Wednesday, May 21, 2008



by: Gagandeep Dhaliwal

A glow stick is a sheer plastic tube that produces a brilliant light. A glowstick is also known as glow tube or light stick or glow light stick.

A glow stick is typically a plastic cylindrical rod about four or five inches (10 to 13 cm) long and less than an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. The transparent stick contains two chemical fluids in two different compartments. The outer compartment of the tube carries one chemical fluid and the inner compartment carries the other. The inner compartment is brittle either made of glass or brittle plastic.

The inner brittle part breaks on bending the glowstick and helps inter mingling the two chemical fluids. A fierce chemical reaction takes place emitting bright light but not necessarily heat.

The glowsticks are used in the military, recreational driving at night, marching bands at night, entertainment parties, raves, concerts, dance clubs, Halloween eves etc. The glowsticking is the use of glowsticks in dance.


The phenomenon of the chemical reaction in the glow sticks is known as “chemiluminescence”. The chemicals used to create the reaction in glow sticks are usually hydrogen peroxide and a mixture of phenyl oxalate ester and the fluorescent dye. The fluorescent dye gives the glow stick its color.

The outer compartment of the tube contains a mixture of the dye and a derivate of phenyl oxalate ester (cyalume) and the inner brittle part contains concentrated hydrogen peroxide.

A ferocious reaction takes place on mixing the peroxide with the phenyl oxalate ester. The ester is oxidized, giving out 2 molecules of phenol and 1 molecule of peroxyacid ester. The peroxyacid decomposes spontaneously to carbon dioxide, releasing energy that excites the dye that then de-excites by releasing a photon. The wavelength of the photon depends on the structure of the dye.

Different dyes can be used to produce different color lights. The 9,10-bis (phenylethynyl) anthracene gives green light, 9,10-diphenylanthracene emits blue light, 5,6,11,12-tetraphenylnaphthacene emit red light. The glowsticks dyes usually emit fluorescent light when exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Therefore even a spent glowstick shines under a black light.

The other chemicals used in glow sticks may include sodium salicylate as a catalyst, bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DCHP) as a solvent, bis (phenyl) oxalate, bis (2,4,5-trichlorophenyl-6-carbopentoxyphenyl) oxalate (CPPO).

The chemical reaction gets accelerated on heating a glow stick and the glowstick glows brighter, but for a shorter span. The cooling on the contrary decelerates the reaction that helps a sick glow longer, but dimmer.

About The Author

Gagandeep Dhaliwal owns the website, a comprehensive guide on glow sticks, offering volumes of info and tips on buying glow stick, cheap glow stick, rave glow stick, giant glow sticks, military glow sticks etc. For more info on glowsticks, visit,

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Tips on Picking the Right Humidifier

by: Gary Nave

During the winter heating months in colder climates your home will need extra moisture. A humidifier replaces moisture that is lost from heating your home. The proper humidity is essential for your maximum comfort. Not enough humidity can cause itchy dry skin, stuffy noses, static build up, frizzy hair and a chilly feeling. The proper humidity is a personal thing. It is best to start around 60% and adjust up or down until you find the best comfort level for your needs.

So, what kind of humidifier are you going to buy? There are several things you need to know first before purchasing a unit. How much space are you adding moisture to? If you want to do your whole house and have hot air heat, I recommend having a whole house humidifier installed by a heating contractor. This type will connect to your water line and automatically add moisture to the heated air within your furnace.

If you only need to moisturize a few rooms or you do not have hot air heat, then a stand alone unit is required. There are 4 types available: evaporative, ultrasonic, steam, and cool mist. Here is what each type is good for.


This is the type I prefer. Several gallons of water are stored in a tank in the unit. Water is pumped through a wicking material (should be anti-bacterial coated) and a fan quietly blows through the wet wicking material evaporating the water and adding humidity to the air. This type uses the least amount of electricity and provides 1-2 days before needing a tank refill. Larger console units of this type can allow you to go more days between refills. There is also a UV light option on some units that kills airborne viruses or bacteria that pass through.


Ultrasonic units use sound vibrations to add moisture to the air. The draw back of this type of humidifier is that it leaves a white dust on every surface in your home. The white dust is minerals naturally occurring in your water. It is a real pain to clean up. If you want to prevent the dust you can buy distilled water which is inconvenient and expensive. I do not recommend this type of unit.


Heater type units literally boil water into steam. They cost the most to run. No white dust is left behind because steam is pure water. A build-up of minerals are left behind on the heating element. These minerals can cause popping noises and inefficient operation. Removing the mineral deposits can be done by soaking the heater part in white vinegar weekly.

Cool Mist(impeller):

This is the type I remember my mom putting in my room when I had a cold. They are the least expensive units. They work by spinning the water into tiny droplets and blowing them into the air. For a few days use they are ok. Excess water can build up around the unit from unevaporated droplets so do not place it on wooden furniture.

I remember having to change a few wet socks from this extra water on the floor.

Overall the best type for long-term use is the evaporative wicking type. They cost the least to operate and do not leave white mineral dust everywhere, and only need attention every few days for water refills.

About The Author

Article written by Gary Nave of

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Overwintering the Garden Pond

by: Doug Green

It seems that there are always questions in the fall about winterizing plastic ponds. To begin with, clean out all the gunk (composed of fish and plant waste) at the bottom of the pond. Specialist garden catalogues have a little gizmo that attaches to a hose and when the hose is run, the gizmo acts like a vacuum cleaner, sucking debris from the bottom of the pond. Or you can put your pump on the pond bottom and point the discharge into the garden. If you don’t remove the plant debris, it will continue to decompose. Decomposition uses oxygen as one of its primary fuels and this means that oxygen will be taken from the water to fuel plant decomposition. If there is an ice-layer over the pond, and there will be shortly, the water will not be able to replace that oxygen and the pond will go into an anaerobic (without oxygen) state under the ice.

Now, you’ve never quite smelled something until you’ve taken a whiff of a pond that’s in that state. It is basically your very own backyard sewage system. Aside from getting rid of the smell, the reason you remove the bottom layers of material is so any fish you’re leaving in the pond will have enough oxygen to survive the winter. And survive they will as long as you stop feeding them when the water temperature is less than 50F. At that temperature, it is really too cold for them to feed and any food will simply rot. The fish will survive as long as the water doesn’t freeze solidly to the bottom of the pond. If the pond is three to four feet deep, it will not freeze and your fish will be fine. Shallower ponds will either have to have a bubbler, a pump left running to keep an open area open or the fish removed to an aquarium for the winter. But start with removing the gunk.

About The Author

Copyright Doug Green, an award winning garden author who answers pond questions in his free newsletter at

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

3 Simple Home Improvements For Under $100

by: Richard Rigor

It seems everyone is applying for loans so that they can make improvements to their home. Some individuals will burn through thousands of dollars to improve the look if their home. Major improvements such as new flooring or a deck can require a significant amount of money. However, you don't have to go to those measures to make improvements to your home. There are three key areas of your home that can make the most difference in the appearance of your home - the entrance, kitchen and bathroom. Just doing one of the ideas listed below can make a huge difference in your home. But why not do all three when it can be done for less than $100?


The old saying that, "First impressions are usually the last", can easily apply to the way people react when they enter your home. Has your welcome mat lost its welcome appeal? It's time to spice up your entrance so what you hear are "oohs" and "ahhs" when people cross your threshold. If you have a spacious porch, a potted plant in a metal planter can create a pleasant atmosphere. Contemporary planters are about $10.

If you're really adventurous, a coat of brightly-colored paint on your front door can create a splash. If you take on this challenge, it's a good idea to make sure that the paint complements your home. For example, if your home is mostly red brick, a red door would make a dynamic look. A gallon of interior/exterior gloss enamel in red or any other bright color will set you back no more than $20.


When you look in your kitchen, what catches your eye first? Probably all those nifty cabinets that discreetly tuck away your dishes, right? After a number of years you might crave a different look. For starters, you might want to give them a good cleaning. This one step alone can make a difference. You would be surprised the amount of dust and grease that can accumulate on cabinets. Depending on the material that your cabinets are made of, simply removing the cabinets from their hinges and wiping them down with the damp cloth is sufficient. There are chemicals on the market, but you need to make sure that the chemicals are made for your cabinet material.

Once your cabinets are shining again, you can then add or replace knobs. Knobs range from simple unfinished versions that cost as little as $.50 to decorative insert pulls that costs around $3. With the average kitchen containing about 12 cabinets, your cost won't go over $36.


Guest bathrooms are usually confined to a small space. Why not give this room a lift? You undoubtedly have a nice set of guest towels and matching accessories. These items are not necessarily cheap so unless you want to go over your $100 spending limit, you can leave those items as they are. What you can add are wallpaper trim, artwork, and color. There are numerous styles of wallpaper trim that you can choose a new look for your bathroom. You can go as conservative and as creative as you want. To complement the wallpaper trim, you can add artwork. You don't have to go out and purchase expensive artwork. You can use your imagination to come up with some ideas. For example, a few seashells, colorful fabric, and an empty picture frame are all you need to become your own favorite artist.

If you have any leftover paint from your door, you can use this to paint a wall in your bathroom, as long as the color doesn't clash with the other elements of your bathroom.

About The Author

Richard Rigor sells real estate in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a REALTOR and mortgage loan consultant and can assist you in buying or selling your home. -

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The History And Health Benefits Of Hot Tubs

by: Julie-Ann Amos

For many years, hot tubs and home spas were the exclusive luxuries of the wealthy. They were expensive to buy, expensive to operate and not very reliable. With the onset of better manufacturing and better materials, and lower prices, however, the popularity of hot tubs and home spas began to soar.

Spas Throughout History

History gives us many examples of spas being used as integral parts of life for many civilizations. The Romans are perhaps the most famous for their bathhouses, which became centers of social life and a common daily activity for the elite classes. Other cultures made use of spa-like hot baths as well, including the ancient peoples of China and Japan.

What did these civilizations know that others didn’t? Setting aside technological differences, some of the earliest spa enthusiasts appreciated the health benefits of using hot water to relax the body, open the pores of the skin, and generally promote better health. Cleanliness was considered healthful and a sign of prosperity – after all, you had to be pretty well off to afford the bath facilities themselves and to have the leisure time to partake of their benefits.

Hot Tub Hydrotherapy

As medical science has advanced, there has been an increased awareness of the benefits of hot tub hydrotherapy. Many medical conditions, injuries and other health problems can be eased or improved with regular hydrotherapy treatments.

For example, people with arthritis, multiple sclerosis, paralysis and other conditions that involve deteriorating range of motion benefit from time spent in a hot tub. The warm water helps ease aches and pains, while loosening joints and making them easier to move and keep mobile.

Joint problems, chronic back pain and other painful conditions resulting from injuries are also helped with regular hot tub hydrotherapy. Those seeking stress relief, general relaxation, and quiet opportunities for conversation commonly experience significant hot tub benefits as well.

Modern Spa and Hot Tub Hydrotherapy

Modern technology, materials and production processes make it possible to design and build home spas and hot tubs with highly specialized hydrotherapy features. These features are typically based on a combination of seating position, jet position and jet function. Let’s look at each of these aspects in turn.

Seating Position – Traditional hot tub seating was bench-style, typically in a round shape and at a uniform depth so that everyone sat at the same level in the tub. This made it challenging for people of different heights to fully benefit from hot tub therapy.

With the development of molded fiberglass spa shells came the development of different shapes and sizes of seats. Manufacturers began to include lounge seats, where the bather reclines in the water, as well as seats to accommodate bathers of different heights. Some also included deeper seats, designed to fully immerse the bather and allow placement of jets in specific positions for specific benefits.

Jet Position – Moldable shell manufacturing made it possible for the first time to place jets in nearly any position within the tub. Manufacturers began experimenting with placing jets in places where they would focus on specific areas of the body, such as the back, neck, shoulders, arms and legs.

The earliest jets were single-action nozzles with limited ability to adjust where they were aimed or the intensity of the jet action. This made it difficult to use them in positions where they would affect more tender areas of the body, such as wrists, forearms, ankles, feet and knees. As manufacturers developed more advanced jets with a wider variety of functionality, though, the technology of hydrotherapy advanced significantly.

Jet Function – Modern hot tubs and spas can be customized with a surprising variety of jets that range from multi-purpose to highly specialized. Buyers often are able to select exactly which jets to install in specific locations within their hot tub or home spa.

The most common types of jets available today include:

• Swirl jets – water swirls in a circular pattern, with a massaging action that covers a wide area

• Whirlpool jets – a large, round jet that concentrates pressure in a specific area

• Mini jets – smaller than standard jets, they are often grouped together in clusters, especially in massage and therapy seats

• Pillow jets – combines massaging action for the neck with a pillow designed to let the bather rest their head without going under water

• Shoulder jets – positioned above the water line to focus attention of specific parts of the shoulder

• Moving massage jets – this oval-shaped jet moves back and forth in a sweeping motion to provide pulsating therapy

The benefits of different jet types have grown substantially with the development of independent seating control. In older spas and hot tubs, one set of controls ran all of the therapy jets, but independent seating control allows each bather to control the strength and intensity of therapy in their own individual seat.

Hydrotherapy for Fitness

The latest technology in hydrotherapy involves using jetted tubs for fitness purposes. This new generation of home spas is elongated in shape and allows the bather to choose traditional spas functions or switch over to functions that allow for a vigorous workout. They are commonly referred to as swim spas.

A swim spa has powerful jets that set up a strong resistance current that allows the user to swim as if in a full sized lap pool. The elongated shape allows even the tallest people to stretch out into a full-length stroke and the center depth is such that even a full arm extension will not bump into the bottom of the spa.

Adjustable current jets make it possible to adjust workout intensity depending on the user’s fitness level, and increase intensity over time as the level of fitness improves.


Spas and hot tubs have been around in one form or another for centuries, but only in the last few decades have technology, materials and manufacturing improved to the point where a home spa is affordable enough and reliable enough to be within reach of most people.

Hot tub hydrotherapy is one of the most popular and effective ways to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, injuries, or simply promote relaxation and stress relief. Once you have experienced the benefits of a home spa or hot tub, you will wonder how you ever lived without one!

About The Author

Julie Ann-Amos is a freelance writer for, providing consumer information on portable hot tubs and home spas.

Copyright 2005

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