Ozone Generator Buying Guide

If you’re a homeowner and your home has recently suffered water damage, smoke damage, mold infestation, or the dreaded “smell of death” from an expired rodent in a crawl space, then you’ve probably read that an ozone generator might just be the answer to your problems. However, with so many different types of ozone machines on the market, how is one to decipher between fact, fiction, and pure unadulterated BS? I have a few tips that will help you avoid getting ripped off and help you make a wise ozone generator buying decision.

The first thing you have to realize is that the ozone generator industry as a whole is not regulated by any government agency. More than half of the so called ozone generator manufacturers are nothing but Internet opportunists trying to cash in on a high priced, somewhat in demand product. These unscrupulous vendors make their overpriced ozone machines in their own garages, set-up a website that makes all kinds of outrageous claims as to the output capabilities of their ozone machines, then advertise their website in the Search Engines. A sure fire way to weed out a few of these vendors is to do a Google search of their business address then use the “street view” feature by dragging and dropping the “little man icon” onto the street right in front of their business address. If you see a residential home, you might want to steer clear of that vendor. Why? It’s easy to shut down your operations when you’re doing business from home. When you invest in a business location, it shows you’re in it for the long haul and it’s harder to walk away from a “brink and mortar” location than it is from a home run business. Why should you care that the vendor is in business for the long haul? Because ozone generators are prone to fail due to the very corrosive nature of ozone and the damaging effects it has on the metal components within switches, timers, relays, etc. Same goes for eBay vendors who buy a lot of ozone machines without also investing in replacement parts. When their supply runs out, they’re out of the ozone business, and you’re left with an expensive door stop when your machine fails in due time.

Once you find an ozone machine that tickles your fancy and you’re ready to invest your hard earned money, the next question one must ask themselves is “How do I know if this machine really puts out as much ozone as the vendor claims? Ozone generator manufacturers don’t have to validate the ozone machines they sell to ensure they are producing the amount of ozone being claimed. I’ve seen some vendors claim 16,000 to 20,000 milligrams per hour yet when we tested those machines in our shop with our ozone meter, they produced 3000-5000 mg/h. That’s quite a big difference between what is actually being produced and what is being claimed. How then can you make sure the ozone generator you purchase is actually producing the amount of ozone being advertised? Simple! Ask the vendor the following questions in an e-mail (future fodder for a 100% money back should you test the machine and find the information provided was incorrect)

QUESTION #1. How Many Volts is the Power Supply! An ozone generator creates ozone by creating an electrical spark that splits oxygen in the air. In order to accomplish this feat, you have to create a high voltage electrical spark. A simple rule I’ve observed in the lab and well recognized in the ozone industry is that a 3000 volt transformer can produce around 3000 mg/h of ozone per hour when attached to a high voltage ozone element or six or more MICA plates at 40% humidity or less. Each Mica plate can produce a maximum of about 400 milligrams of ozone per hour IF it is properly installed due to the weak electrical spark it is capable of generating from the wire mesh. If you own a MICA plate ozone generator, view the plate in the dark. It won’t light up very bright, very dimly as a matter of fact. The types of ozone plates that turn bright purple in the dark are called “High Voltage Ozone Elements” and they can produce around 3000-4000 mgh per plate when fed with a 3000-4000 volt power transformer. These types of plates glow purple, almost like UV lamp, in the dark. They create a very strong electrical spark that is much more efficient at producing ozone vs the old fashioned MICA plates. As a matter of fact a 4000 volt transformer and ozone element only uses about 35 watts of electricity, now that’s efficient! Therefore, Tip #1 is to ask the vendor to e-mail you in writing the exact voltage, amps, and watts used by their power transformers and how many and which type of ozone plates their machines use. If a vendor claims for instance their machine produces 16 to 20 thousand milligrams of ozone per hour but their machine only uses one 5000 volt transformer, then you’ll things just don’t add up.

QUESTION #2. What type of ozone element does the ozone machine use? Believe it or not, some vendors will try and convince you that the ozone elements in their machines are “permanent” and will last forever. Folks, there’s no such thing as a permanent ozone plate! If used in 90-100% humidity, even the expensive high voltage ozone plates will only last 20-40 hours. Ozone generators are not made to be used in 90% plus humidity! In humid areas, you must run the air conditioning or a dehumidifier in order to perform a shock treatment. Tip #2 therefore is to think twice before buying an ozone generator from a vendor who doesn’t offer replacement ozone plates or makes a machine that utilizes “MICA” plates.

Once you have those answers in writing, save the e-mail in case you need to use it to obtain a refund in the future. When you receive your ozone generator, have a local electrician friend of the family (or hire someone) to open your ozone generator and give it the once over and test the strength (in volts) of the power transformer. If you discover the stated voltage doesn’t match the advertised voltage, ask for a refund. After all, what you’re buying when you buy an ozone generator are high voltage power transformers, not a slick sales pitch! The honest vendors will clearly state their machines specifications on their websites and via e-mail if asked. They’ll also provide you with a picture of the inside of their units and disclose the amount of plates, type used, etc. You should be weary of vendors who hold this information close to the vest or refuse to go on the record with this information.

Now you know what questions to ask an ozone machine vendor before making a purchase. I want to close out this “Ozone Generator Buying Guide” by giving you a few tips on how to save money on your purchase:

Tip #1. Ask the vendor if they sell any used units or any “bare bones” ozone generators. Many ozone generator vendors will have spare parts on hand from returned or fixed units they can sell “on the down low” for a mere pittance of the retail price. Others might be able to sell you a “bare bones ozone generator” without any of the bells and whistles you can easily use to make your own ozone generator, especially if you’re the “do-it-yourself” type. You might also want to check eBay to see if anyone is selling high voltage power transformers in the 3000-12,000 volt range or high voltage ozone elements that can be easily attached to the power transformer. Some ozone vendors want $1000 or more for their ozone generators, however, the fact of the matter is that ozone machines are pretty basic electronic components and they shouldn’t cost as much as a used car, especially if you buy the main components and “Do It Yourself.”

Tip #2. Don’t buy an ozone generator with too many “bells and whistles”. Ozone as I’ve already mentioned is very corrosive over time to all metals except stainless steel. Unfortunately, all electronic switches, relays, etc needs to use regular metal in order to be conduce electricity. What we have therefore is a dilemma. The solution? Don’t buy an ozone generator with all the bells and whistles! This would include an internal timer, ozone output dial (to turn the ozone up and down), etc. Just realize that if you do buy an ozone generator with these parts that eventually the ozone is going to destroy those parts and all it takes to shut down an ozone generator is to have one of the electrical components fail. If you want a timer, buy an external timer for $5 at Lowe’s. If you want to be able to turn the ozone output up and down, buy a “repeat cycle timer” that can turn your ozone generator on for a few seconds ever x amount of minutes, and repeat that cycle indefinitely. Both of those items can be connected via an extension cord in another room to your ozone generator. Less is more when it comes to longevity in shock treatment ozone generators.

Tip #3. Don’t over do it when performing shock treatments! There is a reason the trained professionals that administer ozone shock treatments command thousands of dollars to perform shock treatments; they know what they’re doing and how to safely and effectively perform a shock treatment without leaving your home smelling like ozone for weeks after the shock treatment! Besides being an ozone generator manufacturer, I also run a restoration business that employs ozone in some of our work. For mold remediation, ozone only plays a small role in riding the house of toxic mold for instance. Sheet rock has to be taken down and replaced, super high CFM air cleaners make sure the mold, when disturbed, isn’t re-distributed throughout the structure. Wet wood has to be dried. Leaky pipes have to be fixed, etc etc. Yes, shock levels of ozone will kill the mold, but that’s just a small part of mold remediation, regardless of what some ozone vendors might advertise to help hawk their units.

The main mistake I see homeowners make when doing a shock treatment is not properly removing or covering all petroleum based products such as carpet foam, sofa cushions, etc. We use Kevlar to cover carpets and foam filled sofas, mattresses, etc. Kevlar is ozone resistant and will keep the foam from interacting with the ozone. Ozone will oxidize foam and rubber and cause a chemical-ozone smell that can linger for weeks. So tip #3 is to not over do it with an ozone shock treatment! One or two hour shock treatments in furniture filled homes is advisable. You might have to perform several such shock treatments, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when shocking a furniture filled home. Some vendors tell their clients to just turn the ozone generator on and let it run for a few days. I strongly advise against that practice.

Tip #4. When you are ready to buy, call the vendor and order over the phone. Odds are at some point in time your ozone generator is going to need service. I don’t know about you but I hate buying something on-line, having it break down, then not being able to speak with a live person for support without having to wait on hold for 30 minutes or worse yet, not being able to speak to a live person at all then not having my e-mails answered! You can nip this type of situation in the bud by first calling. If you can’t easily get through and get a well informed live person to answer the phone to place your order, then consider buying elsewhere. This bit of advice goes for making any large ticket item purchase on the Internet.

If you want to save money and make a wise investment, ask the right questions before you buy your ozone generator and also consider incorporating some of my tip suggestions as well. The more you shop around, the more time you spend doing some Internet research, and most importantly, the more time you spend e-mailing and talk directly with the vendor, the more likely you are to make a wise investment and end up with a great ozone machine that lasts you a lifetime.

7 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Today, buying online is the way to go. You have a great collection of things to buy. Plus, you can bargain. The shipping is fast and security is high. You can even return the products that are damaged. As a matter of fact, shopping is a lot easier today. However, those who are unfamiliar with how the online buying works may be an easy target for cyber criminals who steal money from people through phishing frauds and other tricks. Given below are a few tips to buy online safely. Read on.

1. Use Familiar Websites

If you have never purchased from an online store before, we suggest that you start at an online store that is trusted all over the world. For instance, you can buy at Amazon. This is one of the biggest online stores of the world where you can buy anything. Other good names include Home Depot, Best Buy and Target, just to name a few. Make sure type the correct URL of the site.

2. Look for the SSL Lock

It’s a good idea to stay away from a website that doesn’t have the SSL encryption. For instance, if the website URL begins with HTTPS instead of HTTP, you can buy from it safely. Moreover, the website URL will have a locked padlock in it. Another important thing is that you must never send your credit card information through email.

3. Don’t Give too much information

Reliable online stores never ask for a buyer’s birthday or social security number. If a scammer gets your credit card number and social security number, be ready to suffer a big loss. With this information, it will be a lot easier for them to steal your identity. If possible, make sure you give the least information when buying online.

4. Check Statements

Check your credit card statements on a regular basis. Make sure the statements don’t have any fraudulent charges. If you notice something unusual, make sure you call the bank immediately to get the matter resolved. If you are going to buy with a credit card, make sure the charges are accurate.

5. Scan Your PC

Make sure you have an anti-virus program installed on your computer. This is important if you want protection against malware. The anti-virus should be the most recent version.

6. Use Strong Passwords

Make sure your password is a non-dictionary word. It shouldn’t be an easy to guess term. It is even more important when you are going to buy online. If possible, use a combination of letters and numbers. You passwords should be over 8 letters.

7. Avoid Public Terminals

It’s not a good idea to use a public computer in order to buy something from an online store. But if you have to use a public terminal, make sure you sign out after each session. This is equally important even if you went online just to check your email inbox.

So, if you follow these 7 tips, you will be safe when buying stuff online.

10 Top Tips To Successful Dropshipping

Many entrepreneurs have found success in the dropshipping industry. For those who aren’t familiar, dropshipping is a business term used for a situation where a seller sets a retail price for an item, collects the payment, sends the wholesale cost to a dropshipper and the item ships directly from their warehouse. In most cases, the seller never even handles the merchandise because every aspect of shipping is handled by the dropshipper. As successful as the industry has become, there are concerns that arise from this method of selling. In order to familiarize you with those concerns and other helpful information, a list of 10 tips has been compiled. Anyone in the dropshipping industry, or who is considering it, should take their time and gather as much information as possible.

Tip 1: Check out the dropshipper’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau in their area. How long have they been in business? Has anyone ever filed a consumer complaint against the company? If so, has the complaint been resolved? This information can be found at http://www.BBB.org.

Tip 2: Ask the dropshipper how quickly they will be able to fulfill and ship the order. Be sure to inquire about whether or not a tracking number will be available. The tracking number will be very important because, if an item doesn’t arrive, you will need to have some means to track the purchase and to make sure that it was shipped. If a customer doesn’t receive a product, they will look to you for answers.

Tip 3: If you are dropshipping, this means that the item you are selling is not in your possession. It’s very important to let your customers know this. Sellers should indicate that the item will ship directly from your supplier.

Tip 4: An important factor to consider is the delivery time. It’s pertinent to let buyers know that, because the item is shipping directly from your supplier, they may need to allow extra time for delivery. Make sure to ask your dropshipper how long delivery takes so that you may pass this information on to your buyers.

Tip 5: If a problem should arise during the course of shipment, or if a shipment is delayed, promptly address the issue with your buyer. It’s important to have good communication and to let your customers know that you are always there to answer their questions.

Tip 6: Be cautious of a dropshipper who requires that you pay a fee to access their product line. A legitimate dropshipper should not charge to set up an account.

Tip 7: When ordering from a dropshipping company, there should not be a minimum order. It’s normal to get discounts on larger quantities, but the dropshipper should be able to accommodate any order size from 1 to 100.

Tip 8: Consider doing business with more than one dropshipping company. It’s always a good idea to shop around for a larger variety of better deals. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak.

Tip 9: When you begin doing business with a new dropshipping company, order a few test products for yourself. Afterall, you are the one who will be selling the products and you will want to make sure the company offers quality products, reliability and accuracy in filling orders.

Tip 10: The whole idea behind dropshipping is wholesale. You are buying a product at such a low price that you should be able to sell it for a profit. The dropshipper is the wholesaler and you become the retailer. It’s easy to forget that some things really are too good to be true. Just like everything else, there are scams out there so be careful. The bottom line is that regardless of how wonderful the deals may seem, start slow and build up to larger orders as you become more comfortable with the process.

An Exhaustive Guide to Buy the Most Comfortable Mattress Online

Background

Did you know that the oldest ever recorded mattress is estimated to be 77,000 years old? Mattresses have indeed been used for thousands of years in various forms and shapes. The word ‘mattress’ is derived from the Arabic language which means to ‘throw something down’. This is also where the word ‘mat’ comes from. Ancient civilizations constructed mattresses using a myriad of natural materials including feathers, horse hair and straw. Today, mattress technology has become cutting edge. New levels of comfort have been realized; making mattress experiences for sleepers even better.

The types of mattresses you can find online

There are innumerable kinds and types of mattresses to find in the market. Knowing the specifications of various mattress types will help you choose what works for you best. Below is a drill-down of the top kinds.

1. Innerspring mattresses

These are made using a steel coil system for support. Here, springs are intricately connected to form the larger support base. With more coils, the better the quality of the mattress. This technology is considered traditional. Having said this, it is still the most popular type of mattress to many. Innerspring mattresses are some of the most affordable; and this is one of the reasons why they are still popular. Below are other advantages;

Merits

– These mattresses are very portable making them easy to transport

– They are readily available in the market

– You can choose the level of firmness as you desire

Downsides

– When they are beginning to wear, the springs will make a squeaky sound which is unpleasant

– They can do a better job to tackle pressure points and pain

– They are not as durable compared to other types

2. Memory foam mattresses

Foam technology is known for its great comforts by sleepers. This makes them very popular in the market. They are highly snug and will take your relaxation to another level. The mattress will contour your body to ensure optimal pressure relief. In fact, the memory foam technology was first used by NASA and has been used in the manufacturing of comfortable seats for pilots. Regarding comfort, this type enjoys great customer satisfaction feedback. Other benefits are as follows;

Merits

– Relieves pressure points efficiently

– Ensures that your spine aligns properly

– Known to prevent pains and aches while sleeping

– The motion transfer with the mattress is very low

– Not prone to attack by allergens such as dust mites

– Very durable and can last up to 10 years

– Fits well in adjustable beds

Downsides

– No major demerits to note, for low budget sleepers though, the mattress is not the most budget-friendly

3. Natural fiber mattresses

These types are made using natural fibers instead of synthetic materials such as foams. Because they are natural, this type of mattress is pricier. If you are looking for a green way to spend your time in bed, this is the best way to do it. This is the most eco-friendly mattress option in the market. Buying this mattress will literally reduce your carbon footprint. There are all manner of natural fibers to choose from. You can go with organic cotton, organic wool, bamboo, latex gotten from rubber trees, coconut coir and hemp. All the natural fibers come with their own merits. For example, if you are looking for something lasting, organic cotton mattresses can last up to 15 years. Wool on the other hand is known for its great comfort and temperature regulation. Latex is fire resistant and bamboo is a great resource that is renewable. If you want a buoyant mattress, you can consider coconut coir.

4. Latex mattresses

These are some of the most popular mattresses in the market today. First, latex is a natural substance that is durable and comfortable. However, keep in mind that latex products are not all made the same. In fact, many latex mattresses could be a hybrid of other materials. Therefore, knowing the type of latex will help you in the buying process. You can be sure that depending on the manufacturing, latex products will differ in quality. Below are the top merits;

Merits

– The mattress will not require any rotation or flipping

– They have little off-gasing

– They mostly do not use any chemicals

Downsides

– They are heavier and moving them can be cumbersome

– They are more expensive and budget buyers may not afford them

5. Waterbed mattresses

Waterbeds were first made in the 1800s by a physician who was looking to make the life of his patients easier. The Scottish doctor pioneered waterbeds in a bid to tackle bedsores.

Merits

– Can promote back health

– They are versatile with ability to set water temperature and even adjust firmness

– Redefines comfort and can make your back more limber or flexible

Downsides

– Temperature options mean higher electric bills

– Not the most portable option

– Complicated set up process and can be prone to puncturing and leakage

6. Pillow-top mattresses

This mattress technology is best known for the additional padding and layering it adds to the mattress. They can be used alongside other mattress technologies. Also, you have hybrid options for materials including cotton, foam, fiber film, wool, latex and memory foam.

Merits

– The additional padding is highly comfortable

– Retains its shape after using

– Does not overheat and is washable

– Has a quick bounce-back

Downsides

– Some sleepers can find it too soft

– More expensive compared to other types

– Gives out a slight odor

7. Gel mattresses

This is a technology that utilizes foam that contains gel. There are many approaches to adding the gel in the foam and to this end, sleepers are provided with better comfort and overall feel. This type is usually fitted with features that eliminate overheating to control the temperatures. It is a good option when you are looking for a dynamic mattress that will give you a high quality sleep experience.

8. Hybrid mattresses

These are very common types and they feature a combination of various mattress technologies. A steel coil system is combined with all manner of foams including memory, latex and polyurethane. Foams that have gel can also be combined to create hybrids. The mattress seeks to enhance comfort by incorporating many elements that make mattresses work optimally.

When should you buy a new mattress?

After 5 to 10 years, experts recommend tossing your old mattress and buying a new one. However, the reality can be different. One major reason to buy a new mattress is to address your comfort needs. If you have been struggling with back pain and general sleeping discomfort whenever you go to bed, this is a good indicator that you may need a new one. If you are looking to upgrade and get a new technology, this is another good reason to buy a new mattress. If you have had a mattress for close to 10 years and it is still serving you perfectly, buying a new mattress may not be that necessary. If you are asking when is a good time to buy a mattress, individual factors will apply. Nevertheless, when you are ready to buy, you will be happy to know that buying the perfect mattress online is possible. In fact, you can buy a cheap mattress online without compromising the quality.

What are the benefits of buying a mattress online?

– The first and most obvious benefit is that you enjoy convenience. This way, you can consume less time because you do not have to make your way to a physical store. No matter where you are, you can shop for a mattress online.

– You can expect to pay less for your mattress when you buy online. This is because physical stores will always have a higher price tag. Online, you can purchase directly from the manufacturer or access great discounts from virtual sellers.

– It is easier to get all the product information online compared to brick and mortar stores. In fact, you can take time to learn more about the mattress without being distracted by a salesperson. In so doing, you are able to make a more informed decision on the mattress you want.

– You are more likely to buy a mattress online with free shipping included. In addition, the mattress can be delivered without your supervision or presence; unlike in conventional stores. This will save you both time and hassle.

– You will be delighted to know that the customer satisfaction level of buying online and offline is more or less the same. This means that buying a mattress at a physical store does not give you any added advantage compared to buying online.

– Online retailers are known for their exceptional customer service compared to physical stores. With a great buying experience, customers will refer others and even buy again.

Downsides of buying online

– Most online sellers will not offer old bed removal services

– You do not get the chance to test the mattress before buying; however, some online mattresses do carry a trail period

Comprehensive guide to buy the perfect mattress online

– Research on the type of mattress you want

At the beginning of this article, a list of various types of mattresses were given. Look at the merits and demerits. Consider the features and specifications of each type. If you are looking for something that will relieve back pain effectively, determine what is likely to work for you. Narrow down your options and make comparisons. When you have a better idea on the most suitable type, move on to the next step.

– Consider your mattress budget needs

Know the price range you are working with. This will allow you to narrow down the list further to the most affordable type for you. There are various factors that determine the cost of a mattress. The first element is the size, the bigger the mattress, the more expensive it will be. Mattresses come in various sizes from small to super king size. The composition, technology and brand will also determine the total cost. Take advantage of special discounts to get the most suitable mattress at the lowest price possible. Keep a keen eye on sales and offers by online stores.

– Get familiar with the policies of your online retailer

Some online stores will provide a full mattress service which includes the assembly of the product in your house. Other sellers will only undertake a front door delivery. Know what the return policies and the charges they attract. If there are any hidden or additional charges, you should know. Many mattresses come with a trial period. Therefore, get to know which brand offers this and for how long. This satisfaction guarantee is critical to getting the perfect mattress online. Also, look at the warranty information about the mattress, it can range from two years to 25 years.

– Read independent customer reviews

Search online for unbiased reviews on the mattress you are looking to buy. Get the full feedback so that you can get a sense of what you are buying. In addition to getting feedback about the quality of the mattress, look at the customer service at various online stores. This way, you can determine the best stores to buy a mattress.

Silver Jewelry Trends, Tips to Buying Sterling Silver Jewelry

Silver jewelry trends have taken a rise in demand and especially the Sterling silver is the most popular. It is used widely to make jewelry and is prominent owing to its durability, affordability and appearance. Sterling is a mixture of metals, a typical alloy containing silver of 92.5% in weight, while the remaining weight of 7.5% includes other metals, mainly copper to give strength. The fact stays that though it is prominent, the jewelry is not equally created and so buyers of sterling silver should consider looking for online and in-store before setting on silver jewelry items. These depend on three factors:

Determining Quality and Authenticity

As the first point, look for the hallmark. In the U.S. silver is mostly marked featuring 925,.925, or 92.5, a small engraving. This is a way of knowing it is genuine sterling silver. The other countries follow different standards. Thus paying attention is a must for any jewelry.

Another important part is to look for a word “plated.” In case, it says ‘silver-plated’ it means it is coated in silver to get the appearance and is not sterling. In fact, it is a piece made of copper, nickel and other metals. The coating of silver will wear away.

To check the quality construction of the silver jewelry, do inspect the pieces. Test the clasps to know if they are secure and easy to open. Also place the chains flat to check for bends or kinks and ensure the earrings are not bent and appear straight.

Sterling silver jewelry that is new should appear shiny and must not show any tarnish signs. Tarnish does not refer to poor quality, but it means a little cleaning is required.

Buying Jewelry Online

Sterling jewelry can be bought online, but it is a must to research websites. You will find genuine online retailers offering a good selection of silver jewelry. At the same time many department stores and brick-and-mortar jewelry offer for sale their products online.

Shopping for a ring implies you must know the ring size before buying. Online you can find information about item measurements and details. There may be photos also to see from different angles.

Go through the return policy. Authentic sites list with the product details the return policy or it will appear in a separate page. Ensure there is way to return the piece, if it is damaged while receiving or you dislike it.

Buying Sterling Silver in-store

Research local stores selling silver jewelry and find a dedicated jewelry store. Seek recommendations from family or friends before buying sterling silver jewelry. It helps to get localized recommended websites

Visit and inspect the jewelry pieces. Look for the hallmark, test the backings and clasps. Use a magnifying glass to inspect more carefully.

Ask for details about the jewelry piece and get details about the composition of the jewelry piece. Ask for return policy and get one in writing.

Tips on Getting the Best Deal When Buying a Boat

Buying a boat does not have to be problematic if you understand how to get the best possible deal before you begin your search. The problem for many people is they jump right into the boat without doing any research, then can not wait to get out of the boat before they are drained financially. If you are interested in getting the best deal on buying a boat, follow a few of these simple tips.

Consider Used vs. New

Although the allure of owning a new boat appeals to many people, peel back the surface and you will discover buying a used boat offers you the best possible deal. Think about it this way, every year thousands of people buy a boat and within weeks wish they didn’t buy that boat. They invested in all the toys too, trailer, stereo equipment, fishing gear, toys for the water, emergency equipment and all the safety gear. Not only will they take a cut-rate price on the boat that is barely used, they will most likely toss in all those accessories so you do not have to pay for them out-of-pocket this year.

Getting the Best Price

Just because the asking price on the boat is right within your budget doesn’t mean you have to pay that much. The asking price is what that owner is hoping they sell the boat for, and just like at the car dealership, they are always willing to haggle. Get your bottom line and go in with that number. If they really wan the sale, you will get the boat at a huge drop in price, and perhaps they toss in some of those amenities we talked about earlier. If not, the money you saved on the boat price will allow you to buy all the toys and equipment you need.

Getting Better Informed

Many new boat owners jumped into their vessel long before they knew about boats or what size they should have been shopping around for. Hit a local boat show and ask as many questions as you can. Being informed not only means that you will get the best price on the right boat for you, this means the boat size and function will perfectly align with what you want to do on the water. This ensures each time you head out you will enjoy your time more thoroughly.

Getting the best deal on buying a boat involves patience and gathering information. The sea isn’t going anywhere, so slow down and go find the right boat for you.

7 Tips for Buying Used Auto Parts

Getting a car repaired can be a frustrating process. Since we need our cars on a daily basis, we want to do everything we can so that it is fixed quickly and inexpensively. For those on a budget, purchasing a used part makes sense. In many cases, it will do the job just as well as a new part but can save you a significant amount of money. The cost of labor alone will be plenty. Purchasing a used auto part is also good for the environment. By recycling the car part it’s one less item that ends up in a junk yard or landfill. Used auto parts are largely available and relatively easy to obtain but many people are still unaware of the steps that they should take before purchasing and can make some avoidable mistakes. Below are 7 tips for buying used auto parts:

Do Your Research

For someone that doesn’t know much about cars it’s easy to confuse one part with another. Know exactly what part it is that you need and research how much it typically costs. If possible, bring the car part with you to find an exact match.

Scope out the Providers

There are numerous options when purchasing used auto parts. You can buy directly from a junkyard, have your mechanic find used parts for you, or purchase the parts online. Ask around and get recommendations. Check out the businesses online to see if you find any scams or negative feedback. You don’t want to buy used auto parts from a shady company.

Ask about Return/Exchange Policies

There is always a risk factor when buying anything used. You don’t want to buy a part only to have it not work properly. It’s important to feel comfortable knowing that there is a clear return/exchange policy and some kind of warranty. Have a firm understanding of the warrantee before making a purchase. You don’t want to get scammed because you didn’t read the fine print. If they don’t even offer a warranty, find a different place that will.

Get the Part History

How old is the part? How many miles the previous car go? This information can help guide your decision.

Consider Safety

While numerous used car parts are just fine, think twice about parts that directly correlate with safety, especially if you are often driving around passengers and small children. Some parts are best to purchase new.

Think About Color Match

This mostly pertains to body parts that are seen on the outside. While a part might fit perfectly, it may not be the right color and it may be difficult, if not impossible, to paint or stain it so that it matches. While some may not be worried about this, for others this would be a deal breaker.

You Don’t Have to Go to the Big Guy

Sure there are plenty of well known national chains that sell used auto parts, but they are likely more expensive and the parts have the same quality as those that you would find at a neighborhood yard or a smaller retailer online. Do your research and compare prices. Some yards may even be willing to negotiate a price with you.

Tips For Buying Discount Motorcycle Tires

When it comes right down to it, the tires are one of the most important components on your motorcycle. They’re what keeps you “stuck” to the road, so investing in a good set is important. Buying the cheapest set of tires you can find isn’t necessarily the best decision, however you can find good discount motorcycle tires without trading away your safety and durability. Let’s look at some of the things you need to know.

If you’re planning on buying discount tires, a good place to find out what brands are worth considering is the dealer you bought the bike from, or your favorite mechanic. Assuming the dealer doesn’t also sell tires, they both should be an objective source of information. You can also check magazine reviews, tire guides and motorcycle related websites to get some good information about tires.

Another good source of information is your fellow riders. Check and see what kind of tires other riders are using. If you see a brand and/or model that gets used by a lot of people, chances are they are going to serve you well. You can even ask some of those people what they think of the tires they’re using. Most motorcycle riders are happy to share their experiences with their fellow riders.

There are several things you’ll want to consider when buying your tires:

– Load capacity

– Expected tread life

– Performance level

– Ability to grip in wet conditions

It will depend on the conditions you typically ride in, but if any of these factors aren’t up to your standards, the money you save on those discount motorcycle tires isn’t going to be worth it.

If you’re shopping on price alone, you probably won’t get very good results from your tires. But there’s no reason you can’t get the tires you want at a decent discount. Just do your homework before you decide where and what to buy.

A Beginners Guide To Buying Authentic Japanese Swords

Authentic Japanese swords can and usually do cost a small fortune.

In fact many (though not all) sword collectors maintain that to get a half way decent sword you need to be spending around US$1000. And the maximum? Well, the sky is the limit (there are quite a few Japanese made Katana that sell for around the US$25,000 mark).

So what about all those $50 swords being sold on eBay and everywhere else?

Well, at the end of the day, these swords are often junky ornamental “sword like objects”. They can’t be used as a martial arts weapon. Even just swinging them around with moderate force risks the blade snapping off at the handle…

But if you know what to look for, buying authentic Japanese swords at a reasonable price – say for around US$150 to $500 is quite possible. And in some cases, for even less than this amount of money, it’s possible to get a nice sword that is well balanced, sharp, strong and an excellent ‘bang for your buck’ buy.

For start though – let’s take a very quick look at what separated the authentic Japanese swords from the ornamentals:

  • Japanese swords are slightly curved, sharp and single edged
  • Authentic Japanese swords are light, fast weapons and should weigh no more than 3lbs max. They are also very well balanced
  • Real Japanese swords aren’t made from stainless steel – they are made from high carbon steel. They also have what is called a “differentially tempered blade” – meaning that the sharp edge of the sword is harder than the spine, giving the sword flexibility (so it doesn’t shatter on impact) but also extreme cutting power.
  • Real Japanese swords also have a tang (the part of the blade that goes into the handle) that is made as part of the blade, not a length of steel welded on afterwards (called a “rat tail” tang).

There are also a few other factors, such as traditional appearance and fittings to consider…

Now in our target price range of US$150 to $500 – there are only a few swords which qualify – and you’d be surprised, it isn’t necessarily the most expensive ones either…

The first is the Generation 2 BWT Katana (around US$329 + shipping)

While I really like Gen2s line of European swords as top quality yet very affordable “beater” swords, their BWT Katana – while a good choice, still has a few major drawbacks. There are two versions of this sword – a more traditional but rather plain looking one and another that uses a lot of brown suede and has an almost surreal “cowboy” quality to it…

Neither are particularly attractive. But the biggest problem is a structural flaw – in that the BWT Katana uses water buffalo horn for the small but critical band under the hand guard (called the fuchi) that has actually been known to occasionally crack on impact…

Moving on…

A lot of people like the Nahuarra of Mexico Katana (RRP around US$200 – but they are almost impossible to actually buy at this price and tend to go for US$400+)

Unfortunately, they are a bit too plain, too heavy (around 3.52lbs), poorly balanced, sharp (but not as sharp as they should be), difficult to find and – well…

Moving on…

Cold Steel make a very durable “Katana” for just a tad over the US$300 mark. These swords are sharp and extremely durable. But they aren’t in any way traditional. They aren’t differentially tempered (they are a mono-steel sword, like a European blade – all of one uniform hardness) and they aren’t balanced properly…

BUT – they aren’t a BAD choice… Only thing is, in my opinion (and in the opinion of many Japanese sword enthusiasts the world over) there is a better and even cheaper alternative.

If you are really looking for an affordable “entry level” Japanese sword – there really is only 1 choice, and that’s the Practical Katana and the Practical Plus Katana by Paul Chen’s Hanwei Forge.

These swords have it all – and for an online price tag of around US$279 for the Practical Plus Katana and US$169 for the plain vanilla model – they offer outstanding value for money.

They are light (under 3lbs) and incredibly well balanced. They are made from top quality high carbon steel. They have a “differentially tempered” blade, a solidly constructed tang and boy – are these babies sharp! I’ve cut everything from cardboard boxes to lengths of rope, water filled plastic bottles (of all shapes and sizes in a row and hanging), bamboo and traditional rolled tatami mats and it’s no exaggeration to say that I have never once actually felt any resistance to my cuts. In fact, many of my friends who aren’t sword nuts are able to effortlessly cut a plastic water bottle filled with water so easily that they swore that they missed (until the water comes gushing out over their feet that is).

I just love these swords! And what’s so cool about them is the price! NOTHING COMES CLOSE!

Now sure, they aren’t the same as swords ten times the price. But I remember seeing on a website when I was first checking them out a side by side comparison of quite a few different “entry level” Katana – and these were the only cheap Japanese swords that even got a look in – and overall, they were just 33% behind swords TEN TIMES THE PRICE!

Anyway – at the end of the day, if you love authentic Japanese swords, and don’t have (or don’t want to spend) a whole lot of money, you should have a serious look at these swords! I guarantee, you’ll join me and a small army of raving fans across the world…

🙂

10 Tips to Purchase Your Favorite Gemstone

If you want to buy gemstones online, make sure you choose the right website. This is even more important if you have been buying stuff online for years. Given below are 10 tips that you may want to consider before making this purchase. Read on to find out more.

Calibrate your Monitor First: It’s important that you calibrate your monitor as everyone has their own perception of color. If your monitor is color corrected, you will see the true colors of everything. You should adjust the brightness, contrast and gamma range as well.

Don’t Rely on Stock Photography: when buying a gemstone, make sure you are seeing the exact photo of the gemstone. As soon as you have decided on the right type of gemstone, you can search on Google to view the gemstone from different angles.

Buy from Bricks and Mortar Stores: Placing your order at a website of a brick and mortar store is better as you can visit the store if something goes wrong with your gemstone setting.

Inspection Period: If the gemstone is against your expectations, you can use the return policy to send the gemstone back to the seller. For instance, if the gemstone is smaller than what it looked in the photos, you may have to return it.

Check the Contact Information: You call or email the seller to find out who gets back to you. Ideally, a real person should reply to your email or answer your call. If they don’t return your call in a timely fashion, it’s better to look for a different seller.

Work with a Reputable Seller: Reputable dealers offer information on the grading system of their stones. If they are selling the product with a lab certification, you should make sure you can download the certification in PDF format from the seller’s website.

Consider Interest-Free Financing: Why should you pay interest when you can get up to one-year interest-free? All you need to do is stick to your budget limit. Your goal should be to save as much as you can on your purchase.

Buy from an Accredited Seller: You can check out Better Business Bureau to find out if the company is established and enjoys a positive track record.

Membership: Ideally, you may want to buy from a store that is registered with a professional organization, such as the American Gem Society. What you need to check the seller’s website to find out if the logo is there. This will make sure the seller is trustworthy.

Budget: It’s important that you set your budget range when opting for a stone that you like. After all, you can’t spend all your money on this purchase. So, allocating a budget is important.

In short, you can use these tips if you are going to purchase a gemstone online. If you have never purchased one, we suggest that you consult an experienced professional or a friend knows a lot about gemstones. This will help you make the best decision.