) - Plumbing projects can seem daunting to many homeowners, and when done incorrectly, they can be messy and disastrous to your property. In addition, poorly performed plumbing repairs can be expensive. You may spend more money on a plumber who has to fix your mistakes in addition to repairing the initial problem.
Most homeowners are capable of fixing a simple leak, at least enough to prevent further damage until a plumber arrives. Early detection is the key, and several products are available that are designed to help identify small leaks before they become big problems. One such product is the FloLogic System
, which monitors the water supply in your house from a single location in the main. If the water flow exceeds a preset limit, indicating a possible leak, the system acts like a circuit breaker, shuts off the water, and sounds an alarm.
There are several other plumbing projects that an energetic do-it-yourself homeowner can tackle, including:
* Hoses and shower heads. Replacing shower heads and washing machine hoses isn't difficult, but make sure you know which replacement parts to buy before getting started. If you need to replace the shut-off valves in a shower or tub, however, it's best to call a professional plumber, because an incorrectly installed valve can lead to a flooded bathroom.
* Pipe insulation. If you have the time and inclination, seek advice from the experts at your local home repair store so you have the right jackets, boards, moldings, mats and tapes. Once you have the right items, and if you are prepared for cramped spaces, you can take on insulating your own pipes.
For a major installation, such as a water heater, don't try it yourself. It's an expensive project, but once it's in place, it should last for 15 to 20 years, so it's worth having it done by a professional.
And, of course, small leaks can turn into big problems, so once you have identified and temporarily contained a leak, call your plumber to have the leak evaluated and fixed.
To learn more about FloLogic, visit www.flologic.com
) - Summer months are quickly approaching, and many homeowners are getting lawns prepared for cookouts, family gatherings and entertaining late-night porch hangouts.
According to the American Lighting Association
(ALA), proper outdoor lighting is just as essential for a beautiful landscape as are a lush lawn, bright flowerbeds and manicured shrubs.
Jeff Dross, corporate director of lighting education and industry trends for Kichler Lighting, recently explained that homeowners are opening up to new ideas with landscape lighting.
Use Indirect Light
Dross says homeowners have begun to shift toward indirect light for their landscaping, which essentially uses a source to reflect the light emitted by the light fixture. This creates more of an atmospheric tone, allowing the light to spread across a wall off the side of a house more effectively. Indirect lighting will illuminate flower beds, gardens, bushes or other decorative landscaping art. Additionally, the light will bounce off the ground and create a nicely lit walkway around flowerbeds.
The Shift Toward LEDs
LED light bulbs are beginning to dominate the landscape lighting industry. For the majority of homeowners, outdoor lights and landscape lighting are typically left on longer than other home lighting, which makes LEDs the more affordable and logical option.
Additionally, LEDs can be manufactured in much smaller sizes, which give homeowners more options to use them in unique spaces. Dross explains that LEDs are so small, they can be used as application lighting, as well as for aesthetic purposes. Hardscape designs are easy to mesh with LEDs, because the style creates both a passageway lighting source and indirect lighting for stone or brick landscapes.
One significant trend in landscape lighting is simplicity and cleanliness. What this means is more homeowners are choosing to go with fewer ground fixtures to illuminate their entire home. According to Dross, residents who simply align their light fixtures along a walkway in a very orderly and organized fashion are providing a lot of unnecessary light and wasting energy.
Going for a more simplistic design can still highlight plants and flower beds while giving just enough light to illuminate a backyard or around a patio. Also, homeowners are moving toward fewer lumens in light fixtures. This allows the light beam to spread more efficiently and even out the overall light sources.
To learn more about landscape lighting, visit a nearby ALA showroom, or go to www.americanlightingassoc.com
) - Water problems top the list of many homeowners' woes, especially water leaks. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency suggest that repairing a faucet dripping at two ounces a minute can save 11,000 gallons of water a year.
Catching a small leak immediately and identifying its source are the keys to preventing water waste and water damage, and a few simple tips can help keep a leak under control.
The FloLogic System
, developed by FloLogic, Inc., is one way to help identify leaks early. The FloLogic System works by monitoring the water supply in the home, and when the flow through the system exceeds a limit that is set when the system is installed, the system shuts off and alerts the homeowner via an alarm system. This early warning means that homeowners can take some do-it-yourself action as soon as possible and control problems from leaks until a professional arrives.
When a plumbing emergency strikes, don't panic. Follow these steps to help contain your plumbing problem.
* Location, location, location. Find the source of the leak. Sometimes the source is obvious; in other cases it is necessary to trace the water flow to find the problem.
* Selective shut-off. A system such as FloLogic will automatically shut off the water in the event of a leak, and turning off valves for the specific fixture may be enough.
* Drain and dry. Drain out any excess water and dry the pipe once it is empty.
Then, try these quick fixes:
* Go for glue. If a leak is located at a joint between two pipes, pressing flexible epoxy into the hole might do the trick until a plumber can assess the problem. Work the epoxy in your hands, press it into the hole, and allow it to set.
* Pencil tip. If the hole is small, stick a sharpened pencil into the hole, break off the tip so the tip plugs the hole, and wrap the hole with duct tape or electrical tape.
* Screw and washer. For larger holes, try placing a washer around the hole, then drive the screw through the hole.
for more details about the FloLogic water monitoring system and more information about water management in the home.
) - With the arrival of long, sunny days, people and pets alike are eager to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors. However, pet owners must be especially vigilant during the warmer months of the dangers fleas and ticks can pose to their four-legged friends.
Flea bites can cause pets to scratch excessively, and their saliva can transfer tapeworms, while ticks can spread Lyme disease in pets and cause tick paralysis, a condition that can result in death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.
The following tips from the National Pest Management Association
(NPMA) can help protect pets from fleas and ticks this summer:
1: After walks or playtime outside, inspect your pet thoroughly. Brush their coat to remove any debris or insects, especially if your pet has been in wooded areas or high grasses.
2: Bathe dogs regularly, using a shampoo that can kill pests.
3: Be on the lookout for skin irritations on your pet, such as bite marks, red, itchy skin, or excessive scratching.
4: If your pet has long hair, consider having him/her groomed in the spring and summer to help to prevent insects from latching onto the long hair and help you to spot any that do.
5: Consult with a veterinarian to determine if a preventative medicine is recommended for your pet.
6: If you notice a change in your animal's behavior, such as lack of appetite or decrease in energy, take your pet to the veterinarian ASAP. This could be a sign of Lyme disease or other health issue caused by pests.
7: Wash your pet's bedding, crate, toys, food bowls and sleeping areas on a regular basis.
8: Keep your home clean and clutter-free to deter pest infestations and make it easy to spot any pests that do find their way indoors. Vacuum frequently and wash linens on a regular basis.
9: Keep your lawn cut short, and gardens well maintained, to prevent breeding grounds for pests. Fleas and ticks often hide out in tall grasses.
10: If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately, being careful to extract the head and mouthparts completely. If your pet has fleas, bathe them and seek the advice of a veterinarian.
For more information on fleas and ticks, or to find a pest control professional in your area, visit www.pestworld.org
) - While the spring season might be synonymous with cleaning your home, it doesn't mean that you're tackling it in the right way. So, if you're concerned about the allergens in your home, getting rid of a dust bunny (or two) and Fido's ferocious dander may not be enough.
In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) supports this claim, stating, "When it comes to cleaning, many people may actually be doing it wrong, stirring up the very allergens they are trying to remove from their homes."
However, while keeping up with cleaning is vital for controlling indoor allergens, there is such a thing as being too diligent.
Take Jesse Tyler Ferguson, an actor on the hit show "Modern Family," who lives with allergies himself. Ferguson thought that obsessively cleaning his space was the way to go.
"Everyone knows I'm a neat freak, [but] I learned from AAFA that, like most of America, I was actually doing some things wrong and stirring up allergens instead of removing them," he said. "Now I look for Certified asthma and allergy-friendly products like Febreze
Fabric Refresher Allergen Reducer (Unscented) and Swiffer
Dry Dusters and Sweepers (Unscented) to help me clean the right way and reduce common allergens in my home."
The asthma- and allergy-friendly Certification Program was created by AAFA and the international research organization, Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), as the first program of its kind in the U.S. in order to reduce confusion about product claims targeting the asthma and allergy market, raise standards for these products, encourage innovation in the production of these products and raise issue awareness about asthma and
With these things in mind, Laura Dellutri, cleaning expert and author of "White Couch with Kids?" and "Speed Cleaning 101," offers the following tips revealing the places inanimate allergens -- from pollen, pet dander and dust mite matter -- may be accumulating and some cleaning advice that can help you remove them:
* Window dressing. Everyone cleans their windows, but few remember to dust window blinds and drapes -- places that can be havens for dust mite matter and other inanimate allergens. Using a Swiffer Duster (unscented, of course) can trap inanimate allergens two times more than a typical dusting cloth and three times more than a feather duster because it picks up dust and locks it away with thousands of flexible, fluffy fibers, designed to reach into nooks and crannies.
* Favor your fabrics. You may clean your couches, decorative pillows, upholstered furniture and carpets with a quick vacuum, fluff of a pillow or dusting. But spraying these hard-to-wash fabrics with something like Febreze Fabric Refresher Allergen Reducer (unscented) can help reduce inanimate allergens that can become airborne from fabrics as well. This nifty product reduces up to 95 percent of inanimate allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust mite matter that can become trapped in fabrics and soft surfaces.
* Clean smarter, not harder. Technology can be a beautiful thing, and it has revolutionized household cleaning with lots of gadgets and tools that make cleaning easier, faster and more effective. For instance, when it comes to removing inanimate allergens from your wood floors, using a Swiffer Dry Sweeper to trap and lock the dirt and dust, is two times more effective than a typical dusting cloth.
For more information, visit febreze.com and swiffer.com.
) - As the weather warms and schedules become packed with summer sports and activities, it can be easy to let your heart healthy diet slide to the bottom of the priority list. With a dash of planning and a spoonful of creativity, summer meals can taste as good as they are nutritious and give you the fuel you need to take advantage of the wonderful weather.
Here are some tips for keeping your meals and snacks heart healthy in the summer months:
Go Lean with Protein
Being on the go doesn't mean you need to sacrifice muscle-building protein in the summer. For dinner options, choose lean meats, poultry or fish. Select lean proteins for refreshing and easy-to-make sandwiches such as Simply Delicious sandwich meats from Land O' Frost
. The entire line of Simply Delicious products meets the American Heart Association's nutrition requirements for heart healthy foods.
Become a Fruit Fanatic
Summer is the season for fresh fruits that are chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They make a great substitute for traditional desserts that are high in fat and calories. Wash and slice any combination of juicy melons, berries, or other fruits and add them to your favorite yogurt or sorbet and blend for a cooling and healthy treat. Larger fruits such as peaches or pineapple also pair nicely with grilled items.
Salads are also a go-to for the summer months but accompanying oily dressing and cheese can load them down with fat and calories. Choose low-fat or light dressing options and steer clear from cream-based diet spoilers. Minimize added sodium and fat by sprinkling low-fat varieties such as Swiss, Mozzarella, Parmesan or cottage cheese.
With these guidelines in mind, your summer meals will be every bit as heart healthy as they are tasty! For coupons and more information about Simply Delicious products from Land O'Frost, visit www.landofrost.com
) - Smokeless tobacco is as much a part of baseball as the Cubs' disappointing run at the World Series year after year.
While Major League Baseball is urging its players to reconsider a habit as old as the sport itself, there is also a history to think about -- one that has linked the two together in the hearts and minds of Americans.
This begs the question: Is there life to baseball without smokeless tobacco?
To come to a conclusion, we have to look at the history of smokeless tobacco and how the two have become inextricably linked together.
In the mid-1800s, when baseball was first getting its footing in America, chewing tobacco was extremely popular, and baseball players used it for the same reasons other men did -- pure pleasure. Soon, however, players found added benefits to using smokeless tobacco products, such as, creating more saliva in the mouth in a dusty environment. This, in turn, helped players to moisten their gloves with spit.
It also helped the smokeless tobacco industry when cigarettes -- which threatened smokeless tobacco companies in the early 20th century -- were attributed to fatigue and bad luck among players. In this way, snuff and chew, continued to gain ground.
"Chewing tobacco is a tradition in baseball," says Everett Dickson, CEO of FLASR, a company that has created accoutrements for the smokeless tobacco user. "It's a part of the game, seeing a pitcher or hitter at bat with a small piece of tobacco tucked into his cheek. Having said that, we also understand the concerns of the general public, and support any decision by policymakers and Major League Baseball."
Until then, however, FLASR
wants those who do use smokeless tobacco (players included) to know there are products that are discreet and help with the more inconvenient and messy aspects for users.
One such product is FLASR's pocket-sized, portable spittoon, which has an advanced closing mechanism, ensuring that it stays closed when not in use. This eliminates the risk of spills and leaks often seen with cups and bottles. FLASR reusable spittoons also feature the exclusive Thumb-Lok Twist Cap for one-handed ease of use making it an ideal solution for taking snuff, dip or chew into the bullpen or on long road trips.
For more information, visit www.flasr.com
. Market listing: FLASR (OTCQB: FLSR).
) - It's scary to imagine a life without proper plumbing. In fact, most people seem to take modern-day plumbing for granted. But the plumbing industry has grown by leaps and bounds
throughout the years.
Before the introduction of modern-day plumbing luxuries such as sewage drainage and disposal systems, flushing toilets and water treatment systems, diseases ran rampant due to the lack of clean water. Diseases such as polio, cholera, and even the black plague took the lives of far too many people before modern plumbing was introduced as we know it today.
There was a time when waste was dumped onto streets, or even into rivers, instead of being properly disposed. This unfortunately contaminated drinking water, which helped spread those killer diseases. However, that's a thing of the past. In today's world, clean water is easily accessible thanks to modern-day plumbing luxuries.
Although the plumbing industry has grown by leaps and bounds throughout the years, the industry continues to look for new ways to improve. The industry is now focusing on improving efficiency, conserving water and reducing costs for homeowners. And the way to accomplish those goals may involve a greater focus on "green" technology.
Mr. Rooter Plumbing is an example of a company dedicated to improving the plumbing industry.
"Mr. Rooter Plumbing is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of customers and the nation, through sanitation and continuously seeking ways to improve through industry innovation," says Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. "We are working to be recognized as the world's leading company in the plumbing and drainage service industry."
The future of plumbing will look to find new ways to reduce water usage without sacrificing performance or aesthetic appeal. With a great deal of home technologies turning to solar power, the plumbing industry may follow suit. For example, traditional water heaters may eventually be replaced by solar-powered water heaters, which would use free energy from the sun to heat water for showers, dishwashers and washing machines. In addition, other plumbing fixtures such as flush valves could also incorporate solar power technology someday.
Without the benefits of modern plumbing, the world would not be able to sustain life as it is today. Thankfully, the plumbing industry is continuing to find new ways to improve, and new ways to save homeowners money by conserving water.
For more information, visit MrRooter.com/45th-anniversary.
) - Looking to spend more time out on your boat than stuck at the dock? Well, a new web app, which you can access from any mobile device and makes maintaining your boat a (summer's) breeze, may help you do just that.
The app, called MyTaskit
, connects boat owners with service techs, offering a convenient way to communicate directly with boat yards about service appointments, repair jobs or routine maintenance -- all of which means more time on the water and less on dry land.
"There's transparency around which tasks have been assigned to which people," says Kevin Hutchinson, founder and CEO of MyTaskit. Whether the MyTaskit app is used on a mobile device or accessed via a desktop computer, "boaters can see the status of projects that are open, in progress, waiting authorization or estimate approval, or completed. The last thing you want to realize is that something needs fixing and you're five miles off shore."
When users post an online task on MyTaskit, they can explain any issue to a service pro; they can attach photos or videos to describe the problem, too.
"Boats are complex possessions, with multiple moving parts that need frequent service and attention," Hutchinson says.
And even if your boat just needs a little TLC or maintenance, the app can come to the rescue. It conveniently stores manuals for everything on a boat, from its icemakers to its engines. Once you enter the specific type of engine your boat has, for instance, MyTaskit will automatically send a service reminder at manufacturer-recommended intervals.
The app is free of charge to boat owners, captains and their crews, and includes up to 1GB of storage (owners can purchase more storage as needed).
What's more, the app is making waves in other ways. Got a problem with your plumbing or electricity at home? MyTaskit will soon be able to connect with those service providers for your home or even RV.
"Because it's highly task-oriented, MyTaskit can help people stay coordinated with all their service providers," Hutchinson says.
The ease-of-use extends beyond consumers to service professionals, who say the MyTaskit "Pro" side of the app helps them to coordinate business with their existing customers online in a manner that strengthens the bond and fosters greater customer loyalty.
For more information, visit www.mytaskit.com
) - Experts say communication is key when dealing with prescription medicine.
Research has shown that a gap in communication between health care providers (HCPs) and patients about the potential risks of prescription medicines can result in adverse drug events. Increasing communication about prescriptions can help ensure that patients avoid such events, improve adherence to their medicine regimen(s) and live healthier lives.
The National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) launched a campaign earlier this year called "Talk Before You Take,"
aiming to spark this necessary patient/HCP engagement and encourage more conversations between patients and HCPs.
"It's imperative that health care providers and patients keep the lines of communication flowing," says Ray Bullman, NCPIE executive vice president.
Bullman and his colleagues' research for the campaign was developed by Johns Hopkins University and Ipsos Healthcare, with support from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly half of Americans take prescription medicines, and over 20 percent of Americans take at least three. However, the research found that approximately 62 percent of patients were not aware of any safety warnings about their medicines. Ten percent of patients unaware of the possibility of a severe side effect actually experience a serious reaction.
"It is important for patients to understand how to take their medicines safely so they experience all the benefits and minimize the potential risks," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Talk Before You Take encourages more discussion about medications between patients and their health care providers and pharmacists, which can improve the health of patients and our health care system."
In addition, the campaign offers four tips for patients and caregivers to guide conversations with HCPs:
* Talk to your health care provider and ask questions about the benefits and potential risks of prescription medicines you take.
* Tell your health care provider about all of the medicines you are taking -- including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and dietary supplements.
* Tell your health care provider about any allergies or sensitivities that you may have.
* Read and follow the medicine label and directions.
For more information, visit www.talkbeforeyoutake.org
. This work is supported by FDA grant number 5U18FD004653-03.