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Use outdoor equipment efficiently
There are things to consider when using your barbeque, lawn equipment, pond and fountain pumps and power tools including: correct installation and location, power management, cleaning, care and maintenance and operation.
- Ensure your outdoor equipment runs well and lasts longer
- Save money and energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Operate and maintain your outdoor equipment correctly and safely
At a glance
- Savings 2
- Ease 3
- Impact 2
Minimise the environmental impact from maintaining your yard by following these tips:
- Clean garden tools after use and service them as recommended by the manufacturer. Keep a cloth and oil handy for wiping blades and to lubricate moving parts.
- For push mowers, it's a good idea to cut your grass regularly as this requires less effort and produces a better result.
- Collect grass clippings, leaves and other garden debris to make compost. Compost keeps more moisture and nutrients in your soil.
- If you need to use a blower to collect debris, vacuum rather than blow (if your model has this option). This makes it easier to use for mulch or compost and stops you blowing leaves into neighbours' yards and minimises dust.
- Reduce the need to mow by creating an energy and water smart garden. Minimising paved and lawn areas reduces the amount of energy and water needed to maintain your garden.
- Stay safe and read the instructions before using all gardening equipment. Consider your neighbours and any noise restrictions when using loud garden equipment.
By maintaining and operating your tools efficiently, they will last longer, be safer to use and reduce the need for repairs. Well maintained garden tools will reduce the chance of spreading disease among plants.
- After use, some tools need a wipe down and a drop of oil. Blow out any debris that lodged in moving parts. Check power cords and have them professionally replaced if faulty.
- Switch equipment off at the wall when charged, only charge as needed.
- Use the correct tools for the job to ensure a better result and less wear and tear.
- Consider non-powered tools for jobs like lawn edging and hedge trimming. For small jobs they are the quiet and pollution-free option.
- Protect your tools from the weather by putting them away after use.
- Maintain manual tools. Remove rust with a metal brush and a rag soaked in rust remover such as methylated spirits. Wipe clean and oil thoroughly. Use a sharpening stone regularly to keep blades sharp.
- Look after wooden handles and parts so they don't split. Oil wooden handles with linseed oil and mineral turpentine. Sand down any rough edges to remove splinters.
Using your BBQ efficiently will help save energy and reduce the amount of pollution created by cooking. Keeping it well maintained helps ensure reliability.
- Locate your BBQ safely away from overhanging branches. Store or cover to ensure it's protected from the weather.
- The first time you use your BBQ, clean the plate with hot soapy water, dry thoroughly, coat with oil and turn on for at least 20 minutes. This seasons the plate and helps to protect it from rust. After use, scrape BBQ clean and leave a fine coat of oil. Season the plate again to protect the cooking surface.
- Grilling with the hood down is more energy efficient and ensures the heat is distributed evenly throughout the grill.
- Cook meat and vegies at the correct temperature and the right amount of time to retain juices and flavour, this also reduces energy use. Warm or reheat desserts or other baked goods on the BBQ rack after the power is turned to make use of residual heat.
- Maintain your BBQ so it works efficiently and lasts longer by keeping the hotplate clean, making any repairs, following maintenance instructions and checking gas bottle connections.
- Ensure LPG gas cylinders are re-used (or recycled) when empty by refilling your bottle at your local camping or hardware store, or participating in recycling schemes.
- If using charcoal to power your BBQ, look for charcoal made from certified sustainably-harvested wood or briquettes that doesn't have added chemicals to aid ignition. The chemicals found in some briquettes can be toxic and affect the taste of food.
- To further reduce pollution from charcoal grills, avoid lighter fluid that contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—this includes self-lighting charcoal. Using a charcoal chimney, electric charcoal starter, or a natural combustion product is better for the environment and your health. These can also reduce the potential for fire-related injuries.
- If using a wood-fired oven, be sure to source wood from firewood producers who have signed up to the voluntary code of practice for firewood merchants such as the members of the Australian Firewood Association. Avoid collecting it yourself as dead trees and fallen branches provide important nutrients and habitat to a range of native animals.
- Follow good burning practices. This helps to avoid smoke and air pollution caused by not burning the fire hot enough or using wood that contains too much moisture.
- Choice has useful information about maintaining and using your BBQ safely.
When managed efficiently ponds and fountains can make a beautiful low-impact feature in your garden.
Use a timer to manage your pump's run-time and reduce the pumping time to the minimum needed to keep the water clean. Check the manufacturer's instructions to ensure optimum performance.
- Run your pump during an off-peak tariff period when electricity is cheaper. Contact your electricity retailer to see if this option is available.
- If using a solar pump, ensure that it's north-facing to maximise sunlight collection. Check the connection between the pump and panel is watertight and secure. Clean the panel regularly and tilt so moisture runs off.
- Manage the amount of pumping and maintenance by keeping your pond clean. Remove leaves, limit the number of fish and use aquatic plants to help prevent algae growth.
- Check the pump regularly and follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions.
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