at Ryobi’s 18-gauge cordless nailer, the Ryobi P320. We gave it a big thumbs up. It’s a useful, well-made tool, selling for a reasonable price (Currently $129 at Home Depot). We gave it a workout, and the P320 did a great job on all the trim I threw at it. The ability to do trim work without dragging a hose around (and listening to my 600-db compressor) was a treat. The only drawback? An 18-gauge nail is great for lighter trim, but for hanging ¾” door and window trim and baseboards, especially hardwood trim, a somewhat beefier nail provides a more secure attachment. With the recent arrival of the new Ryobi P325 Airstrike 16 gauge nailer at HomeFixated’s global headquarters, that niche has been filled. [Read more...]

Compost Happens! Reclaim Pallets With This Easy to Build DIY Compost Bin

pallet composter

Like it or not, compost happens. We might as well take advantage of it and put it to good use, right? At our house, we officially decided to build a compost system this year in honor of Earth Day and our garden. I have been perusing compost bins online to find the perfect match for composting and my menagerie to make our transition to green less blue for me. After studying and comparing, I knew for sure that I didn’t want to spend much to create a composter. And, as a resident of utopian suburbia, I also knew that I needed our compost area to be a little bit more attractive and contained than just a pile. Or four stakes wrapped with chicken wire. Nothing against those methods at all. I just happened to hone in on pallets as a DIY compost bin solution. Stay tuned for the official how-to along with a few bonus composting tips! [Read more...]

Wayne Pumps AdvanTEXT Cellular Flood Alarm System – OMG H2O!


What's This?Since my daughter and son-in-law bought their first house in Ohio a couple of years ago, it has provided fodder for many a remedial project for the HomeFixated community. The house is basically sound, but the previous owners were a tad lax on the maintenance front, so they’ve been fixing it up and updating it a bit at a time. One thing I always noticed when we stayed there is that the sump pump kicked on periodically, and when it did, it didn’t sound very healthy. Thunks, buzzing, loud humming—many strange and scary sounds that probably weren’t there when it was new. When the folks at Wayne Pumps dialed us in for this sponsored post and offered to provide one of their Wayne’s AdvanTEXT systems, which sends a text message to alert you to various problems, it seemed like a good opportunity to banish the scary noises – and gain a little peace of mind. [Read more...]

Identifying Common Garden Pests


Yesterday the garden was perfectly fine, but today you have returned home to find the tomato plants completely leafless and strange bugs frolicking in the cabbages. It’s a more common occurrence than we would ever admit to our Facebook “friends”. Sometimes our gardens just aren’t as healthy as we would like. Natural disasters such as hailstorms, dry spells, and slugs do occur from time to time. [Read more...]

Dremel Ultra Saw Review – Three Times the Fun with the 3-n-1

dremel ultra saw

If I told you that you had to cut some thick steel, grind ancient thinset from concrete and undercut a handful of door jambs, you’d probably need a bunch of tools to get the job done, or would you? With the advent of the Dremel Ultra Saw, you won’t need a separate angle grinder, carbide chop saw or undercut saw to make all of these ultra-fun jobs complete. [Read more...]

Top 10 Remodeling Truths


For both pro’s and homeowners alike, remodeling can be a peril-filled minefield, more difficult to navigate than the Nile river on a foggy night. Remodeling can be an emotion-filled roller coaster, with the added excitement of almost every decision being tied directly to your wallet. Remodeling tips are a dime a dozen, so we’ve decided to hide our tips with 10 fairly universal remodeling “truths.” Whether you’re a first time remodeler or you’ve been doing it professionally for years, there’s something for everyone in our list of the Top 10 Remodeling Truths. [Read more...]

How in the Hail do we Salvage the Patio Cushions?

patio furniture

My neighbors and I recently experienced the unforgettable. We all got totally hammered. By hail, that is. Let me just say that we’re no strangers to the rain OR hail here in our neck of the woods. In fact, while most families practice semi-annual fire drills in their homes, our family has added hail drills to our survival training. Here’s how it goes: [Read more...]