The Debt Ceiling Compromise: A Closer Examination

With a major debt ceiling violation hot off the presses, what does this mean for America's taxpayers?

Earlier this week, mere days before the deadline, the Republicans struck a deal with the Democrats in Congress and President Barack Obama to raise the statutory ceiling on federal debt and avoid a default that would have been lethal to our economy.

In the aftermath a great tidal wave of rhetorical has swept the nation's media and the consensus seems to be a universal sense of dismay. Conservative and liberal commentators alike seem to be in agreement that the deal reached did everything short of actually helping the country. Permanent months of promises from both sides that the bargain would include combine cuts with revenue-raising tax reforms and contractual benefits such as Medicare and Social Security, no such compromises seems to have emerged.

Rather, the result seems to be a major stop-gap measure, which will be followed by more months of politicizing, debts, and paralysis.

What Does This Mean for Taxpayers?

Ignoring for a moment Speaker Boehner's declaration that a tax hike would now be "impossible," it would seem that higher taxes could soon appear on the horizon. The bill actually lacks any kind of tax reform whateversoever. Specifically, the compromise failed to extend the payroll tax cut passed in 2010. This means that workers could expect to see their pay checks shrink by approximately two percent in January when the additional tax is deducted from their earnings.

At the very least we can expect to see some serious debts over the next few months on a wide range of tax issues as the Democrats continue their efforts to close loopholes in the tax code that benefit the rich and the Republicans remain steadfast in their opposition to any kind of tax increases.

For many Americans, especially retirees and those who rely on Social Security benefits, the cuts are serious cause for concern. Any decrease in federal spending will mean less aid for state and local government, thus making already weak areas even more vulnerable to budget cuts, deficiency, and layoffs.

Perhaps of most direct importance for many Americans is the bill's effect on the dollar. While the resolution of the crisis brought an immediate rally in the dollar, with the US dollar index rising 0.49 percent on Monday, it is not expected to last. Given the continued work necessary to resolve the debt problem, as well as the country's poor economic condition (due in part to the total stagnation of the debt talks) many economists believe the dollar could continue to decline through the end of the year.

When Installing Flooring, What Should Be Remembered?

You will soon find that the manufacturers of any form of laminate flooring will provide specific instructions for the correct installation of their product. There are a few common dos and don'ts that will need to be used when installing any kind of laminate flooring. Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise to the manufacturers that many of these people will disregard the instructions that they provide as they know better than the manufacturer.

The first thing that needs to be done when installing any type of laminate flooring in a home is allowed to acclimatize. You can do this easily by placing the boxes of flooring in the room for between 48 to 72 hours prior to installation. Failure to carry out this will cause the flooring to buckle and this is one mistake that is made by most people and includes some flooring contractors as well.

At all times there should be a gap of between 5/16 "to" "(depending on the manufacturer's instructions) from the edge of the floor being laid and walls and any other obstacles in the room such as columns, stair risers, heat vents Egypt radiators. This gap brings the floor with room to expand and if it does not have the space then the floor will again buckle.

If the flooring is to be laid on to a concrete floor with earth directly below it then a vapor barrier must be installed first before the laminate flooring is laid. Any seams should be taped with a moisture resistant tape and no laminate flooring can be installed on a floor which has a drain in it.

You may discover that some manufacturers allow for the installation of the laminate flooring directly onto carpet; however this carpet should have made a hard twist such as Berber or one with a very low pile (usually a commercial carpet). If the underlay used is spongy, this will result in the floor separating when walked on.

At all times the length of the piece of flooring to be installed should be no less than 8 inches long and the width should never be less than 2 inches. It is a good idea to measure the room where the floor is to be installed as you may find that you will have to cut the first board to be laid in length and the first row boards in width to avoid you having any small pieces installed.

All joints should be staggered at a minimum of 16 inches apart and there should be no less than 3 rows for repeating the joint. If you are installing a baseboard or a quarter round on top of the laminate flooring, you should not nail through the laminate. Remember a laminate floor should be allowed to expand and contract.

It is a good idea to repair all squeaks and soft spots on the sub-floor prior to the installation of the laminate flooring. Unfortunately laminate flooring is unable to correct any squeaks or soft spot problems that the original flooring may have.

Never ever continue to install the laminate through a doorway which is less than 48 inches wide, rather use a transition molding instead. Also never ever hammer on the groove end of the laminate flooring board and always begin the installation with the groove side and end towards the walls of the room where it is being laid. If you need to tighten the joints then using a tapping block and not a hammer as this will only cause damage to both the surface and joints of the laminate flooring.

At all times floors must be level and there should be no more than 3/16 "slope over a ten foot span of floor space. used to fill these areas and it should be left to dry for up to 72 hours.

Finally, it is a good idea to read and follow the manufacturers instructions at all times to ensure that the floor you have installed is of a high standard and will last for years to come.

Water Is Life

Scientists have taught us that the total mass of the earth is about two-third water. Most other things in life also contain water in very significant quantities. Talk of the food we eat and the fruits too. It could not be strange to discover that, those hard materials you see daily and everywhere have their respective significant amounts of water. The human body is noted to be made up about 60% water.

Take a glass of water, even when you are not thirsty, and you will feel a kind of satisfaction. Whenever thirst sets in, drinking water creates a special mode of relief that can only be surpassed by gaining breath during resuscitation. Water is life; it is the second most important substance after the air we breathe in. Its essence is hard to quantify in words and numbers, because it does so much more than we already and can even imagine.

In the fruits we eat, despite their varying levels, water still institute their biggest proportion by mass. Let us look at the following list as an example:

Food / Percentage / Water

Lettuce / (1 c cup) / 95%
Watermelon / (1 c cup) / 92%
Grapefruit / (1 c cup) / 91%
Milk / (1 cup) / 89%
Orange juice / (3/4 cup) / 88%
Carrot / (1 c cup) / 87%
Yoghurt / (1 cup) / 85%
Apple / (one medium) / 84%

WHAT AMOUNT OF WATER DO YOU NEED DAILY?

The amount of water needed by an individual daily is dependent on a number of factors. Although in the past, we had been made to accept the notification that we should drink a minimum of eight glasses of water everyday; results of recent researchers have overturned this near misconception. It is never in doubt that water is good and very important; however its consumption should be governed by size, level of activity, the weather, and your general health.

Following the results of the researchers conducted by Heinz Valtin, published in the American Journal of Physiology in 2002, in which question the old belief of 8 glass cups of water a day, he concluded that the major determinant of water consumption quantity should be thirst. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) in America also agreed with his findings. They published new guidelines, in 2004, which removed the eight-glasses-a-day recommendation, and say healthy adults may use that to determine their fluid needs. Despite the little controversy, the significance of water has never been in any serious doubt.

The IOM report was based on surveys and it recommended 11-plus cups a day for women and 15-plus cups a day for men. These are for total fluid intake, including fluid from all food and beverages.

Some 80% of our water consumption is through drinking water and other beverages, while the remaining 20% ​​is obtained from food. Assuming these percentages are accurate for most of us, the recommended amount of beverages, including water, would be approximately 9 cups for women and 12.5 cups for men. A lot of our foods are significant water, particularly, fruits.

WHAT WILL DRINKING WATER DO FOR YOU?

Honestly, drinking water will do more than you can imagine. Water is life; it brings satisfaction whenever you it. Eating without drinking water can choke especially if starchy foods like eba (cassava extract) is involved. To say that water is essentially a part of a balanced diet is to say the least. We can look at the following as other benefits of water.

IT BOOSTS YOUR ENERGY LEVEL

Drinking water does a lot to help you gain energy, when taken in moderate quantities to requirements. Thirst is due to dehydration and the only remedy is hydration: drink water. There is an experience of tiredness when thirsty due to dehydration. The energy level increases once water is consumed. But when too much is taken, weakness sets in.

IT LOWERS YOUR STRESS

Some four out of five of the tissues in the brain are made up of water. When there is dehydration, there is shortage of water. This condition leads to stress. However when water is consumed, the tissues become hydrated. Consequently, stress is reduced or eliminated. Drink water regularly and momentarily.

IT BUILDS YOUR MUSCLE

You need to know the meaning of turgidity. That is strength in a way. Water fills the muscles and makes them strong from being enlarged. It is never a serious way of building large muscles, like the body builders we see in the magazines, online and television as models. It also helps the muscles to prevent cramps and lubricates the joints. In addition, when you drink enough water, you will last longer in your exercise sessions.

IT NOURISHES YOUR SKIN

Dehydration causes wrinkles and lines on your skin. It makes skin looks old and ugly. Nature, however, provides a beauty cream in the form of water. The skin cells are hydrated and pumped up to make the skin look young and beautiful. It glows because water flushes out impurities in the blood, improving circulation and blood flow.

IT REDUCES KIDNEY STONES

Kidney stones are crystals formed by excess salts and minerals in the urine as it passes through the kidney. Drinking enough water regularly dilutes the urine inhibiting the formation of kidney stones. Diluted urine does not allow kidney stones to form. Drink a lot of water.

IT HELPS DIGESTION

This, sometimes, is the most important benefit. Water aids the digestion of foods. Waste particles are, also, easily dissolved and passed smoothly through the digestive tracts. In a case when there is dehydration, the body absorbs all the water; makes it hard for digestion and passage of waste.

IT HELPS WEIGHT LOSS

This can never be stranger than it is; yet it can also never be truer. You should exchange the mineral (soft) drinks that are laden with many calories with drinking more water. Metabolic reactions are increased to improve the burning of more calories. When you drink water, especially chilled cold one, the body generates heat to warm up the water, in the process burning off a few calories.

Water is life and its universal significance can in no way be substituted for any other substance. It is filling and fulfilling. It is healthy and invigorating. It is surplus and indispensable. Above all it is basic in the constitution of all cells, tissues, organs and systems of all organizations.

Accessories For a Twin Stroller

Twin strollers today are equipped with numerous efficient features that help make your day that much easier. Lets take a look on some of them.

Are you the mom on the go who had no place to put our drinks while pushing twin stroller? Then Cup Holder might be solution for you. It is great for walks with your morning coffee or afternoon tea. You can attach Cup Holder to the twin stroller and it accommodates anything from a regular pop can, to a large water bottle.

Still need more storage? Buy Handlebar Console and you will have up to three water-bottle / beverage holders along with storage compartment for keys, cell phones, wallets, and other items.

There are canopy extensions available for parents who want protection from the sun and complete visibility for their infants and toddlers. The twin stroller sunshade attachment is a stroller canopy extension that provides shelter in both sunny and overcast conditions and reduces glare on sensitive young eyes. You can protect your little ones from rain, wind, sun and snow with many different twin stroller weather cover shields. Water-resistant. Breathable, soft and durable most of them will protect from 99% of UV Rays.
Covers panels conveniently fold up when not needed.

Ideal for cold winter months and brisk fall days you can buy comfortable footmuffs. They comes an array of colors. Footmuffs will help to keep your baby's feet warm during the cold seasons of the year. Some of them have removable top some allow parents to easily regulate babys temperatures with a zip-off top.

It is easy to get frustrated by cleaning on car seats, carriers and strollers. The waterproof pads made from vinyl forms a 100% accident-proof barrier, while soft, absorbent layers keep moisture away from baby's skin. They have soft, absorbent terrycloth seat which is gentle to baby. Pads are machine washable and great for parents and baby potty training.

How to Replace Your RV Awnings

RV Awnings provides us shade and it becomes an indispensable part during hot summer days. These awnings also give us an extra living space and they become quite useful during camping. Proper maintenance and care should be done to increase the life of awnings. Correct upkeep is needed to make it durable. You should adhere to manufacturer recommendations and ideas written in brochure supplied along with awning. You should repair your awning immediately if it has small holes. In the event of little rips or openings, you should restore all of them immediately prior to the rips or openings change too large. If it is aged along with a lot of fragile places then you can consider replacing it. It's not a big deal or very tough to replace the old awnings with new one. Whether it is the mobile home or even journey truck, the majority of the leisure automobile holder chooses to repair or replace their old awnings on their own. I will explain you procedure in detail to replace your old awnings. I will give you tips and precautions which you should keep in mind before replacing or changing your old awning. Believe me it's very simple and you can do it on your own. So let's take a look at steps needed to replace it.

Just before replacing the actual RECREATIONAL VEHICLE awning, you need to read all the directions given in brochure concerning replacement of awnings. You should thoroughly go through it. If you're not really mechanically sound and do not have any previous mechanical experience then disassembling the actual awning could be harmful. Before before disassembling it, you must read all the safety and preventive measures. Just in case if the dimension of RECREATIONAL VEHICLE awning is too large then you must take help of a third person for easy disassembling and replacement.

Replacing awning fabric is much easier then replacing the whole unit. Spare parts to be purchased should be of same brand as of original awning. This increases the comparably and will make your work much easier. Just before buying the actual components, be sure you measure the actual dimensions. After that, purchase components of suitable dimensions that will fit on your current awnings.

With regard to altering the actual RECREATIONAL VEHICLE awning, to begin with, setup the actual awning. Examine if the awning cloth is attached through button snaps or additional buckling tapes. Unwrap buckling tape or unsnap the button snaps. After this, unwrap the worn-out awning fabric very carefully.

Lay the new fabric on floor or any other flat surface. Hold its one side and attach it to framework with the help of button snaps or even buckling tapes. Make sure that Ends of fabric are properly buckled or wrapped with framework.

Congrats, you have changed the fabric of your awning on your own.

If in case you face any difficulty while replacing fabric then you always have the option to call some professional to do this work for you. You can also give a call to manufacturer for service.

Thermoplastic Line Marking

Thermoplastic line marks are one of the most common types of applications used to mark travel lanes in parking lots and roadways.

Line striping and pavement markings applied using thermoplastic create a wear and crack-resistant road signage. Even with asphalt pavement that experiences high traffic volumes, thermoplastic markings are very durable. Additionally, the highly reflective quality of thermoplastic markings makes for an excellent choice for road marking especially for nighttime visibility.

What is Thermoplastic?
Thermoplastic is a road surface coating that consist of binders such as waxes, resins, anti-settling agents and plasticizers. The mixture also includes glass beads, pigments and filler material such as calcined flint, calcium carbonate, or silica.

Thermoplastic markings are applied using a specially designed vehicle at temperatures ranging from 180 to 200 degrees. Immediately following the application of the thermoplastic to the roads surface, additional glass beads are embedded into the hot material before the plastic hardens. These beads, aided by the pigment, provide the thermoplastic with its reflective qualities. As the marking wears during regular traffic use, beads are lost; however, the beads mixed within the binder are then uncovered providing long-term reflectivity.

Discover the Benefits of Thermoplastic Marking

Thermoplastic line markings have many benefits:

Safety Considerations – Traffic and pedestrian safety is at the top of the list of factors to use thermoplastic line marks. Adding a level of safety, especially at night and in wet conditions, the glass beads offer reflectivity for night-time visibility as well as skid and slip resistance for pedestrian safety.

Image Quality – There are few, if any, problems with chip marks, cracking or impact shattering of the image or line.

Durable – The thermoplastic mixture is applied a temperature of about 180 to 200 degrees. When applied, the formula physically melts in the top layers of the asphalt surface forming a strong and long-lasting thermal bond. Additionally, grease and oil do not have any effect on the line marks.

Reflective – Thermoplastic line marking offers a highly reflective performance. When glass beads are combined with yellow or white pigment, the most common colors for thermoplastic line marks, the line marks are highly reflective.

Environmentally Friendly – Thermoplastic has been used since the late 1950s. The mixture lacks VOC (volatile organic compound) solvents and has been deemed safe for the environment.

Quick Application – Thermoplastic can be quickly and accurately applied to a variety of surface choices.

Whether you're looking to mark parking lot spaces, design special purposes spaces for disabled parking spots, loading and unloading zones, or time-restricted parking areas, thermoplastic line marks are an ideal choice.

How to Examine Your Violin Bridge, Strings, Tuning Peg and Assess General Condition of Your Violin

It is good practice to examine your violin each time you pick it up to play it. You want to look at its condition in general and a quick overall check goes a long way to stop expensive repairs in the future.

Firstly, examine the body of the violin for fine cracks, which can occur from sudden changes in temperature and humidity, being improperly handled or from the tension of the strings.

The Violin Bridge

The bridge should be in the right place and not leaving too far. Each time you tune the violin using the pegs, the top of the bridge moves a small amount towards the pegs. It is a small amount and usually not noticed. However, over time, this can cause the violin bridge to lean towards the fingerboard as the strings are tightened. The correct angle of the bridge can be determined by looking from the side of the bridge facing the tailpiece. It should be perpendicular to an imaginary straight line or tangent beginning at the point where the bridge rests on the curve of the violin. If the violin bridge leans too much off perpendicular, then the bridge may warp and possibly break. The correct position for the bridge is to align the feet of the bridge between the two small nicks on the inside of the two f-holes. To correct the violin bridge angle, you should lay the violin down on its back on a cloth or in its case. Rest your hands just above the widest part of the violin and grip the bridge between thumb and index finger or thumb and middle finger. There is a lot of pressure required to move the bridge. This must be done gradually without moving the placement of the feet.

Look at fine tuners should not be touching the wood of the instrument. You should look to make sure that there is a space between each tuner and the top of the instrument. Fine tuners have been known to have caused damage by digging into the wood in this manner.

Examine the pegs. They should move easily, but not slip too much. Either way, they may need attention. If a peg sticks too much, you can loosen it with commercial peg drops such as Hill Peg Compound. Be careful to do this one peg at a time. If you loosen too many strings at a time, you can also potentially damage the sound post because you are causing unequal pressure on the instrument. If you do not have peg drops, a small, dry scrap of soap can be used to rub a very small amount on the places where the peg passes through the peg box. Use sparingly! Conversely, if a peg is too loose, you can use blackboard chalk or pastels that artists use on the peg, as the chalk dust can help to hold the peg by causing friction. If the chalk does not seem to do the trick, this is a case where it would be advisable to take it to a luthier to refit the pegs.

Examine the violin strings on your instrument. Is there a build-up of rosin and dirt? Strings need to be changed periodically. As already discussed, the rosin is slightly acidic and so is the sweat and oils from your hands. This actually degrades the strings. An instrument that is played consistently will definitely need a new set of strings at least once every six months to a year.

Assemble Products at Home and Make Money?

Careers to assemble products at home have been around for some time, but how dependable are they? I've analyzed various organizations that allege to suggest quality Employment to assemble products at home, here is what I uncovered …

There are lots of separate ways that work at home Careers are offered on the Internet to assemble products at home. The main way is by visiting a Website URL with many assembly at home Work and businesses that propose a information of legitimate organizations.

These home assembly sites assure to get you a guide, information, ebook, etc … of businesses that need individuals to assemble products at home. Of course you will have to compensate for this information that can range from $ 15 to $ 69.

Once you get this information of organizations offering assembly at home Opportunities, you'll find that quite diverse of the businesses are out of business. And sometimes the information is so outdated that the contact information is not accurate or not complete.

When you actually find a home assembly organization that you would like to assemble products at home for opportunities are, you will have to compensate a charge of some sort to get started.

For instance, a business called "International" offers assembly at home Careers to assemble circuit boards for a item that they sell overseas. Anyone interested is required to compensate a $ 250 (non-refundable) charge. They say that because workers stealing the item and reselling it, they now will have to charge a $ 250 (non-refundable) charge.

I comprehend desiring to protect your products, but at the cost of $ 250? Also, why is this a NON-Refundable charge? Could not this house assembly organization take that cash and hang on to it as a security deposit and let the assembly worker get it refunded upon termination? Why castigate everyone for stealing? It just does not add up.

But you will find that a large amount of organizations offering to assemble products at home will demand an upfront charge.

If you go ahead and compensate the charge to resignation your job and assemble products at home, chances are when you get your pack and instructions you will find it to be complicated to comprehend and assemble. Why? Because the home assembly business has your cash and wants you to get frustrated and abandon so they do not have to compensate you.

Even if you decipher the complicated instructions and completely assemble the products, there is a strong probability that it will be labeled "REJECTED" by the home assembly organization and forward back to you. Again, this is a way for them to keep your cash and not have to compensate you a cent to assemble their products.

Are there legitimate Employment offering to assemble products at home? I have unveiled just one source of assembly at home Careers that has received strong on the Internet reviews. And it is Home Job Alert. It is offers updated information on legitimate businesses that suggest assembly at home Work.

If you do not use Home Job Alert, then I strongly recommend following these 3 steps when choosing a job to assemble products at home.

Check contact information – A dependent home assembly business will have various ways that they can be approached. Telephone, Email Address, Fax #, Website URL, etc … But do not just see that they have them, be certain to call and ask lots of questions and see how the customer relations are. Send an Email Address and check how fast they get back to you.

BBB Better Business Bureau – If possible check with the BBB to see if the home assembly organizations have any dissatisfied customers on record.

Ripoffreport.com – This is another strong resource for locating potential work at home scams. See if anyone has been swindled with a particular assembly products at home organization.

Common Soundproofing Materials

Common Soundproofing Materials and How to Soundproof a Room

What is everything for? There are many different materials used in sound proofing. Some of these materials are readily available and fairly affordable. Others are proprietary and have “hidden” specifications and/or design characteristics and are usually expensive. Beware, it is often the expensive proprietary materials which also come with the most outrageous claims. In reality it is possible to achieve good soundproofing with readily available and inexpensive materials if you know what you are doing.

How much does it all cost? It is very difficult to put a budget on soundproofing. There are a lot of variables like where you will be purchasing your materials from, how much material you will need, the sort of surface that you be working on and so forth. If you are doing it yourself, perhaps a rule of thumb is total cost will be twice the price (per square foot or square metre) of the main material which you are using. In other words if you are using a material which is $5 per square foot you might want to budget $10 per square foot to do the job. Obviously the second $5 goes towards other components of the soundproofing. This is just a very rough rule of thumb and it assumes that you are not factoring in any labour costs.

Which ones do I really need? A quantity of a material is considered to be cost effective if it offers a good measure of soundproofing at a relatively low price compared to other materials or compared to a greater quantity of the same material. So there is every chance that you might have heard of a perfectly good soundproofing material which is not discussed here. If you were to put together a basic list of soundproofing materials it might include the following:

  • Drywall/plasterboard and possibly mass loaded vinyl
  • Flexible acoustical caulking & a caulking gun
  • Laminated glass
  • Solid core doors
  • Resilient fixings e.g. furring channels
  • Basic timber frames

Which soundproofing materials are the easiest to work with? Unfortunately most soundproofing techniques and materials require a bit of effort. The secret to success is to take your time and to read as much as you can about best practice installation. For example plasterboard (drywall) installation is fairly straightforward if you do it recipe style. On the other hand if you try to make it up as you go along you will probably create an unsightly mess. Again the materials and techniques presented here are the ones which are considered to be suitable for DIYers while also effective for relatively inexpensive soundproofing.

Which soundproofing materials are the most effective? The effectiveness of a material or technique will very much depend on the quality of the installation. The key things to watch for are:

  • Avoid any rigid fixings like screws and nails and use resilient mountings wherever possible.
  • Ensure everything is airtight.
  • Pay particular attention to any joints and ensure that they are properly caulked.
  • Ask yourself what will happen to the effectiveness of your soundproofing system at any edges or junctions.
  • Is it possible for sound to “flank” or travel around your newly constructed barrier?
  • Sometimes you will need a strategy to deal with this “flanking noise”.
  • The easiest flanking strategy is to continue the soundproofing technique beyond the edges of the surface in question onto the adjoining surface eg ceiling to wall and vice versa.

The theoretical effectiveness of a material is usually presented as a sound absorption or sound reduction measure, also expressed as sound transmission and noise reduction classes (NRC & STC). There are many tables available with these measures for all sorts of materials. The purists will tell you that these figures mean totally different things and should not be interchanged. This is true but in many ways it is not something the DIYer should be concerned about. Here is a quick way to interpret the figures: over 30 for good individual materials and over 50 for a good complete soundproofing system.

If a material is a sound absorber like fibreglass batt insulation or open cell soundproofing foam, try to place it near the source of the sound, not in the room receiving the noise. If you can only work in the room receiving the noise pollution then stick to sound barriers, also known as sound reflectors. Note that fibreglass insulation is a poor sound barrier (low STC) but has a good noise reduction coefficient (NRC) when used at the source of the noise. It is important to keep the terms “noise source” and “receiving” and “absorption” and “barrier” top of mind when you review the comments on the materials below.

If the material is clearly a rigid or dense material then the comments are likely to be referring to its performance as a sound barrier placed in the room receiving the noise pollution. If the material is porous, flexible, or of quite low density then the comments are likely to be referring to the material as a sound absorber placed near the source of the noise.

Naturally there are a number of exceptions to these descriptions. Below are some examples of absorbers and barriers. Clearly many materials are hybrids and have both characteristics.

Obviously you will be shopping for inexpensive materials with good noise reduction properties whether as barriers or absorbers. You might find an expensive material which is being dumped at a good price or you might live in a part of the world where a material is in ready supply and so is less expensive. Be a little bit lateral when you start shopping and planning.

Another important consideration is the frequency of the sound that you are trying to attenuate. Generally most materials perform more poorly for lower frequency sounds like drums or boom cars or stereo subwoofers. If the sound is low-frequency try to use more dense and or thicker materials. Again as a rule of thumb if you always prepare your designs for low-frequency soundproofing you will invariably solve your high-frequency soundproofing issues as well.

Absorbers

1) Rolls of building Insulation

As expected building insulation is a very good sound absorber at the source of the noise. The thicker and more dense mineral products are superior. Performance can be improved by introducing an air space in the total design of the soundproofing and also by using insulating materials with a lining – where the lining faces the sound source. Building insulation tends to be more effective for soundproofing around the frequency of human voice. The most cost effective thickness for roll insulation is probably 3 1/2 inches or just under 9 centimetres.

2) Batts

As for rolls of building insulation.

3) Rigid fibreglass sheets & ceiling board

Again generally the thicker the board the more effective it is. Probably the most cost-effective thickness for fibreglass board is around 2 inches or 5 cm. Interestingly fibreglass boards with facings seem to perform less well than fibreglass boards without facings. In other words avoid the added expense of faced boards.

4) Form board for roofs

Two to 3 kg density fibreglass form board of only 1 inch thickness is easy to handle and performs very well if you are able to obtain it at a good price.

5) Ceiling boards

Painted perforated and fissured mineral ceiling board is easy to handle and performs reasonably well at around 2 cm thickness. The best soundproofing is achieved with cast rough texture mineral ceiling board. Note: wood fibre ceiling boards do not perform particularly well. Foam sheets/tiles and soundproof foam ceiling boards perform quite well as absorbers when they are one or 2 inches thick. At this thickness they perform almost as well as the mineral ceiling board, but are clearly much easier to handle. Mineral ceiling board probably has better barrier qualities though.

6) Wall panels

For the general principles relating to wall panels see the comments on ceiling boards.

7) Floor coverings

Carpets are only good soundproofers if they are used as absorbers. A lot of their effectiveness comes from reducing impact noise. So for example you might put down carpet mostly to reduce the sound of footsteps on a timber floor and to dampen some of the airborne noise in the room. There are specialised underlays which can be placed beneath carpets or floating floors. These need to be properly selected and you should ask for very clear sound transmission performance data and additional data on impact noise performance.

8) Brick

People are usually surprised to learn that bricks are sound absorbers rather than sound barriers. They are even more surprised to discover that brick is a relatively poor sound absorber. Notions of very quiet brick homes usually come from older double brick construction were an air cavity between the two skins of brick contributes significantly to the overall soundproofing effectiveness.

9) Other

There are arguments around about whether materials like plywood, drywall and glass are absorbers or barriers. Here they are referred to as barriers and they are outlined in the next section. Do not worry about the various proprietary laminates of absorbers they are not worth the money. Moreover you will usually get a better effect if you purchase the two layers un-cemented and install them separated by a few inches of airspace and perhaps secured by some sort of resilient fixing. The small airspace between two absorbers seems to add quite noticeably to soundproofing performance. Spray on cellulose can be a useful absorber however there is no guarantee of what you will be getting or how thick it will be. Properly applied it can be an excellent material to use in roof cavities for thermal and acoustic insulation. It can be sprayed directly onto the underside of the roof board or shingles or tiles.

Barriers

1) Glass & Acrylic sheets

These options perform about the same at equal thicknesses. The most cost effective thickness being around of an inch or just over 6mm. Rather than using thicker material it is advised that you create a sealed air cavity between a couple of sheets of the material.

2) Plywood

Plywood is not quite as effective as drywall but is obviously stronger and less fragile. The most cost effective thickness for plywood is probably half inch or about 13mm.

3) Drywall, Gypsum board or Plasterboard

The performance of drywall does not seem to improve very much between 1/2 inch and 5/8th inch thickness, so the most cost-effective thickness is obviously half inch. When you use multiple layers of drywall it’s important to secure them with some form of resilient fixing, this considerably improves the soundproofing characteristics.

4) Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) & Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Panels (FRP)

MLV & FRP are highly effective and easy to use products as they can have a thickness of only a fraction of an inch. The downside is that they can sometimes be expensive. A roll of MLV with a density of 1 pound per square foot or about 5kg per square metre is as effective as half inch drywall and 1/8th inch (3mm) FRP. If you can buy MLV or FRP at about the same price as drywall you might consider using them instead. You could even consider using MLV or FRP behind a second layer of drywall to create super soundproofing without increasing the thickness of the wall too much.

5) Concrete Panel

This is not really an option for most DIYers however if you are looking at buying an apartment make sure the walls are at least 4 inches of concrete plus drywall or 6 inches of concrete if it is an unfinished surface. Six inches plus drywall finishing should give you the same soundproofing as a double brick and cavity construction.

6) Laminated Products

Again there is little justification for purchasing laminated products. For about the same cost, better performance can be achieved using the individual components resiliently mounted with a small air cavity.

Do You need to buy any special proprietary products? The simple answer to this is no. You will come across lots of advertisements for groundbreaking scientific innovations in soundproofing. It’s possible that one day something will be invented that will be inexpensive and highly effective but for the moment most proprietary products perform no better than readily available combinations of inexpensive materials.

An important note on resilient channels: Having said that it is not essential to buy proprietary products, the resilient Channel is probably one material that you should select more carefully and which may be worth restricting to specific brands. You should look for a product made from 25 gauge steel ideally with some form of STC guarantee. Channels can have one or two legs and usually have slits or cut outs along their length, these are design characteristics which add to the resilience of a material.

When installing resilient furring channel on a wall, if it is the type with an open flange, face the flange upward so that it is pulled away from the frame slightly when the wallboard is attached. Point all the flanges in the same direction whether on a wall or ceiling. Take great care when installing the wallboard to the channels so that you do not “short out” the channel by screwing too far through the channel and into the timber behind.

Published by Craig Williams (2012)

EzineArticles Expert Author

For more information on inexpensive home soundproofing visit http://www.SoundProofingSecrets.com

(May be reproduced with author acknowledgment and attached URLs.)

Sculptor, Painter, and Filmmaker – Niki De Saint Phalle (1930-2002)

Catherine Marie-Agnes Fal de Saint Phalle, later known as Niki de St. Louis. Phalle, a French sculptor, painter, & filmmaker, was born on October 29, 1930, to Jeanne Jacqueline and André-Marie Fal de Saint Palle in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine near Paris. In 1933, after Niki's father lost his entire fortune during the Great Depression, they moved to New York, US, where she joined the Convent of Sacred Heart, and later moved to the Brearly School and eventually graduated from the Old Field School in Maryland.

Niki was a fashion model during her teens and at a tender age of 16 featured on cover for "Life" magazine (September 26, 1949) and the French "Vogue" magazine (1952), including "Harper's Bazaar" and "Elle." At the age of 18, she married her childhood friend, Harry Mathews, and went to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here, she started painting and tried her hands at various styles and media. Phalle's first kid, Laura, was born in 1951 and they moved to Paris. In 1953, the artist suffered a nervous breakdown and took to painting to overcome the trauma. Niki met the American painter Hugh Weiss, who became her mentor and companion. In 1956, Niki held her first art exhibition at St. Louis. Gall, Switzerland, illustrating her youthful style of oil paintings. She later moved to collages that regularly featured the objects of violence.

After her divorce with Harry in 1960, she worked and lived with Swiss metal sculptor, Jean Tinguely. In 1961, she tasted her first success with "Shooting Paintings," wherein white sculptures were surrounded by the containers of paint and were then shot at, thenby displaying aggression and causing the paint to fall over the image. She exhibited her first solo exhibition in Galerie J in Paris with assemblages and a public shooting arena.

Niki later created many 'reliefs' and 'assemblages' of female figures of which "The Red Witch," "The Bride," and "The Pink Birth" are worth a mention. Niki's next claim to fame was "The Nanas," which was her expression of 'everywoman' and were displayed at the Alexander Iolas gallery in Paris (1965). In 1966, Niki teamed up with Tinguely and Per Olof Ultlvedt on a huge sculpture installation, "hon-en katedral (She – A Cathedral)" for Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. Its shape is of a recitation "Nana" has her legs spread apart to let the visitors walk through. Her other famous sculptures include "Stravinsky Fountain (1982)," "La fountaine Château-Chinon," "Queen Califia's Magic Circle (sculpture garden)," and "Sun God (1983)."

In 1971, Phalle wrote, directed, acted, and produced the film titled, "Un Reve Plus Long que la Nuit." Her other famous works are "Daddy (1973)" and "Who is the monster-you or Me (1995)." Gaudí's Parc Güell in Barcelona & the garden in Bomarzo, influenced Palle. She then decided to build a monumental sculpture park. Nikki bought land in Tuscany in 1979, and built the garden called "Giardino dei Tarocchi (Tarot Graden)," which contains the sculptures of the Tarot Cards symbols, and was opened in 1998.

In 2000, Niki received honorary citizenship of Hannover, Germany. She cave away 300 of her artwork to the Sprengel Museum. Nikki died of emphysema on May 22, 2002, due to the years of inhaling toxic polyester fumes, while working on her projects.

Installing Crystal Chandeliers

Crystal chandeliers are great home decorations. However, you need to consider the consequences first before buying them. For example, you have to match the chandelier well with your homes to know if the style and size fits well with the theme of your house. You should also consider the installation options as some chandeliers may not be easy to bed in.

Crystal chandelier installation may be one of your biggest problems after the purchase. For this reason, you need to ascertain the installation process of the chandelier before you even buy them. In most cases, repair people can handle the job for you. But to avoid extra expenses, you can put up the crystal chandelier yourself. However, if the size and the installation process go beyond your capabilities, then you can search for another way to install your crystal chandelier.

Hiring An Electrician

The safest way to install your crystal chandelier is to hire an electrician. Because an electrician knows the parts, the wirings, and the connections needed, you definitely need to hire his services. If you are planning on big chandeliers, hiring an electrician is a must. Bigger chandeliers are usually more complicated than the smaller ones. Therefore, an electrician would be necessary in most cases.

Free Services From The Manufacturer

When you purchase your crystal chandeliers, there may be people from the company who can install the lighting system for you. More often than not, their services are for free. However, there are other manufacturers which require a small amount of payment. So before you buy your crystal chandeliers, know first if the manufacturer offers such kind of services.

Installing The Chandelier By Yourself

Perhaps the easiest and most cost effective way to install your crystal chandeliers is to put them up by yourself. Of course, you'd require the help of a second person since most of the chandeliers are big and bulky. You also need to be extra careful since the crystal chandeliers are easily breakable. You need to exercise much caution in handling them to ensure the safety of the chandelier.

Before installing, you need to read the manual and be guided on the process. You can also ask the help of some other people who have tried installing a chandelier by themselves. The process is actually very easy especially for the smaller chandeliers. However, it may get a tad harder if the lighting system you're installing is big.

For safety reasons, it is best to spend a small amount of money and hire a professional to do the job for you. Aside from safety reasons, you've found that hiring someone will make the installation process faster and easier.

http://goldenageusa.com – Crystal Chandelier

The Adventures of Philip Marlowe Was One of the Best Old Time Radio Shows

Philip Marlowe is one of the leading characters in the genre of hardboiled crime fiction that started in the 1920's and took the country by storm after World War II. Marlowe was created by Raymond Chandler in the novel The Big Sleep in 1939 and quickly took his place in alongside Sam Spade and Richard Diamond in popularity with the hungry public.

According to one account –

"The private eye of this time was a cynical observer of a corrupt society, yet the enduring appeal of Marlowe and other hardboiled detectives lies in their idealism. and chess. "

But unlike the radio series Sam Spade or Richard Diamond, there's no "cuteness" here. Only a tough-nosed private eye doing a tough job.

Philip Marlowe first appeared in The Lux Radio Theater's adaption of the movie, "Murder My Sweet."

Dick Powell, who also played Philip Marlowe in the 1944 film, reprised his role for the radio audience in 1945. Powell would later find radio success as the singing detective, Richard Diamond.

Next came the short lived, "Philip Marlowe".

Two years after Murder my Sweet, NBC produced Philip Marlowe as a summer replacement for the Bob Hope Show. It featured adaptations of the Chandler short stories and starred Van Heflin as Marlowe. The stories are hard to follow and the show did not catch on.

Finally gold – "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe."

Finally in 1948 CBS tried their hand at the private eye and stuck gold. It was well-produced, less introspective than the books or the previous series on NBC and star Gerald Mohr excelled as Marlowe with his snappy delivery. Coupled with the well-written stories and intriguing characters this version makes for entertaining listening. By 1949 the show was pulling the biggest audience on American radio, with a rating of 10.3 million listeners. In 1950, Radio and Television Life Magazine named Gerald Mohr as the Best Male Actor on radio.

The Adventures of Philip Marlowe has the BEST hard-boiled openings in radio. I'm not going to spoil it by writing it here. You really must hear it to fully appreciate it – so download an episode today.

Why Shovel? History, Benefits, and Choices of Snow and Ice Management

History of Snow Removal

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, early snow control attempts involved citizens leveling drifts of snow to ease sleigh traffic in the 1700s. Several cities had ordinances requiring homeowners to clear their sidewalks, but streets were not cleared on a city-wide basis. Travel and the exchange of goods, therefore, depended on individuals clearing the streets themselves. Wintertime travel in the early 1800s was mostly on foot as a result. With increased industrialization in the mid 1800s came the first snow plow, drawn by horses, and enabling transportation to recover quickly following winter storms. The snow plow created the basis for municipal responsibility in snow removal but new problems were also created, as merchants complained about the removed mounds of snow blocking their storefronts and sidewalks.

Sleigh drivers also disapproved of the ruts and uneven surface of the streets following plowing. Some cities responded by hiring shovelers to work in conjunction with the plows to haul the snow away and dump into rivers. Salt was used in a few cities but was heavily protested because it ruined the streets for sleighing and damaged the clothes and shoes of pedestrians. Following the blizzard in 1888, cities recognized the need for more organized and efficient snow removal. Rather than waiting until the storm was nearly over, city officials began to plow as the storm began, giving better results and more quickly cleared roads. By dividing cities into sections and hiring more drivers, streets were cleared with greater efficiency.

With the advent of motorization, snow removal was revolutionized in the 20th century. Motorized plows and dump trucks arrived as early as 1913. Many cities abandoned horse-drawn carts and motorized their snow removal fleets. Caterpillar tractors equipped with plow blades were utilized, along with trucks, for plowing, while steam shovels, cranes and rail flatcars were used to haul snow away. Snow loaders also came into use in the early 1900s. As more cars took to the road, though, new problems ensued, as public safety demanded removal of even light snowfalls. Furthermore, residential streets, as well as main streets, needed clearing. Plowing left behind a slick layer of ice on the road so city officials began spreading salt by the ton. No longer concerned with protests, motorized salt spreaders became an essential tool. Later complaints of damage to vegetation and automobiles by salt led to improved salt spreads with more efficient gauges. With so many cars on the road, shopping centers and office buildings began to see a need to clear their parking lots for employees and customers, thereby creating a specialized market. Smaller plows and snow blowers were in demand and many of these companies turned to private snow removal contractors to clear their lots.

While the introduction of motorized vehicles and consequent technological advances has made snow management and plowing faster, the basic process of plowing today is not much different than it was 75 years ago. Although the refinement of weather forecasting has allowed professionals to better predict and prepare for a storm, we still have to wait for the snow to fall, at which point we push it out of the way.

Why the need for snow removal?

While falling snow can be a majestic site, a parking lot, street or sidewalk of snow is hazardous and troublesome to those determined to not let a snowfall alter their day. With so many people out and about, the potential for motor vehicles accidents increases, as well as personal injury from wet and icy parking lots and sidewalks. As 90% of slips and falls occur in less than an inch of snow, it is important for businesses to manage winter conditions properly to reduce their liability. The protection of concrete and / or asphalt is an added benefit of removing snow from your property.

Liability issues The National Safety Council estimates there are approximately 300,000 injuries and more than 1,500 deaths per year as a result of wintertime weather. Premise liability laws concern a building owner's responsibility to remove potentially dangerous conditions around their property to prevent injury to guests. This is the category of law under which accidents from ice and snow fall. Building owners are given a window of time following the end of the storm in which to clear their parking lots and sidewalls of snow and ice and to take measures preventing ice from forming in the future.

This often involves monitoring external temperatures, if not pavement surface temperatures, and requires some form of surface treatment to aid in the prevention of ice. While many building owners hire outside companies to manage snow conditions, liability for injury is not necessarily transferred to their snow management contractors. It is important, therefore, to understand your snow removal options, research potential snow removal companies and configure a plan that will protect you, your property, your employees and your customers. These recent verdicts against building owners and managers indicate how serious slip and fall claims can be and underscore the importance of managing snow and ice on your property in a conscientious way:

  • $ 475,000 awarded to a New York woman who slipped and fell on a flea market parking lot. The defendant claimed that the flea market owner and the owner of an adjoining lot were negligent in clearing their lots from a snowstorm the previous day.
  • $ 2 million awarded in Connecticut to a man who slipped on ice outside a hotel. The lawsuit claimed that the hotel managers were aware that the area got icy for several years but failed to correct the problem or warn pedestrians.
  • $ 390,000 awarded to a Philadelphia man who slipped in an icy industrial parking lot. The man claimed the industrial park's owner allowed rainwater to drain directly on the lot and did not salt, shovel or clear ice and snow from the lot.
  • $ 942,000 awarded to an Omaha man who slipped on ice while stepping over a pile of snow outside a motel. The jury found that the motel's parking lot was not sufficient lit to reveal the icy surface.

Effects of snow on concrete and asphalt Although concrete may appear to be a completely solid object, it actually contains numerous microscopic passageways. These tunnels are formed during the initial crystallization process as concrete is transforming from a liquid to a solid state and the needles of interlocking cement paste crystals grow. When water freezes, its volume expands by about nine percent and any water that has entered these paths can break the needles of the interlocking paste crystals. Snow left on concrete will melt and enter the tunnels only to refreeze at night and, over time, will cause cracks and potholes on your lot. Removing snow from the surface of your lot will keep the water content of the concrete down and minimize freezing damage, thereby helping to reserve your investment.

Asphalt is a mixture of tar, oil byproducts, curative and aggregate gravel spread over computed earth and gravel for drainage. Under heat and stress from traffic, asphalt often cracks leaving gaps for snow and water to enter. This water freezes during winter and the resulting expansion tanks dirt and gravel out, leaving a hole when the water melts again. The thin asphalt layer over the hole is left weakened and eventually collapses causing a pothole. To help prevent this unsightly and potentially damaging hazard, snow must be consistently removed from the surface. While it is impossible to keep the asphalt completely dry during and following winter storms, removing snowfall will decrease the volume of water available to see into the cracks and will minimize freeze damage to your lot.

How surface treatments work

Snow-melt products are designed to reduce the bond between ice / snow and the ground, not to completely melt all the ice and snow that accumulates. Chemical deicers in their solid state are unable to melt anything. When they come into contact with water, however, they dissolve into liquid brine and this salt solution lowers the freezing point of water and melts ice and snow on contact. The brine spreads out under the ice and breaks the bond between ice and pavement, allowing plows to separate the ice from a surface. The melting action will continue until the brine is so diluted that the freezing point of the solution reaches ground temperature. Some surface treatment chemicals also release heat when they dissolve in water, thereby melting snow more quickly. The efficiency of the various chemicals also depends on the temperature and whether the salt needs direct contact with moisture to dissolve or if it can absorb moisture from the air. All of these factors are important to consider when selecting the best deicer for your job.

Eutectic temperature The lowest possible temperature at which deicer brine can dissolve ice is called its eutectic temperature. The eutectic temperature, however, only applies to a specific concentration of the deicer in water and no deicer is capable of staying at this concentration for long, as it continuously becomes more diluted as more ice and snow is melted. As the solution gradually becomes weaker, the freezing point gradually increases. Therefore, eutectic temperatures are significantly lower than the temperature at which a deicer can be effective. For example, the eutectic temperature of sodium chloride is 6ššF but its effective temperature is only 15ššF. The lowest effective temperature is a more meaningful number to consider when selecting a deicing product. Be sure to research a product's ingredients and effective temperature, as deicer manufacturers will sometimes mislead consumables by advertising the eutectic temperature on packaging without making clear what it means.

Melting capacity As temperatures drop, salt becomes less effective at melting ice and more chemical is needed to get the job done. The table below demonstrates how temperature affects the melting capacity of sodium chloride and shows that, at colder temperatures, more salt is needed to melt ice. In colder environments, choosing a chemical with a lower effective temperature allows a larger amount of snow to be melted per pound of salt.

Melting rate Melting rate is a measure of how fast melting occurs at different temperatures and, like melting capacity, the rate is affected by temperature.  

Anti-icing

Deicing products can, alternatively, be spread before snow falls in an effort to prevent ice from building up. Sitting on a surface, rock salt will do nothing, but as the snow falls the resulting brine prevents any bond from forming and leaves a parking lot ready to be plowed. In addition to not having to wait for ice to be broken down, the plowed surface will be cleaner than if it is plowed after ice has a chance to bond. Anti-ice applications generally involve liquids and, once they are applied, can have residual effects for several days, ie they will remain on the pavement if the snowstorm does not hit or shows up late. When the storm does hit, pre-treating a site will reduce service time and the amount of chemical spread. Temperature can be a factor, though, as using liquids in temperatures that are too warm can leave dangerous, slippery pavements. It is, therefore, important to work with a well-trained contractor who understands these processes.

Chloride brines vs. dry salts

At colder temperatures, application results can be slow and require a large amount of chemical. In extreme cold, the addition of liquid brine to rock salt can improve chemical performance. To some, the application of a liquid to pavement seems counterintuitive and causes apprehension, but there is no question that liquid deicers melt faster and last longer than traditional salt applications. Rock salt needs to form a brine solution that is 23% salt to melt ice. Adding moisture to the dry salt before you spread it means less moisture the salt needs to come into contact with in order to begin doing its job. Furthermore, the brine sticks to the surface better than dry salts, which can be scattered by bounce, traffic and wind. Spreading pre-wetted salts uses substantively less salt overall and decrements the time away clearing your lot.

Sand

Sand is sometimes spread with salt to improve traction but after snow and ice have melted, sandy pavement has less traction than sand-free pavement. Tests conducted by the National Safety Council have determined that salt gives as much anti-skid protection as abrasives when applied at normal deicing rates. The proper use of deicers along with the removal of snow and ice should be sufficient and eliminate the need for sand.

Environmental effects

Most environmental damage results not from the product itself, but from misapplication or improper use of the product. Many of the chemicals used for deicing are also used in agricultural applications and are not necessarily detrimental to vegetation. Danger from chemical deickers to the environment is posed when the concentration of the chemical rises to abnormally high levels in the soil. Just as fertilizers can cause die back and browning when over applied, care should be taken to use more salt than is needed for breakup and removal of snow and ice. The best way to prevent damage is to avoid overuse and to select the most effective product for your situation. Using the most effective product means you will need less chemical to clear the same amount of ice and snow and minimize exposure to plants, trees and shrubs.

Most damage to concrete from chemical deicers is not from the chemicals themselves but from the effects of freezing and thawing. By lowering the freezing point of water, deicers can increase the number of freeze-thaw cycles and add to the problem. When temperatures fluctuate between 10ššF and 20ššF, plain water will remain frozen. A deicing brine of rock salt and water, however, will freeze when the temperature drops below 15ššF and thaw when it rises above 15ššF resulting in more freeze-thaw cycles than if no deicer had been applied. For this reason, it is important to consider the lowest effective temperature when selecting a chemical deicer. It is also important to remove the snow once the deicer has broken the bond with the pavement. Removing the snow leaves less water available to see into holes of the concrete.

Green alternative

Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) was developed in response to concerns of the effects of salt on vegetation and the concrete of structures such as bridges and parking lots. In the 1970s, the Federal Highway Administration identified CMA as the only low-correlation chemical alternative to road salt. It is approximately as corrosive as tap water and is biodegradable in soil. CMA can increase soil permeability, may improve plant growth and is illegally to reach groundwater but it does come at a price: it costs approximately 30 times more than rock salt. While some environmentally sensitive situations require the use of CMA, many of the traditional chemical deicers pose no threat when applied at proper rates.

Snow relocation

This practice involves loading snow into dump trucks and hauling it to another location and can be an important management tool for your business. Rather than plowing snow into huge piles in the middle of your parking lot, taking up valuable space in some instances, snow can be hauled away to another site to melt. Piles of dirty snow can be unattractive, hide business signs and storefronts and create hazardous seeds of melted snow which then refreeze when the temperature drops. By removing snow off the lot, you can provide a safe, clear site, reduce obstructions and increase pavement areas.

Snow removal contractors

The Better Business Bureau provides these tips on hiring a snow removal contractor:

  • Get several estimates and remember that the least expensive service is not necessarily the best.
  • Be sure you understand the price options and are aware of any additional charges. Do they charge based on inches of snow fall or a flat rate per season? How does the company determine the size of the snowfall? Are there sometimes additional charges during large storms?
  • Find out what is included in the estimate, such as sidewalks, steps and the cost of salt? Will the area be cleared during the storm as well as after? Are there additional charges if the contractor has to come back?
  • Ask for references and check them out.
  • Check the BBB reliability report on the company you are planning on using.
  • Make sure you get a written contract and the company provides proof that they are insured and bonded. Ask who you can contact regarding any damages, such as cracked driveways, and how you can terminate the agreement if necessary.

Deicing products

Deicing materials vary greatly and can range from the familiar rock salt to liquid chemicals. The type of material used depends on availability, environmental factors and effectiveness with regard to speed or temperature. No matter which chemical you use to manage snow, it takes time for it to go into solution and melt ice, regardless of how much is applied. Understanding the deicer you choose and its chemical properties can prevent over-applying, protecting your property and saving you money. While by no means exhaustive, here are some of the commonly used treatments:

Sodium chloride: Known as rock salt, this is the most commonly used product because of its low cost and effectiveness at moderately cold temperatures. It is easy to secure and requires no special handling or storing procedures. Sodium chloride requires heat in order to "go into solution," which it absorbs from the air and the pavement, thus making it an effective ice-melting agent. One drawback to sodium chloride is that it must come into direct contact with moisture in order to dissolve so it does require more time to be effective than other chemicals, such as calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. The lowest effective temperature is 15F.

Calcium chloride: Calcium chloride is probably the second most commonly used deicer. It is exothermic, meaning it releases heat as it goes into solution, and therefore works more quickly than sodium chloride. Furthermore, instead of requiring direct contact with moisture to dissolve, calcium chloride readily attracts moisture from the air, enabling it to begin working more quickly. It is also effective at lower temperatures (as low as -20F) and is reliably harmless to plants and soil. The drawback to calcium chloride is that, because of its ability to attract moisture from the air, it requires special storage procedures to prevent it from reacting before it can be spread. Furthermore, calcium chloride can create wet pavements and slippery conditions when not applied properly.

Magnesium chloride: This salt is also exothermic but has less heat-release capability. It is, therefore, more efficacious than sodium chloride, although not as effective as calcium chloride. It can be used in temperatures as low as 0F and is less toxic to plants and less corrosive than sodium chloride. However, like calcium chloride, it requires special storage procedures due to its ability to attract moisture. This compound is used in its crystall form for businesses and sidewalks but a number of highway departments have increased their use of liquid magnesium chloride as a deicer and an anti-icer. The liquid compound is spread on dry pavement before precipitation or on wet pavement before freezing temperatures to prevent snow and ice from bonding with the roadway.

Potassium acetate: A biodegradable liquid deicer that is less aggressive on soil and less corrosive. It is, therefore, preferred for airport runways but is not often used in other markets due to its high cost. Potassium acetate can be applied in temperatures as low as -15F making this compound effective at colder temperatures.

Calcium magnesium acetate: Developed as an environmentally friendly alternative to road salt, calcium magnesium acetate is the safest chemical for concrete and vegetation as it is approximately as corrosive as tap water. The cost, however, is about 30 times more than rock salt. The effective melting temperature is approximately 20F.

Potassium chloride, ammonium sulfate and urea: Commonly used as fertilizer, these three chemicals are occasionally used as deicers. All three are corrosive and have an effective temperature of 20F.

Copyright © 2010 Team Green Outdoor Inc. All rights reserved.

Find the Best Weight Training Equipment

If you are looking to either bulk up or tone you muscle than you are going to need some weight training equipment. Finding the best weight training equipment can be a daunting task, but as long as you check out the basic methods you should be okay.

The first thing you want to do to find the best gear is a little research. Looking into what are the higher quality brands and what are the generic brands and the overall difference between the two. Once you have a base knowledge on the weight training equipment available you can start your search.

The best place to start to find a good weight set is through a speciality store. Stores that specializes in weight training equipment will be able to offer you a multitude of quality equipment at the going rate. So if you are looking to get a great set of equipment at the set price then check out what your local speciality store has in stock. If you are looking for quality equipment but you don’t want to break the bank for some expensive brand name then you can take a look into what other options there are locally. You can either visit a store that mass produces everything such as Wal-mart, or you can go to your local pawn shops and search through their available inventory.

Starting with the mass production store you want to see what they have in stock. Most stores like Wal-mart will carry at least one of the top brand machinery while having several off brands available for purchase, it all really depends on what kind of quality you are looking for and the functionally of your weight training equipment. The real benefit you will receive from purchasing weight training equipment from a mass production store is the wide variety of equipment, you can literally find everything you need to start a home gym at a fraction of the price you would have paid at that speciality store.

With a specialty store and a mass production as options you want to also take a look into the option of pawn shops. Pawn shops can have the top of the line equipment for sale that a person was unable to make the payments on and had to pawn it off to keep dept collectors off of him. So if you are checking into all weight training equipment in your area be sure to also check out what a pawn shop has to offer.

With all of those local options you want to also look at the final option of Internet. There are several ways to find weight training gear on the Internet you just have to do a little searching. Buying from a manufactures Website might even save you some money over buying from that specialty store, all it takes is a little searching and comparing.

Overall if you are looking fro ways to find the best weight training equipment first see what is available locally then branch out into your online possibilities.

Residential Elevators – A Practical Addition to Your Home

Residential elevators are a practical addition to your home, to enhance your home style and are very convenient for floor-to-floor accessibility. Residential elevators provide a quiet and comfortable means of transportation for physically challenged people in and around the home. A home elevator increases the value of your home, including ending it with an added elegance.

Make the Best Use of the Available Space in Your Home

Residential elevators are a great addition to multi-storied buildings. These are safe, durable and almost maintenance free. Utilizing a residential elevator, you can make your home more accessible, safe and secure for your loved ones. Installing these elevators during the construction of a new home or keeping provision for one is always advisable.

Quality Features

o Quiet, smooth traction drive system for energy efficient operation.
o Carriage interior finished with melamine paneling, non-skid flooring and handrail.
o Requires low maintenance.
o Self closing, half-swing bi-fold doors allow easy access for wheelchair users.
o Emergency access is available at every landing.

Choose the Elevator that Best Fits Your Needs

o LEV – The number one selling home elevator on the market today combines cutting-edge elevator technology with extraordinary value.
o Rise Elevator – These pit-less elevators are widely used elevators that come with different car sizes, in brass or stainless steel accents and automatic gate opener.
o Windsor – Ideally suited for installing in existing homes, this is compact, inexpensive and is a perfect solution for the 2-floor home.

Residential elevators are customized to meet unique needs and challenges. While choosing an elevator you should consider how often you will really use the device, the number of people it should accommodate, its speed, functions and price. When you consider these elements, you will be able to pick out the best residential elevator for your home.