How Often Should I Test my Portable Appliance?


Portable appliance testing commonly known as PAT is used to describe the examination of electrical appliance checking that they are still safe to use. These tests include visual examination and then on to testing which may discover possible faults that cannot be identified by just simply looking at the appliance. The methods of testing are dependent on the type of appliance being used and the environment in which it is used.


Portable appliances are appliances that can be moved. They can be connected or disconnected from a power supply. They will generally have a lead and plug. A plug is a constant source of problems for electrical appliances and needs to be visually checked and tested along with the appliance itself. Examples of portable appliances are kettles, vacuum cleaners, fans, heaters, irons and toasters. It can also include larger items such as fridges, photocopiers, fax machines and desktop computers. Mains leads and extension leads are sometimes overlooked but these also fall into the portable appliance category.

The Law

There are many laws regards health and safety in the workplace but the most notable that would apply to portable appliance testing would be The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 this instructs that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. However this doesn’t specify the testing that has to take place or how often it is to take place. Therefore legally it does not set out a time-scale to which appliances are to be tested it just requires them to be maintained in a safe condition.

Testing New Equipment

New equipment should be supplied in perfect working order therefore no testing would be needed straight away however it is always best to perform a visual check of the appliances in case of damage during delivery or at any other time between the manufacturing stage and the reception of the appliances that has not been noticed.

Is it compulsory?

The short answer is no, portable appliance testing is not compulsory, however the law requires the employer to maintain the appliances to ensure safety for their workers. Therefore employers are liable for any faults that occur whenever their appliances are not correctly maintained and could be found liable for their negligence.

Who can do the testing?

Again this depends on the type of appliance in many cases it does not require an electrician or a well qualified individual. Visual inspections for example could be carried out by a competent member of staff. It has been quoted by Health and Safety Executive that visual inspections can find more than ninety percent of the faults.

When carrying out complex tests of certain appliances using specialist equipment it would be advisable to use a well-trained member of staff or outsource to a testing company. This may come of cost to the employer but in the long run could prove cost efficient preventing a costly law suit.

The risk based approach.

As stated previously deciding how often an appliance should be tested is all dependant on its amount of use, purpose and environment it is used in. A risk based approach is advised to decide how often a portable appliance is tested. The higher the risk of the appliance becoming faulty the more often it should be tested. If an appliance is prone to being misused or is not double insulated then it should be tested more often.


In conclusion there are no set laws to govern how often appliances should be tested. An employer should ensure that regular checks are carried out on their appliances so as to minimise risk to the safety of their employees. Every appliance is different and it is up to the employer to recognise how often the appliance is used and the risk involved in using it to establish how often the appliances would be checked.

Advising the staff who use the equipment potential dangers can be noticed outside of official testing. Visual checks are an important start to the testing and can pick up a majority of the faults. It is still important though at specified intervals to formally perform portable appliance testing to pick up the faults that cannot be noticed through users noticing or through organised visual checks.

The more frequently the equipment is used and the more risky the environment it is used in then the more frequently the appliances should be tested. In a low risk environment the appliances do not need to be tested as regularly as those in a high risk environment.

It is essential that employers that they do not forget or refuse to carry out portable appliance tests as a fault that is not recognised goes on to harm staff could result in an extremely expensive lawsuit through corporate negligence.

What is Arc Flash

Accidents can occur in the workplace, this is acceptable, what is not acceptable is when they become a normal occurrence. Understanding different workplace related accidents is important, it allows for prevention and protection from such problems and also avoids injuries. Today we shall focus on Arc flash.


What is Arc Flash?

The way we can define this is that it is caused by two-phase bus bars (neutral or ground) having an arcing fault between them. This results in the rapid release of energy. In this kind of a scenario, the air usually acts as the conductor. Simply defined it is when an unwanted discharge of electricity travels through the air between conductors or from a conductor to ground.

Arc faults normally happen on systems with a bus voltage exceeding 120 volts. Although it might occur at lower voltage levels, it normally doesn’t because they lack the ability to sustain an arc. The fault that leads to the problem has to be started by something manually creating the path for insulation or a breakdown in the insulation itself.

An arc flash could cause some serious problems such as fires and harm to equipment and people alike. The temperatures from such a process could exceed 35,000°F which is capable of vaporizing metal and spreading plasma and molten metal in all directions. Damage is usually caused by the resulting explosion as well as the heat that is formed after the blast. There are some measures that could be taken to stop an arc flash and they are as follows:

How to Stop an Arc Flash

In order to prevent an arc flash from happening there have been industry standards that have been put in place and they are as follows:

– OSHA 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910 Subpart S

OSHA in itself deals in making sure that workplace safety practices are enforced. This subpart actually states that the safety practices that have been put in place in the workplace shall be used to ensure that no injury happens as a result of direct or indirect electrical contacts. There are a number of requirements but that’s just the basics of it.

– NFPA 70-2002, National Electric Code

This standard requires that facilities provide a safety program for the workers and that is should include defined responsibilities. It should also train the workers and provide tools that are safe to be used for work. In addition, equipment should also have warning labels and the workers should be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Some of the other safety standards are such as the NFPA 70E and the IEEE Standard that are also in place to ensure that work safety is taken into consideration when working on electrical equipment to avoid an arc flash. The NFPA 70E has some similar guidelines to the NFPA70-2002 while the IEEE provides a method for calculating the anticipated energy incident level. This allows the facility owner to make an informed decision about the level of PPE that the workers should wear when dealing with certain equipment.

There are some measures that can be taken to protect oneself from an arc flash and they are as follows:

– The electrical safety policies are important

The policies are usually provided by the company’s officer in charge of the electrical safety department. The policies are in the form of a written document and will provide the much needed information on how to avoid any accident due to an arc flash.

– Read the warning labels

As is the industry standard, the equipment come with a warning label. The warning label contains important information that you need to avoid accidents due to an arc flash. It will provide information on how to avoid it during examination, adjustment and whilst servicing the equipment.

– Training

Training is important, every company is required to train their workers on how to avoid arc flash, so always attend these kinds of events and keep yourself educated. These trainings are specially designed for such situations hence will provide you with much needed knowledge.

– Protective cloths and equipments should be used

There is no need to worry though because again according to industry standards companies are required to provide the equipment and clothing to workers especially in dangerous operations. The type of equipments and clothing to use are always specified on the warning labels, and you can buy online at companies like, so be sure to check the warning label to know what to use and when.

It’s always very important to protect yourself when using electric equipment because arc flash accidents are very dangerous. They can burn you severely and the pressure waves produced by the blasts can hurt you immensely and can even be fatal. Always follow instructions to the letter and be very careful.

What is Microfinance and how does it work?

What is Microfinance and how does it work?

Microfinance is a unique way to give people money they need in denominations usually about $1000. You may not realize that microfinance is even a thing, but microfinance is something that is getting projects off the ground around the world because the loan is only a small amount of money. The microfinancing is often found through fundraising efforts around the world, and the organizations that are handing out these loans are raising enough money to provide thousands of loans in these small amounts.

What Are They For?

Microfinance is great for people working in third world countries who need just a small amount of money to get their business going. This is usually helpful with small businesses in Africa because these are local artisans who need just a little money to get going. These loans work well in other parts of the world when something like a nonprofit needs a small amount of money to incorporate or get the technology they need to operate.


Where Does It Come From?

The microfinancing loans that people get come from small companies that are raising the money and reaching out to donors. The idea of microfinance is that it comes from fundraising, and the loans are made without any interest. This is especially important in places where the profit margin is not high enough for someone to pay interest. These microfinance companies make sure that they are offering cash at a rate that people can handle, and they are doing so with money that they raised for people with good hearts.

Why Not Go To A Bank?

Going to a bank is not going to help people who do not have a bank to work with, capital to invest or the credit rating that is going to get the bank to spend money with them. People who live in remote parts of the world do not have banks to go to, and people who have bad credit will never be able to get the small amount of cash they need to get done. This is a major problem for people who cannot work in the normal financial system, and it is something that is a problem for anyone who has had problems with banks in the past. Circumventing banks is a much safer way for people to get exactly what they need quickly.

How Fast Is The Funding?

Microfinancing is several times faster than any other form of financing that people might use. There are a lot of people who have been waiting for their money for a long time, and they cannot wait any more than they already are. They do not have the time to sit around and wait for a bank to get back to them, but they can get their money in just a few days when they are working with a microfinancing company. The small amount of money makes these companies or people no risk at all, and they will be able to get the money they need to move on with the projects that they want to do.

How Much Microfinancing Can You Get?

People around the world can get these loans from microfinancing companies at any time they want. There are a lot of people who are going to need more than one loan, and they will be able to apply for all the different loans they need. This is really important for people who have work to do right now, and they will be able to get more work done in the future because they are avoiding the banks.

How Does This Work In The UK?

People who are trying to start something small only need a tiny amount of money to get started, and they will be able to get microfinancing loans that will help them get their money right now. Just a few thousand is all that is needed, and it could help someone start their own charity, start their business or make sure that they can do that one project that must be done. The banks in the UK ask for too much information, and sometimes people are embarrassed to apply for such a small amount of money.  A microfinancing loan will help get around all these problems, and it helps everyone who needs just a little money.

The idea of microfinancing is something that has helped people all over the world who need cash, but that idea has come to the UK. Someone with a small idea can get a small amount of money to get going, and they will be able to get an amount so small that they will not feel as though they are going out of their comfort zone to get the money. Your next big idea is safe in the UK when you turn to microfinancing for help.

Image credits:
UK Money from
Loan application from

How Does Paper Shredding Help Recycling?


Recycling is one of the most important things that we can do as a society, bu you may not realize that there are some things that you can do to make it much easier for people to recycle paper. You have been shredding paper to help protect your identity, but now you need to make sure that you are going to have the paper shredded all the time to make recycling easier.

Paper Gets Shredded Anyways

The paper that you are going to send out to get recycled is going to be shredded once it gets to the plant, and you can help speed up the process by simply doing it yourself or outsourcing to a company like All Star who do document destruction. You are going to make it much easier for these plants to do their work, and you are going to be able to fit more volume into a single recycling bin. These companies have to pick up all this paper if they are going to work with it, and you are making the pickup a lot simpler for everyone. You just have to consider how you are going to shred it.

Get A Cross Cut Shredder

The cross cut that you use is going to give you something that looks like confetti, and that is going to be much better for you to use when it is time to clean up the house. You can fill a bad with pounds of paper that would not fit otherwise, and you can reduce the paper down to the size that is going to be needed when it is carted away for recycling. This is going to make it much easier for you to help the recycling effort, and it is going to make it easier for you to keep the paper in bags until it is time to pick it up.


It Is Safe

You are going to be very safe when you are running your paper shredding like this because no one would every be able to steal your documents. You have to think about the papers that you are going to shred, and you need to consider that it is going to help you at home or in the office. Your house has a lot of papers that are going to need to be shredded every week, but your office has even more papers that are going to be trouble if they are not shredded.

Your business already has to do things to protect itself and its customers, and you are going to have to back up whatever you have done by shredding paper. You are probably doing a big purge every month that is going to help protect documents that other people should not be reading, but you are also doing something that is going to make recycling much easier. This means that you can leverage what you have done to make your business look more green.

Why Is Shredding Green?

You are going to be able to show that you are making recycling easy by shredding documents and making sure that everything is secure. You will be able to use this to make sure that everyone knows that your company is going to stand behind its promises to be green, and it is going to keep your business safe at the same time. Everyone who works with you is going to notice that you have killed two birds with one stone, and you can use that as a marketing tool.

How Do You Dispose Of It?

You can get a recycling service to help you with a pretty large can that is going to be easy to use. You have to make sure that you have found the service that offers the best canister for all your recycled goods. You may even call the company to send out a truck just to pick up from your home or business, and you are going to be able to get rid of the paper a lot more easily. You just have to pick the service that you think works best for you.

Every business or home can do a lot for the environment by making sure that you are going to shred paper for your safety and recycling. The shredded paper is very easy to recycle, and it is going to help you protect your identity or documents. You can use the two things together to make your business look better, and you will be able to show that you have a commitment to security and to green operations.

Image credits:

Shredded day from
Shredding machine from Flickr

Why Wireless Fire Alarm Systems Should be Used by Business Owners

Security of their property is obviously of the utmost concern for business owners so having an alarm is essential, in this article we will explore reasons why the business should use wireless versus a wired alarm system. There are so many reasons why business owners should use wireless alarm systems. Let’s explore some of those. Wireless alarm systems are flexible, portable, changeable, expandable and movable.


Less Mess and Money to Install

Wireless fire alarm systems can save businesses money on the installation. Since there are no wires having to be purchased and ran through walls which can be a hassle money and time are saved right off the bat! The wires in wired systems can be messy, get tangled with other electric wires, potentially chewed on by critters etc. There are many reasons the wires aren’t the best option. The lack of wires means no wire ties to connect it to baseboards to make it look half way presentable, no going under carpet with the wires or stripping of the wires or drilling through exterior or interior wall material. It is much simpler and sleeker to go wireless.

Greater Flexibility

The physical advantage of having no wires also comes with greater flexibility, if you want to cover more area there is no need to run more wires, sometimes it can just mean adding a few sensors. With that being said you want to make sure your business plans ahead and gets a controller with more the ability to add more zones to it without upgrading the actual controller. This way you can add more features as your budget allows and as the needs of the business change.

Relocation of the Alarm is Easy

Many businesses start with a small location and as they grow and gain clientele their office space needs increase, so most successful businesses won’t stay in their current location long term. The ability to be able to reuse the entire system in a different building, and expand it to a larger coverage area again are both very attractive features of going wireless!

More Protections

These days alarms can offer more than protection against theft, but a wide range of security equipment is now available wire free. Some of these include Smoke detectors, gas and flood alarms, intercom systems, and security camera cameras. This adds to the benefits of any alarm but since so much is now available wireless there is no reason to not take the wireless plunge.

Most devices feature a range of at least 300′ to 600′ between devices and the controller. Some go as high as 1000′

Many businesses also have additional buildings like storage garages or separate offices from the warehouses. Just by adding a few sensors and maybe a wireless camera, additional buildings can easily be added on to the systems.


Wireless alarms are now considered to be just as reliable as that of wired systems, concerns about interference from cordless phones, wireless computer networks or other radio frequency devices interfering are taken care of by moving those items just a few feet from alarm components.

Some don’t like that components of the wireless systems usually have separate batteries in each device and if they die it could cause it to be less reliable security wise, but the security system panels will let you know when a battery is getting low so it can be replaced before it is out totally. Alkaline batteries only last about a year but newer alarm systems are more often using lithium batteries that should at least 5 years, or more.

Part time surveillance needs are attended to as well with today’s wireless alarms as they are flexible about when and how they are used.

In summary, the wireless alarms of today are flexible, effective at many types of protection, reliable, easier and cheaper to install than wired systems, less messy and more attractive. Businesses of today are ever changing due to the changing demands of our marketplaces, don’t be stuck with a security system that will cost you a lot of money to move or expand coverage on. Enjoy the ease and flexibility of going wireless and get many more years of use for your investment!

You’re in for a Shock without Electrical Safety in the Workplace


Electricity enables us to work in the first place, powering our homes and businesses so that we can keep connected. It powers our computers, our life-saving medical devices, our air conditioners and our refrigerators as well as many other appliances, and when there is a power failure, without a generator, all activity comes to a standstill.

While electricity is an essential part of our lives, it has also killed and injured many people, started fires and caused major damage to property. An electrical current passing through your body can cause electric shock, and this can result in burns, muscle damage as well as nervous system effects such as fibrillation. The heart can be damaged also because the organ is in the path of the most common routes that electricity takes. All systems, equipment and circuits have to be grounded to protect people from shock and injury.

Electricity is All Around Us

ElectricityLook around your workspace – there is electricity all around us, and many times computers, monitors, radios, printers, heaters, lighting and other electronics are all working simultaneously in one small office and off one socket. Improper wiring is a major fire hazard with an overloaded circuit. Have an expert install additional outlets if your office has reached the maximum the outlet can take.

While staff need to make these everyday inspections themselves, a competent person, with suitable training and knowledge and with a successfully completed electrical apprenticeship needs to routinely check electrical equipment and make sure that there are enough sockets are available in the workplace so that the current ones are not overloaded. All electrical equipment, installation, testing, modification and repair work needs to be done by a qualified and authorised electrical expert.

Professional Electrical Inspections

Supervisors responsible for the environmental health and safety in the workplace are responsible for ensuring regular electrical inspections are conducted to ensure electricity complies with safety standards. These professionals will review the electricity regularly and have it updated where necessary, and arrange for basic electrical safety training for those who work closely with electricity. Certainly only employees that are fully qualified will be allowed to work on any live electrical parts that are 50 V or higher.

 The voltage of the electricity in regular businesses has enough power to cause death by electrocution. Even changing a light bulb for a regular employee without training and without unplugging the lamp can be hazardous because you can come into contact with the ‘live’ part of the socket which could kill a person.

  • Every person in the workplace, should conduct a few minor inspections each day to prevent accidents around electricity in the workplace –
  • Inspect your cord- and plug-connected equipment and extension cords for damage or wear
  • Unusually hot outlets can indicate unsafe wiring conditions
  • Ensue extension cords are taped to walls out of the way. Avoid staples as these can damage the cords and cause shock- and fire hazards
  • Only use extension cords rated for the level of wattage you are using
  • Place halogen lights, which can become very hot, away from combustible materials such as curtains or wooden blinds
  • Always use the correct size fuse. Too large and it can increase currents in the wiring and this can start a fire
  • Risk of electric shock is greater in areas where it is wet. Rather install ground fault circuit interrupters as they will interrupt the electrical circuit before a current can cause death or injury
  • Every staff member needs to know where the panel and circuit breakers are located
  • Never use outlets or cords with exposed wiring
  • Every staff member must make sure that electrical installations- and equipment is suitable for its intended use. Always use equipment according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Staff must switch off and unplug all appliances before cleaning them or inspecting them

Optimise Electrical Safety in the Workplace

In the workplace, management needs to be constantly looking at procedures which enhance the well-being of the workforce. Injuries and even fatalities can occur in different scenarios.

Staying safe in the workplace is far easier when you understand the risks and how you can avoid them. Electrical safety in the workplace is there to take care of all the workers when using electricity. Lack of maintenance on electrical equipment, contact with overhead cables and live electrical equipment can result in electrocution and it is up to every manager or supervisor to optimise electrical safety in the workplace. Ensure first-aid and fire safety training for preventative purposes and ensure that adequate measures are taken to reduce risk so that staff aren’t caught unaware and off-guard.

How to Remove and Fit a New Bath


Bath tubs are always known to offer comfort when taking a bath. Many people are used to taking shower in bath tubs rather than showers.  As a result, bath tubs are prone to damage of many different types. They are easily worn out, scratched and stained over a long period of usage. This has led to the development of different companies mandated with replacing old bath tubs with new ones. During the process of bath replacement, there are many aspects that should be considered to ensure successful work. There are also rules and safety regulations that should be observed to ensure successful replacement of bath tub.


These regulations provide a frame work of ensuring the work done follows the due process and does not become environmental hazard. These regulations include putting isolation valves between the hot water tap and cold water tap. This will work to ensure the water does not interfere with the plumbing process and the water is not shut down on the main pipes.  Lead pipes should be replaced with copper or plastic pipes since they do not react with water. This is a major and important regulation when undertaking the replacement of a bath tub.

During plumbing, the plumber should ensure the pipes are bonded to enable proper and good earth of the pipes, (at this point you might just want to call a plumber like Doran in Dublin). The waste pipes should be properly piped and the drainage should be sloppy to ensure easy flow drained water. Finally the plumber should follow the manufacturer’s instruction when replacing a bath tub. These regulations should be put in practice to ensure proper utilization of all aspects in dealing successfully installing the bath tub. During removal and fitting of a new bath tub, there are procedures followed to ensure successful plumbing process and fixing of the bath tub.

Prepare All The Necessary Amenities

The first step towards successful fitting of a new bath tub is measuring the size of the old bath tub. These measurements will guide the plumber in choosing the desired tub. These measurements will ensure that the new tub fits easily and replacing process is made easier. After successfully removing the old tub, it is important to buy new tiles that will be used in fixing the new bath tub. It is also advisable to change the tiles that may be damaged and maintain the ones that are still in good condition. It is very important to protect the entire new bath tub during installation for it to stay for a long time. To protect the old tub from damages, a plastic trap is put on the ground where the tub will be placed after removal.

Removal of Old Bathtub

During the process of removal, it is very important to understand that the tub is a very delicate component that can be broken anytime. This process involves unscrewing the nuts to remove the overflow cover plate. This plate comes out independently from the outer main frame of the bath tub. The removal of the overflow cover plate is accompanied with the removal of other attached drainage system. This process also involves disconnecting the drain by carefully removing the strainer using a screwdriver. The plumber is now tasked with disconnecting the over flow unit with the waste drainage pipe. This process ensures complete disconnection of the waste drainage pipe with the overflow unit making it easier to carry them separately. Another important process is the removal of almost 8 inches of the surrounding wall surface. This is done through easy and proper removal of the surrounding tiles to ensure the old tub remains free. The plumber is tasked with the process of using a chisel to easily remove the cement of the drywalls. Finally steadily remove the tub from the wall by separating the tub from the wall using a crowbar.

Preparation of a New Place to Put the New Tub

The plumber should ensure all the procedure is followed during installation of the new tub. This is usually reduced work since the plumber is given a guide book on how to follow instructions from the manufacturer during installation. At this place, it is paramount to ensure the drain and waste-overflow- unit is put in place correctly. The plumber should then fit the overflow tube permanently to the new tub. After all this is done, the plumber should carefully move the new bath tub to its new position and screw the tub onto the wall to permanently fit in its new position. Finally connecting the drain line and ensuring that waste passes easily without any leakages.

Should I See a Psychologist or a Therapist?


When seeking talk-based help for emotional mental issues, it is often challenging to determine which type of professional to seek. Terminology can be confusing to someone pursuing help for the first time. A great start is to understand the various types of professionals available, so to recognize the differences between a psychologist and a therapist.

What is a Therapist?

“Therapist” is a blanket term for several different types of licensed professionals who provide talk and behavioral therapy services. While licensing requirements do vary by state, in order to practice as a therapist, a provider must meet a standard of educational and professional qualifications. Therapists strive to listen and help patients make decisions, comprehend their emotions, and learn problem-solving techniques. Through guidance, therapists strive to help individuals lead more effective lives through teaching coping skills, self-awareness, recognizing underlying motivations, and by giving their patients room to come to terms with potential unresolved life issues. Some psychologists are practicing therapists, but not all therapists are psychologists.


What is a Psychologist?

A licensed clinical psychologist is a therapist who has completed a doctoral degree ( PsyD, PhD, or EdD). While some psychologists choose to go into research or education as opposed to directly providing therapy, those that chose to practice as therapists have extensive training and education. In addition to studying the mind and behaviors beginning in their undergraduate studies, psychologists spend graduate school learning the processes for evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental and emotional disorders.

As a post-graduate, a psychologist must complete an extensive internship to acquire experience and further their training in treatment, theories, and behavior prior to licensing. Unlike most other therapists, licensed clinical psychologists can diagnose mental health disorders. In some cases, individuals who pursue therapy from other types of professionals may be referred by their therapist to a psychologist if they are in need of a specific diagnosis or evaluation. However, while a psychologist can diagnose and provide therapy, they are not a medical doctor. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication or perform medical testing. When medication or medical testing is warranted, a psychologist will work with a psychiatrist or other medical doctor to meet a patient’s individual needs.

Qualified Therapists are Educated and Experienced Professionals

There are various other professionals who are qualified and licensed to provide therapy to individuals and groups. As mentioned above, states regulate and provide licensure to therapists with the education and experience required to administer therapy. Some states have more regulations in place than others, but in most cases individuals must have not only a graduate degree, but also be subject to internships, supervised experience, and testing in order to earn their credentials. Therapists usually need to have been involved in a field of study such as social work, psychology, family counselling, or similar field that would apply to the social sciences.

While most are unable to diagnose a specific mental illness, when such a condition is suspected through evaluation, they are able to refer a patient to a psychologist or other medical professional for formal diagnosis. In many cases, they are qualified to treat and support various issues such as stress and depression through talk therapies. They may work in conjunction with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other medical doctor depending on an individual’s needs. Many specialize in certain areas of practice, and therefore selection of the type of therapist to see would be based not only on personal choice, but also by specialty.

Types of Licensed Therapists

While not a completely inclusive list, as geographical location does vary on who can become a licensed therapist, there are a few popular types of therapy options that exist across the United States.

Mental Health Counselors (MHC/CCMHC/LMCH) are licensed individuals with a doctoral or master’s degree in mental health counseling or behavioral science. There are many requirements for the types of classes taken, and post-graduation requirements include internships and supervised counseling.

Marriage and Family Therapists (MTF) would hold at least a master’s degree in their field of study, and be subject to a year or two of supervised practice depending on their highest degree. Generally speaking they provide marriage counselling, support the communication in a family unit, and assist people in making better interpersonal decisions and actions.

Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) therapists are educated and licensed to evaluate and provide supportive treatment for mental health services. Also performing the role of family, individual, or patient advocate, they are usually versed in case management and can assist patients in getting available social services in their communities.

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurses are individuals who have received specialized training in mental and behavioral health beyond the medical training and education required for nursing. Depending on their degree and licensing, they not only are able to evaluate and treat patients with therapy, but in some cases are able to also prescribe medications.

Making a Choice

Any of the above licensed professionals are authentic therapists. While each person is unique in their needs, it is possible that you may need to see a few therapists before deciding on the one that is right for you. Much of recovery has to do with trust, interaction, and the quality of help received. While many different choices of qualified therapists are available, the ultimate choice is quite personal.

How to Service an Oil Home Heating Boiler

oil-boilerOil Boilers have temper tantrums the same way as our vehicles do when the proper maintenance is not provided. When a tune up on our vehicle is overdue, it refuses to work, so will the boiler and it will break down. The last thing you want to experience is waking up in a cold house and bathing with cold water. Calling the boiler names and yelling at it will not make the boiler work. There are a few things you can check before you have to call a professional technician to fix the boiler.

How Do I Check For Boiler Problems?

  • Make sure the boiler switch is on if you have no heat.
  • Check the breaker switch and reset it and replace any blown out fuses.
  • Make sure there is oil in the tank.
  • Fill the tank if oil level is less than 1/4 or use diesel fuel until a delivery is made to your home.
  • Push the reset button that is attached to the burner.
  • Check for puddles of water on the floor underneath the burner.
  • Black smoke shouldn’t be coming from the burner.
  • The flame is yellow instead of blue because the soot is burning with the oil.

How Do I Get the Boiler To Work?

The most common problem that will keep the burner from coming on is because the heating oil or diesel fuel has just been put in the tank and the line needs to be opened.

The burner has to be primed like a car engine when gas has just been added to the gas tank. The user’s manual has a description and the location where the bleeder valve is located. If a manual is not handy at the time, depending on the make and model of your burner the bleeder can be located on the top, side or bottom of the boiler.

The tools you need for repair are; a pair of gloves; a hard brush to clean the soot off and out of the bowl; wrenches to remove bolts and nuts; a small container to place under the bleeder valve; a short length of hose; rags to wipe up the oil and water; a portable light and a vacuum cleaner with a long nozzle attachment. This may sound hard, but it’s really easy.

This Operation is called Bleeding the Oil Line

  1. Locate the red restart button on the boiler.
  2. The bleeder is attached to the burner and is a very small valve with an opening in the top with a bolt at the bottom of the valve.
  3. Lay down the rags under the bleeder to catch the spills.
  4. Take the wrench and place it on the bolt of the bleeder. Don’t turn the wrench yet.
  5. Place the hose on the bleeder and into the can or place the container under the bleeder.
  6. Turn the bolt counter clock wise until the valve is open.
  7. Set the thermostat higher than normal, at least ten to fifteen degrees.
  8. Let the air and air bubbles run through the hose or into the container until you see that the oil is clear.
  9. If the bleeder valve stops, wait 45 seconds and press the restart button.
  10. Close the bleeder valve and the boiler will start.

How to Check for other Problems

  • You’re going to look inside the boiler.
  • Turn the switch off and let it cool down before starting to work on the boiler.
  • Remove the front panel of the boiler and set it aside.
  • Behind the front panel is a door, just pull it open.
  • You will see soot caked inside the bowl.
  • If the bowl is cracked, do not use cement to repair the bowl. The bowl is made of materials to stand the excessive heat of the boiler. The cement will eventually crack and crumble inside the bowl. Replacing the bowl is the safest way to avoid other problems, including starting a fire.
  • Attach a long neck hose to the vacuum cleaner and remove the soot which is causing the black smoke.
  • Brush the soot off the side panels and the inside of the pipe that connects to the outside of your home.
  • Change the small faucet on the bottom of the boiler. It will leak after a period of time and will leave water on the floor.
  • If there is a problem with the nozzle, changing the filters, electrodes, igniter or the motor, call a professional technician to correct the problem.

How to Maintain the Health of Your Oil Burner

Before the season changes into cold weather:

  • Fill the tank with oil.
  • Have two five-gallon containers on hand to fill with diesel oil in case of emergencies.
  • Make sure the radiators are bled so the heat will flow freely and all vents are free of dust and other debris.

Schedule a yearly service for your oil boiler. Taking steps to head off costly repairs will increase the life span of your burner and lower your energy costs.

A Guide on How to Plaster an Internal Wall


The plaster in your house might become loose or damaged due to heat or physical impact. It may consequently fall off leaving unpleasant patches on the walls. These patches require re-plastering so as to achieve a smooth wall that can be painted or decorated. But is plastering as easy as just reading an article and doing it yourself? Well not always. Plastering requires skilled expertise and a great deal of experience. Fortunately, you can do it yourself if you are just filling patches on the wall. With a DIY guide, you can get the job right without hiring a professional. This guide will show you some easy and elaborate steps on how to plaster an internal wall.

Before you begin the process, it is important to prepare yourself psychologically. Plastering is physical work and involves a lot of energy. It’s good to have a warm up before you start the job. Stretch out the muscles with a few exercises. This will help you not to tire easily and reduce the aching that comes afterwards.

Step 1: Get everything ready

If you are applying plaster on a high ceiling or a hallway, you might need a trestle to avoid stretching too much when plastering. Remember that you shall be using a lot of bold and sweeping hand movements which may be restricted if you are hanging from a ladder. Move all fittings, fixtures and furniture away from the wall and cover all of them with dust sheets. The next thing to do is to gather your tools. The following are the tools you require.

  • Paddle accessory and power drill
  • A hawk
  • A bucket
  • Angle beading
  • A cold chisel and lump hammer
  • Scrim tape for board joints
  • A quality paintbrush
  • Cleaning materials such as dustpan, brush and rags
  • Water

Step 2: Prepare the wall

Remove anything stuck or nailed on the wall including picture rails, dado rails and skirting boards. This might also include the radiator. If you are unsure about removal of the heating system, seek help from a professional. It is advisable to wet the wall before you hack off the old plaster. This will prevent dust from blowing over the room. Fix the angle beads on the edges of the wall including the fireplaces. Make sure that you hack off all the old plaster and dispose it off.

Step 3: plastering the wall

Now that the wall free, it is time to get it plastered.

Mix the plaster
To mix the plaster follow the instructions on the bag. Typically, you should add the plaster to the water and not the other way round. Therefore, you need make sure that the measurements are right. The bucket you use should be clean every time you make a mix. Stir up the mixture thoroughly until you obtain a creamy consistency that doesn’t have lumps. To make this task easier, you may use the paddle accessory and power drill if they are available.

Time is of essence here especially if you are doing the job during summer time. This is because the plaster begins to dry immediately it is mixed with water. Therefore, you ought to work quickly and possibly mix small potions at a time.


Applying the first coat

Normally, you need to apply two coats to achieve a smooth and level finish. You can minify this if you are plastering on dry wall sheets or new gyproc plaster walls. Scoop a chunk of the mortar onto the hawk then collect half of it onto the trowel. Start applying from the bottom of the wall and use smooth strokes with the trowel. Press the plaster into the wall and distribute it evenly over a certain area. Once you are done with the first coat, allow it to dry. You may open the windows and doors for extra ventilation.

Applying the final coat

Prepare the mixture and apply the coat with the same method as the first coat. The only different now is that you need try much harder to obtain a good quality mortar. Remember that this is the surface where the paint will go on; its needs to be smooth. Once you are done with the application, wait for it to harden slightly and then smoothen it with the trowel.

Step 4: Drying and polishing

The plaster takes about three quarter of an hour to dry out completely. To do the final smooth, flicker water onto the wall using the paint brush then pass the trowel gently on the wall. Try to feel if there are any holes and voids that need to be filled. Now the job seems to be done. You may clean up your working area and tools and store the equipment for the next time. This post was brought to you from the people behind Midland Stone.