What’s a 3/2 Compressed Air Valve?

Recently, I published an article on this site titled: What’s a 2/2 compressed air valve? Here, in the next installment in this series, is information on a slightly more complex air valve; the 3/2 style.

The first number in the 3/2 air valve, the three, refers to the number of “working” air ports that are found in the valve body. That is, the number of ports that supply air to the valve, and channel the compressed air to whatever it is that the valve is supposed to do.

Most 3/2 valves will have numbers or letters etched, cast or painted near each of their three “working” air ports. If there are numbers near the ports, the number 1 would be the supply port to bring the compressed air to that valve.

Port number 2 would be the working port from which air would flow to accomplish whatever task that you wanted that valve to do.

The third port in a 3/2 air valve is an “exhaust” port and if numbered, it could be a 3 or a 5. If the port designations in a 3/2 valve are letters, then port ‘A’ would be the supply port and port ‘B’ the working port, with the third port normally being an ‘E’.

As in the 2/2 valve there may be one or two additional ports in the ends of the 3/2 valve to allow an air signal line or lines to be connected. If this is the case, this 3/2 valve will either be single, or double air piloted.

The 2 in a 3/2 air valve indicates the number of positions that the internal valve mechanism has. In this case, two. When this valve is operated or actuated, it will either open or close and air will either flow to the application upon actuation, or it will be prevented from flowing.

Most 3/2 compressed air valves will be NC, or normally closed. When the valve is not actuated, it’s normal state is closed, and compressed air cannot pass through it.

If your application calls for air to flow through the valve when it’s not actuated, that the circuit needs air to be flowing through this valve when it is at rest, then a NO or normally open configured valve would be selected.

All 3/2 valves have actuators that will operate or ‘shift’ the air valve. An external button, or toggle, or perhaps a solenoid actuator would be the visible actuator. Inside, there will likely be an internal actuator – a spring – which will shift the valve to the off position when the external actuator is not being used.

If the external actuator is ‘detented’, then when the valve is operated, it will stay in it’s last selected position until an operator changes it. Detented means it will stay where it’s put! This is useful when an operator needs to actuate the valve, and then manually perform another operation while the air valve feeds air to the application.

Unlike it’s less complex 2/2 valve cousin, the 3/2 valve is used when a compressed air supply is needed to an application or device that uses compressed air to power it, yet in itself has no integral air pathway to atmosphere. Therefore, when the device has performed it’s function, and it’s time to ‘deflate’ it or to let the compressed air back out, the third port in the 3/2 valve comes into play.

When the compressed air supply through the valve is shut off internally, a pathway back through the valve to atmosphere will be opened, to allow the compressed air to escape. The air supply is shut, so the compressed air flowing to the valve cannot flow through it, and the compressed air that was formerly in the device or application can now bleed back down the air line through the valve to exhaust.

So, what type of devices are these?

Usually they are single acting type actuators. One comes to mind immediately; “Air springs”.

Both Firestone and Goodyear (among others) manufacture “air springs”. These are devices that look like tires, but rather than have an opening in the middle of the doughnut where the rim goes, they are closed on both sides with steel plates. In one side there will be an air port to which an air line from a 3/2 valve can be connected. These “air springs” are mounted on their sides, picture a tire lying flat after you’ve taken it off your car, and can generate huge actuation forces. Force equals pressure times area, and the “piston” size inside an air spring can be huge. The application of air springs mirrors that of typical air cylinders, yet offer large capacity at a fraction of the cost of an air cylinder of a necessary size to generate the same force as the air spring.

Another application for 3/2 valves is single acting air cylinders. Whether they are spring extend or spring retract, an air supply is required to operate the SA cylinder. A 3/2 valve is designed to do just that.

A couple of more points; the 3/2 valve can have the exhaust port plugged, and voila, you have a 2/2 valve.

If the cost of the valve is the same, you can use a 3/2 air valve anywhere you might use a 2/2 valve. Since 2/2 valves always have to have the “working port” ultimately plumbed to atmosphere, that there is an exhaust port in a 3/2 valve offers no obstacle to it’s use.

If you have a double acting air cylinder, and you don’t have a 4/2 or 5/2 (more on these valves next article) available, you can use two 3/2 valves to operate any cylinder that requires two supply lines in order for it to extend and retract.

At ABOUT-air-compressors.com my e-book entitled All About Air Valves – Volume One is now available. If you are interested in more information about air valves, do visit the site and download a copy. This first e-book is an introduction to air valves, and focuses on the 2/2 iteration. Future volumes will focus on 3/2 valves, and then the 4/2 & 5/2 configurations.

And as always, if you have any questions, please send me a message from the contact screen at my web site.

American Mobsters – The Gophers – The Five Hundred-Member Gang That Ruled Hell’s Kitchen

The Gophers street gang was formed in the 1890’s from a conglomerate of other Irish street gangs that patrolled the west side of Manhattan. They were given their name, because after they performed one misdeed, or another, they hid themselves in the cavernous neighborhood cellars to avoid arrest. The Gophers first ruled the area from Seventh to Eleventh Avenues, from Fourteenth Street to Forty Second Street, but later moved as far north as Fifty Seventh Street. Their numbers swelled and eventually reached over five hundred thugs, all murderous hooligans of the worst kind.

Their first base of operations was a notorious saloon called Battle Row, also the name of the area on 39th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenue, where the Gophers committed most of their mayhem. Battle Row was owned by a thug named Mallet Murphy, who was given that nickname because he corrected drunks and other miscreants with a wooden mallet, instead of a bludgeon, which was the weapon of choice of that day.

Due to death, or imprisonment of their bosses, the Gophers went through several leaders. The most famous Gopher boss was Owney “The Killer” Madden, whose reign ended in 1913, when he was sent to the slammer for ten years, for killing Little Patsy Doyle, his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, and an ambitious man intent on replacing Madden as the leader of the Gophers.

Another such boss was One Lung Curran, who originated a practice that determined the fashion wear of his gang. One day Curran, dismayed that his girlfriend did not have a proper winter coat, snuck up on a passing policeman, clubbed him over the head and stole his winter police coat. He gave the coat to his girlfriend, and after a few alterations, she produced a swell model, with a military cut. Other Gophers followed this trend, and soon there was an epidemic of police officers staggering back to their station house on West Forty Seventh Street, blood dripping from their heads and dressed only in their shirts, shoes and trousers. This prompted the police captain of that precinct to send groups of four and five cops into the Gophers’ domain, to bludgeon enough Gophers that the sartorial vogue was soon over.

Another Gopher leader was Happy Jack Mulraney, so called, because his face seemed to be set into a permanent smile. This smile was not intended, but in fact caused by a quirky paralysis of Mulraney’s face muscles. His cohorts enjoyed inciting the psychopathic killer Mulraney into a rage by telling him someone had made fun of his unintentional grin. One day, Paddy the Priest, a bar owner on Tenth Avenue and a close friend of Mulraney’s, made the horrible mistake of asking Mulraney why he didn’t smile out of the other side of his face. Mulraney shot Paddy the Priest in the head, killing him instantly, then robbed his cash register. For his temporary lapse in judgment, Mulraney was sentenced to life in prison.

One day, in August of 1908, several Gophers wandered out of their West Side domain and smack into the middle of a shootout on the Lower East Side between Monk Eastman’s gang and Paul Kelly’s Five Pointers. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, the Gophers opened fire, shooting at members of both waring gangs. One Gopher later said, “A lot of guys were poppin’ at each other, so why shouldn’t we do a little poppin’ ourselves?”

For years, the Gopher’s main source of income was plundering the freight cars and train depot of the New York Central Railroad, which ran along Eleventh Avenue. The New York City police was unable, and sometimes unwilling, to stop these shenanigans. So the railroad organized its own “police force,” which was comprised mostly of ex-cops, who had been brutalized by the Gophers in the past and were looking for revenge. The result was, the “special police” went into Hell’s Kitchen, beating the Gophers from one end of the neighborhood to the other, or as one of the cops said, “From hell to breakfast.” Sometimes they used clubs, and if needed, they fired guns. Being former policemen and well trained in firearms, they were the much better at gunplay than the Gophers.

In 1917, after the arrest of One Lung Curran, and with Madden still in jail and Mulraney in jail until his final breath, the Gophers gradually dissipated. By 1920, the Gophers street gang ceased to exist, only to be replaced in later years by another murderous group called “The Westies.”

Advantages of Using Cement Bricks

CEMENT BRICKS

Cement bricks are generally seven and ten MPa strength and are used in all applications such as:

• Residential housing

• Walls where the wall will be plastered

• Small DIY jobs,

• Where it is unlikely that anyone will see the wall.

Advantages of using cement bricks

Using cementbricks to build your house or to extend your house is the smart way to go. Because of their strength, they last a long time. With every building built with it is likely to last longer than other buildings.

The advantages are:

• They last longer

• They are extremely strong

• You can custom colour cement bricks

• More affordable

It allows you to build with ease, and they can be made according to your liking and size. General Size: 220mm x 100mm x 70mm Weight: 2.3kgs Quantity per pallet: 500 Strength: 7 MPa and 10MPa

It takes about 5-7days to create and mould a cement brick, with the right hydraulic pressure and vibration. The cement never stops curing so thus is constantly increasing in strength.

CLAY BRICKS – (Stock, Semi Face & Face bricks) Standard Clay stock bricks are classed by NFP or NFX.

NFP stands for non-facing plaster which basically means it is a wall or building that is going to be plastered. NFX stands for Non facing extra. This means that you could use this as a semi face and it is not required to be plastered.

Ithas very low water absorption and are known for their consistency in quality and shape. These clay bricks exceed the minimum specifications of standards authorities will respect the brick strength,water absorption,efflorescence and dimensional stability to be.

General Size: 220mm x 100mm x 70mm Efflorescene: Nil to slight Water absorption: 10.9% Strength: 14MPa – 41.1MPa

Advantages of using clay bricks

Clay bricks provide a good solid foundation when you are building. They come in handy, for any building project, whether you are extending your house or building a new one. Clay bricks are very reliable, and are used,loved and come highly recommended by most builders. The reason why builders use clay bricks, is because of the great advantages. These are the advantages:

• Fire resistant

• Low carbon footprint

• Claybricks are very strong

& reliable

• Highly affordable

In general, your project will determine whether you will be using face, semi-face or cement bricks. If you want the more affordable option, you will need to plaster the wall with the face/ semi-face bricks being more expensive.

Finding an Apartment in Boston Which Approves With Bad Credit Or a Broken Lease

Boston is notably the academic center of the United States with many renowned universities. It is also a port, a manufacturing and cultural hub with millions of people converging here either for school, or employment or simply retirements. New workers arrive here daily and as such there is a demand for the many different apartments rental units that are available in places such as Brighton, Hyde Park, East Boston, West End and West Roxbury. Renting an apartment in Boston and its many neighborhoods sometimes requires good credit. This is because it is now standard procedure for the rental units to check credit and rental history to unearth financial well-being and to check for broken leases.

How to rent an apartment in Boston that approves even with broken lease or bad credit

In order to rent an apartment in Boston with a broken lease, bad credit or a criminal background, you have first of all to find where these apartments are. There are hundreds of new apartments which become available each and every day in Boston. These apartments are in hot demand from students, new workers and people looking to move from one side of Boston to another either for school or for work. A tarnished credit or a blemished rental history can cause one to be denied but not by all the apartments. Some of them are able to approve even despite these anomalies.

Another step, know your score

Knowing one’s credit score is also encouraged for those seeking to rent. This is because research shows that are sizable portion of the total number of credit scores are tarnished by errors. These errors can be contested, disputed and removed thereby raising the overall credit score.

Finding an apartment that will lease despite of a broken lease and spotty credit can sometimes end up being a totally frustrating ordeal. This is because these apartments do not advertise openly and tend to be low-profile. Others may be in areas which are less desirable especially for decent families.

Searching for bad credit o broken lease apartments in Boston

One of the ways of finding these apartments is off course to comb through the yellow pages. Places like Craigslist can also unearth a few but many of these usually brokered by apartment locators who are looking to make a quick buck. All in all, much time and energy can be expended in locating these types of apartments and this does not even guarantee success in the form of an approval.

Are you looking for an apartment in the Boston area that rents to people with a broken lease and spotty credit?

RAV4 Drivers Club Guide To The Toyota RAV4 Run-Flat (BSR) Tyre System

This guide is written to hopefully explain the BSR run flat system fitted to the Toyota Rav4 T180 and SR180

Many owners have bought their cars without knowledge of this BSR system so here I will try to explain what it is and the options for replacing it..

What is the BSR system?

It’s a Run flat system that is different from other types where the sidewall of the tyres used is heavily reinforced so if a puncture or deflation occurs the car effectively rides on the sidewall

BSR (Bridgestone Safety Ring) is a system that employs a ring that is fitted inside the tyre around the rim. This is what the car rides on in the event of a deflation. The tyres are effectively a normal tyre. This is a development of a WW2 military vehicle.

There is also a lubricant inside the tyre that lubes the tyre and the BSR ring in the event of a deflation. Without this the friction generated would destroy both elements.

System is backed up by a TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) that illuminates a warning light on the dash if a deflation takes place…

The pluses to this system..

It means that no spare wheel needs to be carried.. And… Err well that’s about it really..

The minuses..

The tyres have to be removed by a special and very expensive machine that only Toyota Dealers and a few independent Tyre Dealers have.

Only one type of Bridgestone tyre can be used with the BSR system. No other make or model of tyre can be used.

This makes for expensive replacements come time for new tyres and can prove very inconvenient in the event of a puncture.

Owners report very expensive costs for replacement or repair!

The options…

Well Owners can simply live with what they have and put up with the what is considered huge costs of replacement or repair.

Or

Remove the existing tyres and the BSR system completely. You can have the tyres removed by an Equipped Dealer as described above. Cost around £45 per wheel OR simply cut the tyres of and remove the safety inner rings with the aid of an angle grinder.

The TPMS system can be retained or removed and switched to prevent the light flashing on the dash..

Once tyres and rings have been removed normal tyres can be fitted on a normal tyre machine by any Tyre Dealer and any brand can be used.

Insurance implications…

You should notify your insurance company if you remove the BSR system and fit normal tyres.

No extra premium is likely as the car will be as the latest specification SR Rav4. IE no BSR system and a tyre repair kit in the boot.

It is possible to have the tyres and the BSR ring removed then refits the tyres but this will invalidate your insurance because the tyres have a symbol on the tyre wall which designates them as Run flats. Which of course without the BSR rings inside they are not! This could mean that a Driver who does not realise this could run into problems if a deflation occurs and he or she carries on driving…

Ride Quality

The wheels with the extra weight of the BSR system and lubricating gel is huge in comparison to a wheel fitted with a normal tyre.

The suspension has two elements to contend with:

The sprung weight. This is the weight of the Vehicle, Its occupants, Cargo etc.

The unsprung weight. This is the weight of the Wheels, Tyres, Brakes etc.

Relieving the suspension of the unsprung weight enables it to get on with the job of controlling the sprung weight. This adds up to a far far smoother ride without the crashing and thumping that the increased weight of the BSR equipped wheels give. Remember the tyre walls are Not reinforced..

The ride quality is MASSIVELY IMPROVED when the BSR is removed!!!

A consideration…

If trading in a BSR equipped RAV to a Toyota Dealer one of the first questions asked will be does it still have the run flats?? Because if it does not the car has in their eyes been radically altered and cannot be sold under the Toyota approved car scheme.

Other dealers may or may not ask depending if they know about the existence of the system in the first place…

Hope this helps

Motorbike Helmets Explained – Full Face Or Modular?

When it comes to safety while on your motorbike, helmets are a must. The problem is that few riders actually wear helmets… to be exact only 58% of motorbike riders wear helmets and that number is constantly decreasing.

There used to be this stereotype that riders wearing helmets were “uncool” well… not any more. When you look at the alternative wearing motorbike helmets it seems like a pretty smart thing to do. Who wants to find themselves with a serious head or neck injury simply because they were not wearing a helmet?

But what kind of motorbike helmet is right for you?

There are several styles and options of motorbike helmets, but the two most popular and the all around safest helmets are full face helmets and modular helmets. And while they look the same, there are some differences. So lets break them down so you can figure which helmet is right for you.

Before jumping into the differences it is important to mention this… both full face and modular helmets are considered “full face” because the protect the entire face and head (including the chin) which is a huge benefit when it comes to helmet safety. They differ in the way they are structured to protect your head….

Full face helmets have a fixed chin bar… the modular helmets have a hinged chin bar that can be rotated up and down for convenience to the rider. This offers more helmet freedom.

With the modular motorbike helmets, you simply lift the chin bar and face mask up so you can do simple things without having to remove the helmet completely (pump gas, converse, drink water and eat a snack… you get the picture).

With the full face helmets you don’t have this freedom and to do any of the above tasks would mean removing your helmet all together. Not that it is a huge task to remove your helmet off your head but some people find this to be small hassle.

So it sounds like the modular is the best right? Well, there really is no winner or loser here. It is just a preference among riders.

The full face are often lighter and more quiet and while both helmets are DOT approved, the modular helmet has not been approved by more challenging testing such as Snell…

So it really comes back to you, the rider. Find a helmet that you like, and go with it. Now that you know the differences between the two you can start to figure out which helmet is best for your riding personality. Both are great options and having either of these motorbike helmets is a very wise decision.

A Beginner’s Guide to Roofing Terminology

If you’re new to the world of roofing, then you’re going to be hearing a lot of terms you may not have any clue about. It’s better to get to grips with the terminology so you can save yourself a lot of confusion further down the road.

Whilst you may hear lots of different words being tossed about, most of the words used for the more important roofing terminology remain the same throughout the world. Hopefully this guide can help you with what you need to know.

Common Terms

Below we will be explaining some of the more common terms you may hear on roofing websites or from roofing contractors. This is the terminology every house owner should know about.

Shingles

Shingles are a type of roof covering that consists of a number of overlapping tiles. Usually you’ll notice that shingles are flat and rectangular and are laid in lines that go vertically up the roof.

Tiles will be managed so that each tile is overlapped by a tile above and underlapped by a tile below. You may often see stone shingles used for housing but other materials such as wood or metal can be used as well.

Eave

The eave is the edge of the roof which overhangs the side of your house wall. The eave goes horizontally across the bottom of your roof. Eaves are used in roofing to keep water off of the walls. Eaves can often be a point of decoration for home owners.

Fire Rating

A fire rating is used to determine the resistance a certain material will have to fire. When house fires can be a big concern, understanding the fire rating of your house and roofing materials is very important. Materials are classed as having A, B or C class fire rating, with A being the most fire resistant.

Dormer

This is a small structure that protrudes from the out the top of a sloping roof surface. You’ll often see dormers with windows – you might have one in your attic or on the top floor of your house. These are often used to provide headspace in rooms with low ceilings or as a means to let in natural light and ventilation.

Rafter

A rafter is found in series with other rafters to help support the roof and any associated weight. Rafters are often called members by roofing professionals, but you’ll see them in your house as a series of beams that extend diagonally upwards from the very outer perimeter of your interior, usually where the roof and your walls meet. For most home construction, you’ll often notice that rafters are made out of wood.

Deck

In roofing terminology the deck is an underlying layer of roofing material over which roofing is applied. The deck is often made out of wood boards, plywood or planks. The deck is one of the more important structural pieces that helps to keep most other structural components together. The roofing term for deck should not be confused with the architectural term of the same word, which refers to a flat surface or floor that is usually built outside, elevated from the ground but connected to the side of a building.

A Few More Valuable Terms

There are dozens of other terms used in roofing and whilst you don’t need to understand them all right away there are some more terms that may be useful for those looking into upgrading pr repairing their roof.

Blistering

Blistering is caused when bubbles or abnormalities are created in roofing materials. The cause of blistering is usually related to moisture from collected rain or snow. Blisters can be caused by moisture being trapped under the material or by moisture being trapped inside the material. This is most often seen in shingles.

Drip Edge

A drip edge is a piece of material that is installed along the edge of a roof to stop water dropping into areas that could get damaged, such as the deck or the eaves. In most cases a drip edge will be constructed from metal.

Flashing

Flashing is a term that refers to installing thin sheets of material onto your roof to prevent water from passing into unwanted areas. You’ll often see shingles or other materials pointed outwards on or around chimneys. This is a perfect example of flashing – the water will hit off of these materials, preventing any moisture from reaching the joints of a house.

Cricket

A cricket is a small ridge structure built at the highest side of a chimney that is designed to divert any water from pocketing between the chimney and the roof. Crickets are most often seen at the back of chimneys but they are also used on any other roof projections. A cricket is also sometimes referred to as a saddle.

Are you looking for a reputable roofing contractor to help you with your roofing needs? Contact us now and we’ll have our associates talk to you about it.

Buying An Outdoor Water Fountain Or Statue – First Know How Long It’ll Last

Your new resin fountain was exciting and rewarding. It looked beautiful nestled in your garden. As the summer wore on, the color faded. The spring hail chipped it and now it’s peeling. Your delight diminished as the once-cherished resin fountain deteriorates.

Polyresin, also referred to as alabastrite or resin, is a member of the epoxy-plastics family. “Hong Tze” and “Liberty Bronze” are also resin products. Resin products are commonly sold for outdoor use such as water fountains, statues, birdbaths, furniture, and stepping stones.

Some resin products marketed for outdoor lawn and garden use were weather tested by Gardecor®, LLC. They found that the resin products under testing cracked, peeled, and faded within a year. Some resin products even deformed in the hot summer sun! A reliable resin product such as fountains or statues suitable for long-term outdoor use has yet to be found. Resin technology has not advanced to the point of providing a good polyresin product suitable for long-term outdoor use, unless the item is for use on a covered porch.

When seeking an outdoor water fountain, statuary, birdfeeder, or other outdoor item exposed to the elements, it’s wise to know what to expect it to look like in the future. Here are some common materials suitable for long-term outdoor use.

  • The Bronzes, including Brass.
  • Aluminum.
  • Cast Stone Concrete.
  • Fiberglass.
  • Iron: Cast Iron and COR-TEN® Steel.
  • Marble.
  • Lead Metal.

Bronze and Brass can last long enough to hand down through generations as heirloom treasures. Bronze art dated B.C. has been uncovered from underwater archaeological sites. Now that’s a long time!

Left to weather, the bronze family continually develops a stunning aged patina (surface finish). Just look around your local park at the bronze statuaries. Depending on the metal composition, bronze and brass can age to beautiful blues and greens (from the copper and nickel), yellows (iron) and other colors.

Aging doesn’t happen right away, but takes decades. Bronze and brass statues age in the same manner, but not exactly the same. Each piece will have an unique patina. Bronze and brass can have the same overall appearance because copper is the predominant metal in both.

Bronze contains tin whereas brass contains zinc. Other metals are present in small amounts and can contribute to the color. Tin makes bronze harder than brass; however, the homeowner won’t be able to tell the difference. Brass is strong enough for hardware and fittings. Pure bronze can be 3-4 times more expensive than brass. That’s why some outdoor fountains and statues are brass with a bronze patina.

If you want color, look for bronze with a colored patina. Gold foil can give brilliant oranges to the artwork whereas other techniques can impart deep blues, reds and brilliant yellows to your piece.

One more note about casting bronze statues. Look for those manufactured with the lost-wax method. Although more arduous, the lost-wax method produces pieces without seams seen on other methods of casting.

Aluminum. Aluminum being lighter than the bronzes is preferred because transport is cheaper. Exposed to the weather, aluminum doesn’t weather as nicely as either bronze or brass. That’s probably why you don’t see aluminum fountains or statues in parks or in front of corporate buildings. You can maintain your aluminum piece by coating with a clear acrylic floor wax.

Cast stone is popular for outdoor water fountains, statuaries and birdbaths because of it’s strength, bold appearance, and barring a hurricane, it won’t blow over. Classical statues of cast stone are reminiscent of the Grecian ancient times. Some manufacturers have developed colored surface finishes that last.

Cast stone concrete is great in the southern states, however, in the northern states, it’s susceptible to water freezing and thawing in tiny crevices. You might have to dry the fountain bowl and cover it during the freezing months. Statues tend to withstand the winters because they don’t have bowls that hold a large volume of water. Formulated properly, cast stone can withstand more than 10 winters.

Fiberglass is less often used for backyard statues and fountains. Not many consumers are familiar with fiberglass for a decorative statue. Fiberglass won’t crack or break as easily as resin. The surface finish is tricky to apply for long-term use, but some manufacturers have had success with it. Fine detailing is also hard to accomplish with the fiberglass structure. Detailing is usually done with the surface coating. You’ll see enormous fiberglass statues in amusements parks and other places because it’s not only strong, but also lightweight and easy to move without a crane.

Iron and Steel Products. Rust can provide a protective surface to outdoor decor. Iron products should be considered if you want an aged or antiqued outdoor decor. Iron is more brittle than the bronzes and less frequently used for statues and water fountains. Iron and steel can be powder coated to prevent rusting and add long-lasting color.

Marble statues and water fountains are valued for the artistic sculpting and uniqueness each marble piece imparts. Some marble is harder than others. Outdoors, marble tends to age differently than the bronzes. Moss and small plants can make a home on the marble making it a truly living piece of artwork. Depending on the amount of acid rain, the surface texture can change with time. As with concrete, it can crack in the winter’s freeze-thaw. The same care must be taken with marble as with cast stone. Marble should be used indoors to preserve the original finish.

Lead Metal. Many designers and architects prefer wall fountains and decorative plaques because of it’s traditional antique quality. Lead can turn darker as it ages and isn’t prone to weathering like aluminum is. It’s a very soft metal and fountain bowls may need periodic reshaping with careful pounds of a soft mallet. Care must be taken when handling lead products. Maintaining the surface with a clear wax or acrylic coating can help you prevent lead from leaching into the environment.

Whatever you decide, to re-design your outdoors every year with resin or to show off heirloom pieces of artwork, be certain to know the characteristics of the materials used before you buy.

Next time, we’ll discuss what you should know about materials used in outdoor lawn, garden and patio furniture and discuss the difference between authentic wrought iron and ornamental ironwork.

Danger – Leather Soles of Shoes Can Be Treacherously Slippery

LEATHER SOLES

This article explains why you don’t want to wear leather sole dress shoes. The basic reason is that leather is slippery, even when dry.

DRESS SHOES

Dress shoes must serve two functions. First, they should look dressy so that you radiate class and good taste to all who see you. This is especially important if you’re an attorney going to court or meeting clients. Your shoes and haircut will be inspected at these encounters. So you want your shoes to look dressy. Black leather is the best choice for the uppers of your shoes. But what about the soles?

LEATHER SOLES

Leather soles look great but are slippery, even on dry surfaces. Especially when new, they can be hazardous to your health because you can slip when walking on a hard floor, a street, or even a concrete sidewalk!

There are modifications that you can make to leather soles to render them a little less slippery, but these solutions are ultimately unsatisfactory. We’re talking about cutting a crisscross pattern into the leather soles with a sharp knife, or adding rosin to the soles the way boxers used to do to their boxing shoes. Neither solution is adequate. (Incidentally, most boxing shoes today are no longer made with leather soles, indicating that in the world of professional boxing athletes have learned the lesson of avoiding leather soles altogether.)

WHY RUBBER IS BETTER

Rubber soles are better than leather because they provides superior traction on every conceivable surface, including ice and snow. With modern technology, there’s no reason why a dress shoe should have a slippery leather sole. For example, Florsheim provides F-LITE EMAX rubber outsoles on some cap-toe dress shoes. A slightly more casual example is the Nunn Bush Maxwell black leather dress shoe. One of the nicest designs is the Prada ebony leather logo detail cap-toe Oxford with rubber soles, which retailed for $472 in 2011. Other quality dress shoes are also available with rubber soles.

If a shoe’s rubber soles don’t look too sporty, that is, if they don’t have corrugations or obvious sneaker-like patterns that can be seen from the side, then they’re a good choice. A manufacturer who knows about the value of rubber soles and how they provide better traction, is a manufacturer who will also take care of other details, such a style and construction.

It’s incorrect to say that only a leather sole looks dressy. Rubber soles can be constructed to look as dressy as leather, and they’re significantly more comfortable and safer than leather. As image consultants for attorneys and people from all walks of life, we advise clients to not only look dressy but also to wear comfortable safe footwear, and this means well designed rubber soles.

Copyright (c) 2011 William Cane

An Information Guide To Maintaining Limestone Fireplaces

Limestone is very durable and is an extremely good choice for a fireplace!

However, limestone is also rather soft and relatively porous, so it does require care from the householder to prevent stains and grubby marks spoiling the surface – especially for new limestone fireplaces!

A few important points for first time buyers!

Your limestone fireplace should be chemically sealed with a good quality sealant. The better sealants do not change the colour of the limestone to any degree, but prevent easy penetration of possible stains from getting into the stone. Your fireplace supplier should either seal your fireplace for you, (probably at extra cost) or provide a tin of liquid sealant for you to paint over the surface yourself (also probably at extra cost). These sealants cost around £20 or more per tin, so if you see one for much less, don’t use it, as it may not be good enough, and could darken your limestone fireplace colour!

If you have a limestone hearth, this should be sealed twice. Leave the first coat to completely dry and then add the second. Make sure you do not apply too much sealer, as this could cause a change to the surface if soaked!

You may have to repeat the complete sealing process after about six months or a year, especially if the fireplace is for solid fuel. After that, your limestone fireplace will probably not require any further chemical sealing.

Cleaning Limestone Fireplaces

The best way to clean off a grubby mark from your limestone fireplace is simply to use a clean cotton cloth dampened with very dilute washing up liquid. Do not soak the stone though!

If you have coffee or wine etc, spill onto your limestone fireplace surface don’t panic, just clean it off thoroughly with a dampened cloth and everything should be fine.

A number of things not to do:

  1. Never use wax or spray polishes on a limestone fireplace, as these products can darken the surface of the limestone and create patches.
  2. Never use kitchen or bathroom cleaners, as they could react with the limestone surface.
  3. Never allow cigarettes to be placed on the stone surface, the heat could cause a brown scar.
  4. Never stand vases with flowers directly on the limestone surface, as this could cause a permanent ring mark!
  5. Never stand red wine, tea or coffee etc, directly on your limestone fireplace -stains and ring marks could result!
  6. Never stand coal or logs directly on the fireplace surface – damage and stains may result!
  7. Never plaster down to, or on to a limestone fireplace – the stone will take up colour from the plaster.

The above list of “don’t do’s” for limestone, can also be found here on the Money Saving Expert Forum, as I posted it there in the first instance, prior to writing this article!

Real Fires, Limestone Fireplaces and Cracking caused by heat!It is important to be aware that limestone can crack from the heat of a real fire!

A limestone hearth section, which is close to a real fire can become extremely hot, whilst the edges of the hearth can stay relatively cool. Given the right length of time, a limestone hearth, is virtually guaranteed to crack!

There are things you can do to overcome this type of problem… One of the most common, is to have a limestone hearth cut / sectioned and re-sealed for real fire use!

To achieve this, the hearth is cut into a number of sections, and then reassembled with joins… These joins act as expansion joints. In addition to this, the hearth is normally then backed by high temperature cement, for extra protection!

The joints in the hearth should now prevent the stress spreading across the surface and therefore prevent the hearth from cracking – a heat plate could also be used, to assist in protecting the limestone from the heat and scratches.

People Skills: Eight Essential People Skills

Being able to communicate effectively with others requires people skills, and here’s eight essential ones:

1. Understanding people

People not only come in all shapes and sizes, but they come with different personality types as well. You may want to brush up on how to communicate with the four main personality types by reading this article. Indeed, dedicated students of communication could do little better than purchase Bem Allen’s excellent introduction to personality types, ‘Personality Theories’.

People are individuals, with as many similarities from one person to the next as differences. To communicate most effectively, each will require you to communicate with them in their own individual preference style, using their language, their body gestures, and their pace and intonation.

So how do you find out how best to communicate with someone? Spend time with them! Don’t expect to meet someone off the street and talk intimately with them within a minute. Understanding a subject takes time — whether that subject is an academic one or another human being.

2. Expressing your thoughts and feelings clearly

Our brains can only take so much information in at any one time. We are bombarded with messages every second of the day, so to compete with the barrage of ‘noise’ a person faces, your message needs to be clear, succinct and to the point.

It is very worthwhile taking time to plan your communication — no matter by what method it is delivered — to ensure that you are taking the least amount of time to express the right level of thought in the most receptively simple manner.

3. Speaking up when your needs are not being met

Just as important in business relationships as in domestic ones, speaking up to ensure that your needs are met is a fundamental part of any relationship.

You may wish to read this article on assertive, not aggressive, communication, but in a nutshell there are six different ways you can be assertive and not aggressive in your communication: by rehearsing your behaviour prior to the communication; by repeating your communication (the ‘broken record’ technique); fogging; asking for negative feedback; tentative agreement with negative feedback; and creating a workable compromise.

Assertiveness is a useful communication tool. It’s application is contextual and it’s not appropriate to be assertive in all situations. Remember, your sudden use of assertiveness may be perceived as an act of aggression by others.

4. Asking for feedback from others and giving quality feedback in return

Alongside assertiveness techniques, the giving and receiving of feedback is a key communication skill that must be learnt if you want to have any hope of developing long-term business relationships..

Toastmasters International teach a useful feedback and critical review technique — first give a sincere compliment, follow this with any practical suggestions for improvement, then wrap up with further sincere praise. It is known as ‘CRC’, or ‘Commend, Recommend, Commend’, a three-step model for excellence in giving quality feedback.

Remember, too, that truthfulness is a subjective view. What you may find distasteful in someone may be equally desirable from another’s point of view. As I learnt, by living through a series of IRA atrocities in England and watching the US political and media reactions, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

5. Influencing how others think and act

We all have the opportunity to influence how others think and act. All the way from Cialdini’s Persuasion principles down to simple violence (of a verbal or physical nature), we are daily able to shape the thoughts and actions of those around us.

From something as simple as smiling and saying, “Hello!” as a way of influencing someone’s mood, to leading by example during an intense period of change, there are many ways of either leading to or drawing out of others required behaviours and attitudes.

Remember that an attitude leads to an emotion, which in turn leads to an action. Shape the attitudes and you have a more reliable way of predicting actions.

6. Bringing conflicts to the surface and getting them resolved

I confess: I’m not a ‘natural’ at handling conflict. It’s taken marrying into an existing family of three children to help this only child come to terms with conflict.

It’s taken me three years of living in my family to realise it’s possible to co-exist in conflict and not get personally involved. But it wasn’t an easy lesson to learn, I can tell you!

But being a step-father to teenage children has helped me learn the importance of bringing conflicts and resentments to the surface where they can be more easily managed.

Your employees might be harbouring secret resentments of you, and unless you find out what they are, bring these ‘dark secrets’ out into the light of day, you are never going to be able to successfully deal with them.

It’s embarrassing, potentially humiliating and requires a strong level of patience not to launch straight into a defensive mode, but giving people the opportunity to express their concerns, disappointments and anger, face-to-face, gives you tremendous opportunity to put things right, or help them see where their thoughts and feelings are misplaced.

7. Collaborating with others instead of doing things by yourself

I’m a shocker at this, but learning to delegate and share has been instrumental in growing my own business.

The quickest way of burying yourself in excess detail and workload is to try and do everything yourself. Yet sharing the workload can be the smartest thing you will ever do. Here’s why:

‘Leverage’.

Leverage is taking your skills and abilities and allowing others to magnify your work capacity. You train them to do what you do and you do something else.

One bricklayer can only lay a certain number of bricks in an hour, but that same bricklayer can train 15 mates to lay bricks and suddenly those 15 bricklayers are building monuments while the first bricklayer is out securing more work for them.

While the 15 are laying bricks, the original bricklayer can be learning how to perform advanced bricklaying, or learn sales strategies, or learn supervision skills.

The lesson is simple: try and do it all yourself and the ‘all’ will bury you; teach others to do what you do and you build a monument.

Jesus taught 11 men how to do what he did. Then he left them to carry on while he moved on to other things. From the simple act of one man teaching 11 others, a church and the largest, most influential religious movement the world has ever known was born.

8. Shifting gears when relationships are unproductive

Sometimes you need to walk away. Sometimes you need to jettison unhealthy cargo. And sometimes you need to take drastic steps to regain balance and momentum.

‘Shifting gears’ can be as simple as changing the venue of your supervision meeting from a dark office to a nearby cafe. Sometimes it can be moving the meeting from straight after lunch to first thing next morning, when clearer heads might prevail.

Sometimes it can mean increasing the level of assertiveness in order to ensure the point you are making is being received. Sometimes it might mean bringing others into the meeting so that the other person understands the implications of their attitudes or actions.

And sometimes it can mean helping them find a more meaningful and satisfying role outside of your sphere of influence.

As a management psychologist I clearly remember one organisation I consulted to: the only way out of a staff impasse was to remove the impediments to progress. Which meant helping key protagonists find new work outside of the organisation. Sometimes culture change can only be effected in a quick way by bringing in an entire new team and throwing away the dead wood. But only as a last resort.

Conclusion

The whole idea of being people skilled is knowing or finding how to bring out the best in others in any situation, rather than their worst. By mastering these eight essential people skills you dramatically increase your chances of achieving the best outcomes out of your interactions and business challenges.

Four Differences Between Couplers and Power Dividers

In the field of radio technology and telecommunications, one is sure to come across two fundamental passive device RF components, couplers and power dividers, which are used to split/combine or divide electromagnetic signals. Although they are the same class of device, there are some notable differences between them in how the signals are split/divided as well as in terms of their actual roles.

Power dividers and couplers are passive devices as they have no source of energy to add to the signal that goes through them. Power dividers are terms often used interchangeably with power splitters – in reality, the two devices are separate components and have different characteristics.

The similarity lays in the fact that they both split/divide power in two separate lines. The devices differentiate themselves as far as physical characteristics and applications.

A power splitter is a unidirectional passive device that cannot be used as a power combining device. It has an input port with higher resistance than its two output ones. This allows it to be used as a calibrating and leveling device.

A power divider is bi-directional (reciprocal) and all ports (one input and two output ports) have the same resistance. This allows the device to be able to not only divide one signal in two lines but also two signals into one transmission line.

A directional coupler is a passive device with four different ports: It has an input port, transmitted port, couples port and an isolated port. The device allows one signal coming in through an input port to be divided in two signals of different amplitude (on two lines that are coupled).

The main line has the larger output while the coupled line is smaller and the difference can be calculated through a “coupling factor”. This device has several applications and can be used in amplifiers, receivers and transmitters as well as in measuring devices.

A special case of directional coupler is the hybrid coupler (3 dB directional coupler). This coupler divides the power equally. The phase difference of the output determines what type of hybrid coupler is at hand: a 90 degree hybrid or a 180 degree hybrid. These special couplers are important for devices such as mixers, power combiners, dividers, modulators, and some radar antennas.

Here are four differences between couplers and power dividers:

• Power dividers have 3 ports and are used to divide a signal in 2 parts with equal power – they provide equal amplitude and phase balance splitting of the signal between the two output ports. A directional coupler has 4 ports and provides unequal splitting except as in hybrid couplers. It splits the power so that what comes through the first port is split in a part that goes through port 2 (the coupled port) while the remaining power is conveyed through the third port. The 4th port is isolated and no power is sent through it (ideally at least).

• A 4-port coupler uses no internal resistor and has one “terminated” isolated port. 3-door dividers, instead, have no internal resistor and have no isolated port.

• Couplers have no loss (no power radiates out of the network or is converted to heat). Power dividers offer no isolation as in the case of the simplest of the power dividers, the T-junction.

• Power dividers are used mainly for signal sampling so that two characteristics of a signal (frequency and power for example) can be measured. They are also used to distribute power to more than one antenna. Being bidirectional they can be used as power combiners. Couplers are used to sample signals by grabbing a fraction of the energy from a transmission line. This fragment is proportional to the transmitted energy which can then be measured without stopping the flow. They can also be used as a means to insert another signal within a system.

How Do I Get the Upper Chest Line? For Big Defined Pecs

The chest is one of those show muscles that everyone wants to get. The bigger, wider and more defined the chest the better. It is the main front muscle that everyone will see, no matter if you’re wearing a shirt. The upper chest line will even be visible from the top opening of your shirt, revealing a big defined chest below. But how do you go about getting that upper chest line, it is one of the hardest parts to hit on your chest, this article will show you how.

Build the chest as a whole

The reason people get that great looking line that splits between the pectoral muscle is because they have a well-built chest overall. They have built it up in muscle mass so much that they naturally get that line.

This means training your chest with the correct exercises and bulking it up with proper nutrition. Once you have gained significant amounts of muscle mass you will naturally get that upper pec line you are looking for.

Perform exercises that work

There are many exercises for the chest, the bench press being the most common only for the chest, but as a bodybuilding exercise in general. The only problem is that it is not the best exercise for the chest. The bench press actually activated the triceps and front shoulders a lot more, taking away from the stimulation of the chest.

Then there are isolation exercises like dumbbell chest flyes. These are great for directly hitting the chest muscles, but don’t allow for much weight to be used which won’t create a very big anabolic response from your body.

The best exercise for your chest is a hard body weight exercise. The dips are the best exercise for overall chest development and surprisingly will hit the upper middle of your pecs extremely well. The key is to perform them correctly.

Many people perform dips with a way to close grip and close together elbows, this will mainly hit the triceps. To really hit the pecs you must widen the grip to above 30 inches, once you do this you will really feel it in your chest. Then you must make sure your keep your elbows out as far as possible. Lower down and get a good stretch in your chest, then squeeze the pecs together on the way up. This will totally obliterate your chest muscles.

Perform the dips with every chest workout, focus on them only. Aim to increase the reps each week, you may only be able to get 1 more rep each week, as they are a hard exercise. Stay consistent for a few weeks and you will be amazed at the development of that inner pec line.

What are OFNP, OFNR, OFNG and OFCG? Understanding Fiber Optic Cable Fire Ratings

Just like copper cables, NEC (National Electrical Code) requires indoor fiber optic cables be marked with their fire and smoking ratings. NEC requires all indoor fiber cables be marked correctly and installed properly for its intended use.

According to NEC, a building’s inside area is divided into three types of sections: plenums, risers and general purpose areas.

:: What is a Plenum area?

A Plenum area is a building space used for air flow or air distribution system. In most buildings, the area above a drop ceiling or under a raised floor is used as the air return (source of air) for the air conditioning. Those drop ceiling and raised floors are also where fiber cables are often installed. If those cables were burning, they would give off toxic fumes and the fumes would be fed to the rest of the building by the air conditioner. As a result, people could be injured even though they are a long way from the fire.

:: What is a Riser area?

A Riser area is a floor opening, shaft or duct that runs vertically through one or more floors

:: What is General Purpose area?

All other area that is not plenum or riser and on the same floor is a general purpose area.

:: Fiber Optic Cable Fire and Smoking Rating Markings

OFNP Cables:

OFNP stands for Optical Fiber Nonconductive Plenum. OFNP cables have fire-resistance and low smoke production characteristics. They can be installed in ducts, plenums and other spaces used for building airflow. This is the highest fire rating fiber cable and no other cable types can be used as substitutes.

OFCP Cables:

OFCP stands for Optical Fiber Conductive Plenum. OFCP cables have the same fire and smoking rating as OFNP cables but they have a conducting armor or central strength member which is usually steel. OFCP cables must be properly grounded at both ends. As a result, OFCP cables can not be installed in the same cable tray or conduit as power cables.

OFNR Cables:

OFNR stands for Optical Fiber Nonconductive Riser. OFNR cables are used in Riser areas which are building vertical shafts or runs from one floor to another floor. OFNR cables can not be installed in plenum areas since they do not have the required fire and smoking rating as Plenum rated cables. OFNP plenum cables can be used as substitutes for OFNR cables.

OFCR Cables:

OFCR stands for Optical Fiber Conductive Riser. OFCR cables have the same fire rating characteristics as OFNR cables but they have conducting armor or central strength member which is usually steel. OFCR cables should also be properly grounded at both ends. OFCP cables can be used as substitutes for OFCR cables. OFCR cables can not be installed in the same cable trays or conduits as power cables.

OFNG Cables:

OFNG stands for Optical Fiber Nonconductive General-Purpose. They are typically used in horizontal cabling, single floor applications. OFNG cables can not be used in plenums or risers. OFNP and OFNR cables both can be used as substitutes for OFNG cables.

OFCG Cables:

OFCG stands for Optical Fiber Conductive General-Purpose. They have the same fire characteristics as OFNG cables but they have conducting armor or central strength members which is typically steel. OFCG cables should be properly grounded at both ends. They should not be installed in the same cable tray or conduits as power cables.

What You Need To Know About Water

Importance Of Water In The Body

Water makes up about 55-60% of the body weight of an average human being. The lungs are nearly 90% water, blood is 83% water, brain and lean muscles are 75% water, bone is 22% water, and body fat is 10% water.

Therefore, a person can survive for up to 4 weeks without food but no longer than 3 days without water. Water performs many vital functions in the body, it:

  • moistens tissues such as those in the eyes, nose, and mouth,
  • regulates body temperature,
  • protects body organs and tissues,
  • lubricates joints,
  • helps prevent constipation,
  • lessens the burden on liver and kidneys by flushing out waste products and toxins,
  • transports nutrients and hormones around the body, and
  • maintains the delicate balance of mineral concentrations within the cells.

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish your water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

How Much Water Do You Need Every Day?

A general rule of thumb is to take your body weight in pounds divided by 2 and you get the number of ounces required per day. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of fluid or slightly over nine 8-oz glasses.

Clean, filtered water is your best choice of fluid and it has 0 calories!

Other beverages that count as your daily fluid intake include regular and decaffeinated tea and coffee, broth, fruit and vegetable juices, milk, energy drinks, sweetened beverages and artificially-sweetened diet drinks. However, watch out for the amount of caffeine, sugar, artificial chemicals, and sodium that may be present in these beverages as over consumption of these ingredients may lead to long-term health problems.

Harmful Effects Of Dehydration

Common causes of dehydration include intense diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or excessive sweating. Exercise and not drinking enough water during hot weather may also cause dehydration.

Dehydration may lead to fatigue, migraines, constipation, muscle cramps, irregular blood pressure, kidney problems, and dry skin. There is even a risk of death if you become severely dehydrated.

Make sure you catch the early symptoms of dehydration:

Thirst. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Don’t forget to hydrate throughout the day, especially during hot weather or when you exercise or drink alcohol. For every alcoholic drink, it is prudent to replenish with a glass of water.

Hunger. Most people mistake hunger as the indication to eat, whereas actually, you may be dehydrated. When you feel hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes to see if the hunger pangs disappear.

Dark yellow/orange urine. Urine is usually pale yellow to clear when you have sufficient water intake. Dark color or strong smell indicates you need to drink more water.

Dysfunctional “Enhanced” Waters

Pure, clean water is tasteless. However, many children and adults, spoiled by years of drinking sweetened beverages, are reluctant to drink the perfectly healthy water.

As a result, the food and beverage industry has created many “enhanced” waters sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners and fortified with everything from vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, to electrolytes, oxygen, and even fiber in every imaginable color and flavor to entice you to drink them!

But if you take a closer look at the ingredients of these “enhanced” waters, you will discover that most contain many unsavory ingredients that may wreck havoc on your metabolism, hormones, and other body functions.

The following are examples of some dysfunctional waters and their unsavory ingredients. They are all sweetened with sugar or some other artificial sweeteners.

Aquafina (Berry Burst) – contains potassium benzoate (preservative), aspartame (artificial sweetener), acesulfame potassium (artificial sweetener), calcium disodium EDTA (additive)

Bot (Berry) – contains pure cane sugar (9g/container)

Dasani Plus (Pomegranate Blackberry) – contains maltodextrin (presence of gluten), potassium sorbate (preservative), potassium benzoate and EDTA, acesulfame potassium, sucralose (artificial sweetener)

Fruit20 essentials (Cranberry Raspberry) – contains maltodextrin, sucralose, sodium hexametaphosphate (additive), sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate

MiO (Berry Pomegranate) – contains propylene glycol (solvent), sucralose, acesulfame potassium, polysorbate 60 (emulsifier), red 40 (dye), blue 1 (dye), potassium sorbate

Propel Fitness Water (Kiwi-Strawberry) – contains sucrose syrup (4g/container), sucralose, calcium disodium EDTA, acesulfame potassium

Snapple Antioxidant Water (Strawberry Acai) – contains sugar (33g/container) and caffeine (60mg)

SoBe LifeWater – various flavors sweetened with sugar (24g/container)

VitaminWater (Tropical Citrus) – contains crystalline fructose (sugar 33g/container)

Voosh (Acai Blueberry Pomegranate) – contains crystalline fructose (sugar 33g/container)

On the other hand, there are two relatively healthier flavored waters with minimal junk ingredients:

Glaceau Smart Water – vapor distilled water and electrolytes

MetroMint – purified water and mint

Why Carbonated Waters Are Not Good For You

The normal pH (acid-alkaline) range in the stomach is between 1.5 to 3.5, meaning it is highly acidic. This acidity creates an ideal environment for digestive enzymes to break down food.

When you drink water with added carbonation, it neutralizes the stomach acid momentarily. Carbon dioxide combines with water to form carbonic acid, which rapidly dissociates to form hydrogen ion and bicarbonate. The bicarbonate, being alkaline, increases the pH in the stomach, making it less acidic.

Therefore, regular use of carbonated water will not only disrupt your buffering system which regulates the pH in the stomach, but also exhaust your stomach’s parietal cells in producing stomach acid. This can eventually lead to digestive problems and the growth of harmful bacteria (which prefers a more alkaline environment) in the stomach.

This also applies to other carbonated drinks such as sodas. What’s worse is that sodas contain phosphoric acid, which causes your body to leach calcium and contributes to osteoporosis.

Do Not Drink Alkaline Water

For the same reason mentioned above, alkaline or ionized water is not recommended for regular use. Contrary to some claims, alkaline water is not a healthy drink, in particular if the pH of the water is strongly alkaline. Long-term use of this type of water will interfere with the stomach’s buffering system.

Tap, Filtered, Reverse Osmosis, Distilled, Or Bottled Water?

Tap water is not ideal for drinking. Depending on where you live, tap water may contain parasites, chlorine, fluoride, dioxins and other contaminants. If you have old pipes in the house, it may even have have traces of lead.

The reality: there is no perfect source of water, but the best is tap water that has been treated with a compressed carbon filter found in counter-top or under-counter systems. This type of filter removes heavy metals, chlorine, bacteria, viruses, and other impurities but leaves valuable mineral ions, such as calcium, magnesium, iodine, silicon, and selenium in the water. (Please note that pitcher-type filters generally is the least effective and are certified to remove only copper, mercury, cadmium, chlorine, and zinc.)

Unfortunately, carbon filters are less effective in removing fluoride. Why is fluoride added to our water supply? There is now overwhelming evidence that fluoride does not prevent tooth decay but instead, may lead to dental fluorisis (staining and pitting of teeth), weakened bones, low thyroid, and a host of other illnesses. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended mothers not to use fluoridated water when using formula to feed their baby.

Reverse osmosis removes about 80% of the fluoride and distillation 55-60%, but they also create acidic and demineralized water. One way to remedy this is to reintroduce minerals into the water by stirring in some Himalayan or sea salt. Bear in mind that reverse osmosis is expensive and it wastes a lot of water. Depending on the brand, it takes anywhere from 2-10 gallons of water to produce one gallon of drinking water.

Bottled water is no guarantee of purity either and it is less regulated than tap water. Of course, the best comes from a natural spring. If you choose to drink bottled water, you should know:

  • where the water comes from,
  • whether it is purified, and if so, how? and
  • whether the water is tested for any contaminants.

Please be aware that about 40% of bottled water in the market is just regular tap water, which may or may not have been treated. Aquafina and Dasani are two examples of such water.

What’s more, you should never leave plastic-bottled water in a hot car as the higher temperature can result in chemicals leaching into the water.

Plastic bottles have become an enormous environmental problem for humanity. As good as it feels to haul your plastic bottles to a recycler, do you realize that 86% of plastic bottles never get recycled, leaving a massive number of them sitting in landfills and floating like massive plastic islands in our oceans? According to the Sierra Club, the U.S. alone uses 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the water bottles we toss into landfills every year, releasing many toxic by-products into the environment.

Best Temperature For Drinking Water

If you drink iced water, your stomach will have to hold it until it reaches body temperature before releasing it into the small intestine for use. Drinking iced water alone is not that bad unless you are already dehydrated as the iced water cannot be put to use immediately.

However, drinking iced water with food may compromise your digestion as the extra time the water stays in the stomach results in the dilution of your stomach acid and digestive enzymes. If you find that this is your problem, don’t drink so much water, particularly iced water with your meals. For those who are deficient in stomach acid, drink 15-30 minutes before eating. Nevertheless, remember to chew your food properly before swallowing instead of swallowing half-chewed food with a gulp of water.

The best is to drink warm (second best is room temperature), clean, filtered water. It is the most natural and economical way to replenish your body’s fluid requirements.

If you have a need to flavor your water, add a few fresh mint leaves, fresh ginger, sliced cucumber, strawberries, apple, or lemon/orange peel into your water. There is no reason to spend your money on all the fancy waters that may not even be good for your health.