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Pool Water Fountains: What Is Right for Your Property?

  • Pool pH & Pool Alkalinity The pH and Alkalinity levels of swimming pool water affect many areas of the swimming pool and must be kept at the correct levels if you expect to successfully maintain your swimming pool. The Alkalinity of pool water acts as a buffer for the pH, and helps prevent the pool pH level from fluctuating. The Alkalinity should be maintained at 80 – 120 ppm. The pH is the measure of the acidity of the swimming pool water, and the pH level should be maintained at 7.2 – 7.6 ppm. The pH of pool water is somewhat sensitive, but easily controlled if the Alkalinity is kept in range. All basic pool test kits should read the pH and Alkalinity level of pool water, and these levels are easily adjusted with common water balancing pool chemicals. If the pool pH level is not kept in range pool water may irritate the skin and eyes of swimmers, corrode the pool surface and inside of the pool equipment and make it very hard to maintain the chlorine level of the swimming pool.
  • Pool Chlorine Stabilizer The chemical name of pool “Stabilizer” is Cyanuric Acid and it is referred to by either title. The Stabilizer level of swimming pool water must be maintained at 30-50 ppm. The Stabilizer level is important, but is typically only tested at the beginning of the swimming season when a pool is opened. The Stabilizer in swimming pool water partially surrounds the chlorine on a molecular level, to protect the chlorine and prevent the chlorine from being quickly burned off and used up by the sun. The symptoms of having too much Stabilizer or too little stabilizer in your pool water are very similar, and if you experience problems maintaining a chlorine level when all other chemical levels are properly balanced the stabilizer level should be tested. If the Stabilizer level tests lower than 30 ppm it will be difficult to maintain a chlorine level, because any chlorine added to your swimming pool will quickly evaporate and burn off in direct sunlight. If the Stabilizer level tests above 50 ppm it will also be difficult to maintain a chlorine level. Rather than partially surrounding the chlorine in your pool water to protect the chlorine, too much stabilizer will completely surround the chlorine making it inactive. In this state the chlorine is unable to combine with bacteria and harmful contaminants to sanitize your swimming pool. Stabilizer can be added to a swimming pool if necessary to raise the level, however once Stabilizer is present in pool water it cannot be easily removed. To reduce the amount of Stabilizer in a swimming pool the water must be diluted by partially draining the pool and re-filling with fresh water. 25% of the pool water should be drained and replaced with fresh water. The pool should be circulated for 12-24 hours, and the Stabilizer level should be tested again. This process should be repeated until the Stabilizer level is within range. The chlorine tablets and granular chlorine used to sanitize a swimming pool on a daily basis is a pre-stabilized form of chlorine. This means that the chlorine contains a small amount of stabilizer, and as chlorine is added to the pool a very small amount of Stabilizer is also added to help maintain the level. This small amount of Stabilizer constantly added with pool chlorine does not cause a problem in outdoor swimming pools because water is splashed out or evaporates, and gets replaced with fresh water to dilute the Stabilizer. This pre-stabilized form of chlorine cannot be used in indoor swimming pools, because much less water evaporation occurs and the stabilizer level will slowly buildup. Indoor swimming pool owners need to use an un-stabilized form of chlorine.
  • Calcium Hardness The calcium hardness of swimming pool water refers to the amount of the mineral calcium present in the pool water. The calcium hardness should be maintained at 80-150 ppm in a pool with a vinyl liner, or 150-200 ppm in a concrete or plaster finish pool. Low levels of calcium hardness can lead to corrosive water conditions, which may damage the pool surface, pool equipment and pool plumbing. If the water in a plaster or masonry finish pool becomes corrosive, the water will absorb calcium from the pool walls and floor by eating away at the pool surface until the hardness level nears 150 ppm. The calcium hardness level can be easily raised using a Calcium Hardness Increaser available from most pool supply dealers. High levels of calcium hardness may lead to cloudy pool water and “scaling”. Scaling is most visible around the water line of a swimming pool as a white chalky deposit, but also forms inside pool equipment and pool plumbing. A pool Calcium Hardness Reducer chemical is available from most pool supply companies to lower the hardness to the desired range for your pool. You may also partially drain and refill a swimming pool with fresh water, which has a lower concentration of Calcium. Calcium is present in the water used to fill the pool and in the pool chemicals used to treat the water. The pool chemical that adds the most calcium to pool water is standard chlorine pool shock. If you find that your calcium hardness level is too high, read the label of the pool shock you’ve been using and you will likely find that the active ingredient is calcium hypochlorite. Each time this pool shock is added to the pool water, calcium is added to the water. To prevent this problem begin using Chlorine-Free Pool Shock on a regular basis, instead of standard chlorine pool shock (Calcium Hypochlorite). The active ingredient in chlorine-free pool shock is Potassium Monopersulfate, which does the same job of oxidizing bacteria and harmful organics but does not contain any calcium. If you choose to switch to chlorine-free shock you should always still keep the standard chlorine pool shock on hand, because it is the only pool chemical capable of killing algae.

There are many known factors that can contribute to cloudy pool water in swimming pools and spas. Some of these factors are linked to our environment; which includes the wind, the rain and the surrounding vegetation. These are known to cause cloudiness in our pools and spas. The cloudiness in your pools or spas is the result of the presence of small suspended particles, that are too minuscule to be filtered. In fact they are also too small to be removed by oxidation as well. So how do we combat this unsightly pool problem?

Unless our water facility is indoors, we cannot do much about the environment; however there are five key contributors to the milky or cloudy look of our pool or spa water. In order for us to carry out proper pool care of our swimming pools and spas, we have to first understand how these five key elements contribute to the cloudy pool water that we are experiencing.

Five key Elements for Cloudy pool Water and Their Cures

Like I mentioned earlier, there are five key factors that are responsible for water in your swimming pool being cloudy. Often times when we are confronted with a cloudy pool or spa, confusion begins to set in. However, once we understand the cause, the confusion begins to lessen. So lets look at the most common causes of cloudy water in swimming pools. So far we understand that cloudiness in caused by small, fine suspended particles in the water. This problem is caused by:

Poor pool filtration and circulation – Your pool or spa water will become cloudy if your pool filters are functioning poorly. A poorly functioning pool filter system results in restricted water flow. The restriction in flow could be caused by a malfunctioning pool pump or lack of back washing (filter cleaning). Whenever you have a poorly maintained pool filtration/circulation system, you will always be battling pool water turbidity issues.

Poor pool water balance – whenever your pool water balance is out of whack, there is a possibility suspension of calcium carbonate particles will result. To avoid or correct this problem, you must balance your pool water. You have to test your and balance your pool chemicals. This will send the calcium carbonate back into solution. Once this accomplished, your pool cloudy issues will also clear up.

Pool algae growth – The growth formation of pool algae, that has not yet full bloomed, will definitely caused your swimming pool or spa to be hazy, dull or cloudy looking. You can easily distinguished this caused of cloudiness from the others; because your pool bottom and wall surfaces will feel slippery.And your pool water will also look tint green. To correct this swimming pool water problem, will require you to carry out a chlorine shock treatment of your pool. You must achieve a PPM (parts per million) level of 30 to rid your water facility of this problem.

Heavy bather/swimmers loads – If you get a heavy influx of bathers or swimmers in your swimming pools and spas, you will have pool water problems. Heavy bather loads means an overload of human organics; which cause serious water turbidity problems. To effectively prevent water turbidity issues of this kind, is to regularly shock treat your pool or spa. This will clear up your pool/spa and raise you pool chlorine above its normal levels. This is mostly done during the summer time in anticipation of heavy bather loads.

Small suspended particles – Small or fine suspended particles that can come from the environment, can be in your pool water. Because these particles are so small, your pool filters are unable to remove them. In other words, they are unfilterable. The suspended particles will pass right through any sand filters without being caught; thus, eventually leading to cloudy pool water. To effectively get rid of these small suspended particles, you will need to use a water clarifier. The water clarifier will cause the fine particles to coagulate; thus, making them to clump together and become a size that is now filterable.

The secret to having beautiful pool water, reducing chemicals and preventing pool problems

Proper swimming pool maintenance can prevent common problems such as green pool water, cloudy water, pool staining, itchy eyes, pungent chlorine smell and the spread of various waterborne diseases. We all want beautiful, clean, clear enjoyable pool water that is soft to the skin and easy on the eyes, hair and swimwear.

Everyone wants a beautiful pool with as little effort as possible! With the use of the Crystalline Pool System maintaining a beautiful, sparkling clear pool with soft enjoyable water with no chlorine smell is a breeze. Your swimming pool water treatment consists of a little bit of chlorine and a weekly application of Crystalline and that is typically it!

Swimming Pool Maintenance Tips
Owning a swimming pool is a privilege but to enjoy a nice beautiful pool with minimum hassles and expense requires some basic responsibilities.
Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you let your pool water get out of balance and your pool water becomes green or cloudy/murky, burns your skin or smells strongly it may costs you a lot more to get it back to a sparkling clear, beautiful state than if you never let it get away from you in the first place! Pool maintenance is essential and cannot be neglected, especially during the swimming season. Fallen leaves and other organic matter in the pool eventually decompose and attract bacteria. Pool maintenance should be carried out throughout the year, irrespective of the pool type, with un-screened pools needing the most attention. Below is a schedule, that if followed should help maintain beautiful, soft, clear pool water year round.

Daily
Check Skimmer Basket: The skimmer basket must be checked and cleared of debris, so as to ensure fresh and circulating pool water. Debris such as leaves, insects, bird droppings and other substances must be cleared from the surface of the pool by using a leaf net or leaf bagger. Leaves and other debris at the bottom of the pool must also be cleared by using a leaf net or bagger.

Weekly
PH Level: Maintaining the right water balance is very important. The pH level is the measure of acidity or alkalinity, and should to be tested weekly. The pH level in the pool water must be slightly alkaline, that is a pH of around 7.2-7.6 must be maintained. It is at this pH level that chlorine is most effective. Moreover, this level is similar to the pH of our skin. It can be controlled by adding either an acid or an alkali such as baking soda. Incorrect pH levels can lead to damage of pool surface and pool equipment!

Chlorine Level: Sanitizing pools is equivalent to sterilizing the pool, whereby bacterial and algal forms can be destroyed. Inadequately sanitized pools can become breeding grounds for bacteria. The range of ‘free’ chlorine that has to be maintained in the pool is usually 1.0-3.0 ppm. With the use of the Crystalline Pool System you can maintain your chlorine at the 1 ppm range with good results. Since chlorine is a known carcinogen and it’s fumes have been shown to be bad for asthma sufferers the fact that Crystalline allows you to reduce your chlorine levels about 70% is a very good thing!

Algaecide: To control the algal contaminants, the pool must typically be given a dose of algaecide once a week. Fortunately with the use of Crystalline you should not have a need for an algaecide unless you have the uncommon yellow mustard algae.

Clarifier: The annoying cloudy water problem can be resolved by adding a dose of clarifier to the pool water. Clarifying agents make the tiny particles stick to each other, to form larger particles. These larger particles then either settle to the bottom of the pool to be vacuumed up or are trapped by the filter. The good news is that clarifiers are not needed when using Crystalline since it contains a flocculent!

Monthly
Calcium Level: Water that is too low in calcium becomes corrosive, while water high in calcium results in scale formation. This is why checking the calcium hardness is very important. This test has to be conducted at local pool store, as the standard testing kit does not test for calcium hardness. A sample of the pool water needs to be taken to your local pool store and tested.

Alkalinity: Correct total alkalinity will prevent sudden changes in the pH levels of the pool water. 80-120 ppm is the proper range for total alkalinity; the level can be adjusted by the addition of baking soda.

Overall by using Crystalline your pool water will be more stable and Calcium and Alkalinity levels will fluctuate less and your total chemical use will be lower.

Mid-Season
Swimming pool filters are prone to accumulate oil and grease, and have to be cleaned by using a ‘filter cleanser degrease r’. How often this is required is a direct result of bathing load and how diligent bathers are about showering off before going into the pool, especially if they have been using tanning oils/lotions. Usually most cartridge filters are only good for one cleaning and then will need to be replaced with a new filter.

As Needed
Shock Treatment: Shock treatments are important to destroy combined chlorine compounds (free chlorine is the active chlorine and is required, not combined or total). Shock treatment packages are sold locally, use according to the instructions on the package, shock during the evenings or when no one will be using the pool for several hours. This raises the level of free chlorine in the pool and also destroys germs and bacteria. With the proper use of Crystalline you will almost never need to shock your pool as the water will remain very clean and clear. You will save time, effort and money plus your pool will never look or feel better!

Metal Out Addition: Often tiny metal particles are found on the pool surface and can cause staining. They are very small and bypass the filter; they can be removed by adding a weekly dose of ‘Metal Out’ to the pool water. You should not need this product on a regular basis though and if you do, have the pool inspected by a professional to determine what the problem is.

So the question is, who in the world wants swimming pool algae, a green swimming pool or cloudy swimming pool water? No one should and it is completely unnecessary! With the proper knowledge and just a little effort, proper maintenance of your pool water can help prevent all the above problems. The best single product to make it easy to have a beautiful pool, with soft enjoyable water with a minimum of effort is the Crystalline Pool System!

Cloudy pool water is caused by many factors. These factors may be chemical (water balance, pH, improper methods), mechanical (pool filter system) or environmental (source water, excessive rain, heavy use). Often times, pool owners attempt to treat the symptoms but not the cause of the cloudy water, so we have to look at all of the things that may contribute to the problem. Let’s look at the causes of cloudy swimming pool water, then we can look at treatments and cures.

Before we dive in let’s first put cloudy water to the test. Cloudy pool water is in the eyes of the beholder. Cloudy can mean: Dull – the pool water just doesn’t sparkle. Hazy – it just isn’t as clear as it normally is. Cloudy – you can make out the bottom of the pool if you look hard. Opaque – the term says it all!

Chemical Reasons

Many pool owners quickly blame “bad chemicals” so let’s start there. Here are some of the factors and their contribution to the cloudy water problem. Water chemistry can contribute to cloudy or hazy water – if the pH is HIGH (over 7.8) and or the Total Alkalinity (TA) is HIGH (over 200 ppm) and or the Calcium Hardness (CH) is HIGH (over 400 ppm). With pH & TA being high the water will become dull or flat and the chlorine reacts more slowly loses its ability to kill and control bacteria and algae. Now you have early algae growth – another cause of cloudy pool water. High CH doesn’t become a problem until the water warms up to over 85 degrees F; then you have a “cloudy” condition that won’t go away. Maintain good pool water balance with these parameters: pH – 7.2 – 7.6 (all pools); Total Alkalinity – 80 – 120 ppm (concrete) or 120 – 150 ppm (vinyl liner); Calcium Hardness 200 – 300 ppm (concrete) or 175 – 250 ppm (vinyl).

Other chemical or chemistry based reasons for cloudy pool water would be lack of regular shocking, periodic chemical cleaning of the filter, poorly maintained sanitizer levels, lack of a chemical maintenance routine. Regular weekly or biweekly shocking of the pool aids in oxidizing un-filterable swimmer waste such as body oils, lotions, urine, hair gel, perspiration, etc. We find that the single biggest mistake customers make in their normal care is not shocking the pool often enough or insufficiently (not using the proper amount of pool shock). Proper shocking also helps to “rejuvenate” the chlorine level and knock out early algae growth. Whenever you have a pool party with lots of expected bathers, consider shocking the pool the day before (helps build up the chlorine level providing a buffer for an eventual chlorine demand) as well as immediately following the party (shocks & oxidizes everything that was brought into the pool during the party — if your guests weren’t using the bathroom, the beer & soda had to go somewhere). Using a calcium hypochlorite shock such as BioGuard Burn Out Extreme is preferred since the product will get in, do its work, then get out. Potassium monopersulfate shocks like Oxysheen work well to help break up chloramines (combined chlorines), but shouldn’t be used exclusively.

Mechanical Reasons

If the chemistry is good and the pool is being properly shocked and algaecide added every 1 to 2 weeks, then it is necessary to look at the mechanical reasons. The mechanical components contributing to cloudy pool water would be improper filter size (too small), improper pump and motor size (too small or too large a horsepower pump), insufficient filtering time, poor circulation, improper maintenance (vacuuming & brushing). I can recount story after story when I’ve walked into a customer’s backyard to help them troubleshoot a problem pool only to find the filter shut off or improperly connected. When simple corrections are made, the pool water is clear in as little as 24 hours. Let’s examine some basics.

Your swimming pool’s filtering system should be operating a minimum of 8 to 10 hours per day, every day from opening to closing. If the pool water becomes cloudy or other problems become evident, then constant running of the filter until the problem is solved is required. If the filter was properly sized (even slightly bigger is better) then 8 to 10 hours daily is good. On the other hand, too large of a pump may be “harmful” to the filtration. If the horsepower is too great, you may be blowing dirt and everything else you want filtered right through the filter (especially sand filters). When it comes to 2 speed pumps, make sure the “high” speed run time is set for a minimum of 6 hours daily PLUS and additional 12 to 18 hours at “low” speed).

Consider using an automatic pool cleaner. You’ll end up with better circulation, cleaner pool surfaces and less work.

The other mechanical reasons are also important. Regular vacuuming and brushing help with the overall circulation by moving water around. Keep directional “eyeballs” pointed DOWN to force filtered water down to the bottom of the pool and therefore aid in water movement by breaking up dead spots. Too frequent backwashing of the filter doesn’t give the filter media enough time to do its best cleaning — a dirty filter filters a finer particle. One final mechanical reason for cloudy pool water, lack of use. Actively used pools are always better circulated and filtered. So even if the water is cloudy (as long as the water is in good chemical balance), use the pool!

Environmental Reasons

Remember that whatever is out in the world, will eventually get in the pool and detract from water clarity. Pollen, dust, dirt, leaves, make-up water, bird droppings (forgot about those, right?), rain, local construction sites, etc. can all affect your swimming pool. Each of these culprits needs to treated differently. Pollen, dust and other fine particulate can be treated using a water clarifier like BioGuard Polysheen Blue. Flocculants work well in severe situations by settling the particles to pool bottom and vacuuming it all out on Waste. Use a skimmer sock inside of the skimmer to remove fine pollen or dust that may be too fine for your sand filter.

Leaves, swimmers, makeup water, droppings will create a chlorine demand. Shocking the pool is necessary. Make-up water can change the water chemistry affecting the pH, TA and CH not to mention the possible addition of heavy metals, all of which can cause or add to water cloudiness.

Final Notes

As you can see there’s no 1 or 2 reasons for cloudy pool water. It’s usually a combination of factors. Some of them not even coming from the pool itself. The best solution to cloudy pool water is prevention utilizing a good, regular chemical and cleaning maintenance program. About 30 to 60 minutes per week is all that it takes. If or when your pool water turns cloudy, don’t start adding clarifiers or flocs. Get down to the real cause. Look at all of the contributing factors.

Pool water maintenance is a very important part of home improvement due to the fact that swimming pool water usually contains different types of microbes, including bacteria as well as algae. These microbes can actually cause health problems that could end up causing health problems such as ear, nose as well as throat infections. Therefore, you should check the water pH level as well as the chlorine level regularly as part of your pool water maintenance routine to avoid possible health problems.

Sources of contamination
The following are some of the different sources of the common types of bacteria and microbes that may be found in your pool:

• People who swim in the swimming pool – this is normally the major source of bacteria.

• Dead wildlife – for instance, frogs or insects or lizards may sometimes drown in the pool.

• Animals, for example, dogs – some pets usually like to paddle especially on hot days in the pool.

• Debris surrounding the property, which may include leaves, grass, trees as well as dust and dirt.

Pool water maintenance
The four major keys that can assist you to achieve pool water maintenance while maintaining high water include the following:

1. Filtration
You should pump the water in the pool through a good filter to remove debris and particles. The size of your pool as well as the horsepower and flow volume of the pool pump determine the time needed to run the filter. However, approximately 35% of the water may not get filtered.

2. Chlorination
Chlorine is actually a chemical that sterilizes the water and helps to get rid of debris. You should use a chlorine stabilizer to extend the chlorine’s half-life. In general, the longer the filtration cycle, generally the less chlorine is needed. Likewise, the more chlorine used, the shorter filtration cycle is required. Chlorine requirement is usually based on a variety of factors, such as the pump as well as filter system, water level, amount of debris, water temperature and also the actual number of people who use the pool.

3. pH Level
The pH level usually indicates how alkaline or acidic the water is at any particular time. A pH level normally of 7.0 actually means that water is neutral; below 7 usually indicates the water is acidic while above 7 usually means the water is alkaline. You should maintain the pH level between 7.2 and 7.6 pH. If the pH is above 8, any person who swims in that pool is usually at risk of suffering from skin rashes. Also, a pH below 7.1 may sting the eyes of swimmers.

4. Calcium Hardness
This basically refers to the quantity of mineral calcium actually dissolved in water. A low calcium level normally worsen pool surfaces, whereas a high calcium level may leave a white ‘scum’ on surfaces as well as equipment.

General pool water maintenance
The following are general ways of achieving pool water maintenance in your pool:

• Check your pH as well as chlorine levels daily preferably,
the day before people go swimming to ensure the quality is safe.

• In extremely hot weather, you should check the pH and chlorine at least once per day.

• Brush and vacuum your pool.

• Regularly check the pump, skimmer boxes and other pool equipment. Repair or actually replace pool parts as necessary.

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Swimming pools offer a great way to beat the scorching sun. Owning a swimming pool in your backyard is indeed a privilege that most people yearn for. However, this privilege translates to responsibility. Apart from swimming in your pool, you need to pay close attention to pool water maintenance to ensure the pool remains in good condition for a long time.

Swimming pools are often exposed to different weather elements such as rain, debris and snow among others. Fallen leaves and other organic waste tend to collect on the surface. Such waste materials decompose, attract bacteria and trigger the spread of various waterborne diseases, such as dysentery, typhoid, and cholera just to name a few. This is where pool water maintenance comes in handy. Here are some tips on pool water maintenance.

Pool Water Maintenance
Chlorine Level: Generally, chlorination is performed as pool water maintenance to sanitize the water in the pool. When you add certain chemicals, like calcium hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite, to the pool water it will be sterilized. Chlorination destroys bacterial and algae formation. The amount of free chlorine that should be maintained in the pool water is about 1.0-3.0ppm. Bromine is another chemical that can be used to sanitize the pool.

Water pH: The pH level should be checked at least twice each week. pH level refers to the alkalinity or acidity measure and the pH level of pool water should be about 7.2-7.6 because chlorine is more efficient at this level. Highly alkaline water leads to water clouding, whereas highly acidic water can corrode the pool metal equipment. You can also add muriatic acid to increase the acidity of the water. On the same note, soda ash or baking soda can also be added to increase alkalinity. The addition of alkali or acid is based on whether the pool is too acidic or alkaline in nature.

Check Skimmer Basket: The skimmer basket should be checked and any debris removed twice every week. A surface skimmer or leaf net may be used in removing unwanted materials, such as insects, bird droppings and leaves from the pool surface. When it comes to removing debris from the pool floor, you can use a leaf bagger. Powdered or liquid tile cleaning agents can be used to clear scum rings and lines from the pool tiles.

Shock Treatment: Shock treatment is necessary because pool requires free chlorine rather than combined chlorine. This treatment breaks up combined chlorine compounds to increase the free chlorine level in the pool. In addition, it eliminates the germs, thereby leaving your spool sparkling and attractive. The shock treatment should be performed as part of a pool water maintenance about once a week.

Using Algaecide and Clarifier: Algaecide and clarifier should be added to the pool once a week. An algaecide eliminates the algae without causing any damage to the pool tiles, while the clarifier handles cloudy water.

Brushing and Vacuuming: You can use a pool brush to remove dirt that has accumulated on the bottom and sides of the pool. Brush the pool thoroughly before vacuuming the pool.

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If a new swimming pool is in the works for your property, why not take it to the limits and design a custom pool water fountain? This is an excellent way to bring your landscape to life and create a special space for entertaining, romantic evenings, or just a lot more fun with the family.

When you add a water fountain into your custom pool, you get all of the following:

 

  • Water Movement
  • Creative Shape
  • Beautiful Color
  • Enticing Sound

 

You can take a pool that looks rather average or dull and turn it into an exciting, enticing place where everyone wants to be.

If you do a lot of entertaining on your property or are putting in a custom pool so you can hold more parties in the future, you should consider a lighted pool water fountain. This will give an attention-grabbing centerpiece to your night-time parties and will set the mood for romantic encounters when you really want to please someone special.

Light up the fountain. Let the pool water start to ripple peacefully. Turn on some soft music. Dip your feet in the water and take that special someone in your arms with a glass of crisp wine on hand. Who needs a romantic vacation when you have paradise in your backyard?

Alternatively, you can substitute the soft music for something energetic and the special someone with a group of your best friends or colleagues you really want to impress. The lighted fountain can entertain and impress just about anyone!

You can always change the light patterns and color of light used in your pool. This allows you to adjust according to who your company is and what ambience you want to establish for the event. The light will flicker over the rippling water, creating just the right mood.

If you’re thinking that this all sounds wonderful but you’re sure it is out of your price range, don’t be so quick to assume. There are some very affordable pool water fountains on the market. You just have to know what size pool you will be putting in, how it will be shaped, and where you might install the water fountain.

If you are working with a tight budget or have an above ground pool, you will likely want to stick with a floating pool fountain. These are the most affordable pool water fountains sold and they will work with virtually any type of pool. All the fittings you need to attach to the return of your pool will be provided with the fountain.

If you are more worried about the amount of space your fountain consumes than price, a wall pool fountain could be the solution. They are very easy to install and the power cords go behind the fall so they are not visible to your guests. This is the most compact option since it isn’t actually inside the pool.

Many wall fountains are lightweight and easy to take down if you move, which is something to consider if you aren’t settled in a forever home just yet.

If you want to permanently install a pool fountain for the purpose of increasing the value of your home or you are definitely sure that you won’t want to move your pool water fountain in the future, you can use a freestanding water fountain. This type of pool fountain goes into the pool and will either show its electrical cords or will hide them to the point you can’t easily access the power supply. It is best to hide the cords, but keep in mind this will make it very difficult to move the fountain in the future.

Some types of freestanding pool water fountains include:

 

  • Pedestal Water Fountains
  • Tabletop Water Fountains
  • Large Center Pool Fountains

 

You also have the option of adding a water fountain into a garden that is near your swimming pool or perhaps adding a fountain to a hot tub. In these cases you will need a much smaller pool water fountain.

Whatever type of pool water fountain you decide on, make sure that it fits in with the design of your pool. Keep in mind that extra features like lighting will increase the cost of the fountain. In many cases you can lower expenses by installing accent lights on your property around the pool rather than going with the lighted fountain.

Water Features

On their own with just you swimming in them, a pool can be a very quiet place, and whilst this can be relaxing in itself, the sound of running water can be even more relaxing. Indeed the sound of running water is known to relax the mind and hence the body. The use of indoor water features in Japan is a good example of this.

So why not add a water feature to your pool? You could add a waterfall with water cascading into your swimming pool. This is a great feature to have as you can stand underneath it and let the water falling down pummel your shoulder muscles to relax them.

Or you could add a solution like that found in modern spa hotel swimming pools, and that is the addition of various types of in-pool, and outside of the pool water jets. If you go to a hotel spa you will now very often find various (often odd looking) stainless water jets that you can switch on whilst sitting at the edge of the pool.

These numerous jets do anything from pummeling your back and shoulders with water, through to blasting water up at your feet whilst you are seated poolside.

Installing such water features in your swimming pool does not cost as much money as you would think. However if you like the idea of adding such a feature just bear in mind that whilst they maybe added later, they will cost far less if you install them at the time of building your swimming pool.

Heating Options:

Well with swimming pools dropping down in price many of us can now afford to buy one, particularly with large oval above ground pools offering the same benefits of an in ground pool but at a fraction of the price.

However all pools even in very hot climates normally need some form of heating, and heating a pool obviously costs money. Sure you can buy solar collectors but unless you live in a climate with around ten hours really good strong sunshine each day, then they are unlikely to heat the pool to the temperature you want without an additional heat source.

The bulk of swimming pools are heated by mains gas powered boilers, or by boilers using external LPG gas tanks.

Using LPG just for your swimming pool boiler is actually a great idea as it enables you to be able to tell exactly how much gas you are using, and hence how much money your pool is costing to heat. Where as when you use a mains gas boiler to heat your pool and your house, then you have little or no idea how much of your actual gas bill is going on heating your pool.

Another option is to use an in-ground heat converter – this is whereby a borehole is dug several feet (Around thirty) into the ground and a water pipe placed in the hole. This is then used to heat the pools water with the natural heat from the Earth itself. These systems have come down in price in recent years and should not be overlooked as an option to heat your swimming pool.

 

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The 10 Best Documentaries Of The 21st Century (So Far)

Want to shoot a high-impact personal documentary? While there is no rule book to documentary film making, there is others’ experiences that may help guide you. In this article, I am going to give you some tips on how to make a successful personal documentary. Some suggestions here relate to the project generally, and some relate specifically to filming interviews and shooting on location.

What is a personal documentary?

A “personal documentary” is a branch of documentary film making that focuses on one particular human subject, or sometimes a couple or a family. Commissioned by the subject in question or a family member, it is a bespoke (custom made) video biography which takes advantage of the immediacy and emotion of film to tell personal and family history stories that would otherwise be told in print.

Being “commissioned” doesn’t mean that the personal documentary is pure flattery or devoid of difficult issues. On the contrary, to be successful the personal documentary must contain objectivity and some real dark to balance the light. In my experience, subjects themselves have no interest in saccharine stories. But where mistakes were made, or wrong directions taken, a personal documentary will give the subject the opportunity for explanation, context and – desirably – understanding. Ultimately, though, editorial control rests with the party commissioning (paying for) the personal documentary.

Tip 1: Keep your subject front and center

There are a lot of twists and turns to a life, and many rabbit holes that a well-meaning personal documentarian could disappear down. But resist diversions, unless they bear on the subject’s progression.

When asking questions, try to relate events to motivations and feelings. Subjects are typically very good at giving the “who what and when”. The personal documentarian has to work to get at the “why”, and the “why nots”.

In telling stories involving former generations, try to connect the story to, or tell the story from the perspective of, someone still living. The thrilling exposition of even the most fascinating of historical detail (e.g. “Grandfather George Unwin once killed a tiger in Bengal”) means little unless it is connected to someone or something tangible for the audience (e.g. “Old George Unwin was an adventurer, like his grandson Frank, both of whom joined the military by the time they were 18…”)

Tip 2: Go beyond the surface

In a personal documentary, most of your information will come from the subject and their friends, colleagues and families. But you should dig a little deeper whenever possible, and don’t ignore the documents.

For instance, I always do a little genealogical research on my subjects whether they ask for it or not. It’s common to find mistakes in the family’s collective memory, and it sometimes happens that odd and surprising revelations come to light (like underage marriages, name changes and significant understating of ages).

A successful personal documentary

A successful personal documentary will have feeling, humor and layers. It will cover the main “stations of the cross” in the person’s life without seeking to be comprehensive (an impossible task in any medium, at any time). It will also take a view.

Depending on the time available, you can do historical research into the city or the state or the events recounted or the time period involved. Newspaper searches can turn up interesting material (you may need to join a library to get access to the best data bases). And some film makers even conduct Freedom of Information Act searches to bolster their research.

Tip 3: Be patient

Barry Hampe in “Making Documentary Films and Reality Videos” says much of documentary film interviewing consists of running endless tape through the camera waiting and hoping the subject will say something interesting.

That’s a little harsh. But it speaks to the truth of good fact gathering: you can seldom force the pace. By and large, with careful, patient and open-ended questing you have to let the story come to you.

Tip 4: Shooting the interview

Chances are you will be filming both in interview set ups as well as on location.

When interviewing a subject, ask the prepared questions but also ask questions (and shoot footage) that might tell us something about the person e.g. their job, hobbies, the location itself, etc. Also, capture a range of shots of the subject during the interview – from wide shots (of the subject with the interviewer and even lights etc), to close ups (say, waist and above) to extreme close ups (face only). Avoid moving the camera while the subject is speaking.

Try to record (full) names, ages/birth dates (if they’re going to be relevant), place names etc either in writing and/or have the subject say their name and spell it on tape. Of all the mistakes you make in a personal documentary, getting names wrong or misspelt seems to draw the most attention.

Having shot a scene, think about whether there are any worthwhile close-ups to get at the end: e.g. hands, feet, objects. Consider POVs (point of view shots) – where you walk around behind the subject and film things (often an object or an activity) from their point of view.

Tip 5: Shooting on location

On location in a personal documentary, you may be following the subject around while they go about some activity, or shooting places of personal significance or places from the person’s past.

For each location, try to capture a 5 to 10 second “establishing shot” – i.e. a long shot showing the whole building/village/room/whatever. This helps to orientate the viewer and provides you with some shot variety. Avoid moving the camera during the establishing shot, save for a smooth and slow pan or zoom.

Keep an eye out for signage and writing of any kind which are usually worth a shot – place names, warnings, graffiti, ads…

And unless you are shooting a fishing show or a music video, avoid fast pans and fast zooms. Generally, it’s best to frame the shot carefully first, steady the camera, then let the action happen in front of the lens – without any noticeable panning or zooming.

Bonus tip: Find a rhythm

When it comes time to edit your personal documentary, try to find a rhythm to the edit.

Just like a poem will often have a rhyming scheme, a personal documentary can also often have a pattern (e.g. chapter 1- interview clip, image and voice over, interview clip, location shot and interview audio, interview clip, interview clip then repeat for chapter 2). Having established the material you wish to use and a satisfying pattern, be sure to break the pattern from time to time.

A successful personal documentary

A successful personal documentary will have feeling, humor and layers. It will cover the main “stations of the cross” in the person’s life without seeking to be comprehensive (an impossible task in any medium, at any time). It will also take a view.

Take a view? Chances are, if you are making a personal documentary focusing on a life or a family, you have come to know your subject well. A personal documentary is not a polemic, but you are allowed an opinion. You may express that through the facts of the life you choose to cover, through the title of the documentary or the title of chapters (if you create named chapters – it’s certainly an option), or even – if you are very careful – through narration.

Some documentary makers are leery of narration, preferring to let the story unfold without “a voice of God” telling us what to think. But used carefully, voice-over can save time.

 

Creating a documentary budget is great way to think through every aspect of your film. Even though you may be eager to get started shooting your documentary right away, creating a budget can often be an enlightening experience, revealing factors that may otherwise slip under the radar. A budget forces you to think through every detail and can save you the agony of an unexpected surprise down the road.

In addition to being a great tool for the filmmaker, a documentary budget is essential if you hope to raise money for your film. A budget is usually a must-have item along with your documentary proposal when pitching your documentary idea to potential funders or supporters. A documentary budget provides an important snapshot of how you plan to shoot your film, the locations where filming will take place, how many people are involved in the project, what kind of equipment you’re using and your distribution plan among other things.

Whereas your documentary proposal describes the story and vision for how your documentary will look on screen, the budget is your nuts and bolts plan behind the scenes.

Here are the three primary steps in creating a documentary budget:

 

    1. Research – This is THE most important aspect of creating your budget. Without research, you have a blank slate. This is where you need to make phone calls, search the internet and ask for advice. You’ll need to decide such things as what kind of insurance (if any) you need, how much a van rental will cost in the city you’ll be shooting, how much your cameraman charges for three days of work, what’s the cost of renting a lighting kit, what does the animation guy charge, will you need to pay copyright fees for stock footage, etc.

 

    1. Build Your Budget – It’s highly recommended that you use a spreadsheet program such as Excel or get your hands on a documentary budgeting template. You can certainly jot down your budget items using a plain text document, but this is not a professional (or efficient) way to do a budget. Having a spreadsheet with formulas allows you to make changes to individual items and it automatically updates the totals for the whole budget. As you conduct your research, begin inputting the various budget items including crew salaries, production equipment rental, stock footage fees, administrative costs, etc. Input everything you can think of!

 

  1. Refine Your Budget – Once you’ve created your budget, you will surely be shocked by the final total cost. At this point, you will need to refine your budget to come up with a realistic final cost. Ask yourself the amount of money you realistically believe you can raise for your project? If you think you can raise $10,000 and your budget came out to $250,000, then you will need to make some hard decisions. Is there anything in your budget that is not an absolutely necessity? Or is there a way to get some items donated?

 

Creating your documentary budget is not a one-time event. The budget will need to be constantly updated and modified as you go.

One item you’ll want to include in your budget is a contingency (usually 8-10% of your total budget). This is especially helpful if you’re new to budgeting. A contingency provides a buffer in case items in your budget end up costing more than you expected.

In summary, if you are pitching your documentary idea to potential funders and trying to raise money for your film, you will more than likely need a detailed budget. It’s absolutely critical that you create a budget that is as realistic and accurate as possible. Since many of your funders will be business-minded individuals, they will know if you fudged on your numbers. So do your research and put together the best possible budget that you can. As the filmmaker, you are probably eager to start shooting and making your film, but taking the time to think through every detail of your budget will pay off in the end.

 

“In feature films director is God; in documentary films God is the director”.

An art form which has over a hundred years depicted the serendipitous romanticism, surrealism and activism of the journey of life. Extreme naturalism is the key; transcending the quandaries of human existence, documentary films go beyond the archetypal perception, unraveling the psychedelic mysteries of life, always giving a “voice to the voiceless”.

The art of documentary film-making traces its roots to pre-1900s when the French coined the term to depict any non-fictional film with an informational purpose. Often referred to as “actuality films”, these would include very short stretches of filming often a minute or less in length. There was no form of conceptualization of a real-life event or depiction of consciousness in these creations, primarily due to the technological limitations of the days. Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatwadekar (Save Dada) who in 1899 shot a wrestling match was probably the earliest traces of “topical” films in the Indian film industry. He is also accredited to have made the first Indian newsreel in 1901 filming the public reception of Raghjunath P. Paranjpye who had won a special distinction in Maths at Cambridge. Chitrapat Kaysa Taya Kartat (How films are made) (1917) directed by Dadasaheb Phalke, the “Father of Indian fiction film”, is another significant milestone in the genre of Indian “actuality” films.

The Czech filmmaker and theoretician Vit Janecek was one of the first few individuals who improvised the term “documentary film” to replace a “documental film”, to dramatize the camera shot on the spot, to depict discursive interests of a cultural-social domain. The first few such attempts were by the Lumiere Brothers which showed short clippings of a train entering a station, factory workers leaving a plant, etc. Romanticism found its way into the first official documentary film, Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922), a contemporary look at the life of Canadian Inuit Eskimos living in the Arctic. However, the term “documentary” was first used in a review of Flaherty’s (also referred to as the “Father of the Documentary Film”) Moana in 1926. Over the years with the availability of cheaper 16mm film stock and the rising political movements in Russia and UK, documentary films gradually became an avenue to reach out to the masses. Films were projected on to factory walls and screens set up in church halls trying to raise awareness about unemployment, poverty and fascism. Thus we see the birth of the “alternative newsreels” in the 1930s, a generation of left-wing film makers motivated to guide the people from apathy to activism. The genre of “newsreels” was also sometimes staged, re-enacting some of the actual events which occurred. Dziga Vertov’s Kino-Pravda (literally translated as “film truth”) newsreel series depicted the everyday lives of bourgeois, trying to send a deeper message through a metaphorical montage of real-life recordings – often even using hidden cameras. This creation inspired the birth of cinema verite as another form of documentary, which utilized Vertov’s technique of juxtaposing scenes and non-intrusive filming techniques. This form of documentary film stressed on retaining the pristine form and authenticity of naturalism. John Grierson was the first documentary film maker and critic who coined the term “documentary” in writing a review for Flaherty’s Moana. He also extended the idea portrayed by Vertov, defining the art form as a “creative treatment of actuality”. This decade also saw the birth of documentary film-making in India with the creative acumen of Dr. P.V. Pathy, K.S. Hirlekar and D.G. Tendulkar.

Later into the 1930s and 1940s, documentary films became more propagandistic in nature stressing the marginalized and laboring majority of the Years of Depression and War Years. This form of media took up an activist role in its efforts to comprehend the reality and an ethical responsibility. Triumph of the Will (1934) was a masterpiece from Leni Riefenstahl, very much controversial and propagandistic in its horrifying depiction of the Nazi Part Congress rally in Nuremberg. In spite of the controversy surrounding the creation, in the realm of cinematography, this creation has earned laurels beyond par from critiques. The year 1940 is a significant milestone in Indian Documentary film making, wherein the British Government created the Film Advisory Board (FAB) to provide the infrastructure to boost the war propaganda effort. In 1943, the Information Films of India (IFI) and the Indian News Parade (INP) were formed to expand and consolidate film production and distribution units. Between 1940 and 1946, the FAB and the IFI produced more than 170 films apart from the INP newsreels. Unfortunately in the year 1946, government grants to these institutions were drastically reduced and there was no official film unit to record Nehru’s ‘tryst with destiny’ speech on the auspicious first Indian Independence Day. The efforts were revived in 1948, through the formation of Films Division, the official vehicle of the Government of India to promote production and distribution of information films and newsreels. The Documentaries were to be released under the banner of ‘Documentary Films of India.’

The 1960s and 70s perceived a theme of protest against neocolonialism. La Hora de los homos (1968), The Hour of the Furnaces, directed by Octavio Getino and Fernando E. Solanos, is a four-hour long manifesto inciting a sense of revolution against imperialism and the disasters it brought in Argentina. In addition to portrayal of social and political issues, biographical, rock concert/music-related and nature-related documentaries were also finding their way into the mainstream during these years. Filmic stylization and informational reportage in documentary films has reached newer echelons of success with the advent of hi-tech digital photographic equipments. Director/Cinematographer Ron Ficke’s, Baraka (1992), depicts the “the essence of life”, transcending the limits of nature and time. Without a single word narrated in the film, it is often referred to as have delivered a “message without words” with its scintillating visuals accompanied with pristine musical scores.

Documentary film-making started off for informational purposes but graduated over the years through to reflect the persuasive creative ambition of the film-makers. Along with the aesthetic hues of romanticism and surrealism, the films have become more diaristic, self-reflective and experimental. The infant “actuality” art form of the yesteryears soon became the energetic activist threatening to topple the hegemonic powers of oppression. The film genre has extended much beyond the etymological sense of the term and had been visualized as doing so in a more than seventy-year old futuristic article by one of its founding auteurs and theoreticians, John Grierson as “Documentary is a clumsy description, but let it stand”.

 

One good way to improve your Spanish listening skills is to watch documentaries in Spanish on the internet. There are a good range of Spanish documentaries available online on sites such as RTVE and YouTube to name two of the more famous. Some of these documentaries were made in Spain or Latin America originally but some are translations from English and other languages. I have made my recommendations for a top 5 Spanish documentaries or documentary series for you to watch below, however, in reality, what best suits you will largely depend on personal taste and Spanish ability. This therefore is just a general guide to watching Spanish documentaries and the themes are quite diverse – my aim is really just to give you an idea of what sort of material is available so you can find the documentaries that interest you.

1 – Documentos TV

My first recommended documentary series is available for free from RTVE.es (the home of the Spanish national television and radio) – follow the links from the RTVE homepage (search on Google.es) to “RTVE a la Carta” and then the “Documentales” section. Documentos TV is one of the top 5 series at the top of the page – if you follow the link there is a large archive of documentaries all lasting around one hour. Most people will be able to find at least one or two to interest them but watching all will expand your vocabulary on a range of themes – for example the most recent at the time of writing this article are about themes as diverse and the hunt for the last Nazi and poker fever. This is the signature documentary series for RTVE and the episodes are clearly presented and provide deep and thought provoking insights.

2 – Imprescindibles
This is another of the documentary series available if you follow the same route as above to the RTVE documentales page. Imprescindibles is another documentary series but this time tends to focus on hour long episodes about important figures in Spanish culture. If you don’t recognise the names these documentaries might not interest you but I found most episodes very interesting.

3 – Espanol en el Mundo

Again follow the RTVE.es link to RTVE a la Carta and this time select programas. Espanol en el Mundo isn’t a documentary as such but a series following Spanish people in cities around the world – the episodes last just under an hour and each one follows four or five Spanish natives in their daily routines in their new cities having migrated abroad. The series is really interesting, more socially based and hence informal and I found also a bit more happy than most other documentaries.

4 – Documania TV

Again no individual documentary but this Spanish website (search on Google.es) offers a huge range of Spanish documentaries. The topics range from history and science to geography and religion – as a result there is something for everyone. I would especially recommend the National Geographic documentaries available.

5 – Bear Grylls and Louis Theroux

These are two of my favourite documentary series in the UK and luckily they are translated or at least subtitled in Spanish. Bear is available on YouTube if you search “A prueba de Todo”. The Louis Theroux series is difficult to find in complete but there are clips and episodes if you search on Google.es.

 

While fiction has long been the mainstay of cinematic entertainment since the beginning of the movie industry, the ground-breaking 1922 documentary file Nanook of the North gave filmmakers a taste of their audience’s desire to view something that would give them an insight into parts of their world that they would otherwise not know about. Despite the fact that it took a while for filmmakers to really catch the documentary “bug”, recent documentaries such as An Inconvenient TruthInside Job and Fahrenheit 9/11 only reinforce the desire for filmmakers to make movies that not only entertain but also enlighten. Here’s my list of documentaries – in no particular order – that should be on any documentary aficionado’s “must see” list:

Sigur Ros: Heima (2007)

Music lovers especially will appreciate this documentary that focuses on the last few concerts of Icelandic band Sigur Ros’ World Tour. Even those people not familiar with their music will be able to appreciate the marvellous & atmospheric cinematography that depicts Iceland beautifully.

The Fog Of War (2003)

This Oscar-winning documentary focuses on the life and public service of former United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and also provides an insight into the security & international relations of the United States during the Second World War, the Cuban missile crisis and the Vietnam war, as well as an overview of what lessons McNamara gleaned from these pivotal moments in his life.

The Power Of Nightmares (2004)

This three-part TV documentary series created for the BBC depicts two strains of political thought whose clash resulted into today’s War On Terror: Middle Eastern Islamism and Western Neo-Conservatism. Although the documentary series admits that these two distinct political ideologies are direct polar opposites of each other, the series argues that they depend on each other for their continuing popularity and existence. While not exactly a documentaries in the strictest sense of the word, these three films are noteworthy in how the creator Adam Curtis uses the visual medium to hold the viewer’s attention.

Quants: The Alchemists Of Wall Street (2010)

An exceptionally well-made Dutch documentary showing how mathematical wizardry and the rise of the mathematician became a major factor in the explosive growth of wealth in the financial industry and how this massive growth led to the all-encompassing greed that eventually brought the world economy to the brink of disaster.

Friends of Kim (2006)

An off-beat, humorous and touching independent documentary showing how a group of die-hard anti-capitalists travel to North Korea to support the country’s “Worker’s Paradise” and how they slowly realise that their vision of North Korea as a socialist stronghold was naive and simplistic.

Here Comes The Sun (2008)

An interesting look into the future of solar energy with a particular emphasis on the development of the German renewable energy industry. While the documentary itself can be accused of being slightly over-optimistic regarding the ability of renewable energy to solve humanity’s ever-increasing energy needs, it is quite inspirational in the sense that it is a clear indication of how much easier it has become for countries to overcome political hurdles and to harness this seemingly unlimited source of power.

The Story Of The Weeping Camel (2003)

A German docudrama about a family of Mongolian shepherds in the Gobi desert trying to save the life of a rare white camel calf after it was rejected by its mother. Heartwarming with a happy ending.

Collision (2009)

A documentary film focusing on the ongoing debate between atheist Christopher Hitchens and Presbyterian pastor Douglas Wilson and which provides an overview of several days worth of debates following the release of their book “Is Christianity Good for the World?”. While Hitchens may have seemed an indomitable debating opponent by most, Douglas Wilson is one of the first “believers” who did not shy away from putting up an intellectual fight.

Right America: Feeling Wronged – Some Voices from the Campaign Trail (2009)

A documentary that highlights the sometimes strident and disturbing conservative reactions to Barack Obama’s victory of the 2008 presidential election and which premiered on HBO on President’s Day 2009. I sometimes struggled to understand the doomsday scenarios the Republican supporters conjured up once they realised that their candidate had lost the presidential race. The vitriolic rhetoric only seemed to get worse as the documentary went on.

Our Labor of Love (2010)

Heartwarming documentary focusing on the animals of Out Of Africa wildlife park (Camp Verde, Arizona) and their caretakers. Although this documentary is obviously promotional in its intent, I included it in this list because it does its job so well. Besides, there are few things finer than watching tigers playfully leap into water with wild abandon over and over again.

 

Settlement video documentaries are sophisticated video presentations produced specifically for pre-trial mediation and settlement. The sole purpose of these settlement documentary videos is to convince the opposing parties it is in their best interest to pay maximum compensation now rather than risk a jury trial later.

A well-crafted settlement video incorporates the key factors of a case and visually weaves them into a cohesive television-style documentary presentation. The effect is profound as it not only provides a humanizing portrait of the plaintiff; it individualizes the case and forces the opposing parties to take notice. In addition, the settlement documentary can be an effective tool used to present critical evidence and prove damages, thereby justifying the demand letter and increasing the value of the case. Professionally produced legal video documentaries are powerful forms of communication that have an impact on the viewer like no other medium can.

Day-in-the-Live Videos vs. Settlement Documentaries

Day-in-the-life videos are primarily utilized in personal injury cases to document, without prejudice, the plaintiff’s daily activities and the impact the injury in question has had on their lives. Typically, day-in-the-life videos are presented in trial for jurors to witness the plaintiff’s condition as they go about their day. The content of these videos are subjected to rules of evidence codes (see Day-in-the-Life Admissibility) and are in stark contrast to what settlement documentaries can cover.

Unlike day-in-the-life videos, settlement documentaries include many more aspects of a case and they are not limited by admissibility rules. Therefore, they can broadly and dramatically represent the issues of liability – duty, breach, causation; the extent of harm; loss; economic and non-economic damages. Of course, the degree to which a settlement documentary focuses on these issues is determined on a case-by-case basis. All-in-all, a settlement video can succinctly establish for the viewer, in the simplest terms; the who, what, when, where, how and why – all in about 15-20 compelling minutes.

Every case has a story

What was the plaintiff’s life like before the incident? Who is liable? What are the damages and why should the opposing party pay compensation? These and other questions can be addressed with on-camera interviews of expert witnesses, key family members and deposition testimony of the key players. The interviews may be intertwined with before-and-after photos, demonstrative recreations, police reports, medical imagery, day-in-the-life footage and other visuals. Professional narration is included throughout the video to guide the viewer through the sequence of events. A professional settlement video will deliver the case theme and events as if the matter is being presented as a television documentary such as Dateline or 20/20.

The television-style documentary has the ability to unveil a captivating depth about the plaintiff and the circumstances surrounding the case; much more so than the written word can convey. There is no doubt, presenting the case information in this documentary format makes for a convincing and powerful presentation.

Damages

The most important issue to be addressed in the settlement video is damages. The documentary must clearly demonstrate for the claims administrator and opposing counsel how the plaintiff’s life has been altered, what the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries are, as well as current and future needs.

While presenting damages, it is imperative to highlight the likeability and sympathy as it relates to the plaintiff and their condition. Post-injury portrayals in the form of day-in-the-life videos can be incorporated into the settlement documentary in such a way that the opposing parties are forced to fully realize the pain and suffering the plaintiff is experiencing. Interviews with key family members and life care planners also assist in individualizing the case by associating it with a name and a face; not just a case number with a value assessment. This portrayal of the plaintiff can be the emotional catalyst the case needs to persuade the opposing side to settle. However, when demonstrating the plaintiff’s suffering, the documentary must remain authentic; staying true and accurate to the facts and circumstances.

Gilding the Lily and Other Extremes

Gross or even subtle exaggerations may cause opposing counsel to dismiss the video presentation as deceptive and not take the demand seriously. Overstating or over dramatizing events can reflect poorly on the entire video presentation and cast suspicions about the validity of the case.

On the other side of the pendulum, presentations that lack compassion or understate the emotional impact of the case; may disserve the plaintiff as much as gilding the lily. Broadcast journalists and deposition videographers hawk their wares for producing legal videos, but they often lack the narrative skills and patience of a long-form filmmaker. A newscast-style video presentation may not garner the sympathy or compassion the plaintiff deserves and therefore will not illicit a compulsion to settle the case.

A properly constructed settlement video will balance the factual and emotional facets of the case. The documentary will faithfully portray the extent of the damages without heroics and hold true the emotional expressions of the participants. It will not stage or exaggerate events for the sake of dramatics. Remember, the sole purpose of the settlement documentary is to persuade the opposing parties it is in their best interest to settle the case instead of proceeding to a jury trial. Dabbling in deception may reduce that probability.

Bolster the Case

A cohesive, logical and persuasive settlement video presentation can educate the opposing party of the merits of a case. It also can demonstrate the credibility, preparedness and commitment of plaintiff’s counsel. Settlement videos may be presented as the plaintiff’s opening statement, or it may be submitted to the mediator and opposing counsel several weeks in advance so that they may adequately prepare for settlement. No matter how it is used, settlement documentaries are a highly effective tool. Seeing is believing.

 

Documentary films, as the name implies, are films produced with the intention of being an audio-visual documentation of a concept or event.

A documentary film is intended to be much more like a piece of journalism than a piece of entertainment or expressive art. There is typically a voice-over narrative going on throughout a documentary film with the narrator describing what’s being seen in a businesslike way without any dramatic reading.

Documentary films are often made to more deeply explore a current events or history subject that has remained shrouded in mystery, been controversial, or in the opinion of the film maker misunderstood or underexposed. Documentaries have also been made simply to record an event of personal interest to the film maker.

Biographies, sports and music events, a compilation film of collected footage from government sources, and so on and so forth all may be subjects for a documentary film. Documentary film makers are typically the writers, directors, and producers. Often they may act as cameramen as well.

Documentary films are most often made for TV but in more recent times there have been more of them made as direct-to-video, made-for-video, straight-to-video, or straight-to-DVD formats in which they were never first played on TV or in the theaters but were simply distributed for home-viewing.

Some major motion pictures when released in DVD format also come with bonus DVDs that act as documentary films of the making of the movie. Documentaries also often feature re-enactments of events that could not or were not originally documented on film such as historical events from the year 1776. There have also been “mockumentaries” made, in which a piece of comedy fiction is made but is done up in the same dry and straightforward format of an actual documentary. “This Is Spinal Tap” and “The Gods Must Be Crazy” are two of the most successful mockumentaries ever made.

To put together a quality documentary film, the filmmaker first begins by doing research, even if he knows the subject matter well already. The Main point of a documentary film is to relay facts and information from all angles.

 

What is a documentary film? Well, essentially it is a film that is supposed to document reality. There is a wide variety of documentary films. There are hundreds of historical documentaries, and there have been some very popular political documentaries as of late. Although in my personal opinion you will find many of the late political documentaries have a bias agenda.

For example, Al Gore released an extremely popular documentary called “An Inconvenient Truth” which was about global warming. While many still say that global warming is not absolute truth and that we are merely in a cycle of a small change in the worlds climate, this documentary states it as thought it is a fact rather than a theory. It provides only the evidence that supports the theory. While the documentary is rather interesting, it obviously has a very bias agenda.

Other popular political documentaries are Michael Moore’s films, “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Sicko”. Fahrenheit 9/11 was probably one of the most controversial films of the last decade. It contains outlandish comments about the Bush administration and even referring to the media as “cheerleaders” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Many people supported it, but those that disliked it found it necessary to make a rebuttal documentary of their own entitled “FahrenHYPE 9/11”. The documentary is devoted to try to prove many statements that were made in the Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary as false.

Sicko made its own wave of controversy. It made comments about how poor the American government’s healthcare system really was. I do not believe it made as much of an impact simply because most people are aware that our quality of healthcare is much better than most other countries, it is just the cost that is killing everyone. Michael Moore takes it to another level stating that even some third world countries have better healthcare. I think most everyone knows this is simply untrue. You can simply take a look at the rampant diseases in those areas to determine the truth on the matter.

 

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More and more people

More and more people are creating their own blogs but not many are aware of how to maximize them. One effective method on how to increase exposure to your blog is to visit other blogs and leave your imprint on them. How do you do this? By blog commenting, leaving a well thought of comment in the blogs that you visit. Blog commenting though is also an art. You do not just leave “any” comment, like “Great post!” “Good thoughts.” Bloggers consider generic comments as spam. So, how should you comment? Here are some tips on blog commenting that you should learn: 1. Read the post carefully, before you comment. Your comment will reflect whether you read every word of the post. Sometimes the content of the written post is the opposite of the title. Never comment just by reading the title. You are a spammer if your comment is not in any way related to the article. 2. Take the trouble to know whose blog you are commenting. When you address bloggers by their names, they will surely remember you, and would allow your comments to come in. This is true with moderated blogs and blogs are most of the time moderated. 3. Remember that the blogger is not asking for a critique. If a blogger wanted his work critiqued, then he would have posted it in another venue, i.e. the writing critics circle. A blogger’s usual purpose is only to express himself, so he does not need a grammar police to lecture him on the proper usage of “their” and “there.” Concentrate on the topic presented. Comment not to criticize but to emphasize or delineate. 4. Comment to add more information. Make your commenting a significant process. Do not just say something, “to say something.” Your comment should have substance. What is the topic all about? Can you contribute additional information? If you can, do not do it condescendingly. 5. Leave a well thought of comment. The blogger will surely click on your link to know more about the commenter/commentator who wrote a well thought of comment. Your comment must be about the topic at hand and be substantial. What is the author focusing on? Did the message go through? If it did, do not forget to say so. Do you disagree with the author? If you do, then acknowledge first his opinion, and then explain why you do not agree. If you cannot do this properly and civilly, then do not leave any comment. Move on to a blog/topic that you can do so. Blog commenting is one sure way to advertise your blog. A long, well thought of comment will surely entice the author to get to know you more. Leave those good comments and gain more readers in the process. Do you know that you can achieve higher search rankings with blog commenting? Blog comments can be an effective link building method if you do it right. Among all the link building methods, blog commenting is perhaps the most frowned upon. That is because this method has been blatantly abused by many so-called SEO experts. They use automated software to spam nonsensical comments on blogs. Now the reason why blogs allow comments is to encourage healthy discussions. So comments should be intelligent and relevant to the blog post. Otherwise, it’s considered spam. Using software to post to one thousand innocent blogs with the comments “nice post” is definitely not an acceptable practice. So what then, is an acceptable practice? Blog commenting is acceptable when the comments are posted by human beings. If you are interested in the post, and genuinely have something to share, then it’s okay to post some comments on the blog. In other words, you are indirectly adding value to the websites with your comments. That is acceptable practice. Once your comments are approved, your links will appear on the blog posts. Many webmasters are insistent that the links have the “NoFollow” attribute assigned to them, so they are useless for SEO. Bear in mind that comments are not meant for SEO, advertising, and link building. They are meant for discussions. Due to the amount of spam on these blogs, search engines have no choice but to put in some kind of algorithm to help detect spammy links. But if you are commenting as a human writer, you have nothing to worry about. The search engines always reward content that are written by humans for other human readers. Here are 3 simple steps to get higher approval rates for your blog comments. Step 1: Select only relevant blogs. Step 2: Post intelligent comments. Step 3: Write in a personal style. Step 1: Select only relevant blogs. Don’t post to hundreds of blogs that are irrelevant to your own website. Select only relevant blogs. You can easily get a list of blog URLs from the search engines. Step 2: Post intelligent comments. Please do read the post content before writing any comments. Also, spend some time to see what others have written on the blog post. Whenever possible, try to join in the discussion. Don’t post some kind of off-topic comment. That will just tick people off. Step 3: Write in a personal style. Many blogs are personal websites. So writing in a personal style would be ideal. Your goal here is to make new friends and if possible, build a relationship with the bloggers. On the Internet, you need partners to be successful. So write with the intention of building and growing relationships. You wouldn’t spam a friend’s blog would you? When you follow the tips above, your links will grow naturally in the blogosphere. You will notice your rankings improving gradually in the search engines.
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Solar Heating For In-Ground Swimming Pools – Start Saving on Heating Bills

With growing concerns about money and the environment, many people are looking for ways to reduce their spending while also reducing their negative impact on the planet. This is also true for owners of in-ground swimming pools, many of whom are now turning away from traditional heating methods and embracing solar pool heating to keep their pools warm. With many different types of solar heating options for swimming pools available today, pool owners have a wide variety of solar pool heating systems and products to choose from, which range in price, effectiveness and ease-of-use. By allowing you to harness free energy from the sun, solar heating products for pools provide slashed utility costs as well as the peace of mind that comes with using a green, renewable energy source.

Solar pool blankets and reels for in-ground pools represent one of the most widely used solar pool heating options. In-ground solar pool blankets are covered with thousands of tiny sealed air pockets which act as insulators as well as heat transmitters. As a result, solar blankets for in-ground swimming pools capture heat from the sun and transfer it into the pool water, raising the water temperature by up to 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, the special design of these pool covers greatly reduces evaporation, thereby preventing water and heat loss. Solar pool blankets are available in a variety of thicknesses (usually between 8-mil to 16-mil), each with their own features & length of warranty so there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for your pool and your budget. Although solar swimming pool blankets can be large and somewhat cumbersome to handle, there are many different models of in-ground solar pool reels available that make using solar blankets far easier. Together, in-ground solar pool blankets and reels provide a very popular way to use solar energy to raise the temperature of pool water and to extend the swimming season.

For those who would like an alternative to solar pool blankets and reels for in-ground pools, there are many other options to choose from, including solar sun rings. Solar sun rings consist of two layers of UV resistant vinyl. The top clear layer holds insulating air and also serves to focus sunlight on the bottom blue layer. The blue layer absorbs approximately half of the sunlight, converting it into heat energy. Several solar sun rings are used together and are set on the surface of the pool’s water. The rings join together to create an insulating blanket which covers 70 to 80 percent of the water’s surface. By leaving 20 to 30 percent of the surface uncovered, solar rings still allow sunlight to directly reach some of the water, which keeps the water healthier and helps to prevent the growth of algae. Many pool owners prefer using solar sun rings over solar pool blankets and reels for in-ground pools as they are easy for one person to handle, they are highly efficient and they feature a safe design which prevents accidental entrapment.

In addition to sun rings and in-ground solar pool blankets and reels, you can also use solar pills and sun pool domes to provide solar heating for your swimming pool. Solar pills are designed to be placed in the pump basket and release a swimmer-friendly compound which spreads across the surface of the pool, forming an invisible shield which inhibits heat evaporation. Solar pills work for 24 hours per day and last for up to 30 days. However, it’s important to note that while solar pills provide ultimate convenience, they are only about 60 percent as effective as in-ground solar pool blankets.

Sun pool domes provide another great way to use the sun’s energy as a heating source for your swimming pool. Typically constructed from vinyl and aluminum, sun pool domes provide a complete enclosure for your swimming pool, preventing heat loss and also helping to keep your pool clean. Although the initial assembly will take some time, sun pool domes are designed to be easily set up and taken down and will keep your pool warm and well-protected throughout the season with very little work on your part once installed. Sun pool domes and all of the other above solar pool heating options can be used in tandem with an electric or gas pool heater or a heat pump. However, they can also be used on their own, providing very green options for heating your pool.

If you are truly serious about going green with regards to heating your in-ground swimming pool, there are high quality solar pool heating systems available that you may wish to consider. For example, the SunGrabber in-ground solar pool heating system uses solar panels which are designed to be mounted either on the roof of your house, on a rack or on the ground. Lightweight and easy to winterize, the SunGrabber system provides maximum heat transfer and comes with a 10 year warranty. The Hi-Deluxe solar pool heating system is also an excellent option. Featuring a special tube-on-fin design, this system makes use of 70 to 94 percent of the available solar energy, allowing for outstanding performance and optimal solar heating results.

 

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Choose Your Advocates Wisely – Getting the Best For Your Child With Special Needs

Imagine. After months of waiting and anticipation the moment has finally arrived! Your beautiful baby enters the world and life is the fullest it has ever been! As the nurse gently places your newborn in your arms she slips a book into your hands. “This is your child’s manual,” she explains, “Be sure to read it as soon as possible. Oh, and pay close attention to the section regarding special needs.”

A crazy scenario, I know. But at times I wish that I had had that manual! Navigating the parenting role is tricky at the best of times, but, finding your way with a child that has special needs is even more demanding and difficult. This is a path that may not have been traveled by family and friends. Loneliness, disappointment, frustration and a sense of failure can make the journey miserable. The challenges can become overwhelming once your child reaches school age. It is at that time that you enter a whole world of professionals that will have your precious child for 6 hours out of the day! It is a world that is a culture unto itself with its own language and its own set of rules. You may feel like an outsider. You may feel that you need help. You may need someone to act as an interpreter in this new land.

You begin the investigation…look on the Internet and the Yellow pages…..can someone out there help me do the best for my child in school? Before you choose the person who will be your guide and advocate for your child, you must do some homework; for the sake of your child and for your own sanity. There are many people who call themselves advocates. But, it is up to you, the parent to make an informed decision as to whether the person is truly qualified to advocate for a student with special needs and whether this person is a “good fit” with you, your child and your goals. Take the time to do your research; the decision you make can literally affect your own and your child’s life in ways that you never dreamed possible. The person that you choose will impact your relationship with school personnel, your spouse, your child and the members of your family. The advocate will have a direct effect on your marriage, your personal relationships and your family. You are inviting someone to enter into your world. Be very careful to whom you give this precious gift.

What role can an advocate play?
o Assist parents in finding supports and resources that are available
o Model effective relationship building and problem solving skills
o Listen to all parties in a genuine and nonjudgmental manner;
o Clarify issues
o Suggest options and possible solutions
o Document meetings or help parents to understand documents and assessments
o Locate and provide information
o Speak on the parent/child’s behalf when they cannot speak for themselves
o Help the family with written correspondence, documentation or phone calls
o Attend meetings
o Follow up on decisions made and actions taken

The following are a few points to ponder before deciding who you will choose:

Advocates should have the qualifications to be able to speak with integrity and knowledge about exceptionalities in learning. A high level of qualification brings a level of respect to the table. Humans are far more likely to listen to someone who has “walked in their shoes” and has experience in education and special needs. It is probably safe to say, that very few people are willing to modify their own expertise and professional methods based on the ideas and opinions of someone who has little or no experience and credentials in the field. As an educator, sitting in meetings with someone who has no special education qualifications and have them point out your deficiencies is a waste of time and money. Any parent who has experienced being lectured on the best methods of raising children by a person who has no children, may know how frustrating this can be. Teachers are more likely to be open to the opinions and suggestions of someone who is at least qualified to make such statements. It makes sense that if you want to cultivate the best education for your child, you would expect an advocate that had the special education credentials and experience that would enhance your role as parent. Maintaining professional development by attending conferences, keeping up to date on current policy documents and procedures are important qualifications to have. Special education is a constantly evolving science and an advocate must be up to date. A solid knowledge of local resources, services providers and community programs facilitates problem solving. It is equally important that the advocate you choose have the interpersonal skills necessary to work collaboratively with others to create solutions. As a parent, expect the person that you hire to be qualified to help you to work with the school.

Advocates should know your child.

People who are chosen to represent your child need to read assessments, report cards, interact and spend time with the child in order to really know who they are working for. Then the role of advocacy is authentic and not a matter of fighting for a cause or for an ego boost. When an advocate knows the parent and the child well, he or she can help to uncover the common ground between school and home. The advocate should be able to explain how your child’s disability may impact their learning and then work with you to help prioritize your child’s needs. A wise advocate is someone who will look for solutions and not blame. Advocates should see the child in the context of his classroom. A child’s program on paper can never tell the whole story. There is no way that a teacher can put into words all of the supports, plans, visuals, tools and strategies that are employed to make the child successful. The child’s world tells far more than any documentation could ever describe. It is important to note that entering a classroom is opening a “sacred trust.” Just as you would not let someone that you do not trust into your home, teachers must be wary to whom they open their classrooms. If someone is entering the room to “observe” and then report back to the parent all of the things that they think are being done incorrectly and to “build a case” against the school, the relationship has then been destroyed. Would you want someone coming into your home to “observe and critique” you as you carry out the daily functions of parenthood?

Advocates should be objective and solution minded

While interviewing an advocate, listen carefully for language that promotes solutions rather than vengeance. The advocate’s personal experience with a school district, board, or previous personal history has no place in the discussion. This is about YOUR child. The advocate may utilize background knowledge of the people and resources to facilitate a workable plan for your child. In order to secure a positive proactive response from the people that are in relationship with your child, the advocate is best to be respectful, courteous, and considerate and open minded. Of course, this is true of every member of a team.

Can the advocate help your child access the best education possible without putting undue stress on the resources and personnel involved? Sometimes in the hopes of helping a parent, promises are made that are overly taxing on a personal or financial level…the school must educate all students, not just yours. Parents may disagree and say that it is really their child that they care about. While that is very true, schools cannot operate on this premise. Educational institutions have a duty to look after the collective while at the same time ensuring that each individual receives what is needed. It is not fair to assume that school staff should take from one child in order to provide for another. Imagine someone suggesting that a parent take away resources from one of their children in order to give to another. There are solutions that can work for everyone. We need to be searching for them as a team.

Advocates should be facilitators not dictators.

Listen and observe an advocate carefully. Are they talking as of they are going into battle? Using words like “them” and “us?” Watch for an ego that is using your child to feed itself! Egos look out for egos, not children. Red flags should wave wildly when an advocate sees only negatives in a child’s education, or when promises of specific outcomes for your child are made. An advocate that speaks with an “I’ll show them,” attitude is not going to effectively negotiate a plan that makes everyone want to do their part. Problems are not solved that way. Children do not win in these scenarios.

Humans need to be acknowledged for the effort that they invest; we need to feel supported and respected. We are more open to solutions when we are not feeling defensive. No person, neither educator nor parent, should leave a discussion feeling that they have been ignored, rejected or discounted if they were genuinely promoting a child’s needs and not their own. When the disagreement lowers itself to the level of acting like children who are demanding that everyone play by their rules, the child with special needs is no longer the center of the discussion. An advocate is worth their weight in gold when they can objectively look at a situation without an emotional charge and create solutions that work for the child.

Each member of a team has a perspective on how to best help a child: a principal, community agency member, speech pathologist, teacher and a parent have ideas that stem from their training and experience. A skilled advocate is able to listen to each member’s ideas and see solutions that draw on the strengths of each person at the table.

Ultimatums, threats and accusations drive a wedge between parents and teachers that is extremely damaging to the child because the message that the parent is giving is that they trust this person more than the teacher.

The End of the Road

As a parent, it can be intensely frustrating when you feel that a system is failing your child. At times, the anger and resentment can be too much to bear. It is easy to fall into the trap of vengeance and revenge. Going to the press or calling a lawyer should never be done without serious thought of the repercussions. These actions should never be born from an emotional reaction. The cost will be high. Before taking any action, the question that should be front and center is: “How will this benefit the child? How could this hurt the child?” It is all too easy to get caught up in the feeling of retribution. When we feel helpless it is almost intoxicating to gain a sense of power. We need to be honest with ourselves about what is driving our course of action. Before taking such steps, consider that your child may have many years in school ahead of him. Your child’s siblings may have many years in the educational system. The damage caused by legal action and/or public humiliation cannot help but affect your relationships with the very people that you will rely on to give your children the best. I am speaking of the deep- seated hurt, mistrust and fear that sinks into the soul of anyone that has been affected by litigation and bad press. Public humiliation and bad press may make a school system give in to your demands but it does nothing to draw out the best of any human being or relationship.

This is not to say the legal action is not necessary at times. But, it is a LAST resort. Advocates may or may not be affiliated with an attorney but they are not lawyers and they should not be giving legal advice.

 

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Collapsed Glass in Thermopane Windows

Thermopane or Dual paned windows consist of two panels of glass, separated by a spacer bar and sealed together. Some windows were manufactured with Argon gas injected into the cavity between the glass panels to increase energy efficiency. Argon was used because of its higher insulating qualities over ambient air. In some situations the Argon gas will dissipate out of the window cavity causing the window cavity to have a partial negative pressure or vacuum.

Other Causes of Collapsed Glass

There are other possible causes of a collapsed glass window. During the manufacturing of large thermopane units, one panel of glass is laid over top the other panel, separated by the spacer bar, and then are sealed together. The top panel of larger thermopane units will naturally flex downward in the center due to its weight, as it is sealed into the thermopane. The result is less pressure or gas on the inside of the window cavity, which can lead to a Collapsed glass condition after it is installed and cooled. Ideally, after the large unit has been manufactured, it would be placed upright and briefly vented with a breather tube and resealed to allow the cavity to equalize. The large thermopane that is not equalized will have a lower pressure within the window cavity after it is stood up.

Some smaller thermopane glass units are manufactured with single strength glass (1/16″). This glass can, because of its weakness, flex inward in extreme cold conditions, reducing the insulating qualities of the window.

Lower pressure inside a glass cavity is a significant issue in colder climates, because the gas (air) within a collapsed window cavity has a partial vacuum (low pressure) which contracts, and causes the two panels of glass to flex inward.

Factors that Contribute to Collapsed Glass

 

  • If the Argon placed inside the thermopane unit has dissipated through the seal.
  • If the spacer bar (the visible, in most cases silver, bar that runs around the perimeter of the thermopane unit) is a narrow type as it was constructed, and leaves very little room for the glass to flex before the glass touches.
  • If the glass in the unit is single strength (1/16″) which is weaker and easier to flex.
  • If the temperature decreases causing the air left inside the window cavity to contract further, pulling the two panels of glass inward.
  • If the thermopane consist of large panels of glass where the top panel of glass flexes downward during construction and is sealed in that position, leaving less air in the window cavity.

 

How to know if you have Collapsed Glass

The telltale sign of Collapsed glass is a faint rainbow colored spot in the center of the window (this is where the glass panels are touching), and in some cases an oval or round condensation spot in the center of the window on the inside of the home. The homeowner may think that because the oval condensation spot disappears during warmer temperatures, the problem may have resolved itself, but that is not the case. The condition will probably recur and the heat loss through the glass will resume.

Problems associated with Collapsed Glass

A windows R-value is mostly determined by the amount of space inside the window’s cavity. When the space between the glass is reduced, the insulating quality (R-value) of the thermopane unit is reduced. Collapsed Glass causes the two panels of glass to flex in, reducing the space inside the window’s cavity, which reduces the insulating qualities of the window. This extreme flexing of the glass panels can also lead to premature seal failure, which will then require thermopane replacement. In some cases the glass can be flexed so forcibly together that one or both panels will shatter.

Repair Collapsed Glass

Collapsed Glass can be repaired. Using specialized tools a technician can penetrate the glass, which will relieve the negative pressure and equalize the window cavity with the outside environment. A clear seal is then placed over the hole to re-seal the window. This will restore the insulating qualities of the window minus the original argon. If the collapsed glass occurs in a tempered glass window (patio door or other large units where tempering is required) the glass can’t be drilled as it can in an annealed unit (regular thermopane). These tempered glass units can be removed from the window frame allowing the procedure to be accomplished by penetrating the seal and spacer, allowing ambient air in to equalize the window cavity, and then re-sealing the unit.

 

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Different Types of Card Games

A Gaming Computer, also known as gaming PC, is a personal computer that is capable of playing computationally and graphically demanding video games. They are very similar to conventional computers with the exception that these machines are fitted with performance-oriented video card and other specifications. This type of computers can be easily bought in the market but at a much higher price compared to the conventional computers. Since most of the gamers are both cost and performance conscious, most of them opt to build their own gaming computer than buying a built-in gaming computer.

Building your own custom gaming computer simply means you buy all your computer components separately and piece them up together to guild your gaming PC. With this method you can achieve a fast and cost-effective gaming computer suited to your own gaming needs. Besides saving a lot of money and having an efficient machine, building your own gaming computer can also be a lot of fun.

How to choose your components?

Perhaps the biggest challenge one can face when building their own gaming computer is choosing the right components for your needs. So without further ado, here is a simple guide in order to help you in building your own gaming computer.

1. Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is one of the most important core components in all computer systems. The CPU is a portion in the system that carries out the instructions of a computer program. In simple terms it could describe as the brains of the computer. The performance of your games and other applications will depend on this microprocessor.

Choosing the best Central Processing Unit (CPU) for your gaming computer can be a hard decision to make. Picking the latest, fastest, or most expensive processor on the market won’t always result in the right CPU for your particular system. Some processors are designed to work with a certain or specific motherboards, thus the CPU type limits the motherboard type you can use.

For a gaming computer, you will really need a powerful CPU for it to performing superbly. Luckily these CPUs are supplied by Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) at an affordable price.

Intel has the Core i7 and Core i5 processor models. Currently these models are the most popular ones used for gaming purposes, which are mostly recommended for gaming computers.

AMD, on the other hand, has the Athlon and Phenom series. If you want to go AMD, you can try the most recommended Phenom X4 series.

2. Motherboard

The motherboard is the hub of the computer system. It is where all other components are connected to. If we consider the CPU as the brain of the computer system, then the motherboard is the central nervous system. Thus buying the best motherboard is a good investment.

After choosing your CPU, next you need to consider choosing your motherboard for your gaming computer. When selecting a motherboard, you should remember three things.

First, a motherboard will generally support one type of processor only. Different CPUs have different connectors that physically vary with one another, Make sure that your CPU plug is suitable to your mother board connector.

Second, motherboards have a certain speed limitation depending on the processor model. Maximum processor speed allowed by the motherboard will be quoted in the motherboard specifications. Before buying, check whether your selected motherboard can support your chosen CPU.

Third, motherboards are the ones who can dictate the type and amount of RAM you can have. In a gaming computer, you would want to have either DDR SDRAM or RDRAM which is at least 1G worth. So ensure that your motherboard can support this type and amount of memory.

Here are some examples of well-known motherboards manufacturers where you can browse for your perfect gaming motherboard: ASUS, ABIT, MSI, XFX, EVGA, Intel, and Gigabyte.

3. Hard Drive

The hard drive is the computer component responsible for storing your files and programs. When buying a hard drive for your gaming computer, consider these three main features: speed, size, and the type of interface.

[Speed] Basically the faster the hard drive spins the fast you are able to access and transfer your data. Currently, the best hard drives in the market these days can have a speed around 7200rpm (rounds per minute). In a gaming computer, you don’t want anything less than this; else it will cause delays between reading and writing data.

Faster hard drives that reach speeds of 10,000rpm and 15,000rpm are available in the market at a higher price. For your gaming computer, a 7200rpm hard drive is already enough for but if you can shell out more money, then you can opt for these faster hard drives.

[Size] Hard drives come in different sizes, which can range from 80GB to 500GB and more. For your gaming computer, it is always recommended that you purchase the largest hard drive you can afford. This will allow you to store lots and lots of software and data (including games).

[Interface] The interface of the hard drive is responsible for managing the exchange of data between a computer and the hard drive. Currently, the most commonly used hard drive interface used today is Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA); which comes in two forms, the original Parallel ATA (PATA) and the newer and faster Serial ATA (SATA).

There’s also the expensive Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) which are used primarily for high-end workstation computer. For you gaming computer, it is sufficient enough to have the SATA if your motherboard can support it.

4. Video Card

Choosing the right video card that is supported by both your CPU and motherboard is a very important and tough decision to make. The gaming video card you choose will be responsible for producing the dazzling 3D graphics and effects seen in the latest computer games. A better graphics card can deliver a better 3D gaming experience, so the best and affordable video card should be bought for you gaming computer.

The graphic processing unit (GPU) can be connected to your motherboard through AGP or PCI Express slot. For you gaming computer, it is recommended that you use a graphics card connected through a PCI Express slot on your motherboard.

The speed and efficiency of the GPU should not be the only thing that counts when buying your video card. You should also consider the advance 3D rendering effects such as anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, bump-mapping, pixel shaders and much more. For your gaming computer, consider a video card that can support such latest 3D rendering techniques in the software world.

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Different Nike Jordan Shoes

Jordan Shoes are highly advanced shoes and they were specially crafted for excellent basketball players. These shoes are dedicated to the king of basketball, Michael Jordan. Below mentioned is a list of some top Jordan shoes.

Jordan I – Alpha

These shoes are available in colors of white, black and university blue. These shoes are basically plain. Peter Moore designed these shoes in the year 1985. Michael Jordan wore these shoes during his basketball games and every time he wore these shoes, he was fined. The fine at that time was $ 5000 for every game when he wore the black/red combination since it was against the rules. White shoes were the only shoes which were allowed.

Jordan XXI

The basic colors were white and metallic silver. Nike introduced these shoes in the year 2006 for about $ 175. The credit of designing these shoes goes to Dwayne Edwards. The shoes were made of plastic mesh in the right side. They looked similar to Jordan V. The silver and white color lends a neat look to the shoe.

Jordan XXIII- Titanium

The colors of these shoes were University blue, white and titanium. The price range was from $ 230. The US had only 23 Jordan Dealerships at that time.

Jordan XXII- PE

White, Deep forest, gold and metallic silver were the colors of these shoes. They entered the market in the year 2007 and if you had to buy them, you had to shell out $ 150 and these shoes were also specially designed by Dwayne Edwards. The next PE edition entered the market later

Seattle Supersonics

The Deep forest colors, gold, white and metallic silver were the colors of this series of shoes.

These shoes entered the market in the year 2007 and you had to shell out $ 150, if you had to own a pair of these shoes. The shoes were specially designed for six teams. Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, Dallas and Detroit.

Jordan IV- Retro

The military blue and white were the common colors of the Jordan IV – Retro.

During the year 1989, these shoes made a name in the fashion world. Tinker Hatfield was credited for designing these shoes. The Jordan IV- Retro was sold at $ 115.

Jordan XIV

The colors of these shoes were white, black and red. There were 7 Jordan symbols on every shoe. That means there were 14 Jordan symbols on these shoes.

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Mountain Bike Shoes – Comparing Shoe Types

People who want to expedition into the game of mountain biking could find it hard to grasp where to start, apropos buying their first mountain bikes. They’ll also require some integral mountain cycling accessories, for example a sturdy pair of mountain bike shoes, before they can start riding.

For a good biking experience, a biker wants to select the right sort of footwear.

The choice relies on the sort of pedals the mountain bike has, as well as the sort of biking the rider wants to do. Toe-cap type pedals, which are an earlier sort of bike pedal, have now been eclipsed by the more reliable cleat-type pedal. A mountain bicycle shoe has to be designed expressly to fit with a bike pedal. It also has to be comfy and durable, as well as have a sturdy sole to take the punishment of pedaling. The selection of bike shoes should also take the terrain in consideration.

Comparing Different Shoe Types

The types of cycling shoes, aside from mountain biking shoes, include road racing, spinning, touring, and off-road. Some shoes have very smooth and rigid soles, which are curved near the toe to optimize the foot’s force. This, and breathability and overall shoe weight, are also needed for trail bicycle riding. Some may choose mountain biking shoes that offer tread for traction, and recessed cleats for the rider to in a position to walk and bike efficiently. The cleat system for mountain bicycle shoes is smaller than road cleats, and heavier and thicker than spinning shoes, sacrificing some comfort to be in a position to survive the grueling conditions of mountain cycling.

Shoe Materials

Cycling shoe soles are possibly the most major part of the structure of mountain cycling shoes, as these ‘transmit’ the force from a biker’s lower body into the legs, and in turn, into the bike pedals. These are divided into many kinds of different shoes, including injection-mold plastic soled shoes, carbon fiber and plastic composite soled shoes, fiberglass and plastic soled shoes, and 100-percent carbon fiber soled shoes. The more keenly priced shoes intended for beginners have soles usually made from injected and molded plastic, while midlevel footwear often has composite materials, and the most expensive mountain bicycle shoes from top of the range makers have carbon fiber soles. Weight and cost also go hand in hand, as high-priced carbon soled shoes average about 650 grams, and the cheapest bike shoes can weigh around nine hundred grams.

Aside from the shoe’s uppers, other aspects to think about when choosing mountain biking shoes are the adaptability, or ‘flex,’ of the shoe sole. Some shoes are engineered to permit some flex in the shoe’s toe portion, which is beyond the cleat’s pedal mount. This also permits the user to climb hurdles, or simply walk, while carrying their mountain bike over particularly coarse terrain. Some of the more high-level biking shoes have awfully tiny frontal flexibility.

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How To Install Replacement Windows In Your Home

Installing replacement windows in your home isn’t an overcomplicated task to accomplish but it should be given a reasonable amount of time and will require some skill to complete to a reasonable standard. Once you’ve read a little about what’s involved in a full home replacement you should be good to go. Many families will pay several thousand dollars for the installing of their windows; however you will usually be able to do it yourself for as little as around $300 in total, of course this will vary depending on the type and size of the window you’re going to be installing. Bay and bow window configurations are more expensive to install than most others as you would expect, this is mainly due to their size.

There are 4 main steps in the replacement window process and they are:

 

  1. Gathering your tools and materials together
  2. Measuring correctly for the replacement window
  3. Removing the old windows from the window frame
  4. Installing the new window units into the frame

 

Materials

Usually it will take you around 4 hours to replace a large window in full and of course you are going to need several tools to enable you to do the job. Most people have these tools lying around the home and including things like a hammer, screwdriver, chisel, knife, tape measure, square, wood shims, wood putty, caulking tubes, sandpaper, expanding foam and a pry bar. Once you have all of your tools gathered together you will be able to move onto measuring for the installation.

Measuring Up

It doesn’t matter what type of window you are using the measuring essentials are basically the same from unit to unit. It’s important that this is done right because everything else you do will stem from this.

When you’re undertaking the measuring process you will need to obtain 6 measurements in total, 3 along the horizontal aspect and 3 along the vertical aspect. The height and the width measurements are taken from the window jamb to the window jamb, this basically refers to the inside edge of the window frame. It’s important that along both axis that 3 measurements are taken, one to the left, middle and right when measuring the height and one to the top, middle and bottom when taking measurements for the height. You may see that these measurements are not all the same, if this is the case then you will need to take the smallest height and the smallest width measurement, these will be the dimensions for your new window.

Removing

The first thing to be removed will be the window stops, these are the things which hold the window in place within the frame. On older windows it may just be a case of unscrewing them or using a utility knife to cut the edges away and pull them out. You should try not to damage the window stops if possible as these can be reused and save you a little bit of extra money.

The next step should be fairly straightforward now that the window stops have been removed, you will need to remove the window sashes or the window panel, depending on the type of window which is currently installed. Because the stops hold the window in place the sash or pane should just lift out with very little effort.

Finally, you should take out any parting beads to allow you to remove the final part of the window sash, if it’s a casement window you’re removing you will often not have a

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