Happy Cinco De Mayo Everyone!!


Hello everyone in sprinkler land!! We here at Sprinkler Warehouse  are back in the office and set for another fun filled week. And what better holiday to kick off the week than CINCO DE MAYO!?  This time of year we start thinking about getting out sprinkler systems up and going. It’s likely only a week or two longer before we will have to start mowing the grass again!  So lets get our prep on and order up those things we need to get your lawn irrigation situation right.

 

West Nile Virus Awareness Week; BE PREPARED!


wnvgraphWest Nile Awareness

Since the first reported case of West Nile Virus in New York City in 1999 West Nile Virus has spread across America like an epidemic, and it seems there is no easy way to eradicate the disease. So the best defense we have is education. By sharing the information we have about how mosquitoes breed and carry the disease we can do more than try and prevent from being stung, but rather prevent the mosquitoes from being born and becoming carriers of the disease at all.

West Nile Virus comes and goes in surges, but it never ever really goes away, making it particularly dangerous. As the reported cases of infection swell and contract the population is lulled into a carnal security thinking that it could never happen to them- that they would never be infected resulting in carelessness and a casual attitude toward mosquito disease.

wnv_us_human_map_week52Looking back to the year 2013, a total of 2374 cases of West Nile Virus were reported with 114 deaths attributed to the disease (down significantly from 286 deaths in 2012) and in 2014, the West Nile Virus has a strong potential to exceed the 2013 numbers due to the mild winter. Nevertheless, there is no surefire way to know what kind of mosquito season we will have this year, but one thing we can be sure of is our level of preparedness.

 

Transmission of the virus occurs through mosquito bites. This leads people to believe that the primary defense we have against the spreading of disease is taking action to prevent mosquitoes from biting you, your kids and your pets or animals.

Naturally people automatically think of mosquito repellent sprays as the primary defense against mosquitoes. However, they are widely varied in their cost, features and functionality.

deet cirPerhaps the greatest protection against mosquito’s bites is to wear long sleeve shirts and pants whenever possible in conjunction with a spray or repellent, because it’s not possible for the mosquitoes to bite your skin through the material of your clothing.

Just like cell phones and power companies have peak hours, so do mosquitoes! If you know when these hours are, than you can more easily avoid them and keep them from ruining your outing! Mosquitoes come out in full forces most often around dusk and dawn times of the day. Plan your day to avoid too early of a start or staying too late and you will experience less mosquito attack.

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April Showers Bring May flowers…

April showers also bring standing water though, which brings forth new mosquitoes! NOW is the time to spread the word about mosquito awareness and most specifically West Nile Virus awareness.Empty any stagnant and free standing collections of water. Simply dump them out and turn the vessel upside down or prop it up so that it will not refill with water.

 

Other ways to prevent mosquitoes from collecting and breeding…

 For homeowners and small business owners that wish to take a proactive stance against mosquitoes and other insects in general there are a couple of suitable options.

  • Skeetobusters Mosquito RepellentContracting with a local pest control business will ensure that your property is pest free on a regular basis. With regular treatments of the property on a frequent basis the mosquito (and pest) population will stay low throughout the entire season. However this type of service can be expensive and prohibitive.
  • An excellent alternative that people can utilize is a fertigation/pestigation unit attached to their existing sprinkler system. These units are designed to be an all-in-one plug-and-play solution for all your fertilizing and pest control needs. It simply uses the existing sprinkler system to apply fertilizers and/or organic pesticides through the sprinkler heads to the grass and irrigated parts of the property thereby creating an effective boundary for pests. Units are available starting around $950 and can be installed quickly and easily by a certified installer or a savvy do-it-yourselfer. This may sound like an expensive investment initially, but it quite cost effective because it will continue to serve the property for years to come.
  •  There are some areas of your yard and/or property which are prone to gathering puddles. Tarps and tires are two of the most infamous offenders when it comes to standing water. Perhaps you have a rain collection barrel designed for capturing water or catch basins installed to carry away drainage water. These can be prime targets for mosquito breeding…especially because they are often physically obscured and hidden away from view. It is recommended that homeowners use an all natural super product to protect the areas and prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for your yard. By simply applying an appropriate measure of liquid cedar oil to the water (such as Best Yet & PCO by CedarCide) and the oil acts as a barrier by creating a thin layer on top of the standing water and repelling mosquitoes.
  • Secondly the oil will dehydrating and prevents any eggs that it comes in contact with from hatching. So it can be used effectively in several situations. (this type of oil is the same kind used in the sprinkler fertigation/pestigation units.)

 

 

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The following are some ways that you can use a product like Best Yet to help combat the breeding and growth of the Mosquito population.

 

  1. Eliminate standing water on your property – Turn over kiddie pools, trash cans and lids and anything else that can act as a container for rainwater.  Fold and properly store all tarps in cool dry indoor area (tarps are a major offender for mosquito breeding grounds) Bring all tires indoors away from the sprinklers or rain (tires are prime mosquito breeding grounds due to their shape; they easily retain water and provide protection from sunlight and the elements. (tires imported into the US from outside have been the source of many new insects and pests being introduced to the country) Spray water collecting prone places down with the Cedar Based product to keep mosquitoes from returning to those places if they do collect water again.

 

  1. breeding groundsChange water catch pans for flower baskets. – Most flower pots have a water catch dish to allow excess water to exit out the bottom of the flower pot. This water should be discarded at least once a week. Treat the newly cleaned treat with cedar oil  to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the water when it does fill up.

 

  1. Bird Baths and water fountains – keep the water running regularly to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. If the water is not running, clean out the old water weekly and treat with cedar oil.

 

  1. Permanent standing water – Some water cannot be emptied or it is intended to be there (i.e. rain barrels, drains and catch basins etc. For these types of situations it is recommended that you apply a liberal amount of Cedar Oil based product to the water. Because Best Yet it is an oil based product it will float on the top of the water causing a barrier against mosquitoes. The oil will remain there till it is washed away or emptied.

Interview with a Raspberry Crazy Ant


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(The following dialogue took place between myself and the Public Relations director for the Raspberry Crazy Ants. We discuss their name, housing preferences, attraction to electronics and pesticides.)

  •  (Introduction) 

Me: For the past month or so the news has been running stories about crazy ants; exploiting their dangerous and destructive nature. They are reportedly nomadic, choosing to not live in anthills the way their cousins do. Furthermore it is said that they are resistant to traditional methods of eradication. Because these ants are mobile  and travel in large army’s with several queen ants per colony it was difficult to get an interview with the species head ant and leader but after repeated attempts to contact him, we finally were able to schedule an interview with the species PR manager, who is also the marketing director and 15th generation grandson of the species pioneer ancestors who came to America for the first time over a decade ago.

 

Please help me to welcome R.C. Antonio to the stage

 

  • (Audience applause) 

 

  • (Guest Enters from left of stage, walking in a seemingly random and non-linear path to desk)

 

 

Me: We are very excited to have a real live crazy ant in studio with us, thanks so much for coming! Did you have a safe trip getting here? For weeks we have been hearing about the impending invasion of your species on the southern parts of the USA. What have you found to be the biggest obstacle to this year’s invasion.

R.C. :  Thanks for having me!My trip here was very good, thanks for asking!

 

 

Me:  For weeks we have been hearing about the impending invasion of your species on the southern parts of the USA. What have you found to be the biggest obstacle to this year’s invasion.

R.C. :   So far everything has been right on schedule. We are finding it especially easy to invade because of the high levels of apathy among people with respect to protecting their property. Not to mention the incredibly high number of electronics that are in homes making a perfect place for is to get inside and stay! So we are doing well, and I am happy to be here with you here today.

 

 

images-(4)Me: The media is referring to you as the “Raspberry Crazy Ant”…do you take offense to this name?

R.C. : Yes, we absolutely do not endorse the use of that moniker. Our real name is Nylanderia Fulva. But that is a mouth full and hard to remember. So,  I prefer to go by “Nyles” instead, even though it does make me sound like a character from downton Abby…it’s better than being referred to as an insane rubus fruit.

 

 

Me: Where did the name raspberry crazy ant come from?

R.C. :  Most people think that the Raspberry-Crazy  name is the product of a love for the sweet berry fruit, but this could not be further from the truth. We actually have little or no interests in the sweet berry-fruit at all, but we do have the same physiological needs that any other ant needs. The Raspberry portion of our name comes one of our arch-nemesis. For years we were able to move about relatively unnoticed staying basically off-the-radar. Till one day in 2002 we were exploring as we typically do, and a human took a particular interest in us.

That man was Tom Raspberry, and ever since that day we have been irreversibly marked in the media as being “Raspberry Crazy Ants”.  

 

 

Me: Where does the term crazy come from? — Because, as I sit here with you now, you seem to be quite cordial and well mannered!

R.C. : The media has long referred to our species and others like us as crazy because we choose to not conform to ant protocol by following each other in a line wherever we go. Instead we feel we can cover more ground and get more done if we think for ourselves and move independently of one another. Basically, we refuse to conform to the ant stereotypes and choose to be progressive and forward thinking we get called “crazy”. It’s a travesty and nothing more than run-of-the-mill lampoonery! We won’t stand for it.

 

 

Me: Why do you choose to not stay in anthills or underground colonies?

R.C. : We are free spirited and don’t want to be tied down to a single solitary area. Additionally, because we are so small and mobile it makes more sense for us to stay on the move and utilize the shelters we can find along the way. If a place is warm and can protect us from the elements, we can use it as a shelter.

As you can probably imagine, our travels throughout the southern United States we have seen a great deal of different electronics and gadgets where we have been able to stay and make home. Our favorite place to stay is probably flat panel TV’s.

 

 

2014-04-15_16-33-40Me:  Why do you prefer flat panel televisions?

R.C. : For a couple of reasons actually! The first reason is, like I mentioned, is warmth… in addition to providing an effective element of cover from the elements TV’s are perfectly warm and spacious too! It seems like as time goes by, the TV’s we are finding to stay in keep getting bigger and bigger! Additionally, it seems like the TV is the one electronic in the house that stays on for the longest.

The second reason is that we ants love the feeling created by electricity flowing through wires and circuit boards. The almost inaudible hum of electricity resonating though wires and circuit boards is something we just cannot get enough of! We love to find a TV that we can all fit inside of. We just settle into all the nooks and crannies inside of the case and relax as we enjoy that wonderful electricity warmth and feeling!

 

 

crazy-ant-006_largeMe: How can humans know if their electronics have been invaded by an army of heat seeking ants? Is there any tell-tale signs to watch for?

R.C. : There is no way to know for sure that you have been invaded, till it’s too late. In other words, once you see us and you can see that there are floods of us, than we have likely already infiltrated the warm places in your home and property. 

However, one surefire way to know (albeit too late) is by watching for equipment malfunction. When my fellow ants get inside electronics and they begin to make themselves fat and happy by chewing on wires. Sadly, their bodies can act as a conductor and once enough have died and are touching, the current can be carried through their bodies causing a short circuit. Short circuits often result in erratic behavior of electronics but most frequently death of that device occurs.

 

 


2014-04-16_10-53-56Me:
It is reported that you have taught yourselves to be impervious to the standard arsenal of repellents and insecticides.


R.C. :
When we are very young ants we go to ninja school. In school we learn to not succumb to the traditional methods of killing ants. We build a tolerance to the most commonly used pesticides so that when they are used on us we will not be harmed. Additionally, we learn to art of evasive maneuvering which lets us move in erratic and unpredictable directions making it almost impossible to catch us or crush us.

 

 

Me: It is rumored (and I apologize for being so cryptic) but is it true that when one of your fellow ants is killed that it releases a scent or pheromone that attracts other ants to that location like a sort of homing beacon?

R.C. : No apologies are necessary; this is actually a very good question. See, we love to chew through wires. Especially wires that have power running through them. There is just something about that soft flexible plastic they coat those wires with that is just so much fun to gnaw on and chew through. Unfortunately, as fun and satisfying as this habit is, it is also very dangerous for us. We are taught in our youth (at young ninja ant school) how to hunt and track. This is an important skill for us to be able to track down our fellow ants when they are in trouble and help them. Unfortunately when an ant chews a little too far into the center part of a wire that is alive, they will be electrocuted instantly. The result is a great many ants becoming attracted to that location.

 

 

best yet quart by cedarcideMe: Is there anything that you are resistant to? Is there anything that can kill you which you have not been able to build up a tolerance to?

R.C. : Actually, yes there is. And most people would say I am “crazy” to reveal this publicly, but I don’t care because after all I am a “crazy ant” right!?  

To answer your question… Cedar wood. Cedar oil is the worst!! We ants hate cedar oil products. Specifically products like “Best Yet” and “PCO Choice” from CedarCide. That stuff is like Kryptonite to us, if it gets on our bodies we die in less than a minute because of the hydrated silica in it.  Even if we do manage to avoid contact with it physically, the cedar oil in it messes with our pheromone systems and is just downright unpleasant to be around. We’d rather find a new home than deal with the ALL the problems cedar oil causes us.

 

 

Me: Why would you reveal this to the world so openly? Are you not afraid that people will use it to destroy your colony?

R.C. : To be honest… I am not afraid. Humans are so predetermined and set in their ways! They believe that to kill insects they have to use the most “powerful” insecticides that they can find at their local hardware store. They will never believe that something that is 100% natural, pet & child safe, and organic can be so lethal… So the odds of them actually getting it and using it are by far in our favor!

 

 

Me: Where did your type of ant come from and how did you get here to the United States.

R.C. : I am a 15th generation crazy ant, which means that my Great- great-great- great-great- great-great- great-great- great-great- great-great- great-great-Grandfather was the first of the Crazy Ants to come to America. The story of his travels has been a tradition in our family for years. Back around the year 2000 he and his family and a few other families of ants boarded a ship called the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody (I guess he must have been royalty?) So he and his queen wife, princess & prince children boarded the ship and were at sea 3 days before finally arriving at the port of Houston Texas. This was going to be the new home for the royal ant family.

Once they were on the new ground in North America they began to settle in and get comfortable. They quickly multiplied and reproduced. Before long the royal ant family had gone from just 4 to 4-million! They spread out to find new lands to conquer and found that Texas was a great place for them to live and prosper.

14 years later, here I am… I don’t consider myself to be a royal or anything like that, but I am proud of the progress our people have made and hope to take over the entire state of Texas, Florida and New Orleans in the next 15 years.

 

 

Me: That is fascinating! How neat to discover that you are the descendant of royalty! Is there anything else you would like people to know?

Skeetobusters Mosquito RepellentR.C. : Yes, we want to ask people to keep leaving their electronics on and their doors and windows open thereby allowing us to come in and settle into their homes and seek shelter and comfort in those warm electronics! Additionally I just wanted to let you know that if you would rather have us leave your home alone all together, they only need to spray around their property with Cedar Oil products from CedarCide. The best way to cover the entire grounds and ensure that you are fully covered is to use a system like the one from Skeetobusters that injects the cedar oil product into the sprinklers. Not only is it inexpensive, but also the most efficient and effective way to cover a larger area. When we come upon a yard thats been treated this way we will just move onto the next place and I won’t have to deal with the deaths of many more of my friends and cousins.

 

 

Me: Thank you R.C. Antonio for coming on our show and sharing some information about yourself with us. We wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and hope that we never cross paths with you or your family & friends.

R.C. : No problem at all, thanks for having me.

 

  • (Audience applause) 

 

  • (End of Interview)

 

  • (R.C. Antonio stands up from seat and shakes hands with audience)

 

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Is Chikengunya the New West Nile Virus?


New Mosquito Born Disease Threatens Southern States:  Chikungunya

Mosquito’s are an annoying fact of living in the south. And is it not bad enough that when a mosquito bites you that you have to itch and endure the  embarrassment of a red spot on your skin that won’t ever go away quick enough!

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Well, get ready to face your fears, because there is a new type of diseased to beware of that has been reported in Caribbean and now in parts of the US. The painful disease called  Chikungunya is making headlines in the Lonestar state and and it is migrating north from the Caribbean to the US.

A level one watch has been issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Victims of the disease suffer a tremendous amount of pain, including flu-like symptoms and joint pain so intense it can make moving the limbs near impossible to move. This pain can go on for weeks or even months. However, the one redeeming quality about the disease is that it is not typically deadly. (Nevertheless it is not anything you wan’t to mess with or catch!)

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Texas and other Southern states are currently advised to beware of disease and mosquito bites in general. Currently there have been over 2000 recorded cases of Chikungunya with even more cases popping up in South America.

Studies are showing that the type of mosquitoes which carry this disease prefer to prey on humans instead of animals and they are more active during the day time instead of the more traditional dawn and dusk patterns of most mosquitoes. Additionally, the mosquitoes carrying this disease thrive in areas like Texas due to the warm climate and temperate winters.

How can we stop this mosquito scourge from growing larger and larger? The answer is to create thousands of tire swings. Well actually the real answer is not so much tire swings as it is to eliminate as many tires from setting around an gathering water as possible. Tires provide a perfect habitat for a mosquito to breed because they trap water inside of them and provide a measure of shelter for the larvae. Other potential breeding grounds include birdbaths, child pools, puddles or  swamp land.

To protect your own home and yard there are a few easy and simple solutions to take:

  1. shutterstock_143416567Get rid of any tires, tarps, or places where water is able to collect and stand.
  2. Keep your grass short and shrubs trimmed back
  3. Apply Cedar oil based repellents using hand sprayers or with an automated sprinkler connected system like this one by Skeetobuster.

Polar Vortex the New El Nino ?


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When I moved to the great state of Texas from the Pacific Northwest, I was excited to escape the cold weather and all the icy annoyances that made life in Idaho really cold and really dangerous! And wouldn’t you believe it…the first winter I have in Texas turns out to be one of the coldest on record!

The reason the nation is experiencing colder than usual conditions is largely due to a phenomena called a Polar Vortex.

But we are not out of the woods just yet!– Meteorologists are predicting another polar vortex experience in the near future.

What the heck is a polar vortex!?

The first thing to know is that (ironically) it has to do with global warming. That’s right, the recent nationwide cold-spell…the same exact cold spell responsible for blizzard like conditions and freezing temps in all 50 states…is an indirect consequence of global warming!

I will do my best to explain this as simply and accurately as possible, here we go…

The far north is warming at a rate nearly twice as fast as the middle part of the planet.  The result is a diminished difference between the Arctic temps and the temperature of the central part of the planet where continents such as North America are located.

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Directly above the arctic north pole is a giant mass of swirling cold air moving above it  in a counter-clockwise direction. This circular motion is created by the difference in temperatures between the arctic and the central part of the planet.

However, as the average temperature of the Arctic is rising at nearly twice the speed as the rest of the planet the difference in these values is changing the way the cold air mass over the north pole behaves. The larger the difference in temperatures the

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tighter that swirling pattern stays. But, as that temperature difference grows closer together, the pattern grows wavy and more erratic. Occasionally the mass of air shifts further beyond the norm and we experience a cold spell like what happened during the first week of January.  

In other words, we experience a Polar Vortex.

We can expect to see this kind of thing happening more and more frequently, because it is directly related to global warming.

Prepare your home for the cold weather.

Whether you live in Texas like me, or you live in another part of the country…last week’s polar vortex experience proved that NO ONE is safe from the freezing temperatures (Hawaii included!)

Take special care to put your animals indoors during potentially cold days, or prepare a warm place for them to weather the storm.

Make sure you have a first aid kit and some supplies with you in your car at all times…cold weather can cause your car’s battery to be as much as lose 33 percent of its power when the temperature dips below freezing, and over 50 percent of its power in subzero conditions! So be sure to have a warm blanket or sleeping bag inside your car just in case you are stuck in the cold longer than you plan to be!

Lastly, prepare your home for the cold. Where we are outside of the growing season, it’s unlikely that you have flowers or plants that need protecting, but if you do, be sure to cover them  to prevent the frost from damaging them. If you have any exposed pipes, be sure to wrap them with insulating tape or buy a insulating cover for them.  If you have a sprinkler system installed in your lawn you need to locate your backflow preventor and protect it by winterizing it! (a broken backflow preventor can cost you hundreds in parts and labor if the housing is cracked)

Winterization Time


Cold WinterOh Boy, here at Sprinkler Warehouse we have people running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to make sure that everyone is able to winterize their irrigation systems before the first freeze. Fortunately here in Houston we might go the entire winter not having to winterize, but do you really want to take that risk??

I will go over exactly what you will need to do in order to get your pipes and backflow devices prepared for the cold weather that may or may not lie ahead… you know with that global warming maybe we will all be sitting by the beach sipping cold drinks in January!

In Cold Climates:

Insulating your irrigation system’s backflow preventer will be the most important step to take when winterizing in a cold climate. In cold climates, occasional late and early season freezes occur and can damage your equipment. Using a small amount of self-sticking foam insulating tape – without blocking the drain outlets or the air vents – should be sufficient. Otherwise, try using some R-11 fiberglass insulation. Wrap it around the backflow preventer, then use duct tape to secure a plastic bag around the whole thing. Don’t secure it too tightly – just tight enough to keep it from blowing off.

In Moderate Climates:

Far fewer steps are required in a moderate climate where it does not freeze, or only freezes for a few hours at a time. The water supply must still be shut off and you will also need to shut down the timer or controller as well. The timer may be set to “rain mode,” especially if it is a solid state, digital display controller. Doing this can save you a great deal of time and means that you won’t have to reprogram the entire thing when spring rolls back around. Gear-driven rotor sprinklers that are above ground must be drained, or the water can freeze, expand and damage them. If the water doesn’t drain out on its own, a drain valve will need to be installed on the sprinkler supply line. Otherwise, you can remove the rotors and shake them out thoroughly; in that case, you should then store them for safekeeping until spring.

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Difference Between the Three Methods of Winterization?

The most important step of the winterization process is removing the water from the system’s pipes and sprinklers so that it doesn’t freeze, expand and burst everything. There are a few different ways of approaching the problem: using a shop vacuum to suck all of the water out (a very time-consuming and aggravating process), draining the water out via the system’s drain valves or using air to blow all of the water out (also known as a sprinkler system blow out)

  • Manual Drain Valve- This method is required if your manual drain valve is located at the lowest point. Your manual valve will either be a ball valve, stop and waste valve, or a globe valve. Make sure that after the water has drained out of the mainline you drain the water that is between the shut off valve and the backflow device. This will not remove the water from your backflow device or your sprinklers. Open the test cocks on your backflow device to enable the water to flow out. If your sprinklers have check valves make sure to raise them so that the water drains out.
  • Automatic Drain Valve Method- Drain Valves are typically located on the ends and low points of your sprinkler system. They drain the water when the PSI is below 10PSI. Activate a station to release pressure and to get the automatic drain valves going. This method saves a great deal of frustration. As with the other methods you will need to drain the water out of the backflow device and your sprinkler heads. In some instances you might have both a manual and an automatic drain valve. If this is the case you have to follow the above method for manual drain valves as well.
  • “Blow Out” Method- Extreme caution must always be taken when blowing out an irrigation system with compressed air. Compressed air can cause serious injury from flying debris. Always wear approved safety eye protection and do not stand over any irrigation components (pipes, sprinklers, and valves) during air blow out. Serious personal injury may result if you do not proceed as recommended! It is best for a qualified licensed contractor to perform this type of winterization method. For a complete step-by-step guide on how to use the “blow out” method follow this link: http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/How-to-Winterize-in-Cold-Climates-s/7950.htm

*Sprinkler Warehouse recommends contacting a professional for any winterization tips and deals for blow outs since this is the most dangerous method if done without a professional.

Now that you know the steps to winterizing your irrigation system, it is important to take the necessary steps for your home and budget. Before I leave y’all, here is a picture that we won’t see down south but basically gets the point across as to why you should winterize everything this is in someone’s garage!

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SPF = Some People Fry SPM = Some People Melt


Couple of safety issues to go over today. We want to keep our customers healthy and buying stuff.

Some people fry.

No sunburn. Sunburn = bad. Too much sunburn = cancer = really bad.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on sunscreen lotions. I do, however, know how to get a bad sunburn, if that helps. In researching this post I came across the expected advice and two more things  I didn’t know. So use sunscreen, stay in shade, cover your skin, etc.

First thing I didn’t know: SPF probably doesn’t mean exactly what you think and it’s not really mathematical. The really high SPF ratings don’t do what you would expect. Because he sums it up so eloquently I’ll quote Dr. James Spencer as reported on the very useful WebMD site.

“SPF is not a consumer-friendly number,” says Florida dermatologist and American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) spokesman James M. Spencer, MD. “It is logical for someone to think that an SPF of 30 is twice as good as an SPF of 15, and so on, but that is not how it works.”

According to Spencer, an SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays, an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays, and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays.”

And now, the best technical summation I have ever read.

“After that, it just gets silly,” he says. (webmd.com: sunscreens)

The other thing I learned is that, while SPF 45 is not three times as good at SPF 15, many doctors still recommend it and higher but not because of the minor increase in efficiency. It seems most people do not apply sunscreen properly, usually applying far too thin a layer. By recommending higher SPF they hope to compensate for the fact we don’t read instructions.

Oh, and wear a hat.

Some people melt.

If you don’t count holes, snakes, saws, shovels, picks, trenchers, mud, sun, mosquitoes and PVC cutters then there are very few hazards in irrigation work.  So let’s forget those and look at primer and cement.

Working with PVC primer and cement is easy and quick. With any minor precautions at all it’s pretty safe. Even with no precautions it is hard to hurt yourself unless you try. Unfortunately, people seem to try all the time.

You should wear gloves. The primer not only stinks but it will help you find every cut and scrape on your hand and set them on fire. Do you really want that stuff going in an open wound? It also tends to dry out your skin and you lose that ‘satiny smooth’ touch you’ve worked so hard for.   Then you get the great fun of telling everyone why your hand is purple. The cement can take a day or two to come off and you look like you have Rigelian Fever.

The cement is really a solvent. It loves to melt plastic. Get some on your new eyeglasses and you’ll need another pair. Get some on your contacts? Not only will your eye scream in pain but your contact is shot.

Keep cement and primer out of your eyes or your kids will hear those words they aren’t supposed to say.

Now the serious part. Primer stinks. Badly. Primer vapors are bad for you. People will pour it on rags, hold it up to their nose and breathe deeply for a dumb and dangerous high. Dangerous and you end up with a purple nose telling everyone you are less than smart. Make sure you use primer in a well-ventilated area.

Most situations are low risk: the outdoor repair, the quick under sink fix, etc. The danger lies in lots of exposure in confined areas. You will stop smelling it. Your brain will think the nose is lying to it cuz’ nothing can smell that bad that long. The brain stops registering the odor. You can stand there breathing in all the vapors without the built in alarm system your body started with. This is known as ‘not good.’

In 20+ years of working with primer and cement I’ve never known anyone to be harmed during routine use. I have seen people working in small closed rooms get dizzy from the fumes. It’s neither fun nor funny.

Have lots of ventilation when gluing pipe. Outdoors is best.

The bright spot is if you are at risk of sunburn doing repairs it’s not likely you are in a small closed room.  Keep your hat on, use sunscreen.