Year: <span>2019</span>

If you’ve been paying attention to the latest trends in home technology, you’ve likely come across infrared saunas once or twice by now. They can be a very attractive option given their price and availability, but if you’ve never used one before you might well be left wondering if they’re worth it.

Let’s calm those fears right off the bat by saying yes, infrared saunas do indeed have their merits. However, they shouldn’t be looked at as a comparative product to a traditional sauna. They are almost like two different methods of providing a similar outcome, much like a bathtub and a jacuzzi.

If you’re looking for a way to relax your muscles after a heavy day of lifting or a long anticipated marathon, then a sauna is one of many great ways to let your muscles unwind and start the recovery process. There’s also a pretty good chance that they’ll lift your spirits emotionally, and you’ll be ready to tackle your next obstacle once you’ve taken the time to sweat out your exhaustion.

The main difference between infrared saunas and traditional steam saunas is the mechanism by which they provide heat. Essentially infrared saunas work by warming your muscles using infrared rays, rather than actually making a hot box for you to sit in. Whereas traditional saunas operate at pretty high temperatures, often 70˚C (~160˚F) or higher, infrared saunas don’t get all that hot.

Some claim that this lower temperature is better for your body, and while it’s hard to really say this is true without any sort of statistically significant medial studies, you can see why that might be the case. Obviously you can’t go around saying that traditional saunas are worse for your health either, because while they have caught a lot of flack over here in the United States there are definitely some countries that swear by them for a number of reasons across the world.

In any case, it probably doesn’t make sense to worry about those kinds of implications, as they are mainly opinions boiled down into standpoints in an argument. It’s better to make your decisions based on more firm facts. Let’s discuss the things you should actually consider if you are choosing between an infrared sauna and a steam sauna.

The first is price. If you can afford a traditional style sauna, they are probably the way to go. They are the tried and true technology that has withstood centuries of use, and odds are they’ll stick around for the long haul. If you start shopping around though you’ll see that traditional saunas can be several thousands of dollars, which might be too much of a purchase for you to consider it. On the other hand, infrared saunas of similar sizes are available at about half of the price. You can even get smaller portable models for a fraction of the price that will usually get the job done. If a traditional sauna is out of reach it can certainly make sense to go infrared.

The second is ease of installation. Most infrared saunas can plug into standard outlets in the United States and, like most consumer appliances don’t require any specialized wiring. Traditional saunas on the other hand consume a ton of electricity, and they’ll need a 240V outlet to run in most cases. This means you’ll have to customize your house a bit to accommodate them, which can be a little frustrating if you’re already tight on space.

Ultimately, either type of sauna is better than no sauna at all, and you’ll have to decide what makes the most sense for your and your household. Traditional steam saunas are probably still the preferred technology, but if an infrared sauna makes sense for you then they can certainly be a viable alternative. Good luck in your hunt, hopefully you’ll be happy with your decision.

Time Off

Whether you love it or hate it, the winter weather sure seems to have come to a close. It has technically been Spring for a few months already, but you never know when mother nature will throw one last storm out way just to keep us on our toes.

While we may be preoccupied with getting the yard ready for gardening, landscaping, barbecues, time outside with your pet, and all the things that the good weather brings our way, it’s important to keep in mind that the actions you take now will have a dramatic impact on not only how well your snow blower performs when you go to fire it up next season, but also how it performs for years to come. Snow blowers are no cheap investment, so take the time to make sure you give yours the care it needs.

Fuel Tank Care

Most of the biggest problems can be avoided by taking care of your fuel tank. At a bare minimum you’d be wise to drain the fuel tank. I usually do this by being very stingy with the amount of fuel I add towards the end of the season, and when the time comes to put the snow blower away for the weekend I’ll run it until it runs out of gas.

Many people advocate using fuel stabilizer in your gasoline at all times, which I’m sure helps. To be honest though, I’ve never done this and I’ve never had any problems. In general though you definitely want to avoid storing any gasoline over the summer, as condensation can drip down and render the gasoline more difficult to combust and the gasoline can also be corrosive to the internals. For extra safety disconnect the spark plug to prevent any corrosion over the summer.

Preventative Maintenance

The funny thing about snow blowers is that much of the winter they can actually keep snow in them – especially if you keep them in an unheated garage or an outdoor shed. This means that the snow can melt and pool up on the internal fins, particularly if you haven’t moved the snow blower around since it’s last use.

You’ll want to make sure that there are no pools of water collected inside your snow blower, and make sure to wipe everything down with rag as best you can. Never stick your hands near moving parts, this can be a serious hazard. I won’t advocate doing so in any case, but should you go ahead and do it anyway make sure you removed the spark plug and drained the gas before doing so to significantly reduce the possibility of getting hurt.

Now is also a great time to give your snow blower a solid once-over. How is the condition of the fins? This can be of particular concern if you are using a two-stage snow blower. How are the shear pins? Are they intact? It might be a good idea to replace them either way, as they are quite affordable and broken shear pin is sure to ruin your day in a heavy storm. You may also want to take the time to make sure the tires are properly inflated, though you’ll want to check this again when the winter comes around. Changes in temperature will certainly affect tire pressure.

One last thing, you’ll want to make sure your snow blower is covered for storage. If you have it stored in a shed or a garage you’re already in good shape, but if you’re storing it outside you’ll want to put a tarp over it or even a form-fitting cover to keep the rain and condensation off of it over the summer months. Nothing eats away at engine components like stagnant water.

With all of these steps implemented your snow blower should be rip-roaring and ready to go when you need it next fall. The last thing you want is for a big storm to hit and you to be standing there with a big hunk of useless metal.

Yard

We all want the best for our pets, right? That’s why it’s important that we make sure they can get plenty of time outdoors so that can get exercise, fresh air, and the feeling of freedom from inside the house. We’re also all pretty busy though, right? Of course we are. That’s why we’re going to break down the options you have for giving your pet the freedom to run around your yard without a worry.

Choosing the right pet containment system for your dog and your home is very straight forward once you get a handle on the different choices you have. Let’s start with the best options you can have in an ideal situation, and work backwards until you land on the right fit.

In-Ground Invisible Fencing

Without a doubt, the best balance of security, reliability, affordability, and liberation for your dog is going to be an in-ground invisible fence system. Let’s start with the latter-most comment.

With an in-ground invisible fence system, your dog won’t need a leash at all. They’ll also have the feeling that they can roam in an unconfined area, with their view of the land unhampered by the walls of a physical fence. It will take some time training getting your dog used to the invisible fencing system, but in the long run it will be quite worth it. Take a look at The Pampered Pup’s recommendations to see some of the best products out there in this category.

Probably the largest drawback with the in-ground fencing is that it can be time consuming and labor intensive to install them. Plus, if you don’t have much grass on your property and instead you have a lot of stone, it might be downright difficult to impossible to install them. There are other options though, never fear.

Wireless Dog Containment Systems

A close sibling to in-ground fencings systems is the wireless containment system. They are basically the exact same premise, with the exception being that rather than installing the barrier in the ground it is created wirelessly. You simply install the base station in a central location, and your pet can be free to run around within the radius of the wireless signal’s reach.

These systems are incredibly easy to set up when compared to the in-ground systems. However, they do have some drawbacks. The biggest deficiency is that they can experience interference from large solid objects, which can in theory result in gaps in the boundaries you set. You’re also stuck with a circular radius for a boundary. While you can make the boundary larger or smaller, you can’t make it a rectangle or something even more irregular. That said, they are still a great fit for many situations.

Physical Fencing

Another option you have is to fence in an area for your dog to run around. Physical fences are great because they are actual boundaries that your dog won’t be able to escape. They are however incredibly expensive when compared to the two previous options, especially if you want to enclose a large amount of land for your dog. They also don’t allow your dog to see endlessly across the horizon, so while your pup will get plenty of exercise and fresh air, they may not feel as free as they could with the other options. Still, the extra security with a physical fence is something that makes them worthwhile.

When All Else Fails

A good, old-fashioned leash will work just fine if you can’t make any of the other options work. You can even attach the leash to a runner if you want to give your dog a bit of a larger area to run around. These are of course more unsightly than the other options we’ve discussed here, but they are by and large the most affordable. Obviously there are potential issues with the leash getting tangled, and this probably offers your dog the least freedom of all options, but it still covers the bases. It’s better than not letting your dog out in the nice weather at all.

Pets

The world is changing so fast. It used to be that the only way to gain a high quality education was to be admitted to a prestigious school, learn from a renowned professor, and spend some time in the industry. Thanks to the internet, the flow of information is more free than ever. We can share our experiences with a bit of typing and an internet connection, and it’s really starting to change the way that people learn.

Think about it, what do you do if you have a question regarding just about any topic? Well, you head over to Google and do a couple searches of course. Or perhaps you’re more of a YouTube user, as so many of the younger people of today are. In either case, only after making a few unsuccessful searches do you start to think about other options. It’s rare that you want to learn something about a topic and think “Gee, I wish I had an encyclopedia to look this up”. It just doesn’t happen anymore.

Well, the great entrepreneurs of today have realized how easy it is share information these days, and they’ve capitalized on it. If you can’t find the information you need from a Google search, perhaps it’s because you need more in-depth information. Luckily you can take online courses for just about any topic. Many of them are free, and many of them are paid. Even the ones that are paid though are so much of a better deal than going to physical school, at least in terms of what you’re going to pay. Why is this the case? It’s simple, you’re taking out a huge cost in the learning process – the requirement for a physical location for the class to take place.

In the presence of the internet your teachers don’t even have to be logged on at the same time as you. They can create video lectures that the students can watch at any time of the day, as long as they stay on schedule, then they can structure the online learning systems such that you can ask questions on forums or on video conferences so that you’re getting much the same learning experience as you would if you were in an actual classroom. It’s really quite remarkable, and its something we should all be taking advantage of if we have any interest in advancing our knowledge of particular subjects. And really, we should.

Having participated in numerous online courses myself, both paid and unpaid versions, I can personally say that they’ve had huge impacts on my life. Moreover, I’d actually say that I’d rather pay for a course than take a free one, as long as the paid course is worthwhile. The reason is that if the provider is charging for the course the odds are that it is going to add more value to your education at the end of the day.

So whether you’re looking to up your skills for your favorite hobby, a DIY installation, or perhaps learn a new language, or maybe you just want to further your career. In any case, an online course can be a cost effective way to go.

Education