Archive for February, 2011

Rest Assured With Your Own Tap Water Filter

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Tap Water has become dangerous today — this is the result of the numerous studies done by governmental and press agencies recently because of drugs in major cities public water supplies. Drugs present include radiation or chemotherapy prescriptions, sex hormones, painkillers, antibiotics and others. The best defense is to install your own tap Water Purifier or tap Water Filter system.

There are 41 million Americans who are drinking tap water that was found to contain drugs. Many of them don’t even know it. That was just from the sampling taken in the studies. Groundwater and well sources could be contaminated as more livestock steroids and pesticides are used in farming operations. Shampoos, soap and cleaning products are washing down into all the drains and many leftover prescriptions get flushed down the toilets.
 
Studies have shown evolutionary changes in fish and wildlife over the past several years; yet, no actions have been taken to remove drugs in the public water supplies (recycling sewage treatment water.) With the antibiotics in the public water supplies, it is feared that new strains of bacteria will become super viruses that are immune to the present antibiotics. By installing a home water filtration system or tap water filter or purifier, you can make sure your family is safe from contaminants.
 
You may think bottled water is safe but think again. Ask the people in New York. In fact, a new brand of bottled water prides itself on the novelty of being tap water from the large city. But New York’s water supply contained antibiotics, heart medicine, estrogen, tranquilizers and mood stabilizers. Bottled water is not regulated and may come from taps. There is no guarantee those taps have a tap water filter or any kind of tap water purifier when bottled water is made.
 
There are no treatment plants for removing drugs from public water supplies that are recycling sewage treatment water. Home water filtration systems like a reverse osmosis system or tap water purifier are a safe way to remove the drugs from their home drinking water, according to the EPA. There is no way to purify drugs in the public water supplies at this time, as it would be too costly.
 
There are tap water filter systems that attach to your faucet, tap water purifier filters that attach to drinking bottles, where you can make your own bottled water.  These are safe methods for removal of drugs in tap water. People are installing whole-house water filtration systems that purify water for showers and hand and clothing washing.
 
In conclusion, the only way your drinking water will be safe from drugs, chemicals and contaminants is by installing your own tap water filter or tap water purifier. They are very affordable and there is expert help available to consult you on your needs.

Christy

Renewable Energy

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Renewable energy

 

Renewable energy sources worldwide at the end of 2006.

Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat — which are renewable (naturally replenished). In 2006, about 18% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, such as wood-burning.Hydroelectricity was the next largest renewable source, providing 3% (15% of global electricity generaiton), followed by solar hot water /heating, which contributed 1.3%. Modern technologies, such as geothermal energy, wind power, solar power and ocean energy together provided some 0.8% of final energy consumption.

Climate change concerns coupled with high oil prices, peak oil and increasing government support are driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization.European Union leaders reached an agreement in principle in March 2007 that 20 percent of their nations’ energy should be produced from renewable fuels by 2020, as part of its drive to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, blamed in part for global warming. Investment capital flowing into renewable energy climbed from $80 billion in 2005 to a record $100 billion in 2006.

In responce to the G8’s call on the IEA for “guidance on how to achieve a clean, clever and competitive energy future”, the IEA reported that the replacement of current technology with renewable energy could help reduce CO2 emmisions by 50% by 2050, which they claim is of crucial importance because current policies are not sustainable.

Wind power is growing at the rate of 30 percent annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of over 100 GW, and is widely used in several European countries and the United States. The manufacturing output of the photovoltaics industry reached more than 2,000 MW in 2006, and photovoltaic (PV) power stations are particularly popular in Germany. Solar thermal power stations operate in the USA and Spain, and the largest of these is the 354 MW SEGS power plant in the Mojave Desert. The world’s largest geothermal power installation is The Gevsers in California, with a rated capacity of 750 MW. Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world, involving production of ethanol fuel from sugar cane, and ethanol now provides 18 percent of the country’s automotive fuel. Ethanol fuel is also widely available in the USA.

While there are many large-scale renewable energy projects and production, renewable technologies are also suited to small off-grid applications, sometimes in rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development. Kenya has the world’s highest household solar ownership rate with roughly 30,000 small (20–100 watt) solar power systems sold per year.

Some renewable energy technologies are criticised for being intermittent or unsightly, yet the market is growing for many forms of renewable energy.

Main renewable energy technologies

Three energy sources

The majority of renewable energy technologies are directly or indirectly powered by the sun. The Earth-Atmosphere system is in equilibrium such that heat radiation into space is equal to incoming solar radiation, the resulting level of energy within the Earth-Atmosphere system can roughly be described as the Earth’s “climate.” The hydrosphere (water) absorbs a major fraction of the incoming radiation. Most radiation is absorbed at low latitudes around the equator, but this energy is dissipated around the globe in the form of winds and ocean currents. Wave motion may play a role in the process of transferring mechanical energy between the atmosphere and the ocean through wind stress. Solar energy is also responsible for the distribution of precipitation which is tapped by hydroelectric projects, and for the growth of plants used to create biofuels.

Renewable energy flows involve natural phenomena such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, as the International Energy Agency explains:

“Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. In its various forms, it derives directly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, ocean, hydropower, biomass, geothermal resources, and biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources.”

Each of these sources has unique characteristics which influence how and where they are used.

Wind power

 Vestas V80 wind turbines

Airflows can be used to run wind turbines. Modern wind turbines range from around 600 kW to 5 MW of rated power, although turbines with rated output of 1.5–3 MW have become the most common for commercial use; the power output of a turbine is a function of the cube of the wind speed, so as wind speed increases, power output increases dramatically. Areas where winds are stronger and more constant, such as offshore and high altitude sites, are preferred locations for wind farms.

Since wind speed is not constant, a wind farm’s annual energy production is never as much as the sum of the generator nameplate ratings multiplied by the total hours in a year. The ratio of actual productivity in a year to this theoretical maximum is called the capacity factor. Typical capacity factors are 20-40%, with values at the upper end of the range in particularly favourable sites. For example, a 1 megawatt turbine with a capacity factor of 35% will not produce 8,760 megawatt-hours in a year, but only 0.35×24x365 = 3,066 MWh, averaging to 0.35 MW. Online data is available for some locations and the capacity factor can be calculated from the yearly output.

Globally, the long-term technical potential of wind energy is believed to be five times total current global energy production, or 40 times current electricity demand. This could require large amounts of land to be used for wind turbines, particularly in areas of higher wind resources. Offshore resources experience mean wind speeds of ~90% greater than that of land, so offshore resources could contribute substantially more energy. This number could also increase with higher altitude ground-based or airborne wind turbines.

Wind power is renewable and produces no greenhouse gases during operation, such as carbon dioxdie and methane.

Water power

Energy in water (in the form of kinetic energy, temperature differences or salinity gradients) can be harnessed and used. Since water is about 800 times denser than air, even a slow flowing stream of water, or moderate sea swell, can yield considerable amounts of energy.

 

One of 3 PELAMIS P-750 Ocean Wave Power engines in the harbour of Peniche/ Portugal.

There are many forms of water energy:

·         Hydroelectric energy is a term usually reserved for large-scale hydroelectric dams. Examples are the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State and the Akosombo Dam in Ghana.

·         Micro hydro systems are hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of power. They are often used in water rich areas as a Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS). There are many of these installations around the world, including several delivering around 50 kW in the Solomon Islands.

·         Damless hydro systems derive kinetic energy from rivers and oceans without using a dam.

·         Ocean energy  describes all the technologies to harness energy from the ocean and the sea:

o   Marine current power. Similar to tidal stream power, uses the kinetic energy of marine currents

o   Ocean thermal energy  conversion (OTEC) uses the temperature difference between the warmer surface of the ocean and the colder lower recesses. To this end, it employs a cyclic heat engine. OTEC has not been field-tested on a large scale.

o   Tidal power captures energy from the tides. Two different principles for generating energy from the tides are used at the moment:

o   Tidal motion in the vertical direction — Tides come in, raise water levels in a basin, and tides roll out. Around low tide, the water in the basin is discharged through a turbine, exploiting the stored potential energy.

o   Tidal motion in the horizontal direction — Or tidal stream power. Using tidal stream generators, like wind turbines but then in a tidal stream. Due to the high density of water, about eight-hundred times the density of air, tidal currents can have a lot of kinetic energy. Several commercial prototypes have been build, and more are in development.

·         Wave power  uses the energy in waves. Wave power machines usually take the form of floating or neutrally buoyant structures which move relative to one another or to a fixed point. Wave power has now reached commercialization.

·         Saline gradient power,  or osmotic power, is the energy retrieved from the difference in the salt concentration between seawater and river water. Reverse electrodialysis (RED), and Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is in research and testing phase.

·         Deep lake water cooling,  although not technically an energy generation method, can save a lot of energy in summer. It uses submerged pipes as a heat sink for climate control systems. Lake-bottom water is a year-round local constant of about 4 °C.

Solar energy use

 

Monocrystalline solar cell

In this context, “solar energy” refers to energy that is collected from sunlight. Solar energy can be applied in many ways, including to:

•           Generate electricity by heating trapped air which rotates turbines in a Solar updraft tower.

•           Generate electricity in geosynchronous orbit using solar power satellites.

•           Generate electricity using photovoltaic solar cells.

•           Generate electricity using concentrated solar power.

•           Generate hydrogen using photoelectrochemical cells.

•           Heat and cool air through use of solar chimneys.

•           Heat buildings, directly, through passive solar building design.

•           Heat foodstuffs, through solar ovens.

•           Heat water or air for domestic hot water and space heating needs using solar-thermal panels.

•           Solar air conditioning

Biofuel

Plants use photosynthesis to grow and produce biomass. Also known as biomatter, biomass can be used directly as fuel or to produce liquid biofuel. Agriculturally produced biomass fuels, such as biodiesel, ethanol and bagasse (often a by-product of sugar cane cultivation) can be burned in internal combustion engines or boilers. Typically biofuel is burned to release its stored chemical energy. Research into more efficient methods of converting biofuels and other fuels into electricity utilizing fuel cells is an area of very active work.

Liquid biofuel

 

Information on pump, California.

Liquid biofuel is usually either a bioalcohol such as ethanol fuel or a bio-oil such as biodiesel and straight vegetable oil. Biodiesel can be used in modern diesel vehicles with little or no modification to the engine and can be made from waste and virgin vegetable and animal oil and fats (lipids). Virgin vegetable oils can be used in modified diesel engines. In fact the Diesel engine was originally designed to run on vegetable oil rather than fossil fuel. A major benefit of biodiesel is lower emissions. The use of biodiesel reduces emission of carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons by 20 to 40%.

In some areas corn, cornstalks, sugarbeets, sugar cane, and switchgrasses are grown specifically to produce ethanol (also known as grain alcohol) a liquid which can be used in internal combustion engines and fuel cells. Ethanol is being phased into the current energy infrastructure. E85 is a fuel composed of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline that is sold to consumers. Biobutanol is being developed as an alternative to bioethanol. There is growing international criticism about biofuels from food crops with respect to issues such as food security, environmental impacts (deforestation) and energy balance.

Solid biomass

 

Sugar cane  residue can be used as a biofuel

Solid biomass is mostly commonly usually used directly as a combustible fuel, producing 10-20 MJ/kg of heat.

Its forms and sources include wood fuel,  the biogenic portion of municipal solid waste, or the unused portion of field crops. Field crops may or may not be grown intentionally as an energy crop,  and the remaining plant byproduct used as a fuel. Most types of biomass contain energy. Even cow manure still contains two-thirds of the original energy consumed by the cow. Energy harvesting via a bioreactor is a cost-effective solution to the waste disposal issues faced by the dairy farmer, and can produce enough biogas to run a farm.

With current technology, it is not ideally suited for use as a transportation fuel. Most transportation vehicles require power sources with high power density, such as that provided by internal combustion engines. These engines generally require clean burning fuels, which are generally in liquid form, and to a lesser extent, compressed gaseous phase. Liquids are more portable because they have high energy density, and they can be pumped, which makes handling easier. This is why most transportation fuels are liquids.

Non-transportation applications can usually tolerate the low power-density of external combustion engines, that can run directly on less-expensive solid biomass fuel, for combined heat and power. One type of biomass is wood, which has been used for millennia in varying quantities, and more recently is finding increased use. Two billion people currently cook every day, and heat their homes in the winter by burning biomass, which is a major contributor to man-made climate change global warming. The black soot that is being carried from Asia to polar ice caps is causing them to melt faster in the summer. In the 19th century, wood-fired steam engines were common, contributing significantly to industrial revolution unhealthy air pollution. Coal is a form of biomass that has been compressed over millennia to produce a non-renewable, highly-polluting fossil fuel.

Wood and its byproducts can now be converted through process such as gasification into biofuels such as woodgas, biogas,  methanol or ethanol fuel; although further development may be required to make these methods affordable and practical. Sugar cane residue, wheat chaff, com cobs and other plant matter can be, and are, burned quite successfully. The net carbon dioxide emissions that are added to the atmosphere by this process are only from the fossil fuel that was consumed to plant, fertilize, harvest and transport the biomass.

Processes to harvest biomass from short-rotation poplars and willows, and perennial grasses such as switchgrass, phalaris, and miscanthus, require less frequent cultivation and less nitrogen than from typical annual crops. Pelletizing miscanthus and burning it to generate electricity is being studied and may be economically viable.

Biogas

Biogas can easily be produced from current waste streams, such as: paper production, sugar production, sewage, animal waste and so forth. These various waste streams have to be slurried together and allowed to naturally ferment, producing methane gas. This can be done by converting current sewage plants into biogas plants. When a biogas plant has extracted all the methane it can, the remains are sometimes better suitable as fertilizer than the original biomass.

Alternatively biogas can be produced via advanced waste processing systems such as mechanical biological treatment. These systems recover the recyclable elements of household waste and process the biodegradable fraction in anaerobic digesters.

Renewable natural gas is a biogas which has been upgraded to a quality similar to natural gas. By upgrading the quality to that of natural gas, it becomes possible to distribute the gas to the mass market via gas grid.

Geothermal energy

 

Krafla Geothermal Station in northeast Iceland

Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping the heat of the earth itself, usually from kilometers deep into the Earth’s crust. It is expensive to build a power station but operating costs are low resulting in low energy costs for suitable sites. Ultimately, this energy derives from heat in the Earth’s core. The government of Iceland states: “It should be stressed that the geothermal resource is not strictly renewable in the same sense as the hydro resource.” It estimates that Iceland’s geothermal energy could provide 1700 MW for over 100 years, compared to the current production of 140 MW. Radioactive elements in the earth’s crust continuously decay, replenishing the heat. The International Energy Agency classifies geothermal power as renewable.

Three types of power plants are used to generate power from geothermal energy: dry steam, flash, and binary. Dry steam plants take steam out of fractures in the ground and use it to directly drive a turbine that spins a generator. Flash plants take hot water, usually at temperatures over 200 °C, out of the ground, and allows it to boil as it rises to the surface then separates the steam phase in steam/water separators and then runs the steam through a turbine. In binary plants, the hot water flows through heat exchangers, boiling an organic fluid that spins the turbine. The condensed steam and remaining geothermal fluid from all three types of plants are injected back into the hot rock to pick up more heat.

The geothermal energy from the core of the Earth is closer to the surface in some areas than in others. Where hot underground steam or water can be tapped and brought to the surface it may be used to generate electricity. Such geothermal power sources exist in certain geologically unstable parts of the world such as Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, United States, the Philippines and Italy. The two most prominent areas for this in the United States are in the Yellowstone basin and in northern California. Iceland produced 170 MW geothermal power and heated 86% of all houses in the year 2000 through geothermal energy. Some 8000 MW of capacity is operational in total.

There is also the potential to generate geothermal energy from hot dry rocks. Holes at least 3 km deep are drilled into the earth. Some of these holes pump water into the earth, while other holes pump hot water out. The heat resource consists of hot underground radiogenic granite rocks, which heat up when there is enough sediment between the rock and the earths surface. Several companies in Australia are exploring this technology.

Renewable energy commercialization

Costs

Source                         2001 energy costs                              Potential future energy cost

Electricity

Wind                           4–8 ¢/kWh                                                      3–10 ¢/kWh

Solar photovoltaic       25–160 ¢/kWh                                                            5–25 ¢/kWh

Solar thermal               12–34 ¢/kWh                                                  4–20 ¢/kWh

Large hydropower      2–10 ¢/kWh                                                    2–10 ¢/kWh

Small hydropower       2–12 ¢/kWh                                                    2–10 ¢/kWh

Geothermal                 2–10 ¢/kWh                                                    1–8 ¢/kWh

Biomass                       3–12 ¢/kWh                                                    4–10 ¢/kWh

Coal (comparison)       4 ¢/kWh         

Heat

Geothermal Heat         0.5–5 ¢/kWh                                                   0.5–5 ¢/kWh

Biomass — heat          1–6 ¢/kWh                                                      1–5 ¢/kWh

Low Temp Solar Heat 2–25 ¢/kWh                                                    2–10 ¢/kWh

All costs are in 2001 US$-cent per kilowatt-hour.

New generation of solar thermal plants

The 11 megawatt PS10 solar power tower in Spain produces electricity from the sun using 624 large movable mirrors called heliostats.

Aerial view of one of the SEGS plants.

Since 2004 there has been renewed interest in solar thermal power stations and two plants were completed during 2006/2007: the 64 MW Nevada Solar One and the 11 MW PS10 solar power tower in Spain. Three 50 MW trough plants were under construction in Spain at the end of 2007 with 10 additional 50 MW plants planned. In the United States, utilities in California and Florida have announced plans (or contracted for) at least eight new projects totaling more than 2,000 MW.

In developing countries, three world bank projects for integrated CSP/combined-cycle gas-turbine power plants in Egypt, Mexico, and Morocco were approved during 2006/2007.

There are several solar thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert which supply power to the electricity grid. Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) is the name given to nine solar power plants in the Mojave Desert which were built in the 1980s. These plants have a combined capacity of 354 MW making them the largest solar power installation in the world.

World’s largest photovoltaic power plants

Several large photovoltaic power plants have been completed in Spain in 2008: the Parque Fotovoltaico Olmedilla de Alarcon (60 MW), Parque Solar Merida/Don Alvaro (30 MW), Planta solar Fuente Alamo (26 MW), Planta fotovoltaica de Lucainena de las Torres (23.2 MW), Parque Fotovoltaico Abertura Solar (23.1 MW), Parque Solar Hoya de Los Vincentes (23 MW), the Solarpark Calveron (21 MW), and the Planta Solar La Magascona (20 MW).

First Solar 40 MW PV Array installed by JUWI Group in Waldpolenz, Germany

Waldpolenz Solar Park, which will be the world’s largest thin-flim photovoltaic (PV) power system, is being built at a former military air base to the east of Leipzig in Germany. The power plant will be a 40-megawatt solar power system using state-of-the-art thin film technology, and should be finished by the end of 2009. 550,000 First Solar thin-film modules will be used, which will supply 40,000 MWh of electricity per year.

Topaz Solar Farm is a proposed 550 MW solar photovoltaic power plant which is to be built northwest of California Valley in the USA at a cost of over $1 billion. Built on 9.5 square miles (25 km2) of ranchland, the project would utilize thin-film PV panels designed and manufactured by OptiSolar in Hayward and Sacramento. The project would deliver approximately 1,100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually of renewable energy. The project is expected to begin construction in 2010, begin power delivery in 2011, and be fully operational by 2013.

High Plains Ranch  is a proposed 250 MW solar photovoltaic power plant which is to be built by Sun Power in the Carrizo Plain, northwest of California Valley.

However, when it comes to renewable energy systems and PV, it is not just large systems that matter. Building-Integrated Photovoltaics or “onsite” PV systems have the advantage of being matched to end use energy needs in terms of scale. So the energy is supplied close to where it is needed.

Environmental and social considerations

While most renewable energy sources do not produce pollution directly, the materials, industrial processes, and construction equipment used to create them may generate waste and pollution. Some renewable energy systems actually create environmental problems. For instance, older wind turbines can be hazardous to flying birds.

Land area required

Another environmental issue, particularly with biomass and biofuels, is the large amount of land required to harvest energy, which otherwise could be used for other purposes or left as undeveloped land. However, it should be pointed out that these fuels may reduce the need for harvesting non-renewable energy sources, such as vast strip-mined areas and slag mountains for coal, safety zones around nuclear plants, and hundreds of square miles being strip-mined for oil sands. These responses, however, do not account for the extremely high biodiversity and endemism of land used for ethanol crops, particularly sugar cane.

In the U.S., crops grown for biofuels are the most land- and water-intensive of the renewable energy sources. In 2005, about 12% of the nation’s corn crop (covering 11 million acres (45,000 km²) of farmland) was used to produce four billion gallons of ethanol—which equates to about 2% of annual U.S. gasoline consumption. For biofuels to make a much larger contribution to the energy economy, the industry will have to accelerate the development of new feedstocks, agricultural practices, and technologies that are more land and water efficient. Already, the efficiency of biofuels production has increased significantly and there are new methods to boost biofuel production.

Hydroelectric dams

The major advantage of hydroelectric systems is the elimination of the cost of fuel. Other advantages include longer life than fuel-fired generation, low operating costs, and the provision of facilities for water sports. Operation of pumped-storage plants improves the daily load factor of the generation system. Overall, hydroelectric power can be far less expensive than electricity generated from fossil fuels or nuclear energy, and areas with abundant hydroelectric power attract industry.

However, there are several major disadvantages of hydroelectric systems. These include: dislocation of people living where the reservoirs are planned, release of significant amounts of carbon dioxide at construction and flooding of the reservoir, disruption of aquatic ecosystems and birdlife, adverse impacts on the river environment, potential risks of sabotage and terrorism, and in rare cases catastrophic failure of the dam wall.

Hydroelectric power is now more difficult to site in developed nations because most major sites within these nations are either already being exploited or may be unavailable for other reasons such as environmental considerations.

Wind farms

Wind power  is one of the most environmentally friendly sources of renewable energy

A wind farm, when installed on agricultural land, has one of the lowest environmental impacts of all energy sources:

•           It occupies less land area per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated than any other energy conversion system, apart from rooftop solar energy, and is compatible with grazing and crops.

•           It generates the energy used in its construction in just 3 months of operation, yet its operational lifetime is 20–25 years.

•           Greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution produced by its construction are tiny and declining. There are no emissions or pollution produced by its operation.

•           In substituting for base-load coal power, wind power produces a net decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and a net increase in biodiversity.

•           Modern wind turbines are almost silent and rotate so slowly (in terms of revolutions per minute) that they are rarely a hazard to birds.

Studies of birds and offshore wind farms in Europe have found that there are very few bird collisions. Several offshore wind sites in Europe have been in areas heavily used by seabirds. Improvements in wind turbine design, including a much slower rate of rotation of the blades and a smooth tower base instead of perchable lattice towers, have helped reduce bird mortality at wind farms around the world. However older smaller wind turbines may be hazardous to flying birds. Birds are severely impacted by fossil fuel energy; examples include birds dying from exposure to oil spills, habitat loss from acid rain and mountaintop removal coal mining, and mercury poisoning.

Other issues

Sustainability

Renewable energy sources are generally sustainable in the sense that they cannot “run out” as well as in the sense that their environmental and social impacts are generally more benign than those of fossil. However, both biomass and geothermal energy require wise management if they are to be used in a sustainable manner. For all of the other renewables, almost any realistic rate of use would be unlikely to approach their rate of replenishment by nature.

Transmission

If renewable and distribution generation were to become widespread, electric power transmission and electricity distribution systems might no longer be the main distributors of electrical energy but would operate to balance the electricity needs of local communities. Those with surplus energy would sell to areas needing “top ups”. That is, network operation would require a shift from ‘passive management’ — where generators are hooked up and the system is operated to get electricity ‘downstream’ to the consumer — to ‘active management’, wherein generators are spread across a network and inputs and outputs need to be constantly monitored to ensure proper balancing occurs within the system. Some governments and regulators are moving to address this, though much remains to be done. One potential solution is the increased use of active management of electricity transmission and distribution networks. This will require significant changes in the way that such networks are operated.

However, on a smaller scale, use of renewable energy produced on site reduces burdens on electricity distribution systems. Current systems, while rarely economically efficient, have shown that an average household with an appropriately-sized solar panel array and energy storage system needs electricity from outside sources for only a few hours per week. By matching electricity supply to end-use needs, advocates of renewable energy and the soft energy path believe electricity systems will become smaller and easier to manage, rather than the opposite.

Controversy over nuclear power as a renewable energy source

In 1983, physicist Bernard Cohen proposed that uranium is effectively inexhaustible, and could therefore be considered a renewable source of energy. He claims that fast breeder reactors, fueled by uranium extracted from seawater, could supply energy at least as long as the sun’s expected remaining lifespan of five billion years. Nuclear energy has also been referred to as “renewable” by the politicians George W. Bush, Charlie Crist,  and David Sainsbury.

Inclusion under the “renewable energy” classification could render nuclear power projects eligible for development aid under various jurisdictions. However, it has not been established that nuclear energy is inexhaustible, and issues such as peak uranium and uranium depletion are ongoing debates. No legislative body has yet included nuclear energy under any legal definition of “renewable energy sources” for provision of development support. Similarly, statutory and scientific definitions of renewable energies usually exclude nuclear energy. Commonly sourced definitions of renewable energy sources often omit or explicitly exclude nuclear energy sources as examples.Nuclear fission is not regarded as renewable by the U.S. DOE on the website “What is Energy?”

There are also environmental concerns over nuclear power, including the dangerous environmental hazards of nuclear waste and concerns that development of new plants cannot happen quickly enough to reduce CO2 emissions, such that nuclear energy is neither efficient nor effective in cutting CO2 emissions.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY:

There are many energy sources today that are extremely limited in supply. Some of these sources include oil, natural gas, and coal. It is a matter of time before they will be exhausted.

Estimates are that they can only meet our energy demands for another fifty to seventy years. So in an effort to find alternative forms of energy, the world has turned to renewable energy sources as the solution. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this.

Renewable energy sources consist of solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, ocean and biomass. The most common advantage of each is that they are renewable and cannot be depleted. They are a clean energy, as they don’t pollute the air, and they don’t contribute to global warming or greenhouse effects. Since their sources are natural the cost of operations is reduced and they also require less maintenance on their plants. A common disadvantage to all is that it is difficult to produce the large quantities of electricity their counterpart the fossil fuels are able to. Since they are also new technologies, the cost of initiating them is high.

Solar energy makes use of the sun’s energy. It is advantageous because the systems can fit into existing buildings and it does not affect land use. But since the area of the collectors is large, more materials are required. Solar radiation is also controlled by geography. And it is limited to daytime hours and non-cloudy days.

Wind energy uses the power of the wind to produce electricity. Although it is the largest job producer, it is reliant on strong winds. Wind turbines are large and, although you can use the area under them for farming, many consider them unattractive looking. They are also very noisy to operate. In addition, they threaten the wild bird population.

Hydroelectric energy uses water to produce power. This is the most reliable of all the renewable energy sources. On the down side, it affects ecology and causes downstream problems. The decay of vegetation along the riverbed can cause the buildup of methane. Methane is a contributing gas to greenhouse effect. Dams can also alter the natural river flow and affect wildlife. Colder, oxygen poor water can be released into the river, killing fish. And the release of water from the dam can cause flooding.

Geothermal energy uses steam from the Earth’s ground to generate power. It uses smaller land areas than other power plants. They can run 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Disadvantages are that it is very site specific and, along with the heat from the Earth, it can also bring up toxic chemicals when obtaining the steam. Drilling geothermal reservoirs and finding them can be an expensive task.

Biomass electricity is produced through the energies from wood, agricultural and municipal waste. It helps save on landfill waste but transportation can be expensive and ecological diversity of land may be affected. In addition, its process needs to be made simpler.

Ocean energy is a clean and abundant energy form. It does, however, have high costs. Ocean thermal energy also requires close to a forty degree Fahrenheit difference in water temperature year round. In addition, construction and laying pipes can cause damage to the ecosystem.

There are many advantages to the use of renewable energy sources. There are also some disadvantages. The fact is energy demands will continue to increase. Through research and development, as well as, new technologies, the hope is many of the disadvantages of renewable sources of energy can be eliminated and we can successfully incorporate it into our power supplies.

                                                 

N.Sankari
http://www.articlesbase.com/electronics-articles/renewable-energy-707358.html

Pure Water Filters – Luxury or Necessity?

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Don’t you just hate it when you’re sitting around with a group of people and they’re bragging about the latest “must have” high tech gadget or home appliance they’ve just purchased? Pure water filters are one of those appliances that seem to be steadily gaining in popularity. But is a pure water filter a luxury or a necessity? The answer to that question will probably depend on whom you ask. There are those people who are very particular about the taste and smell of their water. To them, pure water filters are a necessity. Some people think that water doesn’t have a taste and they are perfectly happy with tap water. To them, a pure water filter is a luxury that they may or may not be interested in purchasing. Then there is the growing group of people who are concerned about the danger posed by the increasing levels of toxic contaminants that experts are telling us are in our water. Since 1999, the federal government has required water utilities to send each customer a detailed report listing everything that is in their water. Additionally, the EPA maintains a database where consumers can look up their own water utility’s “Annual Water Quality Report.” Unfortunately, these reports don’t tell the whole story. Results are based upon standards that don’t take into consideration the entire list of 75,000 toxic chemicals used in our society, their potential effects when they combine or how these chemicals effect small children. People who understand this believe that pure water filters are a necessity. I happen to fall in two groups…the group that likes their water to taste good and the group that doesn’t want to be harmed by drinking toxic chemicals. So for me, a pure water filter is a necessity. And I have to make a confession. I made my purchasing decision on the water purifier that would give me the best tasting water. But I’m happy knowing that the unit I purchased also guarantees that I’m not drinking harmful toxins. AND my pure water filter keeps healthful minerals intact. I get these results because my home purification system is based upon multi-stage filtration technology. Multi-stage filtration has been developed to specifically address the need for clean, healthy water that tastes great. Other technologies, like reverse osmosis and distillation fall short of addressing all three of these important needs. Multi-stage filtration technology makes it possible for pure water filters to be comprehensive, versatile, affordable, and easy to maintain. Truth be told, it doesn’t matter if you believe a pure water filter is a luxury or necessity. If you believe its a luxury, then you deserve to treat yourself to the best water money can buy. If you believe its a necessity, then you have some wonderfully effective pure water filters to choose from. You simply can’t go wrong when buying a pure water filter for your home.

Olivia Romero

Choosing the Best Kitchen Faucets in the Market

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

In the past, kitchen faucets only served one purpose, which was to provide the supply of water. But in the recent times, they are considered as more than just functional pieces for your kitchen. Modern faucets come in different designs, sizes, finishes, and shapes. You are provided with wonderful selections to help you enhance the interior design of your kitchen. Whatever the design or architecture of your home and kitchen is, you will be able to find the most appropriate faucet design or style. What is more, you will be able to come up with the desired ambiance in this part of your home. With stylish kitchen faucets, your faucet will not only serve as the source of running water but also as aesthetic ornament.

The Factors to Consider During Faucet Buying

When you want to replace your plain-looking kitchen faucet, you will be happy to know that there are plenty of beautiful selections in the market. But with all these choices, it might be hard for you to choose. This is why before you drive out to a hardware or home depot store you have to determine your needs. This way, it will not be difficult for you to choose. One of the factors that you have to consider when buying a kitchen faucet is finding a style or design that is suitable with the faucet connection. You should also check the number of mounting holes on the countertop or sink. You have to ensure that the faucet is easy to use, after it has been mounted to your kitchen sink. Lastly, you have to opt for a faucet that has relative size to the sink.

The market is filled with kitchen faucets that are made from different materials. These include polished, brass, copper, chrome, and stainless steel. Whatever material that you want to for your faucet, you have to make sure that its body is heavy-weight and durable. This will prevent the faucet from getting destroyed easily. On the other hand, you also have to select a faucet that does not require too much maintenance. What is more, it should match your kitchen’s theme design or the color and material of the kitchen countertop. The material of the faucet should not be prone to discolorations, stains, scratches, and corrosions. Brass faucets are resistant to different conditions. Chrome-plated faucets are available in a low price.

When choosing from a lot of kitchen faucets, you also have to consider the safety of your family. Ask from the staff of the home depot store about faucet accessories. These include filters, dispensers, and filter cartridges. This will help you ensure the safety of the water that is coming out from your faucet. It is easier to control the volume and temperature of the water if the faucets consist of a single handle. On the other hand, faucets with double handles permit exact adjustment of water flow or temperature. What is more, there are separate controls for hot or cold water. Double-handled faucets have more advantages than those with single handles. Plus, they provide more style and class.

Lena Kavhovsky

The Importance of Water

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Although most people don’t think of it as a nutrient, water is the most vital nutrient in your daily diet. Think of it this way. You can go for weeks without food but you can only go for a few days without water. So it’s very important. It’s even more important when you realize that your body’s composition is 60 to 75% water. So roughly two thirds of our body weight is water. You can break them down even better by looking at the composition of different body parts. Your blood is 83% water; your muscles are about 75% water; your bones are about 23% water; and your brain is 74% water. So you can see why it’s really necessary to drink enough water.

It doesn’t take much dehydration at all to cause problems in your body. You can have as little as 1 or 2% loss of body weight in water and the reaction can be that your energy is sapped and you feel tired.

Not getting enough water can cause other problems such as mild to excessive thirst, fatigue (which we just covered), headaches, dry mouth, muscle weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and little or no urination. So it’s important to make sure that you drink enough water.

A lot of people have asked “How much water is enough water?” The basic rule of thumb is to take in about half your body weight converted into fluid ounces. So if a person weighs 200 lbs., they should be drinking 100 fluid ounces of water per day.

About 20% of your daily water intake can come from food. If you eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, there’s going to be a lot of water in them. This is particularly true in things like watermelon and citrus fruit are almost 100% water when you figure it out by weight. Beverages like milk and juice are primarily water too.

A lot of people ask me “What about beer, wine, coffee, tea, and soft drinks? Can these drinks be figured into your water intake?” unfortunately, these drinks are all diuretics and will actually leach the water out of your system. So water is still your best bet.

Now that I’ve given you some of the downside of not drinking enough water, here are some of the benefits. Water works in every system of the body. It aids your digestion; it helps you absorb all your foods; it acts as the transport system for all the nutrients in the bloodstream. Water is necessary for all functions particularly circulation and excretion. For example, you actually blow off water in your breath each time you exhale. Water leaves your system not just to your urine but also through your feces, your sweat, and through respiration. You lose water daily so it’s extremely important to keep putting the water back in.

Water helps you to maintain your body temperature; it does this through the process of sweating and by the opening up of the capillaries in the circulatory system allowing the skin surface to have the proper blood flow that helps to regulate the body temperature.

One of the biggest things the water does is cleansing. Water helps flush the toxins out of your system. It helps keep your kidneys healthy; helps keep your bladder healthy; it gives you better skin because it helps flush out the waste including dead skin cells.

Drinking enough water gives you a decreased chance of kidney stones or urinary tract infections. It can give you more energy because dehydration is one of the biggest causes of fatigue. Not drinking enough water drops your blood volume which makes the heart work harder and you just get more tired, more quickly.

Another thing the water does is revving up your metabolism. There was a study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism from a research center in Berlin. It showed that people who consume two liters of water a day can burn up to an extra 150 calories per day. I know that doesn’t seem like much but that converts into about 5 lbs. per year of weight loss that you don’t even have to worry about because it’s being burned off by simply drinking more water.

It was also discovered during the study that when a person drank water their metabolic rate went up within 10 minutes. The researchers think that about 40% of the raised metabolic rate had to do with the fact that the body was warming up the water that the person had drank. That’s one good reason to drink water that’s cold. Another good reason for drinking cold water is that it enters your system more rapidly than warm water.

Water also help suppress your appetite. It helps keep you feeling more full while it helps the body metabolize stored fat. According to studies, if you decrease your water intake, you can actually cause more fat to be deposited. Likewise, if you increase your water intake, you will decrease your existing fat deposits.

Here’s the reason it works that way. Your kidneys can’t work properly if you don’t give the body of water. When the kidneys don’t work properly, some of the load that is usually done by the kidneys gets put off on the liver. The liver’s biggest function is to metabolize the stored fat and to convert that stored fat into usable energy for your body.

If the liver has to do some of the kidneys’ job, it obviously will not be able to work at full capacity. What ends up happening? The liver can’t metabolize as much fat so more fat ends up getting stored in your body.

Because water is so vital in metabolizing fat, it’s a key factor in losing weight. Weight loss is increased by the revved up metabolism supplied by drinking enough water. With this in mind, an overweight person actually needs to drink more water than a thin person. That’s because the more you weigh, the higher your metabolic load is.

Since we know the water does help metabolize the fat and that an overweight person as more fat metabolize, it’s easy to see that overweight person needs to drink more water. In fact, they should drink one extra glass of water for every 25 lbs. of extra weight that they’re carrying.

Water also helps maintain your muscle tone. Since the muscles are over 75% water, it helps give the muscles the ability to contract, prevents dehydration within the muscles, and prevents the soreness.

It also helps prevent sagging skin. This happens because as water is flushing out the toxins, the shrinking cells are actually buoyed up by the water giving it a clean, healthy cell structure. It does this by clearing out all the toxins in the cells.

Water is a universal solvent; water is a cleanser that we use all the time for cleaning our dishes, cleaning our clothes, and cleaning our cars. It does make sense that we should use it to clean our bodies as well.

During weight loss, if you’re working on that, your body will be dumping a whole lot of toxic waste into your system as it burns off the stored fat. You’ll need to drink more water to help flush out all those toxins and to prevent you from feeling anything uncomfortable from the detoxification. So water helps get rid of the waste and flushes it out fast.

Speaking of getting rid of waste, water also helps relieve constipation. When the body doesn’t get enough water, the first place it goes to get water is the lower intestines. What happens then is that you become constipated due to lack of water. If the same person drinks enough water, the bowel movements return.

Since we are talking about excretions and eliminating waste, a good way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is the color of your urine. If it’s a dark orangey color or like the color of apple juice, you’re not drinking enough water. The color of your urine should be more like lemonade. If your urine is clear like water, that’s even better. That way you know that you are fully hydrated.

When you finally get to the point where you are fully hydrated, all of your systems are going to work better. There won’t be any fluid retention because your body only retains fluid when it thinks that it is running short on fluid. So when you get enough water, the fluid retention will stop, your stored fat cells will be used as fuel, the liver will be freed up to do the work that it is supposed to be doing, there won’t be as much stress placed on your kidneys, your regular thirst will return, and there won’t be as much hunger.

Some people have asked about sources of water other than fruits and vegetables. Tap Water is not all that good to drink. A study done by Tufts University on tap water in different parts of United States showed contamination ranging from E. coli to pharmacy drugs. That’s not unusual when you think that roughly 80% of all medications that people take is eliminated in their urine or feces. Currently, there are no wastewater treatment facilities that have pharmaceutical screens to filter out and clean the water before sending it back out into the community for use. The biggest concentration of a drug was found to be the cholesterol reducing drugs like Lipitor. The second largest concentration was hormone replacement drugs like Premarin and birth-control pills. So all of these things can be found in your tapwater. It’s best to get your own filters for your home. There are several different types of water filters available including reverse osmosis and charcoal filtering.

Bottled water is another way to go. Try to stay away from plastic bottles because of the plastic can leach into the water over time. Bottled waters will have an expiration date. This is done to reduce the risk of any plastic being in the water if it were stored for a long period of time or in a heated environment. The plastic contains neurotoxins that can attack the nervous system and reproductive system. Try to get your water in glass if possible.

Alkaline water is the best of all for you. It’s important that the body be kept at a more alkaline pH because studies have shown that the more acidic a body is, the more prone it is to disease, particularly cancer. Try to keep your body’s pH at 7. This can be measured by your urine; it should also have a 7 pH which will be that very clear color that I spoke about earlier. By the way, the pH of water is 7.

The majority of people the United States have acidic bodies directly caused by their high consumption of meat and generally poor diets that contain foods that will cause the body to be acidic. For example, soft drinks contain phosphoric acid which will cause the body to become acidic.

To sum it up, drink plenty of water and try to get it in a glass container.

Jerry Ryan, Ph.D.
http://www.articlesbase.com/wellness-articles/the-importance-of-water-127956.html

Spa Cartridge Cleaning Instructions

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Spa Cartridge Cleaning Instructions

 

Cartridge Cleaning Instructions for Bromine & Chlorine Users

 

QUESTION:

 

When should a cartridge element be cleaned?

 

ANSWER:

 

For spas, establish a routine cartridge cleaning schedule based on the amount of spa usage.

We recommend a rotation pattern, moving the cartridges clockwise every week or two. Start by setting your routine. My hot tub has 3 cartridges, I have labeled the positions 1-3 and every week I rotate clockwise, adding a clean cartridge to the #1 location and removing the #3 cartridge for cleaning.

 

If Baquaspa® is used as a sanitizer, the filter element must be cleaned with Baqua Clean® before any cartridge cleaner is used. Please refer to “Cartridge Cleaning Supplement for Baquaspa® Users.”

 

QUESTION:

 

What is the procedure to clean my cartridge?

 

ANSWER:

 

  1. Remove the cartridge from the housing following the manufacture’s instructions.
  2. Use a garden hose with a straight flow nozzle to wash down the filter element. Work from the top down, holding the nozzle at a 45 degree angle, and wash all the pleats with emphasis between pleats.
  3. Rinse until all dirt and debris is gone.
  4. Where perspiration and other oils are present, soak the element for at least one hour (over night is more effective) in a commercial filter cleaner, like Bear Strip.
  5. Rinse the cartridge again to remove oils and cleaning solution.
  6. If the filter has a coating of algae, calcium carbonate (residue from calcium hypochlorite), iron, or other minerals, soak the cartridge in a solution of one part muriatic acid to twenty parts water until all bubbling stops. WARNING: Failure to remove all oils and cleaning solution before acid soaking will result in a permanent restriction of water flow and cause premature cartridge failure.
  7. Rinse the cartridge clean and store or reassemble into the housing.

 

WARNING: Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses when using acid and chorine. Do not add water to acid, always add acid to water. Do not mix chlorine and acid.

 

If  you feel an acid bath is warranted, we recommend this be done by one of our trained professionals.

 

Cartridge Cleaning Supplement for Biguanide® Users

 

QUESTION:

 

What should I know about cleaning my cartridge element if I use a biguanide system such as Baqua Spa®?

 

ANSWER:

 

Unlike chlorine, which oxidizes the bacteria in the water, the active ingredient in biguanide systems, polyhexamethylene biqunaide (PHMB), destroys the bacterial cells. PHMB locates and binds to the bacterial surfaces, and then attacks the outer bacterial wall. Once this wall has been compromised, the inner cell membrane (the cytoplasmic membrane) is destroyed. This destruction allows the cell contents to disperse into their surroundings where they are further broken down into their elemental parts by a non-chlorine oxidizer such as Leisure Time BoostTM or Baqua Shock®.

 

In addition, Baqua Spa Shock® is a coagulant which combines bacterial cells and other small particles in the environment into particles large enough to be trapped by the filter. The resulting deposit is a gray sticky film on the media which can only be removed with Baqua Spa Filter Cleaner®. If trisodium phosphate (TSP) or any TSP type cleaner is used prior to stripping the film, the cleaner and the gray film will combine to form a gum-like substance. Once this occurs, the substance cannot be removed from the media and the filter cartridge must be replaced.

 

WARNING: Follow all manufacturer’s instructions, warnings and cautions when using Baqua Spa® products.

 

If you have any further questions about how to clean you Spa Cartridge Please call or email one of our Teddy Bear Pools & Spa Trained Professionals, We would be happy to assist you.

Bear Facts

Don’t Let Bottled Water or Water Filters Fool you

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Industry, agriculture and the general public use over 70,000 different chemicals. Many of which can be found in our environment today, polluting the air we breathe, the soil in which we produce our crops, our lakes, rivers and streams. Many of these toxic contaminants are finding their way to our drinking water sources.

Amazing as it may seem, municipal water treatment facilities are only required to test for 68 of these contaminants. 51% of the U.S. population do not believe that federal laws governing drinking water quality are strict enough. Many people today drink bottled water or use drinking water filters.

Bottled water is heavy to handle, inconvenient and expensive to buy. Most bottled water is of good quality. Some is not as “pure” as they would like us to believe. The Natural Resources Defense Council studied a number of bottled waters and found the vast majority of the waters tested to be good quality drinking water. Approximately 25% was actually nothing but tap water. A few of the waters tested were found to contain contaminants of health concern.

The source of bottled water can be misleading at times. Just because the label displays a picture of a mountain stream, this doesn’t mean it was the source of the water. Read the label and the cap of the bottle, usually the actual source will be indicated. If your intention is to use bottled water as an alternative to tap water, purchase the high quality waters.

The other option is a water filter. There are over 400 companies that manufacture and sell water filtration products that treat contaminants found in our drinking water. Most of these products only reduce chlorine to some degree. Only a few companies produce filters that actually reduce pesticides, herbicides and other chemical contaminants of health concern.

NSF International (National Science Foundation) tests and certifies water purification filters to meet certain standards and all claims of performance the manufacturer makes. Any manufacturer of water filtration products that meet the NSF standards are proud to advertise that fact. NSF certifies what the filtration device can reduce, this does not mean the contaminants listed are in your water supply.

Choosing a water filtration system can be tricky to say the least. There are a number of factors to consider in comparing drinking water filters. The first consideration should be the NSF Certification. Always review the NSF Certification of the product to verify that it will meet your needs. Manufacturer’s certifications can be viewed on the NSF website. www.nsf.org

Quality is a key factor in choosing any drinking water filtration system. A quality system will last for years, saving replacement cost. Quality systems do not come cheap, but in the long run they are definitely the best buy and offer more value in contaminant reduction. Most high quality systems are very efficient, and reduce contaminants to the highest degree. Always look for a system that is certified to reduce Bacterial Cysts, Chlorine, Heavy Metals, Herbicides, Pesticides and a vast array of other contaminants.

Also check the lifespan of the filter itself, as replacement filters can be very costly. If the filter has a high capacity rating it will last longer, requiring fewer filter changes, therefore reducing costs.

Loose carbon filters should not even be considered as they are a breeding ground for bacterial growth, have a very short filter lifespan and are very ineffective.

Solid carbon block filters are highly effective, do not remove the healthy minerals from water, doesn’t require electricity and generally have a high capacity rating. Check the micron rating, 0.5 is is very good. A 0.5 micron filter will effectively reduce particulate matter and bacterial cysts. The NSF certification will tell you which contaminants the filter will reduce and to what degree.

Some people prefer reverse osmosis which can reduce additional contaminants. Please note: reverse osmosis removes minerals from the water. It’s a good idea to take a vitamin/mineral supplement when using this type of filter on a regular basis to replace the healthy minerals removed from the water. Reverse Osmosis also reduces fluoride, which is a good thing. There is no need for fluoride in your drinking water.

Determine what technology is used in the pre-filters and the after filter. Many reverse osmosis units use solid carbon block technology in addition to the RO membrane. An additional filter, such as a solid carbon block, is recommended just prior to the faucet. Again, check the NSF Certification and take into consideration the filter life capacities..

For More Information Regarding

Drinking Water Filtration See The

“Water Today” Page At:

www.supremedrinkingwatersolutions.com

Patti Wilson
http://www.articlesbase.com/advice-articles/dont-let-bottled-water-or-water-filters-fool-you-94635.html

The Importance of Proper Water Quality in Aquariums

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Nothing is more important in aquarium keeping than water quality management. There are many excellent products available out there to assist in water quality management, but in my opinion, there is still no replacement for water changes, good filtration, and good feeding habits.

Water Changes; changing water in more frequent, smaller amounts is preferable to larger less frequent changes. Make sure the water going in has the right chemistry (PH, ect.) and temperature. I like to use reverse osmosis water, then add the elements I need back in (especially for saltwater or soft water aquariums such as discus). Well or spring water is also usually excellent. Otherwise use a de-chlorinator (sodium thiosulfate), if chlorine or chloramines are present (Wonder shells remove chlorine, stabilize KH, and add electrolytes). Water changes are important for Nitrate removal and buildup of toxic organic and inorganic material.

Good filtration consists of biological, chemical, mechanical, and germicidal.

-Biological: Sponge Filters are excellent bio filters (generally used in smaller aquariums, but there are larger ones now available, as well a sponge pre-filters for intakes of other filters, such as canister and HOB filters), wet/dry on a larger scale, fluidized bed, and under gravel filters (Your canister filter, power filter, ect also can be biological filters- just make sure to not change all media during cleanings. You want to wash some of the media out in used aquarium water. Ceramic bio rings are excellent in canister filters for bio filtration). Live rock in marine aquariums also acts as bio filters. Biological filtration removes ammonia and nitrite from your water (anaerobic bacterial can remove nitrates in limited quantities in saltwater). Nitrates are best removed by plants such as Hornwort in freshwater. There is much more information available about Bio-Filtration here: “The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle”

-Chemical filtration is achieved by carbon, zeolite (freshwater only for zeolite), and many other inorganic filter media such as resins.

-Mechanical filtration is the removal of debris from the aquarium via filter floss, cartridges, ECT. Canister filters excel at mechanical filtration. HOB (Hang on the back- power filters) are also reasonable mechanical filters (The Aqua Clears are not very good mechanical filters, but generally good bio-filters)

-Germicidal filtration is the use of uvc radiation or ozone to kill disease pathogens in the water. I highly recommend UV sterilization in ANY aquarium, especially fish tanks with high disease risk rates for disease such as goldfish or discus.

Good feeding habits simply means feeding what the fish will consume in 2-3 minutes (very general rule), twice per day. Also using a quality food that is highly digestible is very important for less waste (Spirulina 20 flake, HBH, Omega, Sanyu, Hikari, and Ocean Nutrition are excellent, TetraMin in my opinion has too much cereal and indigestible amino acids). Most fish foods available have too high of a cereal content and not enough fats and fish proteins.

This is a VERY general discussion about water quality; See our full Aquarium Information site below.

Carl Strohmeyer
http://www.articlesbase.com/pets-articles/the-importance-of-proper-water-quality-in-aquariums-70142.html

Whole House Water Treatment – Covering All Your Clean Water Bases

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Let’s face it. Safe, clean water shouldn’t just come out of the faucet in your kitchen. It should be available to your family in every part of the house. If you’re shopping for water treatment equipment, then covering all your clean water bases with whole house water treatment is something you should seriously consider.

Now before you disagree with me, just hear me out. The importance of having purified water doesn’t end with drinking. You also need safe, clean water for cooking, bathing and showering. And still, it doesn’t end there.

Quality water treatment equipment should be able to remove corrosive chemicals that come into contact with your home plumbing. This means protecting your family from lead, copper and other heavy metals that can be leached from your pipes into your water. Whole house water treatment addresses this critical issue.

And there’s one more thing I’d like to bring to your attention. There is also an environmental consideration to water treatment equipment: after the water is used, it returns into the city sewer line. Effective whole house water treatment ensures that your used water is free of harmful chemicals and bacteria. So in the long run, you are providing extra protection to your family, as well as your community.

Whole house water treatment also makes sense in terms of cost and convenience. It costs less than 50 cents a day to have safe, clean water delivered to your family through faucets, showers, baths, toilets, washers, etc. The upkeep for this type of water treatment equipment is fairly minimal. If you ever have to move, this system is easy to disconnect and take with you to your new location.

I’ve done extensive research into whole house water treatment and have found a system that adds a HEALTHY component to their method of water purification. This water treatment equipment uses a method called multi-stage filtration, which comprehensively purifies water while leaving healthful minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium untouched. Easily getting your daily mineral intake from drinking water is such a great way to support the health of your teeth, bones and other important bodily functions.

This is a bonus that is not included with the more common water treatment equipment, such as distillation and reverse osmosis.

Make no mistake. Whole house water treatment based on multi-stage filtration is the best way to cover all your clean water bases. I’d like to invite you to read more about this comprehensive water treatment equipment at my web site. I’ve done a lot of research so that you don’t have to.

Olivia Romero
http://www.articlesbase.com/accessories-articles/whole-house-water-treatment-covering-all-your-clean-water-bases-681638.html

How Can You Improve Your Drinking Water Quality?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

You are right if you think that something should be done about your drinking water. But how can you improve your drinking water quality? It is easy to feel somewhat overwhelmed by too much and contrasting information.

Let us set some order in the matter. The drinking water distributed by municipal services is supposed to be safe because it has passed a thorough treatment, designed to remove, in a sequence of steps, one contaminant at a time.

Water Contamination however has many forms, as you can easily find if you are inclined to, and it is practically impossible to get pure water at the exit of the treatment plant. They will not even try.

In fact all services add chlorine or equivalent substances for disinfection, to make sure that pathogens and other harmful microbial parasites, viruses, bacteria and the like are killed or inactivated.

Nothing to brag about, if we think of purity. It is true that the treated water you get at your tap will not harm, generally, healthy adults.

It may still be quite dangerous to the health of children, babies, elderly or weakling persons and pregnant women, but it may be hard to prove the link.

Still odor, color and taste leave much to be desired, while  additional undefined contaminants, not treated by the public service, may be coming from old piping systems.

You might decide, out of dismay, to depend on bottled water for drinking, hoping to have improved quality by a courageous leap. Unfortunately more often than not, bottled water is uncertain, inconstant, not better than plain tap water, as research has demonstrated.

Moreover the cost is prohibitive, if you care to sum up the expenses for a month or for a year, and if you consider transport and storage of the bottles. Moreover you should add the disposal of the empty plastic containers which are a nuisance for you and a scourge for the environment.

It is commonly agreed, and even recommended by official professionals, that a filtering system installed at the point of use, usually your kitchen faucet, will greatly improve the quality of the water you will drink, if you properly select, install and maintain (by periodic change) the home filter cartridges.

Many types of filters are available on the market. To select what will satisfy your needs you should probably check guaranteed performance and independent testing certifications, long time costs or economy of operation, and supplier’s reliability and commitment to the customers.

That is the kind of research that I tried to do in my website that you are invited to review.

Elia E. Levi