Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer

With the summer heat quickly approaching, it is time to get your air conditioner ready to take the heat. However, if you want your air conditioner to be reliable throughout the summer season, you will want to ensure that you provide it with the maintenance and care it needs to run efficiently even when the temperatures soar.
Set Up an Air Conditioner Checkup

While it may seem like overkill to have a professional like us come check out your air conditioner, now is the time to do it. Not only will a professional be able to do on-the-spot repairs and maintenance now so that you know your unit will turn on when you need it, but you will also see advantages in the long run. Air conditioning units that are regularly maintained generally last longer than those that do not. This means that your air conditioner will be more reliable for longer. Click on the link above to request an appointment.

However, if you need your air conditioner before you have a chance to get a professional out to give it a checkup, you can do a quick inspection of your cooling equipment yourself. Keep in mind that you will still want to have a professional come out to give your cooling unit the maintenance it deserves.

Inspecting Your Air Conditioner

Before you turn your cooling unit on, you should conduct a visual inspection of all of the equipment. Start with any exposed ductwork that your home has. Look for wear, like holes or thinning pieces of metal. Worn ductwork can make it more difficult for your air conditioner to keep your home at the desired temperature as cooled air may be lost before it reaches you. The harder your air conditioner has to work, the faster it will wear itself out.

Second, go through your home and check all of the vents. Remove anything that may be blocking them. If you have pets, you may want to remove the vent and vacuum around the opening of the duct. This will prevent pet hair and dander from being blown about your home when you first turn your cooling unit on.

If you have an outdoor unit, ensure that the condenser unit is not blocked by any items, twigs and other foliage. Blockages of any sort can have a drastic effect on the unit’s ability to cool your home. This is something that is easily done when you do your spring yard cleanup.

Finally, check the refrigerant lines and electrical wiring. If you see wear on the refrigerant lines or electrical wiring, do not attempt to fix them yourself. Just be sure to make a note and avoid turning your air conditioner on until a professional comes out to do maintenance. Refrigerant is flammable and faulty wiring could cause a fire, so it is best just to avoid those potential hazards altogether.

Consider Upgrading

If you have had your air conditioner for years and it is just not keeping up with your family’s needs, it may be time to upgrade. The cost for R-22 refrigerant has risen dramatically in the last couple of years and will soon be obsolete. Repairing old systems can be impractical because of cost. Click on the link above to view our current a/c sales price.

Replace your old air conditioning system with new R410a this Spring and save! Many newer systems are designed to work efficiently as save energy, which gets passed on to you in the form of saving money on your electricity bills.

Enjoy Your Summer without Suffering

Once you have checked your equipment and you have ensured that everything looks to be in good shape, it is time to turn your air conditioner on. Set your thermostat to your desired temperature, turn your air conditioner on and go outside. Listen to the fan on the condenser to make sure that it sounds like it is running normally. Within 10 to 15 minutes, your home should begin to feel cool and comfortable.

 

Adding a New Dog to the Family

Have you been thinking about getting a dog but just haven’t pulled the trigger? While walking into a pet store and picking out a dog based on its breed and coloring may be an easy option, consider looking at a shelter or rescue group for your new family member.

Adopting from a Shelter

There are plenty of great reasons to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group versus buying a pet from a pet store or independent breeder. First, adoption costs are much lower than purchasing a dog. In fact, buying a pet can easily cost upwards of $500 or more, especially if you are looking for a specific dog breed. Although you are more likely to find mixed breeds at shelters and rescue groups, these dogs generally live longer and have lower vet costs over the course of their lives.

When you adopt from a shelter, you may not know the dog’s full history. However, when you purchase from a pet store, you may also not know where the dog came from. It could have been a puppy mill dog, meaning you may find your new pet to be inbred, leading to increased vet bills. Finally, shelters and rescue groups often have resources available to help you with your pet since they are more dedicated to finding the animal a forever home.

Choosing the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle

Different breeds and individual dogs can have very different personalities. In some cases, dogs may not show their full personality until after they have been brought home and have a chance to open up. While it is always fun to see shelter dogs come out of their shells as they become part of the family, it can make it more difficult to find the right dog for you.

When you are in the process of picking a shelter dog, it is fine to be picky. If you pick too fast without doing your research and seeing what else is available, you may end up with a miserable dog and family or a dog that will need to be taken back to the shelter in the future. This is not good for you and your family and certainly not good for the dog.

Picking the right dog starts with knowing what you want. Avoid choosing your new dog based on its breed. Focus more on the dog’s energy level and sociability. Check to make sure the dog has been tested to see if they are kid-safe if you have children. Second, when you actually get a chance to look at the dogs, you will want to watch their body language. Take some time to learn about dog language before you go so that you know what to look for and identify the language that you are seeing.

Finally, take care when picking the shelter. Open-intake shelters often take in so many animals that they are unable to get to fully know each one. Limited-intake shelters only take in a certain number, so rescuers generally get to learn a little more about the animals they rescue. If you have specific needs, such as a kid-friendly pet, limited-intake shelters may be a better bet.

Enjoying Your New Dog

Once you have made your decision and finish up with the adoption process, you are ready to begin enjoying your new family member. Whether your new family member is quiet and loves long walks in the park or energetic and is happy to go on long excursions, you will wonder how you ever got along without them.

How to Get Kids Involved in Gardening

When it comes to spring, growing flowers, herbs and vegetables are a joy that many people look forward to. Even though it can take time and lots of love to get your flowers and shrubs to grow up strong and healthy, it is a fun outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy.

Reasons to Start Gardening with the Kids

There are many reasons to get your kids involved in gardening early. Not only does it give them a chance to get their hands dirty, but it gives them something that they can take ownership over. Some kids may even enjoy getting the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of their labor. After all, there is nothing more delicious than getting a taste of a tomato that they grew themselves. Further, they get to learn about nature and be a part of sustaining it.

How To Get Them Started

Tip 1: Give them a space to grow

If you have the space, giving your kids a plot of their very own to work with will get them more invested. Whether it is a small strip near the fence or a nice-sized spot, they can have the power to plant what they want where they want it. As their vegetables and flowers grow, you can talk to them about what they planted and make plans for next year.

Tip 2: Create a job list

Although growing things is pretty easy, the plants still need care to grow. Creating a job list for the kids to follow can help them ensure that they do not miss a step. Make sure to include watering, weeding and adding mulch to the list.

Tip 3: Provide kid-friendly tools

If you are getting younger kids started in gardening, having kid-friendly tools is a must. Smaller hand trowels and kid-sized gloves can make the work easier for them and reduce any frustrations they may have, especially if they are too small to handle adult-sized tools.

Tip 4: Involve them from start to finish

Children love being involved in the entire gardening process. By giving them the ability to pick out what they want to grow and where they want to grow it in their gardening space, you may find that they will be so much more invested in the process. Further, you may be able to get them excited about gardening in the spring if they have time to think about what they want to grow.

Tip 5: Let them decide what to make with the harvest

Harvesting the vegetables and herbs that they grew is always fun. However, they may enjoy it even more if they get to help pick what to make with their bounty. Pizzas are always fun, but the kids may even have other ideas that might surprise you. Best of all, of course, is that you will not have to beg or trick them into eating healthy foods.

Apartment Gardening

Getting kids involved in gardening can be a bit more difficult if you don’t have the gardening space. However, there are a couple options. You can always plant in pots that can be kept on the balcony or in the kitchen. Otherwise, your city or community may have communal plots that are available for you to grow herbs and vegetables.

Enjoy Your Garden

By getting your kids involved in gardening, they get to be outside away from computers and gaming systems while learning skills that will be useful throughout their entire lives. Not only will they get to learn about where their food comes from, but they can also learn about the joy of growing it themselves.

 

Tips for Dealing with Spring Allergies

Although you may be happy that warmer weather has finally arrived, you may be frustrated with the allergy symptoms it may bring with it. Unlike food allergies or allergies to certain types of animals, spring allergies often occur when the trees, flowers and other fauna are in bloom.

What are the Common Allergy Symptoms?

Spring allergy symptoms can range from the sniffles to coughing, sneezing and watery eyes. In severe cases, they can cause a person to trouble breathing and can affect their ability to concentrate. Allergy symptoms can make a person feel ill and have a negative impact on their school or work performance.

Identifying the Causes of Allergies

If a person believes that they have allergies, it is highly recommended that they go to a specialist who can help them identify exactly what they are allergic to. An allergy specialist may give you a skin test or a blood test. Skin tests often include pricking the skin with a small amount of the suspected allergen. If you are allergic to that particular allergen, you will form a red bump at the site of the prick.

Tips to Prevent Allergy Symptoms

If a specialist is able to identify a particular allergen that is causing you trouble, they may have medication that you can take that will reduce the symptoms and make you feel better. However, if your symptoms are not severe enough to warrant prescription medication or they are more troublesome than normal, there are some natural remedies you can use to keep your symptoms at bay.

For example, nasal irrigation may potentially help clean out the sinuses, which could make breathing a little bit easier. To do this, you will need to mist up a solution of warm distilled water, a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. A neti pot or squeeze bottle is then used to administer the solution into the sinuses. It is important to note that this works for some and not for others, so if you do not see any improvements, you may need to find alternative treatments.

Spring Cleaning to Get Rid of Allergy Symptoms

If you are allergic to pollen and other types of biological allergens, you can help make yourself feel better by making sure your home is free of them. Vacuuming at least once a week and doing the occasional dusting can keep your exposure levels at bay. Be sure to change out or wash your furnace filters, depending on the type that you use, on a regular basis so that you can be sure that the airborne allergens are being removed from the air that you are breathing. You can also install a whole-home air cleaner like these to improve your indoor air quality.

You can also prevent some allergens from getting into your home by removing your shoes before you come inside. If you spent the day outdoors, a quick change of clothes can prevent you from transporting pollen and other allergens all around your home. Finally, you may find it appropriate to shower before jumping into your sheets. This way, you can breathe a little easier and get a refreshing night of rest.

Stay Healthy and Productive

When you find a system of keeping the allergens at bay that works for you, you will be amazed at just how much better and more energized you feel. Note that, in addition to keeping pollen and other biological allergens out of your home and taking medical precautions, it is always helpful to eat a healthy diet, stay active and stay positive.

Four Tips to Make It To The End of the School Year

For many students, getting through the final few months of school can be difficult no matter what grade they are in. As the temperatures get warmer and the days get longer, they would rather be spending quality time outdoors or engaging in hobbies and sports instead of preparing for math tests. However, there are a few tips available that can help students stay focused and get the grades they need.

1. Get a Homework and Bedtime Routine Down

As summer draws near, it is very easy for kids to become more relaxed about getting their homework done and trying to get a later bedtime. However, this can cause a student’s grades to slip and, in worst-case scenarios, could result in the need for summer school. Sticking to a consistent homework schedule and bedtime will keep the student on track and prevent them from going to school frustrated and tired. Depending on your student, you may even work out a snack or break schedule that helps make the task feel smaller and easier to complete. Keeping a consistent routine down at home can also help the student wind down from field trip days and other unusual activities.

2. Work Outside

If the weather is nice and sunny, taking homework outside can boost a student’s motivation. Finding fun ways to incorporate outdoor activities with homework can be fun for younger children, like using sidewalk chalk to work out simple math equations. Older students may enjoy spreading out their work on the back porch so that they can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. If there is no good work space outside, moving the desk or table closer to a window can help them keep their spirits up.

3. Stay Organized

Many students start out the school year fully organized and ready to go. As the school year progresses, they may become less organized over time. This can cause them to lose homework or even completed papers. Since students generally perform better in school when they are organized, have them take an hour every week or so to get their backpacks, desk and other homework area cleaned out. This way, they can ensure that they have everything they need for the week. If you find that you have a student who is just messier than normal and has a difficult time staying organized, reducing the number of items they keep with them can help. For example, one folder for all homework and completed assignments can help your student keep their most important assignments all in one place.

4. Enjoy Your Weekends

Getting through each week can become more and more difficult for students. As such, giving them a break from dealing with school stress can help them relax and de-stress. If their homework load is low, let them take Friday afternoons and nights off so that they can just enjoy being kids. Have them complete all of their homework on Saturdays so that they have Sundays completely free. This way, they have at least a day and an afternoon when they do not have to think about school at all. If you enjoy family outings on Saturdays, ensure that students get their homework done early so that they can have the evening free before having to jump right back into work the next morning.

Making it to the end of a school year is a huge accomplishment. By helping your student stay motivated to the very end, you can set them up for a fun, stress-free summer vacation.

Keeping Your Home Safe While You are Away on Vacation

With the vacation season just around the corner, it may be busy planning where you want to go to relax. While you are researching your desired destination, do not forget to take precautions when it comes to keeping your home safe. The time when you are away for an extended period is when your home is at the most risk, so spending some time protecting your home and possessions will allow you to relax a little easier.
1) Hire a House Sitter

One of the easiest ways you can protect your home while you are gone is to hire someone to look after your home. A relative who you trust may be your best bet, though you can always hire a house or pet sitter through a professional agency. Even if the person is not staying in your home full-time, it will look like someone is occupying the home as long as they bring in the mail and the newspaper. If you do not have someone you can trust with your property, put a hold on your mail and stop the newspaper delivery until you return.

2) Make It Look Like Someone is Still Home

Your home should always look lived in even when no one has been at home for a couple of days. This illusion can actually be very easy to create by installing timers that will turn lights on and off at normal times. If you have a neighbor who will be around for a few days, see if they can take out the garbage can on the normal pickup days. If the landscapers normally come on Saturday, keep a visit scheduled so that your lawn looks cared for. Ultimately, you want it to look like your home is operating as it normally would.

3) Avoid Talking about Your Trip on Social Media

Although it can be difficult, avoid talking about your upcoming trip on your social media pages. By posting about your upcoming plans, acquaintances of friends who have access to your Facebook page or Twitter account may decide to mark your home as a target. Ensure that your kids are careful about revealing plans as well, especially if they are teenagers. Teens who are staying in town during any school breaks or over the summer may decide that your home would make a great place to hang out when no one is there. Once you get back from your trip, you can get more enjoyment out of posting your pictures and telling stories about the fun places you got to visit.

4) Save Money by Unplugging Electronics

When your electronics are plugged into your outlets, a small amount of electricity is still running through your home even if those electronics are not turned on. To reduce your utility bills, unplug all of your electronics and appliances with the exception of your refrigerator. You can even unplug your automatic garage door opener to prevent anyone from gaining access.

5) Install a Home Security System

If you do not have a security system installed, now is a great time to have that done. In fact, some of the new systems let you view your front door and certain rooms inside your home right from your smartphone. Many of these systems also connect to lights and other home systems, meaning you can keep an eye on your property when you are away. Even better, the system is useful when you get back by deterring burglars at night or during the day while you are at work. For an extra bit of security, make sure to leave a home security sign on your lawn or in your window to deter thieves even more.

6) Do Not Hide a Key

Finally, ensure that you know where all the keys to your home are located. If you want to leave a key behind just in case, make sure that you leave it with your trusted neighbor or relative. Leaving a key somewhere around the home is asking for trouble as many burglars are aware of all the good hiding spots. If you seem to be missing a key, you can always change the front lock before you head out the door.

Taking a vacation is all about having fun and relaxing. By ensuring that your home is properly protected, you will not have to spend your time away from the world worrying about your home.

 

Making the Most of Your Staycation

Traveling to a new place for spring break or during the summer can be fun and exciting. However, is can also be an expensive endeavor. It can also be quite stressful, especially if you have to fly to your destination or spend hours of your precious vacation time in the car. Staying in town can be just as fun and relaxing, especially if you only have a few days to enjoy yourself.

Financing Your Staycation

Whenever you go on a vacation, you generally have to work out a budget. Between plane flights or the cost of gas, food and activities, financing a destination vacation can be expensive. If you are staying home, give yourself a budget to work with. Staying home can absolutely save you money, but focusing on spending as little as possible can also take over your focus and prevent you from having fun. Budget for nights out and for any activities so you feel more encouraged to actually make a vacation out of your time.

Turn Off the World

When you spend vacation away from home, you are probably more likely to put all of your work on hold. Your staycation should be no different. Set up an “out of office” message on your work email and let it. Turn off your cell phone and only check the messages occasionally as needed. Shut down your computers and do not turn them back on until your staycation is over.

Pamper Yourself

Part of the fun of going on vacation is to not have to cook or clean while you are away. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do this right at home. Treat yourself to a one-time maid service at the beginning of your staycation so you can enjoy a spotless home. If you like the idea of having someone else make dinner for you, you can go out to eat as you please or keep a stack of your favorite take-out restaurants nearby. This is a great opportunity to try new places.

Explore Your Neighborhood

There are always fun things to do no matter where you are. If you are staying at home for a few days, take the chance to just explore. Visit your local parks and spend the day reading and playing with the kids under the sun. Hop on the train or in the car and head downtown to see what you can find. Many towns and cities have their own museums and points of interest. Go to your local historical society to learn about the place you live. Visit the local shops to support your city’s artists and small business owners. If you need an adults-only night out, visit your local breweries to try some craft beers. You may even get to join in a game of trivia and meet new friends.

Spend the Night In

If relaxing at home is more your thing, there are plenty of ways that you can still relax. If you love to read, set up a comfortable place where you can sit and relax all day long. Make a pitcher of iced tea or lemonade, pull up a comfy chair and let your book do your traveling for you. Movie festivals are also fun ways to spend time. Pick a theme and have your friends and family contribute movies to watch. Grab a bunch of snacks, turn off the lights and enjoy the show.

The most important part of staycation is to have fun and get refreshed. During your staycation, do what makes you happy, whether that means leaving the house to go exploring or staying at home to enjoy your time away from the world.

 

Dealing with Seasonal Headaches

If you suffer from headaches, you know just what type of impact they can have on your productivity and ability to finish out your day. What you may not know is that, if you suffer from headaches mainly during times when the weather is changing, you could be affected by seasonal headaches. The changes in temperatures and barometric pressure during the spring and autumn season are actually a common trigger for headaches, so having a strategy that allows you to effectively deal with them can be useful.

Why do Seasonal Headaches Occur?

Studies have shown that some people who suffer headaches find that their symptoms worsen based on the changes that are occurring to the atmosphere. For example, the pain tends to be worse when there are extreme temperature changes. It has been speculated that these weather changes have an impact on the body’s hormones that act as pain messengers, like serotonin.

There may also potentially be a variety of other triggers that could cause seasonal headaches. For those who tend to suffer more headaches in the summer, exposure to heat for long periods of time could lead to headaches. Mold and other allergens can also cause those who are more susceptible to also suffer from headaches during certain times of the year. It is important to identify these triggers so that headache sufferers can either avoid those triggers or find a way to manage them.

Managing Seasonal Headaches

If you suffer from seasonal headaches or notice increased pain from headaches during certain seasons, it is always recommended that you visit a doctor to ensure that there are no underlying causes. If possible, it is also recommended that you keep a headache diary so that you can track your headache patterns. Keep track of the foods you eat, if you missed meals and how much water you are drinking. Your headache diary could help you and your doctor determine if you have triggers that could be potentially causing your seasonal allergies.

For those who have been able to identify a trigger, doing what you can to manage them can help you stay pain-free during your headache season. If allergies are a trigger, avoiding or limiting outdoor activities during the allergy season can help. Many local weather stations actually record the amount of pollen and mold in the air, which can potentially help you to plan any outdoor excursions more easily.

Strangely, hydration is often overlooked. During autumn and winter, for example, many people may be relying on caffeinated coffee beverages to get through the day instead of opting for water. Staying hydrated throughout the year can reduce the potential pain you may feel from seasonal headaches. Keeping up with a healthy diet, sticking to a healthy sleep schedule and continuing to exercise can also keep headache pain at bay.

Opting for Seasonal Headache Medications

Finally, if a headache sufferer knows that they suffer from seasonal headaches, they could potentially start a preventive medication before their headache season starts. Called calcium channel blockers, these medications block the effects of chemical serotonin. Serotonin contracts or tightens the blood vessels in the head while simultaneously lowering the person’s pain tolerance. These medications can cause side effects, so they may not be for everyone.

Because seasonal headaches can be extremely disruptive and may prevent you from spending time with your friends and family, learning how to manage your seasonal headache is a must. By taking charge of your health during your headache season, you can spend more time having fun and less time suffering from headache pain.

 

How to Make the Most of Your Thermostat

When you are trying to save energy or cut down on the amount of energy your home uses, one easy way to start is by installing a programmable thermostat. While purchasing and installing a programmable thermostat can be easy, actually programming it so that you begin to see results can be a bit difficult, especially if you have no experience using a programmable thermostat. We can install one for you, 10% off during the month of February!

 

What is a Programmable Thermostat?

A programmable thermostat is designed to automatically adjust the temperatures in the home depending on what time of day it is. Essentially, you can program your thermostat to run less during the night when everyone is asleep and during the day when all family members are at work or at school. Because more energy is lost when the temperature differences in the home and out of the home are greater, turning the thermostat up or down when no one is home will reduce the amount of energy that is lost.

Figuring Out Your Family’s Schedule

Before you program your thermostat, you should no what schedule your family runs on. Depending on the make and model of programmable thermostat that you choose, you may be able to program week days and weekend days differently to reflect your family’s schedule. For example, you will need to know when your family members normally wake up, when they leave the home, when they normally return and when they usually head to bed.

Recommended Thermostat Settings

The U.S. Department of Energy suggests certain settings that can help you reduce energy consumption. When it comes to the winter months, it is recommended that the temperature be set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you are awake or when you are at home. When everyone is asleep or out of the home, the temperature should be lowered by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. You do not want to lower the temperature more than this as the cost of reheating a very cold home twice a day can be high.

During the summer months, keeping the temperature higher will reduce energy waste. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you set temperatures at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The air conditioning should be programmed to shut off completely when you are asleep or when no one is home. When the days are just right and do not require any cooling, be sure to shut off your air conditioning unit manually. Depending on the make and model of thermostat that you use, you may need to turn it back on yourself or it may turn itself back on when the house becomes too warm again.

Keeping Your Home Comfortable

No one wants to wake up to a cold home, so you should program your thermostat to turn up the heat about 30 minutes before you or your family members plan to get out of bed. To compensate for turning up the heat a little bit early, you can always program the thermostat to turn the heat back down about 30 minutes or so before you intend to go to sleep. In fact, doing this may even encourage rowdy kids to get to bed, even when they tell you they are not tired.

While programmable thermostats can save energy and even reduce your utility bills by up to 15 percent, it is important that you follow through with using your programmable thermostat. If it is not used correctly, you can actually end up with poor results. If the device is used correctly, however, the benefits can potentially inspire you to find other ways to reduce the amount of energy your home consumes.

 

How Home Automation Systems can Save You Money

Although it makes sense to curb your energy use to lower your monthly utility bills, taking the steps to make this happen can be difficult especially if you do not know how to start. Although there are home automation systems that all connect to each other, you can start with single devices to get the ball rolling on an energy-saving plan.
Program Your Thermostat

Many homes have heating equipment that is not energy-efficient, especially if the system is a decade old or more. Because it can be costly to replace your furnace, you can turn to a programmable thermostat to keep your heating bills lower. Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature throughout the day without having to change the temperature on the physical thermostat. For example, if you want your home warmer when you wake up, colder during the day when no one is at home but still warm when you get back, you can program the thermostat to change the temperature automatically.

Control Your Lights

If your family is constantly leaving lights on, you are likely adding to your electricity bills. There are several different apps that allow you to control all of the lights in your home right from your smartphone or tablet. If you forgot to turn your lights off before leaving for work, all you have to do is simply turn on the app and turn off your lights. You can even use the app to turn your lights back on before you get back to avoid coming home to a dark house.

Use a Smart Power Strip

When you turn off your electronics, you may believe that those electronics are no longer using any energy. However, turning off your electronics simply puts them into “standby mode.” As long as they stay connected to a power source, they create what is known as a “phantom load,” which can cost you money. In fact, phantom load may account for up to 8 percent of your monthly electricity bill.

To avoid the extra cost, you can utilize a Smart Strip power strip. These power strips detect when your electronic equipment has been turned off and cuts the power. This way, your turned off electronics are not still draining power even when they are not in use.

Combining Home Automation Devices

Most home automation devices are designed to work with a virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Echo and Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google. These virtual assistants allow you to access each home automation device from one app. This means you can also set up different settings so that all you have to do to turn down the thermostat, turn off the lights and turn off your electronics all at once is to push a single button. Some of the virtual assistants, like Alexa, even use voice recognition so that you do not need to be near your phone or tablet to active your home automation devices.

Savings from installing home automation devices do not happen overnight and there is an initial investment cost. Over time, however, you will begin to see lower utility bills and you get into the habit of cutting back on your energy use. Not only can home automation devices lower your utility costs, but you may also find the value of your home going up as more homeowners become interested in home automation.