Get That Spooky Glow Going

 

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

 

In the dark about how to have the spookiest house on the block this Halloween? Well, all it takes is a little imagination and illumination. And we’ll walk you through it

1.     Start with a Jack-O-Lantern, the time-honored grin of all things scary. Now you can buy illuminated pumpkins that last for years. But, we still believe in carving the real thing and adding a battery-operated LED flame; it won’t blow out and it won’t set your house afire.

2.     Replace the bulb in your porch light with a black light party bulb. A 75-watt bulb should be fine. Tonic water will glow blue-white under a black light. Fill a few old bottles and mark them with a scull and crossbones or drop plastic spiders inside. Antifreeze also glows but is poisonous. Mr. Clean and Irish Spring soap glow weird green, so use soap to write on your door.

3.     Give the kids light sticks to go trick or treating. Light sticks look eerie but they are also a good safety provision. A pack of 10 runs around $7 and is well worth the investment. Each stick lasts about 12 hours! Of course, you will also have flashlights and batteries…

4.     Because light sticks are so inexpensive and last so long, you can use them to illuminate the walkway to your door. Easy – just snap them and stick in the ground!

5.     Light stringers are colored LED lights that come in 25-foot strands. You can also buy mini-light spheres. Incandescent rope lights (50 feet long) run about $42. Why not have a scarecrow with lights glowing through his ragged clothes – LED lights make this possible.

6.     Take old milk jugs, draw scary faces on them and fill them with battery operate LED lights.

7.     You can decorate lampshades with cut outs of black cats and lamps and use orange party bulbs.

8.     Paint scary faces on white and orange balloons using magic markers and float them near the ceiling.

9.     Don’t forget the music! The Monster Mash (from 1973), Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982), Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (1973), and the Rock Horror Picture Show soundtrack are all good choices.

10. If you want a very adult Halloween theme, use Edison light bulbs. They are elegant but have an Old World air that is just right for Halloween.

Our Favorite Halloween Light Shows

If you want to be inspired by people who spend all year getting ready for October 31st, here are three of our favorite Halloween Light shows. Do you have a favorite… or send a photo of your own creepy décor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfcNoMnKjrY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcAss0Ytn6g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-9cq4DfDTE

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Understanding Relative Humidity and Your AC

Humidity – the amount of moisture in the air – is of tremendous importance for your comfort and for your health. It also impacts the energy costs of operating your AC system, the biggest energy hog in your home. When you reduce the humidity in your home, you also reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth. When humidity is low, you also feel cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Humidity is a complicated topic.  There is always some moisture in the air. Relative humidity is the amount of moisture relative to the amount of moisture the air can hold. If the relative humidity is 50%, then it is half “full” of water. If the relative humidity is 100%, it cannot “hold” more water. When rain clouds form, they are at 100 % humidity, but the ground-level humidity could be much less.  If the air around you is at 100% humidity, it is holding all the water it can. It does not mean it is raining, just that the air is saturated with water!

When relative humidity is low, we feel cooler because sweat evaporates easily. People feel most comfortable when the relative humidity is around 50%. Your AC system is designed to de-humidify the air, so it is important that it does this properly or you will not feel comfortable even if the temperature is cool. You will also find yourself sneezing and coughing, because humidity promotes the growth of allergens. If humidity is too low, you will have a dry throat and be trouble by static electricity as well as dry, itching skin.

As air cools, it become less able to hold water. At a certain temperature, it will condense into water (the dew point) or ice (the frost point). The dew point varies depending on the relative humidity. Currently, (October), the dew point in South Florida is 65 degrees… meaning condensation will form at this temperature. In Maine, on the other hand, the dew point is now 40 degrees.

Normally, during hot weather, condensation will form on the outside of your windows if you run the AC very cold. This is because hot air can hold more water than colder air. When the air touches your cold windows, it condenses. Indoor humidity that is too low is more common during winter, because cooler temperatures and heating cycles lower moisture in the air more rapidly. In the summer, relative humidity that is too high is a more common issue.

Condensation on the inside of your windows is a sign that something is imbalanced in your AC system. Your AC system includes your entire home, so if you have leaky windows that will affect the relative humidity inside your home and how hard your AC has to work to remove moisture. You buy humidity gauges (hygrometers) for around $15 apiece to measure the amount of relative humidity in the air. Buy several, leave them in place, check the relative humidity, and then swap the positions to check the accuracy of your readings.  If the temperature is at 76 degrees, the relative humidity should be around 50%.  In the winter, it should be no lower than 30%.

Stay Tuned for our next post “The causes of high relative humidity in air-conditioned buildings…

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How To Choose Bathroom Sink Fixtures

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

Bathroom sink

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

 

 

Function is just as important as style when choosing your bathroom sink fixtures. Even if you do not remodel your bathroom, changing the sink faucet and handles can sometimes make your bathroom more functional.

Faucet Centers

Believe it or not, there is something of a science behind choosing the right sink faucet.  The first thing to do is measure your faucet centers. Sinks come with premade holes for the faucet and handles, and with different spacing between holes.

A single-hole faucet is needed for a sink with 1 hole. Usually these are lever type faucets. The advantage of these faucets is that they take up very little room, so you can use them with a smaller sink in a smaller bathroom. It is also easier to use by children and makes it harder for them to scald themselves by because there is no hot water tap by itself. A single lever faucet is also easier for older people or people with arthritis to use. They can be a little more fragile and often the entire faucet needs to be replaced if it breaks. The disadvantage is they have a modern look that is not in keeping with traditionally styled bathrooms.  A variation on this faucet is the vessel faucet, which is a tall faucet designed to accommodate the height of vessel sinks.

Centerset faucets have the faucet and 2 handles mounted onto a single base. They can be used on sinks with 1 hole and sometimes 3 holes. These are the most difficult for people with arthritis to use, and they are difficult to clean because the handles are so close to the faucet. But this is a very common style.

The widespread faucet has 2 handles set off from the main faucet, It is easier to get hot water only out of. And it has a more traditional look but you can also find very sleep, contemporary widespread faucets. Crossbar handles are the most traditional of all and are found in period baths.

There are also wall mount faucets, which are rarely used except in high-end bathrooms. They require a special plumbing set up. Electronic touch faucets are used mainly in commercial settings. You might want a gooseneck style faucet. Do you dye your hair? Consider getting a faucet with a spray nozzle.

Height

Think about how you use a sink. If you like to fill a glass with water, your facet has to be high enough to do that. Many bath sinks are shorter to prevent splash out. You will also want a higher faucet if you wash your face at the sink.

Materials and Construction

Faucets can be built based on one of several principles. Compression faucets rely on washers to manage the water flow. This is the conventional way to make a faucet. You do have to clean the screen every so often. Newer faucets use balls, cartridges, and disks. They are easier to operate and maintain, bur the plastic parts used in most of these faucets mean they are very durable. Cartridge faucets have a cartridge flow mechanic that can be replaced if there is a leak. Faucets with a pair of ceramic disks are the most durable and trouble-free, but they can also be the most expensive.

Pricing

Pricing can be anywhere from $20 up to $1,000 or more for a solid-brass faucet set with designer styling. Remember that leaks waster water, and water is expensive is many parts of the country. So sometimes it is worth spending a little more to get the quality needed in such a heavily used fixture.

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Black LIghts And Bug Zappers

Photo Credit: Black light news

Photo Credit: Black light news

 

Black lights are used for decorative effects, in medicine for diagnostic and healing purposes, for the detection of counterfeit money, for curing resins, and also for detecting fluorescent minerals in rock and fluorescence in blood for crime scenes. Black lights often need special fixtures. A Wood’s lamp is used in science and in forensics.

Black light fluorescent tubes are similar to regular tubes, except that they have a dark blue-purple coating. They are available in a variety of sizes and watts, including the F15T8/BLB which is used in standard fluorescent tube fixtures. If you want to spice up your home for Halloween this October, a few black light tubes will due the trick.

Black light tubes are also used for tanning beds. The ultraviolet light is thought not to damage eyes and skin, although overuse can do both.

Another type of UV fluorescent bulb emits ultraviolet light to attract insects, which are then electrocuted by the device. These bulbs emit visible light along with ultraviolet light, so they do not have a purple filter. They appear bluish-purple to the naked eye because the less visible mercury emission spectrum is block by plain glass. These bulbs are designed as “BL” and are not suitable as a replacement for BLB tubes in BLB-designed fixtures.

The first black light was created in 1904 using Wood’s glass as the container for an incandescent bulb. These are the black lights you often find at party stores. They are very inefficient, burn hot, and have a short life. Mercury vapor black lights also use Wood’s glass, but have very high power ratings up to 1000 watts and are used for theatrical displays and concerts. Both types of Wood’s glass lights are primarily decorative.

A Wood’s lamp is used in dermatology to identify some skin diseases. It was first used in 1925 in dermatology to identify fungal infections, and is still used today to detect fungal and bacterial infections and to diagnose tuberculosis, vitiligo, ethylene glycol poisoning, and erythrasma.

Black light is also used to authenticate bank notes, oil painting and antiques. When you go to a club, you will often be stamped with fluorescent ink, which will identify you as a paying guest under a small Wood’s lamp.

Now that we have shed some light on the subject of black lights, call us to order your decorative lights and bug zapper lights

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