Detachment – How Can I?

When life becomes one crisis after another, when emotional pain and endless drama becomes "the norm" what am I supposed to do? Over the past few decades I've received this question a lot. Recently it has become the # 1 question. Why is that? What do I suggest to families who have arrived at this place? How about this: My suggestion is to do NOTHING! Stop "doing." Quit "doing." No longer "DO" anything.

Let's talk about letting go and what that looks like (sometimes referred to as clearance). So there – I've said it; The "D" word, The Ultimatum, The Nuclear Option.

When to use it

Let's start with "when to use it." Detachment is usually the last resort – although it does not have to be. This is most effective in the life of an "adult" loved-one who has demonstrated that they no longer have any ability to control or stop substance use on their own.

This person has a boatload of extremely negative consequential piling up all around them, but they continue to drink and / or drug. Often this pattern has gone on for years and gets progressively worse. Sometimes there were a few "okay" periods of time, but they did not last.

Sooner or later everyone sets down to a banquet of consequences. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

This person may or may not have a job (approximately 77% of all substance dependent men and women get up and go to work most days). They may function well enough on the job to be able to keep it. Many will even point to this fact as proof that they are not addicted. In reality most perform poorly on the job, miss work, and generally have a negative attitude about almost everything. This in turn, leads to "pour me another drink."

Others move from job to job and eventually become unemployed. Some will tend to isolate and spend most or all of their time with their first love, AOD (alcohol and other drugs).

Family life, parenting, being the father, mother, spouse or sibling they once were were no longer a priority. In fact, it's probably not on the radar screen at all. Borrowing money, promising to quit, burning bridges, causing heartache to anyone who comes close to them is the "new norm." When small children become part of this picture it gets even more ugly. This is not sad; this is pathetic. If not now — when? When do the family members say, "We've had enough?"

This, dear reader, is the time to detach. This is the time to "do nothing."

I also like to remind people of "The Three C's of Al-Anon" which are: "you did not cause it, you can not cure it, and you can not control it." What you can do is help the person to "want to" quit. If the "want to" is there, anyone can have recovery.

What does treatment look like? How do I do it?

Before I explain how it works, I need to add one caveat. I was recently in San Antonio conducting a workshop. The Program Director of this wonderful facility, a woman named Trish, reminded me of something important I sometimes tend to overlook. She said the family needs to be collectively prepared for this step (intellectually and emotionally) and that for this to be effective, all need to be "on board." Having emotional support and guidance regarding the necessity for such action, what to expect and being prepared is critical to the success of this step. This is not going to be a "walk in the park." and having good support is critical.

So, how does one begin to do this? My first suggestion is to get a pen and paper and write out a plan.

Everyone's situation will be unique, and obviously I can not tackle each one here. Having said that, I suggest, at a minimum, that you jot down some bullet points you want to cover when you share your concerns with your loved-one. Even writing out what you want to say, word for word, is perfectly fine. Anticipate what the person will say or object to beforehand. Keep in mind that measurement is rarely forever. In fact, when you confront the person you have decided to detach from, put a time-frame on it (let them know how long it'll be till you are willing to regain communication). Once you have reached this point, you need to remember that it's too late for another broken promise or a few days of absence to mean anything.

So, here we go. You've prepared – both mentally, and you have a plan on paper – and you are ready to have a firm, but loving discussion with this person. A time to confront / talk with the person has been set and agreed to. You've asked this person to let you share your concerns and you simply read what you want to say or speak to them based on your written bullet points.

My suggestion is to determine a minimum period of total abstinence you are requiring from your addict or alcoholic – before you are willing to talk to or see them again (thirty or sixty days should be the minimum). Begin by emphasizing to them that you love them very much and that it breaks your heart to see them continue with their substance abuse. Let them know that you (and all family members involved) have made this decision. You can list possible living options for them on their copy of your letter. Tell he or she – they must decide which relationship is the most important – the one they currently have with their alcohol or drug use, or their own family. You must make it crystal clear that they have to choose – because they can not have both.

There is so much more I could write on this topic – especially when I think of all the different scenarios possible. Please do your homework before trying this, seek wise counsel, read all you can and get a second opinion.

When it's all "said and done" this tough love approach often works when nothing else will. Addiction, left alone will only get worn over time. What I remind people about in my book and in counseling is that "recovery is a process – not an event."

This is why I sometimes suggest that you "do nothing." The phrase "let go and let God" applies to the family members and friends – as well as the person seeking recovery. Detachment is one of the most difficult things that a person (especially a mom) may ever need to do.

Stay strong, seek support and know with confidence that no matter what happens – you have "done" everything you know to do.

Insulation Audits – Find Out if Your Home Needs Additional Insulation

Does my home need more insulation? To answer that question you have to determine the amount of insulation you have in place already and then figure out if an additional amount would be a true savings. Typically, a newer home is going to have more insulation than an older model, but the best way to find out how well your home is insulated is to conduct an energy audit.

A certified auditor for will do a complete insulation inspection as part of a routine energy audit. You can contact your state energy office or local utility company for referrals to an audit or find out if your region offers free or subsidized audit programs. When the auditor comes in, he or she will identify exactly how much insulation you already have and how much more you need, if any. That person will also make other recommendations on how you can save additional energy in your home.

If you're rather do the assessment yourself, it's possible. You'll need to hunt down your insulation in a few places – the attic, along exterior walls, under floors and in cold crawl spaces or basements. In each spot, you'll need to measure the insulation thickness you have in place, identify the insulation type used and the condition that the insulation is in.

Your home may use one standard type of insulation or a varied mix. To identify the kind of insulation, use this mini-guide:

1. Fiberglass insulation – typically lightweight, and yellow, pink or white and installed in either loose-fill or in blank form (batts or rolls).

2. Cellulose insulation – loose fill cellulose is made of recycled newsprint, waste paper and cardboard. It's typically installed in small flat pieces.

3. Rock wool loose-fill insulation – Denser than fiberglass and usually gray, this product is a loose-fill.

First, check the attic and then check any walls or floors that are adjacent to unheated or cold spaces, like the garage or basement. If the structural elements, such as the wall frames, are exposed, you can easily inspect the insulation and measure its thickness. If the walls are finished, like with an exterior wall, cut off the power and remove an electrical outlet cover. Use this access point to test your insulation.

When you're done, compare your findings with recommended R-Values ​​issued by the Department of Energy. Their web site has a handy calculator ( ) that lets you type in your zip code and house details to find out your ideal insulation levels.

Unintegrated Primitive Reflexes May Be Hindering Your Life

I came across the subject of Primitive Reflexes a few times in the last year, and really took an interest about a month ago when I decided to do a course online about it.

Doing anything in my body has always been hard for me, and learning about the unintegrated reflexes made me realise why.

It so happened that the only person trained in NZ on the Rhythmic Movement website, lives 8 mins away from me I’ve had one session so far with her, she’s a kineseologist, and she worked getting my body switched on to achieve success integrating the reflexes.

These reflexes can be integrated at any age in life.

It appears from all my symptoms and the journey in my life, I have an active fear paralysis reflex and actiive moro reflex. It all makes so much sense now. Just even reading the course has me in tears because I relate to it all so much.


A reflex is an automatic, repetitive movement that is instinctual and aids in development, as well as development of the brain. We have many reflexes, like blinking, but the one’s I want to talk about are primitive reflexes. These are reflexes that are formed in the womb and hopefully become inactive in the toddler stage.

Sucking, and grasping of the hands, are primitive reflexes. These reflexes, and others, are designed to transform into more sophisticated movements, and therefore become integrated. They form the foundation, and development of balance, mobility, hearing, speaking, vision, learning and communicating.

Unintegrated Reflexes

There are many reasons why these reflexes don’t phase out, ie: lack of movement as a child, stress in the mother in pregnancy, illness, environmental toxins and many more reasons. They can be retriggered any time in life, often due to trauma and stress, and because of this, can cause a whole host of issues ranging from anxiety, ADHD, depression, learning disorders, sensory disorders, lack of confidence, extreme shyness, vision and hearing problems, addictions, autism and constantly feeling overwhelmed.

Reflex movements are the foundation of our nervous system, they originate in the brain stem, so they really are about survival, and staying unintegrated cause someone to be constantly in fight or flight. Body parts can’t move independently and freely, and can cause weak muscle tone, aches and muscle tension, fatigue, and a lot of effort to complete tasks.

Key Childhood Reflexes

Fear Paralysis Reflex

This reflex should ideally be integrated before birth and is about freezing, as in a deer in the headlights. Without integration it may cause the Moro reflex to not integrate as well.

Some long term effects of an unintegrated Fear Paralysis reflex are:

  • Underlying anxiety
  • Insecurity
  • Depression
  • Extreme shyness
  • Fear of groups
  • Fear of separation
  • Phobias
  • Withdrawal from touch
  • Sleep and eating disorders
  • and many more

Moro Reflex

Sometimes called the infant-startle reflex, this is an automatic reaction to sudden changes in stimuli, ie: bright lights, sounds, temperature, touch, movement. Unintegrated, a person can feel hypersensitive to any incoming stimulation. This can cause a change in blood pressure, cortisol and adrenaline levels, and breathing rate.

Some long term effects of an unintegrated Moro reflex are:

  • Poor digestion
  • Weak immune system
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Difficulty adapting to change
  • Difficulty filtering stimuli
  • hyperactivity then fatigue
  • Difficulty with visual perception
  • Hypersensitivity to sound, light, touch, movement, smell
  • Emotional outbursts, easy to anger
  • and many more

Other reflexes that can be unintegrated are Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex, Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex, Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex, Spinal Galant Reflex, Oral, Hand and Foot Reflexes.

Integrating Reflexes

There are different body movements to do daily in order to integrate these reflexes. I’ve read a lot of wonderful testimonials about the changes that can happen. I will keep you updated about what happens for me in my sessions and from doing the course online.

Commercializing Stem Cell Therapy

So far, we have got to know about the positive applications of these therapies, which are transplanted into the body with living cells to treat, or eliminate the disease from the patient’s body. The most common type of cell therapy is the hematopoietic therapy. Harvested from the donor’s body for the host to develop bone marrow, it is a well-known cell based therapy, with its self-renewal and differentiation capabilities into many cell types.

Stem cell based therapies have the potential to treat numerous disorders, especially blood and immune related disorders. A wide range of these therapies including allogenic cell therapies, autologous therapies, and mesenchymal these therapies has shown a major breakthrough for curing many medical conditions such as sclerosis, spinal cord injury, diabetes and strokes in the clinical trials. More recently, we have the boon of induced pluripotent stem cells, having the same characteristic as adult embryonic stem cells that can be cultured to produce embryonic stem cells. These cells are important for another key reason- tissue engineering.

Over the last few decades, cell therapies have received medical and commercial successes for emerging as a novel therapeutic option for many cellular dysfunctional diseases. If data are to be believed, the global market of stem cell therapy had touched an average of $410 million revenues by 2009, and the market was expected to grow double and reached a total of 100 million people in the US.

And due to its numerous medical benefits, medical companies and research institutes want to bring its clinical applications from bench to bedside.

Although open to many controversies and debate, we have enough evidence to prove that therapy is indeed an effective therapeutic application to address a range of diseases, including cosmetic procedures like hair regrowth, skin redefining and etc.

In addition to this, the growing number of cell based clinical trails hold true to the potential for stem cell efficacies and its applications. A recent study as of June 2010 highlighted the capabilities of cell therapies through 2000 (approx.) clinical studies on biomedical research.

While the manipulation of embryonic cells is limited and controversial, a greater chance to develop engineered tissues from iPSC is viable for the medical interventions in serious conditions. And this is the underlying reason, why public and society demand for more clinical trials of stem cell based therapies and their applications in the medical fields.

Hence, it is important to commercialize the use of stem cells for rapid development of biomedical research, and improve public health through awareness. Some important aspects of the commercialization of stem cell therapy are as follows as below.

  1. Commercialization aids the development of novel technologies and intellectual property for certain stem cell research, augmenting their value in the therapeutic market.
  2. It aims at stimulating economic growth as well as improving the public health.
  3. It advocates for grants or funds to be used in the clinical research to generate more commercially viable services and products in the market.
  4. It is indeed important for the translation of public knowledge.

Despite these growth factors of commercialization of stem cell therapies, it faces many challenges from specific governing bodies, which hinders its positive endeavors from creating effective and curative treatments for many incurable diseases.

In order to take advantage of scientific, economic and medical potential of these cell research; commercialization is indeed a basic requirement, and of course in a compliance with regulators of certain authorities. And when this happens, we would expect to get sustainable and constructive medical benefits through commercialization in the field of this therapy, while respecting the public trusts.

Niacin For Psoriasis

Vitamin B3 (niacin or nicotinic acid) is also touted as a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. If only that were true! Unfortunately, this B vitamin is toxic in high doses and may harm rather than help psoriatics. This has been the sad experience of those taking 100 milligrams or more daily.

"Troublesome side effects often occur, most commonly the 'niacin flush' – intestinal reddening and itching of the face and upper body that usually diminishes after several weeks. levels, and, unfortunately, atrial fibrillation (rapid beating of the heart), "revealed Dr. Stephen Barrett, a psychiatrist, consumer advocate, and board member of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) in "Health Schemes, Scams and Frauds."

"The flush is not considered dangerous but the sort of doses that produce it (greater than 100 milligrams) can, in a few individuals, produce other undesired side effects, including nausea, headache, cramps and diarrhea. in excess of two grams daily) have been reported to produce skin discoloration and dryness, decreased glucose tolerance, high uric-acid levels, and aggravation of peptic ulcers and even symptoms that recur some of those accompaniment hepatitis, "according to Dr. Sheldon Saul Hendler in "The Doctors' Vitamin arid Mineral Encyclopedia."

Regular exposure to sunlight has helped patients with psoriasis. Since vitamin D is made in our skin when we are exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays, quacks claim that oral doses of the same vitamin will benefit psoriatics.

Unfortunately, it does not work that way. Oral doses of vitamin D are not recommended. Excess amounts are dangerous and can cause headache, fatigue, muscle weakness, blurred vision and kidney stones among others.

"High doses of vitamin D can be toxic." The major effects of vitamin D toxicity are hypercalcemia (high levels of blood calcium) and soft tissue calcification. Symptoms of hypercalcemia include anorexia, nausea, vomiting, constipation, tiredness, drowsiness and, when more severe – confusion, high blood pressure, kidney failure and coma, "Hendler said.

"The margin of safety between the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D and the level which is toxic in some people is very small; the smallest for any vitamin. of supplementation with this vitamin should be discouraged, "concluded Dr. Myron Winick, director of the Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in "The Columbia Encyclopedia of Nutrition." (Next: Are fish oils effective for psoriasis?)

To strengthen your body, take Immunitril – your first line of defense in maintaining a healthy immune system. For details, visit .

What Factors Affect Lung Capacity?

Your lungs are one of the most important organs in your body. They enable you to breathe and get a good amount of oxygen. They also help in eliminating carbon dioxide from the blood. The oxygen will help the body become healthy and vibrant. One of the things that will signal how healthy your lungs are is the lung capacity.

What is lung capacity? This is the maximum amount of oxygen that your lungs can accommodate. It is the amount of air that you can breathe in. When you are still young, the lung capacity is usually very large. However, there are certain factors that affect it. Let us discuss some of them.

The first factor is age. The body of children functions better than the body of an adult. This is because as you age, your body ages as well and the organs are not as healthy as before. This is the same for your lungs. The older you become, the less air you can hold. This is the reason why a lot of older people breathe quickly and try to catch their breath.

The second factor is food. That's right! The food that you eat has an effect to lung capacity. For instance, if you consume fruits that are rich in vitamin C and E, you can improve the ability of the lungs to hold air. Vitamin C and E are important vitamins and antioxidants that clear the organs from any harmful substance. Examples of these are citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables. Now you have more reasons to eat your veggies. Foods that are high in fats, for instance, are not good because they will increase your weight – which brings us to the next item.

The third factor is weight. According to studies, people who are obese have less lung capacity. This is because a lot of energy is being used to distribute nutrients in the body. You will need more oxygen to make sure that your entire body gets the amount they need. This is the reason why when you see obese people, you can easily notice that they breathe fast especially after doing physical exercises.

The fourth factor is medical condition. If you have some respiratory problems, it could affect the capacity and the overall work of your lungs. If you think your breath becomes shorter and shorter, you should immediately consult a doctor.

There are many ways on how you can improve your capacity. However, the best known method is through breathing exercise. You should always be concerned on how you breathe. You need to take in oxygen while slowly filling up your lungs. This will help the lungs expand more. You can then exhale slowly in order not to shock the lungs. Improve your lung capacity and you will have more amount of oxygen inhaled.

How to Give Good Oral Sex – Amazing Tips to Drive Your Woman Wild Into Mind Blowing Orgasms

Do you want her to squirm with delight, take a glimpse of that lip biting moment, and get her to cloud nine through a perfect oral technique? Almost all guys would definitely say 'yes' in unison, but first, you have to master your oral technique. Here's a little secret: If you go down on your woman good enough to make her moan in pleasure, she'll definitely adore you to the fullest. So, get down to business and read up for ways on how to give a good oral sex.

Despite the humor and myths, giving your woman oral sex is easy. Simply let your tongue take over all the work together with your hands exploring her whole being. As your tongue do the action, find a movement that drives her mad, wild, and crazy, and stick with it.

One of the most common tone techniques is called the figure eight. This is done by means of running your tongue in a figure eight pattern over the clitoral area. If you can manage to do this the right way, doing other techniques will be very easy for you. One crucible tip that you also have to keep in mind is to never stop exploring. Just because you've found your woman in a satisfying state and leaves her weak at the knees with your one technique does not mean you have to stop reinventing and introducing other hot licks. Therefore, you should explore more, learn more, and apply it as one way of giving good oral sex to your woman's most intimate sexual region.

5 Movies to Watch Before Living in Student Housing

These movies paint an entertaining, if not always realistic, picture of living on campus. Moving into student housing can be an exciting event in anyone's life. It's no wonder that so many movies have portrayed the experience. Check out these five movie dorms before you make the move yourself.

Pitch Perfect (2012)

Filmed on Louisiana State University's campus, Pitch Perfect puts Beca in the Barden Bellas right before their big acapella competition. Beca lives on-campus in one of the universityorms, for which real Pentagon was the stand-in. If you think Beca's dorm is standard, you're in for a surprise. Since the average student is underaged, many campuses restrict or forbid alcohol consumption. You can still have a swell time by getting involved with student groups that sing and enjoy other activities.

Animal House (1978)

Considered in most respects to be the definitive college movie, Animal House tells about Delta Tau Chi fraternity's decision to stick it to the Dean and put on a huge homecoming parade that no one will ever forget. Animal House captures the fun spirit and fast friendships roommates often form over the course of living together.

Monsters University (2013)

This movie, a follow-up to Pixar's Monsters, Inc., follows scanners Mike and Sully back when they attended Monsters University. Mike and Sully are randomly paired in the freshman dormitories in the center of campus, conveniently located next to the dining hall. They bunk the beds in their room. Partying is again part of the atmosphere, and things get hairy during the Scare Games. For student housing, different schools have different policies on rooming with friends or being paired with a random roommate. Like Monsters University, random roommates can sometimes lead to sharing friendships.

Legally Blonde (2001)

Elle Woods makes it look easy to get into Harvard Law and into a dorm. She brings Bruiser, her pet chihuahua, to live with her in room at Harvard, and quickly bedazzles the room with pink and glitter. On-campus student housing does not usually allow furry friends-you'll have to settle for a goldfish or a turtle. But you might be able to get away with the pink and furry decorations.

Accepted (2006)

Good-natured slacker Bartleby and all of his friends create their own school-South Hampton Institute of Technology-to trick their parents and friends into thinking they're hooked. The cool thing about the South Hampton's rooming situation is that it is totally communal. While this is not a style too many colleges use today, it does make for some fun parties. Most schools have moved to apartment style housing, which allows roommates a little bit more privacy.

Although these are all fun looks into dorm life, they're not always true-to-life. Today's college freshman does not have to live on-campus or in a frat house as crazy as Delta Chi Tau. There are often a variety of student housing options located near college campuses, both on-campus and off. Choose the student housing option that works best for your budget and lifestyle.

Welcome to the World of Sidings – What is Stucco?

Within the world of siding, stucco is considered as one of the most elegant, stylish materials available on the market. Traditional stucco siding is made by combining Portland cement, sand, lime, and water. This mixture is then applied, sometimes in multiple coats, for a household exterior that is both durable and eye-catching.

Many consumers do not realize that there are actually two types of stucco currently in use. The first is what people might refer to as the "real" stucco, since it's the same type that's been around for years. "Real" stucco, also known as cement stucco, is a solid material that gets directly applied to the surface of a home for an almost rock-like covering. By contrast, the new, synthetic form of stucco is much more hollow than its cement counterpart. Synthetic stucco consists of foam board materials that are applied to the surface of the home and then given a classic stucco finish. While the two types of stucco are quite similar in appearance, synthetic stucco offers the added benefit of superb insulation.

Of course, as is the case with all siding materials, stucco comes with its own specific set of pros and cons.

First, the advantages:

Stucco is resilient and long-lasting

When it comes to siding materials, stucco is certainly one of the most durable. Stucco is heat and fire resistant, which makes it not only strong, but safe. Additionally, stucco usually comes with a weather-resistant finish that minimizes cracks and helps it withstand the test of time.

Stucco means easy maintenance

Unlike other siding materials such as wood, stucco is reliably easy to maintain. When it comes to classic stucco, the occasional power wash is usually enough to do the trick.

Stucco paints an elegant picture

There's just something about the look of stucco that people really seem to like. Of the various siding materials available, stucco is the one surface that can truly play a role in a home's distinctiveness. For starters, stucco comes in an array of colors. Even better, stucco can be customized with original etchings and designs for a look that is unquestionably unique to a particular home. In fact, when it comes to extreme originality, stucco is one of the most cost effective ways of adding custom trim and design to the exterior of one's home.

Hooray for insulation

Synthetic stucco provides an added element of insulation to the home that can save the average homeowner a fair amount of money on heating and cooling costs in the long run. In fact, stucco provides even better insulation than foam-backed vinyl insulation, making it the number one choice for energy efficiency.

Of course, stucco does come with a few disadvantages.

Stucco is expensive

In the grand scheme of siding materials, siding can certainly cost a pretty penny. Those with limited home improvement budgets might find that stucco is, unfortunately, out of reach.

A longer installation process

Stucco is one of the more difficult materials to install, and as a result, stucco installation tend to take longer than the average vinyl or wood siding installation. Homeowners who wish to have stucco siding installed should prepare themselves for a few extra days of construction.

And a few quick specifics

Cement stucco is extremely rigid. So if the foundation of the home on which it is installed begins to shift, then the stucco is likely to crack. Synthetic stucco is less rigid but has been known to trap moisture, causing walls to become rotted and degraded. In addition, synthetic stucco has been blamed for mold problems occurring in homes with moisture damage. The good news is that installation techniques have improved to reduce the chances of these types of problems. Additionally, modern-day synthetic stucco is now fitted with a grooved foam backing that allows moisture to properly drain out.

The bottom line

Stucco provides the perfect combination of durability and aesthetic appeal. While it does have its
drawbacks, stucco can instantly work to increase the value of one's home. If your budget allows for it, then treat yourself to the timeless elegance and curse that that has become conspicuous with stucco.

Replacing Wooden Dowels in Chairs

Many furniture pieces tend to fall apart over time. This is especially common of antiques or any furniture which may bear the brunt of weight, such as chairs. This may be particularly true of chairs with backrests made of dowels. Certainly, when it comes to antiques, the goal is to maintain the unique, aged piece for as long as possible. And as it relates to more modern day styles of furniture, the goal is to maintain each piece for as long as the style remains chic and to the owner's liking, as well as to maintain it for as long as possible in order to conserve economically. Should mishaps happen to a chair's backrest, however, you may be able to salvage it by replacing the wooden dowels on your own.

Start by removing the weakened or broken dowel. If the dowel does not come loose on its own, you may have to use pliers, a claw hammer, or even a drill to loosen it, depending upon the original design and method used to secure the dowel. This will need to be done for the joints at both the top and the bottom of the backrest.

Next, remove any residual of the original glue that remains in the dowel joint. You can use rubbing alcohol or a water and vinegar mixture to soften the remaining glue. If the dowel joint is large enough to allow it, use a cloth to remove the residual glue by wiping it away. If the dowel joint is too small to allow that, however, you may use a drill with a small 1/8 drill bit to gently drill away the residual glue. As with removing the dowel, this will have to be done on both the top and the bottom of the backrest, anywhere wood glue residual is observed.

Use the dowel you've removed to gauge the approximate width and length of the wood dowel you will need to replace it. Depending upon any breaches or other defects, this may not provide an exact measurement, but can certainly assist in a useful estimation.

Once the replacement dowel is measured, cut, sanded, or any combination of these preparatory actions, apply wood glue on either end. Also, apply a nominal amount of wood glue into the joint in which the replacement dowel will be inserted.

Then, carefully insert the replacement dowel into the joint. Use a damp cloth to remove any excess wood glue that may spill over once the dowel is inserted. You may use a clamp to secure the replacement dowel until it dries completely.

Once the replacement dowel is completely dry, tested as secure, and the clamp removed, paint the new dowel with the same or a very similar color as the reminder of the chair. If the chair is stained, stain the new dowel with the same or a highly similar finish.

With minimal investment, a hardwood dowel can be used to salvage your chairs and any number of other furniture pieces which may cost a reasonable amount if replacements are purchased. A dowel's versatility and a woodworker's imagination can make so much using so little!

Here’s How Shipping Container Homes Help the Environment

It is a great thing that people are becoming highly concerned about the environment and the planet. There are stringent efforts taken by people to take care of the planet in all aspects. With the increased awareness about the environment, people have started focusing on reducing the carbon footprint that actually ruins the environment.

One major way to reduce the carbon footprint and take care of the Earth is through recycling. There are many materials that can be recycled such as paper, glass, metals and plastic. When it comes to the construction industry, using the shipping containers for building is the best way to save the environment.

Numerous cargo ship containers can be found abandoned in shipyards but these can still be used in a great way. Many people have opted for this growing trend as it is possible to recycle these containers and transform them into great looking homes. Well, here is a guide that details the environmental benefits of the shipping container enclosures.

Recycling Intermodal Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are designed to be durable and long lasting. And, during their lifespan, these containers travel several thousands of miles across the world. When the shipping container owner maintains them well, it is possible to make them last for even a decade. But as we live in a disposable society, people trend to replace old things when they buy new ones. This applies to the shipping containers as well.

As there are numerous shipping containers up for sale, it is possible to recycle them and use them for various purposes. One best way to give life to these is by building container homes. These homes offer several benefits such as,

  1. Environment friendly
  2. Unique looks
  3. Functional and flexible
  4. Affordable
  5. Durable

Shipping Container Enclosures are Like Building Blocks

Designing an environment friendly home is possible with the use of shipping containers. These container enclosures are considered to be building blocks that are stacked together similar to the building blocks that children play with. These can be stacked either side by side or one on top of the other as per the requirement. It is possible to build a custom living space by creating large open rooms. This is possible to achieve by placing the containers side by side and taking off the internal walls.

Besides being restricted to homes, the shipping containers can be used for container site office structures as well. It is possible to weld the containers together to create a multiple story structure that is sturdy. People can create bespoke homes that are unique and eco-friendly with shipping containers.

Container Enclosures Use Less Cement and Concrete

The process of manufacturing cement and concrete is harmful to the environment. So, using recycled shipping containers to build a structure is definitely environment friendly. It is still important to use concrete but it will be used only to lay the foundation, which causes less harm. The amount of concrete depends on the size and structure of the building. If it is a taller building, then it will require more foundation to support its overall weight.

Reduced Carbon Footprint is No More a Dream

In addition to building shipping container enclosures using recycled containers, it is also possible to reduce the carbon footprint by incorporating other such recycled products. In tropical climates, wooden shingles made using sustainable sources or recycled materials can be used to cover the exterior of the building. Even plants with large bushes or trees can be used to give shade to the building from the sunny climate.

Adding an external roof in order to provide shade is also a feasible option. This can be done by installing solar panels to reduce the energy consumption. Though solar panels aren’t sufficient to generate all the power that is needed, it can be used to power some appliances, which will reduce the use of electricity at least to a specific level. Some of the notably things that can help in achieving an eco-friendly home are,

  1. Rainwater harvesting
  2. Recycling bins
  3. Compost heap
  4. Vegetable and fruit garden

Get Enough Space for a Garden

Eco-friendly homes constructed using recycled shipping containers help in creating enough space for a garden that can grow vegetables and fruits. The organic waste that is disposed of can be placed on the compost heap, which fertilizes the garden. It is also possible to collect the rainwater and use the same to water the garden. If everyone makes the effort to create a garden in your home, it is possible to achieve a greener Earth.

Affordable Homes

An eco-friendly container enclosure made out of recycled shipping containers will definitely be great. In addition to being environment friendly, such homes are also affordable as these are built using recycled and reused materials. And, the overall carbon footprint is also lowered as such homes will be installed with solar panels and high-quality insulation.

Faster and Easier to Build

When it comes to construction of container enclosures, time will not be a major concern as such structures are easier and faster to build. It would not take a long time to construct shipping container homes and container site office structures as there is minimal effort needed to raise such structures.

Though there are many environmental advantages associated with such homes, these are not perfect ones. One major downside is that these homes are considered to be temporary shelters by many people. As the containers are not too spacious, it will result in less free space for the occupants. The notable aspect is that these container homes need expensive steel reinforcements when they are stacked together.

Fluoride – From Smokestacks to Your Family's Drinking Water

Fluoride and fluoridation of drinking water has been in the news a lot laTely. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the whole issue and I guess it's time for me to put my two cents worth in. I decided to write this article based on a couple of things.

One, I have been doing a lot of research on water quality and water filters for a new book (more on that later) and what I am learning has really opened my eyes. Two, I just read an article in my local paper that the Water Authority that supplies my tap water just raised the level of fluoride in my water and it got me a little riled up.

Is not Fluoride Good For You?

So, why all the fuss about fluoride? Is not it supposed to be good for our teeth? What's the big deal? In this article I'll try to sum up my opinion based on the research I've been doing.

Take Your Medicine- Whether You Want It Or Not!

First, I might as well come right out and say it. I thing it is WRONG to put fluoride in drinking water. Whether or not it is as bad for you as some people claim, the fact is that it is the only chemical added to our tap water in order to do something other than make the water safe to drink. And yes, I said chemical. (More on that in a minute.)

Fluoridation basically amounts to forced involuntary medication of entire communities with a substance that is known to be toxic at certain levels. Listen to what one dentist was quoted as saying in my local paper (emphasis is mine): "You're not getting harmed by it more than the other chemicals and things found in the water." Am I the only one who thinks that is a pretty strange endorsement?

Smokestack Scrubbers

Which brings me to the "chemical" comment. See, while many supporters of fluoridation will say that fluoride is a natural component of lots of water, the reality is that almost all of the fluoride that is added to tap water is an industrial waste product from the fertilizer industry. The most widely used one is fluorosilic acid or FSA. FSA is recovered from smokestack scrubbers and sold to municipalities across the United Stated to fluoridate their drinking water. So instead of having to pay to dispose of this very toxic chemical waste product, fertilizer companies make a profit by "enhancing" your family's drinking water with it. I bet they have more lobbyists than you do. Smokestack scrubbers!

If that's not enough to make you question the practice of fluoridation, consider this. Many studies are now concluding that any benefits that might come from fluoride are from topical use, not ingestion. In fact, this was just one of the reasons the EPA Headquarters Professional's Union came out with a statement opposing fluoridation as early as 1999. This group is made up of about 1500 scientists, engineers, lawyers and other professionals who work at the EPA headquarters in Washington, DC. By the way, they listed political pressure to raise the fluoride levels as the main reason they issued the statement. Gotta love those lobbyists.

Have We All Been Scammed For Years?

I could go on and on but I'll try to wind this up soon. One other thing to be aware of is that there is a lot of research now that questions whether fluoridated drinking water has any positive benefit for dental health. Studies comparing dental health in areas with and without fluoridation are frequently showing little or no difference. In fact, most of Europe does not fluoridate their water and their statistics on tooth decay are about the same as the US.

Bottom line- in my opinion there are enough concerns about possible health issues with fluoridation to really tick me off when I read that my local water authority is not only adding a known toxin to my water but has increased the level. I mean, SMOKESTACK SCRUBBERS for Pete's sake! Anybody know a good lobbyist?

Arc Hammock Stand – Finding What You're Looking For

Arc hammock stands are easy to assemble. They are very affordable and very pleasant to the eye. They will blend in with your landscaping. They are sturdy enough to take a nap while quietly walking side to side. With a numerous amount of styles in stores and on the Internet, you can find the perfect design for you.This style hammock is used when you do not have adequate trees or other anchors for typical hammocks. The design has won some nice awards. Arc stands can be very enjoyable under a shade tree in your backyard, or on the deck by the pool. If you get the arc hammocks with metal stands, you can transport them with you on vacation or for a lazy afternoon at the beach. No matter what corner of your lawn you want to put the hammock, you will find the style that accents your taste.

Arc Hammock Stands can be aluminum for a very modern look. The aluminum arc hammock stands are light weight which will allow it to be transported with you on vacation. The metal stands can be dismantled for travel. For the cottage look, you can opt for wicker arc stands. They can be stained or died different colors. For a more natural look, you can get an arc hammock made of various types of wood. Your hammock stand can be made of bamboo wood also. This is harder than steel. The bamboo will not get nicks or dents. The best thing about the bamboo is they are wonderful for outdoor use. The bamboo arc stands are waterproof. Most arc hammock stands will support up to 450 pounds safely, so you will be able to lounge with your special someone. All the styles can be assembled in a few minutes.

Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot are major chain stores where the arc stands can be purchased, but there are a number of retailers that offer them, both on the Internet and off. As a consumer, you should always be careful to do your research and find out what style of stand will work best with your home and what your budget is.

Pricing of the stands range from $ 159.00 up to $ 600.00. The metal stands are on the lower end of the price range. Wicker and wooden stands are a bit higher in price. The fancier your hammock stand, the more expensive the cost. To get a quality piece, expect to spend approximately $ 300.00. Do your homework, and research. Look at various reviews to make sure you get a quality arc hammock stand.

Proper Land Drainage is Important!

Many property owners are not concerned with yard drain until they have a problem. Water naturally follows the path of least resistance to lower elevations and problems arise when original pathways constructed by the builder became blocked or were inadequate from the beginning. Not having suitable slopes and drains on a property to direct or divert water runoff can allow the water to find a path directly to areas where you would least want it such as foundations, under pavement, in your basement etc. Flooding basements and cracked foundations are good wake-up calls to the issue but addressing problems beforehand can save you thousands of dollars, and headaches, down the road.

The two categories of water supplying a lawn are surface and subsurface. Subsurface water refers to the water below the first layer of topsoil which can not permeate any lower due to the tightness of the soil beneath. Also known as the water table, all soil has this layer of water with differences in depth depending on the area. Although a high water table can be a problem in some areas, in general, surface water is the cause of excess subsurface water as too much surface water penetrating the ground can raise the water table. Surface water sources are rainfall and irrigation, such as sprinklers, and can be particularly problematic in urbanized areas which contain numerous impervious surfaces.

Streets, driveways and parking lots simply leave now for rainwater to go. As with a lawn, the runoff will either pool in depressions or flow to soil around the edges causing saturation in another area. When soil reaches 100% saturation, with little or no drain to assist in excess water removal, not only do pools of water collect, but the saturated soil takes much longer to dry out. This excess water retards plant growth by decreasing aeration in the root zone and decreasing nutrient supplies. Additionally, excess water in the soil will increase freezing damage in the winter months. Having proper drainage on your property will prevent water from collecting around your building or home foundations, minimize soil erosion and help protect your vegetation from death and disease.

Surface and subsurface are the two types of drainage solutions and both are vital protections for buildings and lawns. Surface drainage refers to the natural pathway taken by the water following rain or irrigation and is achieved through gutters, downspouts, surface grates, exposed French drains and by landscaping and grading your lawn to provide maximum surface water removal with minimum soil erosion. Subsurface drainage refers to pipes and drains placed in the lawn which remove excess water that has gravitated underground, either through holes in the soil or simply from soil saturation. Water travels through soil by capillary action, which is much like a paper towel – when one side gets wet, moisture will slowly travel to the dry side until the entire substance is seated. Once the soil is fitted, subsurface French drains are needed to remove excess water. In doing so, subsurface drainage keeps plants healthy, helps soil to warm earlier in the spring and leaves less water to freeze in the winter, minimizing frost heaving damage to your home or building.

Problems associated with improper drainage

Improper drain can lead to pools of collected water in your lawn and / or around your home or building, both of which pose a threat. When collected close to your foundation, standing water can potentially cause foundation cracks, foundation movement and flooded basements. When collected on your yard, pooling water gives mosquitoes a breeding ground and can leave your grass susceptible to disease.

Foundations: The most cost issue associated with improper drain is your foundation. Soil naturally expands when it is wet and contracts when it is dry and as long as all the soil underneath your building expanses and contracts uniformly, it is not likely to cause a problem. Damage is done, however, when only part of the soil heaves or settles. This differential movement is most often due to differences in soil moisture. Improper drainage on one side of the building can leave wet soil that remains waterlogged for days or weeks (or in worst cases leaves constant water arounded your foundation walls) while the other side of the structure has soil that dries quickly following a rain.

The wet side has expanded, and remains so, while the other side contracts as it dries, and this action pulls the walls of the structure away from one another. Repetition of this process will eventually produce cracks in the foundations, walls and / or ceilings. Foundation repairs are not usually covered by homeowner's insurance policies and can cost as much as $ 20,000 to $ 30,000 or more to fix, not including cosmetic fixes to drywall, door jams, bricks, flooded carpets, flooring, etc. Anyone who has experienced a flooded basement or cracks due to heaving can attest to a costly fix! In addition, the drainage issues which caused the problem will still need to be addressed.

Basements: The same issue associated with foundations applies to your basement, with the added problem of letting water into your home through the cracks. In addition to damaging carpets, flooring, drywall and furniture, the water increases your basement's moisture creating the perfect environment for the growth of bacteria and mold. Mold enters your home as tiny spores, which need moisture to grow and multiply. They can grow on almost any surface and they digest and destroy your home as they do. When disturbed, mold spores are released into the air and can be breathed in by you and your family, aggravating allergies and asthma. A small number of molds produce mycotoxins which can induce nausea, fatigue, headaches and lung and eye irritation when a person is exposed to high levels. Furthermore, mites and spiders can proliferate in a moldy basement as mites feed on mold spores and spiders feed on mites.

Waterproofing your basement can help protect your home and is a good insurance policy, but your first line of defense against a wet basement is improving the drainage in the law and all areas surrounding the home or building. According to most engineers and home inspectors, 85 to 95% of wet foundations and interiors of buildings can be made dry by improving exterior drainage around your house or building.

Mosquitoes: We are all familiar with one of the biggest nuisances of the summer but were you aware that mosquitoes need less than an ounce of water in which to lay their eggs? While standing water is generally the egg-laying site for mosquitoes, some species lay their eggs on damp soil and, if your lawn has poor drainage, leaves your grass as a perfect home for these pests. Needing only two to three days to hatch, your property needs to be able to dry out quickly enough enough either to prevent females from seeing your yard as a prime location or to dry out eggs that have been laid.

With females laying up to 300 eggs at a time, your yard can easily become infested, driving you and your family inside on warm summer nights. Along with the itching and aggravation of bites, mosquitoes bring diseases such as West Nile Virus, Malaria, Dengue and encephalitis. All are potentially fatal. Your pets are also at risk, as mosquitoes are the hosts for heartworm and can communicate this disease to dogs, cats and other animals. Additionally, West Nile and encephalitis can be transmitted to horses. The American Mosquito Control Association instructs property owners to not only eliminate standing water around your home or building, but to ensure proper drainage on your property to eliminate this potential hazard.

Turf Diseases: As the first impression a visitor or customer has of your home or business, it is no doubt important to you to have well-maintained and inviting landscaping around your property. Death and disease of grass and plants is not only ugly, it is a waste of money invested as well as expensive to correct. Excess water on or in your lawn violates the growth of grass, plants and trees by robbing them of their air and nutrient supply and leaving them intolerable to attack by fungi, moss and mold. Fungi, the most common cause of lawn diseases, are microscopic organisms that spread by air- or water-borne spores. The spores act like seeds, sprouting to life and infecting its environment when conditions are right.

Rhizoctonia Yellow Patch, Red Thread, and Pythium Blight are some common fungi diseases that appear in moist environments resulting from extreme soil and surface moisture. Many of the fungi diseases are difficult to control once they appear and damage may remain for two to four years following treatment. While fungi can be applied to help prevent or control lawn diseases, several strains are resistant to fungi. The best prevention is the absence of favorable conditions, including improving moisture conditions on top of, and under, your turf.

Mushrooms also need extreme wet conditions to grow. While mushrooms do not harm grass, many of them are poisonous and can be a danger to children and pets that ingest them. Poisonous mushrooms have no features to distinguish them from nonpoisonous mushrooms and identification, therefore, is only possible by those educated about the various genera and species.

Erosion: In addition to the issues associated with standing water, water moving too quickly off your property causes problems as well. As raindrops fall on your lawn, if there is sufficient intensity, the impact will dislodge small particles of soil which can then be taken off by the rain as it flows. This soil will either be taken off to sewers or deposited in another area of ​​your yard, depending on your drain conditions. Over time, original drainage measures, such as ditches and trenches, can become filled with soil, defeating their purpose and redirecting how water moves on your property. Erosion is accelerated where plant cover is sparse and spaces between plants become larger, leaving no protection for your soil during intestinal rains. Proper grades and slopes stop water from carrying away your soil by keeping water runoff at an acceptable rate. Slowing down water that is running off too quickly gives soil particles time to settle out of the water and back onto the ground before being transported too far away. Additionally, healthy plant life with deep roots protects and holds on to your soil.

Benefits of proper drainage

Structural Protection: Having a comprehensive drain system in place protects your structure by preventing water's damaging contact with concrete. Water that does not evaporate and is not absorbed by soil sometimes goes somewhere and, oftentimes, it sits under and around your foundations. Drainage solutions will keep the moisture content around your foundation stable and uniform, keeping contraction and expansion to a minimum. This maintains the integrity of foundations and helps prevent cracks and water seepage.

Plants and Landscaping: Proper soil moisture is essential for plants and lawns to establish a healthy root system. Removal of excess water in the soil deepens the root zone and increases the air in that area. The increased aeration, in turn, increases the supply of nutrients, many of which need the air to convert chemically before they are accessible to plants. The deep root system which grows will then holds on to the soil and protect it from erosion. Additionally, water will not pool in areas of your property, leaving turf susceptible to disease, and help you maintain the pleasant aesthetics in which you invested.

Recreational Areas: Implementing drainage solutions, recreational areas, such as parks, golf courses and athletic fields, improve traffic ability and increased use of the property. Drains help nature clear out excess water and allow turf to quickly recover from rain. The result is that the recreational area can be open for extended periods of time and for more intensive use, resulting in increased revenue.

Spring showers are not the only cause for concern

The Midwest is notorious for extreme weather changes with a drought one year and floods the next. While St. Louis has an average rainy around 40 inches, in 2008 we had 50.72 inches pour down on us, with nearly half of that amount coming between June and September. If you have weathered winter snow and spring rains, do not let down your guard thinking you are safe for another year. Summer can sometimes bring surprises and the added deluge to your soil will only intensify existing problems requiring more extensive repairs.

A note about water tables

Water table refers to the depth at which the soil always contains 100% water. In some areas the water table is higher than the bottom of the foundation, requiring a complex system of drains and sump pumps to draw the water away from your structure. High water tables can lead to devastating damage to your foundation or foundation and is sometimes cited by professional waterproofers as the cause of a problem because of the expensive measures to correct it. The National Association of Home Builders, however, estimates that only five percent of wet basements are due to high water tables. If you have water damage, you are most likely dealing with surface runoff problems which can be corrected through slopes, grades and drains in your yard, along with proper gutter systems. Modern building codes prevent contractors from building basements where water tables are high and if your home or building is less than 30 years old you can be reasonably sure a high water table is not your problem. If you have a wet basement, be aware of this issue! Inform yourself by contacting your local building inspector and getting information about your local water table.

Do you have drainage problems?

Try this experiment: dig a hole one foot across and two feet deep and fill it completely with water during a dry spell. If the hole drains completely in less than five minutes or more than 15 minutes, you have a problem. A more simple way to spot problems is to look at your lawn during and following a rain. If you have water flowing quickly across the yard removing topsoil during a rain or pools of water on driveways, parking lots or lawns following rain, then you have a problem. Other indicators include yellowing plants, yellowing or thin turf although it receives plenty of sunlight and has no obvious disease, fungus or mold on the lawn, stagnate water smell and water seeping through sills, basements and garages.

Types of drainage solutions

A comprehensive drain system will include surface and subsurface drainage solutions. Surface drains remove the large amounts of water that fall in short periods of time and subsurface drains remove the excess water absorbed into the soil. The two systems work in conjunction to maintain the moisture in your soil at the proper level for protection of your landscaping and your home or building.

Gutters: Your first line of defense against foundation flooding is your gutters! During a moderate rainfall, the average sized roof sheds 160 gallons of water runoff per hour. To prevent the runoff from being deposited on the ground next to your foundation, a proper gutter system is essential. Not only is the correct gutter size for your roof area a consideration, but an insufficient number of downspouts is equivalent to having no gutter system at all. Downspouts are needed to handle the volume of runoff your roof will collect and splash blocks must be used to direct the runoff away from your home or building and out to your drain system. A better solution to splash blocks, however, is to install PVC piping to the end of the downspouts to remove the water 6-10 feet or more away from your home or building. Furthermore, gutters must be properly maintained to prevent clogs and gutter joints must be inspected for leaks. Having a suitable, effective gutter system should be the first step in your drain solution.

Grades: To protect structures, the most important grades on your property are those within 10 feet of your foundation or basement. This will prevent the water you just diverted away from the structure from soaking back through the soil toward your structure. Sufficient grades vary depending on who you consult but a safe measurement is a 1 inch (or more) drop for every 1 foot out for the first 10 feet. This results in at least a 10 inch slope for the 10 feet closest to your foundation walls. The rest of your yard should contain a continuous slope down to keep the water moving away from your foundation.

Surface Drains: Surface drainage can be defined as the controlled removal of water that collects on the land from rainfall, irrigation, snowmelt or hillside seeps. As gravity is the primary force driving this type of system, it involves shaping the land with a continuous fall in the ground level to provide a downhill passage for surface runoff at an appropriate rate of flow. For grass drainage channels, or swales, a minimum slope of 1% to 5% is desired. The contours of the land then direct the runoff to a suitable collection site, such as ditches, basins or storm sewers. At the low point of the ditch or intercept point, area drains are installed which are connected to a main or submain and prevails the water from pooling in your yard. The underground pipes need a minimum slope of 1% or 1/8 inch per foot to keep water moving through them. If the ditch is long, several smaller drains should be spaced in a series, rather than one large drain in the middle, to help prevent erosion.

For driveways and other hardscapes, channel drains and exposed French drains are ideal. These linear trenches collect sheets of water that run off, as concrete and asphalt absorb none of the water as it falls. The open area of ​​the channel / exposed French drain is much greater than an area drain and is better suited to the greater volume of rain it will need to collect. Additionally, channel drains allow designers to modestly slope hardscapes, rather than requiring numerous, extreme slopes to direct runoff to area drains.

Subsurface Drains: While the benefits of subsurface drainage are hard to see because they occur within the soil, the difference will be noticeable in your plants, grass and soil. Subsurface drainage is the removal of gravitational water from the soil, which is accomplished by placing French drains underground to collect and remove water to a drain outlet. Subsurface drains do not remove water necessary for plants, only excess water, which flows to the drains by gravity. Sub-Surface French drains consultant excavating a sizable trench and lining it with a filter or geotextile fabric, which helps prevent soil particles from entering the French drain. The trench is then filled with clean rock / gravel and a proper sized perforated PVC pipe for the application is placed in the gravel.

Once the trench is filled with grave, it will be covered with a layer a permeable filter fabric, installing a mixture of high quality topsoil / sand and lastly installing new sod on top (assuming this French drain will be located in a grassy area). French drains function when water in the soil enters the gravel bed, flows into the perforated pipe and travels through connecting solid pipes to a discharge point. A general guideline for placing French drains is to use 4 – 6 inch perforated pipes, bury them 18 to 36 inches deep and space them 15 to 20 feet apart. In the trenches, pipes must maintain a .1% to a 1% slope. Soil construct, acreage and turf usage, however, may require variation from these guidelines and a professional can help you determine the best solution for your situation.

Discharge Outlets: Once water is collected in the pipes, it must be diverted to a suitable outlet to be released. This outlet can be a street gutter, a storm sewer or an onsite pond. Using a pop-up drain emitter, water can be diverted to a water-safe area on your property away from your home or building. Pop-up drain emitters are opened by the hydrostatic pressure of water flowing through the drain pipe, releasing water collected from gutters, downspouts, basins, grates, etc. If placed close to the street, the discharged water can flow over the curve and into the street without having to drill through the curve. The emitters then close as water flow diminishes, preventing debris and animals from entering the end of the pipe and clogging the system. Property owner or maintenance personnel need to make sure they perform routine maintenance on the pop-up emitters. This can be done by removing the pop-up to make sure there is no debris washed down from the roof gutters or surface drains that could potentially slow down the water flow in a heavy rainfall event.

Cleanout Connections: It is a good idea to install clean connections on all drain systems integrated into your property. This is commonly overlooked until pipes need to be accessed by cameras or cleaning equipment years after the initial installation. Access points are needed for the following three reasons. 1) Routine maintenance, and especially if routine maintenance is neglected because the contractor will have to access the pipe to unclog them for a fee of course. 2) If the systems functionality has declined. 3) If damage has occurred to the drainage system pipes from heavy equipment or excavation during an on-site construction project. Although cleanouts add cost to your project, it is highly recommended to have cleanouts installed on all downspout connections, all French drain systems and all long mainline pipe runs over 80 'without drain grates in which you can access.

Before contracting to have you installed installed, make sure cleansouts are integrated into your drainage system. It has been calculated that the cost to cut into a pipe and then patch it because there are no cleanouts will be a minimum of twice the cost as having them installed in the first place. Sometimes it is 5-10 times as much when access is needed to an existing French drain without clean connections. So do not gamble because when you're installing a system with materials that last decades, you unduly will need access; if for nothing else, routine maintenance. A professional drain contractor should be able to help you determine the best clean points for the system their bidding for your property.

Finding & Hiring a qualified drain contractor

Doing your homework on potential drain installers is important. You need to be assured that your contractor is insured and has the skills needed to properly install your systems. Be wary of "special deals" or the "great deal from a friend of a friend" – these will most likely cost you more dollars and headaches in the long run.

Tools for Locating a Potential Drainage Contractor: The Better Business Bureau is a great starting point in your search for a contractor. They maintain an online directory for BBB-accredited businesses in your area. You can check not only how long a contractor has been in business, but also any complaints filed about their operation. Angie's List is another great tool for recommendations, as you can get testimonials from actual customers. Even if you "hear of a guy from a friend," check their references online. See what other people's experiences have been and choose a pool of potential contractors from the best you can find.

Portfolio and References: After you have a list of potential people for the job, ask to see a portfolio of their previous jobs and whether you can see former worksites. If possible, see their handiwork in person, perhaps driving by a home or business during or after a rain. This will help you not only to understand their drainage plans for your property, but to insure you they can indeed get the job done right. If you can speak with former customers, ask if they were satisfied with the work, whether the contractor stayed within budget and if the project was completed in a timely manner. You need to look for the best person for the job, not the lowest bid. You want the problem to be fixed upon project completion; you do not want to be dealing with drainage problems or, in worst case scenarios, legal problems, long after the contractor has left.

Bids: Get at least two bids for your specific job and get them in writing. Furthermore, make sure you understand the difference between the bids. Higher bids do not always mean a contractor is trying to get more money into his pocket. Better materials, more skilled workmanship and better reliability may be worth a slightly higher price. Keep in mind that, usually, you "get what you pay for."

Insurance: An important issue when hiring a contractor is his insurance. If your contractor does not carry general liability insurance or worker's compensation, the property owner can hold responsible for any accidents which occurs while work is being done. To protect yourself, ask for proof of insurance. Reputable contractors will understand that you are doing your research and will not be offended. Be wary of any that try to convince you this is unnecessary – they may have something to hide.

Skills Needed: Make sure potential contractors have the skills needed to do your job. Is your contractor a drain specialist or merely a landscaper who has dumbled in drainage installation? Can he use a transit to analyze your slopes if needed? Does he know the proper depths and spacing for pipe placement in your yard? Most importantly, is he diverting your excess water to a suitable outlet? Purposefully diverting water to a neighbor's yard, when runoff did not already naturally flow to that yard, can result in huge fines. As the property owner, you will be held responsible for your contractor's end result.

Equipment, Supervision & Project Site Management: Find out who will supervise the work and how often will they be onsite to see that the plans are followed? Will the project continue daily until finished without interruption other than weather promises? You need to know who to call if you have a question or problem. Furthermore, does your contractor have access to the equipment needed to get the job done?

Products: Which products does the contractor use and are they the best in the industry? Be wary of contractors that offer a big discount because they will use materials left over from a previous job. While you may be interested in saving a few bucks, are you sure these materials are suitable for you project and needs? Having the project done with substandard materials that will not last never ends well for the property owner. You might have to have the system torn up and repaired a couple years later, costing you double down the road.

Warranty: Make sure there is some sort of a warranty with your drain system installation once it is complete. More importantly feel confident enough with the company that they will even be in business to fulfill that warranty agreement. See if they can give you a past customer that you can call to talk to where they had a warranty issue that the contractor successfully resolved for them. Many specialized drainage companies offer a minimum of a 12-month warranty of full functionality, some contractors offer more.

Warning: We know of a family who hired a contractor that a friend's neighbor had used. Although they met with him and thought he seemed like a "good guy," they did no research on him or his business and references were not checked. After realizing that no real progress had been made in spite of the thousands of dollars that they had paid him, they began to investigate. As it turns out, the friend's neighbor had had similar complaints and was dissatisfied. If the homeowners had spoken to the people for whom the contractor had worked, rather than going by their impression of his personality, they would have been spared a good chunk of change. In addition to leaving their home a complete mess, they lost all the money initially invested and had to pay someone else to finish the job. Furthermore, because they had not done their due diligence regarding the contract, they had little legal recourse. The lesson: always err on the side of caution! Do not assume that a contractor has your best interests at heart; look at their previous jobs and, if possible, consult people for what they have worked. Most people are happy to tell you about their experiences with a business, whether good or bad, and businesses with a solid reputation are not wary of you seeing their previous work.

Copyright © 2010 Team Green Outdoor Inc. All rights reserved