Sunday, October 7, 2012

Easy to Understand Guide to Blood Pressure and BP Monitors by Comfort House

According to the Mayo Clinic, “checking your blood pressure at home is an important part of managing high blood pressure.”  In addition the American Heart Association projects that one in three Americans has high blood pressure.

Comfort House has solutions to provide you with the means of helping identify high blood pressure and performing periodic home checks of blood pressure.  Manual and automatic arm monitors and wrist monitors are available in a range of prices to fit every budget. Table top, wall mount, and readily portable wrist devices are shown at:

Blood pressure is measured as a set of numbers.  The first number, or systolic pressure, indicates the hearts pumping pressure.  The second number, or diastolic pressure, is a measure of the pressure between heartbeats.  Optimal pressure for an adult would be a systolic pressure below120 millimeters of Hg with a diastolic of less than 80 mm of Hg and would be expressed as 120/80.  A systolic above 140 and diastolic above 90 are an indication of hypertension or high blood pressure.

If you, or someone in your family has a history of hypertension, it is important to monitor the condition on a regular basis at home, not just at the time of your doctor office visits.  Home monitoring helps track your treatment, can cut down on the number of doctor visits (and costs) you need to make, and will check if your pressure is different outside the formality of a doctors office.  Some patients exhibit so called “white coat syndrome” where their pressure rises greatly in the presence of a doctor or other medical professional which could result in improper treatment.

Most blood pressure monitoring equipment sold for the home today has digital readouts and come in three main configurations: finger, wrist, and arm.  The Mayo Clinc recommends the arm monitor as the most all around accurate, with the wrist monitor as a second choice.  The finger monitor is not recommended due to accuracy factors.

When contemplating purchase of such a unit, the following factors should be taken into consideration:

· Do you want a regular dial or digital readout?
· Do you want manual inflation and the use of a stethoscope or a completely automatic unit?
· Are the numbers large enough to easily read?
· Are the operating controls large and plainly marked?
· Does the cuff fit comfortably on your arm or wrist and is it easy to put on and take off?
· Does the monitor have a recording memory to automatically keep track of your readings?  Some monitors even have more than one memory bank to keep track of the pressure of two or more individuals.
· Some monitors have an irregular heartbeat detector built in.
· Some monitors have a USB cable to download the data to your computer or to print out the results for permanent record.

Omron blood pressure monitor
Shown here is an Omron blood pressue monitor that has the ability
to log and track your progress via computer.

Comfort House has a wide selection of monitors from Zewa, Omron, and LifeSource and there is sure to be one to fit your requirements.

Copyright 2012 Comfort House

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sex and Satin Sheets

One of the most luxurious fabrics that can be used for your bed covers is satin and contrary to what many people think, satin is really not a specific fabric, but rather a specific type of fabric weave.  It is a weave that results in a glossy, smooth fabric that feels cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

If the fabric is formed with the special satin weave using long filament fibers such as nylon, polyester or silk, it is called satin, although purists might insist that the fabric be made from silk.  On the other hand, if the yarns used are short staple yarns such as cotton, the fabric is a considered a sateen.  Sateens are cheaper but have almost the same feel and wear qualities as satins.

Satin sheets are very soft and silky, come in many different colors and most people think they are very comfortable.

Comfort House satin sheets shown here with matching satin comforter, dust ruffle, pillowcases, and shams.

Satin sheets generally are manufactured in solid colors such as ivory, black, mauve, white and sky blue.

Because satin sheets are so smooth, they could be called slippery and therefore your bedding should be fitted to the specific size bed you are using them on.  If not fitted, sheets will likely “untuck” around the edges and become loose.  Fitted satin sheets from Comfort House are available in all popular bed sizes such as twin (39"x76"), twin XL (39"x80"), full (54"x76"), queen (60"x80"), king (78"x80"), and California king (72"x84"). 

Because satin sheets are so smooth and “slippery” they can tend to hinder organized physical activity.  However, this same slip and slide tendency makes them ideal for seniors who might otherwise have difficulty getting into and out of bed.

Many retail stores and webstores sell knit, acetate, or bridal satin sheets.  However, the real thing is only available at select fine linen boutiques and on-line from Comfort House whose sheets are easy care for, machine washable, require no ironing, and are colorfast. Stubborn stains and odors wash out every time.

Comfort House satin sheets are custom-made to order in USA and require  8 to 10 weeks for production.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What size BTU portable air conditioner do I need for an apartment?

In the midst of the July heatwave, Comfort House customer Roger (not his real name), who lives in an older apartment building in Pittsburgh, received his order for two 13,000 BTU portable air conditioners.  He plugged them in and they cooled his apartment down nicely. 

In the middle of the first night something not so nice happened; the air conditioners shut off.  He turned them on the next night and in the middle of the night they shut off again.  This went on for several nights.  Roger woke up each morning hot and unhappy.

We went thru all of the troubleshooting measures with Roger such as were the units being operated within room temperature specified in the instructions?  If a unit falls below the limit, in this instance 64°F, it can freeze up.  Was the water tank filling up?  Models containing a dehumidifier, as these did, have a water tank that when full will cause it to stop until emptied.  Was it operating in sleep mode or timer mode? "No, no, and no," said Roger.

The symptoms Roger experienced were not described in the product manual.  Roger spoke to the manufacturer’s troubleshooting hotline and they also were unable to identify the cause of his power shut off problem.  However, since he bought two units, all of the parties involved, including Roger, believed it was unlikely to be caused by a defective product.

Roger contacted a local heating and cooling company and they advised him that excessive power draw was the likely culprit for the intermittent shutoff.  A 13,000 BTU portable air conditioner operates at 1550 watts compared to 1100 watts for a smaller 10,000 BTU unit (these figures should be used as general guidance since specifications will vary between manufacturer).

The problem when purchasing a portable air conditioner and then finding it’s not suitable is that almost universally they are not returnable.  They are specifically excluded from most retailer return policies once opened.  And as Roger pointed out, it was his fault for not correctly gauging the amperage in his apartment.

We worked with Roger to ensure he had portable air conditioners that would meet his apartment's power requirements.  It wasn’t exactly an inexpensive proposition for him in UPS shipping costs back and forth but his alternative was waking up each night to restart his air conditioners (not to mention the safety factors involved with overloading his circuits).

The 13,000 BTU models were replaced with 10,000 BTU models.  We suggested he start with only one this time to ensure it worked for him.  It worked fine the first night without any power interruption.  We then sent the second, and now both units have run trouble free for the past week.  Roger is sleeping comfortably and is happy.

The moral of the story is less BTU is probably better when living in an apartment building and especially an older one.  In addition, always buy one portable air conditioner first to ensure it operates properly with your dwelling’s wiring before purchasing more.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Web Based Temperature Monitoring System For Under $90

Remote temperature monitors are a long time product offered by Comfort House. They are used by our customers to alert when the temperature at their home, remote cabin, or business drops to a set temperature, such as 45°F.  The temperature monitoring system, usually a small box-like device, dials out to the phone numbers you have programmed, and notifies you so that you can take action to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Monitoring temperature in computer rooms and data centers is another big application.  When the temperature rises, personnel is alerted so that the cooling system can be checked for proper operation. There are all sorts of other uses, too, such as making sure the temperature at home isn’t too cool or warm for pets, plants, wine cellars, swimming pools, greenhouses, horse stables, and home brewing.

Temperature monitors have traditionally operated by hooking up to your telephone line and dialing out to you in the event of a triggered condition.  Now we’re excited to offer our first web based system.

The La Crosse Alerts Temperature and Humidity Alert System is a web based temperature monitoring system that sends emails or text alerts when temperature or humidity exceeds your desired range.

The small gateway unit plugs into your router and has a wireless remote sensor with 200’ range in open space.  The included remote sensor measures ambient air temperature and humidity and has your choice of a 6’ detachable dry probe or wet probe depending on your application.  You can purchase up to 5 extra sensors for use with each system.

Your data is uploaded to a monitoring site, called La Crosse Alerts, that you can log into from anywhere via iphone or other smartphone, tablet, or computer to view current readings, see a 7-day graph, download history, and control your alert settings.

The system with gateway, sensor, probe, and one year of full monitoring service, is in my opinion very reasonably priced at $85.  Sensors beyond the included one are $66 with dry probe and $73 with wet probe.

After the first year there is a monitoring fee for the full or “enhanced” La Crosse Alerts service.  Basic service which you receive for 5 years entitles you to log-in to view your data from a single sensor only and does not include email or text alerts.  We'll update our blog or website once we receive the cost for enhanced monitoring after year one.

There are some disadvantages to the La Crosse unit vs. one of our traditional telephone based units such as the Control Products Deluxe Freeze Alarm.   For instance, with Deluxe Freeze Alarm you can add optional sensors for security or water level, and remotely switch a relay to turn on your heat or AC.  There are also never any monitoring fees.

Equipment available at the location being monitored is important to the type of system you choose.  Your secluded vacation home may only have a landline phone and not a high speed internet connection required for a web based system.  And in the event of power outage, unless you are fully equipped with a backup power source, you will have more luck receiving your alerts with a traditional phone based system on an old fashioned copper line.  However, the web-based system will notify you of connection loss, which could indicate a possible power problem.

Enjoy your remote temperature monitoring!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Instantly Convert Two Twin Beds To A King Bed

Some do it in their bedrooms.  Some do it in hotels.  Have you ever pushed two twin beds together to make a king?  If yes, you know it’s not as easy or fun as it looks.  The beds are unsecured and you may even end up falling through the crack.  That’s where a twin bed connector comes in useful.  A twin bed connector joins or straps two twin beds together to make a king size bed. 

One style of twin bed joiner slips over and along the sides of two twin mattresses.  A sheepskin strip pads the space where the beds connect while a belt wraps around the sides securing the mattresses together.

Another style is a mattress cover that goes over the entire mattress.  It has an integrated foam wedge insert in the center that fills the space between the two twin mattresses, along with a pillowtop for extra comfort.

Occasionally users say they don’t like the “hump” they feel in the middle of their newly made king bed with a connection system.  Most often this is the result of not using mattresses of the same thickness which is a requirement for bed joiners.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Welcome to the Comfort House blog

Welcome to the Comfort House blog.  It's been a busy few days at Comfort House with articles mentioning us in both The Wall Street Journal and Defense News.

The Wall Street Journal article "Google to Require Retailers to Pay" is about Google's announcement yesterday that a free service provided to merchants for the past decade is becoming a paid service.  We expect it will hurt small merchants and favor big brands.

The Defense News article "Vendors Angry Over Surprise Ban on Mailing Lithium Batteries" is about a change in USPS policy that prevents products with lithium batteries from being mailed overseas.  This affects our APO/FPO military customers in particular and the article describes some ways in which we are handling this challenge.

Find links to online versions of both articles on Twitter.