How to Maintain the Right Water Pressure in Your Plumbing

Improper water pressure is a common plumbing problem. If you have such a problem, the first step toward diagnosing and remedying it is measuring your static water pressure.

This is easy enough to do with a water pressure measuring gauge, which most hardware and home improvement stores carry. This simple device consists or a measuring gauge and a standard hookup like those on a garden hose that you can screw onto an exterior hose bib or your washing machine’s cold or hot water bib. To check your house’s static water pressure level, just screw on the measuring gauge, open the faucet, and the gauge will show how much pressure you have on whichever floor the faucet you are using for the check is located (the water pressure on a home’s second floor is typically 8 psi lower than on the first floor).

So, what is the proper water pressure level? For residential plumbing, it’s best to be within a range of from 50 to 70 psi. Plumbing fixtures for home use are designed to withstand a maximum pressure of 80 psi, so at 80 psi and above, you risk damaging your fixtures. On the other hand, if the pressure is much below 50 psi, you may experience annoying problems of insufficient water flow.

In the case that your water pressure is too high, you’ll need to adjust your PRV (pressure reducing valve) which should be located near your house’s main water shut-off. If you don’t already have one, then you’ll need to get one installed. The PRV is easy to adjust and will maintain the house’s water pressure at a precise level.

In the case that your water pressure is too low, you should first contact your municipal water supplier and find out if that level is normal for your neighborhood. If it is, then the only possible fix is to invest in a water pressure booster pump. These are available in a variety of designs and at a variety of prices, but it is definitely advisable to have one of these booster pumps installed by a professional plumber; this is not a D.I.Y. project.

If the pressure is lower than it should be, there may be a problem with the exterior pipes, such as a leak, blockage or crimp. Who is responsible for fixing the problem depends on exactly where it is. Home owners are responsible for maintaining the plumbing from the point at which it enters their property. The pipes outside your property line are the responsibility of the municipality.

There is also a chance that your problem is not one of water pressure per se, but rather one of water flow. If your check shows sufficient static water pressure, but you feel that you’re getting insufficient water coming out of one or more of your plumbing fixtures, there is most likely some problem effecting the water flow in your house’s internal plumbing.

The problem could be as simple as a dirty faucet aerator or shower head. To clean them, just unscrew the offending aerator or shower head and soak it in a solution of 50% water and 50% white vinegar overnight. If you can’t unscrew it, you can put the water-white vinegar solution in a plastic bag and then attach the bag around the fixture with a rubber band.

If you have poor water flow from all of your fixtures, you’re probably facing a much more expensive repair job. A likely cause is corroded galvanized steel pipes. Houses are no longer plumbed with galvanized steel pipes because they only last about 40 years. As they are corroded by the very water running through them, rust deposits build up on the inside, decreasing the pipes’ diameter, which results in decreased water flow. The only way to fix the problem is to replace them with copper or PEX pipes.

The problem could also be one of poor workmanship or design. A crimp or inexpertly soldered joint in your plumbing can reduce water flow, as can a circuitous layout with excessive bends and overall length of pipe.

One way to improve your water flow is to increase the diameter of your pipes. This is a little counter intuitive, but larger diameter pipes help to maintain your house’s dynamic water pressure, which is the amount of water pressure at a given point in your plumbing system when one or more plumbing fixtures is in use. Pipe diameter doesn’t affect static water pressure, which is a measure of the amount of water pressure in the system when no fixtures are drawing water.

The larger diameter pipes you have, the more water there is present in the system before you start drawing water. Therefore, the impact on the overall system when a given fixture starts drawing water is reduced. The good news is that you don’t have to increase the diameter of all your pipes to benefit from this effect. If you increase pipe diameter at any point in the system, you are increasing the amount of water in the overall system and lessening the impact of individual fixtures on dynamic water flow. Of course, the larger the increase the bigger the benefit.

Top Secret of How to Revive BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply and Master Switch

Dear fellow guitarists, let me quote my previous article about my BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch which I almost discard providing it would not operate normally as it should be. Quote:

BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch I am telling you about has to end its service to me in two options: first, I will give it a last shot by drawing a direct wire to external grounding source. If the loud humming could be cured this way, then I will keep it. If not, then it must go to the second final option: it has to go to the garbage bin. Cross out the store where I bought it from and I will ring another friend whose musical store is now getting famous in town to get a new fresh BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch.

I did him call asking for a new fresh BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch,he was not in, one of his storekeeper answer. I pass the request to him getting shocking answer that BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch is discontinued. What is the newer version then? Nothing, we have better option which is a more powerful adapter plus power supply to handle your pedals. How about the Master Switch function? Cannot, you must turn your pedals On/Off individually…click! I hang on my phone before he finish his words. What the shell is he talking about?

After calm down I took a look at my legendary BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch and start thinking to myself. If it has to end this way then let it be. Let bygone be bygone. Before I said goodbye to it, Professor J’s last words before I left his place popped up in my mind and ringing in my ears.

  • ” This system rely only on this point as its grounding contact…”
  • ” This system rely only on this point as its grounding contact…”
  • ” This system rely only on this point as its grounding contact…”

I hope you can see clearly this a bit out of focus pic of my BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch showing thin flat washer and nut I removed from the Amp output socket. That should be the exact points of these nuts that drive me nuts! That is exactly the point “Professor J” showed me that evening. They are supposed to built a good surface to surface contact to the 1/4 mono plug at each of the BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch Amp and Guitar output sockets. I wish I have a better cam with me to take macro pic of the rotten rusted surfaces and edges of these nuts.

The tiny red straw is of rust remover spray. I washed clean all of the BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch Amp and Guitar output sockets by spray rust remover agent on and wipe them clean with tissue paper some 3 minutes afterwards. Pay special attention to clean the threaded section, rust and dirt perfect hide. I gently rubbed the thin nut and flat washer on an extra fine sandpaper soaked with rust remover liquid. I do not have to show you how a melted rust looks like, right? Repeat the steps twice, re assemble them, plug the BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch back into its BCB 5 carrying box, plugin my Leo Fender’s handmade G&L, turn on my Peavey Bandit and let the BOSS PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch determines its own faith.

Slowly crank up the volume knob and I wondered for a second if things were getting worse instead because I heard nothing out of the speaker. I was surprised it was at 9 o’ clock position and I heard just quite soft hissing like a snoring kitten. Rather than the used to be barking humming noise.

The Best Shower Enclosures – Which Shower Enclosure Should You Use?

Shower enclosures now come in a vast array of styles and sizes. The shower enclosure has become the focal point for most bathrooms. This is due in part to the time saved by taking a shower over having a bath, but also because consumers have become mindful of the water saving benefits fitting a shower enclosure can have, over a traditional bath tub.

How do you choose the right shower enclosure for you? Well, size and shape are two of the most important factors to consider. If you intend to be showering every day rather than taking a bath then you will soon get fed up of say a small 760 x 760 square shower enclosure. This size has its uses in confined spaces, but if you can stretch to an enclosure of at least 800 x 800 or 900 x 900 then you will have far more space for movement. This is very important as generally most people will keep a new shower enclosure for around 10 years – that’s 3,650 showers taken if you shower every day. The average shower time is 10 minutes, so you will spend approximately 25 entire days of your life in that shower enclosure over its lifetime – so it’s best not to get something too small!

If the shower is going into a corner situation, then there are various options:

Square Enclosures

Square enclosures can have one fixed side known as the side panel, and one opening side called the shower door. The shower door can be pivoting, bi-folding, sliding and even opening inwards in its design. Square shower enclosures are the most straight forward design and usually the cheapest to buy. Popular sizes are between 760 x 760mm up to 1000 x 1000mm

Rectangular Enclosures

Very similar to the square enclosure, these also comprise two sides and a choice of opening door mechanism. However, the allow a greater choice of sizes from 900 x 800mm up to 1800 x 900mm and virtually all sizes in between.

Quadrant Enclosures

Quadrants have become very popular due to the stylish curved looks and generous showering space. There are equal quadrants i.e. 800 x 800mm, 900 x 900mm, and also offset quadrants with popular sizes from 900 x 800mm to 1200 x 900mm. Offset quadrants allow more room than an equal quadrant with one side longer than the other. Quadrant shower enclosures can have either sliding doors or pivoting out doors.

Walk In Showers

Walk in shower enclosures are becoming ever more popular as a bath replacement. They are usually between 1200mm and 1700mm in length and around 800mm in depth. The walk in shower gives a large showering area, and does away with the need for a shower door by having a permanent opening or gap between the front and side glass panels. Walk In showers are very stylish and luxurious looking. However, bear in mind that with a permanent opening it can let heat out if your bathroom is not kept very warm!

Where you have just a single wall with which to place your enclosure, you have a couple of standard options available to you:

Three Sided Shower Enclosures

As the name suggests this enclosure comprises three sides. Usually (but not always) they have two fixed side panels coming away from the wall with a door on the front side creating a rectangular shape. The opening door again can be almost any design such as sliding, bi fold or pivoting. A good example of this is style of enclosure is the Aquadart Inline Three Sided shower enclosure.

U Shape or D Shape Enclosures

The U or D shape enclosure is a variation of the three sided enclosure above, but with a curved, inclusive shape – hence the name. Made up of curved side panels and usually curved sliding doors at the front, these enclosures are particularly practical. However, the size is usually restricted to around 1000 x 1000mm at most.

So as you can see, the shape and size of your new shower enclosure is well worth taking your time to decide on. As previously mentioned you can face years of regret if you choose one just a little too small, or can be a very costly mistake if you have to replace it yet again with a larger one! As a rule, if you can stretch to the next available size up or pinch just a little more floor space from your bathroom then you will have a more enjoyable showering experience for many years to come.

Stone Foundation Repair – What to Do?

Owning an historic property with an old stone foundation can be an interesting experience. Those with a strong will and a sound pocketbook can be true caretakers of a piece of history. The foundation of that history is the simple, bold and strong field stone foundation wall.

Older buildings with a stone foundation will generally have the original stone facing visible on the exterior and interior of the building. However it was common to apply a coating of plaster to the interior foundation wall in the basement area, as a means of waterproofing so the stone may not be visible from inside of the building.

Most of the original plaster would have worn off by today but if you are lucky, you just may run across an old stone foundation still in pristine condition but this would be the exception.

Usually after 30 – 50 years the foundation would have shifted cause cracks to appear in the foundation wall and it wasn’t uncommon to apply a second to the foundation with a masonry cement stucco. If the second layer is cement stucco than it would indicate that the second coating must have been applied after the early 1900’s, when mass produced cement stucco became available.

Regardless if plaster or stucco was applied to the walls, they will look lumpy as the individual stones shapes will show beneath the plaster or stucco.

What to look for -A lot of these older stone foundations were never well maintained and can challenge a building owner with problems ranging from water leakage, mortar turning into sand, loose stones and bulging walls. Anything beyond these few maintenance problems could be considered ‘in failure’ and may need an engineer’s inspection.

Stone foundation walls that leak – It wasn’t uncommon for these old stone foundation walls to leak. When they were originally constructed a hole was simply dug to the dimensions of the building and a trench dug where the walls were to be placed. Large field stones would be placed in the trench and became the bed stones of the foundation wall.

Drain tile were not in use around the foundations of older building so static pressure would have been a problem from the beginning depending or the soil type and topography. A high quality builder would have trenched to daylight from the low corner of the building site to take water away from the foundation, if the site permitted. The trench would be partially filled with rubble stones before covering but this simply drainage technique would be an exception and not the rule.

Most of the older homes were constructed high off the ground to keep moisture to a minimum. The basement area for these homes where never intended to be used as living space so a little moisture would have been common and of no concern.

Stone foundation wall problems – Decades of water infiltration will cause deterioration to the stone foundation walls. The result can be bulged walls from excessive static pressure or settlement of the foundation, deteriorated mortar joints from excessive moister or loose stones and missing mortar joints from simple aging and movement.

Bulged walls – This problem presents the biggest hurdle for a building owner depending on the degree and severity of the bulging problem and the location within the foundation wall. Generally though, a portion of the foundation wall can be removed and rebuilt but proper shoring must be in place to support the building load before you proceed. This should not be out of the range of an experienced mason contractor and you should seek their advice.

Loose stones and missing mortar – These items are simple to remedy. Loose stones should be taken out and re-set with fresh mortar. Care should be taken not to undermine any critical support areas within the foundation. If you suspect an area of loose stone is carrying a beam load or other loads then consult a professional for advice.

Holes and missing joints can be filled with mortar or tuck-pointed to help tighten the foundation walls. Any brand of masons mix available at the local box store should be adequate.

After you have completed the repairs mentioned above you may wish to apply another layer of cement stucco. This will help to smooth out imperfections, close small holes, ‘stiffen’ the walls surface and hopefully provide some protection against water leaks.

Check the foundation annually and make any necessary repairs immediately. By taking immediate action and implementing the repairs recommended above you will be one step closer to keeping that old, stone foundation in shape.

Popular Lionel Model Train Sets From 1946

In 1946 Lionel produced an array of outfits similar to those in their prewar catalogs. Among these offerings were 23 sets. This broad spectrum of sets allowed Lionel to offer outfits at several prices, with the least expensive outfit retailing for only $24.95, while the deluxe outfit was $85.00.

1946 was the debut year of many new designs, unlike the previous year which only rehashed previously produced products. New motive power included the O-Gauge 726 Berkshire, produced by installing a 2-8-4 mechanism in a boiler based on the prewar 226E, and the all-new 6-8-6 Pennsylvania turbine. The latter was offered in O-Gauge outfits as catalog number 671, while those included in O27 outfits were numbered 2020. To the lower end of the line was a streamlined 2-6-4 with the catalog number of 221.

New freight cars were introduced as well. The 2411 “big inch” flatcar shared its die-cast frame with the 2419 and 2420 work cabooses. Also using die-cast frames were the new dump cars: 3451 for logs and 3459 for coal. The new 2460 crane also had a die-cast frame, and rode on a pair of six-wheel trucks. These trucks shared many components with similar six-wheel trucks used on Bakelite-bodied 2625 passenger cars and the die-cast-bodied 2426W tender used by the 726.

The engineering used to produced the 1945, 2452 gondola, was expanded. The 2454 boxcar, 2465 Sunoco tank car and 3454 operating merchandise cars included plastic bodies mounted on steel frames. The 2452 was continued, and joined by a second gondola, the 2452X, which lacked the brake wheels and barrels that adorned the 2452.

The low-end O27 sets contained many cars that were reworked from prewar designs, but as more of the year passed, increasing numbers of new products were produced, which were included in more expensive outfits. Following up on the success of the 1945 knuckle couplers was a spectacular new feature included in the better sets, smoke. Even more spectacular, but much less widespread, was Electronic Control-the latter available only in set 4109WS. As was the case in 1945, the 1946 outfit boxes were simple corrugated cartons with pasted-on labels to identify the set they contained.

The following are some of the most sought after Lionel O27-Gauge Outfits from 1946:

1400W–Lionel O27 Passenger Set– Retailed for $35.95

Included: 221 2-6-4 steam locomotive with operating headlight; 221W sheet-metal tender; two 2430 blue Pullman cars; 2431 blue observation; eight 1013 curved and three 1018 straight track; 1019 O27 remote control track section; UTC Lockon, 926-5 instruction booklet; 1041 60-watt transformer.

This set was a slightly more expensive version of the 1400 outfit. For the an extra $5.95 over the 1400, a 221W whistling tender replaced the 221T, and the transformer was upgraded to a 1401 60-watt unit. In excellent condition, this set is worth approx. $650. In like new condition this set is worth approx. $1400.

1407B–Lionel O27 Switcher Bell Outfit– Retailed for $37.50

Included: 1665 0-4-0 steam switcher with operating headlight; 2403B slope-back tender with ringing bell; 2560 crane; 2452X gondola; 2419 work caboose; eight 1013 curved and five 1018 straight track; 1019 O27 remote control track section; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet; 1037 40-watt transformer.

This train was powered by a 1665 0-4-0 switcher, which was a revamped prewar 1662 switcher. Among the changes made to the locomotive were the installation of the new postwar trucks on the tender, and mounting Lionel’s new knuckle couplers on the rear of the tender and pilot of the locomotive. Mounting an injection-molded plastic cab and two injection-molded plastic toolboxes onto the die-cast body casting created for the 2411 flatcar crated the 2419 work caboose. A die-cast smoke-jack was installed on the caboose cab. The sheet metal 2560 crane car was carried over form the prewar line in its original colors of yellow cab with red roof. The 1946 production of these cranes included two-piece booms that were riveted together, and had the Lionel name molded in. In excellent condition this outfit is worth approx. $900. In like new condition this outfit is worth approx. $1500.

1421WS–Lionel O27 Freight Train–Retailed for $85.00

Included: 2020 6-8-6 steam turbine locomotive with operating headlight and smoke; 2020W early coal whistle tender; 3451 operating log car; 2465 Sunoco double-dome tank car; 3454 merchandise car; 2472 non-illuminated Pennsylvania N5 caboose; 164 operating log loader; ten 1013 curved and five 1018 straight track; 1019 O27 remote control track section; pair of 1121 remote-control turnouts; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet; 1041 60-watt transformer.

While the 1419W provided the owner with a coal empire, the 1421W, also priced at $85, created a lumber empire. Trailing the 2020 steam turbine in the set was a die-cast 3451 log dump car to be used in conjunction with the 164 log loader. The 1964 log car carried five unstained logs and was rubber stamped in silver. The pick up shoes were wired with blue wire, and a pair of 1121 remote-control turnouts was included in order to incorporate the 164 in the track layout. A silver 3454 operating merchandise car added even more action to the train, which was surprisingly finished with a plain red, non-illuminated 2472 caboose. Like the 1419WS, many examples of this set have been found with a 75-watt 1042 transformer rather than the listed 60-watt 1041. This train in excellent condition is worth approx. $1500 and in like new condition is worth approx. $1500.

The following are some of the most sought after Lionel O-Gauge outfits from 1946:

2110WS–Lionel Three-Car Passenger– Retailed for $75.00

Included: 671 6-8-6 steam turbine locomotive with operating headlight and smoke; 2466W early coal whistle tender; three 2625 heavyweight Pullmans; eight OC curved and five OS straight track; RCS uncoupling/operating section; 167 whistle controller; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet.

To create a premium O-gauge passenger set, Lionel revived it prewar Bakelite “Irvington” passenger car. The postwar incarnation of this car included newly designed six-wheel trucks with knuckle couplers–derivatives of these trucks were used on the 2460 crane and 2426W tender as well. The car bodies were painted maroon or reddish-brown in contrast to the prewar color of medium brown. To tow this passenger train, Lionel used its replica of the Pennsylvania 20-wheel steam turbine, the 671. This set in excellent condition is worth approx. $1750 and this set in like new condition is worth approx. $2975.

2113WS–Lionel O-Gauge Three-Car Freight Outfit–Retailed for $67.50

Included: 726 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotive with operating headlight and smoke; 2426W die-cast whistle tender; 2855 black Sunoco single dome tank car; 3854 operating merchandise car; 2457 illuminated caboose; eight OC operating merchandise car; 2457 illuminated caboose; eight OC curved and sever OS straight track; RCS uncoupling/operating section; 167 whistle controller; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet.

Premiering in outfit 2113WS was the new 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotive. Though a 2-8-4 would be a staple of Lionel’s O-gauge sets into the 1960s, the 1946 model was unique. The smoke unit was based on a light bulb, the motor and reversing E-unit was mounted horizontally, and the handrails mounted with turned stanchions. The earliest versions of the 726 were equipped with what collectors refer to as the “large stack” motor. Later, the number of field laminations was reduced, resulting is what is known as a “short stack” motor.

The corrugated component box was unique to the 1946 locomotive. Sealed with prewar-style orange and blue sealing tape, the carton was marked with a manufacturer’s seal that stated, “GAIR BOGOTA CORR. & FIBRE BOX CORP.” The ends of the box were stamped with “No. 726” in small lettering. The cars in tow were just as unique. Though cataloged as the common silver 2755, the tank car included was actually the scarce black 1855. The prewar semi-scale boxcar tooling was revived and modified with the addition of a roof hatch and internal mechanism to create an operating merchandise car, the 3854. This car is one of the most difficult to find items from the postwar era. In excellent condition this outfit is worth approx. $2000. In like new condition this set is worth approx. $3200.

2114WS–Lionel O-Gauge Three-Car Passenger Outfit–Retailed for $77.50

Included: 726 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotive with operating headlight and smoke; 2426W whistle tender; three 2625 heavyweight Pullmans; eight OC curved and five OS straight track; RCS uncoupling/operating section; 167 controller; UTC Lockon; 926-5 instruction booklet.

This was the most expensive passenger outfit offered in 1946. The three Bakelite 2625 Irvington passenger cars presented the 726 with a formidable load, especially those locomotives equipped with the later “short stack” motor. The die-cast tenders were equipped with die-cast whistle housings and, though initially stamped in white, ultimately were lettered in silver. In excellent condition the outfit is worth approx. $2500 and in like new condition is worth $4000.

Sports in the 1990s – Era of Technology, Greed and Perseverance and Sports Lighting Decor

The decade of the 1990s was the decade of technology. The sporting world and their stars made it into everyone’s home instantaneously and sports fans did not have to wait until the morning newspaper to see the results from the before or to read about their favoring sporting event, team or player. By the click of a mouse and with high-speed technology, the sporting news made it into fans home almost as fast as it happened. Fans lighted their homes with sports-themed lighting d├ęcor. In addition, television reached out to Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the start and growth of cable television and 24 hour news, sports, and entertainment channels. American, as well, enjoyed a decade of relative peace and prosperity and the economy did skyrocket on the heels of dotcom and technology-related stocks. However, this did lead to some challenges in the sporting world.

With this economic spur, athletes began wanting more. They were able to move more freely amongst teams who would pay them the most money and a team’s success was often judged on how much money the owners spent to get the best players than on the player’s themselves. Fans began rooting for the uniform rather than the athletes themselves since athletes switched teams in a blink of an eye.

Michael Jordan became one of the wealthiest athletes with his endorsements and sneaker. This sparked even high school and underclassman college athletes wanting to get in the act of making money. More kids than ever left school early to play professional sports. And, for the first time ever, the World Series was cancelled to the argument over how to spend the billions of dollars sports owners were so-call hoarding for themselves.

Scandal also hit both athletes and Americans. The decade saw former football runner, O.J. Simpson, running form the law and former boxer, Michael Tyson raging inside a jail cell. You saw President Clinton fight against Monica Lewinsky. This brought to light racial issues still remaining in the sporting world. The fuss over Tiger Woods in golf world reminded us of how golf was mainly a games played by white. But, on the other hand, Americans of all colors celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the baseball’s great Jackie Robinson. In addition, women began proving themselves in sports with Olympic medals in softball, soccer and volleyball and the United States women’s soccer team 2 World Cup Championships – one even on US soil.

And, as American began looking into the next century and the challenges that might occur, they, as they have always done, turned to sports and athletes for inspiration and courage. They found this in cycling’s great Lance Armstrong, who won the grueling Tour de France after surviving cancer and when one-handed baseball pitcher Jim Abbott threw for a no-hitter in baseball.

Show your passion for sports by displaying sports memorabilia in your home. You can also add sports lamps and accessories to provide that illuminating light while showing off your team spirit and loyalty.

Your Top 3 Tips to Seduce a Capricorn Man

Men born between December 22nd and January 20th come under the star sign of Capricorn. Capricorn is from the element of Earth and is ruled by the planet Saturn. Because of this Capricorn men are often seen as down to earth, practical and ambitious. Men born under the star sign of Capricorn are responsible, dutiful and sincere.

It can be quite difficult to seduce a Capricorn man as they do tend to put up a protective barrier around themselves. To penetrate this barrier you will need to gain his trust, respect and admiration. You will need to become a good friend to a Capricorn male before he allows his heart to be open to you. Capricorn men have a great deal of determination and patience and you need to adopt these traits in your pursuit of him.

Once you have attracted your Capricorn man you will be rewarded with a very loving, loyal, romantic and dutiful partner. Your sexual attraction can be enhanced in seducing a Capricorn man by using these top 3 tips.

Be Feminine

Capricorn men tend to take the traditional view of the sexes. They like to be very masculine and want their woman to be ultra feminine. Look feminine, smell feminine and act feminine – these are the golden rules of how to seduce a Capricorn man.

Wearing pink will attract their attention as will looking demure and pretty. Pink is by far the most seductive colour to attract any man but even more so for the Capricorn male. They are drawn to the soft, warm, comforting colour of pink that is so strongly associated with femininity and romantic love.

Overall good grooming is very important to men born under the star sign of Capricorn. Keep your hair, nails and clothing neat and tidy.

Very feminine floral fragrances are the most appealing too, so if you want to attract one wear a perfume that contains rose, Neroli or jasmine.

Along with looking and smelling feminine you should act in traditional feminine ways. Capricorn men like to be in charge. Allow him to open doors for you. Let him take charge of ordering a meal or pay for movie or theatre tickets. Do not challenge him to an arm wrestling contest, swig beer from a bottle or pretend to know anything about sports!

Be Serious

There’s a lot more to seducing a Capricorn man than simply fluttering eyelashes or a show of leg or cleavage. You will need to work at it to gain their love.

You’ll need to be sensible, sincere and subtle. Capricorn men take life and their responsibilities very seriously and will expect you to be honest, unpretentious and genuine. They do not like dishonesty, cheating or insincerity.

A strong bond of friendship needs to be formed with such a man before he will even consider a romantic relationship. If you treat seducing a Capricorn man as a project and work diligently, conscientiously and determinedly, you will win his heart.

Use Magic

Seducing and keeping a Capricorn man can be the best move you ever make. But getting through their stern and serious side can be difficult. If you want a magical, romantic and everlasting relationship with a Capricorn man you can use the power of Magic to help you. Love spells and attraction Spells have been used successfully for thousands of years. Try making love potions or casting a love Spell yourself or accept the help and expertise of professional Spell caster. Real Magic uses mysterious, secretive, subtle yet tried and tested methods in attraction Spells and an expert spell caster will have wide knowledge and expertise of these secrets.

University of Oregon Ducks Mascot Explained

Located in Eugene, Oregon the University of Oregon has a rather unique mascot in the Ducks nickname that is affiliate with all of the athletic programs associated with the school. Quaking fans and a seemingly harmless mascot that bears a striking resemblance to the Disney character Donald Duck are not exactly the sorts of things that are normally thought of as striking fear into the hearts of conference opponents.

The story behind the origin of the University of Oregon mascot begins in Eugene, Oregon. Located in the coastal county of Lane County the city of Eugene has a metropolitan population that tops 340,000 people. During the era when the school was founded in 1876 a nickname even more unusual than the Ducks was chosen. That strange nickname was the “Webfoots.” The curious term given to the first sports team to play for the University of Oregon is said to have been coined by an area sports editor by the name of L.H. Gregory. Legend states that the inexplicable nickname is in some way tied to early Willamette Valley (Oregon) settlers whose ancestors were part of the fishing trade across the country in the state of Massachusetts. Seemingly for lack of a better alternative the nickname stuck for roughly sixty years until a sports reporter in a new generation instituted a shift.

The concept of a Duck mascot was first implemented in the 1930s when a tiny white duck that went by the name Puddles started to make appearances at big games. Puddles the duck was an instant hit with students and faculty alike. The popularity of cartoons in the 1940s ushered in the first drawings of a lovable cartoon image of the University of Oregon mascot.

Student depictions of the adored mascot started showing up in student publications with an increasing likeness to the already established Disney animated creature widely known as Donald Duck. Fortunately for the school and fans alike a sensible agreement to continue using the likeness of Donald Duck was quickly reached. Whereas in the more litigious twenty-first century Disney and the University of Oregon might clash over legal considerations it just so happened that the Oregon athletic director at the time named Leo Harris had a connection with a Disney cartoonist that arranged for Mr. Harris to sit down with Walt Disney himself and work out an agreement that was sealed with an informal handshake. This infamous handshake would come to be a point of contention when Disney Corporation lawyers broached the subject in the 1970s. Eventually a formal agreement was drafted and signed allowing the continued use of the likeness of Donald Duck in accordance with the wishes of the late Mr. Walt Disney.

The modern day version of the University of Oregon Duck is no longer referred to as Puddles. Today the most commonly heard names for the revised mascot that sports an Oregon green and yellow outfit are Donald Duck, the Fighting Duck, and the simplistic moniker The Duck.

Elegance of Wood Grain Ceramic Tile

Interceramic timberland tiles come in two main appearances that are the wood grain tile and the wood look tile. People usually prefer to use wood looking interceramic tiles on the wall while the wood grain looking tiles on the floor. Due to their elegant shape and good looking design, these tiles are the number one choice of the customers. These interceramic flooring is versatile in nature giving your home a nice elegant look. Used for indoor purpose only, the wood look tiles give your home an exotic antique appearance. These interceramic tiles are made up of glazed porcelain making it suitable for providing the chemical isolation.

Nowadays these tiles are very much in demand. That’s why they are produced in the industry in a very high quantity. Their excessive demand these days is mainly due to their long duration of running and decent looking design. The wood grain ceramic tiles come in a very compact and precise nature which gives these tiles a great smart look. You will rarely see the deterioration in these tiles as these wood grain tiles are made up of high class porcelain and ceramic material. The wood look ceramic timberland series are perfect choice for the floors and walls of your home, matching them with the other accessories of your home. Not only homes, the wood grain ceramic tiles are also widely used in offices and showrooms.

The wood look ceramic tiles allow you to make a nice match between your woody furniture and the walls and floors. The vast variety of colors of these ceramic tiles provides you an ease to select a particular color just according the need of your home. For your brand new floor, there is no best alternative but the wood grain ceramic tiles. These tiles come in a relatively flat design with straight edge. People, who want to give a more natural look to their home, may install the wood look ceramic tiles at their place. Its woody appearance will greatly upgrade the beauty of your home.

A part from beauty, these wood grain ceramic flooring is also well renounced for their long and smooth run. Some other tiles may break away after some time of their installation, but no such issues will be faced if the services of wood look ceramic tiles are rendered. Keeping the features and quality that these interceramic timberland series offer, the price range is much optimized and you will find these tiles both high profile and cost efficient after purchasing.

Koi Pond & Waterfall – Top 22 Most Asked Questions Answered

Q What is the ideal depth for a koi pond?

A In my experience of over 25 years, 4 to 5 feet is ideal. You need a minimum of 3 feet for koi fish for several reasons. Safety for fish from wading cranes they can not wade in 3 feet of water. Plus the water temperature in shallow ponds fluctuates too much with the changes in ambient temperature. The greater the volume of water, the longer it takes for the temperature to change. Warm water or fluctuating temperatures are unhealthy for fish.

Q What is the ideal size for a pond?

A The ideal size would be determined by the size of your yard. Its size should be proportional to the size of the yard. Also, the larger the pond, the greater the maintenance.

Q What is your opinion on using a liner to construct a pond rather than using a hard molded or concrete one.

A My recommendation is and always has been to use concrete. However, if you are on a tight budget or do not plan on living there for an extended period time, a liner would be recommended. In this case, you would have to add a thin layer of mortar between the liner and soil to prevent tree roots, ground squirrels, rats, mice, gophers or chipmunks from compromising the liner. The hard molded, preformed plastic ponds become brittle from the sun’s UV rays in just a couple of years. No good!

Q What type of pond filter do you recommend?

A That cannot be answered simply because many factors are involved. Do you have an existing pond with a submersible pump or above-ground pump? What’s the volume of the pond? Do you have fish, and if so, how many? What size plumbing pipe is being used? This is so involved, I have devoted an entire chapter in my construction manual to the subject. I have an 8000 gallon pond with above-ground pump and I use a pressurized biological bead filter. It takes 2 minutes to back flush with the turn of a handle and keeps my pond crystal clear.

Q I have tons of algae hanging from the rocks in my falls and growing in clumps in my hand. What can I do to get rid of it?

A When the first Polynesians settled in Hawaii between 300 and 600 AD, they were probably very annoyed by the aggressive, wild, pervasive taro plant, just like you are your algae. They tried to chop it down, burn it, stomp it, but to no avail. It just came back, so they eat it, and still do to this day. In fact, it’s a staple like peanut butter is to some Americans. Just kidding! However, if you told me it was watercress I would suggest eating it. Many pond stores will try to sell you a very expensive algaecide to solve your problem, but all you need to do is increase the salt content of your water. Some experts recommend one pound of rock salt to every 100 gallons of water. This will not hurt your fish; in fact, it will help to produce a healthy shine coat. However, it will harm most of your plants if you apply that dose all at once. Plus the dead and decaying algae will deplete the oxygen and this will harm your fish. Apply it slowly over a week or two, and be patient. It takes longer to kill it this way, but your fish will appreciate it! This topic is also a chapter in my construction manual.

Q Should I keep salt in my pond on a regular basis?

A If you maintain a specific gravity of 1.000, your fish will be less susceptible to ulcer and fin rot. And you will keep the algae from getting out of control.

Q I am considering building a waterfall between my house and my neighbor’s against the fence. Will the sound of the falls annoy them if I let it run 24 hours a day?

A The sound generated by a waterfall is called white noise, which is very relaxing and soothing, not annoying. I have several hundred clients who leave their falls running 24/7 and none have ever had a neighbor complain. In fact, they all appreciate the fact that they did not have to spend the money to enjoy the sound.

Q How many koi fish can I put in my pond?

A The amount could range from 150 to 250 gallons per fish. If you are starting out with small 6″ to 8″ long koi, they can reach 2 feet in three years, depending on how much food and how often you feed them. They could even grow to over 3 feet long! The overcrowding of fish produces stress and a lot of waste material. It can reduce the health of the fish and result in various diseases. Also, a less crowded pond is more pleasant to look at.

Q Do I really need a filter in my pond?

A Not in every case. If your pond is small and you have any guppies or mosquito fish and adequate water plants covering 1/3 to ´ of your pond, your pond will clean itself by means of the nitrogen cycle. The biological aspects of pond chemistry is well covered in my waterfall and construction manual.

Q How long do koi fish live?

A The average life span of koi in Japan is 70 years. Some have been known to live to 100 or more, such as the legendary Hanako, alleged to have lived for over 200 years. Unlike the amazing results of the meticulous care the Japanese give their koi, American koi live a fraction of that time, usually due to neglect and lack of care or proper environment.

Q How can I protect my koi against predators?

A Unfortunately, most people that come to me are frustrated people who already have a pond or a rather poorly planned pond. If your pond is shallow, less than 3 feet, or has a shallow end, the raccoons, coyotes, cranes, egrets, etc. have easy access to your fish. You may think your fish are safe because you have a deep end for the fish to retreat to. Well, you and your fish are dead wrong. A crane will stand perfectly still for 10 to 20 minutes waiting for the koi to forget he is there. Some will regurgitate chum into the deep pond, luring the fish to the surface. Your only solution is a net, or try the crane statue, scarecrow, or high-frequency sound emitters for smaller animals. However, one of my clients watched a crane land next to his crane statue. While the scarecrow was pelting him with a stream of water, it snatched up one of their prize koi.

A critter-proof pond is over 3 feet everywhere and has a raised deck 13″ minimum over the water surrounding the pond. Raccoons cannot swim and catch fish at the same time, and they or the birds will not be able to reach the water.

Q I would like to have a koi pond but I live in Michigan and every year ponds and lakes freeze over. Will they survive?

A There are fish in those lakes you are talking about: blue gill, bass, sunfish, carp, and they all survive. And guess what? Koi are in the carp family. Koi were originally raised for food in Japan. They would grow rice in the summer and then flood the rice patties and raise koi in the winter, cutting holes in the ice to catch them for food. However, your pond must be 4 ´ to 6 feet deep to ensure the water stays about 40 o the bottom. Turn off the waterfall and bottom drain, draw water from the skimmer to keep the bottom still. Place swimming pool solar blankets over the surface. If your pond is deep enough, you can let it freeze over. However, you need to install a horse tank heater to keep a hole open in the ice to allow any ammonia gas from rotting debris on the bottom to escape. If your pond is less than 4 ´ feet deep, take the koi indoors for the winter and place them in a garage or basement tank.

Q Can I keep koi and goldfish together?

A Yes, you can. They are both cold water fish and members of the carp family. Most other cold water fish can also swim together, such as shubunkins, rudd, orfe, blue gill, mosquito fish, guppies, sunfish, bass, etc. However, only in deeper ponds where the mean temperature is 65 degrees or less on the bottom for bass, sunfish and blue gill.

Q Should my pond have a bottom drain?

A First of all, a bottom drain is essential for a healthy pond. However, if it is exposed and the suction is strong enough, turtles or fish can get stuck to it and not be able to get loose. Therefore, two drains should be hooked in series to relieve the pressure between them, just as in a swimming pool. Bottom drains draw falling waste from the fish before it reaches the bottom, keeping it clean. Areas where it does build up can be swept to the drains for easy cleaning. If you are using a submersible pump or pulling the water from a skimmer, water is not circulating properly on the bottom of the pond. That is where rotting debris is producing ammonia and other toxic gases.

Q My pond water is very clear, but my fish are dying. What is wrong?

A Drinking water might taste good, smell good, and look clear. But some of the most toxic chemicals that are known to cause cancer are colorless, odorless and tasteless. I recommend that you purchase a test kit form a pond store and check your water regularly. Nitrates, nitrite and ammonia are all detrimental to fish. Ammonia and nitrite can, at high levels, be fatal to fish. These substances are dissolved in the water and consequently are impossible to detect by the clarity of the water and they can break down the fishes’ immune system.

Q What type of filter do you recommend?

A For any pond over 1000 gallons, I recommend a pressurized biological bead filter that can be back washed. I have used Aqua Ultraviolet Ultima II filters for years. Most larger pond suppliers carry them. Their filters range from 1000 gallons to 10,000 gallons. Up-flow and gravity flow filters require regular cleaning, which is a filthy job. The filter media is packed with stinky, putrid fish waste and decaying pond scum. As you handle the filter screens, media, scrubbers, etc., you will have little white feces-eating worms that are 1/16″ long crawling on your hands and arms. Not to mention the noxious smell that burns your eyes and lungs.

It cost pennies on the dollar to make, yet dealers charge a fortune. You pay the price for the filter and in the time it takes to maintain it you pay an additional cost for your time maintaining it. With a pressurized filter, it only takes the turn of a handle for 2 to 3 minutes and the filter is clean. The waste water is not wasted either. You can water your plants with it using the discharge hose. If you can imagine, that brown, colored, stinky water is packed with nitrogen. It’s better than Miracle Grow T.M. I have used my 6000 gallon Ultima II for over eight years and it works as well now as they day it was installed. Happy, happy fish!

Q How much does an average pond cost?

A What is average? It depends on whether you are talking about a liner pond or a professional concrete and rebar pond. A typical liner pond can be 6 feet by 8 feet, and depending on who is installing it, could cost between $2,500 and $3,500. The other dimensions are pretty much proportionate. Liner ponds are susceptible to leaks from punctures, gophers, and rats, etc. Concrete ponds last for decades and on the average cost only 20% more than liner ponds.

Q My pond is green and I can not see my fish. What should I do?

A Your challenge is algae (suspended planktonic algae), which does not directly hurt the fish. However, algae gives off oxygen during the day from photosynthesis. But unfortunately, it uses up oxygen at night. In addition, it is unsightly and blocks the view of the fish. You can increase the salt content or install an ultraviolet light, which not only kills spore algae but kills the bacteria that causes the water to become murky and stinky.

Q I heard that UV light will also kill the beneficial bacteria. Is that true?

A If I say “No,” I am calling many so-called professional experts liars. So I will put it this way. All the beneficial pond bacteria such as aerobic or anaerobic bacteria, nitrobacter, etc., reside in the filter or in the decaying debris at the bottom of the pond. They aren’t floating around in the pond. Bacteria and algae containing pathogenic disease are, and as they pass through the UV light, they are eradicated.

Q Do I need a waterfall for my pond?

A With no hesitation, YES! Most definitely. First of all, waterfalls are beautiful to look at. The sound is soothing and relaxing and the water moving over rocks generates negative ions which are added to the air. As you breathe negatively charged air, it relieves stress and anxiety. Waterfalls also add extra oxygen to the pond. Waterfalls are a must!

Q I heard concrete ponds will leach alkali into the pond. Is that true?

A Yes and no. A poorly constructed concrete pond will, but only until algae starts growing on the sides. Also if the pond is constructed of 3500 psi concrete and coated with Thoro-seal., it is impossible for alkali to leach out. Also, by mixing thinset with the mortar used between the rocks will also prevent leaching. There is a specific formula for this.

Q What is the advantage of building a waterfall using concrete and mortar?

A A major reason is that the rock will be securely mortared in place, preventing a serious accident from rocks sliding, as with a liner waterfall. Trust me, some day, some adventurous child will climb onto it. That is a lawsuit in the making.

Happy koi, peace & joy.

Reducing Length of Stay and Excess Bed Days in the NHS

The NHS spends millions of pounds every month paying for people to occupy beds in hospitals who could either be at home or in different, more suitable and often cheaper settings. Simple things can transform the length of stay and reduce costs significantly.

Substantial amounts of managerial and clinical time are spent balancing the need for beds with ensuring that discharges occur safely. This can be complicated by unplanned admissions and delays in the transfer of care. High pressure need for additional beds increases stress levels and lowers productivity, raising the risk of mistakes occurring. Rising to these challenges is not easy.

Sue Stanley, Director of Service Improvement at Northampton General Hospital (NGH), says: “Success in reducing Length of Stay is achieved when we understand the pathway from the patient perspective and then remove all the delays and duplication that occurs.”

In addressing these issues, NGH have developed the ‘Think Home First’ programme using Regional Innovation Funding. The programme brings together acute and community care clinicians with a ‘task force’ including transport, reablement and social care to effect faster discharges. It has reduced the time from referral to assessment to around 24 hours in most cases and has already saved over 800 bed days, as well as winning two ‘Health & Social Care Awards’ for partnership working and the ‘Winner of Winners’ award.

The focus hasn’t stopped there. Work done by Sue’s team in dispensary has reduced the time to dispense medications by 57%, itself leading to an average 0.25 day reduction in LoS.

Other examples of a proactive approach to improving patient care and reducing LoS can be seen at UCLH (University College London Hospital). It launched its Quality, Efficiency and Productivity Programme in 2010. To improve ward efficiency, the programme brought together various strands of activity including enhanced recovery, increasing morning discharges and Lean methodology to improve patient pathways. The work was commended by HSJ judges when UCLH was shortlisted for Acute Hospital of the Year.

Lisa Hollins, Deputy Director of Service Transformation for UCLH, says: “In 2009 our patients described delays in discharge as one of their key concerns for NHS services and we have worked hard to improve our systems and processes and build new services with local partners.”

This work has involved redesigning pathways so patients are seen by experienced clinicians as soon as possible and providing specialist COPD and elderly care input in A&E and on admission.

The results at UCLH have been impressive. LoS reduced in elderly care and neurology by 2,307 beds and 1,112 bed days respectively comparing 2009 and 2010. Smaller gains in high volume areas such as maternity have reduced average LoS by 0.2 days, which has reduced bed days by 2,933, a large impact due to the high volume of admissions.

Overall, LoS reductions across all specialities have released 10,360 bed days, enabling the Trust to place a hyper-acute stroke centre on the site. The reductions in LoS have also helped to reduce the impact of winter pressures with fewer delays in pathways and continuing to ensure that over 98% of patients are treated within the 4-hour A&E timescale.

Lisa added: “The work we have done has improved our patient feedback scores and we are delighted that changes to our processes are being felt by patients. At a local level clinical teams have worked together to deliver fantastic improvements and every week we showcase our ‘Ward of the Week’, an initiative that has helped with staff engagement and created a competition for improvement.”

Coupled with this work, both NGH and UCLH have taken steps to tackle indirect activities that also increase stay length. For example, NGH have run a highly successful Lean programme in pathology that has reduced turnaround times by as much as 93% and increased productivity by 20% whilst UCLH has focused on a ‘pre-11am’ peak for discharges that has tripled the number of patients discharged pre-lunchtime and brought the availability of beds much more in line with demand.

Effective team working across multiple organisations is often the key. As Judith Kay, Adult Services Manager at Hounslow & Richmond Community Healthcare (HRCH) says: “Proactive support from community and social care teams is often the conduit to reducing excess bed days.”

Using CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality & Innovation) funding, HRCH provides a 7 day per week in-reach service to their two local Acute Trusts. This involves on-site input into discharge planning activities and active support from community respiratory and stroke teams working in the acute setting to shorten referral times and create community capacity. This service has removed almost all patients with greater than 80 day excess bed days and reduced significantly those with greater than 20 days. It is also increasing community bed utilisation and providing acute care teams with faster access to a variety of ‘out of hospital’ solutions to patient needs.

Such examples of good practice are balanced by that the knowledge that reducing LoS is not all plain sailing. There are instances of community commissioners using a 24/7 in-reach service to work with organisations that only discharged patients Monday-Friday and a healthcare economy that resisted establishing a geriatrician-led community team to speed up discharge for elderly patients because they couldn’t agree on how the service would be funded. Leaving these aside, the examples of best practice in this article do demonstrate that reducing LoS can be achieved through a practical ‘service improvement’ mentality by:

  • Treating every step from admission to discharge as key steps in the process of reducing LoS and not just discharge activities themselves;
  • Getting to grips with the difficult, controversial and non-value adding activities that increase the workload for staff and delay discharge by redesigning pathways, minimising delays between steps and ensuring greater levels of consistency in the way discharges are managed within and between departments; and
  • Increasing multi-disciplinary working and breaking down ‘funding barriers’ that effectively prevent the effective transfer of care.

Obviously, other strategies such as starting the discharge planning process as early as possible and keeping a twin focus on both areas with exceptionally long stays and those with high volume, short duration stays are also required.

Reflecting on the NGH experience, Sue Stanley says: “Without the commitment to working on the difficult issues surrounding Length of Stay and to refining what we did until we got it right we could not have achieved what we have.”

IP Cameras Vs CCTV Cameras – Part Two

In our previous article entitled “IP Cameras vs. CCTV Cameras – Part One,” we discuss the advantages of Remote Viewing, Recording to Remote Locations, Wireless Functionality and Motion Detection with Video Analytics. This second article will discuss other advantages that IP cameras have over traditional CCTV cameras.


Most IP camera recording software supports a wide range of IP camera models and manufacturers. This allows you to mix and match IP cameras in your installation to create a custom surveillance solution that fits perfectly for you.

Let’s say you wanted to setup three IP surveillance cameras, one viewing a parking lot, one watching your front lobby and another monitoring the rear entrance of your building. You could put three different IP camera models – even manufacturers – in this installation. You could go with an IQEye 755 5.0 MegaPixel IP Camera in the parking lot to monitor vehicles and provide a high quality image to zoom in on license plates. You could put a Wireless AXIS 207W with audio in the front lobby to minimize cabling requirements and to provide audio surveillance. Lastly, you can use a Sony SNC-RZ25N PTZ IP Camera with an outdoor enclosure to monitor the rear entrance and have the ability to pan/tilt/zoom the camera to needed areas.

All three IP cameras can be easily connected to the local network and configured within the IP camera recording software to monitor and record each individual camera.

BNC/Analog Output

Some IP cameras also come with a BNC/Analog output allowing you to connect the camera to your existing CCTV system. This would allow you to connect the IP camera to your DVR recording station and still have a network connection attached allowing for remote viewing and recording to a PC or offsite location. Be sure to verify the IP camera has the ability to send video to both the BNC/Analog output and through the network simultaneously.

PoE Power over Ethernet

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is the ability to power your IP camera and provide network activity via one RJ45 network cable. This provides an easier installation and lower cable installation costs as this eliminates the need for a power cable to be connected to the camera. To take advantage of this technology, make sure your IP camera is PoE compliant. A PoE network router/hub or Midspan will be required to provide power to the camera via the RJ45 network cable. PoE kits are also available which provide power via network cable when you do not have a Midspan or router/hub. One PoE kit will be required per camera and will need to output the correct power requirements (5V, 9V, 12V, etc.).

I/O for Card Readers, Alarms, etc.

IP cameras can easily be added to existing security including card readers, alarms, glass breakers, access control, etc.. The IP camera can be set to receive an input from these devices which can then tell the camera to record video when a specific event is triggered. Outputs can also be set where if the IP camera detects motion, a signal is sent to the alarm to create an audio siren or alert.


We hope Part One and Part Two of “IP Cameras vs. CCTV Cameras” has educated you in the advantages of IP over CCTV. It is best to know what options exists for you before making a purchase so you can effectively monitor your home or business.

Composting – The Difference Between Organic Material Or Matter

Composting is a process of decomposition and there are two terms used when this topic is mentioned, organic material and matter. There is a difference and they both are used for different purposes.

Organic material is where it all begins, it is what you use when wanting to produce compost. It can be your organic household kitchen waste or yard and garden waste. In nature, organic material exists from things like, leaves, woody material, grass and animal remains.

Organic matter is the compost, or decomposed organic material. It is the source of carbon that is needed to keep the organisms thriving in the vast complex community of them that live in our soil naturally. In the forest it source is from organics like leaf litter, tree branches, woody material that falls to the forest floor, and animals remains. Once this material decomposes to a state that it is no longer recognizable it is organic matter, or humus. The stable organic matter is what gets analyzed in a soils test.

When it comes to improving the soil structure of your yard or gardens, there is no better way than amending your existing soil with organic matter. It is a source of nutrient supply, retains moisture, improves soil aggregation and even prevents erosion.

A storing-house or reservoir for nutrients is one of the benefits that organic matter will provide to your yard and organic gardens soil. These nutrients are stored and readily available for plant life when they need them, predominately released in the spring and summer months, these nutrients wont benefit winter crops as much.

Water retention is another key benefit that organic matter will provide. Acting like a sponge, it has the ability to retain moisture and release it to he plant life as they need it. Holding up to ninety percent of its weight makes it a beneficial source of water conservation.

Soil structure is greatly benefited with the used of organic matter as a soil amendment. It improves the permeability and the porosity of soil, allowing it to hold water, drain well and support plant life. Aggregation, when soil particles are clumped together and form aggregates. These soil are held together by moist clay, organic compounds, like bacteria and fungi, and fungal hyphae. These aggregates vary in size, some fitting tightly and others loosely causing spaces. These spaces, also know as pores, are essential for storing air, microbes, nutrients and water.

Erosion is greatly reduced with a soil that has a healthy organic structure due to the increased ability of water infiltration and stable soil aggregate formation caused by organic matter.

Waterproof Decks and Balconies Over Living Space: Doing It Properly

Waterproof decks over living space have proven to be a popular architectural detail. While the functionality of the deck over living space is nice, things turn ugly without proper waterproofing. A very large percentage of flat top roof decks end up leaking within the first several years due to improper design and/or use of the wrong materials. Using a waterproof deck contractor is a good starting point. This is a specialized field that even most general contractors don’t like to deal with.

Some major considerations in proper deck design include proper slope, a good drainage scheme, and roof grade flashing details around all edges and walls. Without these crucial elements in place, it really does not matter what waterproofing system you employ. Using a trained waterproof deck expert will dramatically reduce your risk when installing a deck over living space.

Design of the deck over living space should always be done in consultation with the waterproof deck contractor, before construction begins. Framing details, drainage, and floor substrate materials are all needed to compliment the waterproofing system being used. Deck design, waterproofing systems, and tie in trades such as stucco repair are all important.

There are a wide selection of waterproofing systems available on the market today. Two main types are liquid coating systems, and membrane based systems. Generally speaking, the membrane based systems are more durable, have a longer life, and can withstand the movement inherent in wood frame construction. Most failures with liquid coating systems stem from cracks that develop over time due to expansion and contraction. These types of problems are almost non-existent with membrane type systems. One of the most well proven membrane systems is made by Duradek. Many questions arise with respect to tile decks. While this is an entirely different discussion, keep in mind that tile and mortar are not waterproofing systems. Waterproofing must be considered first prior to considering tile, and the system must be designed with tile in mind. Experienced General Contractors can handle all of this for you.

Balconies and second floor decks typically have doors to access the deck. A critical waterproofing detail is to properly flash the door as part of the waterproof deck installation. This detail is known as a door pan flashing. As crucial as this is, it’s often overlooked by less experienced contractors.

In conclusion, second story decks over living space are great features, but must be designed properly. Consulting with a professional waterproof deck contractor expert in advance will prevent many problems that are common to decks that are not planned properly.

Why Paving Contractors Are So Important

Do you have some paving work that needs to be done? Are you considering hiring paving contractors to carry out the work, or are you contemplating doing it yourself? If the latter applies to you, then you may wish to read on, as the perils and potential pitfalls of paving are often more than they seem.

Trying it yourself

When it comes to completing paving jobs, many people are happy to try the tasks themselves with potentially disastrous consequences. While it may not look like a delicate and intricate skill, it is certainly more difficult than many people assume.

This wrong assumption often leaves people scrambling for the phone number of their local paving contractors to fix their poor or unfinished jobs. Paving contractors advise that the money and time it can take to fix a poor paving job can often be more than the total cost if they had done the job from the start. It is therefore strongly worth considering using paving contractors, unless you are very confident in your own ability.

Cost and quality of materials

If you are considering doing the job yourself, then one of the reasons for this may have been to save the money that you would have paid to the paving contractors.

While initially it can appear that you have saved yourself a tidy sum of money on the surface, one aspect that is often not considered is the cost and quality of the materials that you are using. With reputable and trained paving contractors, they will possess professional standard materials for the job. This is in contrast to buying similar products at your local hardware store, that are likely to be inferior in terms of quality.

The total amount of materials that you will need to complete the job is also often surprising. When all of this is factored in, even if you are able to complete the job in a professional manner, it may have cost you near the same amount as it would have cost to hire paving contractors in the first place.

Built to last

Another benefit of using professional paving contractors for your project is that you can be assured that it will be of high quality. Not only will it look exactly as you desire, but it will also be built to last, ensuring that it is many years before any further work is required.

This can be in stark contrast to if you have unknowingly used cheap, or the wrong type of materials when doing the job yourself. While it may look good initially, you may not be patting yourself on the back quite so much a few months down the line when a number of cracks develop.

In summary

Paving is not to be messed with, so the next time you have a job come up, don’t take the risk of doing it yourself; leave it to the knowledgeable and trained paving contractors in your local area to complete.