Should You Buy the Latest Home Automation Gadgets?
You’re at work when the thought hits you, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?” You check your smartphone, see that you didn’t, and click the “LOCK” button. Now your house is secure.
That’s home automation for you!
But, is home automation a good idea? That depends on a number of factors.
On the pro side, home automation can improve your quality of life. There are automation products that will adjust heating/cooling depending on whether or not you’re home, make your morning coffee when you get out of bed, and the list goes on and on. These conveniences save you time.
Home automation can also give you peace-of-mind. It’s comforting to be able to remotely see the inside of your home and check that everything’s okay.
Home automation can also make your property more appealing to buyers. Traditionally, buyers like homes with security systems, and will appreciate other automation gizmos, too.
The only downside is the cost. Like most new technology, home automation products can be pricey and may become out-of-date within just a few years.
Thinking about it? Experts advise you to do your research first. Check out product reviews online. Then, if you determine that a particular product is going to benefit you, go for it!
You’re standing by your window admiring the view. Then you notice it. Moisture has built-up around the edges of the glass. Should you worry? It all depends on the reason for the build up.
Assuming you have traditional double-pane glass in your windows, there are a few things to look for if you notice moisture.
Often, moisture at the bottom of the windows is simply caused by too much
humidity in your indoor air. If that’s the case, simply adjust your humidifier. If the moisture is on the exterior of the window, typically there’s also no problem with the window itself. It may have rained recently or the outside humidity may have spiked causing the accumulation. Generally, there’s no reason for concern.
However, if the moisture is in between the two panes of glass, the seal has broken and surrounding air – along with its water content – has made its way in. This disrupts the thermal barrier of the window, reducing its energy efficiency. In fact, the glass might feel noticeably colder than your other windows on chilly days. In that case, you’ll need to replace the pane.
Similarly, if the moisture is coming in through only one spot — the bottom right corner, for example — then you might have a leak. If you have a wood frame or sill, you may also notice a growing water stain. It’s important to get leaks fixed quickly. There may be water damage occurring within the frame that you cannot see.
You’ve seen fire extinguishers in commercial environments, such as schools, stores and workplaces. Does it make sense to have one in your home?
According to the experts, yes. In fact, a fire extinguisher can quickly put out a blaze that would otherwise quickly grow out of control.
There are several types of fire extinguishers that are made especially for residential use. That means they put out the most common fires that occur in the home (Class A, B & K fires), and they are easy to handle and use.
Since most residential fires happen in the kitchen, that’s the best place to keep your extinguisher. Make sure everyone in your household knows where it is and how to use it.
Keep in mind that a home fire extinguisher is meant for small fires that are easy to put out, such as a pan of vegetable oil igniting on the stove. If you find you can’t control the blaze within a few seconds with the extinguisher, get everyone out of the home and call the fire department.
Also, never attempt to fight a major fire yourself. Leave that to the professionals.
No one wants to deal with a burglary. How do you reduce the chances of one happening?
Fortunately, burglaries are a well-studied phenomenon — especially by law enforcement. These studies have identified specific things you can do to cut the risk dramatically. Here are some ideas:
• 34% of home break-ins occur through the front door. Experts recommend investing in a door with a top-quality locking mechanism. (The best are those that lock at three points of contact.)
• 50% of burglars will be deterred if your home has some sort of video monitoring system. A thief doesn’t want his face on YouTube!
• Unfortunately, signs and window stickers warning of an alarm system do not deter thieves. However, 62% of burglars will immediately run away when an alarm goes off. Always turn on your alarm system when you’re not home!
• 22% of burglaries occur through a sliding glass door or patio door. Make sure it’s locked and also use a solid metal jammer.
• Some thieves use frequency scanners to gain access to garages. Police recommend changing your remote entry code regularly and putting blinds or curtains on garage windows so thieves can’t see (and be tempted by) any valuables inside.
As you can see, there are many simple things you can do to reduce your chances of a burglary dramatically. The effort is worth it.
Electricity in the home is so commonplace that it's easy to forget how dangerous it can be. According to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, an electrical shock can knock you unconscious, cause a serious burn, or even stop your heartbeat.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk.
Install safety plugs in outlets that young children can reach.
Never plug in anything with a frayed or otherwise damaged power cord.
Never use a plugged-in computer, hair dryer, or other electrically powered item near a filled sink or bathtub. This includes phones with power cords.
Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or while standing in water. (Water is a remarkably efficient conductor of electricity.)
Always turn off the appropriate breaker before doing any electrical work, such as installing a new light fixture.
When replacing a broken light bulb, turn off the breaker first. Although the glass is broken, the filament may still be conducting electricity.
Finally, unless you're an expert or an electrician, never do any major electrical work on your own. Hire a professional.