Hot and Cold: Melting Points for Common Baking Ingredients

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When you think of molasses and honey, you probably think of Memaw’s cookies over clogged pipes and industrial concrete blankets. Well, welcome to Powerblanket, where new applications for our electric blankies pop up like daisies. Customers including…bakeries? There is a long list of common baking ingredients that congeal, harden, thicken, freeze, or crystallize as temperatures drop. Coming from a perspective of manufacturers, packaging, and shipping, this can be a problem. They need heat to keep them liquid and transportable. Check out some of the melting points of common baking ingredients.

Runny Honey: What is Honey Made of?

Honey is made of different complex and simple sugars, water, vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, and minerals. These different parts lead it to eventually crystallize, which is an issue in bulk. To help you visualize, imagine having a 55 gallon barrel full of honey you have to bottle and ship out. If that entire honey drum has crystallized due to cold weather, are you going to scoop it out with a spoon and hand-squish it into every bottle? That would be both sticky and inefficient. The same goes for other products that harden or thicken and aren’t liquid enough to be poured or pumped.


Melting Point of Honey, Honey

Honey becomes almost impossible to spread or work with when it crystallizes (you’re probably familiar with the ole’ “pop the honey in the microwave” trick). When honey is crystallized, it’s melting point ranges between 104 and 122 °F (40 and 50 °C). This range accounts for the fact that the chemical makeup of honey will vary due to differences in bees, impurities, climate, flower supply, and geographical location of the particular hive.

Raw vs. Processed

Honey must undergo extremely minimal straining to be considered “raw” by the FDA. This indicates how important it is to heat honey with great care. Processed honey on the other hand, is blasted by high heat (161 ºF and higher!), straining, and pasteurization, which process destroys helpful yeast cells, enzymes, and antioxidants in raw honey.

Overheating honey destroys the properties of honey that are most nutritional for our bodies. Around 200 components, including antibacterial properties, are lost if honey is heated over 98.6 ºF (37 ºC). Higher than 104 ºF (40 ºC) and valuable enzymes are destroyed. In short, the danger of just sticking honey in a manufacturing microwave is denaturing, devaluing, and scorching it. Heating solutions for crystallized honey include generic electric heating blankets. However, these run the risk of scorching the honey, or overheating it. Because of this, it is crucial to heat and decrystallize raw honey carefully.

If you heat honey above 104 ºF (40 ºC), it will caramelize. For those apiarists and manufacturers that want to preserve their raw honey and still be able to bottle it, they need a specialized solution. The BeeBlanket has been engineered to the temperature of a beehive, which preserves the valuable raw aspects of the honey, while warming it enough to liquify it.

Coconut Oil : Put the Heat in the Coconut

Coconut Oil is used for a huge variety of purposes, not just for food. Depending on the makeup of your specific coconut oil, it melts at a temperature between 76-78 ºF (24-25 ºC). The melting point depends on how pure the oil is. Impurities spark crystallization. The purer the oil, the lower the melting point. Overall, at average room temperature and below, coconut oil is solid. Since coconut oil applications range from hair products to treating eczema, it is important that manufacturers package their coconut oil properly and accurately in a liquid state. Luckily, heating coconut oil back into liquid doesn’t affect the oil’s quality at all. The biggest issue is heating it slowly and evenly, so it doesn’t scorch.

Molasses Assets

Memaw and I appreciate molasses for its sweet, smoky flavor. Molasses is usually made from boiled down sugar cane, and can also be made from sugar beet juice, dates, pomegranate, and sorghum. It will crystallize due to lowered temperatures or condensation. Molasses doesn’t freeze in any industrial grade freezer due to the sugar acting as an antifreeze to the water molecules. The water will evaporate out, leaving crystallized, grainy molasses. The key is to keep it at normal temperatures with light heat. Molasses is made primarily from sucrose, depending on the source: sugarcane, sugar beets, and sorghum are all sources from which molasses is made. The more sucrose, the more likely crystallization will occur. Slow, even heat will solve any crystallization problems. After fixing any problems with heat, molasses crystallization is less likely to happen again by adding citric acid or pure fructose.

Melting Point of Vegetable Oil

Believe it or not, oil congeals as it gets colder as well. The melting point of vegetable oil varies greatly depending on the type: sunflower oil and safflower oil (2 ºF, -17 ºC), canola oil (14 ºF, -10 ºC), olive oil and sesame oil (21 ºF, -6 ºC), peanut oil (37 ºF, 3 ºC) are just a few.

One company we work with ships vegetable oil overseas. They said, “in the winter, the oil congeals to a white residue because of the cold temperatures onboard the ship.” Like most problems with heating, they needed a solutions that would “heat the totes gently to get the oil back to its original consistency…” Keyword being gently. Uniform heat is important for warming oils just like other food products as to not scorch them or damage their chemical makeup.

Shortening: The Big Short

Shortening is solidified, hydrogenated vegetable oil. When it comes to shortening (think Crisco), customers we’ve worked with are more concerned with softening it than melting it. With a melting point of 117º F, it is almost always in its solid, fluffy form. However, semi-vehicles will ship the product in cold weather, where it will freeze and become rock hard. In order to get it ready to sell, it needs to be warmed with a slow, uniform heat to about room temperature (68-72 ºF).

Even though all of the products we’ve mentioned are different in composition and chemical makeup, they have something in common: food! To finally get to our table, it is important that manufacturers are able to transport them, and that means finding proper temperature solutions.  

Sources:

Lindberg, Barbara. “The Bee Journal.” Why Does Honey Crystallize? January 01, 1970. Accessed November 19, 2018. http://thebeejournal.blogspot.com/2011/12/heating-and-freezing-honey.html.

Honey Chemistry: What is Honey Made Of?

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The difference between raw honey and pure honey is lost on many. Runny honey? Rock hard? “Who cares! Just pop it in the microwave!” Well, hypothetical person, honey is actually more complex than that. Honey is made of delicate sugars, water, vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, and minerals that can be damaged when overheated.  Let’s take a proverbial “Magic School Bus” dive into the honey pail. It’s time to educate yourself on the chemistry of this ancient ambrosia, how to keep it from pasteurization, and why.

The Sting: A Bee’s Process for Makin’ Honey

Honey Bee Pollinating White FlowerSo why do bees make honey in the first place? Turns out we’re not the only ones who like honey on our toast. Bees eat honey and save it to live on during the winter. Forager bees collect nectar from flowering plants and take it back to the hive in their honey stomach (also known as honey crop), and transfer it over to house bees. Then, over a 20-minute period they will process the nectar in their crop, absorbing the water and breaking down the larger sucrose sugar molecules into smaller glucose and fructose sugars.

No, honey isn’t “bee vomit,” or “bee-barf” as my coworker likes to call it. This is because regurgitation is voluntary, and never passes through the bees central digestive system. After regurgitation, the bees will then deposit the nectar-turned-honey into honeycomb, and will fan it with their wings. This helps to further dehydrate the honey, which gives it preservative qualities. The low water content in honey, below 20%, also makes it uninhabitable for bacteria. This low water content and acidic properties gives honey antiseptic qualities too, good for topical use and health treatments, like for a common sore throat. 

What is Honey Made Of? A Sticky Situation

Honey is made of different sugars, water, vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, and minerals. Raw honey comes straight from the hive, after an apiarist lightly filters it by hand to remove any debris. This preserves the nutritional qualities of the honey. Processed honey is heated at 70 degrees Celsius and then rapidly cooled, killing and destroying beneficial bacteria, enzymes, pollen, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This, and intense straining “purify” the honey and is done mostly for aesthetic reasons. All in all, processed honey is significantly less beneficial for your body just so it will look pretty on the shelf.

Crystal Clear: Decrystallize Raw Honey

When apiarists and beekeepers remove honey from the hive, they usually keep it in pails. Hive temperatures average between 89º to 95º Fahrenheit. If the weather is cold enough, depending on the type of honey, it will begin to crystallize. A honey bucket heater or honey drum heater is a great solution to decrystallize raw honey without heating it enough to pasteurize it and helping preserve its nutritional value. 

Check out this infographic for more information on what honey is made of!

Infographic on honey chemistry and different honey facts

Sources

Charlotte, Beekeeper, Pete Jones, and Beekeeper Charlotte. “What Do Honeybees Do With Pollen?” Carolina Honeybees. October 15, 2018. Accessed November 13, 2018. https://carolinahoneybees.com/why-pollen-is-vital-for-honeybee-survival/.

Common Disease Problems. Accessed November 13, 2018. https://www.uaex.edu/farm-ranch/special-programs/beekeeping/about-honey-bees.aspx.

“Honey, Recipes, Research, Information.” National Honey Board. Accessed November 13, 2018. https://www.honey.com/faq.

https://www.livescience.com/4255-oldest-bee-fossil-creates-buzz.html

http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2001/loveridge/index-page3.html

https://www.compoundchem.com/2014/08/21/chemistryofhoney/

4 New Products in Roofing Industry

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Roofing can get rough. You run the risk of cuts, injuries, falls, and impact shocks. That doesn’t even include everything that can go wrong with your shingles, product, or roof. Whether you have residential or commercial needs, check out these new products in roofing that will make your project safer and easier.

1. Nailed It! Nailgun

A nail gun will make fast work out of a slow job. With the highest reviews and reliability, the Hitachi NV45AB2 is awesome for contractors and homeowners alike. It’s precise due to its carbide tipped nose; intuitive, easy to use, and weatherproofed so you can use it in difficult weather. It has a rubber grip to prevent fatigue, and is light and easy to carry with one hand.

2. Gloves

Gloves that protect your hands without slowing you down or cutting back your dexterity are a must. MaxiFlex Ultimate gloves, at a reasonable price, are high quality, super thin, flexible, and breathable. They are 100% silicone free, which is impressive for a durable roofer’s glove. These are made of a micro-foam nitrile and a seamless knit nylon.

Their breathability is a unique feature for roofing gloves, since they have airflow on the front and back of the hand. This will keep your hands from sweating.

3. Get a Grip: Automatic Safety Grip

Safety is obviously a top priority when roofing. Safety lines and harnesses are crucial to prevent falls. One recent product is making a difference for productivity in roofing safety. An Automatic Following Rope Grab made by DBI-SALA follows the roofer as they move along their safety line. This product is awesome for carrying supplies to other parts of the roof. It also comes in manual options where the worker would grip the device to move it along their lifeline.

4. Bulk Material Warmer

In cold weather, roofing shingles and adhesive can be negatively affected. Between 100º and 120º Fahrenheit, Hot Boxes, or Bulk Material Warmers can keep your roofing products from freezing with a uniform, evenly heated core technology, for optimal use all year. This helps prevent any voided warranty for roofing in cold weather. They also cost less to run than keeping materials in the cab of a warm truck. This is because the cost for electrical is much lower than the cost of burning fuel to run a vehicle. They even have remote temperature control options for specific contracting needs. Whatever the roofing emergency, Hot Boxes can help solve problems year-round.

Whether you’re a professional roofing company or DIY homeowners fixing your garden shed, these new roofing products can help you most comfortably and effectively in your roofing projects.

Sources:

https://bestroofingshoes.com/best-gloves-for-roofing/

https://toolsfirst.com/best-roofing-nailer/

https://pksafety.com/blog/the-best-fall-protection-for-roofers/

Roofing Repair: Put the Proof in Your Roof

Roofing repair is a common, annoying necessity. With the sun’s heat, shingles (and a roof in general) will expand. This leads to nails popping out, which can leave holes for leaks. If you’re new here, leaks = bad. Read on for some basic steps on replacing a roof.

Nailgun

Nailed It

When you are repairing roof tile, consider renting a nail gun. Nail gun rental can cost around $20 a day, which can save you the time of hammering. Worth it!

Pro contractors, Georgia Pacific, released this video for specs and detailed instructions on laying sheathing and spacing for nails. This can differ depending on the spacing of your rafters. Also take into account nail length you will need to pierce through the necessary layers. According to IKO, “Roofing nails should be long enough to penetrate the roofing material and go 19 mm into OSB, solid wood, plywood or non-veneer wood decking, or through thickness of decking, whichever is less. To determine the nail length, you should consider the number of layers of shingles, shingle thicknesses, underlayment and flashings (installed on eaves, sidewalls and valleys, etc.).” Long story short, you still need to look into specifications for your particular roof.

1. Repair Your Sheathing

Begin by clearing any debris or leaves from your roof. Depending on your issue, you might need to repair or lay down new sheathing. Lay down your sheathing (also known as decking), which is usually half inch thick plywood, 8 feet long. This is standard. Obviously every roof is different and you might have to cut your sheathing to fit your roof’s measurements. Once you have your sheathing measured and cut, nail it to your roof’s rafters. Lay your sheathing in a brick pattern; this will give your roof extra strength. See Figure Below.

2. Lay Down Felt Paper

Felt paper is what sits between your shingles and your plywood sheathing. Staple your 6 inch starter strip of felt paper at the bottom of the roof, near the gutter. Leave 1 inch to overhang over the roof. This helps weather elements to drain off the roof into the gutter. Just like you will do with your shingles later, overlap the felt paper with about two inches over the piece of felt paper below it. Make sure to reinforce the tar adhesive strip on each piece of felt paper with nails.

3. Install Shingles

You can’t reshingle your roof without shingles! Figure out if you are repairing roof tile (usually clay, ceramic, or wood), asphalt shingles (also known as composite or 3 tab), or architectural shingles (also known as laminate). Lay your shingles starting at the bottom corner of the sloped roof with your starter course. Work your way to the top, overlapping the top shingles over the row beneath them. This will make it so precipitation doesn’t penetrate the roof and lead to damage. Work out from the bottom corner in a pyramid shape. Six nails along the tar strip of each shingle should be adequate for utmost performance and hold. Work from the bottom up, building from your original pyramid shape.

If you are doing roof shingle repair for an isolated part of your roof, perhaps a part where the shingles were damaged, don’t remove the old ones, just nail the new on top of them. This leaves a consistent, smooth look.

If you’re trying to do roof repair in winter, read this article for some extra tips. If not, still read it!

Sources:

https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/rooms-and-spaces/exterior/how-to-repair-a-damaged-roof

How to Stack Shingles on a Roof Like a Boss

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Contractors save time by stacking several bundles of shingles on a roof before installing them. However, if stacked poorly, the shingles (or roof) can become damaged, which will adversely affect the overall longevity of the roof. Read on for some tips and tricks for stacking shingles on a roof.

The Essentials

Some essentials for stacking asphalt shingles and architectural shingles:

  • Lightly lay the shingles on the roof flat. Leave them in the package for extra protection and so they stay together.
  • With three tab shingles, which are thinner and lighter, you can lay them over hips or roof ridges. Be careful not to lay too many in one place, as this could create too much weight that might weaken the roof. If you are using laminate shingles (also known as architectural shingles), try not to lay them over ridges. Because they are thicker and heavier, they are more likely to compromise the integrity of the roof. Laminate shingles also have two-layers, which give them dimension. However, it also makes them more resistant to bending, and more likely to be damaged or misaligned between their two layers if dropped or bent over a ridge.
  • A typical bundle weighs 75-80 pounds, which can quickly lead to a lot of pressure if you stack them on top of each other. Another reason to avoid stacking too many is to not risk them toppling over and becoming damaged. If you are using asphalt composite shingles, 9 stacked bundles is probably the limit.
  • If a roof has a high pitch, nail a board below where you’ll put the shingles to prevent them from sliding down, being a safety hazard, or knocking into other tiles and damaging them. Try not to stack your bundles in vulnerable places on your roof, such as in valleys. You will increase risk of damage.

  • Lay your bundles in all different locations on the roof. This will both distribute the weight evenly to prevent damage, and make the shingles easier to access during your process, improving your workflow.

Breaking the Bundles

Some roofers stack bundles over ridges with the intention of separating the asphalt shingles from each other. This is called “breaking the bundles.” It is crucial that this still be done gently, as the bundles could harm the roof if it is done forcefully.  

Heat’s Effect on Stacking Shingles

Hot weather affects composite, asphalt, 3-tab shingles by making them more pliable. The shingle sealant is in the center of the bundle and is also heat activated. This might be problematic if it sets and makes the shingles stick together. Laminate shingles don’t tend to have this same problem since they have adhesive towards the edges. If you lay the asphalt shingles granule side up, the adhesive won’t stick as much and might help in being able to remove individual shingles from the bundle.

A tip for working in hot weather

Keep your shingle bundles in the shade. When it is time to bring them on top of the roof, try to keep them in the shade (i.e. a chimney or shaded area of the roof) if it’s available.

The Effect of Cold on Stacking Shingles

Cold weather has the opposite effect on shingles. It tends to make them more brittle and less flexible. Cap shingles that cover hips and ridges become especially sensitive to breakage if it’s cold.

A tip for working in cold weather

Keep your bundles in a warm truck cab for as long as possible before use. Even better, get a bulk material warmer that will keep your shingles and adhesive warm enough to use around the clock.

Wind’s Effect on Stacking Shingles

You might initially start laying shingles on a clean surface, but make sure to be aware of any dirt or debris that might fly up onto the roof. If it gets into the adhesive, it will diminish its wind resistance significantly. Read more about wind damaged shingles here.

Sources:

https://www.iko.com/na/residential/building-professional/how-to-stack-shingles-on-a-roof/

Millennials and Tiny House Living: Minimal-lennials

Today’s 20-somethings are doing more than Netflix-and-chilling, they’re moving out of their folks’ places and living in tiny houses. There are several reasons why living in these little dwellings appeal to the Y Generation (and everyone else!). Read on for just a few.

Off the Grid

FBI Agent assigned to computer meme drinking coffee millennialsPost-9/11 Millennials came of age while America was at war, along with the biggest recession since the Great Depression. These factors, in addition to data breaches and revelation about government surveillance of citizens, has severely damaged young people’s trust in the government (although the same has sparked countless memes). With propane tanks and composting toilets, tiny homes make it possible for Millennials to go off grid and spend their time incognito. Rick Yanh, a venture capitalist, told Business Insider, “I think coming out of [the financial crisis], millennials have a massive distrust of existing financial services.” Tiny homes appeal to the concerns they’ve developed from the political and economical climate they grew up in.

From Mobile Phones to Mobile Homes

“Millennials don’t want to be tied down,” said Megan Smyth, CEO of FitReserve, an exercise boutique that doesn’t require a membership to take classes. “It’s a spontaneous demographic.” While they still spend money like older generations, it is more experience driven, going towards food, traveling, etc. Tiny homes are perfect for wanderlusty millennials who want to go wherever the insta-wind takes them. According to Jeff Fromm from Forbes, millennials “might not need the same space, permanence, and practicality” most Americans want from their housing. This is apparent as tiny homes trend with young folks. Most tiny home owners set their homes on a trailer frame to haul.

Flexibility: “Weird Flex But Okay”

With a rise in bean bag chair corporations and coffee shop offices (coffices?), it is clear that millennials are loosening things up in corporate America. People can use tiny homes as home offices, in addition to homes for returning adult children. Though millennials have a reputation for being lazy, Psychologist Brenda Bauer, Psy.D. from Psychology Today says, “they work hard and feel strongly about wanting their work to be meaningful in ways that older generations typically do not insist upon.” With minimal ‘stuff’ to distract, people living in tiny houses can find more time and resources to focus on their work, aspirations, and hobbies.

Tiny House Infographic

Less House, Less Work

Minimalism allows time for what people really care about. At an average of 12 times less space than your typical home, it’s no wonder tiny houses require less maintenance. It probably gets dirtier quicker, but it’s also faster to clean up, and isn’t an issue if you’re fairly tidy. Heating and cooling in tiny houses, water, electrical, and waste are self-sustaining. Propane tanks and composting toilets virtually take care of themselves. With a tiny house gas heater or propane heating blanket in winter conditions, you have extra time, as well as security that everything will work the way it should when it gets cold outside.

 

Pinching Pennies and Self Sufficiency

Student Loans Debt Leonardo Dicaprio Meme Toasting millennialsMillennials drive the new movement of ethical consumerism. They aim for social and fiscal responsibility, set in motion from growing up in a recession and national debt crisis. College debt is at an all time high at $1.5 trillion dollars, which has seriously damaged confidence in governmental institutions. Luckily however, 68% of tiny home owners have no mortgage, 65% have no credit card debt, and the average cost of a tiny house is much lower than the average home (around $23,000 USD).

Little Foot, Bigfoot, Carbon Footprint  

Reluctance to hinder global climate change by both the government and private sector frustrates many millennials. They see it as an astronomical problem being brushed under the proverbial rug for them to deal with. Many tiny homes use solar panels or propane, which is one of the cleanest burning fuels available. Winter conditions, though problematic to some, are easily solved with propane heating blankets. This ensures an efficient, safe, and warm winter! As previously mentioned, millennials have a deep desire to make a difference in the world. According to the author of “Fast Future,” David Burstein, millennials recognize that the difference they make might need to stem from innovation and creating new institutions within existing structures.

For some, these structures are literal: tiny homes.

Sources:

-Taylor, Kate. “‘Psychologically Scarred’ Millennials Are Killing Countless Industries from Napkins to Applebee’s – Here Are the Businesses They like the Least.” Business Insider. October 31, 2017. Accessed November 01, 2018. https://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-are-killing-list-2017-8#casual-dining-chains-like-buffalo-wild-wings-and-applebees-1.

-“Tiny House Infographic.” The Tiny Life. January 12, 2018. Accessed November 01, 2018. https://thetinylife.com/tiny-house-infographic/.

-“Tiny House Statistics.” Restoring Simple. Accessed November 01, 2018. http://restoringsimple.com/tiny-house-statistics/.

-“Why Do Millennials Get a Bad Rap?” Psychology Today. Accessed November 01, 2018. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psychoanalysis-unplugged/201704/why-do-millennials-get-bad-rap.

Get Your Honey’s Worth: 4 Topical Uses for Honey

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Pass the honey, honey! This sticky sweet stuff has been on the table since as early as 2400 BC. Surprisingly, aside from tasting super dang good, it has incredible applications for your health. Read on for some honey-do’s that will leave you buzzing.

Comb Confusion: Raw vs. Processed Honey

Raw Beekeepers Honey Comb Bee Hive WaxOne thing we need to clear up before diving into the hive is the difference between raw and processed honey. Raw honey comes straight from the hive to your kitchen. Its chemical makeup hasn’t been tampered with, unlike most of the honeys you’ll find in the grocery store (you’re probably familiar with the little plastic bear with a yellow lid). Most of these have been processed through intense heat and straining. This process leaves the honey a beautiful clear, amber color: however, it also changes the honey’s makeup by removing any of the wax, bacteria, and bee juju’s that are left behind. This might sound like a good thing, but it actually removes many of the proteins, nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals that would be beneficial to your body as well. Honey needs to be handled at a more moderate temperature to maintain its nutritional benefits. So become friends with your local bee people. They can get you the raw honey hookups!

Important: Never give honey to children younger than age one. This is because adults have more developed immune systems than babies, who can’t process botulinum spores that might be found in honey. In addition, consult a medical professional before using honey as a medical substitute.

1. Bless You! Honey For Allergies

Honey For Allergies with Brown Haired Woman Sneezing

Though honey can’t do much for your jungle or disco fever, your hay fever and seasonal allergies can actually benefit from eating local, raw honey. Since bees are pollinating local flowers to produce their honey, you will probably ingest particles of the specific pollen from your geographical environment. Just like your immune system becomes stronger by fighting bacteria and viruses it is exposed to over time, a little bit of exposure to pollen and allergens through honey can eventually desensitize you to them. If your honey is processed, some of these benefits disappear with the heat.

2. Burn, Baby Burn, Honey Inferno

For thousands of years people have used honey to treat burns. One study done by the Mayo Clinic found that honey treated burns faster and more effectively than silver sulfadiazene cream, the antibiotic ointment commonly used to treat 2nd and 3rd degree burns. They found that honey led to enhanced healing, less scarring, and worked faster than the silver cream to sterilize wounds. With honey’s amazing antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it’s no wonder bees live off this golden ambrosia.

3. Dia-bee-tes

Since raw honey tastes sweeter than white sugar and is absorbed much slower into your blood, it is the obvious alternative. This is especially true if you have an insulin disorder, like diabetes. The Glycemic Index runs from 0 to 100 and measures how quickly sugars are absorbed into your bloodstream: zero means it is absorbed at an extremely slow rate, and 100 would be absorbed almost immediately. Before being processed, raw honey falls at around 30-40 on the glycemic index. This is actually pretty awesome for a sweetener. It is important to note that processed honey falls at about 80-90 on the scale. That is the same as white sugar! This means that processing honey through heat and straining changes the way your body digests its compounds. Whether you have an insulin disorder or not, raw honey is a great option to help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Glycemic Index Blood Sugar Absorption

4. HSV, It’s As Easy As Honey

There’s nothing better than getting a cold sore right in time for your brother’s wedding. Smile! Luckily, honey can help with this too. Ninety percent of the population have the herpes-1 virus and forty percent get repeated cold sores throughout their lives. A study in Dubai actually found that honey works just as well as drugstore topical ointments to treat cold sores, and is even better at cutting down itchiness. That’s something to celebrate!

Long Live the Queen

Whether you enjoy nature’s candy in your food or drink, or you use it to treat your owies, this precious goo deserves to be appreciated. Find even more surprising uses for honey here.

Propane for Dummies: Frequently Asked Questions

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If you’re like me, you didn’t care about the chemistry behind propane, you just wanted to grill some burgers. That was until your tank started freezing up and sucking your wallet dry. We’re here to help unveil your mysterious propane tank and put money back in your pocket.

What is Propane?

Propane, a clean-burning fuel, is an economical source of energy. Also called liquefied petroleum gas (LP or LPG), propane is a part of the hydrocarbon gas family, along with others like butane and methane (“wasn’t me!”). This means propane occurs as a natural gas and can be bottled, making it convenient to transfer with the right safety precautions. Many homes, cabins, RVs, and even tiny houses use propane as their primary source of energy.

Are Propane Heaters Safe?

The answer is yes! When used correctly, propane is one of the safest sources of energy out there. Understanding the nature of propane, the necessary safety precautions, and the different functions of the valves on your tank will help you feel more comfortable using it (See figure below).

Like your ex, propane is so cold, it acts hot. Since propane functions at temperatures much lower than most natural environments, it can cause freeze burns on your skin if it makes sustained contact. For this reason you should always wear protective gloves if you are dealing with your tank or valves, and wear protective eyewear if possible. Propane is flammable, so never have an open flame around your tank. If you are interested in heating your tank, there are certified propane tank heaters that can help.

One thing to be aware of is that manufacturers add a rotten egg or skunk smell to propane–which is naturally odorless–in order to alert users if there is a leak. Since it is possible to have a leak so small you can’t smell it, you should definitely install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Many fire alarms have CO detectors already built into them.

If you do start to smell something ripe and it’s not your dog or spouse, extinguish all flames, turn off the supply valve on your tank (if it’s safe), and leave the premises as soon as possible. Contact your supplier or a professional for assistance. If they are unavailable, call the police. Don’t try to handle propane on your own if you haven’t been trained professionally. Grab lunch and check out the new Marvel movie while things get cleared up!

Can Propane Freeze in Cold Weather? Propane Liquid Temperature

Just like how water boils into steam, liquid propane also boils into a gas. However, compared to water, the point where propane boils is much lower: it boils at -44 degrees Fahrenheit! When temperatures are below -44°F, propane gas condenses back into a liquid. Additionally, temperature change is tied to pressure change inside a propane tank: as temperatures increase, pressure inside propane tanks also increases. Thus the liquid propane expands as a gas. Decreased pressure also causes propane to condense back into a liquid. The colder the weather and lower the temperatures, the more dense and liquified propane becomes. This liquid state is inefficient: propane needs to be vaporized to pass through your supply lines!

 

Why is My Propane Tank Frosting Over? Can Propane Freeze in Cold Weather?

Many people are confused by the freezing point of propane because tanks will stop functioning in cold temperatures or start frosting over. Propane’s melting point is -306.4°F (-188 °C): below this point and propane will freeze into a solid. That is pretty bleeping cold. This means that, unless you’re in a research laboratory, liquid propane won’t freeze in any natural environment. It is, however, important to be aware that as propane vaporizes into a usable gas form, the temperature of the liquid left in the tank drops. If the heat of the weather outside is high, this will keep the pressure in your tank high and you’ll be good to go. But if temperatures outside are too low to keep pace with the cooling that is occurring inside the tank, frost will begin to form on the outside of the tank. This isn’t because the propane itself is freezing, but because its temperature is dropping below the temperature at which the water vapor outside freezes. This frost acts as insulation and resists any further heat from helping the situation. Frost can also form if there is a leak around your valves or lines, or if it is a particularly humid day.

How to Keep a Propane Tank from Freezing Up

Propane has a boiling point of -44°F, which means that in most normal climates propane is in a gaseous form. Like we mentioned before, this is important for the gas to be able to pass through the supply lines. As temperatures get colder and approach -44°F, propane gets denser and is less likely to perform at its maximum capacity. This, and the aforementioned frost that can develop on tanks, require some sort of insulation or heating. Without this, the life of the propane tank will shorten significantly, leading to pricy refills, exchanges, or even emergency visits from your propane distributor (accompanied by steep fees).

Gas Cylinder Blankets

No matter your tank size, Powerblanket® industrial-grade electric blankets provide you with a uniform barrier of heat across your entire tank. This heating solution lowers costs by optimizing temperatures and increasing your tank’s efficiency.

Powerblanket’s new residential product, Powerblanket lite, was released last year. With a few studies already in progress, we will have really powerful data in the near future on how these blankets help homeowners save big in the long run. Tune into this article toward the end of this season for an update on what we find. Powerblanket lite is an excellent and affordable option for homeowners who use propane. Stay tuned on how you can save money and increase the life of your propane!

For more information on your propane tank, download the free E-Book for homeowners and businesses!

Wind Damaged Shingles: What’s Really Wrong With My Asphalt Roof?

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Asphalt shingles are the most used roof covering in the U.S. because of their affordability and versatility. However, there are many issues with asphalt roofing shingles that are misattributed to wind damage (Marshall, 2010). What some would call “wind damaged shingles,” are actually results of poor installation, natural aging and weathering, roofing in cold weather, contaminated glue, and expansion and contraction due to changes in climate. Read on to find what qualifies as wind damage and what doesn’t.

Wind Damage to Shingles

If you think you have a wind damaged roof, it could be helpful to know what actual wind damage to shingles look like and how it happens. For a shingle to be wind damaged, an uplift force from the wind has to occur. This causes a pressure dissimilar between the front and back faces of the shingle. The more the shingle lifts off the roof, the more surface area is exposed between the shingle and the roof, leading to a greater uplift force and faster degradation.

Wind Damaged Shingles

As wind blows, it will cause inward and outward pressures on the walls and roof of a building. Any force, including wind, will seek the path of least resistance. This means that when wind hits the side of a house it will move up and over the roof to continue flowing. As it passes the ledge it will create a suction force on the face of the roof, similar to what occurs with an aircraft wing. This is understandable since an aircraft is able to fly due to this uplift force; granted, with a smooth metal wing. On a roof, textured shingles begin to lift because of this turbulence and can cause issues over time. If any problems of faulty manufacturing, climate, or installation occur, this is especially true.

Wind Pressure on Asphalt Roof

A Note to Contractors

The highest uplift pressures on a roof are in areas of change, such as along corners, eaves, ridges, and rakes (Marshall, 2010). This means that it is particularly important to add additional anchoring in the areas of the most uplift.

Wind Damage Map of Roof

Climate Effects on Shingles

We can’t blame all roofing repair on the wind: some problems stem from environmental temperatures. When shingles start lifting in a uniform, diagonal stairway pattern, they are known as “racked.” When they lift in a straight-up line like a zipper, it is known as “zippering” (go figure!). These are usually a result of climatic expanding and contracting. This is self-evident, since wind blows in all directions, and wouldn’t lift shingles in a uniform fashion. In this case, the line where they lift typically follows the way the contractor installed them. If new roof installation happens in extreme conditions of cold or heat it won’t last as long either.

Other uniform roof anomalies include cupping and clawing, where shingles curl up around all edges of the tab (cupping), or suction downward on all edges (clawing). These most likely have to do with the uneven absorption of water and not with the wind.

Natural Wear On Shingles: How Long Does a Roof Last?

One study by the University of Florida revealed that lifted shingles were more likely due to “a systematic failure of the shingle’s sealant strip” than some other external factor (Dixon, 2013). This is because the sealant strip naturally loses adhesion over time. This natural occurrence leaves the shingle partially unsealed and susceptible to the uplift force of wind and rain. Dixon et al. (2014) observed that asphalt shingles typically stay sealed for 4 to 5 years, and then begin to naturally deteriorate. The average manufacturer’s estimate for an asphalt shingle roof lifespan is about 20 years. This number obviously fluctuates depending on location and weather conditions.

Wind Damaged Shingles

Faulty installation & Human Error

The study by Dixon et al. (2014) also found that unsealed shingles can occur from poor installation. 70% of roofs studied showed errors including debris in the sealant strip, under-driven nails, and release tape that was accidentally stuck to the sealant strip from packaging mistakes. These roofs all had a distinct pattern in their damage, meaning they didn’t result from wind (Dixon, 2013). Sealant for roofing needs to be handled properly to ensure an optimal seal when installing shingles. Contamination to a shingle’s sealant strip can also happen in industrial areas where exhaust or chemical residues are abundant. This can affect a roof even more than weather conditions (2014).

If you’re trying to verify your roofing warranty, it is important to know whether the weather, contractors, or manufacturing are the culprit behind your roofing damage. Don’t let lack of knowledge keep you from having a reliable, economical, and overall good roof!

Resources

Craig R. Dixon. “The Influence of Unsealing on the Wind Resistance of Asphalt Shingles.” Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics. Vol. 130. Elsevier. 2014. pp. 30-40.

“Procedure for an Evaluation of Wind Damage to Shingles.” Prugar Consulting, Inc. Accessed October 11, 2018. http://prugarinc.com/shingles/procedure-for-an-evaluation-of-wind-damage-to-shingles/.

RCI. “Misconceptions of Wind Damage to Asphalt Composition Shingles.” RCI, Inc. June 07, 2018. Accessed October 09, 2018. http://rci-online.org/misconceptions-wind-damage-asphalt-composition-shingles/.

T.P. Marshall, S. Morrison, R. Herzog, and J. Green. “Wind Effects on Asphalt Shingles.” 29th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology. American Meteorological Society. 2010. Hyannis, MA. p. 11.

“What Roof Lasts the Longest?” What Roof Lasts the Longest? – Roofing Southwest. Accessed October 12, 2018. http://www.roofingsouthwest.com/blog/what-roof-lasts-the-longest.

August 2018 Power Manufacturer: Grip6

Out of Draper, Utah, Grip6 is making a name for themselves through revolutionary, minimalist, recyclable belts. After speaking with Founder BJ Minson, it’s clear to see why. Their ingenuity in the manufacturing process and inventive design makes them Powerblanket’s winner for August’s Power Manufacturers Award.

Origin Story

Grip6 began as BJ Minson’s desire to get design experience after completing his engineering degree. He started making products for himself, including a belt that shed typical notch and buckle conventions. After giving them as gifts to friends and family, word spread quickly. As a result, he created a kickstarter project and soon had over 10,000 orders.

Initially, Grip6 wanted to outsource domestically to US manufacturers, but high prices led Minson to continue producing the belts in-shop. This was even more possible due to his engineering background, which led him to design his own production machines. Swarmed with positive feedback, people began asking, “Where’s your website? I want more.” Minson decided to take things to the next level.

The Belt

Grip6 belt on male modelWithout bulky buckles, pins, prongs, or screws, Grip6 belts redefine minimalism. They use a reinforced, anodized, aluminum buckle and a Nylon 6,6 strap. According to Grip6, “Nylon 6,6 is more rigid [than traditional Nylon 6], has better tensile strength, has superior abrasion resistance, and can withstand higher temperatures before melting.” With an almost indestructible product, Grip6 gives a lifetime guarantee (or “guaran-damn-tee”). Clearly, long-lasting quality is top priority for Grip6, along with style and function.

Unique Manufacturing

Economically-minded and future oriented, Grip6 feels strongly about local manufacturing. After four years of working with various manufacturers in the US, they were left wanting: from slower delivery, to lower product quality, they determined they could do better. With custom-created manufacturing equipment, they efficiently quadrupled their production using the same number of employees. They created better quality products at a lower cost than anyone else, producing close to what a Chinese company would turn out if they were to outsource. In addition, Chinese import tariffs don’t affect Grip6, giving them an edge on the competition.

Powerblanket appreciates Grip6’s process and philosophy as they challenge the status quo. They have taken success into their own hands. Though BJ Minson wouldn’t say so; his humility surrounding the company’s success is heartfelt.