Archive for the ‘Kitchen Home Improvement’ Category

Wood Burning Fireplaces &Amp; Air Pollution

By M. Scott Smith

Wood-burning fireplaces are becoming more popular. There’s something romantic and relaxing about sitting near a fireplace, hearing the crackle of the wood, and gazing at the flickering flames. And with soaring fossil fuel prices, many people believe that it’s less expensive to burn wood for heat during the winter. But research shows that central heating is typically the most efficient and cheapest way to heat. Many people also think that burning wood is better for the environment since wood is a renewable resource; however, according the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wood burning is not environmentally friendly. In fact, wood results in high levels of air pollution that can harm the environment and your health.

“The largest single source of outdoor fine particles entering into our homes in many American cities is our neighbor’s fireplace or wood stove,” says Dr. Wayne Ott of Stanford University.

Wood smoke contains many of the same chemicals as cigarette smoke, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hazardous metals, and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde, dioxin, benzene, and toluene. Inhaling wood smoke appears to be even more dangerous than inhaling tobacco smoke. An EPA study concluded that breathing wood smoke particles during high pollution days is equivalent to smoking 4 to 16 cigarettes. Medical studies have linked air pollution with lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, asthma, and even brain damage. People most at-risk for damage from air pollution include asthma sufferers, diabetics, those with congenital hearth failure, and children.

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Dr. Ramierez-Venegas of the UK explains, “Biomass [wood] smoke is composed of a relatively equal mixture of coarse and ultra-fine particles and can penetrate deeply into the lung, producing a variety of morphologic and biochemical changes.”

“Mammalian lungs don’t have defenses against small particles,” points out Joel Schwartz of the EPA. “Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air… We know that when particle levels go up, people die.”

Of course, it’s best to avoid burning wood (for the benefit of your family, your neighbors, and the environment), but if you must, you can take steps to limit your exposure to the air pollution. Make sure your fireplace is working properly with a sufficient draft. Tightly sealed doors in front of the fireplace block out much pollution. Don’t burn trash or treated wood, and make sure your wood has been split and dried for at least six months. Use small pieces of wood. Small, hot fires give off less pollution than smoldering fires.

Many air purifiers are specifically designed to handle the air pollution from smoke. Blueair air purifiers are available with SmokeStop Filters. The AllerAir 5000 DS air purifier is designed to absorb smoke, tar, fine ash, and other airborne particulates, and the IQAir Multigas air purifier removes a wide spectrum of gases and particulates, including smoke. If you want to get rid of the odor from smoke, try the Gonzo Smoke Odor Eliminator.

For more information about the medical hazards of wood smoke, visit Burning Issues, a non-profit research and educational organization.

About the Author: Scott Smith is an expert on indoor air quality and

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Horse Track, Outdoor Arena &Amp; Equestrian Lighting

By Kimberly Quang

Outdoor lighting for horse arenas and equestrian facilities are becoming more sophisticated every day. In the old days, horse arenas and outdoor rodeo arenas were lighted with outdoor flood lights, halogen lights or simply mercury vapor barn lights. These forms of outdoor arena lighting did not have the lumen output or performance to properly illuminate arenas, holding pens, stables or horse training areas. In fact, all of these light sources are outdated, ineffective and inefficient. The foot-candle specifications for lighting equestrian and rodeo arenas are 50fc for Class 2 and 30fc for Class 3.

Most equestrian facilities have large creosote light poles that can be easily retrofitted with modern arena lighting metal halide fixtures. Sometimes these lights have brackets designed to mount on walls or buildings. Metal halide is a type of light source that energy efficient, and produces a very bright light with good color rendering. It is part of the high intensity discharge or HID category of outdoor lighting fixtures. Metal halide fixtures are fast becoming the new standard in outdoor arena lighting. By using metal pole adapters and metal halide box floods existing outdoor horse arenas can be updated and brought to life. This can often be accomplished without modifications to the existing electrical wiring. All our horse arena light fixtures come standard with multi-tap ballast. That means you can hook up the arena lights to 120 volt, 208 volt, 240 volt, or 277 volt systems. A typical 1000 watt metal halide fixture wired to a 120 volt system pulls approximately 8.5 amps. That same light only pulls 4.25 amps at 240 volts. It’s always a good idea to discuss modifications to your arena lighting with an electrician or someone who is familiar with calculating electric loads before ordering.

To make your selection of outdoor arena lighting simple and easy we have put together some basic lighting kits. The heavy duty mounting brackets are designed for use with 6′ to 12′ wooden poles. All the fixtures can be rotated and pivoted on site to properly aim the lights as needed. We recommend that you use the following guidelines for selecting a wooden pole lighting kit:

250 watt fixtures are designed for a 20 foot or less mounting height

400 watt fixtures are designed for a 20′ to 30′ foot mounting height

1000 watt fixtures are designed for a 30′ or more mounting height

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Of course, if wooden poles are not what you had in mind for your upscale equestrian facility, commercial lighting poles and fixtures can be used for a more architectural and refined look. These professional outdoor commercial arena lighting kits are more durable, offer steel and fiberglass lighting poles, and are better suited for larger equestrian facilities.

Several outdoor arena pole types, mounting heights and wattages are listed below:

Round Straight Lighting Poles

Round Tapered Lighting Poles

Square Tapered Lighting Poles

Straight Square Lighting Poles

20 foot Outdoor Horse Arena Light Kits

25 foot Outdoor Horse Arena Light Kits

30 foot Outdoor Horse Arena Light Kits

Custom Decorative Lighting Pole Kits

Decorative Custom Lighting Pole Kits.

Whether you have an established equestrian facility or working on your plans for a new outdoor horse arena, the lighting professionals can give you a hand. They have experience with all types of outdoor lighting facilities, from simple parking lots to custom rodeo arena lighting.

About the Author: To learn more visit our

horse track & arena lighting

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Glass Door Knobs Light Up Your Doors

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By Jesse Akre

Whether you are a lover of antiques or you just want to have a little extra class in your living space, glass door knobs are a natural choice for your home.

Just looking at them, you can see the elegance glass door knobs will bring to a room in your home. It is far beyond what metal knobs can do for your decor. The cut of the glass often has them resemble a piece of crystal that has been lovingly created as an article of beauty. Others look like gemstones that have been carefully plucked from the rough.

As soon as light hits glass door knobs, they offer a dazzling display as the light skips around inside the cuts of glass and creates its own light show.

Whether you have an old home you are trying to restore to its former beauty, or are trying to add a little history to your newer home or just have a love for anything antique, you can’t go wrong adding glass door knobs to the picture.

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The first decision you will have to make is where to put glass door knobs in your home.

You want these to be special, so they should not be on every room of your home. Additionally, not every door in your home will be a good fit for glass door knobs. While glass door knobs are beautiful, they are also a bit more fragile than regular knobs. That means they should not be installed where they are likely to be abused or banged around a lot. Kids’ rooms and very high traffic doors should be ruled out. Choose a room or two where the doors are often open, or usually remain closed, and the glass door knobs will really be able to shine.

Also, you may not want to have all your glass door knobs look the same. Variety is the spice of life, after all. There are plenty of glass door knobs to allow you as much variety as you would like in this arena from those that look like cut clear crystal to rounded colored glass and even those with designs created in the middle of the knob. Only your willingness to shop around will limit what you can find.

An important note when working with glass door knobs is that they are not meant to be put on exterior doors. There are a few reasons for this. First, glass door knobs are fragile. The elements of the outdoors, such as extreme temperatures, can weaken the glass and even cause it to crack or break over time. Additionally, you want to avoid glass door knobs on exterior doors for safety reasons. Being easy to break, someone could more easily get to the base mechanism of glass door knobs and may be more easily able to gain entry into your home.

There is no reason not to enjoy the beauty of glass door knobs. These pieces of art can be a perfect accent to your home and help create a classically sophisticated feeling in any room.

About the Author: Jesse Akre,author and owner of numerous home decor sites, offers online consumers his thoughts on purchasing elegant accessories for your home such as exquisitly detailed

antique doorknobs


glass door knobs

that sparkle like jewels and brilliant

glass doorknobs

for a spark of sophistication.


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