Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What's the Quality of Your Water? Here’s How to Test and Treat It

Homeowners should have an idea about their quality of water. There are DIY and professional testing methods and treatments available.

Basic Home Test Kits

Water quality test kits are sold at most hardware stores and swimming pool service companies. A typical set includes multiple strips that are soaked in water coming from a faucet. Test kits usually check for the most common parameters affecting water purity such as chlorine, iron, lead, and nitrates. The pH and hardness of water could also be checked. The results are easy to read based on the color changes of the wet strips. At, the EPA provides resources about water quality standards.

Lab Tests

Only professional laboratories can test water for living contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. Homeowners with private wells should have their water tested for giardia and cryptosporidium, two strains of aquatic parasites which cause gastrointestinal problems. If harmful microorganisms are detected, a UV filter must be installed in order to destroy them on contact. Local health departments may offer residents free water testing as a result of any spills and other incidences that cause contamination.

Solutions by Plumbing Companies

Based on water quality test results, a professional plumbing company like Plumb Perfect Ltd and others can install the appropriate filtration and softening systems. A softener is highly recommended for homes that have hard water, which is loaded with calcium and magnesium deposits that lead to scaling of fixtures. A whole house water filter eliminates all types of known contaminants and chemicals expect for microorganisms. Reverse osmosis, sediment and activated carbon technology are integrated into filtration systems that purify water before it's distributed throughout a home's supply lines. For shower heads and bathtub faucets, KDF filters are recommended to remove any traces of impurities that might remain in bathroom fixtures.

Point of Use Filtration

Sometimes, it's most cost effective to install point of use filters instead of whole house filtration systems. For example, ice and water dispensers in refrigerators can be equipped with carbon filters that deliver crispy and cool drinks. Similarly, the kitchen sink could be connected to a small faucet mounted filter or an under counter unit. Such filtration might be best recommended for water that is drunk or used to wash produce. Simple carbon filters eliminate the unpleasant characteristics of Chlorine and other natural metals like iron.

Homeowners have the right to demand water quality annual reports from utility companies. It's also a good idea to follow government safety standards about this issue.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Beams LED Lantern with USB Charger - Review

by Shane White

Mr. Beams, an indoor and outdoor LED lighting company sent me this LED Lantern for review.

The Beams LED Lantern with USB Charger seems like a great lantern to have around. It has a bright mode with 3 LEDs that have an output of 260 lumens, and a nightlight mode with 20 lumens output. It also has a USB Charger build in that charged your USB powered device (cell phone or whatever) off 4 D-Cell batteries.


Full Brightness Mode

In this mode, it is quite bright to look at. It is enough light to read or do other tasks that need some light. The 260 lumens of light should last for 30 hours on a set of 4 D-Cell batteries. In this mode, the lantern will shut off after 60 minutes to save battery life warning you after 58 minutes by flashing that it is about to turn off. The control button is easy to use and find in the dark. It is a three way switch that cycles through the three modes (Full Bright/Night Light/Off).

Night Light Mode

The night light mode is much dimmer and can be used to keep you from smashing your toes when walking in the dark. Lets just say that the 20 lumens of light lasts for a long time.


USB Charger

The USB charger is good enough to charge my big smart phone. It can charge several times off the installed batteries. The rubber cover over the USB port sealed it well enough to keep the rain water out and closes in a way that I feel comfortable enough that it won't get water inside.

Weather Resistant

This is easily weather resistant. This lantern is not rated for submersion, but looking at how it is sealed, I would think it would survive if it fell in the river. Don't hold me responsible if you do this and it stops working. I have not tried this personally.

Other Features

I like how flexible this lantern is. It can be configured to be used in a number of ways. It has a nice large sturdy hook on the top that you can use to carry or hang the lantern. The Bottom also has a hook, but it is smaller and plastic. I would be a little more careful with this one. It is designed to fold out of the way and is not weak, but just be careful with it. This hook is here because you can unsnap the top of the lantern and hang it upside down to make the lantern quite a bit smaller and lighter.

Overall, I like this lantern. I have used it quite a bit for things like working on the car at night or whenever I needed a nice bright lantern.

The folks at Mr. Beams are offering anyone who enters the code DOOMSDAYMOOSE at checkout to get a 25% discount off your final order. Nice deal!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Basic Skills and Supplies Needed For Traveling in Cold Climates

If you’re planning a cold-climate hike or you may be stranded in colder weather, there are a few very helpful tips and skills that will keep you moving in relative comfort. This article will briefly cover the basic materials you should carry with you when traveling in a cold climate and offer a few hints on what skills you’ll want to arm yourself with if the going gets chilly.

Carry It Along

Whether you’re driving or striking out for an extended hike, there are a few items that could be the difference between suffering from exposure and survival in case of emergency. These include, but aren’t limited to:
  • Water: keep some in bottles in your car or a canteen with a treatment kit with your camping gear.
  • Tinder: matches and an old pill bottle stuffed with dryer lint and sealed in a plastic baggie can be a literal lifesaver.
  • Car Hat: if you live in a very cold climate, keep a blanket, extra pair of gloves, and a warm hat in your trunk.
  • Flairs: again, this works best for car-kits, but in case of emergency, a road flair can provide a guide for any help that may be in the area.
  • Snacks: a few vacuum-sealed snacks never hurt, especially if you’re stranded.
  • Cold climate sleeping bag
  • Survival knife
  • Nesting pots
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit

Skills for Hikers

Along with water, food, and dry tinder, being able to keep your wits about you in the colder climates can save fingers and toes, as well as your life. Be aware of the first signs of frostbite—pinch your fingers and toes to determine nerve activity. Travel specialists from BCMI Mgmt, who encounter many hikers and mountaineers venturing out into the chilly outdoors, recommend always dressing in layers. Start these layers with a lightweight polyester shirt and build outwards, adding sweaters and jackets as needed. Wool will keep you warm, even if it gets wet, but there are a number of other, lightweight synthetic fibers that can be good to carry along, too. Other skills can be life-saving, such as:
  • Fire-building skills
  • Map-reading and interpretation
  • Building a pine-bough mattress
  • Seeking camp sites exposed to sunlight
  • Water purification skills
  • Shelter-building skills
  • Knowledge of hypothermia signs

While you may never be stranded, knowing how to fend for yourself can also enhance intentional cold-climate camping. By educating yourself on traveling lightly while carrying what you’ll need, you can go farther and derive even more enjoyment from your time in nature. It always pays to be informed and prepared, especially in harsh environments where anything can happen.

Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Storm Prep: 5 Ways to ensure you stay safe during a blizzard

Winter season is rolling up quickly and you might be faced with a blizzard or two this winter. Are you prepared and ready to deal with a snowstorm? Check out these five ways to make sure you and your family stay safe during a blizzard.

Assess Your Home Before the Blizzard Hits

Before a blizzard strikes, take some time during nicer weather to inspect your home. Check your roof to make sure there are no loose shingles or damaged areas. Check the gutters to make sure they are secure. Put storm windows or weatherproofing plastic in place over windows. Have boards or plywood ready to put in place over the outside of your windows in case a blizzard brings hurricane force winds.

Do you know what your insurance covers if your home is damaged by a blizzard? Contact your insurance agency if you need a quote for additional homeowners insurance or have questions about the insurance policy you currently have.

Have Your Heat Source Inspected

One of the most important things you will need to stay safe and survive a blizzard is a heat source. You need to make sure your main heat source is ready to go. Call in a HVAC technician to check out your furnace or hire a chimney sweep to make sure your chimney or stovepipes are clean and in order.

Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Underwriters Insurance Brokers (BC) Ltd recommends testing every smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home before a blizzard hits. If you don't have any, or enough for every level in your home, now is the time to get them. Put fresh batteries in each detector then test them. Take the time to run through fire drills with your family and talk about symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure everyone knows what to do in case the unthinkable happens.

While you are checking your smoke detectors, take a look at your fire extinguishers. Find out if they need to be inspected or upgraded then make sure it happens before bad weather hits.

Stock up on Items You Will Need

Make a list of necessities your family would need if you are snowed in. Stock up on non-perishable food items, bottled water, personal hygiene items, and food for your pets. Bring in additional wood or call for additional gas or fuel oil to heat your home before the bad weather starts. Have flashlights and a battery-operated radio on hand in case the electricity goes out.

Stay Home, Don't Go Out

Finally, one of the most important things you can do to ensure your safety during a blizzard is to stay home and don't go outside unless absolutely necessary. Make sure you are well-stocked with food, personal items, and fuel or wood for heat. If you have to go outside, use a rope to tether yourself to your home so you can find your way back.

Planning ahead and being ready for a blizzard can ensure that you and your family stay safe and sound -- inside. Start planning now, before winter starts, and you will be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

Karleia is a freelance blogger. Away from the office she enjoys scrapbooking and enjoying time with friends and family.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Important Role Of Cleaning in Food Safety

Foods (cropped) Food safety is one of the things we barely think about. Most of the time we only wash our hands prior to food preparation. But is it enough? According to specialists, it isn't, and other measures should be taken as well. Check this article for more information.

Why cleaning is important in regard to food preparation

It is vital that all equipment which may be in direct contact with food is kept clean and free of viruses. If a contaminant gets on the food to be processed, it may spread onto it, later causing food poisoning. This is not the only reason why one should keep their kitchen clean.

By maintaining your kitchen you will create a nice working environment. In addition, you'll keep cockroaches, flies and other insects away. Not to mention rats.

If you want to protect your family from food poisoning or contamination, you should not only keep your kitchen utensils and surfaces spotless, but also clean your food. Veggies and fruits should be rinsed well with cold water before consumption. Physicians advise that your soak them in water for about half an hour or so to enable pesticides to get out. Some produce can also be cleaned with vinegar. Just spray a mixture of one part vinegar and three parts of water on fruit and vegetables and rinse well.

In addition, remember to wash your hands well with soap before you start cooking.

What to disinfect

What areas should you disinfect before you start cooking? Every surface that your hands or food are going to be in direct contact with during cooking will need to be disinfected. This includes:
  • Light switches
  • Fridge and door handles
  • Knives and other utensils
  • Chopping boards, slicers and other work surfaces
  • Sink, countertops
Why is sanitising crucial? Most of the time washing is not enough. See, washing removes soil which is easy to see. But there are a number of bacteria that are not visible and should be removed. This can be achieved by sanitation or disinfection.

Paper towels or rags?

According to Global Hygiene Council, a number of bacteria can be found on a cleaning cloth or rag. They conducted a survey, which revealed not surprising but still rather shocking news – many domestic rags and cloths contained E.coli. The ironies of life: homeowners use towels and cloths to clean but unfortunately they only achieve the opposite effect and put their health at risk.

Luckily, there is an alternative to rags and cloths, but it is a bit more expensive. For example, you can use disposable wipes or paper towels. If you find this option too costly, you can just use a sanitiser. Make sure you disinfect all the cloths you use in cleaning every day. Also, think about whether you store them properly. Be sure to sanitise the surfaces they come in contact with. Yet, to clean a surface where food is going to be consumed you'd better use paper towels.

What disinfectants to use

There are to main types of disinfectants to use to sanitise surfaces: Quats (Quaternary Ammonium Compounds) and Hypochlorites (Chlorine based disinfectants). The former are very powerful. They may be the perfect disinfectant-cleaner because they are non-corrosive and don't have a bad odour. They are also very widely available. The latter are very common too. They are cost-effective and very efficient. One of the so called Hypochlorites is bleach, which is again widely used in the household.

When it comes to using sanitisers, you should keep in mind that some of them may need to be diluted. The reason for this is that some chemicals are very concentrated. Always check the label for instructions on just how much water to use, or the product will not be effective.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How You Can Avoid The Ebola Virus

Ebola is a scary word for a lot of people. We worry that we might catch it and if we do that we might die from it. It is a very real threat.

There is no vaccine for it yet but there are things you can do to help avoid it. Some of them are rather simple and others are a little more complicated. It would be a good idea to do what you can to keep yourself and your family safe.

By: CDC Global

The first thing you want to do is avoid the bodily fluids of anyone that has it. This is probably the easiest thing to do unless you have a family member that has it. You would also want to avoid direct contact with anyone who has died from it.

Unless you do have a family member with Ebola or you are a medical worker you probably won't have to worry about coming into contact with anyone who has it for the time being. This could always change in the future so it is important to remember how to stay safe.

Another thing you can do is to avoid wild animals and wild animal meat. They can be carriers and you just can't be too careful with that. The animals you should most likely stay away from are monkeys, forest antelope, porcupines, pigs and fruit bats. All of these animals can carry the disease.

It is also very important that you know the symptoms of Ebola. Once you do you will know if you should go to the doctor or not. You want to be very careful about it because you don't want to assume it is nothing when you really could be carrying the disease.

This is especially important if you have traveled to an area with Ebola. It might even be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it even if you don't have any symptoms. It would be good for them to know that you have been somewhere it was possible to get.

By following these tips you will be helping lower the chance that you will get the disease. You want to be on guard about it because if you do get it you could be in for a long road. It can be scary because a lot of people don't understand it yet and it seems like such a strange disease.

If you have a loved one who has gotten it, make sure you listen to the doctor about what to do. They will know the best way to keep you safe and you need to follow their orders. You don't want to do anything that could increase the chances that you or another person could get it.

Try not to worry too much if you have not been in contact with anyone who has it. Most people will not get the disease and most likely you will not get it either as long as you follow these guidelines.

Aria Meyer is a freelance write and an active blogger. She writes mainly about fashion and technology, but she also writes about other topics too. She is currently working with several ecommerce websites to help them with content. Aria got her Bachelor Degree from Cal State Long Beach and currently living in Walnut, CA. Right now, she is working closely with EMedItems to help them grow the marketing department.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

How to Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane

If you’ve just moved near a coast, you know hurricanes come with the territory. But you might not know what you need to do to prepare for the storms. Here is a beginner’s overview of home hurricane preparation.

Start with the Outside

During a hurricane, your home is going to be hit with strong winds and any debris those winds are flinging around. If your windows get penetrated, the winds will be able to enter your home and cause structural damage (like blowing the roof off). There are two main ways to keep from losing your windows.

Storm shutters are your first option. Shutters typically come in metal or plywood varieties. According to USA Today, wooden shutters should be made of marine plywood at least ¾” thick, and need to be cut to fit each window. Remember, the time to install these shutters is before the hurricane is upon you!

Your next option is to install laminated glass or plastic glazed windows. These impact windows, like the windows sold at Storm Shield LLC in Cape Coral, FL, are specially manufactured to be able to withstand the impact of flying debris without shattering. The strength of the windows will also protect your home from burglars once the storm has passed.

Doors, including garage doors, are also weak points on the exterior of your home. Make sure you install doors that can withstand strong winds and torrents of rain.

Don’t Forget the Yard

Part of preparing your home for a hurricane is making sure nothing around it will pose a threat. Here are some precautionary measures to take with your yard:
  • Trim any dead or week tree branches and/or trees. Consider removing large trees that are growing near your home or cars if you think they might get knocked over. Do this at the beginning of hurricane season every year.
  • Put in the garage anything that can be picked up by 100-mile-an-hour winds. This includes garbage cans, patio furniture, lawn decorations, toys, and so on.
  • At the beginning of hurricane season, consider replacing gravel or rock landscaping features with shredded bark or other materials that won’t damage your home if picked up by the wind.
  • Consider installing a chain link fence (also called “hurricane fence,” and for good reason). Since wind can blow through a chain link fence, it is less likely to fall over or be picked up and slammed into your home.
  • You may want to also install a hurricane-proof mailbox.

Inside Your Home

Once the exterior of your home has been fortified, it’s time to turn your attention to the inside. Inside preparations will focus mostly on sustaining you and your family while you are waiting out a storm. Load up on emergency preparedness supplies like drinking water, food storage, clean clothing, and a grab bag in case you have to evacuate.

Here are some of the things to put in your grab bag:
  • important documents including birth certificates, marriage license, social security cards, insurance policies, and so on
  • a change of clothing—including a warm jacket and undergarments
  • personal hygiene items
  • food and drinking water
  • a flashlight
  • first aid supplies
  • cash and ID cards
  • emergency blanket and poncho

Plan for a lack of power while you are waiting out a hurricane. Make sure you have plenty of flashlights with extra batteries. Also stock up on drinking water just in case you lose access to running water. Even if you have shutters and/or impact resistant windows, stay in a room that has no windows to avoid injury if your windows shatter. Move important belongings to the upper levels of your home to avoid damage from potential flooding.

Hurricanes are a force of nature not to be reckoned with. However if you live near a coast, you have no choice. Increase your home’s chances of surviving a hurricane by following these tips.

Meghan is a freelance writer from Oklahoma. She enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise as well as researching new topics to expand her horizons.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Ways To Make Sure Your Home Is Ready For The Unexpected

No homeowner knows if an intruder or robber could break in and take everything. Fortunately, technology has advanced significantly in the fields of home and business security. You can buy a complete security system at an affordable rate every month. Take the right steps to ensure that your house is prepared for the unexpected.


There are plenty of outdoor security lights found in stores like Home Depot and more. Choose from LED, flood and motion sensor fixtures that are easy to have installed. It is never to leave the front or back yard in complete darkness. You can buy energy efficient flood lights that activate only when motion is detected or switch to accent lights.

Security Systems

Research the different types of security systems out there. Look at ones specially made to prevent fires, burglars and trespassers. You can buy the most modern technologies that only allow you to type a few codes into an electronic panel. There is a system that fits every budget and personal safety need. You can even get a 24 hour monitoring team that looks after your belongings whenever you are sleeping or away on business.


Many locks are not tested thoroughly and do not offer the right amount of protection. It is easy to pick most locks on the market nowadays. Kicking in the door is easy if your lock is flimsy. Most homeowners use deadbolts to provide top security, but many different options are available. There are quality lock products and services provided by companies like Affordable Lock Services Inc., an Aurora locksmith.

Fire Prevention Equipment

You need fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire blankets to prevent your house from crumbling to fire. If you have an extinguisher, everyone in the house should know how to use it. If you have a fire blanket, keep it close to common sources of fire like ovens. It is necessary to replace the batteries in the smoke detector every now and then. The U.S. Fire Administration provides many tips about ways to avoid a fire disaster.

Prepare for your home and sanctuary, from the worst. Protect your financial assets because everything could be gone in a flash. A fire takes a few minutes to spread, and a burglar takes less than 30 minutes to operate. The last thing you want is an insurance claim agent visiting your house. Follow these simple tips to stay alert as a property owner.

Savannah Coulsen is a freelance writer. She lives in Raleigh. Savannah loves to read and write and she hopes to write a novel someday. Savannah also loves learning and is a self-proclaimed health guru.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Doomsday Giveaway for October 2014!

This October, we have decided to give away a couple of first aid kits. Two Adventure First Aid Kits by Adventure Medical Kits to be exact.

This First Aid Kit includes quite a few of the first aid items that you will need in a bag sized that will fit in your Bug Out Bag easily.

First Aid Kit

A Typical Kit Includes:
  • 16 - Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 1" x 3"
  • 1 - Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 2" x 4.5"
  • 4 - Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, Knuckle
  • 12 - Bandage, Adhesive, Plastic, 3/8" x 1 1/2"
  • 4 - Bandage, Butterfly Closure
  • 4 - Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 4" x 4", Pkg./2
  • 4 - Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 2" x 2", Pkg./2
  • 4 - Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 3" x 3", Pkg./2
  • 2 - Dressing, Non-Adherent, Sterlie, 2" x 3"
  • 1 - Gloves, Nitrile (Pair), Hand Wipe
  • 1 - Trauma Pad, 5" x 9"
  • 1 - Moleskin, Pre-Cut & Shaped (11 pieces)
  • 1 - Bandage, Elastic with Clips, 2"
  • 1 - Cold Pack
  • 2 - Safety Pins
  • 1 - Scissors, Bandage with Blunt Tip
  • 1 - Splinter Picker/Tick Remover Forceps
  • 2 - Thermometer, Disposable
  • 1 - Caring for Children in the Outdoors Manual
  • 3 - Acetaminophen (500 mg), Pkg./2
  • 3 - Antihistamine (Diphenhydramine 25 mg)
  • 3 - Ibuprofen (200 mg), Pkg./2
  • 1 - Aspirin (325 mg), Pkg./2
  • 1 - After Bite® Insect Relief
  • 12 - Antiseptic Wipe
  • 2 - Cotton Tip Applicator, Pkg./2
  • 1 - Tape, 1/2" x 10 Yards
  • 4 - Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Single Use

All you need to do is use the Rafflecopter tool below to enter. You can tweet about this giveaway or another link on this blog, follow us on Twitter, "like" us on Facebook, share us at your favorite social network, or follow this blog. Easy as that. On November 1st we will select the winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck!

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