Things to know about electric cables

Electric cables are a group of wires sheathed together to transport electrical energy between two points. These cables are of different types and use various materials, depending on the purpose. They also come in multiple colors and sizes. If you are about to work on any electrical project and are looking for the best electric cables, here are a few things you need to understand about them so that you can buy the right ones.

Cable size
The cable’s size is determined by the gauge of the wire within it. Electric cables are numbered in such a way that a thicker one would have a smaller wire gauge. The number of wires is also mentioned, along with the size. For example, a 10/3 cable means there are three 10-gauge wires in it. The only exception to this rule is the ground wire, which is only denoted by the letter “G.”

Color
The cable’s insulation color can vary depending on the wire material. The colors indicate if a cable consists of neutral, active, or earth conductors. Besides, the colors also change based on the location where the cable can be used. However, active wires are never given light blue, yellow, green, or black colors. That said, there is no standard color used across the globe.

Voltage categories
Electricity is measured in volts. So electric cables can be segregated by the number of volts they can conduct. The types are:

  • Low voltage
    Low voltage cables can be divided into two types: those that can carry up to 750V (used in applications and are generally covered with thermoset and thermoplastic coatings) and those that can carry up to 1,000V (used in infrastructures and public installations for industrial power installations). A few kinds of low voltage cables include armored cables, power cables, fire-resistant cables, halogen-free cables, rubber cables, solar cables, and so on.
  • Medium voltage
    These cables can carry between 1kV and 36kV of electrical energy. They are the best electric cables to carry current from electrical substations to transformer stations. A few medium voltage cables are RHZ1, HEPRZ1, MV-90, and RHVhMVh, among others.
  • High voltage
    Any electrical cable that can transport above 36kV of energy is considered a high voltage cable. They are generally used to transport electricity to electrical substations from generating power plants.

Understanding these factors can help you select the best electric cables for your project and avoid confusion when wiring your home.

6 different types of electric cables

An electric cable consists of wires bundled together and covered in a sheathing to carry electricity. Several kinds of electrical cables are currently available in the market. Here, we look at some of these types to gain a better understanding of electric cables.

Underground feeder (UF) cables
In this type of cable, the wires are not wrapped individually but grouped together and embedded into a flexible material. These are some of the best electric cables to use outdoors as they are water-resistant. They can be used for lighting signboards and, as the name suggests, are usually buried in the ground.

Multi-conductor cables
Commonly chosen for electrical work at homes, multi-conductor or multicore cables consist of more than one individually insulated conductor. Plus, they also have another top layer of insulation for extra safety. Multi-conductor lines come in varieties such as the audio multicore cable or “snake cable.”

Armored cables
These cables come in steel or aluminum jackets and are incredibly durable. Hence, they are used in places where the risk of wires being damaged or pinched is high—for example, locations with rodents or the risk of fire or explosion.

Nonmetallic sheathed cable
Also referred to as NM cables, these have two to four wires and one bare wire for grounding. They are grouped and wrapped in a flexible plastic cover. These are one of the best electric cables used in indoor residential areas, but certain versions can also be employed underground or outdoors.

Direct-buried cables (DBCs)
These cables come in two kinds: bundled fiber-optic cables and specially-designed coaxial cables. DBCs can be buried underground without any insulation, sheathing, or piping. They consist of heavy rubber coverings, water-resistant wrapped thread-fortified tape, several layers of branded metal sheathing, and shock-absorbing gels. DBCs are the ideal choice for any transmission and communication work, as they can tolerate environmental factors like temperature changes and moisture.

Coaxial cable
This cable is generally used in data wiring; however, it has recently lost its popularity due to the introduction of HDMI wiring suited to transmit television data. The coaxial cable consists of an inner conductor covered by a round jacket. Since the line only carries a small amount of voltage, it is a safe choice for homes.

These were some of the common types of cables used for carrying electricity. They differ based on their insulation, functions, sizes, capacity, and durability and are, hence, used for different purposes.

8 best electric cable manufacturers

For any electrical project, you want to make sure the cables chosen are of the best quality. Faulty wires can cause the entire circuit to break down and can even lead to severe mishaps. If you are working on the wiring for your home, you can choose from this list of the best electric cable manufacturers. These companies have proven their worth over the years and offer some of the country’s most sought-after electric cables.

Alpha Wire Co.
This company is based in Elizabeth, NJ, and provides standard wires and cables along with customization options. Its products include hook-up cables, industrial cables, and other eco-friendly options. It also offers additional inspection and testing services.

Philatron Wire & Cable
It operates from its base in Santa Fe Springs, CA, and specializes in extra-large flexible cables that range between 1/16 and 3.75 inches and can carry 12 to 35,000 volts of electricity. Its services include the production of molded cable assemblies and manufacturing wires and cables in bulk.

Lexco Cable Manufacturers
Based in Norridge, Illinois, this company produces various electrical tools, such as bridge rope, independent core, galvanized and coated wire rope, aircraft cables, and structural strands.

Lake Cable
Another famous manufacturing company from Illinois, Lake Cable, offers various standard and customized cables for utility applications, fire alarms, thermocouples, instrumentation, communication, and broadcast. The company, based in Bensenville, also produces cable jacket colors, custom packaging, and custom printing, among other products and services.

American Wire Group
Based in Miami, Florida, this company offers several wires like static, grounding, and guy, and other tools, such as fiber optic cables, portable power cables, low and medium voltage cables, armored cables, transmission and distribution cables, multiplex cables, and so on.

Belden Inc.
One of the country’s best electric cable manufacturers, Belden Inc., produces commercial and industrial cables. Based in Richmond, Virginia, its products include audio-video, copper, fiber, multi-conductor, industrial Ethernet, data bus, and VFD cables. It also provides cabinets, switches, and network connectors, among other tools.

LUTZE Inc.
Based in Charlotte, NC, the company offers many different cables and wires like network cables, server cables, actuator sensor cables, electronic cables, cabinet wiring, VFD cables, and motor cables.

EIS Wire and Cable
Situated in the town of Hadley in Massachusetts, EIS Wire and Cable manufactures cables that serve various purposes such as refining and power generation in pulp, steel, mining, automation, solar, paper, and petrochemical industries.

4 cost-effective breast pumps to consider buying

Motherhood comes with challenges and one of them includes making informed decisions. From picking the most comfortable car seat for the little one to getting them a cosy stroller, there is a long list of choices that you need to make. So, to help you with one less decision to make, here’s a list of the best cheap breast pumps that you can easily pick from.

Haakaa Manual silicone breastfeeding manual breast pump
This tops the list of best cheap breast pumps because it comes with natural suction. This portable pump is made from food-grade silicone, and costs only $12.99. The design is simple, there is just one piece that does all the job. The natural suction expresses milk without much hassle. All you have to do is attach it to the breast, squeeze it, and it’s done. You can pump milk using the device on one breast while nursing your child on the other.

Lansinoh manual breast pump
The breast pump is one of the lightest weighing pumps that you will find in the market. It comes with two modes that allows mothers to pump milk faster. It also has a handle to make sure that you don’t tire your hand and there are lesser parts in the device for you to clean. This breast pump also has a pump-store-feed system. This means, unlike most breast pumps where you have to transfer milk from one container to another, you can simply pump your milk into a bottle and give it directly to your child. Lansinoh manual breast pump offers all these features at just $25.

Medela harmony manual breast pump
This breast pump has gained a lot of popularity among mothers. It can be operated by hands which makes it easy to use. It is also easy to store which means if you are looking for a portable, manual breast pump, this one can be your pick. It is also compatible with different breast shields of different sizes. It also comes with a bottle stand which is effective in preventing any spilling of the milk. The device will not burn a hole in your pocket since it is priced at $35.42.

Philips Avent manual breast pump
This pump comes with large handles that help breast pumping easy and convenient. The design of the pump is simple. You can easily lean back and relax while pumping milk using this device. It also comes with a flange that has five rubber massage cushions that give a stimulation similar to the one provided by a nursing child. The cost of this breast pump remains under $50.

Frequently asked questions about breast pumps

If you give breast milk to your baby, there will be times when a breast pump comes in handy. Regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, breast pumps are medical devices utilized to relieve engorged breasts, increase or maintain a woman’s milk supply, or pull out flat or inverted nipples to let the nursing baby latch on easily. However, there are a few things that you should know before shopping for a breast pump. Let us address them. 

Will my health insurance pay for my breast pump?

According to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies are required to cover breast pumps. So, regardless of whether you shop for the best cheap breast pump or the most expensive one out there, you are covered. However, as this is a new rule, not all expecting mothers are aware of it. Nevertheless, you should know that every health insurance plan is different. So, it is best to communicate with your insurance provider and understand what all it covers. 

Some questions that you can ask are: 

  • What are all brands of breast pumps covered?
  • What types of breast pumps are covered?
  • Will I require a doctor’s prescription?
  • Can I shop for the pump via insurance before my baby is born? 
  • Is there a need to contact a particular durable medical equipment company for the pump to be covered under insurance? 

Typically, almost every insurance company will pay for the best cheap breast pump or any good, basic double electric pump. However, if you wish to shop for a multiuser rental pump or an upgraded version, you will have to pay some price for it.  

What kind of breast pump do I need?

If you wish to use a breast pump, you need to be aware of all the different kinds of breast pumps to pick the one that best caters to your needs. There are four kinds of breast pumps that you can find in the market. 

  • Manual
  • Single electric
  • Double electric
  • Hospital-grade

You can read more about them to make an informed choice. 

How should I clean my breast pump?
One should clean the breast pump properly as it can get contaminated easily. FDA suggests regular disinfection and cleaning of the pump in between two uses. You must carefully read the information from the manufacturer to keep your pump clean. 

Some steps that you can follow for cleaning are: 

  • Rinse every part which comes in contact with the breast milk in cold water immediately after pumping
  • Wash every piece separately with liquid dishwashing soap using warm water
  • Rinse every piece thoroughly with warm water for 10-15 seconds, and 
  • Let them air dry on a clean paper towel

5 prominent tattoo designs to opt for

Over the years, the tattoo-making industry has witnessed a steadily increasing following. An increasing number of people want to display tattoos to look inspirational, cool, and funky. If you are one of these people and are wanting to get inked, then you will be delighted to know that artists have now gained expertise in creating varied designs. Here are a few famous types of designs that you will come across in a local tattoo parlor:

Abstract tattoos
For someone with an artistic or creative taste, opting for an abstract design can be a worthwhile experience. In these designs, the best feature is their hidden meaning. Moreover, abstract designs are a fun sight for onlookers too. Some examples of abstract design are a human portrait with four eyes, two paint drops, colorful lines, geometric cubes, and more. If you want to stand out from the crowd and express your creativity, an abstract tattoo design can be your ideal choice.

3D tattoos
If you want a tattoo that grabs eyeballs, then opting for a three-dimensional design can be a great idea. With such designs, artists can bring any picture to life. A few examples of three-dimensional designs include geometric shapes, cartoon characters, and city skylines. These designs take modern ink styles to an entirely new level of brilliance.

Portrait tattoos
If you are looking for a realistic design to pay a tribute to a celebrity or loved one—or simply because you want to get a face inked on your body—then opt for a portrait tattoo. Such designs are known to evoke a sense of nostalgia or inspiration. You can select a monochromatic version or choose to get inked in color.

Monochromatic tattoos
Your tattoo will speak for itself if you choose to get it done in black and gray colors. Monochromatic tattoos can prove to be really impactful. Even without a drop of color, black-and-gray tattoo designs are nothing short of jaw-dropping creations.

Biomechanical tattoos
If you are an ardent fan of the Terminator movie series or passionate about biology or mechanics, then biomechanical tattoo styles can be a good option for you. Usually, these styles are created in 3D and feature metal pieces, wires, and other equipment. All objects are tattooed in a way that they seem to connect under the skin’s surface. So, if you have always desired to have a robot leg or arm, then you can fulfill this wish with a biomechanical tattoo.

Top 5 reasons to use breast pumps

A breast pump can be quite a valuable tool for a new mom, even if she wishes to nurse her child without it. In this article, we will list some of the key reasons or advantages of using breast pumps.

To overcome previous challenges
In all honesty, no two breastfeeding experiences or children are the same. However, pumping can be quite a viable option for several mothers who faced nursing hassles in the past. The issue could have been anything. For instance, some mothers have an inadequate supply, making breastfeeding challenging for both babies and the mom. At times, the child is not up for it, which can frustrate the mom. So, to avoid these issues, a nursing mother might seek refuge in the best cheap breast pump. 

  • Access
    Breastfeeding moms sure know the significance of breast milk. However, it may not be realistic for a new mother and baby to be always in the same room when the child is hungry. Moms may have to go to the office, run errands, or cater to other life activities. These can prove to be a hindrance to breastfeeding. When you use the best breast pump, it can ensure that your baby can have his meal even when mama is not around.    
  • Prevents exhaustion
    In moms with twin babies, breastfeeding can be pretty tiring. Hence, they find it beneficial to invest in electric breast pumps to get more milk in less time.
  • Preference
    Some women decide on pumping exclusively even before they become mothers. It may be for a particular reason. At times, the woman does not like the idea of putting the baby to their breast, due to a history of abuse, or merely personal preferences.
  • Bonding
    Breastfeeding results in serious bonding. Hence, due to breast pumping, even the non-breastfeeding partners can get a chance to bond with the baby. Breast pumping can foster attachment, and it can give mothers a break from the midnight feedings. It is a great way to share love and responsibility between two parents.  
  • Life saving
    The use of breast pumps is more than a matter of convenience. At times, breast pumping may be the only option for kids admitted to the NICU or those who cannot be nursed. The health benefits of breast milk are exceptionally vital for a baby under these circumstances. With a breast pump, a new mom can pass on the benefit of nutrient-dense breast milk, and can make her contribution to her little one’s recovery.

Important things to know about prayer beads

If you have been practicing meditation or yoga for a long time, you probably have come across prayer beads. You can find these Buddhist beads, alternatively referred to as Tibetan prayer beads, in sculptures or paintings of Buddha where he is seen holding these beads. Although it is quite a common sight, few actually know about Tibetan prayer beads. This article elucidates on some important points related to prayer beads.

Prayer beads have been used across the globe for thousands of years. They play a vital role in various cultures and countries for meditation purposes. Some records claim that beads were first noticed in Nepal and India. They have been used across different religions, such as Catholicism and Hinduism, among others.

Advantages of prayer beads
Prayer beads can help you with various aspects of meditation, a practice that provides numerous health benefits. Meditation can contribute to lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, and reducing stress levels. However, many people face difficulties while meditating, particularly at the start. This is when prayer beads prove to be useful, as they keep you focused while meditating. The constant movement of your fingers around the beads helps in grounding you. When you touch each bead, you say a chant so you can keep a count of the number of times you have repeated the chant.

Composition of prayer beads
Traditionally, they consist of 108 beads along with a guru bead, which has a tassel and is bigger than all the other beads.

How significant is the number of beads
Usually, traditional Tibetan prayer beads have 108 beads. This number is considered sacred in Buddhism and Hinduism. However, if you feel that 108 is a lot, you can purchase a necklace with 27 or 54 beads. Some necklaces have beads of different shapes after the 27th bead. So, you can keep track of your repetitions efficiently. Such prayer beads also allow for shorter meditation periods.

How can you use prayer beads for meditation?
Breath control and repetition of the chant are two key starting points while using prayer beads during meditation. It is advisable to focus on your breathing while meditating. You can use prayer beads for managing your breath by:

  1. Holding the prayer beads in one hand
  2. Allowing the beads to drape around your fingers so that you may move them with ease
  3. Inhaling and exhaling one full breath
  4. Moving the fingers to the next bead; breath in and out once for each bead
  5. Concluding at the guru bead to finish 108 breaths
  6. Moving your fingers in the other direction until you again reach the guru bead if you wish to do another round.

While following these steps, you may repeat a chant, which can be a sound, word, or phrase to be aware of during meditation.

A brief history of prayer beads across different religions

The word bead originates from the old Anglo-Saxon word “bede,” which refers to prayer. Beads were first used for religious purposes 29 centuries ago in Hinduism. Soon thereafter, Muslims and Buddhists started using prayer beads. Later, Christian rosaries became prevalent during the Middle Ages. Here, we take you through the various forms of prayer beads across three different religions.

Types of prayer beads
Here are a few important forms of prayer beads across diverse religions:

Christian prayer beads
These prayer beads are recognized in Lutheran, Episcopal, and Catholic churches. They are used for meditating, counting prayers, and chanting. Additionally, they can also be seen during devotionals. In certain instances, every bead represents a specific concept or event. These prayer beads can be made in the form of a necklace or bracelet, and many materials are utilized to make them.

Christian prayer beads are used in several religious practices, as they help them work more efficiently. With these beads, you can recite prayers better. A few denominations that use these prayer beads include Lutheran churches, the Episcopal Church of the United States, the Anglican Church, Protestant believers, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The rosary is the most popularly known prayer bead. It is made with five sets of ten beads. The other types of Christian prayer beads are the Lutheran rosary, the Wreath of Christ, and the Anglican rosary.

Buddhist prayer beads
Also known as Tibetan prayer beads, these beads can be useful in many aspects of meditation. They are connected through a string and consist of 108 beads and one Guru bead. Each bead denotes a breath or chant, which you pay attention to as you inhale and exhale. Tibetan prayer beads are made of materials such as gemstones, wood, and seeds, among others. These beads are a representation of spiritual identity. At present, they are used in different techniques of meditation. Apart from traditional prayers, you can use them to achieve peace of mind and positive spiritual energy. These prayer beads can help reduce blood pressure and stress, as well as improve sleep.

Islamic prayer beads
In Islamic culture, prayer beads are referred to as “Subha” or “Misbaha.” The most common types have 99 beads and are segregated into three segments containing 33 beads each. The materials used to create these beads include plastic, pearls, and wood. Semi-precious gemstones, such as amber, agate, carnelian, and onyx are also used to make these prayer beads. These beads are common gifts for spiritual pilgrimages.

Ways to use wood for border edging

Whether it is a small garden or a vast lawn, you can opt for unique border edging work to give them a fresh new look. Depending on the budget you have in mind and the kind of maintenance routine you can accommodate, there are various border edging options that you can choose from. Wood-based border edging ideas are some of the most popular options. They are timeless and when done carefully, these turn out to be durable setups for the garden.

Best border edging ideas with wood

  • Stacking up thin logs for easy edging

If you have got narrow logs from your home renovation projects, these can be stacked horizontally one on top of the other to create a good height. The number of logs used depends on the height and the length of the lawn/garden to be covered. It gives you the option to perfectly raise or lower the height based on the garden bed setup.

  • Staggered wooden blocks for a rustic touch

Using slim wooden blocks is one of the most popular border edging ideas that work well with all kinds of gardens. If you are looking for uniformity, you can chop the blocks to create uniform width and height. But leaving them as they are and incorporating irregularly sized and shaped wooden blocks will give that rustic appeal. All you have to do is line up these slim wooden blocks next to each other until you have covered the intended area.

  • Use bamboo for versatility

Bamboo can also be stacked horizontally, similar to the wooden log stacking idea. You can also chop them into uniform heights and place them vertically next to each other. This forms a chic border for your garden.

  • Using pinewood sleepers

Pinewood sleepers are easy to find. You can often find the best deals on bulk purchases. The use of pinewood sleepers lined next to each other will give that vintage touch to any garden.

  • Putting scrap logs to good use

Scrap logs that are tall and chunky can make your work less challenging. If it is a small garden bed you wish to create a border for, the whole border edging work can be done with just a few long logs.

With these above-mentioned wood-based border edging ideas, you can bring your garden or backyard to life. The best part is that most of the ideas presented in the above list work well even if you have a narrow garden. They help in protecting the tender flower beds while also enhancing the aesthetics.