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AKPilot

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Well, we've owned our home now for 4.5 years and, as you can gather, some issues with both lawnmowers and thermostats. We've replaced each of them twice so far. So I thought I'd ask here to see what experiences people have with brands; brands only.

For our lawnmowers, both died shortly after the warranties gave out. Go figure. One was a Craftsman the other a Troy-Built. Fixing wasn't cost effective on either. So what brand of lawnmower would you personally recommend? Maybe we just got lemons?

Same for home thermostats as well.

Thanks
 

troj

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Find a local heating and cooling company that will install a Honeywell thermostat for you. The ones offered through the heating and cooling companies are not the same as what you find at Menard's, Lowe's, Home Depot, etc -- they're much, much easier to work with.

A few months after buying our house, we had the furnace replaced, and a new thermostat installed. It has never given us a bit of trouble, and all the instructions fit on a single flip-down cover. Though, it's easy enough you don't need the instructions.

The home-improvement store varieties tend to take a "less is more" approach, in terms of buttons, which results in a lousy interface that's hard to use. The heating/cooling variety hides the buttons behind a cover, and they're a piece 'o cake to use.

-Kevin
 

ben_ullman

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Lawnmowers: My grandfather and dad both had John deere pushmowers. My grandpas was one year older. I am 16 now and I know they both still run even though they are with someone else(sold them)!! I think the only major thing I ever had to do on both of them was pull out the drive shaft (they were self propelled) and replace the shaft and gear because the teeth were worn. Then the usual oil, filter, tires twice, etc.

They just kept on going. My dad finally got rid of it just because he wanted a new one and my grandfather passed away. Both the rider and the push are John Deere. My grandfather (other side of the family now) Farms in Iowa and almost all his machinery is John Deere. Its all high quality. And they stand behind their product.

Ill even provide a funny warranty story:
My cousin Nick (27) farms and does tractor pulls. He recently took a 4430 tractor (comes with a 6L 125hp motor) and replated it with an 8L 400hp turbo charged combine engine. It sounds pretty nasty when the turbo winds up!! So I was helping him finish plumb fuel lines the week before the pull and tighten up the odds and ends. He said since I helped him and came all the way from VA (it was my summer trip) I could have first ride. So we fired it up. Well, Ive driven tractors combines, pickups, all that good stuff before, but I was still a little nervous. So I went out to the road, pushed the clutch in and started to wind up the turbo and see what she did, got about to 3/4 throttle with this thing and I slowly let the clutch out. right when I could feel it start to grab the thing made the bigest, banging, grinding every kind of scary noise in the world. I was freaking out at this point thinking I just ruined a 50k tractor. Well, nick wasn't the happiest, so we rolled it back in, spent all night pulling the engine and opened up the clutch and one bolt had snapped and ripped apart the whole clutch, pressure plates, everything. It was a mess. So he called up john deere (who he contracts for fixing equipment) and told them what he needed it for and that is was about a $5k fix.

Well, when go into town and when we get there the guy asks if we brought the bolt. He had! So he looks at it. He said it looked like it was already pre stressed. So he writes up some paper work and not only GIVES us all replacement parts for free under warranty he even threw in an EXTRA clutch set. (those things don't last long when your pulling 12-15k pounds!!). This is all for a combine engine he is using for tractor pulling! (and it does make one hell of a hay wagon puller too :cheers: )

So to sum all this up :roll: John deere stands by its products. I have no problem buying their items. hell, I even have 2-3 dozen of there toy tractors that still look new from when I was a kid!!

Ben
 

Marlin523

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Don't know about the thermostats, but I think it's hard to beat the quality and reliability of a Lawn Boy lawnmower.
 

troj

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Don't know about the thermostats, but I think it's hard to beat the quality and reliability of a Lawn Boy lawnmower.
That's what my dad buys; he has owned two in...35 years? First one, the deck just flat out wore out and the height adjustment stops had become sloppy. That took about 20 years. Second one, he bought used (a couple years old) and it's still going.

One thing you have to decide on lawn mowers is if you want 2 cycle or 4 cycle. With a Lawn Boy, you will have to mix oil with your gas, something I prefer not to do.

-Kevin
 

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When it come to lawn mowers I general do fine with any brand as long as it has a Briggs and Stratton motor. I have had 2 Murray (generic brand sold at home depot) in the last 30 years and never had a problem with either one. Just plain wore them out.
 

1974_Trident

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I will start out addressing the thermostat question first.

Absolutely stick with Honeywell and as was already mentioned, go to a plumbing supply house which caters to the trade. There is no comparing the consumer oriented line of thermostats to those oriented for professional installation. There's really no need to hire somebody to install it for you, there's not much to it. One thing to keep in mind is whether you want a battery powered thermostat or a transformer powered unit.

About the lawn mowers; you did not specify what you actually use this mower for? How much grass do you really mow? The only difference would be the size mower you'd get. Since you mentioned Troy-Bilt I will assume you are replacing a ride-on mower. Regardless, if you are replacing lawn mowers frequently than you aren't buying enough mower for your lawn. The cheapest lawn mower is the one you only have to buy once. Again, stay away from anything consumer oriented. The John Deere tractors sold at Big Orange or Big Blue are not the same grade as the John Deere tractors used on a farm. In fact all "Ride-On lawn tractors" are consumer grade and best avoided. This was not the case decades ago when durability still meant something. I was in the lawn mowing business for 12 years (Started my own landscaping business when I was 12) and I personally would not buy any ride-on equipment for mowing my own lawn. If you must have a ride-on then stick with brands like Scagg (first choice) or Ex-Mark (second choice). The Husqvarna COMMERCIAL grade equipment is also a good second choice. I will advise you to stay away from anything with a Briggs and Stratton motor. It is not so much because B&S no longer makes them like they used to, Briggs has only ever made junk and in the past the American public just accepted it because Briggs motors say "Made in the USA" and there were few other choices which include Tecumseh. The exception is the all Cast-Iron Briggs and Stratton horizontal shaft motors which i haven't seen on anything but the old Locke reel mowers.
 

AKPilot

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Sorry, I shoud've mentioned . . . looking for push, power-assist. Normal lawn mowing on grass.
 

Handeman

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I just replaced a thermostat. The wife wanted one with a big digital readout. I got a Ritetemp brand, but I had to do a lot of reading when I picked it out because most of the Honeywell ones didn't work with heat pump systems, which is what we have. The Ritetemp had a 1-800 number for technical assistance which I called because the color of my wires didn't match what the instructions were saying. Great, quick service. The guy really knew what he was doing. Just the technical service was worth the price of the thermostat.

As for lawn mowers, I bought a mulching push mower 17 years ago. It was a MSD brand. The cheapest I could find. I've replace air filters and blades over the years, but that's been it. The tread is wore off the plastic tires, but they are still rolling along. It has a Briggs & Stratton 5 hp motor.

FWIW: It's probably changed by now, but back in the early '80s I worked for Ariens and they used Tecumseh engines on their snowblowers and lawn mowers. They offered the Briggs & Stratton for an extra cost. They charged extra because, not only were the B & S motors a little more expensive, they broke more often and had higher warranty rates.
 

1974_Trident

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So, If you are looking for the push/Power assist type I assume you mean in the neighborhood of 20-22 inches.

There are several national brands: Toro, Lawn Boy, Snapper and a few others which make really excellent commercial grade mowers in this size range. I have been using the Toro Commercial for 13 years now. I have an aluminum deck which I highly recommend unless your grass is always lush and moist in which case the deck will dissolve over time no matter how well you rinse after mowing. In fact I make this recommendation for all of the brands. You can't go wrong with the commercial Lawn Boy (the one with the big orange wheels and orange fuel tank). FYI all of the two cycle lawn boys from consumer grade to commercial grade have the same engine. The consumer grade engine has some silly plastic housing. The commercial grade mowers have much sturdier handles and decks no matter which brand you buy and will last more than three times as long. I like the Toro because I mulch my grass and the Toro deck is the best one for mulching. Snapper has the best bagging deck and the Lawn boy is ok for either bagging or mulching.

There are also numerous regional brands. Around here there is a brand based in Maine called Eastman. Their 21 inch mowers are designed for use on golf courses. My father bought an Eastman about seven or eight years ago and it is definitely the most durable mower I've seen. It does not have power assist and that is on purpose. I will never buy another self propelled 21 inch lawn mower because I can mow faster than the self propel thingy. As far as I am concerned the self propel is just something else to break.

You have to decide whether you want two stroke or four stroke. The only difference is whether you mix the oil into the gas or change the crankcase oil annually. I have used both and I am indifferent to one or the other.

Just remember; whatever you buy, the first thing you have to do when you get home is remove all of the CPSC safety guards which are only effective at getting in the way of mowing the lawn. Also, make a latch of some sort to force the blade safety brake otherwise you have to restart the mower every time you need to move a toy or twig.
 

billspad

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The Honeywell T87 round thermostat was absolutely the best for about 50 years. It's the one with the mercury switch inside. It's no longer made and was replaced by one that looks the same but is electronic. When they first came out about half the ones I put in failed. They appear to be better now. I don't know why it's so difficult to make a good electronic thermostat but I haven't seen one I like yet.
 

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For our lawnmowers, both died shortly after the warranties gave out. Go figure. One was a Craftsman the other a Troy-Built. Fixing wasn't cost effective on either. So what brand of lawnmower would you personally recommend? Maybe we just got lemons?

Same for home thermostats as well.

Thanks
Kind of surprised you had problems with your Craftsman. I had one for 12 years, great mower, it died possibly due to stupid maintenance by me. I was unemployed when it died so I replaced it with the cheapest thing I could find, a Bolens. not nearly as nice a mower, I want this one to die so I can justify a new Sears mower, but it is going strong after 6 seasons.
 

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find an old snapper ,, they are notoriusly reliable
 

Boosterdude

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If you want the best push lawn mower the decision is easy. Purchase a Honda, they make the best mowers by far! The most recent Popular Mechanics rates the Honda the best again.
 

AKPilot

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Yes, someone I know has mentioned a Honda lawn mower. Said to be expensive but you'll never need another. With the humidity here, the composite deck and lifetime warranty it wouldn't be a bad idea either. Anyone else?

As far as thermostats thanks for the recommendations on gong to see an HVAC place. I'll definitely do that.
 

Peartree

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Any thermostat made by Honeywell or Johnson Controls should be pretty solid. I too favor the older mercury switches but most have been replaced with the newer bimetal (read cheap) switches that arc and weld themselves together.

Mowers depends a lot on how much lawn you are mowing. A small city lot doesn't demand a lot of a mower. The more you mow, the longer it runs, the more it wears, the better machine you need. I've had good luck with Toro mowers but haven't bought one for years. Briggs and Stratton motors use to be good but I've heard mixed reviews about their quality of late. Tecumseh motors are good but I don't know if they make them small enough for push mowers. I can't speak to Honda at all but while I haven't owned a John Deere, what I can tell you is that you can always buy parts and their products are always supported. You will find that with many brands sold through the big box stores, this is not the case.
 

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The Honda isn't cheap, but if you buy the model with the composite deck it's one and done. All other mowers fight for a distant second.
 

WAC_Hal

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My dad had a lawn mower repair shop and I had worked with him for a number of years. We carried Lawn-Boy and Toro. This was located in central Florida were the mowing season is about nine months out of the year.

As far as lawn mowers I would recommend a Lawn-Boy with the 2-cycle motor. They will outlast just about anything on the market. And when you do need to make repairs parts are cheaper than a Honda. I currently have one that is going on 26 years old.

Two-cycles usually last longer than four cycles in lawn mower applications due to the fresh oil going thru the engine as it is running. Most consumers that I have encountered are not very good at changing their oil on a regular basis. It's much easier to mix the oil and gas. Plus LB has the oil pre-measured in cans. Just put a can in with two gallons of gas and away you go.

I would recommend a Briggs & Stratton over a Tecumseh any day. The only thing we liked about a Tecumseh was it was prone to burning the exhaust valve on an annual basis, which meant we knew we were going to see that mower almost every spring to have a valve job and tune-up. When Tecumseh designed their engine they lacked sufficient cooling area around the exhaust valve. This would cause the block in that area to warp slightly, causing outside air to leak around the head gasket. This stream of air would act just like a cutting torch on the red hot exhaust valve, burning it. This in turn would make the engine hard to start due to loss of compression.

I believe that Toro bought out or merged with Lawn-Boy a number of years ago. From my experience, both make a quality product.

Another recommendation: Buy from a dealer rather than a big box or discount store. The models that the dealers get are of higher quality. The discount models are of not the same quality. Check the model numbers, you'll see that the discount stores are different from the dealers. Plus you'll get better product support from a dealer.
 
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mach7

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The Honda isn't cheap, but if you buy the model with the composite deck it's one and done. All other mowers fight for a distant second.
Well, not quite.

I have a honda mower, had it for years. The one thing with a honda is the maintenance. They run great, but they do cost more money for service. It seems every 4 years or so it costs me $300.

Same with my honda snowblower.
 

Bazookadale

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Well, not quite.

I have a honda mower, had it for years. The one thing with a honda is the maintenance. They run great, but they do cost more money for service. It seems every 4 years or so it costs me $300.

Same with my honda snowblower.
you've got to be kidding - I'd put $300 toward a new machine before I'd spend that for maintenance
 

troj

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you've got to be kidding - I'd put $300 toward a new machine before I'd spend that for maintenance
No doubt! $300 every 4 years is just insane.

-Kevin
 

o1d_dude

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I'm not sure if they're even available any more but I had excellent luck with a Snapper. A lot of the local landscaping firms buy Snapper decks and put Honda motors on them. The resulting "Honda-Snapper" is said to be excellent. Snapper has a lock on the convenient bagging. Eventually I ended up giving the Snapper away because I wanted to up grade from a simple push mower to the motor drive version.

That being said my new Toro is pretty satisfactory as well and starts consistently. The bagging could be better tho.
 

Boosterdude

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Well, not quite.

I have a honda mower, had it for years. The one thing with a honda is the maintenance. They run great, but they do cost more money for service. It seems every 4 years or so it costs me $300.

Same with my honda snowblower.
So you pay $300 to have the oil changed, new spark plug, and a new air filter? That's all they need for maintenance.

Wow, you're getting taken my friend.
 

mach7

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So you pay $300 to have the oil changed, new spark plug, and a new air filter? That's all they need for maintenance.

Wow, you're getting taken my friend.
Nope.

Ignition module, twice. Carb rebuild 3 times. Pull start. Cables cables cables.

Then add in the oil changes, plugs, air filter etc and it adds up.

And before you guys start, I use good gas, stabilize it when it's not in use, check/change the oil regularly.

The mower is 20+ years old and generally runs nice, but they do need to be maintained.

My old MTD (that was 15 years old when I gave it away) ran forever with NO maintenance except for oil changes.
 

troj

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Ignition module, twice. Carb rebuild 3 times. Pull start. Cables cables cables.

Then add in the oil changes, plugs, air filter etc and it adds up.

And before you guys start, I use good gas, stabilize it when it's not in use, check/change the oil regularly.

The mower is 20+ years old and generally runs nice, but they do need to be maintained.
Wow. There's maintenance and then there are repairs. Yours sound more like repairs.

At $300 every 4 years, over 20 years, you've put another $1500 into the mower. Compared to the $150 I put into a Toro in over 10, I'll take the Toro, especially considering that the Toro cost a lot less than the Honda.

-Kevin
 

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find an old snapper ,, they are notoriusly reliable
I have an old Snapper riding mower and I love it. I bought it for $250 when it was already about 20 years old. I've had it for six years and it runs like a champ. I have had to do some minor maintenance (I replaced the main drive belt and the rubber drive wheel on the transmission). Parts were easy to find and the thing is a dream to work on - just close the vent on the gas tank and stand it up on end.

I also have a Snapper walk-behind that I bought brand-new. It has been a good mower but not as bulletproof as the old one...
 

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Troy I used to work with a guy whose dad ran a Honda repair / sell shop in St Charles. I'll see if I can find the info on the shop for you. I never did business like him but if his dad works like he did should be pretty good people to deal with if they are still open.
 

bobkrech

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Well, not quite.

I have a Honda mower, had it for years. The one thing with a Honda is the maintenance. They run great, but they do cost more money for service. It seems every 4 years or so it costs me $300.

Same with my Honda snowblower.
There's two schools of thought on snow blower and lawn mower maintenance.

My father-in-law paid $900 for a Toro snow blower about a decade ago, and every year he had it picked up, serviced and dropped off at this house and kept it in a nice dry garden shed. He spent $300 a year for servicing and every year at some point in the snow season it wouldn't start...

I buy a new 22" MTD lawn mower every 5 years or so. Last one cost $209. It stays outside all year long, gets covered with snow, and runs for about 5 years and then it won't start or something breaks. My maintenance is to clean the air filter occasionally, and the spark plug if it won't start on the first pull or two. If it still refuses to start in the Spring, I put it out on the curb with a free lawn mower sign, and drive down to Home Depot or Lowes and buy another one. By the time I get home, the old lawn mower is gone, and I have a brand new lawn mower that good for another 5 years. Average annual "maintenance" cost ~$42...

Bob
 

mach7

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Yup Bob,

Thats the way to do it.

I inherited the Honda's about 10 years ago. I'm about to go with your method.

The only problem is the snowblower, They tend to run a few $$$.
 

Peartree

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Yup Bob,

Thats the way to do it.

I inherited the Honda's about 10 years ago. I'm about to go with your method.

The only problem is the snowblower, They tend to run a few $$$.
Lately, the only snowblower I've thought about buying would be an accessory to a reasonably large lawn tractor.
 
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