5 Ways to Control Your Smart Home

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With everything from locks, security, lights, and appliances moving from dumb to smart, smart home devices are meant to make life easier. But managing multiple devices can be a task, and there are many different options for controlling your smart home. Which option’s best?

1. Smartphones Control Smart Homes

When using your smartphone to control your smart home, you can control multiple devices from anywhere. With the right devices in place, you can turn off your coffee pot, disarm your alarm system, and make sure the garage door is closed all by pressing a button.

No matter how you choose to control your smart home, a smartphone is going to play a role. In addition to controlling devices you can use your phone to receive alerts of unexpected changes. You can also use it to check on things while you are away and to keep an eye on things. For example, with a connected camera you can use your phone to view live video feed, something not possible using the other control options.

PROS

  • Can View Live Camera Feeds
  • Control From Anywhere

CONS

  • May Require Multiple Apps
  • May Limit Access to One Family Member

2. Voice Commands

Have you ever wanted to say a word and make things happen? Maybe you want to change the channel, or you forgot to turn the light off in the kitchen before getting cozy on the couch. Voice activation and voice commands are no longer a thing of the future; they exist, and they’re getting better. There are many voice activated devices that you can add to your smart home. Currently, you can use Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit for voice control. Soon, you will also have the option of using Google Home. As an added benefit, all three options are also capable of acting as personal assistants. They can make shopping lists, play music, answer questions, and even help with your home’s security.

PROS

  • Easy Way To Control Devices While at Home
  • Personal Assistant Features Included

CONS

  • Requires the Purchase of a Separate Device
  • Compatibilities are Still Limited

3. Bluetooth-Based Presence

By using your smartphone and certain Bluetooth devices like Zuli Presence, you can automate each room in your home that has one of these devices. Zuli Smartplugs, for example, are Bluetooth devices used to communicate with you smartphone. When you have at least Smartplugs plugged in, they can automatically sense your smartphone’s presence and triangulate your location in the room and adjust the lighting and the temperature to

  • Easy Way To Control Devices While at Home
  • Personal Assistant Features Included

CONS

  • Requires the Purchase of a Separate Device
  • Compatibilities are Still Limited

3. Bluetooth-Based Presence

By using your smartphone with Bluetooth devices like Zuli Presence, your devices can perform based on your location. Unlike geofencing, which knows when you are home or away, Bluetooth presence knows which room you are in. For example, when you walk into a room, lights will turn on. When you leave the room, they will turn off. When you have at least three Smartplugs, they will triangulate your location to pinpoint what room, assuming you are carrying your smartphone.

PROS

  • Works Automatically
  • Room Specific Automation

CONS

  • Requires That You Carry Your Smartphone
  • Requires a plug in every room for best results

4. Control with a Swipe

A fourth way you can control your smart home is by using gestures. Fibaro, for example, is an easy to install, non-permanent touchscreen that can be plugged in and mounted or battery powered and portable. It is used to control various devices in your home, both smart and non-smart. You can use Fibaro with your home security system, your entertainment system, and more.

Swipe allows you to control your smart home with 6 simple gestures: up, down, left, right, circle left and circle right. You can use a simple gesture or up to 6 gesture sequences to signal your devices to complete specific tasks. For example, swiping up and down or left and right can turn something off or on.

PROS

  • Mountable and Portable
  • Touch Free Gestures

CONS

  • Limited to 6 Gestures and 6 Sequences
  • Must be Close to the Device

5. Setting the Rules with Automated Rules

Setting up automated rules can be a long process, but once you have the rules set, you’re done. Automated rules are events that occur based on conditions or triggers. For example, if the kids arrive home from school Monday-Friday at 4:00 p.m., you can set a rule to disarm your alarm system and send you a notification when the kids walk through the front door. You can use motion sensors to turn on lights and even set rules to turn the air conditioning on and off at certain times or when the house reaches a specified temperature. Automated rules allow you to set it and forget it.

PROS

  • Runs Automatically
  • Can Control Multiple Devices With One Action

CONS

  • Initial Setup Takes Time
  • Assumes You Follow a Schedule

So which one is the best? For me, a combination is the winner. When you’re away from home, use a smartphone. When you’re home, use your voice. But in my opinion, rules are the epitome of a smart home. A home that knows what you want when you want it is truly smart indeed.

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Take The Green Home Pledge

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If you’re looking to cut costs in your home, you might want to think about taking the green home pledge. Don’t worry it’s not an official pledge. It just means that you will be working hard to keep your home as green as possible. Although, in some cases, you’ll find that it isn’t hard work at all. It can be easy to keep your home green and lean through the year with a few small changes to the way you run it. You can find a full list of the changes referred to below. This should make it a lot easier to run your home in a way that is eco-efficient.

Insulate Every Room

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One of the biggest energy costs in your home is probably going to be the heating. If you constantly find yourself turning up the heat even in the summer, this points to a problem with your insulation. It’s an issue that you need to fix, and there are a few ways to do this. The most expensive, most effective option would be to upgrade your windows. By upgrading your windows, it’s possible to save a lot of money in your home and keep it green at the same time. But you are looking at a few thousand for a full upgrade of your property.

An alternative option would be to get thicker curtains for the rooms in your house. With thicker curtains, it’s possible to trap heat without bothering about the windows at all. It might be better in some ways too. With something like triple glazing, cold air can’t escape, causing condensation and often damp too.

Get A Smart Control

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You can also think about purchasing a smart home control. A smart home control allows you to adjust the heat, the light and even in some cases, the water pressure to the optimum level. By doing this, you can avoid wasting energy through the day that you never needed to use. The only thing to watch out for is that some systems adapt to match the preferences of each individual home user. So, it’s possible that while you have the lights on low, your kid isn’t quite as eco friendly. As such, you need to be careful and make sure that everyone is on the same page using this type of tech. Either that or fiddle with the settings so that it only matches your preferences.

Change Suppliers

You can also think about changing the supplier of your energy on the market. By switching suppliers, it is possible to get a cheaper deal on the market. You can look at deals like Direct Energy plans and compare them to other rates. Are they providing better rates when compared to the company that you’re using? If they are, it might be time to make a switch, and it’s easy to do this. The new company will handle all the changes for you.

Go Renewable

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Last but not least, you can think about adding a renewable source of energy to your home. One of the most popular today is solar panels. By fitting solar panels to your roof, you can cut energy costs right down because you’ll be making your own energy. You’ll be helping your planet and be rewarded with cheaper home bills. How great is that?

 

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Mistakes To Avoid When Buying A House

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Buying a house for the first time is a huge business. Not only have you spent time saving for a deposit and sacrificing where you can to afford it, you must now find the keys to unlock the doors of home ownership. It’s a huge responsibility and not only is it about more than looking round the pretty houses, but there are some mistakes that get made along the way that you must avoid to be successful.

Signing document for new home.

Signing document for new home.

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Location, financing and even shopping for your new house have their challenges to overcome in ways that choosing carpets and interiors never do. Here is a list of five very common mistakes that first time homebuyers should go out of their way to avoid.

  1. It’s more than just the mortgage. When you rent a house, you think about the monthly house cost in terms of your rent. When you buy, it’s more than the mortgage. Just because you can afford the monthly mortgage repayments doesn’t mean you can actually afford the house. You need to have contingency money for unexpected boiler replacements and property insurances. You should have the right home insurance in place so that you can make sure you are covered for things going wrong. Without this, you are leaving yourself open and vulnerable; something no first-time buyer should be.
  2. Don’t get your hopes up. Always learn whether you are pre-approved for a mortgage first before you go and start looking. So many prospective homeowners are worried about leaving a footprint of search on their credit files, but without knowing what you could get, how can you begin to look at your home options? You’ll be able to make a practical home decision instead of an emotional one, which is worth its weight in gold.
  3. Never go it alone. Where you can, seek the right advice. Get a solicitor, a mortgage advisor and solid advice before you even begin from a loan officer. You need to make sure you are able to buy a home, make repayments and still afford a good quality of life. Always get help and never be afraid to ask stupid questions: when it comes to homebuying, there are no stupid questions, only valuable answers.
  4. Save for more than just the deposit. Always aim to save for a few thousand more than you need. Don’t add this to the down payment on the house, but use it for insurance and as an emergency fund. If you do this before you go ahead, you can be confidently comfortable.
  5. Wait. Always wait to buy a new car, new furniture or any other big purchase until your house is completely yours. Lenders will always check your financial status between the purchase and the close of 30 days, to ensure nothing has changed like a lost job. If you go and splurge on a new financial commitment, you’ll end up looking frivolous with your money and unreliable as a buyer. Waiting thirty days won’t hurt!

These mistakes can all be easily avoided, meaning your new home purchase can go off without a hitch. Congratulations on your new homeowner status; enjoy your new house!

 

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Finding Ways To Add Value To Your Home

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Owning a home is a wonderful thing. It’s a place of safety for our families and of course, an amazing investment of both money and our time.

That’s why it is worth your while to add value to your home in anyway you can. Now – it might seem a bit silly if you’re not planning to sell, but still! Look to add value where you can to increase the return on your investment. Add value to your home by being proactive about improvements, and even if you don’t sell – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding value! With DIY, renovations or even just a little bit of care, you can start improving your home right away! It’ll be a lot nicer for you and your family, which is a huge plus.

The kitchen is an area where you can really boost the value home by investing in improvements, and if you want to, you should focus on it as it is the area where your work will go the furthest. Adding better cooking facilities like a new oven or refrigerator are good starting points, but you can’t go wrong with improving the work surface of your kitchen. Lighting, doors and new windows also go a long way to improving the value of your home.

The bathroom is a room which obviously sees a lot of use, this multiplies if you’ve got a family! Tiling or re-tiling a bathroom will work well, but don’t be afraid to simply clean or refresh the tile grout if you don’t want to splurge. Adding facilities like a heated towel rail or bordering the mirror are both good ideas as well. Big budgets can be wasted on a bathroom so spend wisely. If you haven’t got a huge budget, look to make do with tile accents and paint, a little can really go a long way in the bathroom, so be wise with your options and cash.

The garden is another place where you can easily boost the value. It should act as an additional room, so add a patio or some decking. Of course, sometimes the garden isn’t sizeable enough and sometimes you can’t add real impact to it. In this instance, something like a conservatory might work wonders for your property and add more space for you and your family if you haven’t got a huge garden to take advantage of.

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A loft renovation is a huge spend, but see it as an investment as it can add huge value to your property. The attic is usually empty, unused and frankly wasted space, so be sure to look into turning it into a study or new bedroom. This is good to do if you’re expecting another child or want more room for your family as you can certainly house a few little ones upstairs if you’ve got the space. Who said adding value was just about the money?

Value in our homes, we should look to increase it and there are plenty of ways we can do just that!

 

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Practical Home Improvements That Are Worth Your Time and Effort

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When we talk about home improvements, we usually speak about things that we want but don’t necessarily need. Let’s think about it for a moment. Do you really need a new garden, or do you just want something to impress the family for when they come around for thanksgiving this year? Do you really need to renovate a room and turn it into a study, or could you just save the time and money you spend and work on your regular desk?

Let’s take a moment and explore some practical home improvement ideas that will be worth both your time and money.

Preparing for a child

If you’re getting ready to start a new family or if you’re expecting, then it’s a good idea to get your home prepared for the new arrival. You should try to renovate a room and turn it into a nursery; a safe space for your newborn baby to crawl around and stretch their legs and to keep an eye on them. If you prefer to give your child freedom to crawl around the entire home, then you should prepare crawl-height protection and invest in gates to block entry to dangerous rooms such as the kitchen. You can guard your child against accidents by moving clutter from main rooms, guarding sharp corners of furniture with plastic covers, and block wires and electrical outlets with furniture.

If you want to plan even further ahead, you should dedicate a room to your newborn and turn that into a nursery. As they grow older, you can add a bed and remove all of the baby equipment such as changing tables away, but the idea is to renovate a room so that it’s ready for the newest member of your family.

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Bolstering your home safety

Whether it’s CCTV cameras, security systems or purifying the air, your home could probably get a little safety boost. CCTV cameras are becoming more accessible and user-friendly thanks to the possibility of getting WiFi-enabled cameras. These connect directly to your home network and you can view them over the internet if you have the correct password and login. This means you can keep an eye on your home no matter where you are, and you can keep an eye on people inside of the home. For instance, if you’re having trouble trust a new carer with your children, then CCTV cameras will give you peace of mind.

But thieves aren’t the only threat you should be worrying about. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that is both odourless and invisible. It usually leaks due to a bad boiler or pipes in the house that have become worn out and damaged. It’s important to keep all of your appliances well-maintained to prevent the possibility of a carbon monoxide leak, and the best way to do this is via home improvements. If you replace your boiler or your stove, for example, you can ask the contractor to do a thorough check of your entire infrastructure so that you can be safe knowing there are no immediate dangers within the piping of your home.

If you’re still unsure about the advantages of having a safe and secure home, you can visit The Safe Healthy Home for more advice on how to purify air and ensure that the water entering your home is clear. Remember that threats can also come from within the home, not just outside.

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Creating a smart home

Smart homes are now the way of the future. It can be rather difficult implementing smart home functionality into an old building, but it mainly depends on the appliances you use and the speed of your internet connection. As long as you have compatible appliances like your fridge, heating systems and your window blinds, you could technically control your entire home from the comfort of a smartphone.

There are some obvious disadvantages and dangers to this, however. If someone was to gain control of your network and hack into all of your appliances, it could create a serious security breach and, depending on what type of devices you have that are smart, it could create some nasty damage. However, most smart devices are incredibly safe and until hackers find a way to bypass the built-in encryption on these devices and your WiFi network, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

So what can you actually control in a smart home? For starters, imagine going to bed and turning off your lights with a smartphone app, or waking up to a gentle song playing through your sound system. Your house could automatically start the coffee machine and the heating will automatically kick in and balance the temperature of the house so that it’s neither too cold or too hot. Your blinds could automatically open and you’ll get a nice blast of sunshine to wake you up in the mornings.

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The Internet Is Giving Everything In Your Home A Brain, And It’s A Little Scary

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Given the excitement at technology shows like CES, it would be fair to say that the era of the smart home has arrived in earnest. Yes – you read that correctly: smart home, not smartphone.

It’s all been made possible thanks to the growing ubiquity of WiFi routers in people’s homes. Technologists realized that smart homes didn’t have to have a bunch of new wiring: instead, all they had to have was equipment that connected via the WiFi signal to the rest of the home network.

Interesting, that equipment could be just about anything, and so over the last three or four years, we’ve seen manufacturers trying to put brains into literally everything in our houses, including the toaster.

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There’s been a bit of a backlash against this of late. Many smart people in the tech community are asking whether it’s really worth it. Do people really want a toaster that they can switch on from an app on their phone? How helpful is that really when they still have to go to the toaster and put their toast in any way?

The good news is that not all gadgets in the home are pointless. In fact, they can help enormously and make life not only better but more futuristic. Here are some of the smart home gadgets that’ll make a real difference to your life.

 

Internal CCTV

For years we’ve had webcams attached to our computers. But it’s only been in the last few years that tech companies realized that there was a market for internal CCTV. It turns out that people are interested in the comings and goings inside their homes. Usually, it’s not to catch criminals in the act, but to keep an eye on anxious pets.

One company, called Logi, has developed the Circle, a camera device designed to sit on your desk. One of the cool things about the Circle is that users are able to talk through it via an app on their phone. This means that if you’ve got an anxious dog, you can sooth it by speaking to it and watching it through the Circle. It can also be used to make sure that your cat stays off the furniture and doesn’t scratch it to bits.

Logi is clear that this product isn’t really about security – it’s more about having fun. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for both purposes. Nothing is creepier that talking to a thief while they’re taking all your stuff.

Another company called Canary take security more seriously. Their idea is to provide one security system that can do everything, rather than connect lots of different devices together in the network. Not only does the system continuously monitor visual feeds, but it also has a bunch of sensors designed to warn homeowners of any unusual activity if it detects movement. There are also onboard air quality and temperature sensors.

Smart Locks

Lock and key have been around since the middle ages. Since then, the underlying technology hasn’t really changed all that much. Yes, keys have gotten harder to copy, and yes, locks have become stronger. But there’s still the fact that your lock has no idea whether it should let you in or not.

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This is where smart locks come in. The idea here is to create locks are able to tell the difference between somebody who is allowed to get into the home and someone who isn’t. Not only is safer than having a key that anybody can use, but it’s also more convenient, as pointed out by this August smart lock review. Imagine that you’ve just been shopping and you’re carrying groceries in bags in both arms. To get into your home, you’ll have to drop the bags, fumble around in your pockets for your door key, and then let yourself in. But with smart locks, this isn’t what happens. Instead, you simply approach your front door, and it knows whether or not to let you in, whether that’s because you’ve programmed it to let you in, it’s learned your habits, or you’re wearing a tag.

There are many different smart locks on the market, all with varying levels of integration into your smart home. Prices start at around $100.

The Smart Kettle

If you’re the sort of person who gets annoyed with having to wait for hours for the kettle to boil to make a cup of tea when you’ve just got in from work, then a smart kettle might be what you’re looking for. Smart kettles connect to an app on your phone which you can use to power-on the kettle and get it boiling your water, warming it up for when you get in. Yes, it’s a bit gimmicky, but it might be useful for people who are impatient.

The Smart Switch

The smart switch by companies like Belkin is an ingenious idea. Instead of forcing people to go out and buy things like smart lights, it connects their existing to their WiFi network.

The idea is simple. Users plug an adapter into the plug socket on their wall. This adaptor has another plug socket which they can then use to plug in their favorite lamp. The adapter then sends out a signal to the WiFi and can be told to turn the power on or shut it off, no matter where the owner might be.

Smart Dimmers

When RGB (red-green-blue) lighting came to computers, enthusiasts were thrilled. But now it’s something that has also come to the home, thanks to companies like Philips. Right now, Philips are marketing something they call the Philips Hue starter kit. Essentially, it’s a set of three bulbs and a control panel. The control panel allows you not only to change the brightness of the lights from an app, but it also allows you to change their color too, using different combinations of the inbuilt LED lights.

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What’s more, Philips have taken that little notification light on your smartphone to the next level. There’s an option on the lighting system to have your entire room flash when you get a text. It’s either a dream come true or a nightmare, depending on whether you like notifications or not.

The system is highly scalable, even for the largest homes. You can connect up to 50 lights to a single app.

Connected Smoke Detector

Nest has been making smart home devices since the beginning of the craze. For most of that time, they were making thermostats, but recently they’ve moved into the smoke alarm market.

The company realized that there was a problem with smoke alarms: they’re loud (obviously) and tough to switch off. Nest thought that rather than having to grab a step ladder and poke a button on their underbelly to shut them up, it would be better if users could just switch them off from their smartphones. As such, the Nest smoke alarm can be silenced with a simple tap of your phone screen. Job done.

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Are you running out of room at home?

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This is generally the time of year when people have chance to reflect after the festivities are all over and people look to re-organize around the home and their lifestyles in general. Are you finding that your home feels a lot smaller than it used to?

Perhaps your family has grown, or you have more pets and the house is beginning to feel like the size of a doll-house. New bikes, toys and other bulky items have started to take over and you feel like there is no option but to move into a bigger home? Moving house can be stressful. In fact research shows that moving house can be one of the most stressful events in life.

If you don’t want to have to face the pains of a house move then there are other options you can look into. If your kids are happy at a local school and have friends in the neighborhood then the last thing you will want to do is uproot them.

Lets look at some ways you can create extra space without having to buy a whole new house:

Loft conversion – This has become a very popular and relatively cheap way of increasing the amount of space that you have. Turn that unused loft into another room and you will almost feel like you have moved house.

Extension – If you have the option to extend your property then this could also be a very worthwhile investment, creating a large amount of extra space without the need to uproot the family.

Outdoor Buildings – There are different options that you can look into when it comes to getting an outdoor building. If you have a fair amount of room outdoors then this is a really good option. You can keep it cheap by getting a wooden or plastic shed to store lots of your bulky items in – the BBQ, the bikes, the lawnmower etc. Free up some space by moving your rarely used items outdoors. If you’re looking for something a bit bigger and intend to use the space to work in rather than for storage, have you thought about steel buildings? Durable and strong, if you have enough space you could construct an outside building that is separate to your house but provides a great opportunity for new space.

Have a clear out – Of course, the cheapest and most simple solution is to have a severe clear out. Be totally ruthless when it comes to what you are keeping. If the kids don’t want to let their old toys go even though they aren’t using them, play hardball. Tell them they can’t get any more toys until they have made room for them. That usually does the trick, especially coming up to birthdays! If you started a hobby years ago that you never carried on and you have loads equipment left then get rid. Always go by the motto ‘if you don’t use it, lose it!’

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The Modern Home: Smart, Savvy Housekeeping Tips

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Have you ever wondered how your grandmother kept a spotless home and prepared healthy, nutritious meals made from scratch? And she didn’t have the luxury of a washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer. Nevertheless, the kitchen floor was always scrubbed clean, and there was always a cheery welcome and a pot of tea.

We can learn a lot from older generations. Though few us would want to go back to the days of washing by hand and cooking over an open fire, there’s a lot to be said of the routines and methods of that time.

The Art Of Scheduling

Did you ever hear your grandmother talk about wash day? This was the day that the laundry was tackled. All items had to be washed by hand and hung out to dry. And during inclement weather, it was hung around the house on racks and clothes maidens. Most households had an allocated wash day, so everyone knew where they were up to. The same was true regarding household chores and meals. Your parents may have spoken about Friday being fish day or similar. And Tuesdays were for ironing, etc.

The fact was that there was a routine for everything. This was necessary in an era where everything took longer to complete and therefore had to be planned carefully. It’s useful to adopt some of these techniques in our own homes. Allocating a day to do the laundry alerts the household that items have to be put into the washing basket on time. It also helps in terms of planning. The majority of people can load the washing machine and then forget about it until the clothes are washed and spun. They can then be transferred to the dryer.

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Scheduling other household chores is also practical. For example, tackling certain rooms on particular days, vacuuming two or three times a week, changing the beds on a Sunday, etc. However, you choose to set up your routine; the idea is that it is broken down into manageable chunks. Everyone knows where they’re up to and it is easy to plan and organize.

Planning in this way is also an economical way of living. Food can be planned over a week and bought during one shopping session. This negates the need to keep on going out to top up grocery items.

Maintenance

In your grandmother’s day, if something broke around the house, someone would know how to fix it. Ornaments and vases were glued together, cupboard doors were repaired, and drawers were sanded until they opened and closed smoothly again. Of course, they didn’t have the same appliances as we have today and so repair work was a little easier. But the make do and mend mentality is a good concept to adopt.

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In order to function efficiently, homes need to be well-maintained. This extends to the exterior and garden. A little and often approach is desirable, as it avoids the necessity of spending large tranches of time on DIY, etc. Keep a monthly list of items to check and, if necessary, repair. Keep on top of appliances and enlist an efficient appliance repair service. When washing machines, dishwashers, dryers, etc. break down the whole system grinds to a halt.

Housework can be time-consuming and boring. Few people enjoy cleaning, grocery shopping, and doing the laundry. They would much rather be doing something fun or relaxing. Scheduling chores like your grandmother’s generation, planning weekly tasks and keeping on top of maintenance, help to operate an efficient and organized home. And this leaves plenty of time to do the things you enjoy.

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Floor Cleaning Made Easy With The bObsweep PetHair Robotic Vacuum

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Disclosure- I received a bObsweep PetHair Robotic Vacuum to facilitation my review but all opinions are 100% my own.

bObsweep Pet HairI have 3 cats and 1 lab mix dog and they all shed like CrAzY!!!! The amount of hair on our floor downstairs was crazy. I would sweep and vacuum at least once a day but even more than that. I felt like I couldn’t take a day off or the rolling tumbleweeds of hair would take over. Why did I get 4 pets with black fur in a house with white tiles? What was I thinking?!?!

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Just one of the reasons we needed a bObsweep PetHair Robotic Vacuum!

But I found the answer to my cleaning woes. Meet our newest family member, the bObsweep PetHair Robotic Vacuum or Bob as we affectionately call him. He even came with a birth announcement! How cute! Talk about a company with awesome attention to detail.
birth announcementThe bObsweep PetHair is just one of several models of robotic vacuums that bObsweep makes but I knew with all the pet hair in our house it would be perfect for us. Bob is easy to set up. side brushWhen he arrives you just need to attach his side brush with a single screw. He even comes with a screwdriver. Like I said, bObsweep has great attention to detail. Their customer service is awesome!
customer servicePlug in Bob’s charging station, place the metal plates on his underbelly on top of the nodes on his station, and let him charge himself up. Once he’s all charged up (it takes several hours for a full charge), he’s ready to clean your floors.

bob on charger
The bObsweep PetHair has so many great features:

  • Quieter than the average robot vacuum (he doesn’t even bother my dog!)
  • Cleans on the programmable schedule you set or when you choose to run him
  • Onboard control buttons and remote control
  • 3 Cleaning Modes- Robot (about 80 minutes), Quick Clean (30 minutes), and Touch up (15 minutes)
  • Targeted cleaning with 3 pattern tracks- Spiral Track (spiral in a 5’x5′ spill zone), Waffle Track (6′ x 5′ grid pattern spill zone), and Wall Track (travels along the perimeter of your home)
  • Side brush reaches into small spaces that the main body doesn’t
  • Longest main brush in the industry covers more ground while lifting up more dirt in just a single sweep
  • Sensors in the back and front to help keep Bob from running into objects
  • Built in UV light to kill germs
  • 3 Layer HEPA filtration removes airborne mold, dust, dust mites, and viruses
  • Washable mop attachment to mop while it vacuums
  • Large collection bin (1000 mL) means you’ll be emptying it less often than it’s competitors (unless you have multiple pets that shed A LOT and you’ll be emptying it daily like me)
  • When Bob is done cleaning he automatically searches for his base so he can charge himself for his next job

A few things I learned about Bob…..

bob in actionI was a little worried when I first started watching Bob clean. He doesn’t clean in straight lines like a human would so it took a little getting used to. I was afraid Bob would miss spots. When you first watch Bob cleaning on his automatic cycle (which takes about 80-90 minutes depending on the level of dirt he senses) it seems like he’s just running around your house randomly. He’ll clean part of a room and then leave to clean another room. DON’T WORRY! Bob will come back and finishing the job in each room before his cleaning cycle is done. I promise! Just let Bob do his thing and he’ll get it done!

After having Bob for a few weeks I’ve found a few areas that Bob can’t get into like under the cart that we keep snacks in because it’s only 4 inches off the ground, between the legs of our kitchen chairs because they are narrow, and of course he can’t climb up the steps that lead up to our front door. But this isn’t a problem at all. Right before I have Bob clean my floors I sweep the top landing by my front door and the 3 steps leading down to our 1st floor. I just leave a little pile for Bob to come and pick up. Then every few days I move the snack cart to get under it, pull out the kitchen chairs so Bob can access under the table better, and quickly sweep any nooks and crannies (like between furniture, around the bins that store my dog’s toys, etc.). It takes me about a minute or two to get in these spots and then I can let Bob run and do the rest. It’s so much easier than doing all the work myself and no vacuum would be able to get into those spots on it’s own. I’d much rather take 2 minutes to prep the room for Bob to clean it than to have to do the whole room myself with my regular vacuum.

bob's remoteBob comes with a remote control so my kids and their friends think Bob is a fun new toy. They love to play with him and his remote control. And I love that their playing gets my floor cleaned. Win win!

bob is fun

My daughter’s friend loves to come over and play with Bob!

remote control fun

A cleaning tool that kids will want to use! Yes please!

If you have 2 floors in your house you’ll want to get a second bObsweep PetHair for your other floor. Trust me! I feel like my upstairs is so neglected because while I run Bob daily, I’m not dragging my big vacuum around upstairs as often. I NEED another bObsweep!

If you have an area that you don’t want Bob to go into bObsweep sells a blOck that you can put in the area that you want Bob to ignore. Our office area has lots of things all over and I don’t want Bob getting hurt in there. I have that area blocked off with our garbage can, recycle bin, etc. when I run Bob but I think a blOck will be the perfect solution for us.

Bob has a built-in self navigation system which allows him to clean without hurting himself or damaging your furniture. Bob has several sensors all around his body. His sensors constantly send out Infrared signals to detect objects. Once an object (living or not) is detected, Bob changes his direction and moves away from it. Bob’s rubber-like non-collision bumper allows him to remain free of bumps and scratches if he touches walls, furniture or other obstacles. Bob is so smart that his state-of-the-art infrared sensors (in the front and back of his body) help him literally feel his way around so that he can clean without constantly crashing into things around him.

bob's bellyOn an automatic cycle Bob runs for about 80-90 minutes before he needs to be recharged. Once he’s finished cleaning and is ready to be recharged, he finds his way back to his charging base to charge himself back up which takes a few hours. With the work Bob does in my house, this recharging nap is well earned.

The bObsweep PetHair has a removeable, washable mop pad attachment. You can dampen the pad with water or cleaning products and Bob will mop while he vacuums. He does a light cleaning with his mop attachment but he really doesn’t do a deep mopping with his pad. Personally I prefer to just have Bob vacuum my floor and not mop it. He’s not a substitute for mopping with a mop and bucket but is great for a quick surface level cleaning in between regular mopping.

Make sure to keep all toys, small objects, and ESPECIALLY POWER CORDS off the floor where Bob will be going. My husband plugged in a power screwdriver into a powerstrip on the floor the other day. I didn’t realize and I let Bob run. Before long he ended up in the corner where the cord was and it became wrapped around his wheel. I was so upset. It was then that I realized just how important Bob had become in such a short period of time. I was seriously depressed that we might have “lost” him for good. Thankfully it was pretty easy for my hubby to take Bob’s cover off, remove his wheel, and get the cord untangled. Phew! I wasn’t sure how I was going to live without Bob. Seriously he has really made my life that much easier. We love Bob!

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Potholes You’ll Face On The Road To Rural Living

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There’s a lot to love about living in the country. You get peace and quiet, away from the pressures of urban life. There are plenty of places for the children to play where they’re not at risk of being hit by a car. There’s more space than you know what to do with and a general feeling of being part of a tightly knit community. But for all it’s wonders, there’s quite a few issues with living in a rural area too. If you’re thinking about moving to the countryside, you might want to be prepared for some of the problems that you could face.

Seriously? No Signal

It’s almost hard to believe that despite all the tech in the world and the advances there are still places a few miles outside the city where you’ll have no signal at all. You’ll be standing on chairs, climbing on top of the roof and jumping up and down trying to get your phone to work. You’ll be balancing it on top of the door or just throwing it at the wall. It would be great to say that to get signal you just have to choose the best service provider. But the truth is that they are all more or less the same. They all the use the same receptors and if there isn’t one where you live, you’re not going to get any of those precious bars. The good news is that it’s possible to get a signal booster for your home. This will make it a lot more likely that you can actually call someone on your phone.

Theft And Crime

General crime is a lot lower compared to the city for a pretty basic reason. There are less people and therefore less chance of criminals wandering the streets. But theft is still an issue, particularly if you live in a secluded area. There are two ways to deal with this. You can either upgraded your home with the latest security tech such as CCTV cameras. Or you can work as a community to protect your homes. If you can it’s worth attending a council meeting and setting up a neighborhood watch area. That way, you’ll limit the chance of a house being broken into without someone noticing.

Internet Irritations

Can you get high speed internet in rural areas? You can if you look for rural broadband internet in my area online. This will point you in the direction of a company like WaveDirect and they are able to guarantee high speeds for homes in the middle of nowhere. That’s exactly what you want, so don’t just look at the bigger internet providers. It might be the smaller companies that have the solution you need.

Commuting Constantly

Finally, there’s the slightest issue of getting to work. No real way around this one, unfortunately. If you live out in the country you probably will be facing a mind-numbing commute. So, get a playlist together and use it as an opportunity to mentally prepare yourself for the troubles of the working day.

 

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