Archive for February, 2010
Saturday, February 27th, 2010
Rain Barrels are all the rage these days as the world moves more and more in the direction of going green. Only 3 percent of the world’s water supply is fresh water and around 2 percent of that is in the form of frozen glaciers. That leaves only 1 percent of the world’s water that is safe for humans to use. Factor in that many countries, such as China, India, etc. are moving to more industrialized economies, the need for water conservation is more prevalent than ever.
How much rain water can I expect to catch?
For every 500 square feet of catch area, you can expect to collect 300 gallons for every inch of rain water that falls. To figure out how much catch area you have, measure around the perimeter of your home, plus an additional overhangs that will collect water that will drain into a gutter and then finally to a downspout. Keep in mind that every house has multiple downspouts, so the total catch area for each downspout will be less than the total catch area of your house.
For example, let’s say your home measures 28′x38′ with a 1 foot overhang around your home. If you add the overhang to your original dimensions and you now have a 30′x40′ area. Multiply 30 x 40 = 1,200 square feet. Then divide by .6 (ratio of gallons collect/ square feet of catch area) and you come out with 720 gallons/inch of rain fall. Most major US cities get between 25′ to 40′ of rain fall per year. Let’s assume the median city gets around 33” of rain fall per year. If you are collecting all the rain water from all you downspouts you would catch approximately (720×33=23,760) 23,760gallons of water!
Tips on setting up a rain barrel
Unlike water coming out of your hose bib, the water inside a rain barrel is not pressurized. This means that you will need to rely on gravity to do the work. That’s why we recommend that you elevate your rain barrel on some concrete blocks or anything that will bring it further off the ground. That way when you go to use the hose on your rain barrel, or if you are just filling up a watering bucket, you can get adequate pressure.
Another question that we encounter quite often is, how do I get the water to drain into my rain barrel? One way or another you will need to cut your downspout with a hacksaw to redirect the flow of the water into the rain barrel. Some rain barrels have an attachment that hooks up to the downspout. With this type of connection you can get the water to drain into your rain barrel until it is full. Then the water will redirect and continue to drain down the downspout. Most rain barrels don’t offer this feature. Instead they come with an over flow tube that allows you to redirect the water to run off in a particular direction, so it doesn’t just overflow over the top of the barrel. Some rain barrels come with attachments to connect one barrel to another. When the first rain barrel fills up, the water starts filling up the next unit.
Some people are concerned about using a rain barrel because it will collect standing water. Most rain barrels have screens or something along the top that will prevent all large debris and some mosquitoes out of the standing water. To ensure you don’t get any mosquitoes breeding in the water we recommend that you use mosquito dunks. They are an inexpensive way to keep your water safe.
We offer a wide variety of rain barrels. When they first became popular a couple of years ago, there was not a lot of selection. Now there are even decorative rain barrels!
Saturday, February 20th, 2010
Flat Twine is best known for its products that shrink wrap pallets, but they also make smaller rolls of flat twine that work great for wrapping up everything from bundles of garden stakes to carpet, etc. Being in business we use shrink-wrap for all of these purposes and more. If you have ever ordered a liquid product from us, it was most likely shrunk wrapped with flat twine to hold the cap on tightly.
Besides for Flat Twine’s traditional business purposes, it works great for homeowners as well. I’ve personally used the larger roll and the medium size roll for moving. When I went to move my dresser and clothes, I just pulled the drawers out and wrapped the shrink-wrap around the drawers. This protected my clothes from falling out and prevented dust and dirt from collecting all over my clothes!
If you traditionally would use twine or string to tie a bundle or hold a roll of something together, consider using Flat Twine instead. It’s quick and easy to use and holds things together much tighter than string or rope can. Once you start thinking creatively about where you can use shrink-wrap, you’ll find yourself using it more and more.
Monday, February 15th, 2010
Have you ever gone through potty training a pet? Did your previous homeowner or tenant leave you with foul smelling urine stains?
Urine is comprised of three substances.
- Urea (sticky substance)
- Urochrome (produces urine’s yellow color)
- Uric Acid (produces urine’s smell)
Traditional cleaners can only remove the urea and urochrome, but not the uric acid that produces urine’s foul odor. Instead these cleaners utilize a masking agent to cover up the smell, which doesn’t last for forever. Plus, if the stain absorbes into your hardwood floors, the uric acid crystals will start to burn/break down your wood floors. Urine Off’s enzymes effectively remove the urea, urochrome and the uric acid!
Below we have detailed the steps you will need to take to locate and remove urine stains. For stains on hardwood floors you will need follow an additional set of steps detailed at the end of the article.
Step 1: Locate the urine Stain
Urine Off sells a UV black light that enables you to quickly locate urine stains. Unlike most low end store black lights, Urine Off’s UV black light is specifically designed to emit the proper wavelengths that are necessary to easily detect urine stains. While Urine Off’s UV Black Light only emits a small amounts of UV light, they do recommend that you wear a pair of UV glasses to protect your eyes against harmful UV rays. (FYI- most sunglasses have UV protection).
Step 2: Removing the Stain
The age, penetration of the stain and whether other cleaners have been used will affect your results. Therfore, more than one application of Urine Off may be necessary to completely remove the stain. Urine Off must contact every part of the urine stain, so that it’s enzymes can do their job. For this reason, Urine Off recommends that you liberally apply their product. Generally speaking the more absorbent the material, the more Urine off will be needed. In some cases, a second application may be necessary.
If other cleaning products were used at some point to try to eliminate the pet stain, Urine Off recommends flushing these fabrics or carpets with water. This will dilute any leftover cleaning solution that could adversely effect Urine Off’s performance.
Sometimes stains can work their way down into the carpets padding and subfloor. As a result, it can make it much more difficult to remove the urine stain. In this case, Urine Off suggest applying their product at a heavier rate to make sure it’s product comes into contact with all parts of the stain. If it’s possible, pull the carpet and foam padding up to make it easier to saturate the whole stain.
If applying to a delicate fabric, test an inconspicuous area before applying to the whole area. In most cases, Urine Off is non staining, but it’s always best to test first!
Removing Urine Stains from Hardwood Floors
If a urine stain is left untreated, the uric acid crystals can start to burn the fibers of your wood floors. This burning action will turn those spots blackish. Urine Off can stop the burning process, but it cannot remove the blackish stain, because the wood has been permanently stained. As long as the stain is not too deep you will be able to sand away the burned area after removing the uric acid crystals (step 7 and 8 cover this).
Step 1: Apply Urine Off and cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes. This combination will start to pull the stain to the surface.
Step 2: Pull the plastic wrap up and wipe the floor with a paper towel.
Step 3: Apply Urine Off again, but do not cover with plastic. Let it stand for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Repeat step 3
Step 5: Repeat step 3
Step 6: By now the odor should be gone and the floor should be much lighter. If it is not, continue repeating step 3 until the desired result is achieved.
Step 7: Sand the stained area with a piece of steel wool to remove the remaining black staining.
Step 8: If the stain was too deep, steel wool may not be abrasive enough. In this case you will need to use sand paper or an electric sander.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Selecting a personal defense spray can be difficult. Before we get into the specifics you should know that many personal defense spray companies use the word “mace” in their brand’s title. For example, at www.hardtofinditems.com we sell “Mace Brand”, but none of their products have mace in them. Most have a combination of pepper spray, tear gas and some type of dye.
Mace irritates human eyes and is very close to tear gas. Actual mace, not the brand name, was taken off the market about 15 years ago after police officers found out that it was ineffective against humans under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The name Mace is still the most common term used for personal defense sprays, despite it not actually having “mace” in the contents.
Pepper Spray is an inflammatory agent that will incapacitate a person for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Pepper Spray causes coughing, choking, nausea, dilation of the capillaries causing temporary blindness, swelling of the mucus membranes causing trouble breathing and burning of the eyes!
Many of the personal defense sprays on the market today have pepper spray in their mix or only contain pepper spray, because it is effective against anyone, including people under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Tear Gas’ effects are immediate and very powerful. It is comprised of white crystals suspended in a delivery medium, usually sec-butanol along with various other chemicals. Tear Gas causes the eyes to immediately shut and start to tear up along with repeated coughing to try to protect against the extreme burning of the eyes and mouth.
Which “Mace” or Personal Defense Spray should I buy?
While we carry a wide variety of products to meet almost anyone’s needs, the most effective and popular sprays are the ones that combine the benefits of pepper spray and tear gas. Pepper Spray works against people under the influence of drugs and alcohol and incapacitates individuals for up to 1 hour. Tear Gas has a stronger, quicker effect. Combined they provide a very powerful mixture.
Most sprays also include a dye or gel. The main purpose of this is to allow the user to see where they are spraying the product, improving accuracy. We also carry a pepper gel which clumps up and sticks to the eyes, increasing the effects of the spray.
If you’re looking for a general all purpose spray I would recommend the Triple Action Pepper Spray. If you looking for something with a more specific purpose we have a jogger pepper spray, a muzzle spray, and a larger home mace spray. Plus for those that don’t feel comfortable with a spray or want additional protection we do carry a screecher alarm, a flasher light with arm band for joggers and an emergency whistle.
A couple of final points
All mace or personal defense sprays do have a shelf life. When you purchase the product it will have an expiration date listed, which is generally about 2 years. Finally, the sale of certain types of pepper sprays and other personal defense sprays are restricted in a few states. These states are shown in each of our product listings.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Musher’s Secret was originally developed for sledding dogs, who needed protection against the extreme conditions and temperatures they were facing in upper Canada. Once the founders saw how effective it was at protecting dogs paws they started to market their product to specialty retailers.
Musher’s Secret is an all organic paw wax that can be applied to the paws of dogs, horses and many other animals to provide a barrier against all sorts of harsh conditions. The paw wax dries in seconds to provide a semi-permiable layer between your animal’s paws and salt, snow, ice, hot pavement, sand, etc. It can also be used to help animals heal from wounds to their feet.
The great thing about Musher’s Secret is it is made from only food-grade, organic wax, so you don’t have to worry about your pet getting sick from licking the wax off it’s paws. It also won’t stain your furniture and it’s non-allergenic. Generally speaking Musher’s paw wax will last about a week. If you have a dog or horse that does a lot of walking and running then it may wear off in as little as 2-3 days.
Check out our selection of Musher’s Secret Paw Wax on our store side. If you have any questions just give us a call!