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Five Tips for Designing a Better Small Horse Barn

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Most every horse owner dreams of having their own 40-stall barn with foaling stalls, heat, and a shower in the tack room. But in reality, budget and space constraints mean most horse owners have to settle for something a bit smaller. With careful planning and the right design, your four- or six-stall barn can be as an enjoyable as a luxury breeding stable. Here are five tips for designing a better small horse barn. Always include extra stalls. If you currently have two horses, plan for a four-stall barn. If you think four will be your limit, build six stalls. There are almost certain to be times where you need to house a friend’s horse for a week while she’s between boarding stables, take in a rescue you feel sorry for, or keep the neighbor’s pony while their barn is under construction. If you don’t have enough stalls available for these last-minute add-ons, your barn will feel small and limiting. With the extra stalls, you’ll have more pride in your barn because you know it’s set up to handle whatever horses life may bring to you. You can always use the spare stalls to store wheelbarrows or extra tack in the meantime. Build storage into your tack room. The tack room often turns into the gathering place where the humans hang out and chat. Visitors will understand that stalls and aisles get dirty, but it’s an unspoken rule in the equestrian community that the tack room must be tidy. If your tack room is just an empty space, you’ll be forced to rely on folding saddle racks and big, clumsy tack trunks for storage. So, have wall-mounted saddle racks, bridle racks, and plenty of shelves built into your tack-room walls. The matching look will make fellow equestrians who visit your barn swoon. Make sure there’s adequate ventilation. Horses kept in well-ventilated barns have fewer health issues, including respiratory problems and skin conditions. When you have several horses kept in a smaller barn, the barn tends to get stuffy and humid if it’s not specifically designed to vent properly. Not only is this bad for the horses, but it can really cause those urine smells to intensify in the summer. Make sure the team that’s designing your barn includes a good roof ventilation system. Eave and peak roof ventilation works well throughout the seasons. Make sure your design also includes several large doors so you can open them and let the breeze flow through when weather permits. Consider creating hay storage in a separate building. Storing hay in the same barn as your horses tends to create messes, especially when your barn is small and the hay storage is almost forced to be right near the stalls and tack room. Designing the barn so it’s easy to get in and stack large quantities of hay is also a challenge. Your barn will stay a lot neater if you build a separate shed for hay storage. Use a wheelbarrow to bring the hay over for each feeding, or store just a few bales at a time in a spare stall. Include personalized details whenever possible. This barn might be small, but it’s yours — and that’s something to be proud of! Including some personalized details in the design will make it feel...

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Tips On Choosing And Using The Right Plunger For Your Sink Drain Clog

Posted by on Aug 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If your kitchen sink has stopped allowing water to flow through the drain, then it’s time to start thinking about clog removal solutions. Hot water, vinegar, and baking soda can all be used to try to resolve the plumbing problem. However, when these materials will not move the clog, then it is time to reach for the plunger. While most people own plungers and use them regularly, individuals rarely know how to use them correctly or even which ones should be used. Keep reading to learn about a few tips to help you plunge away a drain clog effectively and quickly. Use The Right Tool Before you start plunging your sink, you should make sure that you have the right tool. There are several different kinds of plungers that can be purchased, but there are only two types that can be used on a sink. These types include force cup and common sink plungers. Force cup plungers are typically used for toilets, but they can be used for sinks as well. The plungers have a closed bell shape along the bottom with a cup or flap in the middle of the bell. This flap fits into a toilet drain opening, or it can be bent into a sink drain. The cup will not create a seal around the drain though, and this means that it may not be as effective as a common plunger. A common plunger is the tool that is made for kitchen sinks, and this device is the type of plunger with an open bell end. If you do not have a common plunger, then make sure to purchase one at your local home store. To keep your stainless steel or porcelain sinks from becoming marred, make sure the tool is made from a non-marking rubber. Non-marking rubber is a synthetic rubber that is more dense than natural rubber. This helps to keep the rubber from wearing off onto your sink. However, when a denser material is used, the plunger will be less flexible. This can interfere with the movement of the head. When looking at plungers, try to bend the bell of the plunger. Purchase the one that is the most flexible. Not only will this assist with plunging motions, but the rubber end will be less likely to crack. A plunger with a plastic or stainless steel handle is best as well. The paint that covers a wooden-handled one will chip off over time, which can cause a splinter to embed in your hand. Use The Plunger Correctly Once you have the right plunger, place the middle of the plunger bell directly over the top of the clogged drain opening. Look at the water level in the sink and make sure it sits about an inch or two above the plunger bell. Plungers work by creating a vacuum seal around the plumbing drain, and water is needed to create the vacuum. Add water to the sink if there is not enough to cover the plunger head.  Once the plunger is positioned and the water level is ready, tip the plunger to the side slightly to let air out of the bell. If air is left in the cup of the plunger, then it will compress as the tool is moved downward. The compressed air will absorb some of the pressure that is...

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Must-Haves For An Indoor Riding Arena Geared For Teaching Equestrian Sports

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Teaching equestrian sports takes a lot of discipline and practice, for the teacher, the student and the horse. But practice can be challenging during certain times of the year, especially when it snows in the winter, rains in the spring, and thunderstorms in the summer. Fortunately, there is something you can do to be able to give your students lessons no matter what the weather conditions are—build an indoor riding arena! Pre-engineered metal buildings are ideal for this! Here are a few must-haves to consider so you can get the most out of your future indoor riding arena. Footing The footing is the most important part of the arena as far as your horses are considered. And your students will feel more comfortable when the footing for the arena is installed correctly. The surface needs to be completely flat, with no holes or changes in the slope. To do this, hire an excavation service instead of trying to do it yourself. Cover the base with the equestrian footing material of your choice. However, avoid ones that create a lot of dust. You don’t want to have the interior of the indoor riding arena filled with a dusty haze. French Drain A French drain system around the perimeter of the building will be necessary to prevent groundwater from accumulating underneath your indoor riding arena, which could cause depressions and holes in the riding surface. The last thing you’ll want to have happen is for your horse to step into a hole and take a tumble with a young student on board. Open Walls It’s a good idea to have open walls in the metal building of your facility. That way, your students and horses can be in fresh air when training and working up a sweat. But since there may be times when you would rather have complete shelter from the weather, it’s a good idea to have walls that slide open to let however much fresh air in as you’d like. Pest Prevention One of the best things about using a pre-engineered metal building is that they are great for pest prevention. The reason is because rodents are unable to chew through metal and bees will not be able to bore into the structure. However, there may still be a chance that birds will get into the facility, especially if you keep the doors and/or walls open regularly. One preventative measure you can take against a bird infestation is to install decoys, such as of owls or snakes. Use metal decoys that can be welded directly onto the interior framing of the structure. Lighting For lighting the interior during the day, consider installing skylights in the roof. Even though sunlight can get through the open doors and walls, it can still be a bit darker in the middle of the arena if there is no additional lighting. Your students will likely feel more comfortable while riding when they have plenty of light, especially if they are young and/or new to the experiences of being around horses and riding. If you want to ride in the evenings or give lessons in the dark, use solar-power instead of having to run electrical cables to the arena. The tiles for the solar power system can be installed directly onto the roof in...

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4 Tips For Growing Yellow Poplars For Shade Without Threatening The Safety Of Your Property

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Whether you call them tulip trees or yellow poplars, these trees that actually belong to the magnolia family are great for shading your home because they grow quickly and reach a mature width of 50 feet to provide a lot of canopy cover. While these shade trees are less troublesome than many other species that grow as quickly, they still need care and attention as they grow to turn into a safe and beautiful part of the landscape. Take these steps with your new yellow poplars to guide them to healthy growth. Stick to Full Sun If you’re trying to grow a strong tree that doesn’t lean or develop weak branches that will drop later, make sure you have a sunny area for planting the poplar so it’s not shaded or facing a lot of competition from other trees. Overcrowding these trees or planting them in a shady spot results in a thin, tall tree with a reduced canopy and an unattractive shape. You’ll only get a healthy, strong, and wide pyramid or dome shaped canopy by giving the tree as much sun as possible, in addition to plenty of water in the first few years of growth. Prune Vigorously Yellow poplars benefit from a few different types of pruning at various points in their growth cycle. Aside from the usual trimming of dead and disease branches that all trees need, this species needs attention from a tree trimming service for Creating more space between the new canopy scaffolding branches that are just forming on a young sapling Removing low growing branches as the tree gains height since bottom branches are eventually dropped by the tree Trimming away the water sprouts that pop up around every major cut made on the tree. Try to avoid topping and removal of the growing point of the tree’s leaders, which are the vertical sections of the trunk. Cutting off the tip of the highest growth will keep the tree from growing taller but only at the expense of the tree’s beautiful canopy form. A yellow poplar that is topped will form a weak umbrella shape and is more likely to lose branches regularly for the rest of its lifespan. Stick with a smaller tree species if a potential height of up to 90 feet tall is too high for your yard. Train to One Leader Speaking of leaders, it’s best to trim the yellow poplar to have a single strong and straight leader section of the trunk rather than two, three, or more sections forming the canopy. Multiple leaders increase the risk of a large section of the tree falling off and potentially hurting a family member or damaging your roof. Leader divisions of the trunk tend to form a very tight crotch between the vertical sections, and that crotch traps water and falling leaves to create a site for rot that leads to an unhealthy and dangerous tree. Trim off trunk sections that split away from the main growth as soon as you notice them so the effect on the tree is minimized. It’s a major job for a tree service to trim away a full grown leader that is a foot or two thick, and the resulting wound can also let disease into the heartwood. Avoid Root Pruning Finally, keep...

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Why Isn’t Concrete Flowing? Three Reasons Your Concrete Pump Truck May Have Frequent Blockages

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in Uncategorized |

A concrete pump truck allows you to pour concrete into high areas, such as apartment buildings and high rises, or quickly pour concrete over a large area. Concrete should flow from the truck out of a pipeline. However, this may not always occur. Occasionally, a blockage can form in the pipeline, disrupting the flow of concrete. If this happens rarely, it is nothing you should worry about. Sometimes a clog simply just forms. But if it seems like you have frequent blockages on a job, there is likely a reason. Learning what the reasons for a blockage are can help you work to fix the problem, allowing concrete to flow out of the concrete pump truck as it should. Using the Wrong Concrete Mixture One of the reasons your concrete pump truck may experience blockage after blockage at a work site is because you are using the wrong concrete mixture. Unfortunately, the mixture you need varies based on the specifics of your job site. If you are working at a job site where the concrete is going to be poured slowly, you need a slow setting mixture. A fast setting mixture may begin to set before it is poured, leading to blockages as the concrete hardens. If the weather at the job site is extremely hot, you need a mixture that works well when mixed with large amounts of water. Hot temperatures can cause the water to dry up quickly, which can lead to blockages. However, some mixtures can separate if too much water is added and won’t mix or set. As such, using a mixture that works well with large amounts of water is a must in warm weather.  And lastly, the quality of the mixture plays a role. Poorly graded sand may not retain water. This can cause dry clumps to form, which can lead to blockages. Ensuring you have the right mixture of concrete can be one way to prevent blockages in a concrete pump truck. Having an Untrained Concrete Pump Truck Operator Another reason frequent blockages may occur while using a concrete pump truck is because you have an untrained or inexperienced operator. The concrete pump truck operator is responsible for setting up the pump system. This includes setting up the right pipe or hose. Unfortunately, inexperienced operators may not realize this or may forget about it. If the pipe or hose is added after the mix has begun to be poured, blockages are more likely to occur. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do at this point but to remove the blockages as they occur and plan better in the future. The second reason an inexperienced operator is more likely to experience blockages is because they may set up the hose or pipe incorrectly. If the pipe or hose has kinks due to improper set up, the lubricating grout that is sent through the pipe or hose first won’t lubricate as it should. Once the concrete begins to flow, it may stick to the pipe or hose in the kinked area, causing problems. Cleaning out the pipe or hose and re-lubricating can correct this issue, but it takes time that you may not have. Ensuring that you are using an experienced operator is the best way to avoid these problems. Improperly Maintaining the Pipeline...

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Settling Into Another Commercial Building? Take These Sensible Security Precaustions

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Relocating your business from one commercial building to another can be exciting, worrying and chaotic in equal measure — but don’t forget to evaluate the building’s security while you’re unpacking boxes and distributing updated business cards. Here are some important steps you can take to protect your assets at the new location. Rekey or Replace All Locks You have no idea how many employees of various previous commercial residents have passed through your new (or objectively speaking, not-so-new) facility’s doors over the years. You may also have no idea whether the building is still on its original set of locks. This is a dangerous situation because it allows entry to any disgruntled, dishonest or deranged individual who happened to keep their set of company keys. To play it safe, have a locksmith alter every physical lock in the building so that only you and your current team have access. The two primary options for changing locks are rekeying and total replacement. The cheapest solution is simply to rekey the locks, especially if you’re dealing with a great many of them. This involves changing or adjusting the inner workings of the lock without actually removing the entire assembly. But if the locks are heavily worn, broken or the wrong type of locks to accommodate your specific needs (such as accessibility for disabled employees), then replacing those locks may prove a smart investment. You can work with a local locksmith company like Anderson Lock & Safe, LLC to know whether rekeying will work or if replacement is necessary.  Install a Video-Monitored Security System Many older commercial buildings have never been fitted with state-of-the-art video monitoring and security systems — and even if your previous residents had such a system installed, they may well have carried it away with them or had the security provider dismantle it. But you don’t want your facility to go without this kind of system. Strategically placed video cameras can provide positive identification of burglars or anyone else who commits criminal acts on your property, while password-based alarm systems can alert the security company and the local authorities as soon as there’s a break-in, fire or other emergency. Depending on the age of the building, you may need to get the electrical system inspected carefully to ensure that it can handle any additional load from the video monitoring and alarm system. Your installer may need to run the data cables through existing pathways such as vents and electrical conduits. Don’t worry about hiding the video cameras from view — visible cameras can actually serve as a  theft deterrent. Protect Your HVAC Systems and Components HVAC systems and components represent irresistible temptations for thieves, especially since some parts of these systems (such as compressors) have to be positioned outside the building. The real prize is copper, a material commonly used in air conditioning and heating system tubing. Recycling centers will pay good money for scrap copper because it can be recycled into so many different useful products and components. If your facility was designed and built without this concern in mind, you may need to beef up security for your HVAC equipment. This is one instance in which hiring a night watchman or security guard can make good sense. If your HVAC equipment is sitting on a bare concrete...

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What You Need To Know If You Find Bird Droppings In Your Fireplace & Swifts In The Chimney

Posted by on Mar 7, 2016 in Uncategorized |

There’s something to be said about the coziness and warmth of a rip-roaring fire in the fireplace on a cold, wintry night. But if you notice bird droppings in your fireplace, a family of birds may have found your chimney cozy and warm. In fact, one of the bird species is so notorious for turning chimneys into their humble abodes that it is called the chimney swift. Unfortunately, chimney swifts present a host of problems when they become unwanted guests in chimneys, especially for homeowners who would love to enjoy their fireplaces. Here’s what you need to know about chimney swifts if you have found bird droppings in your fireplace. Why Your Chimney Makes an Ideal Home for Swifts Chimney swifts have angled feet that give them the ability to cling vertically. For this reason, their nests are often found in places like chimneys and hollow trees. They build their nests by attaching twigs to vertical surfaces by using their saliva, which is sticky and similar to glue. They like tightly confined areas because they are kept out of the elements of weather and protected from predators. Their bodies are narrowed and shaped like cigars, which also makes it easier for them to be confined in chimneys. Dangers of Swifts & Nests in Your Chimney In addition to the bird droppings in your fireplace, you may hear the birds chirping and/or fluttering around inside the chimney. However, it’s important to understand that you and your family are exposed to several dangerous risks when there are swifts in your chimney. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid using your fireplace while they are there. Here’s why. Health. Bird droppings can contain fungal spores, especially when the droppings are in a humid area. These spores can be kicked into your living areas by backdrafts from the chimney. When you or a family member breathes the spores into their lungs, it can cause an infection called histoplasmosis, which can be more severe in infants and anyone who has weakened immune systems. Fire & Smoke. Of course, with nests built onto the interior wall of your chimney there is a huge risk of the nests catching on fire. Also, smoke may not effectively escape up and out of the chimney. The blockage that the nests create can cause smoke to fill your home. Fines. You could be fined if you remove the birds and/or their nests from your chimney or cause them harm in any way. The reason for this is because chimney swifts are listed as one of the protected species on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means they are protected by federal law. Solution & Prevention: What You Can Do Since chimney swifts are protected and cannot be disturbed, you’ll have to wait until after they migrate away from your home before you will be able to remove their nests. Given the risk of fines, it’s a good idea to hire a pest control service to take care of things for you. They will have a better idea of the migratory patterns for chimney swifts based on your exact location. While you wait for them to migrate you’ll need to avoid using your fireplace, unfortunately. Also, it’s a good idea to ask a fireplace specialist from a company like Alpine Fireplaces to temporarily...

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Pump Up Your Productivity–Factors That Will Help You Select The Right Hoist For The Job

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you own or manage a warehouse, you need to pay close attention to the material handling equipment that you purchase. Material handling equipment consists of the items that are used to store and move merchandise around your warehouse. This includes items like shelving, pallets, trolleys, hoists, forklifts, winches, and lifting accessories. Having the right equipment for your space can increase your productivity, cut back on injuries to your employees and even save you money on repairs to equipment. An electric hoist can be used with an overhead trolley system to move heavy items from one part of your warehouse to another. Unfortunately, many warehouse owners don’t know all the factors they need to consider when shopping around for a hoist. While weight capacity and price are important, other factors come into play. Here are three factors that you need to consider when you are trying to select the right hoist for your warehouse job. Maximum On Time Per Hour One of the factors that you need to consider when selecting the right hoist to handle the material in your warehouse is the maximum on time per hour, also referred to as the intermittent duty rating. This means how many minutes the hoist will be used per hour. All hoists are rated with an H1 through H5 rating. An H1 rating is light use. It means that the hoist is designed to be used for no longer than eight minutes per hour. On the other end of the spectrum, you have an H5 rating. This is a heavy duty rating and means the hoist is designed to run continuously throughout the hour, or 60 out of 60 minutes. Carefully consider how frequently your hoist will be used and select a hoist with an appropriate rating. If you select a hoist that has a lower rating than you need, it won’t be able to withstand the use time you subject it to and may need maintenance, repairs or replacement more frequently. Selecting a hoist with a higher rating than you need can cost you money, because these tend to be more expensive. The Maximum Number of Starts Per Hour Another factor to consider when selecting the right hoist for your job is how many times you intend to start and stop the hoist per hour. Once again, the hoist is rated with an H1 through H5 rating system, with H1 being the lightest and H5 being heavy duty. An H1 rated hoist has the ability to start up to 75 times per hour, whereas an H5 hoist has the capacity to start up to 600 times per hour. If you start and stop the hoist to load and unload it often, you will want a higher rating. If the hoist is used infrequently, or runs with few starts and stops, you can use a hoist with a lower starts per hour rating. How Frequently the Hoist Will Be Subjected to the Maximum Weight Capacity The last factor you need to consider when selecting the right hoist for the job is how frequently your hoist will be subjected to the maximum weight capacity. This is referred to as the state of loading rating and features a rating system of M1 through M6. An M1 rating means that you are subjecting your hoist...

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5 Essential Elements of a Minimalist-Style Bathroom

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Minimalist interior design puts creates a crisp, clean look by using straight lines, solid surfaces and an abundance of light. With less clutter, you have more space to utilize the things you actually need. For these reasons, minimalist design works very well in the bathroom, where a clean look is paramount and you need space to move about. To create a minimalist bathroom, start by focusing on these five elements. A light and airy color scheme To create an open-looking space, it’s important to choose a light and simple color scheme. Experts recommend decorating with three colors in a 60:30:10 ratio. The color that occupies 60% of space, also known as the dominant color, will be the color you paint the walls. The secondary color, which takes up 30% of the space, will be the color you paint the trim and perhaps use for some furnishings, such as your sink and shelving. The final accent color can be used for accessories like soap dispensers, towels and the like. In a minimalist bathroom, you will have few accessories, so it works well to make them all the accent color. Some lovely color schemes for minimalist bathrooms include: 60% white, 30% pale green, 10% navy blue 60% cream, 30% aqua, 10% deep brown 60% pale gray, 30% dark gray, 10% red Of course, these are a few of many possibilities. If you have a favorite color that’s on the bright side, a good rule of thumb is to use it as your accent color and use two shades of either beige or gray as your dominant and secondary colors. A clear, frameless shower door An opaque shower door or shower curtain can quickly make an otherwise minimalist bathroom look cluttered and closed-off. Thus, the best choice for this type of design is a clear, frameless shower door. It won’t block the flow of light through the space, and you’ll get to enjoy the bathroom’s open, airy appeal while you’re showering, rather than feeling like you’re isolated in a cage. For the most minimalist look possible, pair your glass door with a zero-entry shower. If this is not an option due to your bathroom’s design, it will look great with a standard, step-in shower, too. A freestanding pedestal sink So many bathroom vanities and cabinets are bulky and complex. Steer clear of these cluttered pieces of furniture, and opt instead for a free-standing sink in your secondary color. The pedestal style bottom takes up less floor space, leaving you more space to stand and dress. Make sure you choose a simple faucet, too. Nickle faucets with a smooth, sleek finish are a common choice in minimalist bathrooms. Large windows As mentioned previously, natural light is one of the most important elements of minimalist design, and you cannot have natural light without windows. Even if you have to do a bit of remodeling to incorporate a larger window, it’s really worth it. A floor-to-ceiling window is lovely if you have the space. A pair of side-by-side smaller windows works if you don’t. To maintain your privacy in a bathroom with large windows, have them coated with privacy film. This translucent film has a sort-of etched pattern that obscures vision through the window without blocking light. Open shelving To keep your minimalist bathroom looking...

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Fire Sprinkler System Maintenance: 3 Inspections And Tests To Perform

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Here’s a shocking fact: 369,500 home fires that caused $6.8 billion worth of direct property damage were reported in 2013. Civilian deaths, injuries and property damages from home fires can be mitigated or lessened with the installation of fire sprinklers. Only three states mandate fire sprinkler installation in all residential construction. They include California, Maryland, and the District of Columbia; however, this doesn’t mean that it’s not a good idea for all residential buildings in other states to install fire sprinkler systems as well. Simply installing fire sprinklers is not sufficient. It is your job to make sure that the sprinklers are functioning properly by performing regular inspections. You can either do this yourself by completing the three tasks outlined below or get a professional inspection done. Make Sure None of the Sprinkler Components Are Blocked The fire sprinklers are only effective if the water can reach the fires that are detected. Make sure to regularly check the sprinkler heads and the cover plates of the fire sprinklers in order to confirm that they are not blocked. In particular, you want to make sure that none of the fire sprinkler components have been painted over, as this will interfere and affect whether water is able to sprinkle out efficiently and effectively. In addition, you also want to make sure that you haven’t stacked any boxes or even shelves near the sprinklers. These obstructions may prevent the sprinklers from doing their job efficiently and effectively, as they will block the water flow. You should also take this moment to inspect for damages, such as leaks. Make sure that every fire sprinkler component is properly sealed into place.  Perform a Flow Test Water from the pipes and valves should run smoothly to and from the sprinkler heads to the valves located outdoors. To verify that none of the pipes are leaking or frozen due to lack of insulation, perform a flow test. You can do this by looking for the flow-test valve. Turn on the flow-test valve, and water should run through the pipes located outdoors within a couple of minutes. If the water runs through, you’ll also know that the water storage tank is full and the water shutoff valves are open. Do keep in mind that some fire sprinkler systems have built-in sensors. When you perform the flow test, it may trigger the fire alarm. You want to determine whether this will be the case or not. If the flow test will trigger a fire alarm, make sure you call and notify the fire department and the alarm company ahead of time.   Take a Look at the Internal Mechanisms Once you have performed a visual inspection of the sprinkler components, you should also take a look at the internal mechanisms of the sprinkler system if possible. This includes checking all of the sprinklers, hangers, pipes and fittings. It also includes testing the main drain of the sprinkler system and also priming water levels and inspecting the low pressure alarms. The valves should also be inspected.  To look at the internal mechanisms of the fire sprinkler system, you may have to take the sprinkler heads off. You will also need to take a look at the blueprint of your home to determine which pipes and valves are involved with...

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Lighting Your Tree Without Burning Down Your House

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in Uncategorized |

The holiday season is here, and with it comes an increase in the risk of house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas trees are responsible for more than 200 house fires each year. And worse, these fires carry a much higher mortality rate. While one in approximately 144 typical house fires result in death, that number jumps significantly when the Christmas tree is involved—to as high as one out of every 31. Whether this is because Christmas trees tend to catch fire at night is unclear, but the fact remains: putting up a Christmas tree, especially a live one, increases your risk of house fire by a significant percentage. Play it safe this year and talk with your friendly local electrician on the best ways to deck, and not wreck, your halls: Extension Cords An extension cord can play a huge role in a house fire, says the Electrical Safety Foundation International. As many as 3,300 house fires each year are attributed to these modern conveniences because they’re not used properly. If you’re powering up your Christmas tree using one or more extension cords, make sure to play by the rules. Ensure the cord you’re using is rated for the purpose you’re intending, never hide or obscure extension cords under carpets or inside walls or cabinetry, and never plug in a cord that is damaged or that has been repaired. The economical price of most extension cords make them easy to replace, so choose safety every time. Smoke Alarms No house should be without smoke alarms, and this is even more true during the holidays. The temptation to light candles, bake cookies, and plug in a live Christmas tree is greater during the holidays, and any one of these could result in a house fire if left unattended. The NFPA recommends placing working smoke alarms inside every bedroom and outside of every sleeping space on each level of your home. Doing so could help alert you if your tree decides to suddenly combust in the night. And the operative word is “working.” Smoke alarms should be tested and the batteries replaced on a regular basis.  Hydration Any electrician will tell you that it’s a bad idea to place electric lights on an overly dry pine tree. If you choose a live tree over artificial, you should understand the added responsibility of keeping the tree hydrated throughout the season. For best results, don’t put living trees up unnecessarily early in the season or keep them up longer than required. Check the water level at the base of your live tree daily, especially if you have indoor pets who might be tempted to take a drink or two. And if you notice needles turning brown or dropping off, it’s time to unplug. It goes without saying, as well, that you need to keep all extension and light cords away from the water pan.  Another, often overlooked, culprit that can dry out your tree prematurely is the heat vent or fireplace. Do your best to position live trees away from direct sources of heat such as these, as they can cause your tree to dry up and die before its time.  When it’s time to string the lights and hang up the tinsel and bows, be a responsible homeowner and...

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