First Alert Drinking Water Test Kit Review: Is your water safe?

If you’re like us, you pay close attention to the quality of the water you and your family are drinking. You know contaminated water can cause a great deal of health problems, many of which are quite serious. A drinking water test kit will be able to test the water in your home for bacteria, lead, contaminates from pesticides used in your area, high chlorine levels and more.

Is your water Safe?

One of the most effective and highly used water testing kits on the market is the First Alert Drinking Water Test Kit. The kit comes with everything you will need to do your own water testing, all without having to hire someone to come to your home. It includes a test vial and all of the necessary packets for testing for the most common water contaminants.

A lot of homeowners have seen great results with this test kit. One of the things that you’ll like the most about this particular kit is how quickly it can return results. In fact, you will know if your water is contaminated instantly with many of the test types that the kit is capable of performing. The kit is so easy to use that anyone can figure out how to test their water safely and accurately.

Simple and Quick test to check the safety of your drinking water

One other thing that is nice about this First Alert Drinking Water kit is that it allows you to do an inexpensive test, then only hire a professional water testing service if it is clear that there are contaminants in your water. This can save quite a bit of money if it turns out that you do not actually have anything harmful in your water.

Overall, the First Alert Drinking Water Test Kit is among the most popular testing kits of its kind on the market for good reason. It is an inexpensive way for you to test the quality of any water source and get results that you can rely on to give you piece of mind or to make an informed decision to do more comprehensive testing at a lab. Definitely pick one up if you are curious about your water quality and whether or not it’s safe for you and your family. Click here to learn more or to get your First Alert Drinking Water Test Kit.

 

A Bright Idea for Farming with Less Water

You would be hard pressed to find much produce being grown commercially in urban areas these days. But, if the new kid on the agricultural block has its way, a rooftop vegetable farm could be coming to a supermarket near you soon.

Inside Bright Farms' greenhouse

Inside Bright Farms’ rooftop greenhouse

While industrial-scale agriculture is capable of providing huge quantities of food cheaply, it has failed miserably when it comes to energy use/waste, water use/waste, and quality of product. Tomatoes and leafy greens are prime examples of vegetables that when grown at home with love and care and eaten shortly after harvest far outshine anything commercially available whether they’re organic or not.

The founders of BrightFarms saw a great business opportunity when they considered these issues. Where they saw farmland stretching for miles and located hundreds, if not thousands of miles from the market. They envisioned produce being grown right at the store.

Where they saw millions of cubic feet of water being lost to evaporation, waste or running off fields only to pollute waterways, they envisioned hydroponic gardens using 95% less water than conventional agriculture.

Where they saw lettuce rotting within a day of purchase or even before it could be placed on the shelf, they envisioned leafy greens picked less than 2 hours prior to sale.

Bright Farms greenhouse

Bright Farms grows fresh produce, minutes away from the grocery store shelves

And where they saw those infamous cardboard tomatoes by the millions, they envisioned vine-ripened red orbs with flavor that hearkens back to the days when homegrown and local were their sole source.

This is the vision behind BrightFarms and it’s a business model that is turning the world of industrialized, flavorless, wasteful agricultural practices on its ear.

BrightFarms gains its competitive advantage primarily through its greatly reduced use of limited resources: water, fertilizers, and fossil fuels used in production of inputs, transportation, and operation of supply chain infrastructure. Conventional agriculture is one of the largest single users of water in the U.S., and that water increasingly needs to be pumped out of declining groundwater supplies or transported great distances via aqueducts as is common in California. Climate change and its associated unpredictable weather patterns have caused water sources such as mountain snowmelt and river flow to become increasingly unreliable.

The rooftop greenhouses utilized by BrightFarms house elaborate hydroponic farming operations. These utilize a soil-free growth medium and tightly controlled water use and recirculation. Water consumption for these operations is only about 5% that of conventional farm operations. And wastewater is also reduced by 95%. Fertilizer inputs are kept to a minimum through the highly efficient hydroponic system, so waste water discharge to treatment systems is not a significant source of pollution requiring remediation.

Sustainable agricultural models like BrightFarms are the wave of the future. The company entered into its first long-term produce purchase agreement with McCaffrey’s Market in Yardley, PA. They are currently constructing their first greenhouse in Brooklyn, NY. With water supplies becoming scarcer and less reliable, and with energy costs only expected to increase, their plans to operate water conserving, environmentally friendly rooftop farms across the country makes great logistical, environmental, and business sense.

What do you think? Can Bright Farms change the way we farm?

 

 

Toto Drake II: A low flush toilet that works!

A third of a household’s water use can be attributed to toilets. Until the Energy Policy Act of 1992 set national plumbing standards, a typical toilet used a wasteful 3.5 gallons of water per flush (gpf). Prompted by the need to save water in urban areas, the act included a ban on the installation of toilets that exceeded water usage of 1.6 gpf. Since then, low flush toilets have been required in homes everywhere.  There’s only one problem, many of the low flush toilets just didn’t work.

How do I get my low flush toilet to work?

Toto Drake II Low Flow Toilet: Double Cyclone Flushing System – Gets it done…with just one flush!

Toilet manufacturers responded to the new law by simply reducing the toilet tank size, producing low flush, also called low-flow or low-consumption, toilets. While these early low-flow models operated with the lower mandated gpf, they lacked the required redesign to account for the reduced amount of water per flush. Many people complained that the new, low flush toilets failed to completely evacuate the bowl of solid waste and usually required a second flush. Or, even worse, many experienced frequent overflows of water and other unsightly bowl contents. This problem gave low-flow toilets a negative image in the minds of consumers and some lawmakers attempted to repeal the legislation that required their use.

Today’s low-flush toilets are a marked improvement over the 1990s models as manufacturers addressed the problems of early designs. However, some users still have the older toilets and have just become used to the habit of multiple flushes during each use.  Of course, this defeats the water saving intentions of the 1992 Energy Policy Act.

Toto get’s it done…with just one flush!

Toto, the world’s largest manufacturer of plumbing products, had been working on water conservation technology years before the 1992 Energy Policy requirements were enacted, developing efficient, high-performance flushing systems that met the new standards and provided consumers with a superior product. They remain a leading supplier of toilets worldwide, today.

Click Above for Amazon’s List of Top Energy Saving & Green Home Improvement Products

If you’re fed up with your outdated or ineffective low flush toilet, then check out the Toto Drake II Low Flush toilet. It features a classic two-piece, high profile design that uses an efficient 1.28 gpf, a 20 percent water savings over 1.6 gpf models. The difference with the Toto Drake II is it’s innovative Double Cyclone® Flushing System, which utilizes a duel-nozzle to create a powerful cleaning action that quickly and quietly carries away waste with one flush. The large water surface and wide trapway ensure effective, hygienic operation. The polished chrome trip lever, tank cover and fittings are included in the toilet package. The Toto Drake II is compliant with ADA height requirements and is an EPA WaterSense labeled product.

By replacing an old style or ineffective low flow toilet with a Toto Drake II 1.28 gpf toilet, you can have the confidence in knowing that your toilet will only need one flush and you will eliminate the possibility of any messy overflows. You’ll actually get to experience the water savings that were intended by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. A family of four can expect to see a water savings of over 13,000 gallons a year. If you live in a municipal water and sewer district, this can translate into over $100 a year in savings and help preserve the water supply for your family and the rest of your community for years to come.

Segway Inventor’s Innovative Cow Dung Powered Water Purifier

An estimated 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water, causing 3.5 million deaths annually. Dean Kamen, the ingenious inventor of the Segway, Autosyringe, DEKA Arm, Ibot and many other innovative creations, has introduced a self-powered water purification system he calls, The Slingshot. This water vapor distillation system was invented to address the key public health issue of lack of access to clean water, especially in remote, developing areas of the world. And now with a multi-million dollar partnership with Coca-Cola, he may be on his way to putting a big dent in this huge problem.

Dean Kamen, Inventor of the Segway. Can his Slingshot provide the developing world with clean and fresh drinking water?

What is the Slingshot?

The Slingshot device is powered by a Stirling engine running on combustible fuel, and can produce clean drinking water from any source. In an initial demonstration, Kamen used the device to distill his own urine, which he then drank. A vapor compression distiller which can produce 250 gallons of fresh water a day purifies the water. The Slingshot can purify water from polluted rivers and lakes, ocean salt water, and even raw sewage.

How Does a Stirling Engine Work?

The Stirling engine which powers the Slingshot is a heat engine that uses cyclic compression of air or another gas to convert heat energy into mechanical work, which can then be converted to electrical energy. The engine can be constructed from two cylinders, one hot and one cold, with chambers physically connected by an internal heat exchanger called a regenerator, allowing the two chambers to share the same air. Alternately, the engine can be constructed from a single cylinder which is hot at one end and cold at the other, containing a loose-fitting shunter that acts as the regenerator by forcing the air to circulate as the piston moves.

The Stirling engine is similar to a steam engine, but notably more efficient and able to run on almost any heat source. The hot cylinder is warmed by the heat source while the cold cylinder is cooled by a heat sink, and the thermal energy is transferred from one to the other by the shared compressed air while the piston produces mechanical energy from the cycling movement. This closed system allows for highly efficient use of the heat energy(fuel) with very little CO2 emission or wasted energy.

Dean Kamen with his Slingshop prototype on the right and his Coca-Cola backed production model on the left.

Powered by what?

The Stirling engine makes alternative energy sources more viable because of its efficiency. While the heat source powering a Stirling engine does not need to be a combustible fuel, any form of fuel will work, including methane from cow dung, which is exactly what Kamen is proposing for villages in remote regions of the world. Their Slingshot systems would be powered entirely by fuel created by decomposing cow dung.  This would provide them with sustainable, clean and fresh drinking water, which they could purify with their own locally generated power, from the waste of their herd animals. Additionally, the unit could be powered by Solar panels, in areas where they are available and economical.

What is Vapor Compression Distillation?

Vapor compression distillation uses a jet of compressed hot air to evaporate the water source. The compression of the air causes the water to condense at a higher temperature than uncompressed air, which allows this distillation process to collect the water without having to cool the air as much as usual. The hot air retains more energy which can be used to vaporize more water, making the system more efficient than regular distillation.The Slingshot device uses the hot air exchange of the Stirling engine to vaporize and condense pure water with high efficiency and with any available source of heat.

While the Slingshot remains costly, full-scale production and support from the Coca-Cola partnership aims to drive the cost down to about two thousand dollars per unit. The lower-cost device is intended to allow impoverished communities to invest in an efficient, reliable source of clean water to dramatically improve their quality of life and prevent millions of deaths each year.

What do you think about Dean Kamen’s Slingshot initiative?  Will it make a difference?

9 Awesome Gifts for the Health and Fitness Nut in Your Life

We all have a health and fitness nut in our life…  This holiday season we’ve got a list of some perfect gifts, specifically for them. However, just about everyone is interested in living a more fit and healthy life, so these great products make for the perfect gift for almost anyone on your holiday gift giving list.

Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System

Nutri Bullet

It’s a juicer and smoothie maker in one…without the mess!

It’s a juicer and smoothie maker in one device, without all the messy cleanup of traditional juicing machines. Effortlessly pulverizes fruits, vegetables, superfoods and protein shakes into a delicious, smooth texture. Easy to use, includes pocket nutritionist and manual with recipes.

Brita Atlantis Water Filter Pitcher

Every home needs clean and fresh drinking water.  Why waste money buying bottled water?  Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is a vital part of healthy living. Contemporary, stylish design with flip top lid for easy refilling.  One and a half quart capacity.

CamelBak BPA Free Better Bottle with Bite Valve

Stop spending an obscene amount of money on bottled water and needlessly throwing away hundreds of empty plastic bottles every year. Fill your CamelBak bottle with the water from your home filter system. One hand usage, no tipping of the bottle required.  Sit back, relax and enjoy delicious water, wherever you go. Comes in a variety of sizes, styles and fun colors.

 

P90X Tony Horton Curls

Get in the best shape of your life with P90X!

P90X: Tony Horton’s 90 Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout DVD Program

Fitness fanatics love this revolutionary system of 12 highly intense workouts, designed to transform the body. Get lean, bulk up, or grow stronger, with an endless variety of fun and intense mix-and-match routines to keep you motivated. Includes comprehensive three-phase nutrition plan and recommended supplement options. Get in the best shape of your life.  Bring it!

Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel

Keep cool during a workout, hard ride, tough climb or any other strenuous activity. When wet, the towel becomes considerably cooler than the outside air, thereby providing you with cooling relief. When it stops cooling, simply re-wet the towel and wring it out.

Fitbit Ultra Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker

Fitbil

Fitbit is a cool gadget that tracks activity, calories burned and sleep.

Accurately tracks daily steps, stairs climbed, distance, calories burned, and activity level via 3-D motion sensor and altimeter technology. Measures how long and how well you sleep. Small and discreet, wirelessly uploads data to Fitbit.com for free. See online graphs, compete with friends, earn new badges and log food, weight and other workouts.

Sleep Solutions – The Calming Collection CD

Most people just don’t get enough sleep and the amount that they get is not the kind of deep, relaxing rest that our bodies need. This CD can help. It dramatically reduces anxiety and stress through the use of mindful meditation and hypnosis to more rapidly produce deep healing rest and relaxation. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a good night of solid rest?

Sharper Image MSG-F110 Deep Kneading Shiatsu Foot Massager

Feel refreshed with a relaxing Shiatsu foot massage. Massage rollers provide deep kneading to revive your feet. With a touch of the “toe-touch” controls, you can add soothing, infra-red heat to your treatment for the ultimate in comfort.

 

Sonoma Men's Chainless Bike

Sonoma’s Men’s Chainless Bike works like a regular bike, just without the mess and complications of a chain.

Sonoma Men’s Chainless Drive Evolution Urban Commuter Bike

Works just like a regular bike, but without the chain. D-Drive system eliminates chain and derailleur for low-maintenance, comfortable riding. Chainless system is quieter, smoother, and lasts longer than traditional chain-driven systems.  No messy chain grease to get on clothes for the daily commute or leisure ride.

These are certainly some great holiday gift ideas for the health and fitness nut, in your life.  The great thing is that they’re cool enough to make a perfect gift for just about anyone on your holiday gift buying list. Hope this gift list can help you spread some holiday cheer, while encouraging healthy and fit living all year long.

The HealthyBeFit.com editorial team is proud to provide you with this article!  Visit our website at HealthyBeFit.com for more FREE tips, articles, resources, product reviews, and special offers. Wouldn’t you like to Enjoy Living Better? We’ll show you how.

 

 

Clean Water for Pennies Per Day With the 4 Most Common Home Filter Systems

Providing your family with clean and fresh water can be extremely expensive. …You can purchase filtered water or spring water from your local grocery store or have a water company deliver water to your home on a regular basis. However, consider the fact that some water companies use water sourced from the same utility that provides water to your home. They filter this water and charge you a premium to bottle and deliver it to your house. If you’re interested in clean water for your home, installing an easy to use home water filter system seems like the right thing to do for your bank account and your family’s well being.

You can produce clean and fresh drinking water for pennies per day!

You can produce your own clean and fresh water for pennies per day with an easy to use home filter system.  There are 4 types of home water filtration systems that are most commonly used in homes across the country, each with their own capabilities and advantages.

Ceramic

The ceramic filtration system is amongst the most proven water filtration methods on the market, and is relatively inexpensive. Its inventors discovered that using a porous ceramic material could help filter water and keep people from getting sick. They discovered that such illnesses as cholera could be prevented simply by filtering drinking water. These filters can be installed under a sink, or they can be placed on a counter; they are sometimes portable, and they use gravity to force the water through the filtration system. Silver is sometimes added to these ceramic filters to stop bacteria, algae and mold from growing in the filter. This type of water filtration does not remove chemicals.

Distillation

Using a distillation system is considered one of the oldest ways to filter or purify water. With this process, water is first heated to the point of boiling. Next, the water vapors rise up into a condenser that uses cooler water to decrease the vapor temperatures so that they can be condensed. The vapors are collected and stored with almost all of the contaminated particles remaining behind. It can produce some of the purest water of any water treatment system, but can also be costly and less practical due to the amount of time that it takes to complete the distillation process.

Click Above to see more “under counter” water filter systems

Reverse Osmosis

In the late 1950’s Reverse Osmosis was created using U.S. Government funding to desalinate seawater. It is a natural process that forces a solvent from one region that is high in concentration through a semipermeable membrane to another area that is low in solute concentration by applying pressure. This application is widely used to separate pure water from brackish water as well. These water filtration systems can be installed under, or placed on top of, a counter top. There are also Commercial Reverse Osmosis Systems that can operate at hight pressure and they would use about 150-50,000 gallons of water in the purification process. These commercial systems can be frame mounted, or installed in a floor or a wall.

Carbon

Used for hundreds of years, carbon filtration is a method that utilizes activated carbon pieces to remove impurities and contaminated particles. It is one of the oldest ways to purify water and they are in the majority of water pitcher and faucet filters. The carbon media is activated using a positive charge; the negatively charged contaminants are attracted to the carbon media and are thus removed.

Click Above to see more “above counter” water filter systems

These carbon filters are predominantly either powdered block or granular activated filters. Along with carbon filters, a second filter is used to prevent bacteria from growing in the filter; silver is often used as this secondary media. Although this method is generally used to purify water, it is also commonly used in air purifiers. Carbon filters effectively remove sediment, volatile organic compounds and chlorine from water. Carbon filters can typically remove particles ranging from 0.5 to 50 micrometres in size. Carbon filters are not effective when it comes to removing salts or mineral from water, but can remove such chemicals as gasoline, chlorine, alcohols, bleach, dyes, pesticides and many other impurities.

We all need clean and fresh water on a daily basis. Why pay an outrageous amount of money to have water delivered to your home or lug around heavy jugs of water from the grocery store, every few days?  You can ensure that the freshness and purity of your water is up to your high standards, with your own in home water filtration system. They’re simple to use and install, costing you only pennies per day.  Check out the variety of water filter options available here.