Help! My Pool Pump Doesn’t Work

Swimming Pool pumps can sometimes give you problems. In fact, one of the broadest questions we’re asked is “how do I get my pump to work again? It’s not sucking water.” If your pump isn’t working you’ve got to go step by step in order to diagnose it. There are 2 general reasons for these problems: Mechanical or Physical.

The Mechanical reasons are pretty simple to diagnose. Does the pump turn on? If no, it could be one of several reasons. First make sure it’s plugged in. Make sure the circuit breaker is turned on and if you have a timer attached (good idea in order to save money), make sure that you are currently in the “ON” zone.

Next, check the wiring. If the wiring is somehow defective due to age improper installation, the pump & motor will not turn on. It would be well worth your while having a local pool service technician or electrician diagnose the problem. If the pump is more than 5 to 7 years old, it is coming to the end of its useful life and may need to be replaced. Electric motors do not last forever.

CAUTION! Whenever working on or examining the electric motor, be sure that it is UNPLUGGED and not just shut-off. You don’t want to be injured with an electrical shock.

If you turn the motor on and it hums, there are a couple of things to check. First off, when starting in the spring, it’s very possible that a little bit of corrosion has formed on the magnetic wiring. In this case, usually a simple turn of the motor shaft by either turning the impeller directly (motor unplugged with no electricity) or by removing the back plate of the electric motor and turning the shaft. After you have made sure it is moving freely and smoothly, plug the motor back in and turn it on. This cures 95% – 99% of this type of problem.

The Physical reasons are sometimes a little more time consuming to diagnose. Here the questions center around, “the pump won’t prime” or “the motor runs but the basket doesn’t fill up with water” or “the pump is operating but it’s not pulling anything.”

All of these issues can be relatively simple to fix and will most likely NOT require a professional service call. Follow the following steps:

  1. Make sure there is enough water in the pool. If the water isn’t high, a “whirlpool” will form in the skimmer and air will be drawn into the system. While you’re in the skimmer, make sure the basket is free of leaves and debris.
  2. Is the filter dirty or otherwise clogged? If so, backwash the sand, change the DE or clean the cartridge. If water cannot flow through the filter, the pump will not be able to draw water.
  3. On aboveground pools utilizing blow molded hose, be sure there are no kinks in the hose.
  4. On inground pools, it is possible that a larger object such as an acorn or wad of leaves or dead frog or mouse, has gotten past the skimmer basket and is clogging an underground pipe. In this case a pipe snake may be needed to remove the object (the most unlikely cause of all on this list).
  5. Make sure the pump basket gasket is clean & well lubricated with a good quality silicone lube. Clean off any dirt or leaf particle. DO NOT use vaseline or petroleum jelly; either product will shorten the life of the gasket or O ring.
  6. Make sure the pump basket cover is not cracked or misshaped. If so, it will not seal.
  7. Make sure the clamps on the hoses are properly tightened (mostly on aboveground pools). Too loose & air will be allowed in plus you’ll notice leakage. Too tight & the hose will be pinched with the same problems.
  8. Check any valves for leaks in general – air leaks in particular. On the suction side of the pump you will NOT have any water leaks when the pump is operating; when turned off, there may be a few drips. Change or replace any valve gaskets. At the beginning of each swimming season, be sure to lubricate the gaskets & O rings.
  9. Put a bead of silicone calk around each pipe connection. Over time, some of the glued pipe connections can degrade allowing air to get into the system.
  10. Take the pump apart & check to see if the impeller or diffuse (or both) are worn. Impellers and diffusers will wear due to normal erosion over time. Worn out impeller blades or veins will dramatically reduce the amount of water that a pump is able move.
  11. While the pump is apart, remove any accumulations of debris from the impeller. Use a wire to clean out the areas between the impeller blades.  Bits of leaves, twigs, acorns and seeds, as well as hair will clog the impeller impeding the flow of water; even a couple of tablespoonfuls of debris will make all the difference. Do this check mid-season and at closing for continued good performance.

The most likely causes? Worn or dried out gaskets & O rings and clogged impellers.

Putting Down Your Block Paving Driveways

When you are thinking of paving your driveway you need to figure out what material you would like to pave it with. There are many options out there for you to choose from, this includes brick and block paving driveways.

Block paving driveways are one of the more used pavements since it looks nice, and it is an affordable price for any type of wallet size. It will also complete your homes outside look, and attract more attention than ever before.

When you go to choose your block paving, you will want to find a color that matches the rest of your house. The pavers who are professionals at paving will be able to give you ideas of what type of color should go in front of your home, and which one will stand out the most when it is placed in.

If you are hiring someone to do the pavement for you, then you want to find out how many pavements they have done before, and if they are licensed or trained to do this type of work. This is because you do not want them to mess anything up, or end up not being who they said they were when you hired them. This is being cautious with what you do before you do it, and getting all the information you need when you need to know more about the workers.

If you are doing it yourself then you should make sure you know where the best place to get the materials would be, and step by step on how to do what you are trying to do. This can be done simply with one or two people; it will save you money since you are not paying for labor and just for materials for the paving. If you were to hire someone to do this work for you then you would end up paying more money in the end just for labor.

This is something that you should look into because if you can pave your driveways on your own, you will be saving money in the long run. This means that you have options out there to utilize, and mostly any house would look complete with a pavement that is perfectly fit for your home. You can find out what types of paving are out there for you to use from the internet before you order them online, or go to the store near you to pick them up.

Make sure you get the correct ones that you want to put out front of your house since you want to make sure you have the best ones for the job. This is to make sure you get exactly what you need, for the price that you find affordable. Your block paving driveways does not have to be expensive to look expensive depending on where you go to receive your materials.

Start searching on the internet for your materials today, or stop by your local hardware store for more information on the material that you would like to purchase. They may even be able to deliver it to you.

Kayaking Under Bridges – Tips For Staying Safe

If you live near a major port city, such as San Francisco or Seattle, odds are that you are also near a number of bridges. You may have traveled over them by car or by foot, but you might not have realized just how big they are. Kayaking, in addition to being an excellent workout and a fantastic way to spend a day outdoors, can also give you a new perspective on seemingly ordinary landmarks such as bridges. Since many impressive bridges span navigable bodies of water, a kayaking trip is a great opportunity to paddle underneath a bridge. There are many aspects of a bridge paddle that make it so interesting, but there are also some important things you should remember when planning a bridge paddle.

One thing you should be aware of is the likelihood of strong currents flowing under your bridge of choice. Many bridges are built over narrow waterways such as straits or channels. Particularly in the cases where these waterways connect a larger body of water to the ocean, tidal currents can be treacherous when the tidal exchange is significant. For example, currents under the Golden Gate Bridge can reach up to 6 knots during the most significant tidal exchanges. For comparison, the fastest you can probably paddle your kayak is about 2 or 3 knots. These exceptionally fast tidal currents result from the large amount of water that has to flow out of the bay, sound, or other connected body of water into the ocean during the course of the tidal exchange. From this example, you can see why it’s important that you plan around the tides so you don’t get swept away by the current.

Luckily, tides and tidal currents are very predictable, so you can check a tide chart to make sure the tidal exchanges are small when you will be out kayaking. If you pick a time when there is very little tidal flow under the bridge, you will have a much safer and more enjoyable trip. If you are comfortable with planning for tides, you may also consider planning your trip so that the tidal current flows in the direction you want to travel. For example, you might want to ride the current from your launch point to your destination, then ride the return current back to your launch point when the tidal flow switches direction.

When kayaking under bridges, you should also be aware of the flow of water through the bridge supports. In particular, smaller bridges may have spaces between their supports through which water may flow. If you get too close to one of these spaces and your boat does not fit through it, you may get stuck against the supports by the force of the water flowing through the space. The effect is much like a strong suction or vacuum. Note that it takes very little flow for your kayak to get stuck in this manner. The best way to avoid this problem is to recognize spots where it is likely to occur and stay far away from them. You should move quickly past any such danger spots, and advise others in your kayaking party to do the same.

Another thing to look out for when kayaking under bridges is the possibility of other boats in the area. Since bridges are often located near major ports, marinas, or navigable waterways, it is often likely that larger motorized boats will cross your path. As you may know already, you should never try to pass in front of them, stay aware of where they are at all times, and turn your bow so the length of your kayak is perpendicular to any large wakes caused by passing boats.

Although these are just a few of the particularities you may have to deal with when planning a bridge paddle or kayaking under bridges, the more you inform yourself, the better you will be able to avoid uncomfortable situations and stay safe in your kayak.

Work at Home Assembly – Choosing the Right Kind of Work at Home Assembly Job

Work at home assembly workers have gotten for themselves a nice and easy kind of work. Because there are so many products a worker can choose to work on, it would then be easy for anybody to ascertain her or his likes for a certain kind of work she or he will choose. Actually, there are four major categories of products a worker may be able to choose from.

These work at home assembly categories are electronics assembly, jewelry assembly, toys assembly and the fourth one, other crafts assembly. In the other crafts assembly, what are included here will be wood craft assembly, shell craft assembly and miscellaneous craft assembly. Wood craft assembly would include products that are made of wood such as wooden picture frames, wooden home and office display accessories and other home products made from wood.

On the other hand, shell craft products assembly will include home products like picture frames made from sea shell, sea shell lamp shade, ornamental arts utilizing sea shells, corner hanging lamps made from sea shells, and even ash trays made entirely of sea shell. Actually, when it comes to shell craft products, there are just so many designs that shell craft products have in terms of hanging lamps. There are shell craft hanging lamps for patios, gardens and corner hanging lamps for home interiors.

Miscellaneous craft assembly meanwhile would refer to combination of several materials in making a craft and in its assembly. These materials are plastic, wires, papers, cloth, and other kinds. Products that are usually made from these materials are home display accessory such as artificial flowers, artificial plants and many other accessory products to beautify the home.

From this simple list, you can already see that there are just so many products that work at home assembly workers can choose from. Actually, if I have to go on, I can occupy several pages just to complete the list of products that comprise the total number of products. But just to give you a guide on what is the best way in choosing the right product for you to work on as a work at home assembly worker, is for you to look at all the list in the product and company directory and look for the product that interests you most in working.

If you are a woman and you like to sew, then you should go for stuffed toys assembly under toys product category. Stuffed toys will involve sewing work. Now if you are a woman and love jewelry, then surely you have to choose jewelry assembly. If you are a guy who goes for electronic products, then electronic assembly is the most suited assembly work for you. Each one of us has our own individual interest so, in order to be happy and comfortable with the kind of work you will do as a work at home assembly worker, you have to choose the product that interests you most.

Wall Mounting TVs – Tips and Tricks

Wall mounting a flat screen TV is a great way of saving space, protecting the TV and getting a good position where the view isn’t interrupted. Setting up a wall mount for best effect involves a bit of planning, but it’s well worth doing. The best brands, like Sharp, Sony and Samsung LCD TVs are easily mounted, and it’s no major operation.

Wall mounting basics

When doing a wall mounting, before you do anything at all, you need to make some decisions:

  • Where’s the best spot? You need a place where the TV is easily viewable, about half way up the wall or slightly higher. You should have a good view from every seat in the room, and the TV should be at young kid-proof height to avoid any unintentional encounters.
  • What about the ambient light? Does sunlight hit the area? That can make a difference to viewing quality. Although good TVs have ambient light sensors, the idea is to get the best picture.
  • How to set up the peripherals, like DVD players, games, and a PC hookup if required? You need space under the TV for these things, and a good set of shelving or TV unit is ideal These things can be easily managed, so you don’t suffer from the sort of clutter which fills the living room. This is another advantage of wall mounting, space management.
  • Are you happy about doing the wall mounting yourself, or do you want someone else to do it? Not everyone is a handyman. If you don’t feel comfortable with it, don’t do it. This work can get complex, and involves some wiring issues and fishing wire through beams and wall spaces. Installers and tradespeople can get this job done in an hour or so. With big LCD TVs, “doubtful” mounting is definitely not a good idea. Any damage probably won’t be covered by warranty. Just make sure you’ve got good strong brackets for the mounting, particularly with bigger TVs.

Wall mounting space management

The great advantage of wall mounting is freeing up a lot of cubic space. You’ll be surprised how much space a TV can use. If you’ve got TV shelving, that whole area is now free for all your additional things, and you’ll find that you can reclaim a lot of living room space.

When setting up, you can integrate all the additional equipment into one area. This is a good, efficient setup that will start making itself useful immediately. It’s particularly good for games and wireless PC hookups, reducing the amount of cable around the TV area. This is also a good safety measure if you’ve got kids who can get into these spaces, because the wiring and cables are much easier to make inaccessible. The most modern TVs, with motion sensors for games, also benefit from the free space.

Wall mounting is a really useful option in any situation. It removes floor clutter, manages cables, and creates space to enjoy your TV.

Mosaic Tile Kitchen Backsplash

Mosaic backsplash tile is used to decorate your kitchen. It is tile that gives new look to your kitchen. It is a tile that would help you to fulfill your dream of decorating your house.

Mosaic tile kitchen backsplash are easy to apply. It can be used to decorate any corner of your house. It is considered to be a unique technique that can be used for various purposes. It is a technique that would provide you all comforts of your life. It is technique that would help you to fulfill your dreams.

Quick review of mosaic tile backsplash

Mosaic tile kitchen backsplash is a technique in which one is able to gather the stones that have similar features and designs. These stones are manually attached on the mesh. The size of this mesh is 12″ by12″. You can collect these stones from rivers and seashores. But most of these stones come from Indonesian islands in South East Asia. It is quite easy to attach these tiles and these tiles would help you to redecorate your house. These tiles can be used in the kitchen, bathrooms, you can use them on floor and walls of your house and you can use them to decorate any corner of your house.

Advantages of mosaic tile backsplash

The following are some advantages and benefits of using these tiles

o These tiles are easy to clean

o These tiles are easy to maintain

o These tiles can be used for multipurpose. These tiles can be used in the house, office, restaurants and many other places.

o It is technique that would help you to save your expenses. These tiles would save your money of hiring a professional for attaching these tiles. You don’t require any professional for attaching these tiles. You can only attach these tiles as the attaching of these tiles does not require any specialized skills.

Important advices

The following are the some important advices that you should keep in mind if you want to attach these tiles in any corner of your house:

If you want to prepare a mixture for the grout then don’t add too much of water to the mixture that you have prepared for the grout because this additional water can create cracks which in turn would lead to leakage in your grout.

Use best quality material for attaching your tiles because these materials are long lasting.

Before installing stones try to laminate these stones with the help of sealer. This lamination would protect the stone from dirt. This lamination would help the stones to remain for long time.

Bottom line

Mosaic tile kitchen backsplash would help you to renovate your kitchen. These tiles would help you to give a new look to your kitchen. These tiles would create feeling of pride in you. There are many benefits of using these tiles. It is technique that would provide you various options and from these options you have to select the best one for your kitchen. These tiles can be used for interior decoration and it can also be used for exterior decoration. These tips would help you to attach the tiles in first attempt.

How To Lay Tile – Tools And Materials Required For Laying Ceramic Floor Tiles

A critical element of knowing how to lay tile is having the correct tools and materials for the job. There’s a saying that a craftsman is only as good as his tools. That doesn’t mean that you have to have the latest or most expensive models. It’s just about having the right tools and materials for the tiling job you want to tackle.

To lay ceramic tile on the floor these are the tools and materials you will need.

1. A tape measure. This is an absolute essential. You must be able to accurately measure the area where you are going to lay tile. A how to lay tile necessity is knowing the measurements of the area to be tiled so that you can work out how many tiles you need;

2. A good drill with mixing paddle. A heavy duty model is preferable. You can rent one but if you plan to lay tile on other home decorating projects in the future it makes sense to buy;

3. A tile or wet saw. Again you can rent or buy;

4. A chalk line. A must to ensure you lay tile in a straight line;

5. A notched tile trowel to spread on the setting material. This will give a rib pattern ensuring an even thickness of material. Pick a trowel size suitable for the size of tiles you will be using;

6. A grout float. This is used to force grout into the joints between tiles. The face can be made from either rubber or foam;

7. Tile spacers. These will be used to give uniform joints between tiles. Choose size according to the size of grout line you want;

8. A bucket and sponge;

9. Setting compounds and flexible additive. There are many setting compounds on the market. Choose one suitable for ceramic floor tiles. The flexible additive is vital and it ensures the tile won’t crack when people walk over it;

10. Grout;

11. Backsplash (quarter inch thick) if you are installing over a wooden floor. Not necessary if ceramic tiling onto a concrete floor;

12. Protection gear such as safety goggles, gloves, overalls, or old clothes, and knee pads (knees take quite a bit of punishment when laying a tile floor); and last but certainly not least

13. The ceramic tiles of your choice.

Drum Shade Chandeliers Are Incredibly Popular

The drum shade chandelier is a very popular style of modern lighting used today. Other than the beauty this style of chandelier brings to a room, the light it throws off is a unique type of lighting that works great for any room. The illumination it provides is relaxing, calming and very soft, while bright enough to provide enough light for anywhere in the room.

Whether used as a single light or in a group of lights, it can be customized to fit in with any style of decor. There are many different models of this style of chandelier as well as various ways to group the lights in order to beautifully illuminate your home.

One of the most popular style of drum chandelier is the pendant. The pendant style of lighting is a hanging light fixture with an elegant, sophisticated appearance. Everyone knows that chandeliers work best in dining rooms or entryways. The drum style of chandelier light fits in any room of the home; some have even used them outside on their patio.

The drum shade is quite often made of glass or fabric, each material offers its own style and beauty to the decor. The different colors of the fabric shades affect the mood and brightness of the lights. If customizing the light for each room is what you are going for, then a fabric drum shade chandelier is definitely the one for you. Whether a large or small space, atmosphere, mood, or a light to read by, this unique form of lighting will work while adding beauty to the room.

True Friendship – One in a Million

Over the years you start forming relationships with a lot of people starting with family and then friends. The friendship that you form begin at very young age and at all ages you keep on accumulating friends but as you grow older you also start to lose friends, some simply because of lack of time, some over little issues and some friendships by the nature they are formed are transitory in nature.

But have you ever done an introspection to find out what the meaning of a true friendship and if you have one true friend. So let us define what a true friend is and look at all ages to do that. When you are young you form friendships with those who did the same things that you liked and were supportive of you in you endeavors. At the teen age you formed groups of friends mainly because you wanted to be in the group that counted and was known as “the group” so to speak . Come to the young adult age and you start forming friends who know where the limit is and when to stop intruding in your boundary . A little into more mature age like the thirty’s and forty’s you will form relationship with mature thinking and even have same desires as you have .

In any of the above relationships have you ever thought which of those will stand the test of time and which will not and how many of those friends over the years you could call upon in the hour of need and help. among those will be friends who will not be afraid to call a spade a spade . You will value their opinions and thoughts , you will almost undoubtedly count on their support in the crisis hour , you will yell at them and they will simply stand and smile at you unperturbed. They will do you no harm and will protect you from the unknown in the hour of need.

These are the friends which will expect nothing in return and for them the friendship will mean a lot and will go to any lengths to protect the identity of the friendship. Huh ! these many qualities in one person would be tough to find but the point is that the person whom you count as a true friend will always have them without even trying to be so, it comes naturally to them and they are not swayed by the environmental and social considerations.

These true friendships will stand the test of time and you will know it , recognize it and then feel fortunate enough to have a single true friend in your life.

Tilling the Soil

Working the soil

The best landscape plan in the world will turn into an empty dream if the plants grow poorly. So before you turn the first spadeful of earth, ponder this question: How has the weather been?

If the dirt is gummy wet, wait until it dries out enough to crumble when you try to squeeze it into a handful. If it’s brick hard, water deeply and then wait until it dries to the moist but crumbly stage. If your spade slides in easily, read on.

Spade, Shovel and Moon Phase

The hard work of turning up the soil will seem a little easier if you use a spade. It should be square, sharp, and straight or nearly straight in its shank. When you push it into firm earth with your foot, you want all the force to go straight down the blade. And if you use a file to keep it sharpened, roots and clods of soil won’t be major obstacles.

The best time for cultivating your garden is during the waning phases of the moon or when the moon is transitioning from full moon to new moon. To further refine the best time for tilling the moon should be in an Air or Water zodiac sign.

A scoop-shaped shovel, with its pointed blade, should be used for mixing or turning loose materials. You handle it as if it were a combination of a spade and scoop.

The point on the shovel helps you to slide it into the material and the concave blade keeps the material from sliding off as you lift and turn. A shovel blade is set at an angle to the shaft so it stays flat when you push it horizontally into a pile of material.

In spading up small areas of soil, many gardeners make the mistake of turning each spadeful of earth completely over. If you make the same mistake, any weeds, leaves, or other debris in the soil will form a one spade-deep barrier that cuts off air and water.

Instead, you should lay the dirt on its side (against the previous shovelful) so the original surface is vertical to the ground.

Machine Power

Using a spade to turn the earth is fine for small areas, but for really big jobs you may want to rent or buy a power tiller. Because a tiller is adjustable, it can either scratch the surface or dig down several inches.

If you want to add amendments to packed soil but find it hard to make the tiller dig deep enough, start tilling at a shallow depth. Go over the area a second time (or even a third) with the tiller at a deeper setting each time. (Generally, the more powerful the tiller and the higher its horsepower, the deeper it can dig into the soil.)

In adding amendment, you should mix in a quantity that is from a quarter to a half of the finished volume of soil. (For more information on soil amendments, see soil amendment chart) Don’t pile up so much amendment that the tiller can’t penetrate the soil.

To avoid this, start by adding the amendment in 2 or 3-inch layers, tilling in each layer. If the amendment you choose needs nitrogen, add part of the amount with each amendment layer. Finally, don’t till in the same direction each time you add a layer of amendment. For the best mix the furrows should be at right angles to the furrows you made on your previous run.

Three Step Soil Amendment Guide

1) Spread a 2 to 4-inch layer of soil amendment over soil with a rake; add nitrogen fertilizer if needed. Don’t till yet.

2) Scatter superphosphate or bone meal (following package directions) for good root growth. If amendment is sawdust, also add iron chelate.

3) Cultivate in one direction, then at right angles, tilling the top 8 or 9 inches of soil. Repeat several times to mix soil evenly with amendment.

Following these steps will increase your chances for having a wonderful year in the garden. Happy tilling!

Elevator Speech – 5 Excellent Ways to Skyrocket Immediate Customer Interest!

An elevator speech is defined as: the phrasings that you use in a social situation to introduce yourself to a group of people that want to get to know you and use your services. Sure you know who you are and what you do, but how good are you are telling others? Introducing yourself to a new group of people can be challenging if you do not have the confidence or know how to do so. A perfected elevator speech will boost your confidence and triple your customer follow up!

Depending on the social environment you may be given anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes to make your introduction. What you say tells your audience not only who you are and what you do, but it says how confident you are with yourself and interacting with others.

You can perfect your speech by using these 5 guidelines:

Put it on paper. Writing your elevator speech and rehearsing it truly helps you define the most important elements. Depending on the situation, you may need to lengthen or shorten it, be prepared to do so. And always be sure to state your name – It is important that people know who you are; often that crucial piece is forgotten.

Test it on your friends or relatives. This is crucial because any time a person hears your elevator speech for the first time they can quickly detect how effective it sounds. You are then in a great position to ask questions as to where the weaknesses and strengths occur.

Third, take the time to make adjustments based on the positive criticism you received. Try not to feel offended with critics. It really is the only way to know for sure how your elevator speech is coming off to the listeners. Listen very carefully to what others say about your elevator speech. It could make or break the follow up you receive

Grab the listeners’ attention by being extremely specific when using your elevator speech. Say what you do in simple but precise terms; you do not want to confuse or bore the listener. A good line might be, “I double people’s income using expert Internet marketing strategies”. Notice that this statement includes the results of your services rather than just stating the services. People love confidence. If you insert a really attention-grabbing result of your services, the listeners will focus much more intently.

Lastly, differentiating what makes you different from the hundreds of people who are in the same profession can mean the difference between a mediocre elevator speech and an outstanding one. So be honest: Ask yourself what makes your business different. It could be as simple as a guarantee. A guarantee can sound something like this, “I can double your income in one year or you get a full refund.”

A great elevator speech will help you to introduce yourself and quickly spark some serious interest in your business. Just remember to follow-up with a phone call or an email to take the connection to a higher more personal level.

Throw Away Plastic Plates

When it comes to talking about plastic plates different people will think of different things. This is because there are so many types out there and everyone has had a different experience with them generally. It is also true that they are more likely to remember the last time they used them and so this will be the type that they think about. This article is about the type of plates that you throw away after use. There are other types where they are made of plastic but they are made to substitute the more conventional plates that are used in kitchens everywhere.

The type of plastic plates that are made for throwing away would be used for parties and other types of casual entertainment. It is especially used for children’s parties. This is because you can get some really great colors that brighten up the place and bring more of a party atmosphere to the place. After it is all over you do not want to be collecting ten or twenty plates to clean up, it is just too much work. What you want to do is walk around your place with a bag and throw all the trash in there not having to worry about scraping the plates off.

There are other things to note when it comes to the throw away type. Sometimes you can reuse them. This does mean that you will need to wash them afterward but when all is done you can reuse them again. You may think this defeats the purpose of having them as throw aways but after a number of uses you can do exactly that. This will save you a few dollars especially if you have a few parties that you are hosting within a short time frame.

The last thing to note about these plastic plates is that you can recycle some of them. If you see a recycling symbol anywhere on the plate or it is indicated on the packet that you purchased them in, then make that little bit of effort. Wash all the grime off the plates when it comes to that time and then recycle them all. There is enough plastic waste around the world and your little bit of effort can help with reducing that. It will still be easier than using conventional plates but not as easy as just throwing them out without thinking. Choose what is best for your situation.

Pellet Wood Stove – Are They a Good Choice For Heating?

With a pellet wood stove you can have the comfort and advantages of wood heat and the convenience of traditional heating appliances while using a low cost renewable source of fuel. Pellet wood stoves burn pellets that are made by compressing wood or other biomass into small pellets. Pellets burn clean and more efficiently than traditional firewood. Pellet stoves are the cleanest solid fuel burning heating appliances available.

Pellet stoves look similar to wood stoves and can be inserts or free standing. They come with glass doors so you can see the flames and feel a similar comfortable radiant heat that you get from a wood stove. Pellet fuel is usually stored in a hopper on the back of the stove. This can be filled once a day or less with pellets which are fed into the combustion chamber automatically so you don’t have to continually put fuel on the fire. This combined with thermostatic controls will assure continuous heat even while you are away or asleep.

Because pellet stoves are so efficient at extracting the heat that is produced and because they burn so clean a chimney is not needed. The relatively cool and clean exhaust can be vented through a simple exhaust vent similar to a gas or oil furnace. This makes installation more simple and inexpensive than a traditional wood stove.

Pellets are made from biomass which is renewable and considered carbon neutral. Most are made from wood and utilize waste material from the production of other forest products. When heating with pellets you can use a resource that may have otherwise gone to waste.

The biggest disadvantage of pellet wood stoves is that it does require electricity to power some of it’s functions. They consume very little electricity since they don’t use it to produce heat but when the power goes out the whole unit will shut down. There are battery backup systems available that will solve this problem and so will a generator to have on hand in a power failure. If you want the advantages of a wood stove but without the advantages a pellet stove may be the right choice. Pellets are affordable, renewable and provide the incomparable comfort of wood heat.

Cooking Fish Recipes in a Slow Cooker

Even if you frequently use your slow cooker to make beef, pork or chicken recipes, you might have completely overlooked fish dishes. Fish is known for its ability to cook fast so perhaps you thought slow cooking was not an option for it. Actually using a crockpot to make your fish and seafood recipes helps to keep the subtle fish flavor intact because no moisture is lost during the slow cooking process and the heat is kept low.

You can use fish in casserole, stew, soup and pasta recipes. You can also poach or steam it in the crockpot. To poach fish, you just need to add it to the crock pot, cover it with water, stock or wine and add your chosen herbs or spices. Parsley and bay leaves are especially good for fish dishes. Poaching might only take forty five minutes, depending on the type of fish you use and its thickness, so keep an eye on it. If you are using flat fish you can braise it. Roll it up before adding it to keep it in one piece and keep the flavor locked in.

How to Cook Shellfish in a Crockpot

Shellfish does not combine well with long cooking times, so if you want to add some to a stew or soup recipe, add it near the end of the cooking time so it can warm through. Shrimp can be added to crockpot chowders, soups or stews. You can either add them in their shells or de-shelled. Gumbo and jambalaya are slow cooker recipes and you can add some tasty shrimp to these, whether you make them on the stove or slow cook them. Clams and mussels are good for making stews, especially when you use a tomato or white wine based sauce.

Slow Cooking Times for Fish

Some meat dishes, especially when you are using tough cuts, can take up to ten hours to tenderize in a crock pot but fish cooks faster, which is why slow cooker recipes for fish usually only need three or four hours. Leaving the fish in the crockpot when it has finished cooking can dry it out so this is not something to leave in there all day while you are out. You will need to serve the fish as soon as it is ready.

You can cook steaks from big fish like mackerel, salmon, haddock and cod. You would not be able to fit a whole one of these fish into the slow cooker but the steaks cook well. If you have a whole fish and it is very big, you can chop your own steaks from it or get a fishmonger to do it for you. Flat fish tend to be smaller in general than these bigger species, so you can cook a whole plaice or sole. The flesh of these fish is not muscular since they are not very active. This means the flesh will be delicate and soft when it is cooked.

Make Solar Panels – Home Solar Panels

Building your own solar panels has never been easier. With new building techniques, making your own power is now a reality. Today we have better quality solar cells that can be purchased at reasonable prices to keep your building cost to a minimum. If you are wondering what it takes to build your own solar panels, then look at the list I have compiled for you. Here are the items you will need to make your own solar panels.

  • Solar cells-You will need at least 36 solar cells to start with. I purchase my cells from a company in California called Everbrite©. They have reasonable prices, plus when you order your cells you will receive extra cells because at first you will break one or two. You can order your solar cells in kits that include everything you need to get started.
  • Aluminum frame-I like to beef up my solar panel by purchasing 1/8″ aluminum angle in at least 1″ dimension, so that they will last for thirty years or more. The frame is to be the strongest part of your panel, so no skimping here.
  • Tempered glass-One thing that I learned about building solar panels, tempered glass is the best for making a system that will last and withstand all types of weather from hail storms, heat, and cold. I recommend 1/4″ for strength and durability. Another good point to make here is that all your soldering can be done on this tempered glass which makes an excellent heat sink.
  • Encapsulate liquid-The best way to mount your finished solar cells to the glass is by using a special epoxy designed for manufacturing of solar panels. I used encapsulate from Dow© chemical called Sylgard, which comes in two parts, an A and B which when mixed will bond your cells to the glass, completely covering them from the elements. It is important to let stand for at least four days to cure.
  • Soldering tools-What I have found is that a soldering iron of 40 watts works best for soldering your tab and buss wires to your cells. It is good to have extra soldering tips available, because you will be replacing them at one point during your soldering process.
  • Hardware-You will need miscellaneous hardware such as 1/4″ machine screws, 1/4″ nuts, 1/4″ lock washers, small angle brackets to join your corners of the aluminum frame together, and angle brackets to hold your glass in place.

Anyone can build their own solar panels for home with the proper instruction and training. Visit Earth Power Energy Systems to see other tips about building your own renewable energy systems.