How to Easily Connect Copper Pipe Without Soldering

Soldering copper pipe together can be frustrating for some people. The process can be very difficult especially in tight places where the pipe is close to walls or other areas that are difficult to work in.

If you are one of the solder challenged and ever wondered if there was a way to connect copper pipe together without solder, then you need to look at a new type of plumbing devices that actually do the job efficiently and without the hassles of solder connections.

If you have a need for redoing an area and have procrastinated because of the cost of getting a plumber, then the snap fitting system is what you have been searching for.

These little gems come in different configurations such as unions, tees and ball valves and other configurations that provide easy leak free connections. With a cut, snap and click, you will be able to quickly connect copper to copper or transition to CPVC piping without much effort.

If you ever need to reconfigure a previous connection, a little tool can be used to disassemble the connections and allow you to easily retool the area without much effort.

In summary, if you are a do it your selfer who cringes at plumbing work, because of the potential soldering that the job needs, then you must look into these snap together fittings that take the entire soldering process out of the equation. Plumbing connections without sold can be a dream come true to many who think they need a high cost plumber to complete their small bathroom or kitchen job.

The Stirling Engine

A ‘Stirling Engine’ is in the family of heat engines. It is a closed cycle regenerative hot air (or other permanent gas) engine.. Closed cycle means that there is a fixed volume of the ‘working fluid’ in the system. There is no intake, there is no exhaust.

The Stirling engine was first patented in 1816 by Dr. Robert Stirling. The original patent focused more on ‘The Economizer’ which was a heat exchange unit that saw primary interest for use as the first incarnation of the solar water heater.

Originally the Stirling engine was developed by Robert Stirling and his brother James. It resulted in many patents and the first Sterling in commercial use was used to pump water in a quarry in 1818. After more development many patents for various improvements, including pressurization, which directly affected the amount of work or force the engine could produce, came about in 1845. By this time, the power output of this engine had been brought up to the level that it could drive all the machinery at a Dundee iron foundry.

The engine was promoted as being very fuel conserving and was pushed to be a safer alternative to steam engines of the time that had many deadly incidents involve exploding boilers. However because of the heat required and the level of exchange required, coupled with the materials of the day, the Stirling engine could never really give the steam engine serious competition, and by the late 1930’s the Stirling was all but forgotten in mainstream science and industry and only represented in odd toys and small ventilation fans.

Around this time, Philips, the large electrical and electronic manufacturer was seeing to expand its market for radio sets into areas where a power source or supply of batteries was considered unstable. Philips further developed the Stirling engine through World War II and really only achieved commercial success with the ‘reversed Stirling engine’ cryocooler. However Philips did take out quite a few patents and gain a large amount of information about the Stirling engine.

Since the Stirling engine is a closed cycle, it contains a fixed mass of gas called the “working fluid”, most commonly air, hydrogen or helium. In normal operation, the engine is sealed and no gas enters or leaves the engine. No valves are required, unlike other types of piston engines. The Stirling engine, like most heat-engines, cycles through four main processes: cooling, compression, heating and expansion. This is accomplished by moving the gas back and forth between hot and cold heat exchangers. The hot heat exchanger is in thermal contact with an external heat source, e.g. a fuel burner, and the cold heat exchanger being in thermal contact with an external heat sink, e.g. air fins. A change in gas temperature will cause a corresponding change in gas pressure, while the motion of the piston causes the gas to be alternately expanded and compressed.

The gas follows the behavior described by the gas laws which describe how a gas’s pressure, temperature and volume are related. When the gas is heated, because it is in a sealed chamber, the pressure rises and this then acts on the power piston to produce a power stroke. When the gas is cooled the pressure drops and this means that less work needs to be done by the piston to compress the gas on the return stroke, thus yielding a net power output.

When one side of the piston is open to the atmosphere, the operation is slightly different. As the sealed volume of working gas comes in contact with the hot side, it expands, doing work on both the piston and on the atmosphere. When the working gas contacts the cold side, the atmosphere does work on the gas and “compresses” it. Atmospheric pressure, which is greater than the cooled working gas, pushes on the piston.

To summarize, the Stirling engine uses the temperature difference between its hot end and cold end to establish a cycle of a fixed mass of gas expanding and contracting within the engine, thus converting thermal energy into mechanical power. The greater the temperature difference between the hot and cold sources, the greater the potential Carnot cycle efficiency.

Pros and Cons of Stirling Engines

Pros

  • They can run directly on any available heat source, not just one produced by combustion, so they can be employed to run on heat from solar, geothermal, biological, nuclear sources or waste heat from any industrial process.

  • A continuous combustion process can be used to supply heat, so most types of emissions can be greatly reduced.

  • Most types of Stirling engines have the bearing and seals on the cool side of the engine; consequently, they require less lubricant and last significantly longer between overhauls than other reciprocating engine types.

  • The engine mechanisms are in some ways simpler than other types of reciprocating engine types, i.e. no valves are needed, and the fuel burner system can be relatively simple.

  • A Stirling engine uses a single-phase working fluid which maintains an internal pressure close to the design pressure, and thus for a properly designed system the risk of explosion is relatively low. In comparison, a steam engine uses a two-phase gas/liquid working fluid, so a faulty relief valve can cause an over-pressure condition and a potentially dangerous explosion.

  • In some cases, low operating pressure allows the use of lightweight cylinders.

  • They can be built to run very quietly and without an air supply, for air-independent propulsion use in submarines or in space.

  • They start easily (albeit slowly, after a warm-up period) and run more efficiently in cold weather, in contrast to the internal combustion which starts quickly in warm weather, but not in cold weather.

  • A Stirling engine used for pumping water can be configured so that the pumped water cools the compression space. This is, of course, most effective when pumping cold water.

  • They are extremely flexible. They can be used as CHP (Combined Heat and Power) in the winter and as coolers in summers.

  • Waste heat is relatively easily harvested (compared to waste heat from an internal combustion engine) making Stirling engines useful for dual-output heat and power systems

Cons

Power and torque issues

  • Stirling engines, especially those that run on small temperature differentials, are quite large for the amount of power that they produce (i.e. they have low specific power). This is primarily due to the low heat transfer coefficient of gaseous convection which limits the heat flux that can be attained in an internal heat exchanger to about 4 – 20 W/(m*K). This makes it very challenging for the engine designer to transfer heat into and out of the working gas. Increasing the temperature differential and/or pressure allows Stirling engines to produce more power, assuming the heat exchangers are designed for the increased heat load, and can deliver the convected heat flux necessary.

  • A Stirling engine cannot start instantly; it literally needs to “warm up”. This is true of all external combustion engines, but the warm up time may be shorter for Stirlings than for others of this type such as steam engines. Stirling engines are best used as constant speed engines.

  • Power output of a Stirling tends to be constant and to adjust it can sometimes require careful design and additional mechanisms. Typically, changes in output are achieved by varying the displacement of the engine (often through use of a swashplate crankshaft arrangement), or by changing the quantity of working fluid, or by altering the piston/displacer phase angle, or in some cases simply by altering the engine load. This property is less of a drawback in hybrid electric propulsion or “base load” utility generation where constant power output is actually desirable.

Gas Choice Issues

  • Hydrogen’s low viscosity, high thermal conductivity and specific heat make it the most efficient working gas, in terms of thermodynamics and fluid dynamics, to use in a Stirling engine. However, given the high diffusion rate associated with this low molecular weight gas, hydrogen will leak through solid metal, thus it is very difficult to maintain pressure inside the engine for any length of time without replacement of the gas. Typically, auxiliary systems need to be added to maintain the proper quantity of working fluid. These systems can be a gas storage bottle or a gas generator. Hydrogen can be generated either by electrolysis of water, or by the reaction of acid on metal. Hydrogen can also cause the embrittlement of metals. Hydrogen is also a very flammable gas, while helium is inert.

  • Most technically advanced Stirling engines, like those developed for United States government labs, use helium as the working gas, because it functions close to the efficiency and power density of hydrogen with fewer of the material containment issues. Helium is relatively expensive, and must be supplied by bottled gas. One test showed hydrogen to be 5% absolutely (24% relatively) more efficient than helium in the GPU-3 Stirling engine.[14]

  • Some engines use air or nitrogen as the working fluid. These gases are less thermodynamically efficient but they minimize the problems of gas containment and supply. The use of Compressed air in contact with flammable materials or substances such as lubricating oil, introduces an explosion hazard, because compressed air contains a high partial pressure of oxygen. However, oxygen can be removed from air through an oxidation reaction, or bottled nitrogen can be used.

Size and Cost Issues

  • Stirling engine designs require heat exchangers for heat input and for heat output, and these must contain the pressure of the working fluid, where the pressure is proportional to the engine power output. In addition, the expansion-side heat exchanger is often at very high temperature, so the materials must resist the corrosive effects of the heat source, and have low creep (deformation). Typically these material requirements substantially increase the cost of the engine. The materials and assembly costs for a high temperature heat exchanger typically accounts for 40% of the total engine cost. (Hargraves)

  • All thermodynamic cycles require large temperature differentials for efficient operation; however, in an external combustion engine, the heater temperature always equals or exceeds the expansion temperature. This means that the metallurgical requirements for the heater material are very demanding. This is similar to a Gas turbine, but is in contrast to a Otto engine or Diesel engine, where the expansion temperature can far exceed the metallurgical limit of the engine materials, because the input heat-source is not conducted through the engine; so the engine materials operate closer to the average temperature of the working gas.

  • Dissipation of waste heat is especially complicated because the coolant temperature is kept as low as possible to maximize thermal efficiency. This increases the size of the radiators, which can make packaging difficult. Along with materials cost, this has been one of the factors limiting the adoption of Stirling engines as automotive prime movers. However, for other applications high power density is not required, such as Ship propulsion, and stationary microgeneration systems using combined heat and power (CHP).[13]

    There are many possible uses for the Stirling design. More research and devolopment will help move the technology along.

How to Replace Spark Plugs and Spark Plug Wires

An engine requires three things to run: fuel, spark, and compression. If any one of these components is missing from the magical formula, the engine will not run. However, if one of these three critical components is not performing up to par, the engine will run inefficiently and burn more gasoline than is necessary. But why do we change spark plugs and wires? They wear over time like many components on the vehicle. Voltage in the thousands flows through the spark plug so wearing down the electrode. Additionally, the plugs is subjected to high temperature and pressure, causing it to wear over time. The plugs and plug wires are two things that can be changed easily and will give your motor the kick it used to have.

To replace the plugs and wires, follow the steps below below. Some vehicles do not have wires, but rather, a coil on plug (COP) system. In this case, all that is replaced are the plugs.

  1. Remove any engine covers obstructioning access to the spark plugs and wires.
  2. Remove one wire at a time so as to not mix the wires. Removing the wires may prove difficult but despair not. There is a special tool that can be purchased from auto supply stores specifically for removing spark plug wires. Forty-five degree needle nose pliers can also be implemented to remove the wires. Simply hold on to the wire with the needle nose pliers and pry up against the valve cover. This will easily remove the wire.
  3. Next, take out the spark plug wire and set it off to the side.
  4. Now it's time to replace the spark plug. If you do not have a spark plug socket, purchase one. Your vehicle will either use a 5/8 "or 13/16" socket; it's a wise investment to have both.
  5. Attach your spark plug socket to a long extension and 3/8 "ratchet. Place the socket over the spark plug and begin loosing the spark plug in a counter-clockwise direction.
  6. We can now put in the new spark plugs. But before we do so we need to ensure that our new ones are gapped correctly. Most plugs made today are "pre-gapped", meaning that we do not have to make any adjustments to them. Ask the person at the auto-parts store what the correct gap is and purchase a "gapper" that will allow you to check the gap and make any adjustments.
  7. Place the gapper in the gap and see what it reads. This will typically be .038 to .044 ". If the gap is too small, place the gapper in the gap and enlarge it.
  8. Now install the new spark plugs by attaching a 5/8 "or 13/16" socket to your extension and ratchet. Do not use the socket this time because it will stick to the SP. Tighten the spark plugs in a clockwise direction. Be careful not to over tighten, as the cylinder head is made of aluminum and can be stripped if too much force is applied to it.
  9. The SP wire can now be re-attached to the spark plug.
  10. If you have the coil on plug system mentioned earlier, there are typically two 10mm bolts holding the coil onto the spark plug. Removing these bolts and the coil will give you access to the plugs.
  11. Re-install any plastic covering that was removed.

Job completed. Your engine should run smoother and more efficiently.

Is Your Phone Sales Opening Cliched?

Have you taken the time to think about your telephone presentations slowly?

Year by year, as people continue to communicate by text on the smartphones, it becomes more challenging to communicate by phone. Challenging but not impossible. Taking the time to tweak our presentations keeps us on our toes and continuously helps us to become more successful selling on the phone.

Possibly the hardest thing to do these days is reach a decision maker by phone. People do not listen to voice mails, do not pick up if they do not know your numbers and generally make a snap decision wherever they want to speak with you.

What happens when you do reach them, though? Are you making the most of your opportunity? Have you created an opening that makes people want to listen to you and become active participants in the conversation? All too often when I look at prepared scripts, I notice sentences that might look well in a direct mail piece but will either get you shot down quickly or simply will not engage your prospect customer.

Here's two clichéd examples: openings that tout money savings or a saving of time and effort. It may very well be the case, but everyone says their product either:

  1. Saves you money
  2. Saves you time
  3. Makes your efforts more efficient thereby also giving you savings from 1 and 2 as well.

Seriously, everyone says it. But because everyone does it, there's a major downside. Doing this actually makes it easier for a decision maker to tune you out – because you're not different from anyone else who calls – and they'll try to get off the phone as quickly as possible. Not what you are looking for, I'll bet.

Let's think about a better way, even a simpler way.

Why not just introduce yourself and your company name, make a quick one sentence statement about what your product is, and then ask some questions. Use a combination of open and closed ended questions.Take this opportunity to learn more about your potential customers. This makes it easier to learn more in order to tailor the rest of your presentation to your decision maker's needs.

In fact, one of the things you might find is that this decision maker is not a potential customer. Is not better to find that out up front? Is not it better to learn who you should be talking to or know that currently your products / services are not a good match for a particular organization?

Sit down and review your opening. Make it natural sounding. Avoid tired and hackneyed phrases. Take the time, instead, to become genuinely interested in your prospect. You'll be far happier with the results.

How to Fix Split Or Cracked Boards in Your Floor

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you will want to fix split or cracked boards in your floor with your own hands. As with any fixture, you should first know what tools you need. Here they are: electric drill, annular ring nails with a length that allows you to countersink them through the floorboard and almost through the sub-floor, a combination pilot bits, claw hammer, nail set, wood putty, finish that matches the floor.

You need the combination bit, or screw pilot, for making pilot holes and countersinking the fasteners. Pilot holes are excavated in floors with an electric drill before driving in screws or nails, so that the flooring is not chewed up when hammering or screwing screws. If you do not have much exercise with this device, clamp a piece of wood to a work table and practice on it.

The first step is to make pilot holes at an angle along the crack on both its sides. Then you can drive in the annular rings nails which you will countersink using the nail set. For 3/4 "floor and sub-floor, use 2" nails. The pilot bit shank should be a little shorter than the depth that the nail will be driven at. You should know that as a general rule the fastener must be larger than the pilot hole. In this way it will grab the wood surrounding the pilot hole, so it will fit tightly. When choosing the fastener, compare it to the gouges an electric device such as this can make. If the fastener fits a certain gauge, the correct hole for your drill bit is the next size smaller one.

After the nails are in, put on your snug-fitting rubber gloves and fill the nail holes and the crack with wood putty or wood filler. You can also use latex gloves. Then let the putty dry. For a good color match you can apply a color stick shellac or putty stick or finish. After it is dry you can wax or oil depending on the needs.

Exterior Lighting Illuminating Open Extension of House

For home decorating ideas, always consider exterior lighting. Never forget that the outdoor is still a part of your home. In fact it is an open extension of the interior portion of your house. An outdoor light creates a warm welcome for you and your guests with elegance and style. Homes certainly are of different structures and architectural designs, and choosing outdoor lighting fixtures must be carefully chosen.

The application of exterior lighting on your outdoor offers additional accent on your efforts that you have pored on your landscape and garden. Exteriors are the very first spots that meet the eyes of guests and these are plus factors to your environment. Lighting accents enhance the beauty of your surroundings particularly at nighttime.

Colors of lights curb appeal and help provide safety for your family during evening activities. They create extra ambiance and a warm feeling of being welcomed. It is there before to develop the exteriors of your homes to their fullest potential with the use of the appropriate exterior lighting. You can make use of lights with dimmers for ambient drama but make sure these are not too dim to cause your guests or household members to stumble.

There are several styles and designs of exterior lighting which can be applied to your outdoor. A wall lantern at the front door along with some hanging or ceiling-mounted fixtures can provide a well-lighted space that offer security and safety for the household members as well as a gesture of welcome for your friends and guests. All these fixtures coordinate perfectly with your architectural design whatever your style is.

It is comforting when you enter a place that is well-lighted. You feel safe moving around with the presence of luminaries that provides illumination on the pathways or garden area at nightfall. Accent lightings help create a lovely spot at the outdoor where you can spend some time especially on summer nights. You can always beautify your outdoor at some strategic spots installing some beautiful designs of exterior lighting.

Cree and Edison Chips, the Driving Force Behind Chinese LED Lights

Those who have already spent some time with checking LED lights at LEDcentre.uk.com definitely came across the brand names Cree and Taiwan Edison. These two companies are not only market leaders of quality lights but are also major suppliers of driving chips for other manufacturers all over the world.

It is important to understand the difference between Edison light bulbs, which are manufactured and branded by Edison; other brand LED light bulbs containing LEDs originally manufactured by Edison; and light bulbs which contain LEDs manufactured elsewhere but contain Edison chip drivers. Whoever wants to produce exclusive quality lights will use their LEDs. These originally packed LEDs have high bright purity, and lose less of their brightness over their long lifespan. However, obviously this quality is so expensive at the moment that the majority of people find it hard to pay for a single light bulb.

High quality LED products have two major factors: one is the substitutes used for producing the diodes, the other one is the driving chip. Originally Cree or Edison LEDs are very expensive at the moment, so solutions with reasonable prices never actually contain such LEDs. They can, however, contain Cree or Edison driving chips, which are the most significant factors in producing quality LED lights.

Cree Inc. is unduly the best quality manufacturer on the market of LED chips. The quality of Cree chips is so exclusively high, that even competitor companies use them to add value to their own products. Such is the case with Taiwan Edison, which uses Cree chips to drive its highest quality LEDs. Even though the quality provided by Cree chips is hard to achieve, Edison produces high quality chips itself for those wishing to spend less on LED bulbs. Edison, which is OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for Philips and Osram as well, managed to produce reliably high quality driving chips at a much lower price than Cree. Even though the lifespan of these LED lights are not as high as the LEDs' driven by Cree chips, the quality of the light emitted is very good, and their lifespan reaches at least 30 000 hours. Edison chips guarantee a more stable circuit design, which means better current regulation and less heat emitted by the driver. Less heat always assures a longer lifespan for the LEDs, as well as less color shift over their lifespan.

Producing cheaper LED lights is a constant aim of researchers in the field. At the moment the cheapest LED solutions offered by Chinese manufacturers can vary in quality, but Cree and Edison chips are both guarantees for high quality and long lifespan.

Concrete and Jersey Barrier

Precast jersey barriers have universal usage; they are ideal for securing vacant properties or buildings, and prove to be a very efficient deterrent to unwelcome visitors. As more and more industrial units and factories are becoming empty, owners want peace of mind knowing that their buildings are not going to be vandalized and damaged. Concrete barriers or jersey barriers make for ideal perimeter security walling and can be placed neatly next to each other – creating an affective barrier to vehicles.

When trying to secure an empty site there are a number of steps that should be taken. The first and most important step is to do a full survey of the perimeter; identifying all weak points. Once this process has been undertaken capable steps can be taken to ensure that the perimeter can not be breached. As well as concrete barriers, there are a number of alternative methods that can be used. Simply digging a ditch to ensure vehicles can not enter, can often be an extremely effective solution.

Entrances and exits are an obvious weak point. This is where a concrete barrier or jersey barrier can be very effective. Placing a concrete barrier in the way of anyone trying to gain access will generally be enough to stop them entering, particularly given that the jersey barrier will weigh in excess of 2 tonne. If cost is an issue, then firms will often hire the carriers to you, meaning costs can be kept down.

It's always worth remembering that it is much better to deal with the potential problem now, rather than waiting for the site to be broken into. The costs of clearing someone off the land will generally be significantly higher than securing it properly in the first place.

What Is Fireproofing?

In this day and age there is a lot of talk about fireproofing. However, how many people actually know what fireproofing is, or how it is done? First of all, you have to understand that fireproofing is very needed today. Fireproofing something means that you are taking passive fire protection measures to protect a building in case of a fire. Most of the time, fireproofing is done by making certain materials and or structures resistant to fire. Usually this is done by adding certain materials to things that are fire resistant already. The better materials you use, the better fire resistance rating you are going to get. However, it is important to keep in mind the fact that, just because something is fireproofed, that does not mean that it will be absolutely unaffected by fire. Nothing can ever be absolutely immune to fires, but fireproofing them does not give you a better chance of having your things protected in case of a fire.

There are many places where you can see fireproofing hard at work. Some places included steel structures to help them stay below 540 degrees. You can also see it used with electrical circuits to keep them below 140 degrees. This helps them stay operational all the time. Other places you may run into fireproofing would be things like pipe bridges at a chemical plant or in the concrete lining of a traffic tunnel. Keeping these things fireproofed is very important for every day living. If you think of the millions of people that use a bridge or a steel building every year, then you will see why fireproofing these things is a must.

There are a few inorganic methods that people use to help fireproof things. A lot of these are designed as a spray that is used to coat things that need to be fireproofed. When you spray on these materials it usually covers the surface kind of like a plaster. There are three very famous fireproofing plasters that are out there. The first one is known as Gypsum plaster. The other two are cementitious plasters and of course, fibrous plasters. Depending on what you are trying to fireproof, will determine the type of plaster that is best suited for you. Once again, just because it is covered in this special type of plaster does not mean that it is going to be completely safe from fires.

Although a lot of people do not think about buildings being fireproofed, they are. A lot of new apartment buildings are being made with fire walls to help protect the people that are living there. This way, if someone living next door to you has a fire, the fire will be stopped by the fire wall. Of course, it is never a sure thing. It is very possible for a fire to come through a fire wall; so this is not something that you can rely on. If your apartment ever catches on fire, you need to get out right away (even if you have fire walls). If the fire walls work, then your stuff will be protected, but if it does not work, then you do not want to go down in flames like the rest of your things.

Disney Princess Wallpaper

There are a wonderful selection of character products for children that incorporated leisure and useful household products. They include interesting items such as dvds, videos, games, toys, bedding, clothes, stationery and of course, Disney Princess Wallpaper.

Disney Princess wallpaper comes in a variety of colors such as pink, lilac, yellow, blue and various patterns with all of the popular characters featured on them. There seems to be an even greater range of wallpaper borders which are very useful for decorating and brightening a little girl's bedroom wall. They come in different thickness and quality and the prices depend on the type of product you require.

Every little girl likes to dream of being a princess. Therefore, even accommodating her walls with something as basic as wallpaper and border can help create the illusion of a Disney Princess environment. There are some inspirational products available to accomplish the right character theme for your little girl's bedroom such as bedding and other accessories, including various curtains, rugs, cushions, lamps and posters.

Wallpapers andorders have a range of designs on them. Some of them feature individual princesses on them such as Cinderella, Snow White and Belle, while others have pictures of all of the princess characters on them.

Whatever type of product you are seeking, it is always a very good idea to do some appropriate research online and in offline stores to get information about the type of items available, including their prices and quality so that you get the opportunity to choose the right type of Disney Princess Wallpaper to suit your child's requirements.

A Wall Safe Should Be Theft Proof and Fireproof

Providing security in your home is very important. A wall safe is one of those things that can help you keep all your important documents and cash very safe. When you are shopping for one you need to first know a few things about them. Know the differences in the material that they made from and learn which brands have the best reputations.

If you know anything about safes you'll know that there are some that can be tampered with to get open and some that will not protect your valuables from aa fire. When you get a safe box and install it into your wall it should offer full protection. If there is any doubt about the safe you have you should immediately exchange or replace it for another one even if you will have to dish out a few more bucks.

Jewelry is always best to have at reach where you can look at them and wear them whenever you want. You can have this luxury if you have a reliable hidden safe in your home. Although most people use check or credit cards these days some people still like to keep a lot of cash at hand. There is nothing better for your money then a secure safe vault.

You can find something that you feel most comfortable with whether you like combination and key or biometric safes. Research has to be done carefully because not every wall safe is the proof proof or fireproof. You have to consider the possibilities of a fire and water damage as well as theft.

Wildfire Defense

Once again it is wildfire season in Colorado. Years of beetle kill have left an area, roughly the size of Rhode Island, of dead standing lodgepole pine in Colorado.
Property owners are extremely responsible for protecting theirselves and their property from the threat of wildfire. The two best methods of protecting your property is to build a defensible perimeter around your structures and build your structures with fire resistant building materials.

According to Colorado State University, your first defense against wildfire is to create and maintain a defensible space around your home. This does not mean your landscape must be barren. Defensible space is an area around a structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire toward or from the home and allow firefighters area to do their job.

No building materials are completely "fire proof". However there are building materials that are highly fire resistant. A home's roof is especially susceptible to wildfire since it typically is the largest exposed surface area of ​​the home. Building materials are rated from Class C, the least fire resistant, to Class A, the most fire resistant.

Mineral reinforced asphalt shinglees have a Class C fire resistance rating per International Building Code. The only benefit to mineral reinforced asphalt shingle is they are inexpensive. However, when asphalt shingle life-cycle costs are considered, including longevity among other factors, shingles are not the least expensive to own.

Metal roofing is lighter than asphalt shingle roofing, is sturdy and noncombustible. Additionally, it has a lower life cycle cost compared to all other roofing materials per analysis conducted by and presented by Ducker. Metal roofing is Class A per building code, however, not all metal roofing is equal.

Controlled tests were conducted per fire code rating methodology to compare fire resistance amidst roofing materials. The results of the test show a wide difference in fire resistance with 30 gauge steel shingles being the least fire resistant and 24 gauge steel being the most fire resistant by a factor of three. Common 30 gauge roofing includes exposed fastener systems such as corrugated and agricultural panels.

Standing seam metal roofing is made from steel, copper, zinc, aluminum and other metals. The standing seam metal roof panels are manufactured in continuous lengths, cut to span the distance between the ridge and eave without transverse seams. Standing seam metal roofs are considered maintenance free, unlike exposed fastener metal roofs that require maintenance.

Metal roofing is popular on mountain homes because of its aesthetics and durability. The system is typically manufactured from 24 gauge steel. The continuous lengths of SSMR panels and the gauge of the metal make it a wise and economic choice for topping a home in fire prone areas.

Roof Repairs – Making Your Old Roof New Again

It must first be emphasized that roofing issues must be handled by the professionals such as roof contractors mainly because even the smallest leaks can be the symptom of a larger problem. In fact, when a certain portion of the roof begins to leak, it may be replaced by a new one, thus, requiring the expert skills of a roof contractor.

General Cost of Repairs

Roofing repairs will obviously cost money but it must be said that the money spent on these jobs will be well worth it considering the importance of a good roof over your head. When the repairs are expertly done, then your roof will last for several years, even sometimes decades, to come.

The total costs for repairs will depend on several factors including the type of roof, the type of damage and its area of ​​coverage, and the fees of the roof contractor. Be sure to ask the roof contractor for his written estimate so that you can budget for it, said written estimate of which should include the cost for the new shingles, the sealants and the cleanup of old shingles, debris and other materials on the roof.

For example, a 10×10 square foot of asphalt shingles will cost $ 100- $ 350 to replace while the replacement of wooden shingles with the same area will cost $ 200- $ 1,000. In case of replacement of just a few broken asphalt or wooden slippers, the cost will only be $ 95- $ 125 or $ 135- $ 175, respectively.

If there are only a few individual broken shingles and the issue appears to be minor, you can replace these items on a do-it-yourself basis but be sure to thoroughly understand the instructions. But when in doubt, you are well-advised to call the professionals lest the issue becomes worse.

Possible Additional Costs

Since the roof system is complicated in itself, additional costs may be incurred so it is important to be prepared for these expenses. A few examples include:

• Valley foot flashing can cost $ 15- $ 25 for repairs.

• Faulty flashing around a chimney may cost $ 200- $ 500 for replacement.

• Skylight flashing is priced at $ 300- $ 500 for repair.

Again, the roof contractor must be forthright about these repairs from the initial inspections. Any and all possible repairs on damaged roof components previously undetected must be discussed before the actual work is done. Otherwise, you will find yourself paying more than what you budgeted for.

The good news: Many companies in the United States provide discounts for senior citizens from 10% to 30%. If you are a regular customer, you can also ask for considerations in the form of discounts, free inspections, and installation plans.

The trick is to shop for reliable roof repair companies. Asking for recommendations from family and friends is a step in the right direction followed by asking for references from trade organizations like the National Rofers Contractors Association.

Sealing Hardwood Flooring- Do's and Don'ts For New Floors

After you've installed your new hardwood floor, you'll no doubt be wondering how to protect it and keep it new looking. Should you apply a sealant? Should you wax it, leave it alone or what? Here are some tips on what to do.

Did you have pre-finished flooring installed? This type of hardwood flooring typically uses a process called acrylic impregnation. Prefinished flooring companies recommend that no additional finish be applied. Compatibility and durability of the finish can be a problem. Waxes and oils should be avoided- they may contaminate the wood and cause problems with adhesiveness when refinishing.

If you absolutely must coat the prefinished wood make sure to prepare it well, with either sanding or a deglosser. The finish will not stick otherwise. Additionally, when you refinish prefinished flooring, you can throw any finish warranty provided by the manufacturer out the window, since you just voided it.

For laminate floors, there is also no need to put any sealant on. Actually, do not put anything on top. It's perfect as is. That's the great thing about laminate flooring; it is already protected from scuffs and spills. Read the warranty and installation guide, and maintain them according to the manufacturers instructions.

Unfinished hardwood flooring is a whole different story. Preparation of the floor prior to finishing is critical here. The wood is sanded first, to smooth the surface and to open the wood pores up for better absorption of the finish. If at all possible, it is recommended you have a trained and experienced professional do the sanding; hardwood floors are easily ruined beyond repair by gouges and warpage due to uneven sanding. Thorough vacuuming follows sanding and sweeping to rid the floor of wood chips, saw dust and debris. Finer dust and oily residues are then removed with cloth soaked in special spirit-based cleaners.

Two types of sealers are available: water-based and solvent-based.

Water Based Wood Flooring Sealants- becoming more widely used because of the interest in healthier and and more environmentally friendly construction. Some of the solvents used in the polyurethane and epoxy finishes face disposal issues, as well as health concerns over exposure to volatile organic compounds. Another benefit to the water based sealants is they are less flammable and some are even completely non-flammable. The downside is their greater cost, as they are not as broadly available yet as the solvent-based types.

Solvent Based Wood Flooring Sealants- include polyurethane, moisture-curing urethane, and solvent-based epoxy finishes. The moisture-curing urethane type finishes are currently not as widely used, due to their high flammability and strong odor, which necessitates the use of respiration equipment during application. In their favor, these flooring sealants are very durable and tough, although on the other hand, this makes removing them for refinishing difficult. The solvent-based epoxies have much the same properties, although they do have a more favorable appearance to some.

The polyurethane finishes are probably the most commonly used hardwood flooring sealant. The balance between durability, cost and appearance finds a sweet spot here. Relative to other finishes, they are simple to apply and dry within 6 hours. However, they do have a moderately "solventy" smell and must be disposed of according to environmental protection laws in a safe manner.

Preparing Your Budget For Septic Tank Pumping Cost

Your septic tank is an important role-player in your plumbing system. It's a large container that's made from concrete, plastic or fiberglass and buried underground, somewhere in your yard. The primary role of your septic tank is to hold all the wastewater that you produce whenever you use your plumbing. Everyday activities such as taking a bath, cooking, cleaning the house or your car, watering the plants or using the toilet all contribute to the amount of sewage that you produce. Another important function that the tank serves is the filtration of sewage wherein solid wastes are separated from the liquid. The liquid will then be transported into the drain field and then treated for future use again. Now with all these being said, you should know that the septic tank can only hold so much sewage. The decomposition of wastewater takes time and the continuous supply of sewage into the tank will sooner or later fill it to the brim. Now when that happens, plumbing problems will arise which may range from slow draining to blockages or worse, backups.

Why is septic tank pumping important?

Septic tank pumping is vital to prevent the tank from overflowing. It's a process wherein the waste materials in the tank are removed and taken to treatment facilities. While having your tank pumped out is beneficial for your home, know that it is also helpful for the environment. The siphoned waste materials are actually used in power generation and in growing food. You also have to remember that while there are some plumbing jobs that you can do on your own, this service should only be provided by plumbing experts or waste management companies who have the right equipment; have undergone proper training and acquired due certification.

When should you have the tank pumped out?

The frequency of septic tank pump-outs depends on several factors including the size of the tank; the rate of water consumption and the number of people in the household. The more people hide in the house, the higher the water consumption and the higher the wastewater production. Generally speaking, annual servicing is recommended. Some houses of more than 5 people do it every two years. There are also those who have their tanks pumped out every 3 to 5 years. However, it will be best to consult a professional just to make sure that you'll take care of your tank properly.

How much is the septic tank pumping cost?

In a report published by Home Advisor, the average cost of septic tank pumping ranges from $ 455 to $ 623. However, note that the minimum reported cost is $ 200 and the maximum is at $ 840. Remember that plumbing services vary across states and the areas where they are provided. Just consult a professional who can give you an accurate quote for this service. What's important is that you'll set a specific percentage of your budget for a pump-out because it is really an adjustable maintenance measure that will keep your tank at tip-top shape for the years to come.