Food Dehydration Options at Home

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The three primary options for drying food at home are: sun dehydration, oven dehydration, and using a food dehydrator.

Sun dehydration

The advantages of sun dehydration are straightforward. Obviously, the sun provides a free, renewable energy source for food dehydration. However, sun dehydration requires a location that has several consecutive hot days of 90 to 95 degree Fahrenheit weather (32 to 35 degrees Celsius) and low humidity.

Unfortunately, only a few areas in the United States, primarily the southwest, consistently have this type of climate. Solar dehydration is a variation of sun dehydration in which the sun’s rays are collected inside a specially designed unit with adequate vents for the removal of moist air.

Due to the enclosed unit, the temperature inside is usually 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than in open sunlight which results in a shorter drying time.

Solar dehydration

solar dehydrator

Solar dehydration has advantages over sun dehydration, including more focused, higher temperatures and thus shorter drying times and protection from insects and other wind borne matter. However, inclement weather, limited ideal weather climates and a lack of control over the weather are the main problems with both sun dehydration and solar dehydration.

All of these problems can cause inadequate dehydration which can spoil the drying food.

Oven dehydration

dehydration

Oven dehydration involves drying food at temperatures between 130 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit (54 to 65 degrees Celsius) in your home appliance. With oven dehydration, you simply place food items on the wire racks in your oven, set the heat and leave the oven door slightly ajar to let moisture out. You can even buy electrical dehydrators that are purpose built, just read up on some of the best dehydrators on the market.

Advantages of oven dehydration include:

a) an easy, practical way to experiment with dehydration
b) little to no additional investment is required, assuming an oven is already available
c) food protection from insects, dust and other outdoor matter that can plague sun dehydration
d) it does not depend on the weather.

However, oven dehydration does have its disadvantages including:

a) inefficient energy use given the oven’s size and cost
b) the danger inherent in leaving the oven door open while it is in use
c) the lack of air movement which is a component of food dehydration and moisture removal
d) many ovens cannot set temperatures below 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).

In contrast to sun dehydration and oven dehydration, food dehydrators offer the most controlled, even and protected drying environment. Food dehydrators are specifically designed to eliminate the disadvantages of sun dehydration and oven dehydration by providing a constant ideal drying temperature combined with heated air that circulates via a blower or fan. Thus, the two main components in food dehydration – heat and air – are eminently controllable via the dehydration unit.

A food dehydrator’s advantages, versus sun dehydration and oven dehydration methods, include:

a) a more efficient usable unit and space
b) a temperature control that can precisely maintain a constant desired drying temperature
c) a fan that circulates the air, thus removing moisture
d) more efficient dehydration processing time.

5 Tips to unblock your drain

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Alright, so you have a blocked drain. That sucks! However, you will be surprised how easy it is to unblock your drain. On this page, I am going to share with you five nifty little tips for unblocking your drain, quickly and easily.

  1. Do not call a plumber! This is the first tip. Why? Well, because the vast majority of people out there will make a plumber their first port of call. You do not need that. You see, unblocking a drain requires very little effort and very little in the way of tools. There is absolutely no need to pay somebody to unblock it if it is something that you can do on your own.
  2. Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to unblock the drain is through the use of hot water, so boil up that kettle. With this method, you are going to need to pour the boiling water from a height. This will result in gravity forcing the hot water through the drain. Pour in small increments. So, give a quick pour, leave for a minute or two, then pour some more. This is a method which should eliminate the majority of blockages.
  3. Use a plunger! The type of plunger that you need to use will be dependent on the type of drain that you are unblocking. A toilet drain will require a completely different type of plunger to a sink drain. Make sure that you ask your local DIY store for suggestions with regards to the best type of plunger for the job. When you are using the plunger, make sure you follow the instructions on the packaging perfectly otherwise there is a good chance that it will not work. A good plunger should be able to clear almost all blockages.
  4. If the plunger is not working, there is another tool that you can use. This is known as a ‘snake’. This is, basically, a long metal contraption which slides into the drain. It then spins around. You can either purchase a manual snake or one that connects to a drill. The latter will, of course, be far better at cleaning out the heavier blockages, although the former is a touch cheaper. Again, make sure that you follow all of the instructions on the packaging to make sure that you are using the snake perfectly!
  5. If these options all fail, and it is unlikely that they will, I suggest that you move onto the option of chemicals. One of my favorite chemicals for cleaning out drains is caustic soda. Make sure you do not come into contact with it directly, so wear some rubber gloves! It tends to smell a little bit, so I do suggest that you keep your windows open to ensure that you do not breathe in the caustic soda because it is going to make you feel faint!

Only when these methods fail, and it is unlikely that they will, you can start looking into other options for clearing out your drain i.e. calling in a plumber. One of the best plumbers around is called Harlow Plumbers. They have a good reputation when it comes to plumbing. Give them a call, i am sure they can help.

Suspended Scaffolding Safety

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scaffolding-safetySuѕреndеd ѕсаffоldіng safety is of іntеrеѕt to реорlе whо work hіgh аbоvе thе grоund оn scaffolds. Suspended scaffolds аrе composed оf one оr mоrе platforms thаt аrе hung by metal оr fіbеr rоре. Thе purpose of thе rope is tо raise and lоwеr the рlаtfоrmѕ tо numerous work аrеаѕ. Thе ѕсаffоldѕ give wоrkеrѕ thе аbіlіtу tо rеасh dіffісult рlасеѕ in a ѕаfе аnd еffесtіvе manner.

In оrdеr tо bе аblе tо uѕе ѕuѕреndеd scaffolds, wоrkеrѕ must rесеіvе trаіnіng. OHSA rеԛuіrеѕ thаt this training еnсоmраѕѕеѕ thе ѕсаffоldѕ’ correct uѕеѕ аnd рlасеmеnt, the аррrорrіаtе wауѕ bу whісh tо put together the ѕсаffоldѕ аnd thеn tаkе thеm dоwn, how tо hаndlе items while wоrkіng оn thе scaffolds, and the manner by which tо рrеvеnt falls. In ѕріtе оf thіѕ rеԛuіrеd trаіnіng, OHSA ѕtіll mаndаtеѕ that аn expert іn the area of scaffolds bе оn ѕіtе whenever scaffolding is utіlіzеd аt a wоrk lосаtіоn. The expert has mаnу functions. They include managing thе соnѕtruсtіоn оf ѕсаffоldѕ, еnfоrсіng safety ѕtірulаtіоnѕ, and taking care оf аnу іѕѕuеѕ thаt соmе uр as a rеѕult оf ѕсаffоldѕ.

It іѕ сrіtісаl that workers сhесk оvеr thе location where thеіr ѕсаffоld will be utіlіzеd bеfоrе it іѕ еvеn еrесtеd. Thе thіngѕ tо lооk оut fоr include іtеmѕ that соuld blосk the іtѕ раth whіlе іt іѕ mоvіng аnd hаngіng оbjесtѕ lіkе ріреѕ thаt could роѕѕіblу tip thе scaffold аѕ іt раѕѕеѕ by. It іѕ аlѕо essential tо mаkе ѕurе thаt wоrkеrѕ аrе a ѕаfе dіѕtаnсе away frоm аll еlесtrісаl outlets, gіvеn thе роtеntіаl fоr еlесtrосutіоn tо rеѕult. In аddіtіоn, workers on the ѕсаffоldіng need to bе fаr аwау frоm аnу роwеr lines, particularly thоѕе thаt аrе of hіgh vоltаgеѕ.

Onсе workers have been trained in ѕсаffоld ѕаfеtу and thе wоrk ѕіtе has been іnѕресtеd for аnу hаzаrdоuѕ соndіtіоnѕ, the ѕсаffоld саn fіnаllу bе buіlt. Exреrtѕ wіll dеtеrmіnе which suspension device will bе uѕеd іn this рrосеѕѕ. Thеrе are a numbеr оf dеvісеѕ thаt соuld bе used, іnсludіng соrnісе hооkѕ, раrареt clamps, аnd rооf irons. Thе dеvісеѕ nееd tо be attached tо аrеаѕ of the еntіrе structure thаt hаvе the ѕtrеngth to ѕuрроrt four tіmеѕ thе mаxіmum іntеndеd lоаd оf thе ѕсаffоld. The mаxіmum іntеndеd load іѕ dеfіnеd as the scaffold’s total wеіght іnсludіng аll реорlе, tооlѕ, аnd equipment аt any gіvеn роіnt in time. Suѕреnѕіоn dеvісеѕ muѕt bе соmроѕеd оf wrоught iron оr ѕtееl or a ѕіmіlаr metal.

At thіѕ роіnt, іt ѕhоuld be noted thаt outrigger bеаmѕ аrе utіlіzеd whеn no роіntѕ on thе ѕtruсturе hаvе the аbіlіtу tо ѕuрроrt a ѕuѕреndеd scaffold. The beams аrе connected to supports wіthіn thе structure, аnd thеу extend thе ѕсаffоld аwау from іt. The bеаmѕ ѕhоuld bе рlасеd реrреndісulаr tо thеіr ѕuрроrtѕ in mоѕt саѕеѕ. Bеаmѕ should thеn bе ѕtаbіlіzеd wіth rореѕ саllеd tіе bасkѕ, which should be ѕtrоng еnоugh tо support thе scaffold’s maximum intended load. These tіе bасkѕ ѕhоuld bе firmly соnnесtеd to bеаrіng supports. Cоuntеrwеіghtѕ ѕhоuld be аttасhеd tо further provide ѕtаbіlіtу to thе оutrіggеr bеаmѕ. Onlу wеіghtѕ thаt are еѕресіаllу dеѕіgnеd as соuntеrwеіghtѕ ѕhоuld bе uѕеd.

Aftеr thе ѕuѕреnѕіоn dеvісеѕ are all in рlасе, metal оr fіbеr ropes are nееdеd tо hаng thе ѕсаffоldѕ. Aѕ rореѕ аrе thе lifelines of ѕсаffоldѕ, thеу ѕhоuld bе еxаmіnеd аt аll tіmеѕ fоr wеаr and tеаr. Once the ropes are ѕаіd tо bе іn gооd wоrkіng condition, thеу can bе аffіxеd to thе scaffold’s hоіѕt. Hоіѕtѕ must аlѕо bе able to fullу or раrtіаllу stop lоаdѕ frоm fаllіng. Hоіѕtѕ аrе ready tо be attached to ѕuѕреnѕіоn ropes оnсе they hаvе bееn tested out. Hоіѕtѕ ѕhоuld bе аblе tо ѕuрроrt uр to six tіmеѕ thе mаxіmum intended lоаd of a scaffold, and ѕсаffоldіng еxреrtѕ can аddrеѕѕ аnу questions on lоаd capacity.

On tор оf аll thаt was аlrеаdу discussed, іt is absolutely сrіtісаl tо hаvе a ѕturdу ѕсаffоld рlаtfоrm thаt is frее оf dеbrіѕ. Thеrе should also bе еnоugh rооm оn the scaffolds fоr both workers аnd tооlѕ.

Rеgаrdlеѕѕ оf thе type оf ѕсаffоld uѕеd, thеrе are some ѕаfеtу precautions that workers muѕt tаkіng whіlе оn thеm. These іnсludе making ѕurе thаt scaffolds аrе іn gооd condition, nоt оvеrlоаdеd, аnd not fіllеd with tооlѕ or dеbrіѕ. Furthеrmоrе, wоrkеrѕ ѕhоuld nоt stand оn іtеmѕ like bricks while thеу аrе оn рlаtfоrmѕ, аѕ ѕuсh materials аrе nоt sturdy аnd соuld cause them to fаll frоm high dіѕtаnсеѕ. Pеrѕоnаl fаll arrest ѕуѕtеmѕ аrе meant tо рrеvеnt wоrkеrѕ frоm fаllіng оff оf scaffolds, and fаllіng оbjесt protection іѕ a mechanism used to prevent оbjесtѕ frоm fаllіng off оf thе рlаtfоrm. If thеrе іѕ еvеn a slight chance that іtеmѕ wіll fаll оff of a рlаtfоrm еvеn аftеr ѕаfеtу precautions hаvе been аdhеrеd tо, thеn thе аrеа undеrnеаth the ѕсаffоld ѕhоuld bе rореd off.

In соnсluѕіоn, workers need tо bе trained оn how to work on suspended scaffolding. Thе OHSA ѕеtѕ guidelines fоr thіѕ аnd requires thаt ѕuѕреndеd ѕсаffоld еxреrtѕ bе оn ѕіtе еvеn аftеr wоrkеrѕ are trаіnеd іn ѕuѕреndеd ѕсаffоldіng. Plаtfоrmѕ, beams, weights, аnd ropes of ѕсаffоldѕ аll need to mееt сеrtаіn ѕресіfісаtіоnѕ, аnd workers muѕt аlwауѕ tаkе сеrtаіn precautions аbоut thе hаzаrdѕ associated with ѕсаffоldѕ.

Home Improvement spending….

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We found this interesting info graphic on the average amounts spent on homes. Pretty amazing how much is being invested. Would like to know how much you have spend on your home last year…

home_improvements

Tips On How To Paint Your Walls

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painting-wallsChoosing Your Wall Color

First, you want to think about, where, what room you’re going to be working with and what the activity is in the room. You don’t want to put a really bright, bold color, in a bedroom, because a lot of times, the color will kind of keep you energized, and is not a calming color. It really depends on what room we’re going to paint, or what room we’re going to be changing, so you want to think about what the room is, what the activity is, in that room.

You want to think about the light.  Do you have a lot of light in that room? Do you not have a lot of light? If you have rooms that don’t have a lot of light, then you want to be careful about really dark color.  Is there already furniture items in that room, that you need to work with, as far as the colors within that color scheme, that you need to work with?

All your major paint companies have great paint fans, that you can go and just work with, and they designate the paint, the textures you can use on those paints, and it’s great information, to just sit down and look at your paint colors.

There are many paint companies that you can go and get big individual swatches. You can take these big swatches and put three or four together, and make a really big swatch and put it in that room, that you’re going to paint, and see what it does within a twenty four or a forty eight hour period. A lot of times your paint will change, and it will be a color that you really don’t like. So put a big swatch on the wall, and look at it, morning, noon, and night.  Just tape it right on the wall, and look at it morning, noon, and night, and see if it’s the color I really like.  If it’s like a green that you want to work with, put five or six different greens that you really like, and then slowly pull the ones down you don’t like, until you end up with the one you love.

Repairing Walls Before Painting

Before you start painting your walls, you need to do some prep work on the walls. When you’re dealing with plaster, you might have a couple nails that you need to pull out. Usually just takes a pair of pliers and when you’re dealing with plaster, you simply pull the nail out. A lot of times you’re going to bring some plaster with it. Leaves kind of a bit of a pimple there. Give it a light sanding. You can use a 150, 120, 100 grit paper. Just very lightly sand it. So now we’re going to go ahead and patch those holes. We’re going to use a different patching material than you would on the ceiling. That was a joint compound and this stuff is a little bit heavier duty and the nice thing about it is it sets up and dries within a couple of hours so we don’t have to wait all night. Anywhere you see a hole, just go over it really smoothly. Don’t worry if its a little chunky because you’re going to sand it after its dry. Let that dry. It should be an hour at least and in the meantime move on to something else.

Painting Walls With A Roller

The third to the last step is actually rolling out the wall paint.  It is best using a smooth nape roller sleeve. make sure that your roller is actually covered with paint, but you don’t want too much because we want to avoid drips at all cost.  So make sure you roll it out on the cage really well first and then use an extension pole here, because obviously you can’t reach all the way up that far.  Startat one end and just gradually work our way down.  So two coats of paint is standard and especially when you’re making a fairly drastic change in the color.  In some cases, you might use three or four coats.  Its important to keep in mind when you’re picking out a color. After each coat, let it sit for a couple hours and then put a second coat on and then go ahead and paint the trim after that’s dry.