5 things coming to the smart home in 2015

Originally posted on Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World:

With adoption and ownership of smart in-home devices on the rise, the future of an entirely connected house is not too far off. With major backing from corporations like Apple and Google to the rise of [Atmel based] startups on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, it is clearer than ever that the market is ready to grow at a rapid pace. From home automation to smart metering, a new generation of intelligent products are set to increasingly power and connect our daily lives.

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Writing for Gigaom, Stacey Higginbotham highlights five key trends that she expects will continue to evolve over the next couple of months and finally come to fruition in 2015. Here’s what she had to say…

1. Bluetooth-controlled lights

“At long last, products are coming on the market that will let you use Bluetooth to control light bulbs, outlets and more. These products are using mesh networking to make installing a connected light switch as easy as sticking…

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10 Key Checklist Items for Fall Maintenance for Your Home

Originally posted on MyTownCryer:

Fall Maintenance Checklist

Fall Maintenance Checklist

1. Stow the mower.

If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, you should be. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.

Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it.

1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole.

2. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated…

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Surprising Home Fire Hazards

Originally posted on Marilyn Wilson Realtor:

On average, more than 300,000 house fires occur each year in the U.S. — and most of them are preventable.  Make sure to check your smoke alarms and familiarize yourself with the fire hazards around your home — especially these surprising ones:

  • Dust bunnies: If dust collects near electrical sockets and floor heaters, just one spark can cause a fire. Sweep or download (1)vacuum your floors regularly to prevent buildup. Pay close attention to hard-to-reach areas, such as behind doors or around entertainment systems.
  • Clothes dryers: Cleaning the lint trap should be part of your regular laundry routine. Left dryer_vent_cleaninguntouched, lint can build up in your dryer duct with every load of laundry. Have a professional inspect and clean your dryer at least once a year to help eliminate a fire hazard.
  • pink-glass-vase-of-pink-tulips-in-window-jessica-holden-photographyGlassware: When sunlight passes through some kinds of glassware, the concentrated ray can ignite flammable materials such as stacks of…

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Residential Water Heaters – Making The Right Choices

Originally posted on Charlotte Plumbing:

Are you installing new water heaters or replacing the faulty water heaters in your home? Today there are multiple options for the homeowners when it comes to residential water heaters. Before you select your water heaters, you need to know your options, their advantages and disadvantages. Three main factors have to be taken into account when it comes to the selection of the right type of water heater for your home.

  1. Initial cost of the water heater
  2. Recurring costs / Energy or electricity bills
  3. Maintenance

You will have to assess each type of water heater carefully and select the most cost effective water heater. When you are making your decision, it is important that you do not decide just based on the initial cost. Two most common and popular types of water heaters include tankless water heater and hybrid heat pump water heaters.

What are the factors that one…

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Insulate Your Home and Save Money

Originally posted on Columbus Heating and Cooling Blog:

Winter is officially on the horizon. In many places across the United States, temperatures are already dropping to uncomfortable levels. Perhaps you’re holding out on turning up the heat. After all, heating your home is incredibly expensive. This past year saw many families struggling to pay their heating bills because of record low temperatures. Unfortunately, scientists are predicting another cold winter this year – perhaps even colder than 2013.

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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Originally posted on MC2 Home Inspections Indianapolis Home Inspectors in Indianapolis Indiana:

Make sure your home is ready for cold weather with this checklist of home maintenance tasks to attend to in the autumn months.  These include: Having your chimney cleaned and inspected, cleaning the leaves out of your gutters, inspecting your roof, moving cans of paint indoors to keep them from freeze damage, draining the water heater, checking insulation and using weatherstripping to stop drafts around windows and doors.

Fall_Maintenance

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Who Needs a Man?

Originally posted on Desperately Seeking Shelter:

Last night there was a freeze warning in my area.  This isn’t totally unexpected in Colorado in October.  I wasn’t too concerned as I had turned on my furnace last week and it worked so I thought I’d be fine.

I’m sure most people don’t worry about whether their furnace will work or not.  Let me show you why I felt the need to test it:

furnace2

When I bought my house I had everything inspected, obviously, and part of that was running a camera into the fire box of this ancient furnace to make sure there were no cracks.  While my plumber would have preferred I replace the thing, a new gas valve was all it needed so I didn’t even consider replacing it.

Last night I was in bed watching Cutthroat Kitchen (so mean but so good!) and listening to the rain.  When I fast forwarded through the first…

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