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.

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.

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…

🙂

How to Buy Used Cars? A Definitive Guide to Buy an Excellent Used Car Without Overpaying

Before we answer this commonly asked question, just think about what is better for you. It is obvious that you have 2 options; a brand-new car or a used car. As a well known fact, buying a brand-new car can make you lose some money because the price of the brand-new car will be depreciated as soon as you buy that new car, but buying a used car can make you avoid that depreciation.

With a large selection of used cars nowadays, there is no greater value than buying a used car. However, it is also the highest risk, especially if you have no idea about what you should do to get the best deal without getting scammed by the unscrupulous people who are ready to cheat you. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you arm yourself with all the needed research and collecting the most possible information about the specific used car you wish to buy.

Buying a used vehicle is a big challenge, especially if you have no idea about the car you are going to buy, so it’s highly recommended that you take your time to collect the needed information and research via the internet to arm yourself before going into the battle of buying used cars. To avoid the pitfalls of buying used cars, do your research online and through multiple dealerships and used car lots.

According to my research there are easy, but powerful steps that will enable you to buy the used car you need. Read them carefully and imagine yourself doing them while reading to memorize them quickly and to be able to implement them effectively in the real life to get the best deal like never before.

Consider the benefits of buying a used car

According to the experts at Kelly Blue Book, “In three years a brand-new car could depreciate by as much as 73 percent of its value. At the best it will retain only 62 percent of its value after three years. That’s one major advantage to buying a used car.”. Therefore, why do you throw money away with buying a brand-new car while you can get a high-quality and recent model used car.

Here are some other good reasons that encourage you to do that:

  1. Skillful used car buyer can explore bigger deals.
  2. Certified used cars are widely being sold nowadays, such as certified pre-owned cars which you can purchase with peace of mind because they have been thoroughly inspected and are covered by warranties.
  3. Used cars are now more reliable than ever before.
  4. Used cars from 1 to 3 years old are generally still covered by factory warranty.
  5. You can find the history of the used car by using the car VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and by using the vehicle history report. And you can get that report easily from CARFAX or Autocheck.
  6. Online, you can check the safety ratings and crash tests for almost any used car.

Set a budget for your purchase

Next, you will need to consider how to finance the car before you go for shopping. Use online tools to help you with that and make a financial plan that suits your budget. Experts at edmunds.com say “Make sure that your monthly payment does not exceed 20 percent of your salary”. It is essential to see how much your specific car really costs. Tools like True Market Value (TMV), True Cost to Own (TCO) on edmunds.com and website like kbb.com will help you with that.

By using affordability calculator and other online calculators, you can determine how much you can pay as a monthly payment. Determine how much you can pay as a down payment for the car if you are going to take out a car loan. It is important to realize that you will not pay only the car price, but you should also consider the other costs of vehicle ownership, such as insurance rates, extended warranties, maintenance, and fuel costs.

There are two ways to buy a used car; either you pay cash or you take out a loan. Taking a loan to buy a car is also called financing the car. You can finance for your used car through a bank, online lender, credit union, or a dealer. It is highly recommended that you finance through the first three, especially bank and online lender.

Choose the right used car

Used car buying has become very popular nowadays, so you will find a large selection of car models to choose from. Search on T.V, magazines, internet or at used car dealerships. Consult friends or relatives. Nowadays the Internet has become the most valuable tool. You can research the large selection of different car models and prices.

Make a list of several used car models that you are interested in and then narrow your list down to 3 or 4 cars. Before you take your list of preferred cars and go to the dealership or private party to purchase, research the car and collect as much information about the car as you can to arm yourself with all the needed knowledge that will save you money and make you get the great deal without getting scammed.

Before you decide on the car model, you should decide whether you will pay the price of the car in cash or you will finance on the car and pay monthly payments. Ask yourself does that car suit your needs? How big you want the car? Does it have headroom and legroom for you and the other passengers? How many passengers will ride in it? Do you need cargo room or towing capacity?

Once you have decided the right model or body style that is excellent for you, you should start collecting detailed information about that specific used car using its VIN. The VIN is included in many online car listings. Websites such as CARFAX OR Autocheck can help you do so easily. Use this VIN to get the vehicle history report which is vital to know the overall condition and history of the car. You will know whether that specific car has ever been totaled, flooded, stolen or whether the odometer has been rolled back.Those are essential information when you consider buying used cars.

If you want to save money, read the consumer reports and car reviews of the model that you are interested in. Compare Kelly Blue Book values, research resale values. By doing your research up front, you can avoid any model if it has a potential issue.

Best places to find used cars

There are a lot of places where you can find used cars, such as online websites, CarMax, dealerships, Auctions, and private party. Each place has its own pros and cons.The certified pre-owned cars are the most expensive used cars. If you want to know more about them you can check out the certified pre-owned vehicle programs at edmunds.com. Make sure that you do not buy a lemon used car.

Test drive and inspect the used car

Test driving and inspecting the used car that you have decided to buy is a very important factor in determining whether or not you proceed with your purchase, you may keep this vehicle for years to come, so make sure that the car is reliable and high performance. Try it in different roads to explore any potential problems you may find later, after you will have bought it.

After you collected the necessary information about the car, contact the seller and arrange an appointment to test drive the used car.When you go to test drive the car, bring along a mechanic because it is highly recommended that you take a mechanic with you to inspect the used car.

When you test drive the car, make sure that the engine is cold because doing that will show you whether there are any chronic issues or not. Bear in mind that it is your chance to test the car, so take your time to judge whether it is a good fit and it is in a good condition or not. Consider the following:

  • How does it feel when you drive the car?
  • How does it feel on bumpy roads?
  • Does the car have the acceleration levels you want?
  • What about the suspension, is it comfortable and even?
  • Does the car pull to one side or another or not? If it pulls, so it may be a problem with alignment or brake. Consider trying the brake.
  • Does the car inside have enough headroom and legroom for everyone who will ride?
  • While you are driving turn off the radio or C.D player to focus on the driving experience and to be able to hear any unusual noise especially from the engine.

Make sure that you get the service records from the seller or dealer. Stay away from the used cars that have been in a serious accident or that have been undergoing major repair work such as engine overhauls, valve jobs or transmission rebuilds. You should also check the VIN of the car, it is located in many places on the car depending on the car model. Make sure that all of the VIN plates on the car are matched not mismatched. Take a trusted mechanic with you to check things more accurately and professionally for you. If it is a CPO (certified pre-owned car) there is no reason to take a mechanic with you because those kinds of cars have undergone a thorough inspection before they have been brought for sale.

Negotiate the price

Your negotiation will largely depend on your research and the information that you have collected from famous car websites and dealerships. Stick to the prices that you have on hand in your list and show the price quotes to the dealer or the private seller to make them feel that you are educated buyer, so they cannot overprice the used car.

Read carefully before you sign

Before you sign, read carefully the clauses of the contract. It is recommended that you take a lawyer with you to finalize the paperwork for you. Avoid signing “as is” when buying a used car, because once you sign that, any problem with the car becomes yours. If you have to do that, make sure that you researched the information and got the Vehicle History Report on the used car. Make sure that any promises are written not just spoken.

Finally, by doing the above steps, you will become the educated buyer who knows exactly how to buy an excellent used car and how much you can expect to pay for it.

I hope this article was helpful for you. If you have any additional advice, please feel free to add it below.

Guide For Buying and Preparing Your Freshwater Aquarium Tank

Before buying your freshwater aquarium tank, one of the first considerations is how much available space you have. The size of your tank will also determine the number and size of fish you can keep. It is my experience that larger aquarium tanks are easier to maintain once they are up and running for a few months. Now that you have considered how much space you have, it is now time to secure your freshwater aquarium.

Buying the Tank

When you go to a pet store, or a preferably a retailer that specializes in fish tanks, choose among the available tanks that will fit in the space you allocated in your home. Another decision is whether you want a fish tank made of glass or acrylic material for your home freshwater aquarium tank.

If you have children at home, the best choice might be an acrylic fish tank because they are more durable and much more difficult to break. However, this material is also prone to scratches, and is more expensive. Nonetheless, it is a good material for a fish tank. A fish tank that is made from glass is less prone to scratches, although it does scratch, costs less, but the event of a breakage cannot be dismissed. I usually keep aquariums made of glass and just exercise caution so that breakage does not occur.

One more thing that you have to consider is the number of fish that you will be placing inside the tank. A general rule is to load the tank at 1 inch of fish per gallon. It is my experience that this can be somewhat excessive. I am usually more conservative loading my tank as low as 1 inch of fish per 2 gallons of water. This combined with an aquarium filter that is more than adequate for a fish tank can reduce the frequency of tank cleaning and aquarium maintenance activities.

Preparing the Aquarium Tank

The freshwater aquarium tank must be prepared before fish can be placed inside. First, fill the tank with freshwater. Setup all accessories that you would like to see in your aquarium such as aquarium gravel or sand, background paper on the back of the fish tank, set up the filter system and aquarium heater, and place any other habitat you provide such as rocks or plants. Get everything up and running and let every run for 3 days to a week. This allows the water chemistry to stabilize and give time for important micro-organisms to grow in your tank.

Stabilizing the aquarium before placing the fish inside it is a must. The pH level should come to an acceptable level, the temperature should be normal for all the fish in the tank. Everything inside the tank contributes to the general well-being of the fish, and therefore, everything must be in place when the tank would be set to run for stabilization.

Time to Buy the Fish

Now that your tank has stabilized since it has been running for a couple of days, you now can go back to the pet store and buy your fish.

Once you have purchased all the fish that you will be placing inside the aquarium, let them acclimatize first to their new home. Float your fish, which should be in plastic bags, in the water so that the water temperatures normalize, so they won’t get shocked by being submerged immediately into water that they are not used to.

The freshwater aquarium tank is the home for your fish and must be maintained with care. With the appropriate care, freshwater aquarium keeping can be fun, easy, and be a low maintenance hobby. If done wrong, you could have a lot of maintenance on your hands by learning the hard way, as I have many times in the past.

GPS Buyers Guide For RV’ers

Thinking about a new GPS? The task of choosing the one that’s right for you can be very intimidating. With so many great brands, models and features to choose from, how do you know which one to buy?

When picking a GPS, the most important question to ask is “What do I want to do with it?” Any automotive GPS unit will tell you where you are and where to go, without getting you lost. As RV’ers, we all have a set of basic needs our GPS must fulfill. Beyond that, it’s completely up to you whether you want, and are willing to pay the extra money for certain features.

Pre-Loaded Maps

The first factor to consider is what maps you need pre-loaded in your GPS. That, of course depends on where you plan to travel. Many systems come with road maps for the entire United States and Canada loaded into their main memory. Some come with all of North America and some come with Europe as well. This gives you the luxury to go anywhere without worrying about whether or not you loaded the proper maps; it also makes the device ready-to-roll, right out of the box. Pre-loaded maps occupy part of the main memory of the GPS; any excess main memory can be used for additional maps, MP3 music, or custom POI’s. This brings us to memory capacity.

Memory Capacity

How much memory your GPS can hold is very important as well. If you purchase a unit that has very little extra main memory, and can’t be expanded; you may find yourself unable to add features or points-of-interest (POI) when you want. Many GPS models only contain enough main memory to hold their pre-loaded maps, with very little left over. This is only a problem if they do not have a memory expansion slot. A memory expansion slot allows you to add memory to the GPS should you ever need it. Most take a Secure Digital (SD) card for memory expansion. SD cards are inexpensive and a great way to add memory to your unit when you need it. More expensive units typically have a considerable amount of their main memory free for your use, and also have a memory expansion slot. Less expensive units typically use most or all of their main memory for built-in features, but most of them still have a memory expansion slot.

Text To Speach

Another important feature to look for is “text-to-speech.” Most voice-prompting GPS units will give an audio notification such as “Turn left in 300 feet” or “Take next exit.” A unit with a text-to-speech function will speak not only the direction but the name of the street as well: “Turn left onto Mulberry Lane in 300 feet” or “Take Exit 23A.” This is a huge help for many people, especially RV’ers, as they won’t even have to glance at the screen to know where to go.

Live Traffic Service

A great new feature to consider is live traffic service. Available in larger cities, a subscription to a traffic service gives you real-time, up-to-the-minute updates on traffic and road conditions. Freeway’s blocked from Exit 23 to Exit 29? Your GPS will notify you and offer an alternative route. After a free trial period, traffic service typically costs about $7/month. Some Garmin units also offer XM Radio services, so that you can get not only live traffic but XM Satellite Radio as well.

Even beyond a typical traffic service is the new Enhanced MSN Direct service. Many of the upper-end Garmin units, like the Nuvi 780 come with this capability. With MSN Direct, you can check the weather, avoid traffic backups, compare local gas prices, get enhanced movie listings, stock information, news and local events when you travel with your unit. Even plan trips from the convenience of your computer, via Windows Live Local, and then wirelessly send locations to your GPS. Like a traffic service, MSN Direct carries a monthly charge after the free trial period.

Bluetooth Enabled

One of the newest additions to GPS systems is the integration of a Bluetooth chip. If both your cell phone and GPS unit are Bluetooth-enabled, you’ll be able to pair them up for hands-free calling, dial-a-POI features, and more, making your automotive electronics suite completely integrated. Many campgrounds POI lists like the CoolRVToyz Ultimate RV Parks & Campgrounds Directory takes advantage of this feature on the Garmin GPS units and allows you to dial a campground hands-free from a touch of your GPS screen.

MP3 Enabled

Another new addition to GPS systems is the ability to play MP3 music. By loading your favorite MP3 music or audio book into your GPS you can play it either through the GPS’ speakers or your in-dash radio. Many of the better GPS units also come with an FM transmitter to link them directly to your in-dash radio so the music comes out of your vehicle’s stereo system. This is particularly useful since the GPS will automatically lower the volume of the music to give you directions, or if you receive a phone call.

Travel Guides and TourGuide(TM)

One of the most exciting new features is Garmin’s new TourGuide(TM) capability. With TourGuide(TM) you can purchase completely guided tours for your GPS. Start the TourGuide(TM) and simply follow the tour. Your GPS will guide you to points of interest, explain them and even show you photos. It’s like having your own tour guide right along for the ride.

Conclusion

Among the most popular GPS navigation systems for RV’ers are the Garmin nuvi 200, 360 and 680, the Lowrance iWAY 600C, the Garmin StreetPilot c550, the Magellan Maestro 4040 and CrossOver GPS, and the TomTom ONE 3rd Edition. So which GPS is the “best?” That depends entirely on your needs, your preferences and your budget.

A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Tortoise

Increasingly tortoises are becoming popular pets to have thus their availability has grown. But how and where do you buy a healthy and reasonably priced tortoise? Below I provide a simple guide on how to buy a tortoise the healthy, humane, and correct way.

Do your Research

Before you buy your tortoise you need to know what you are looking for. You should choose the species based off your ability to fulfill the needs of that particular species.

For example if the species of tortoise you want has a very particular and expensive diet that you cannot afford, do not buy that species.

Also, when picking a species you should take your experience into account. If you are a beginner pick an easy to take care of tortoise. For example, Russian Tortoises are small and not very temperature sensitive. While an Indian Star Tortoise should be left for advanced and experienced keepers only.

Where to Buy a Tortoise From?

Now that you have a species in mind, lets take a look at the few possible avenues of where you could buy a tortoise.

-Breeders

Breeders are individual people who breed tortoises as a hobby or a business. There are many advantages to buying from a breeder. When you buy from a breeder you know that you are buying a 100% captive bred tortoise that wasn’t taken from the wild. Also, the breeders can offer one-on-one advice for care and in most cases sell the reptile for a lower price than pet shops.

To find breeders in your area search the web on sites like Craig’s List or reptile forums like Tortoise Forum.

-Online

With a quick online search you can find companies willing to send you your tortoise in the mail. Most often these are large-scale tortoise farming operations. Before buying from one of theses companies, do your research and make sure they are humane and most of the time deliver alive and healthy reptiles.

Also, a good amount of the time these companies can provide accurate information on how to care for the tortoise.

-Pet Shops

Buying from big chain or local pet shops is not advised. Most of the time these reptiles are coming from poor conditions and being sold to you by people who aren’t very knowledgeable about tortoises or any reptile. Plus most of the time the reptiles being sold are overpriced compared to breeders. And pet shops have been known to sell beginners unnecessary, expensive equipment.

Horse Riding Lesson Guide – Got Buyer’s Remorse? 5 Tips About Your Purchase Contract

As an attorney, I am often asked by newcomers taking horse riding lessons, what are the buyer’s legal rights when they buy a horse. You are governed by contract law which is defined in your state. It is imperative to have a written contract so that your agreement is less ambiguous and easier to define.

Generally speaking, and one of the most important horse riding lessons is that the buyer purchases a horse “AS IS”, meaning that the duty is on you, the buyer, to examine the horse prior to the purchase. Any defects gone unnoticed and found after the purchase are not a cause of action for a law suit against the seller. It is truly a “buyer beware” situation!

Of course, any agreement can change the “as is” nature of the transaction. You may include in your purchase contract, for example, that the horse is 8 years old and suitable for a child to ride. If you later find out that the horse is actually 15 years old and was used by the seller as in gymkhana events, you may very well have a cause of action against the seller!

1. The more you can get in writing, the better. At a minimum you should expect to receive a Bill Of Sale in which the horse is identified by name, age, breed, color, sex and any other identifying traits that distinguish him from another horse. If any of those elements of the contract are later found to be untrue, you may have a cause of action if the breach is material. For example, if the horse is said to be 6 years old and in fact he is 5 years old, you may not be damaged in the eyes of the law. If the horse is said to be 6 years old and he is in fact 18, you would be damaged because you are buying a horse whose lifespan is significantly less than you expected.

2. If you can prove (that’s the hard part) that the seller engaged in fraud, you can overcome a written contract just as in other civil contract cases. Fraud is difficult to prove, however, because it requires that you show the seller made an intentional misrepresentation designed to make you buy the horse. For example, if the seller knows the horse has navicular disease, yet tells the buyer he is totally sound, the buyer has a cause of action if he can prove the seller’s knowledge of that fact.

3. Besides the written contract, look also at the advertisement the seller may have published. The ad could contain specific statements that could be interpreted as part of the bargain. For example, a buyer who purchased a horse advertised as having “no vices” could likely successfully sue the seller if, immediately after the purchase, the horse turns out to be a terrible cribber. Even if the contract says you are buying the horse “as is”, the written ad would likely give the buyer recourse anyway.

4. If the seller has a higher, specific duty to you, then you may have recourse as well. If the seller was also your instructor, he or she has an affirmative duty to help you buy the right horse above and beyond the normal seller’s contractual obligations.

5. Determine whether the seller is subject to the UCC? The Uniform Commercial Code governs the sales of goods from “merchants”. In the horse business, a merchant would be someone who makes a regular income with horse transactions, like breeders and livestock agents. If the UCC applies, then the transaction will come with two implied warranties: merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. This will mean that, regardless of the contract, the horse must be reasonably sound and healthy as well as suited to the buyer’s purpose. These can only be excepted if done so in writing in the contract. So, look for that language!

Do not lose your head when it comes to buying a horse. This is the first horse riding lesson everyone should learn! Think things through and get it all in writing!

For more information on contracts go to http://www.horsebacklessonsguide.com or http://www.equestrianriderguide.com

Buying Guide and Tips for Air Purifiers

Air purifiers and cleaners have become very popular items with the increases in allergy and upper respiratory illnesses. It seems that everyone is in the market these days for an air purifier. It’s hard to believe, but in many places indoor air quality is worse than the outdoor air. Air purifiers help eliminate harmful particles or contaminants from the air. Used inside the home, air purifiers will help to make the air that everyone breathes cleaner and healthier. For that reason, there is a good chance that you are in the market for a new air purifier, and if not now then in the near future.

When it comes to buying air purifiers, many consumers think they know what to look for. In fact, many consumers end up purchasing the lowest costing machine or the one that looks the best. However, consumers who base their decision solely on cost and looks will be wasting their money. Instead, take the time to understand the product especially the rated performance quality as it compares to the price. That is where you will find the true value of an air purifier.

The first step in buying a purifier or cleaner is to familiarize yourself with all of the available options. This can generally be done in two different ways. The first way involves visiting one of your local retail stores and thoroughly examining each product that they have available. Read all of the information on air purifier packaging boxes. In addition to comparing prices and products at the store, you should also use the internet. In fact, the internet may be the easiest way to do comparisons. Online, you can familiarize yourself with different air cleaning machines and also read product reviews.

Read as many online reviews of multiple air purifiers as possible. These reviews will give you inside information on the operation, maintenance, and costs of the machine. Reviews are just a tool to give you a starting point. You are still advised to common sense and do your own research. This is important, especially when determining the final cost of purchasing an air purifier.

You will find a number of different makes and models with air purifiers and cleaners. Some of these makes and models use filters. Certain types of filters may need to be cleaned while others need to be replaced. If filters in an air purifier need to be replaced, you need to determine when that filter will need to be changed and exactly how much it will cost. Many consumers overlook this “hidden cost” but it is extremely important, especially if you are shopping on a budget. In some cases, you will find that air purifiers need to have their filters replaced in as little as a couple of months ends up costing more than you originally paid for the air purifier. You are urged to stay away from these types of cleaning machines; many times they are not just considered air cleaners. Obviously these financial traps are not recommended purchases if you are looking for a high quality, cost-efficient and dependable air purifier.

If the air purifier you are interested in has a filter, look for air purifiers with HEPA filters. HEPA filters are often the best performing even though they are considered expensive. This is because HEPA air filters must meet specific regulations which are imposed by the Department of Energy and are the reason why air purifiers with HEPA filters are considered the most successful at eliminating unwanted or harmful air particles.

Air purifiers are sold all across the United States. A large number of retail stores carry these purifiers, including home improvement stores, home stores, and most traditional department stores. In addition to storefront retail locations, air purifiers can also be purchased online from a number of different retailers. Once you have researched and examined a number of different air purifiers and you have made a final decision, you will find that you have a number of different purchase options. For the largest selection of air purifiers, as well the ability to quickly compare prices, you may want to think about using the internet and shopping online.

Which type of air purifier you are purchasing matters more than where you shop. If you are looking for an affordable but well performing air purifier, you should be prepared to spend a little bit of time researching all of the available options. While this research may seem time consuming, it will almost always be worth it in the long run. You’ll be able to breath easier knowing that you made the right choice in your air purifier.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Buying Medication Online

Online purchase of medication is fast becoming a popular trend. Web-based pharmacies offer shoppers convenience and easy access even to prescription drugs. However, there is a caveat to this seemingly flawless practice. The clutter of pharmacies on the Internet makes it difficult to tell which ones provide quality medication. So the question arises: How can you tell if the online pharmacy is reliable?

Despite the warnings and the apparent dangers online drug purchase poses, it does not mean that you should avoid buying your medication online at all costs. Exercising proper caution should save you the trouble of dealing with scams, bad merchants and worse, unsafe drugs.

There are still a lot of legitimate pharmacies on the web, it’s just a matter of knowing what to look for. Here are a couple of quick tips to make your online shopping safer:

1.It’s a prescription for a reason. Unlike over-the-counter varieties, prescription medication have to be limited by the proper authorities (read: doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals). An online drugstore that respects this aspect of the medical world also deserves your respect. If the medication you need requires a prescription, make sure you get it from a place that also requires you to provide them with one.

2.Their professional opinion counts. When you have questions or concerns regarding the drugs being sold or the counter-indications that you have to know, you really should leave the answers to the pros. It is therefore essential that the online drug store offer the expert opinion of pharmacists.

3.Licensed pharmacies are the best way to go. Truth be told, not all online merchants of medication are US licensed. In fact, some aren’t even pharmacies at all. Make sure you look for this particular bit of information when considering a website.

4.Your security should be their concern. When you’ve determined that the online pharmacy is worthy of your patronage, make sure that any personal and financial information you send over is well-protected. SSL encryption on the payment page is one of the things you can look for. This feature scrambles the information that goes over the Internet so that only the intended recipient possesses the key to unscramble it. SSL encryption is especially useful for websites that conduct e-commerce.

5.Reach out and talk to someone. Whether you are doing business with an online pharmacy or any other e-merchant, good customer service and constant communication are two things that you must always look for. Look for a way to talk to an actual person even before you make a purchase. This will come in handy when you do find yourself having problems with the product or the service in the future.

Buying medication online is easy and convenient, just make sure you take the necessary precautions. Look at the sites careful and use good old common sense in assessing the legitimacy of your online pharmacy. These simple steps can serve as guidance to help you avoid potential health risks that may be caused by purchasing fake or unsafe drugs online.