The Connected Home Devices People Want

The connected home is likely an inevitable progression of home ownership as time and technology move forward. People want some particular connected devices for their homes to make life more convenient and safe, including self-adjusting thermostats, security cameras, remote door locks, master remotes, and automatic lighting. But which one do people want the most?

Security features like cameras, motion detectors, and remote door locks are fairly high on the list. These connected features often connect through companies like ADT and Comcast. Through these devices, someone can watch live streaming video of any of the cameras in a home using their smartphone or tablet. Forgot to lock your door when you left? Tap a button on the phone and every door and window in your house locks. Want to make sure the kids got home from school safely? You can watch them get dropped off by the bus.

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Taking Control of Summer Electricity Bills

As we learned in science class, heat rises. Unfortunately, as heat rises, so too do our energy bills. The biggest culprit is our air conditioning systems sucking up all the energy in order to cool our homes, and after that comes the vampires. Not blood suckers, but energy suckers. Any electronic device that is plugged in is draining energy, even while it is turned off.

The first thing to do is start killing those vampires. You won’t need a wooden stake or a bulb of garlic, but a powerstrip could be useful. Plug a whole bunch of devices into the powerstrip and simply turn off the strip. Some smart strips give you the benefit of extended reach with remotes, timers, or the ability to detect when power is needed. Otherwise, the best way to take care of those vampires is to take them off life support (that

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Powering Technology with Humidity

“I love high humidity!” said no one, ever. Well, maybe no one except scientists. Recent discoveries in energy production technologies have revealed that humidity and the evaporation of water can produce energy. Through the medium of bacterial spores, bioengineers at Columbia University discovered that small “engines” can be produced using water as the sole fuel source.

In most cases, fuel is burned causing a chemical reaction which produces energy. In the case of the “evaporation engine” and the “moisture mill,” the only fuel is water, but it is not burned, only absorbed. The bacteria spores absorb water in the atmosphere around them, swelling their size. When the spore is exposed to dry air, it releases this moisture and shrinks. It may not seem like much is happening, but that shrinking and expanding can be used to great effect in generating energy.

In the case of the evaporation

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The Effects of Summer on Your Smart Device

Everything gets hot during the summer. Your home, your car, yourself, and even your phone. If you’ve noticed that your phone tends to be hot more often and seems to have its battery drain more quickly during the summer, don’t worry, you’re not crazy. Humans cool themselves by sweating and computers like laptops and desktops cool themselves with fans. Unfortunately, smartphones don’t have tiny fans in them to cool themselves down. As a result, the device tends to get pretty hot fairly easily.

One of the most common side effects to this increased heat is slow response time. The processor in your phone becomes warmer as it accomplishes tasks. The more intense the task, the warmer it gets. If you add in summer heat to that, the processor can get very hot very fast. When the processor gets too hot, it reduces its own capabilities in order

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The Dishwasher Overwhelmingly Wins Against Hand Washing

Do you hand wash your dishes before loading them in your dishwasher? Do you hand wash instead of using the dishwasher? You could actually be using more water than simply loading the dishwasher with the plates as is after scraping off any bits of food, first. It’s a common practice to rinse plates before loading them into the washer, but you could be costing yourself extra money in the process.

Experts from Consumer Reports, the Energy Star Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy have banded together to assure us that the dishwashers can take care of our dishes. As time has gone on, dishwashers have become more and more energy and water efficient, meaning that while there was a time when hand washing was more efficient, that is no longer the case. Especially now, with Energy Star certified dishwashers,

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Life Hacks for When Your Office is a Winter Wonderland

Some office buildings are known to be cold locations. Day or night, winter or summer, it’s always cold. If this sounds like your office, and you’re the type of person who likes to be able to feel their fingers while they type, we have a few tips for you to keep warm in one of the coldest of environments. Best of all, they don’t require using a lot of energy (like when using space heaters).

Fingers and toes are always the first to get super cold, so keeping these parts warm is generally the first step toward overcoming your walk-in freezer of an office. Investing in some comfy, warm slippers like the Hideaways Anton, will help keep your toes feeling like the “Little Piggies that Go to the Sauna.” If you follow the adage of “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” and

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Should You Invest in a Smart Thermostat?

Smart thermostats are entering the home markets more and more every day. Thermostats like the Nest Learning Thermostat are becoming an integral part of the home, allowing you to set a trend for heating and cooling in your home in order to maximize the efficiency of these systems. The climate control portion of your energy bill constitutes about half of what you pay on the bill, so lowering this as much as possible can really help reduce costs. But are the smart thermostats worth the cost of admission?

Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest is at the top of smart thermostat products, and since their introduction into the market in 2011, they have continually made improvements to their product, adding new features and refining others. The unit boasts Wi-Fi to control the temperature from a smartphone or tablet, Bluetooth connectivity, and light sensors to detect occupancy and time

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Which Light Bulb Wins the Battle of the Best?

Incandescent, CFL, or LED? These are the three types of bulbs that you’ll commonly find in your home. Chances are, you grew up using only incandescent bulbs, which were the standard for home lighting since Thomas Edison designed the first mass producible bulb in 1879. These bulbs are cheap, but inefficient. CFL bulbs are a bit more expensive, but more efficient. LED bulbs are noticeably more expensive, but highly efficient. In this blog, we will discuss the main points between incandescent, CFL, and LED bulbs to see which ones are the best option for your home.

First, let’s look at the number one thing most people look at when purchasing bulbs: the price. For a typical 800 lumen incandescent bulb, it’s about $1.00 per bulb; CFLs are about $1.04 per bulb; LEDs are about $4.00 per bulb. Now let’s look at the cost over the course of

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Home Insulation through Window Curtains

Home insulation is important when it comes to saving energy. If your home isn’t well insulated, your AC and heater won’t be as effective. Even tiny cracks are enough to let air escape, and you might as well toss money out your window with how much it adds up. If you don’t have the time to go through and replace all of your windows and weather-strip every door, you can actually help insulate your home by doing one simple thing: draw the curtains.

In the winter, you want to have heavy, dark fabrics that shield the inside of your room from the cold air outside the window. These heavy fabrics go a long way toward keeping your warm air inside the house. Conversely, in the summer, you want to have light, bright colored fabrics for your curtains. Brighter colors reflect light, but they also diffuse it, so

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Getting to the Bottom of the Most Common Air Conditioner Problems

The summer heat means it’s time to crank the AC to keep the house cool and comfortable. Sometimes, when you need it most is when the AC decides to stop cooling your house effectively. Before you get on the phone and frantically try to find a professional AC repair person when they’re at their busiest, check some of these common issues and see if you can repair the issue yourself.

The first thing you want to do is make sure your house is sealed up tight. Central AC can be very powerful at keeping your entire home nice and cool, but if you have windows or doors leading outside open, your AC isn’t going to be able to keep up with all the warm air coming in. If you only have a small window unit, close off the room it’s in to ensure proper operation. A window

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