29 March 2019

Smart Home Technology That Can Save You Money

When it comes to cost saving tips for the home, it’s safe to say that smart home technology is definitely at the top of the list. Smart home technology can not only help you save money, but it can help you streamline your daily household tasks, keep your home and family safe, serve as a reminder for things you have to get done.

“Today’s homes are highly connected,” says Peter Goldberg, the CEO of home retailer Bouclair. “Homeowners aren’t just searching for the best furniture and decor to keep up interior appearances; they’re also looking for functional ways to curate a home to their lifestyles and needs.”

Smart home technology is also designed to be sleek, minimal, and modern, allowing it to blend in seamlessly with your home’s design aesthetic. Even if you don’t have a modern home design, you’ll find that many smart systems are small and inconspicuous: no matter how your home is decorated, they never take up too much space or detract eyes from where you want people to focus. With that in mind, here’s smart home technology that could save you a few bucks and make your home life easier and safer:

Smart Smoke & Fire Detectors
You don’t think of smoke and fire detectors as an issue that could pose a risk. As a passive device, these systems don’t get the maintenance and care that they deserve. According to a National Fire Protection Association report, 21% of deaths that have occurred as a result of a fire could have been prevented with an updated smoke and fire alarm system.

With such grim statistics, it’s a great time to ensure your family is properly protected with a smart fire detector. Antiquated fire prevention technology simply doesn’t provide the level of security that many homes could benefit from. Smart detectors have long battery lives, a much higher level of effective detection (which can catch the scent of a fire long before it happens), automatic alerts, and much more.

Smart Plugs
Smart plugs are small, simple devices that pack a powerful punch. When smart plugs are installed, they become an intermediary between the outlet and the devices that you plug into that outlet. If you’ve ever left the house thinking you forgot to turn something off, you’ll have a much better peace of mind knowing that you can power any item on and off remotely through your mobile application.

It also allows you to run a much more efficient household. For example, if you prepped a slow cooker before you headed out to work, you could power it on from your work desk and have it ready by the time you got home. Smart plugs also provide valuable data usage statistics that show you which appliances take up the most energy, and this could allow you to identify ways you can save on your bill.

Smart Thermostat 
A smart thermostat allows you to control your home’s temperature from anywhere remotely, any day of the year. This is ideal for people who find themselves adjusting the temperature often, especially throughout the day in areas with hot days and cool nights. A user would simply pull out their phone and adjust the thermometer with a few clicks.

There are several other reasons a smart thermostat is a worthwhile investment. For starters, with a much greater sense of temperature regulation, you could save plenty of money. One smart thermostat, called the Nest Learning Thermostat, claims to save their users around $145 annually on their bill.

Customers are able to save costs because the application provides important usage information that allows you to identify when your household temperatures and costing the most, allowing you to make data-driven decisions about how you’re maintaining your home. You’d also be able to turn your heating or cooling system off while you’re away—especially when you’re gone for a long period of time, such as a vacation. Then, before you arrive, turn it back on so it’s ready for you.

Smart Mold Sensors
If left untreated, mold can quickly become a serious and costly household issue. Traditional mold kits that you can buy from the store aren’t always effective, and sometimes by the time you purchase a mold kit, it’s far too late and the mold issue has grown. The cost of removing mold from a home can be upwards in the several-thousands range if you aren’t careful. Smart sensors and vents like Ecovent can effectively gauge the air to determine when mold presents a threat.

26 March 2019

How to be lean with your water usage at home

If you haven't read the news, water is getting expensive. Sure, this is impacting some cities more than others, but most people around the country are suffering and it's yet another monthly bill to grow concerned about.

Fortunately, a lot of us are missing far too many tricks when it comes to water consumption. There are plenty of things that you can do in the home to lower your water bills and through today's post we will take a look at some of the ways to help you do this.

Tackle that leaking faucet early

If you have a leaky faucet or two, you're not the only ones, trust us. At the same time, this doesn't mean to say that you shouldn't be looking to get the problem resolved.

Let's take a look at the numbers. If you had just one faucet, dripping once every minute, you would immediately lose 34 gallons of water per year. Let's not forget that most leaky faucets are much bigger offenders, so you will probably be losing much more!

As such, find a faucet repair service in Atlanta or your city of residence and get the problem fixed.

The same rule applies to toilets

Sure, if your toilet is leaking we're hopeful that many of you would take more immediately action! Just to put some more numbers out there though, in some cases a leaking toilet can cost you 200 gallons per day. Again, call the plumber in as a matter of urgency.

Be shrewd with your dishwasher

If you pre-wash your dishes before they hit the dishwasher you are making a principal mistake. This has come directly from the manufacturers of some dishwasher tablets, who say that their products work more efficiently if there is residue for the enzymes to attach to.

Ultimately, if you are pre-washing before each load, you are wasting a lot of water. Want hard and fast numbers? The experts believe that this could be as high as 10 gallons of water per load. Not only that, but umpteen studies have confirmed that dishwashers are more effective than washing the dishes by hand.

Your garden is a project in itself

In truth, we could have penned a whole dissertation on the wonders of saving water in your garden. There are a whole host of possibilities, but let's start with irrigation.

In short, if you are using one of the older systems here, you are wasting water and money. Nowadays, these systems are completely efficient and will even tie themselves into real weather conditions to ensure your garden is receiving the perfect amount of water. In other words, they are not left on all of the time.

Then, there is the topic of rainwater capture. This doesn't have to ruin your landscaping; even a 50-gallon drum can be hidden away and collect water from your gutters and downspouts. You can then tap into this supply to water your garden in future, and save gallons in the process.

13 March 2019

Creating a Comfortable Home Office

Working from home has its perks. You’ll never have to worry about office politics, a dress code, or someone heating fish in the office microwave. But you’ll have challenges, too. It can be tough to be productive when we work from home, and it can be difficult to cultivate the right kind of work-from-home environment. To really be effective at working from home, you’ll need a great home office that will encourage you to work hard and be productive.

That’s easier said than done, but we have some tips that could help you out. Here are a few things that could help you create the ultimate home office.

Carve out a separate space

Our minds are fickle things, and they can often work against us. One of the tough things about working from home is that it can confuse your body and mind, making it tough for you to designate work time from playtime. If you’re staring at your work desk as you fall asleep, you may find it hard to get restful sleep. If you’re seeing your PlayStation 4 out of the corner of your eye as you work on a project, you may get distracted.

One of the best things that you can do for yourself as a work-from-home professional is to carve out a designated space for your work. A separate room is ideal, but that’s not your only option — you could create a zone within a room for work. The important thing is to set your work area apart in your space so that you can set it apart in your mind, too.

Make sure friends and family know you’re “at the office”

When you’re home all day, it’s easy for others to forget that you’re at work. If you have family around, they may try to strike up a conversation. Friends may want to stop by. And others that you live with may ask you to run errands.

Be sure to let people know that you are “at work,” even if you’re right there in the next room. Set boundaries with friends and family, and don’t let them disrupt your busy work schedule.

Get your morning routine right

As a work-from-home professional, you’ll no longer have to commute. That’s great! But you will need some kind of morning routine that tells your body and your mind that it’s time to work.

Make sure that you get up and run through a full morning routine each morning. Take a shower and get dressed. You may even want to talk a walk around the block to get some air — a virtual “commute.” Wear clothes that make you feel like you’re “at work,” because you are!

Then grab a coffee and get down to work. You can save a lot of money on your “office” coffee, by the way, by joining a subscription coffee club that will send fresh coffee to your doorstep on a regular basis. You may also want to program your coffee maker to start brewing a fresh batch every morning as you get up.

Keep your property comfortable and functional

When commercial office spaces are run down and working poorly, they affect the productivity of the professionals who occupy them. The same is true of your working space, which is also your home.

Stay on top of things like plumbing, electrical repairs and maintenance. The right temperature can be key to productivity, say the experts at ac repair Cape Coral. And being proactive about maintenance and repairs to vital systems like your home’s HVAC or plumbing system will save you money in the long run, because preventative maintenance is virtually always cheaper than sudden emergency repairs to broken things. By keeping your home comfortable and functional, you’ll ensure that your home office is in tip-top shape for your workday.

08 March 2019

Interior Design Do’s and Don’ts for Every Beginner

It goes without saying that a home’s interior design is what really makes it come alive. A good interior design can make or break a home; it can make a home feel inviting or stale, lived-in or sterile.

However, before you take the plunge to completely redo your home, you should educate yourself on some proper do’s and don’ts that come with interior design. After all, these small little hacks can help transform your space.

Don’t: rush out and completely redecorate an entire room all at once

Decorating takes time. You don’t have to settle when it comes to decorating, and if you don’t find anything you like right now, consider taking a break to figure out what you really need in the room.

Questions to consider: How do you live in the space? What do you need to make it functional? Is what you have right now sufficient? You may not actually need much more than what you currently have.

Do: pick what you like, and only what you like

You don’t have to go out and paint a room in a trendy print or color if you aren’t a big fan. This is your home, after all, and it should have everything you want in it, and nothing else.

Don’t: choose your paint first

Your paint should always be chosen last, as it is the backdrop to your room and is meant to enhance everything else that is in it.

Do: choose your fabrics first

The fabrics in the room (such as the curtain, rug, and furniture) should all be chosen first as they are the room’s focal points. They will be the items that set the mood you’ll get from the room. Don’t know where to start? Try choosing the rug first, because it’s essentially the foundation of the room.

Don’t: go overboard with framed pictures

While yes, framed pictures are great for adding personality to your room, they can look cluttered if you have too many in one area.

Do: choose canvas prints instead

Canvas prints are great for adding unique memories all around your home. You can pick any picture you’d like and it will be blown up and printed on a canvas board in any size of your choosing. Not only are canvas prints interesting to look at, they easily add texture to your walls as well.

Don’t: skimp on your curtains

It may be hard to believe, but wider and longer curtains can easily make any small room look large and breezy. A good size curtain will pool on the floor, so as a rule of thumb: the longer the drapes, the better.

Do: stay away from white

The color white can look incredibly stark, and it’s the easiest way to make any home look unlived in and sterile. Create a comfier space while adding light into the room by choosing a muted ivory or cream.

Don’t: match furniture and the carpets exactly

There should only be one statement piece in each room. To bypass this, avoid matching furniture and your carpets exactly. So this means if you are going for a patterned rug, everything else in the room should be a solid color, in a color that is seen on the rug.

Same goes if you are choosing a fancy chair or couch — you don’t want things to clash and seem to gaudy. Just stick with the tones of the large pattern for the rest of the room and you won’t have to worry about your room looking “too busy”.

With these tricks in mind, you’ll be well on your way to decorating up a storm in your home.