CCA Treated Lumber – Fact and Fiction

Chromated copper arsenated wood, or CCA treated wood, has caused eyebrows to raise in question from all around the country. Is this type of wood safe for my deck? Is it safe for my children to play on? The answer: yes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deemed that CCA treated wood poses no unreasonable threats to health or safety and does not require that decks, playground equipment, and other structures built with this type of lumber be torn down. However, when children play outside around CCA treated lumber or on any other structure they should wash their hands before eating. Also, food should not be placed directly onto CCA treated lumber to decrease unnecessary exposure to arsenic.

Should you be scared about your CCA treated lumber? No you should not but applying a deck sealant to your wood is an added precaution against the dangers arsenic poses. Although there are countless names and brands out there all claiming to be better than the next, one stain that has proven itself time and time again is the DEFY Epoxy Fortified Deck Stain. Instead of merely forming a film over the wood, which quickly loses its ability to protect the wood at all, this deck will will penetrate the wood's pores. This will help to contain the chemicals in the lumber and keep the wood looking nicer looking longer. This wood stain is indeed deep penetrating and is available in multiple colors so that you can create the look you desire for your structure.

Do not purchase film forming deck stains. Film forming deck stains are a danger because, although they provide a beautiful finish finish for a short while the stain quickly peels after exposure to the elements. This becomes very unattractive and requires the tedious stain stripping process. A penetrating wood stain will absorb into the pores of the wood and provide a deep protection for the wood. The DEFY Epoxy Fortified Wood Stain comes with ultraviolet protection to shield the wood from the sun as it protects the wood from precipitation. Sun can do major damage to your wood by quickly fading its color.

CCA treated lumber does not cause an extreme health risk. However, prevent any unnecessary exposure to arsenate, a human carcinogen, by sealing your wood with a deck stain. This deck stain will prevent excess amounts of chemicals from seeing into the soil surrounding your wood structure and will allow less to come in contact with loved ones like pets and children.

Why House Mice Are Worse Than You Think

Property Loss Due to Infestation

Mice infestation of stored food generates greater loss than simply what the mice eat. In six months a pair of mice will eat about 4 pounds of food. These same mice will produce about 18,000 droppings from what they eat. Food contamination caused by this same pair of mice will be about 10 times the amount of food ateen. Suspected contamination will add to this loss by a significant amount.

Because of the commonplace food contamination, the government actually sanctions a certain amount of rodent hairs and droppings per quantities of food shipped for human consumption. Health inspectors work tirelessly to condemn food stores because of greater than allowable contamination.

House mice infestations also result in significant property damage beyond that of food stores. Fabrics, documents, books, and artwork all fall victim to the incessant gnawing of house mice. These rodents often gnaw at the insulation on electrical wires. This leads to estimated millions of dollars worth of damage in electrical fires each year. Many times these fires go reported as "cause unknown."

Carriers of Disease

House mice do not cause an impact as great as rats in their disease carrying potential when food contamination is not considered. However, their impact as disease vectors should not be ignored. House mice and the parasites they host are responsible for the transmission of numerous diseases.


Infected rodent feces can contaminate food stores and lead to the spread of a particular type of bacterial food poisoning, called salmonellosis. Mice most likely are more prolific transmitters of this disease than rats.

Rickettsial Pox

Rickettsia akari is a specie of bacteria that causes a chicken pox type rash. This disease is transmitted across mice and then to people through the bite of the house mouse mite that infests them.


A viral infection of house mice, known as lymphocytic choriomeningitis, can also infect people. It is transmitted through contaminated feces or dust.

Leptospirosis (Weil's Disease)

Weil's Disease is a bacterial infection caused by spirochaetes of the genus Leptospira that affects humans and a wide range of animals. All because more commonly transmitted to humans by rats, house mice are serious carriers of this disease.


The bite of house mice mites can transmit a disease to humans that results in uncomfortable skin irritation and itching. The cause of this irritation is frequently mistaken for heat rash, fleas, allergies and other causes. These mites are capable of spreading through an entire house stricken by mouse infestation during certain times of seasons.

Rat-bite fever, Ray Fungus, and Ringworm

These diseases and others are commonly transmitted from house mice. Infections can result from mouse droppings, transported through the mice themselves, or transmitted to pets and then passed on to humans.


House mice cause millions in property damage and food contamination every single year. It remains one of the most costly drains in the rodent population on the nations economy. While they do so less frequently then rats, house mice role in the transmission of diseases to human beings should not be understated. Comprehensive mice control procedures are essential in successfully limiting the impact on human dwellings and their severe economic effects.

Web Design or Graphic Design

An excellent website design is not just about applying beautiful colors as well as paired together your navigation menus. Instead, it really is about branding your website in a manner that it appeals to your targeted market. Although graphic design is centered on overall look, it should at the same time, convey a message to your website visitors. Simply by making use of the key points associated with graphic design as part of your website design, you can show your original personality that your website visitors as well as prospective clients can easily relate with and identify effortlessly.

Image Design is the mixture of art work and science to show a message by means of images. It really is acknowledged to be a form of interaction. Ever since the entire world has entered cyberspace era and the majority of companies remain competitive for any attention of the general public through the online world, image design artists are becoming absolutely essential. Creative designers are essential for making captivating website pages. It does not matter just how helpful or even interesting the particular articles of the web site are, it may not really fulfill the required results of the owner when it does not look excellent. Overall look is definitely the most important feature consumers see. Whenever people are searching on the internet they will more than likely look at only websites that will with initial glimpse appear to look excellent.

When you choose to design your web site or sometimes get your image design job related by specialists, you have to take into account the variables such as navigation, high quality of content material and also the appearance of the internet site. Although web designer has to pay attention to all of these components, the actual graphic design for your web site needs to be given the same relevance. Image images are the very first thing a new visitor to your site notices, in fact it is due to interesting visual illustrations or photos that the visitor is persuaded to read the written text.

You will find there's popular debt covering the importance given to artwork design in web sites. Some people argue that without having innovative graphic illustrations or photos, a web site will lose their overall appeal that is necessary to hold visitors' interest. Other people believe that graphic design is actually given an excess amount of importance which is rather an overrated service in website design. Even though the two arguments are generally valid in their own meaning, the actual function of graphic design with websites can not be negated entirely.

Generally, graphic design has been all about creating unique as well as appealing company cards, trademarks, banners as well as other print designs. However, since the surge of the World Wide Web as well as company websites, artwork design has built an inroad through web design at the same time. Website design is very different from designing for produce, for this reason, many people prefer to retain the services of web site designers instead of graphic designers with regards to web sites.

There are some aspects in website designing that needs the exclusive expertise of a graphic designer. While web design takes on the most important role in constructing a web site, making it from a technical perspective effective and well-designed, graphic design is often a very helpful assistance that must definitely be utilized to achieve total victory with your internet site.

Something About Indian Wood and Indian Furniture

Not many people are aware that India produces some of the best wooden furniture of the world. In fact, the country has a long and colorful history as far as wooden furniture is concerned. While furniture manufactured in India has garnered appreciation from almost all parts of the world, rarely do we come across anyone who is aware of the tradition and history of Indian furniture.

Wooden furniture making has been practiced in India since 1336 AD. It was actually the empires and the kings from southern India that patronized the craft. Century-old wooden articles bear testimony to that. The workers were held in high esteem by the royalty because the craft of carving wood was considered more of an art and trade and India has a history of patronizing art and artisans. As a result, wooden furniture and wooden crafts can be found anywhere in India. Beside the standard and conventional furniture items, wooden doors, walls, posts etc. can be found even in the remotest corner of the country, not to mention of the modern buildings and ancient temples and architecture that bear testimony to the craftsmanship.

There are various important implications of carrying out wooden craftsmanship in India. To be honest, Indian furniture and other wooden items are heavily influenced by the art and literature of the country. Ebony wood has been widely used in the manufacture of Indian furniture, especially in the south and among royal families. In the northern part of the country, walnut wood was more in vogue. Folklore and legends on wood can be preserved for centuries as in India, furniture is usually passed through generations.

Indian craftsmen are renounced to convert wood into amazing pieces of furniture. Most often, locally found wood is used in the manufacture of screens, tables, boxes, trays, toys, candle-holders and other decorative pieces. The wood that are widely used in the manufacture of Indian furniture items include teak, sandal, rose and even coconut. Sandal wood in particular, is often considered by Indians to be the gift of god because of its durability and the fragrance that it emits.

Despite the tremendous progress in the field of technology, Indian furniture is still carved out from traditional tools. Not much machine is used in their manufacture. This has helped the wooden pieces to retain its ethnicity. As the furniture pieces are hand-made, they are a symbol of elegance and durability. This also makes each and every Indian furniture piece unique.

Easy availability of quality wood has been a major reason behind spread of furniture making in India. Of late, however, the government has put down strict norms on felling trees. This has rejected in the high price of Indian furniture. Trees are being allowed to grow for commercial use, although their elimination cut has been stopped.

Each piece of furniture produced in a certain part of India has its own characteristics. For instance, colorful paintings often adorn the furniture manufactured in the western states. Those manufactured in the south, on the other hand, are more ornamental in nature.

Multi-Slide Doors and Pocket Glass Doors – The Pro's and Con's

It seems you almost can not build a house over 5000 SF any more without including a multi-slide door. What used to be a luxury is now almost a requirement.

This being the case it appears that more and more consumers want to update their existing homes with these products. Their popularity can not be denied so I feel the best way to discuss these doors are in terms of pro's and cons. Then, you the homeowner can decide whether the decision is right for you or not.


1. Poor Energy Efficiency – Usually multi-slide doors are such large openings that they need to be made of aluminum to be able to manufacture such large openings. As you probably know, aluminum is not very energy efficient. Also having such large sections of your home being glass will also require more energy to heat and cool as opposed to if there was just wall space there. However, luckily glass is getting more energy efficient all the time, and there are several low-e glasses available that perform surprisingly well.

2. Difficult to Install – This is one of the projects that I would seriously recommend you hire a licensed contractor to install. Most manufacturers only sell the product as an installed unit because of the difficulty of installing them; they require all installers to be factory trained employees. Even manufacturers that do not install, usually require vendors to be licensed glaziers.

3. Difficult for remodeling situations – Most multi-slide doors are designed with pockets and large spanning opening, they can be sometimes difficult to rearrange your existing framing to accommodate what you may be looking for. The home usually needs to be designed with the multi-slide door in mind to accommodate your exact design wishes. However, usually if you're flexible with the design and configuration, there is typically a way to make it work.

4. May require a general contractor – Most times when installing a multi-slide door, it may require framing changes. Depending on where you live, if the change is made to a load bearing wall, you have to pull a permit and have an engineer sign off on the change. This will usually require a GC to handle the details for you. A simple French door or window installation can be done by a licensed window or door company.

5. Cost – These doors can be quite expensive. Most time when I give a remodeling customer / homeowner an estimate on these doors, it usually becomes price prohibitive. They see a French door or sliding glass door at a home store for 800 dollars and figure these doors are three times as big, so they should be three times as much right? Wrong, you see standard size doors are made with stock sized tempered glass. Multi-slide doors are custom sized and the price grows exponentially when you go to custom sizes.


1. Dramatic effect – No other home improvement will such a dramatic effect on the design, look and feel of your home. Removing what used to be a wall and replacing it with what amounts to a moving glass wall can really improve the lighting, look, feel and design of your home.

2. Indoor / Outdoor – These doors are the best way to create a space where the lines between inside and outside are not so clear. Some people like to barbecue and invite lots of people over but do not quite have the space inside their home to entertain the way they would like to. Well, choosing the correct sill tract and continuing your flooring from inside to the outside and the lines between inside and outside disappear. The glass disappoints into the wall and voila, you have doubled your living space without actually adding any space.

3. Automation – If you are going to the expense of installing these types of doors, you might as well have them automated as well. You can set them up with a motion sensor so when you walk up; they automatically open for you or your guests when you are entertaining. This feature is easily disabled when the need is no longer required.

4. Resale Value – nothing will catch the eye of a prospective buyer from a large expansive opening across the back wall of your home. Your competitive neighbor may have nicer landscaping or a larger pool, but if you can not see it from inside the home, there is not the same perceived value.

So there you have the pros and cons of multi-slide / pocket doors. The fact remains that these are a luxury item and they are going to be expensive but like most things that are expensive, they are worth it.

An Overview of Knife Blade Steel and Its Importance in Knife Performance

Blade material is an extremely important aspect of any knife. And there are many types of steel used for knife blades. Some are relatively soft steels, which may dull fairly quickly but be easily re-sharpened. Other steels may be very hard, and so can be ground to an extremely sharp edge, but they may be susceptible to chipping or break easily if used inappropriately (for prying, for example).

In the world of knife steel, there is always a compromise between strength (ductility, or the ability to bend rather than snap), hardness (ability to withstand impact without deforming), edge-retention, and corrosion-resistance. Typically, as one characteristic increases, another will decrease.

For example, some of the strongest, toughest knives are only moderately sharp (comparatively speaking), and are very susceptible to rust. But with proper maintenance, they can offer a lifetime of hard use that would damage or destroy a knife made from a different kind of steel.

The choice of blade steel will impact the appropriate usage of the knife, its ease or difficulty of manufacture, and of course, its price. Let’s have a brief look at some of the more popular choices of blade steel available.

A Brief Primer on Blade Steel

All steel is composed of iron, with some carbon added to it. Various grades and types of steels are created by adding other “alloying” elements to the mixture. “Stainless” steel, by definition, contains at least 13% chromium. “Non-Stainless” steels are also known as carbon steels or alloy steels.

Despite its name and late-night TV reputation, stainless steel is not stainless. Like all steel, it too will rust. The high chromium level in stainless helps to decrease corrosion, but cannot entirely prevent it. Only proper maintenance and handling will keep your knife completely rust free. (And basically, that simply means keeping it clean and dry, lightly oiling it from time to time, and not storing it in a sheath. Just that simple. Oh yeah: no dishwashers. Ever.)

Speaking very generally, there are three grades of steel used for knife blades: Good, Better and Best. Each type of steel has unique properties that make it more suitable to specific designs and applications. And of course, the choice of steel will impact the knife’s price.

Good Blade Steel

Knives utilizing “Good” steel blades should be considered entry-level, and tend to be made from rust-resistant (not rust-free — see above) stainless steel. Typically manufactured in Asia, these knives offer a fairly good economic value. These blades are usually ‘softer’ and therefore require more frequent sharpening to keep the edge performing well. But, because they are in fact ‘softer,’ re-sharpening is fairly easy. Some of the more popular stainless steel blade materials in this class are 420, 440A and 7Cr13MoV.

420 stainless steel has a little less carbon than 440A. Many knife makers use 420 because it’s inexpensive and it resists corrosion fairly well. 420 steel sharpens easily and is found in both knives and tools.

The relative low-cost and high corrosion resistance of 440A stainless steel makes it ideal for kitchen-grade cutlery. While exhibiting similar characteristics to the better-grade AUS 6 steel, it is considerably less expensive to produce. 440A contains more carbon than 420, and is therefore a ‘harder’ steel. This allows better edge retention than a blade made from 420, but is more difficult to re-sharpen.

7Cr13MoV is a good blade steel, that has the alloying elements molybdenum (Mo) and vanadium (V) added to the matrix. Molybdenum adds strength, hardness and toughness to the steel, while also improving its machinability. Vanadium adds strength, wear-resistance and toughness. Vanadium also provides corrosion resistance, which is seen in the oxide coating on the blade.

Better Blade Steel

Better grade stainless steel blades contain a higher chromium (Cr) content than their entry-level counterparts. Since the amount of chromium is increased in the manufacturing process, these blades are more expensive. Chromium provides a greater edge holding capability, which means that the blade will require less frequent sharpening. These better grade knives sharpen reasonably easily, but it’s important to employ proper sharpening techniques. The combination of great value and performance make these blades perfect for everyday use. Examples of these types of steel are AUS 6, AUS 8, 440C and 8Cr13MoV.

Both AUS 6 and AUS 8 are high-grade chromium Japanese steels, which provide a great balance of toughness, strength, edge retention and corrosion resistance, all at a moderate cost. These blade steels will measure a hardness of 56-58 on the Rockwell hardness scale (HRc). The carbon content of AUS 8 is close to 0.75%, which makes it very suitable as a blade steel. AUS 6 and AUS 8 are very popular with many knife manufacturers because they are both cost-effective and good-performing steels.

440C is a reasonably high-grade cutlery steel, similar to the AUS series. However, 440C contains more carbon, which increases the steel’s hardness. Its toughness and relative low-cost make 440C stainless steel appealing to many knife manufacturers for their mid-range knife series.

The Chinese stainless steel 8Cr13MoV has a high performance-to-cost ratio. It is often compared to AUS 8. 8Cr13MoV is tempered to a hardness range of 56-58 on the Rockwell scale. This relatively high hardness can be attributed to the steel’s higher molybdenum and vanadium content.

Best Blade Steel

Both the United States and Japan manufacture the best grade stainless steel for knife blades. Unfortunately, the higher chromium content in these blade steels comes at a premium price. The addition of elements such as vanadium and chromium offer superior edge sharpness and retention, as well as very high rust-resistance. These steels are utilized for more demanding tasks such as hunting and fishing, tactical self-defense, and military applications. A sampling of steels in this group would include CPM 154, CPM S30V, VG-10 and San-Mai steels.

American-made CPM 154 premium grade stainless steel was originated for tough industrial applications. This steel combines the three principal elements of carbon, chromium and molybdenum. CPM 154 provides excellent corrosion resistance with good toughness and edge quality. Well-renowned for its overall performance as a knife blade steel, CPM 154 touts a hardness of 57-58 on the Rockwell scale.

CPM S30V, a powder-made stainless steel, was developed by Crucible Metals Corporation (now Crucible Industries). Noted for its durability and corrosion resistance, it is considered to be one of the finest steels ever created. The chemistry of CPM S30V promotes the formation and balanced distribution of vanadium carbides throughout the steel. Vanadium carbides are harder, and thus provide better cutting edges than chromium carbides. Additionally, vanadium carbides provide a very refined grain in the steel which contributes to the sharpness and toughness of its edge.

VG-10 is a high-end Japanese steel, manufactured by Taekfu Special Steel. Its matrix includes vanadium, a large amount of chromium, molybdenum, manganese and cobalt. The vanadium contributes to wear-resistance (edge retention), and enhances the chromium’s corrosion-resistance. The molybdenum adds additional hardness to the steel. The overall combination of elements results in a very tough, durable steel. As such, VG-10 is a well-renowned blade steel specially designed for high-quality cutlery. Blades made from VG-10 can be ground to a razor-sharp edge and still offer extreme durability without becoming brittle. Blade hardness for VG-10 is around 60 on the Rockwell hardness scale.

San-Mai (Japanese for “three layers”) is a composite steel used in many of the high-end knives manufactured by Cold Steel. The blade’s core is a layer of VG-1 steel, sandwiched between outer layers of 420J2 steel. San-Mai steel blades offer superior durability and excellent corrosion resistance, important to those who depend on their knives for hunting and fishing, as well as tactical and military applications.

Different Steels for Different Uses

As you can see, not all blade steels are equal. Some are harder than others, but will be more brittle or apt to chip, while some may be stronger or hold a better edge, but be more difficult to sharpen once they’ve become dull.

A quality designer or manufacturer will select the appropriate blade steel for a knife based on the properties of the steel, in concert with the intended application of the knife. Think about the difference between the chef’s knife in your kitchen compared to a knife used for underwater diving, or a knife used in a combat or military application.

Knowing a little about the characteristics of different blade steels will help you make the right choice when it comes time to purchase your next knife.

Dealing With & Treating Swimming Pool Algae, Mustard Algae, Black Algae, Algaecide & Green Alga

Algae is a common problem in swimming pools. What is it; what are the different types & how is it successfully invented and treated. First of all, algae is a single-celled plant form. Some are aquatic (live in water), some are not. Algae utilizes the process of photosynthesis to manufacture its own food. Algae comes in very wide variety of colors and forms making it adaptable to almost any condition. Although some forms are virulent – especially Black or Mustard algae -, most are harmless and pose no more than a nuisance to most pool owners. Due to algae's microscopic size, it takes literal millions of these plants to accumulate to be noticed by the naked eye! By that time it may be too late and very costly to correct. Prevention of algae blooms is the best solution.

Green Algae: The most common form of algae that we deal with in swimming pools is "green" algae. Green algae (varieties in color from blue-green to yellow-green to dark-green) can be free floating in the water (turning the water a hazy-green) or can be wall-clinging (patches of green). Wall-clinging varieties range in severity from small patches on pool walls and bottoms to effectively covering the entire pool surface. Green algae has the ability to clog filters and may even cause surface damage if left untreated. Green algae can be treated fairly simply and quickly with a proper, aggressive shocking & algaecide.

A relative of regular green algae is "small-celled green algae" (SCGA). The difference is seen in these areas: 1. The water remains reliably clear. Many treat the problem (without proper analysis) as a copper or mineral problem, however the metal chelants will show no effect. 2. When treating with chlorine, chlorine looks to "disappear". SCGA is very resistant to even high levels of chlorine.

Other mid-summer types of green algae noticed is "green spots" all around the pool, especially in shady areas. The water is almost always "very clear". The water can have a "stinging" sensation. This is normal green algae, typically thought about by lack of homeowner care; ie not following a weekly maintenance routine such as the Once-a-Week 3 Step program combined with very low pH and very low Total Alkalinity.

Treatment: Have water properly analyzed. BALANCE THE POOL WATER. Pools treated with chlorine or bromine should aggressively shock with chlorine (BioGuard Burn Out® or Smart Shock®) and use a good quality algaecide such as Back Up®, Algae All 60®, or Banish® in extreme cases. Pools treated with SoftSwim or other Biguanides should top up their Bactericide level "B", add a double dose of algaecide "A", and add a double dose of shock or "C". Follow up either method with Optimizer Plus® (a borate product similar to ProTeam Supreme). Treating algae with Sodium Bromide should be discouraged (sodium bromide treatments, can, in time, cause a chlorine demand problem).

"Black Algae" (actually blue-green algae) forms in cracks and crevices on pool surfaces, especially plaster finishes. We normally find black algae growing in, but not limited to, shady areas of the pool. Black algae is more typically found in concrete or plaster finished pools; it is very uncommon to find it in vinyl liner pools. It is known for a heavy slime layer and "skeletal growths" that make it impossible to normal chlorine levels. When viewed in a swimming pool, the water remains reliably clear, however, almost all customers notice a high chlorine demand (use much more chlorine than normal). When brushed, "black algae" will be difficult to budge and even though it sees as if it has been removed, the black algae will most likely return to the exact same spots within 24 hours.

What we're beginning to understand is that Black Algae is "aided" by swimming pool bio-films. As bio-films accumulate on pool surfaces, they act as a kind of "breeding bed" providing nutrients and a "soft" place to set down roots. Removal of the bio-film dramatically aids in the long term treatment of Black algae. The more that the bio-film is removed and continuously removed, the less likely Black Algae will be able to set down.

Treatment: Have water properly analyzed. BALANCE THE POOL WATER. Prior to and during treatment, the algae MUST be thoroughly brushed in order to "break open" the slime layer that covers and protects the Black Algae cell. During treatment, the chlorine level MUST be maintained in excess of 3.0 ppm – this may require daily shocking of the pool – AND the affected areas MUST be thoroughly brushed 2 to 3 times per day to allow the chlorine treatment to penetrate the algae. TRUE Black Algae is very resistant to treatment and can be transferred from pool to pool via bathing suits and pool toys. Failure to do these critical steps will prevent the treatment from working. Pools treated with chlorine or bromine should aggressively shock with chlorine (Burn Out® or Smart Shock®) and use a good quality algaecide such as Back Up®, Algae All 60®, or Banish® in extreme cases. Pools treated with SoftSwim or other Biguanides should top up their Bactericide level "B", add a double dose of algaecide "A", and add a double dose of shock or "C". Follow up either method with Optimizer Plus®. Treating algae with Sodium Bromide should be discouraged as mentioned above.

"Mustard Algae" is probably the MOST misdiagnosed form of algae. Mustard algae is a chlorine-resistant form of green algae (yellow-green to brown in color) typically found in sunbelt areas. It often resembles dirt or sand on the bottom or sides of a pool. In our market area (Fairfield county CT), the number of TRUE Mustard Algae cases cases that we treat can be counted on ONE HAND in most seasons. Mustard Algae is prevalent in Sunbelt areas. Mustard Algae has certain characteristics: It can be brushed away very easily, but returns quickly to the same location.

Keep in mind that the "algae" may be returning to the same place due to a dead spot in the pool. Be sure that you have good circulation through out the entire pool.

Although it typically creates a large Chlorine demand, it has been known to survive in high levels of Chlorine – over 3.0 ppm. It is extremely important to remove mustard algae growth from equipment (including the back of underwater lights & ladders) and bathing suits to avoid cross or recontamination of other pools. Pool equipment can be left in the pool during product application or cleaned separately with a mild cleaning solution. Rinse thoroughly if the equipment is used in a SoftSwim® pool. Bathing suits should be washed with detergent as directed on garment label.

Treatment: Have water properly analyzed. BALANCE THE POOL WATER. Prior to and during treatment, the algae MUST be thoroughly brushed in order to "break open" the slime layer – such as with Black Algae. Failure to do this critical step will prevent the treatment from working. Pools treated with chlorine or bromine should aggressively shock with chlorine shocks such as BioGuard Burn Out® or Smart Shock® and use a good quality algaecide such as Back Up®, Algae All 60®, or Banish® in extreme cases. Pools treated with SoftSwim or other Biguanides should top up their Bactericide level "B", add a double dose of algaecide "A", and add a double dose of shock or "C". Follow up either method with Optimizer Plus®. Treating algae with Sodium Bromide should be discouraged as mentioned above. Click here for all Algae treating products .

The best way to prevent and control algae is to maintain good pool care. Good pool care means following the 5 Keys to pool care (look for our published articles on theses subjects): 1. Have and maintain good circulation of the water to all parts of the pool. 2. Filter the pool a minimum 8 to 12 hours daily. 3. Clean the pool regularly by vacuuming and brushing all surfaces. 4. Test the Water at least 2 times each week. Testing tells you what is going on with the water. Make adjustments immediately when necessary. 5. Maintain good Water Chemistry. Chlorine or other sanitizer in their correct ranges, pH 7.4 – 7.6, Total Alkalinity 100 – 150 ppm, Calcium Hardness 200 – 300 ppm. On a weekly basis (every week all season long): Shock the pool with the appropriate shock treatment and add a maintenance dose of a good quality algaecide (please do not use the gallon jug algaecide – they're mostly colored water).

Welding Schools – Should You Choose Hobart, Lincoln, Tulsa Or a Local College?

Have you been shopping welding schools? Are you thinking about changing careers and becoming a certified welder? Unless you have living in a cave, you have probably heard about a welder shortage in this country. With new construction of power generating plants, paper mills and hydro dams, there is a demand for certified qualified welders that we have not seen since the 70's.

If you have been seriously considering becoming a welder, you have a key decision to make that could determine whether you become a high-paid, bought-after certified welder, or just a 9 dollar an hour rod burner.

Here are your choices:

  • Attend a local community technical college
  • Enroll in one of the big 3 welding schools
  • Apply for an apprenticeship to one of the skilled trades unions

Lets explore these options: Attending welding school at a local community college can save a ton of money on room and board and tuition but unless you know for sure that the welding instructor is top notch, this might be the fast track to becoming a rod burner instead of a real welder. The criteria for becoming a welding instructor at a technical college is very weak, since a technical college welding instructor's pay is marginal, sometimes you get what you pay for. Do not get me wrong, there are some really good ones out there. But this is your livelihood we are talking about here. You cant afford to make a bad choice.

Enrolling in one of the big 3 welding schools is almost a sure fire way to learn what you need to become a well paid certified welder. The instructors are top notch and all of them: Hobart Institute of Welding, Lincoln Welding training, and Tulsa School of Welding, all have good reputations for turning out qualified welders. The only drawbacks are location and tuition.

Unless you live down the street from Hobart, Lincoln, or Tulsa welding schools, you are going to have to travel and pay room and board for your time in welding school.

Applying for an apprenticeship into the pipe fitters or boilermakers union is a pretty good option for young people still living at home. But not everyone wants to work as a pipe welder or boilermaker.

Here is a 4th option: Both Hobart and Lincoln welding schools have one and two week TIG welding programs. The cost is around 400 a week plus expenses. So for no more than 1500 bucks total you can test the water and see if this is really what you want to do. And you will have the TIG welding training under your belt too. Who knows, you might even be able to land a job as a TIG welder with only the 2 weeks training.

I also recommend at least visiting a local technical college and getting a feel for the quality of instruction. Then you will have enough information to make this key career decision: Choosing the best welding school.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Noises – Whining, Humming, Roaring

Jeep Grand Cherokees are prone to having several common mechanical problems. The problem that we cover today is with noisy differentials (rear ends). While it is acceptable for Jeep differentials to make some noise, it’s not good to ignore noises that are more than moderate or if the noise is noticeably getting louder. Usually rear end whining noises from Jeeps are rated on a scale from 1-10, anything under a 5 is acceptable and would not merit a repair. If a roaring noise is heard this is another matter, roaring noises should be looked into right away. I’ve rebuilt hundreds of rear ends and out of those, approximately 80% of them have been in Jeeps. Also the Jeeps I’ve worked on were not driven off road or abused in any way that I could see. They were mainly driven as a regular family car would be, so this leads me to conclude that this is just a common problem due to design.

Roaring noises, are one of the most common sounds a Jeep Grand Cherokee makes from the rear end. As I mentioned before, if roaring noises are heard this should be addressed as soon as possible. Typically around 45 MPH is when sounds will start coming from the rear end. If roaring is heard at all speeds or at parking lot speeds, the problem has progressed. Roaring noises are from worn and pitted bearings. Carrier bearings (which are the side bearings) are the most common bearings to fail. Next are the pinion bearings, especially if a pinion seal has been replaced at some point and the bearing preload was excessive. This means the pinion nut was tightened too much. Over-tightening the pinion nut can cause an excessive load on the pinion bearings and can wear the bearings in a short period of time. If the bearing replacement is postponed too long, metal can travel through the differential oil and damage other moving parts in the differential. This can cause accelerated wear of the ring and pinion gears. So if they are caught early enough, the bearings can be replaced without replacing the ring and pinion gears.

Ring and Pinion gears that are worn excessively make a whining or humming noise, sometimes on acceleration and sometimes on deceleration. And they are more expensive to replace than just the bearings. The ring and pinion gears can make a whining noise without a roaring noise being present from the bearings. But when replacing the ring and pinion gears the other bearings, including two pinion bearings and carrier bearings are recommended to be replaced also. The axle bearings should be inspected but they are the farthest away from the differential gears and bearings, so they most likely will be OK especially on lower mileage vehicles.

Used rear ends in my opinion should be avoided for Jeeps. The reason is because this is such a common problem, that the chances of getting a good one from a salvage yard is slim.

Noises in the parking lot only could just be a limited slip clutch (posi-traction) noise. In this case try putting an additive designed for the clutches. Ask for limited slip friction modifier or posi additive. Driving the vehicle some will allow the modifier to soak into the clutches and hopefully prevent them from grabbing.

The Top Horse Racing Track Bias in the United States

In the 21st century of horse racing there is no downplaying the importance of track bias. The condition of the horse racing track and the affect weather has on it can turn a favorite into a loser and a long shot into a potential winner.

If you go to Vegas and they say there is a fix on roulette and it rarely hits above 22 would you believe them? Well this actually happens at particular races in horse racing and this is called track bias.

In Pilmlico in Baltimore, MD where the first turn is less than a small throw away from the starting gate in 1 1/16 mile races. Horses with sprint speed and inside post positions have a clear cut winning edge. Conversely horses forced to break from the post positions 9-> 12 have to be far more superior and perfectly ridden to have a prayer. Horse tracks that are sealed usually promote early speed. That is just one example here are a summary of the best tracks in the US and their own Bias~ Enjoy!!


Located in Ozone Park, New York this track was rebuilt in 1959 and has 1 1/8 mile dirt oval for the spring and fall meets with a smaller one mile dirt track for the winter.

The main dirt track seems to favor the inside speed at full 1 1/8 distance. Inside speeds also tend to do well at 5 and 5 1/2 furlongs. There is not true build in bias that has been apparent at 6 furlongs although early speed is always an advantage to 6 furlongs on NYRA tracks. In the 6 1/2 furlongs to one mile distances it appears the outer post positions are a plus with the starting gate is in the back stretch being a long way from the far turn. A Horse that has tactical speed is another plus at these distances.

On the one mile inner dirt track for the winter meets the inside rail has been historically important at all distances especially the 1 mile 70 yards with 2 turns. They have changed the track a little bit in 2008-2009 if the track is thawing out after a good freeze a surprising edge goes to horses using mid track lanes off the pace. Its important to take notes of a particular track to view upcoming changes in bias or grounds keeper shifting things up but these bias are up to date.

Belmont Park

Located in Belmont, New York this is the largest track in America. Belmont has 2 important race meets: the spring/summer meet, which has the famous Belmont Stakes and the Fall Championship meet.

In the Spring the main track tends to favor the early speed at distances up to seven furlongs, while the races that are run up to 1 1/8 tend to be won by stalkers and middle running stretch-runners. In one turn races stalkers who have the outer post positions tend to have an edge due to the nice sweeping turns. These big wide turns also tend to favor the large body horses who may not have the quickness of more compact runners but are capable of sustained runs at above average rate of speed.

In the Fall the rail becomes deeper and slower than the rest of the strip, which improves the changes of stalkers and closers even more. At the distance of 1 1/4 mile distances the outer post positions are forced to overcome and avoid problems with this wide trip. This is true for the Belmont at this distance regardless the time of year.

Belmont’s 2 turf courses have portable rails to protect the inside paths from being used to much. Most turf races are won by horses with solid late speed burst with this track front runners tend to improve their overall stats here.

Churchill Downs

Located in Louisville, KY with the famous Kentucky Derby being raced here yearly this track has some identifiable features as well.

The inside posts have an edge on this track in two turn races at 1 1/16 miles and at 7 furlongs along with one mile distances out of the backstretch are prime for deep closers. Churchill’s dirt racing surface is actually made differently than any other track in America. Most tracks have limestone and then dirt built on top of it Churchill has no such base. This track is mixed with a deep layer of soil, clay and organic materials packed down several feet below the surface.

When wet the main track actually becomes faster and in hours or a day after the rainstorm the surface could become the best racing surface available in horse racing. However when Churchill is dry it pays to keep track of the horses that do not like this unusual deep strip it will save you some cash in the long run.

Fair Grounds

Located in New Orleans, Louisiana this track was reopened in 2003 after being burned to the ground in 1993. With the new slots being added to the track the purses have raised at the fairgrounds giving New Orleans a good source of revenue.

With a long stretch that comes in to play at the Fair Grounds the inside posts do not have sufficient speed to take advantage of the short run to the first turn and affects routes along with sprints. However after a good rain the inside rail can be a big advantage due to unusual drainage patterns.

A good note on this track is the turf course~ It has deep roots and quite different from other Turf horse racing tracks. You want to continue to look at a horses form but the horses that like to race on this turf tend to replicate their performance when they returning to it.

Fairplex Park

Located in Pomona, CA this small 5 furlong track was open back in 1932. The tight turns nullify the logical advantage that inside post should have and has a opposite bias in the opposite directing in 3 turn races beyond a mile.

As a main rule the track is fair but the horses do not handle the sharp turns well and the jockey who has a special skill in the area plays a big factor. A recent jockey Martin Pedroza is a dominator at this park and has this very skill.

GulfStream Park

Located in Hallandale, FA this park was completely rebuilt during 2004-2006 with the track enlarged and a small seating capacity that is controversial. The Gulfsteream has a strong speed bias during the winter-springs meets. In route races horses in outer post positions have little chance to win. In 2006 and 2008 Big Brown and Barbaro overcame outer post positions and they went on to be great.

Watch for the cooler than usual weather this speed bias can be overcame. The widely discussed speed bias can play in your favor the other way as well. It pays to bet against the bias when a suicidal speed seems likely to occur. A sharp handicapping ability trumps everything else.

Laurel Park

Located in Laurel, Maryland~Opened in 1911 this track which has a long stretch run of 1344 feet is generally free of bias, although stretch runners and stalking type tend to do a little better here than most tracks. The only thing we have seen is that on this track horses that make above average “turn moves” or show a faster than average burst of speed through the middle portion in 6 and 7 furlongs races do frequently improve their next outing.

Louisiana Downs

Bossier City, Louisiana opened up in 1974 has a relatively fast one mile racing surface and a stretch run of 1010 feet that frequently produces a big inside speed bias. The tendency is even more prevalent in holiday, weekend or stakes days. Look for horses that can gain possession of the lead and on the rail for a big edge at this track. On the turf course the opposite is true as we see closers from the mid pack win more than their front running rivals.

Monmouth Park

Located in Oceanport New Jersey.. A Track with a one mile oval and a short 985 stretch run. Generally speaking this track favors front runners and early speed types on the inside rail at all distances during the summer. One big exception is when it rains the track can have a dead rail for a day or so especially after a good rain so be on the look out for the storms.

Philadelphia Park

In Bensalem, PA.. This track features a one mile main track with a 7 furlong backstretch the likes to favor stalk-n-go types. This track is a little different than most and does like the deep closers as well which is unique when speed is king on most tracks.


Located in Baltimore Maryland this track is the second oldest track in America. This track with its long history is blessed with some of the best trainers out there. The one mile oval with a stretch of 1162 feet has traditionally favored horses with good early speed who take control of the inside running lanes. That particular bias used to be widely know but the renovation helped quiet it some but it still comes into play at times so be on the look out.

Saratoga Race Course

In New York at Saratoga Springs opened back in 1864 this has a rich historical ambiance that can be felt in the grandstands. The quality of horses is awesome here during the 6 week Summer meet.

The 1 1/8 mile oval with a 7 furlong backstretch of 1144 is made up of dirt, clay and sandy loam with a limestone base. That composition makes it one of the fastest tracks in the country. The race course also has 2 turf tracks as well. Watch the inside post on 1 1/8 as they seem to have a good bias here. Early speed is usually good at sprint distances the outer post do really well at 6 to 7 furlongs especially when the track is drying out after a substantial rain.

Synthetic Tracks~ the new wave of Horse Racing


Here in Lexington, Kentucky this track has been around since 1936. Here are some key points to look for:

When lacking clear evidence of a pronounced bias, players should only slightly favor stalkers over front runners and deep closers. Horses that perform well on other synthetic surfaces tend to do very well here. We have also seen that horses that run well on dirt tracks in FLA, NY, and New Orleans bring to Keeneland good stamina and will hold as well as improve their dirt form here.

Watch this track for bias to show up because some will show out of nowhere and really stand out for awhile due to the maintenance of these synthetic surfaces. Watch for shifts to a preferred running style. One last tip is that horses bred to handle grass especially races beyond one mile on grass do very well on this track.

Turfway Park

In Florence Kentucky this track can produce different biases due to seasonal changes.

During the late summer/early fall meets the come before the three week fall meet at Keeneland this track does not have any major bias at all.

During the Winter session this track can go through radical shifts favoring speed horses to a track in which the horse that moves last wins so watch carefully. Some handicappers will get frustrated at the flip flops with bias but it can be some of the best long shots tracks around.


Rexdale, in Ontarion Canada this old track has been around since 1874 right by downtown Toronto. Some Key points to follow are:

The horses run from April to December and through the cold weather months you will not see much bias at all. Expect some periods of uneven days during the warmest Summer days. The maintenance can send a bias into a extreme condition so just watch the races and take notes when this happens. Another key note is that horses that transfer from this track to Gulfstream or Fair Grounds in New Orleans tend to hold their form very well.

Arlington Park

Located in Arlington Heights Illinois this track burned to the ground in 1985 and was rebuilt in 1989 into a beautiful track.

Arlington should expect mid pack closers along with stalkers to maintain a built in edge at all distances. Over the last decade the beautiful grass course has favored horses with tactical speed more than confirmed stretch runners that dominate grass racing on the majority turf courses.

Santa Anita Park

In Arcadia California a one mile oval with a small stretch of 900 feet has a surface that favors outside lane bias. The 2008 Breeders cup proved that this surface can be manipulated to present a strong closers track bias without an precondition caused by weather.

Pay close attention to any sudden shifts that will provide a deep closer with the advantage that is not found at most synthetic tracks.

Hollywood Park

In Inglewood CA there are a few key points to consider at this horse racing track. Through the prior seasons of dirt racing Hollywood has had a dead rail or a sticky inside post position issue especially in sprints. On the cushion track there was no bias on inside post.

Del Mar

In Del Mar California this seaside track was open in 1937. The better maintained track of the years to come should favor mid pack closers and deep closers through much of the meet at all distances.

Golden Gate Fields

In Albany CA will have more racing dates than previous years with Bay Meadows shutting down. There is not a big bias at this track but some things to note are when the track has played a noticeable bias the trend has been to favor stretch running horses and in some cases stretch runners in the middle of the pack. Take note of the leading Jockey there Russell Blaze as he approaches the race and how he rides he is a great indicator of bias. You can use this tip for any track because some of the top jockeys can tell the biases quickly.

Use these tips the next time you are handicapping a track and you will see your profits soar. Always be on the look out for new biases that appear and watch the race closely to see what the winning horses are doing. Good Luck and Happy Handicapping.

Basement Waterproofing – 10 Tips on How to Negotiate the Best Price For Your Waterproofing Project

If you get your basement waterproofed during the dry time of year, not only will you be able to negotiate a better price but also you will be prepared for when the rain comes and you will not suffer the losses and inconvenience of your neighbors who were not so far sighted you will gain twice over.

However, picking the right time of year is not the only way of ensuring the best price for your basement waterproofing project, here are a few more tips on negotiating the best price for your basement waterproofing project.

1. Simply ask your contractor "under what circumstances would you do this work for a lower price without compromising on the quality or specification

Listen to the answer and see if it fits with your requirements.

2. Contractors get peaks and troughs in their work program which are expensive to deal with, You can often negotiate a real discount for being flexible on timescale and allowing the contractor to fit your job in around others.

3. Ask if your job could be used as a reference with before and after pictures and ask for a discount in lieu of that.

4. Ask the contractor how much discount would be available for the opportunity to put up an advertising board at the end of your driveway or in your window.

5. Once you have chosen your proffered contractor try "Well I was going to get one more quotation, but if I were to cancel that and give you the order now, what could you do on the price?

6. Ask your neighbors if any of them also want basement waterproofing work doing. Ask if there would be a discount for more than one job to go ahead in the neighborhood at the same time.

7. Talk about payment terms, ask if a very prompt payment would be worth another little discount.

8. Your contractor's labor will be expensive, so anything that you can offer to reduce the amount of labor should give a good reduction in the price. Could you do the muck away or the digging out for the pump pump and under floor channeling? If you are that way inclined or have friends and relatives who are, you could save a significant amount on the labor.

9. Be aware of the specification being reduced in return for a lower price; This is not a discount; you are simply buying less for less money, six eggs are always less expensive than twelve! Having said this, if you really can not afford everything that you want in one go it can be a valid decision to leave out some features until a later date, for example it is usually possible to install the battery back up system at a later date.

10. Make a friend of your contractor, win his or her sympathy, demonstrate that you are a nice customer to deal with, be understanding, offer hospitality, team coffee, food, especially if the surveyor has driven a long way. A little psychology can go a long way!

Note, that with all the above negotiating methods, you are giving your basement-waterproofing contractor something of value in return for your discount. Always be wary of the contractor that is all of a sudden able to discount for no apparent reason, were they offering a fair price in the first place? If not can they be trusted?

Tomorrowmore, do not forget that you are (usually) going to want a good quality service and it not necessarily in your interest as the customer to leave your contractor with little or no incentive to do your work at all. Most reputable contractors will have 10 – 15% to negotiate in return for some of the above terms – more if you are doing a significant amount of the laboring, but do not forget, if you seem to be able to negotiate a deal that sees too good to be true, then it probably is.

Find out the cost of waterproofing your basement .

How To Kill A Website

There are various ways to kill a website just like there are various ways to skin a cat. It is basically easy, the first thing you need to do is get up enough courage to do it, which, I believe is not very easy. The fault of heart could never do such a thing that is why they end up in the gutter. They do not know enough. Nah, more likely, they do not have sufficient courage.

Your first kill is exhilarating, it would be like an addiction, you will always be craving for more. Sack the morality issue, the name of the game is SURVIVAL. The online world is cruel, its a jungle out there! All kinds of crime abound in the online world, from simple theft, to house breaks, and extremely murder. Nobody gets due because the culprits know how to cover their tracks, they are experts and proud of it.

Here are some of the things that you can do to kill YOUR website:

1. Subscribe to Link Farms and web rings, submit your site to free for all websites, link to banned websites. A decent SEO Analyst knows that linking to bad sites like link farms, web rings and free for all website is very bad and could literally mean death for your website. So there you have it, one very easy way to kill a website.

2. Give away one-way outbound links. You are feeling generous, with a PageRank of 8 why would not you be? So you shout out to the whole online world that you are giving free for all one-way outbound links with no "nofollow". As the news leaks out, hundreds and maybe thousandss will go to you asking for links, go on give them links, show them how generous you are. Death by hemorrhage, sure death. Before you know it, you will be needing a transfusion with all the PageRank hemorrhaging you're doing. Will you go with a transfusion? Nope, just give it all away and before you know it, another website dead.

3. Do not update, do not submit, do nothing. Let your website be, let it be a sitting duck, just another website. It is a slow process, the first thing that you'll lose is your visitors, next your ranking, before you know it, you will be no one, a non-entity. It may not be death but its a fate worse than death itself.

There you go, folks, three certified ways of killing your website. It does not matter if you have spent countless sleepless nights thinking about what to write nor spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars in hosting and advertising, its your money to burn. If you want to go on a killing spree, go on make more websites, optimize them, spend money on them and then kill them.

For those who love their websites, take care of them and never do any of the above.

Fighting Dry Penis Skin During the Winter

Keeping the skin healthy during winter weather can be a challenge all over the body, and some men find themselves with dry male penis skin during the cold season – not an attractive feature for a man to display, especially when introducing his manhood to a new partner. Every guy wants his member to look its most impressive, no matter what the season. Making dry penis skin care a component of his regular penis health routine is advisable, especially during the frigid winter months when a man really enjoys getting his penis warmed up.

Winter factors

Why does the skin tend to get dry during winter? Largely because the air itself is dryer and saps some of the moisture out of the skin. Frigid winds also exacerbate this situation. Exposed skin is clearly more at risk here, but some winter winds break right through fabric and affect the “protected” areas as well.

Tips regarding dry penis skin

There are several things a man needs to do to prevent or treat dry penis skin. Some of these are specific to the penis itself while others are more general and help protect skin all over the body.

Some tips that a man should follow during the winter include:

– Don’t go commando. Many men enjoy an “unfurnished basement,” meaning that they tend to forego wearing underwear. The free swinging movement can be a relief, but in winter especially it can create skin issues. The penis is left more vulnerable to cold and winds without an extra layer of protection; in addition, rubbing up against rougher fabrics like denim or wool can cause more irritation to the skin, adding discomfort to dryness.

– Drink up – if it’s water. Staying properly hydrated is key for good skin health, including the skin of the penis. The body needs plenty of water for many reasons, including skin health; 6-8 glasses is recommended for most adults. A man knows he has consumed sufficient water if his urine is consistently a pale yellow. Plain water is the best fluid option; some juices are fine, especially non-cloudy ones, but alcoholic and caffeinated beverages can have a dehydrating effect and so should be avoided.

– Watch the sugars. Sugary foods and drinks tend to have a negative effect on skin health, so consume these in moderation. Excess sugar also can accumulate in the urine and stray drops drying near the head of the penis can irritate the skin.

– Avoid hot showers. When the winter is raging outside, a long, hot shower feels great. Unfortunately, hot water depletes the skin of the oils it needs to keep moist. A warm shower is fine, but when the heat factor goes up, so does the dry penis skin factor.

– Use lubricant. Sex, whether partner-based or solo, is generally more enjoyable when there is sufficient lubrication. Often a couple finds their natural lubrication is sufficient; however, if it is not, the friction resulting from an especially enjoyable sexual interlude can compound member skin issues. Adding a few drops can be a fine preventive measure to keep the manhood healthy.

– Moisturize. Practice daily health maintenance. It’s very important that a man keeps a consistent eye on his penis health, whether it’s winter or summer. Dry penis skin and other problems can be avoided or aided by using a first class penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil). With skin issues, using a crème that includes Shea butter (a natural emollient favored by many experts) and vitamin E (an excellent hydrating agent) helps to create a moisture seal that locks in moisture, addressing cracked or dry penis skin. It’s also beneficial to select a crème with vitamin B5, which promotes healthy penis cell metabolism and, therefore, healthy manhood cells.

Secure Your Windows to Prevent Home Burglaries

By some estimates, more than thirty percent of burglars gain entry to a home through a window that has been left open or is improperly secured. To prevent burglaries, it is vital that families conduct an inspection of their windows to ensure that they are secured against potential home security breaks.

Window Conditions
Carefully inspect your windows and try to put yourself in the shoes of a potential burglar. Check that the casements are secure, and make sure that the catches are strong and not flimsy. If your home is constructed of wood, check that the wood around the window has not started to rot. If you use metal hinges, check if there is any rust on the hinges.

Window Locks
One of the biggest home security mistakes is not properly securing your windows with good locks. Check to make sure that window locks are large and easily visible from outside. This can prove to be a major deterrent for potential burglars, who would have to resort to smashing the window to gain entry. Not only would this attract attention to their illegal actions, but it might also result in cuts and injuries.

You can purchase window locks from home security shops, hardware stores and mega-stores like Home Depot. There are several kinds of locks that are suited to different kinds of windows and home security needs. Casement locks require a key and are well-suited to all kinds of windows. There are also fanlight locks, which use a metal bolt and arm to control the opening and closing of the window, and special locks that can secure two windows together.

If you choose to use key-operated window locks, be sure to store the keys in a safe, secret place known only to the residents of the home. It's also important to remember that depending on the size of the window you would like to secure, you may need to use more than one lock. Even openings like skylights and fanlights should be secured and may need special locks.

Window Grilles
Consider installing iron home security grilles on ground floor windows that could have been particularly susceptible to theft. Such grilles are often seen in large cities but are cropping up more and more in suburban and rural settings. Some find them unsightly, but there are a range of decorative iron grilles that are more aesthetically pleasing. Plus, aesthetics are a small price to pay for security and peace of mind.

Check Surroundings
Finally, survey the area around your house to see if there is anything that could help a potential burglar gain access to your home through an improperly secured window. Are there ladders lying around your backyard or a sturdy tree which branches that could help a burglar enter a second-floor window? Is there shrubbery that could obscure a burglar trying to maneuver its way into a ground-floor window? If you live in an apartment building, is the fire escape easily accessible from the ground? Being aware of these security hazards is the first step to preventing home security breaches.

Swallow Tattoos Vs Sparrow Tattoos – Do You Know the Difference

Many people get swallow tattoos and sparrow tattoos mixed up. If you associate sparrow tattoos with a sailor he may get very upset with you. Many people use them interchangeably but there is a big difference. The majority of the bird tattoos that you see are swallows although many people call them sparrows. Learn the difference before getting the tattoo.

The birds themselves are very different. A swallow is a very common species. It has a beautiful blue color, with a long forked tail and curved, pointed wings. Sparrows are small, plump brown-grey birds with short wings. These are very different birds to be confused so easily. You very rarely see true sparrow tattoos.

If you do see sparrow tattoos, they are usually expressing some type of religious reference. Paraphrasing Matthew 10:29-31, Do not two sparrows sell for little value? Yet not one will fall to the ground without our Father’s knowledge…. Therefore have no fear. Ye are of more value than many sparrows.

On the other hand, swallow tattoos are very popular. These are the birds connected to sailors. Swallows tend to stay close to land so when a sailor would see a swallow, he knew that land was close. Another trait of the swallow is to return to the same mating place year after year. Sailors felt swallow tattoos were a charm to make sure they returned back home safely.

Swallow tattoos were also a sign of how seasoned a sailor was. New sailors would get their first tattoo after 5,000 miles at sea, then another after the next 5,000 miles. After that nautical star tattoos were used.

Because of the beautiful color of the swallow, there are many options when creating a design. A tattoo must be personal to be worthwhile. When you show your tattoo, you want to be able to tell a story. When designing your swallow tattoos, think about what makes it special to you. If you use your imagination you can make the tattoo express your feelings.

The best place to get great ideas on how to make your tattoo special is an online tattoo gallery. With membership to a good gallery you have unlimited access to thousands of high quality, professional designs that will make your tattoo stand above the rest. You can download as many designs as you want for no additional charge. Then you can take your time and put together a tattoo you will cherish for life.