Archive for September, 2016

Smart Home Trends WiFi Thermostats

smart home trends WiFi ThermostatsIntelligent WiFi thermostats are just one small part of the emerging smart home trends WiFi Thermostats subject that we want to discuss. Smart homes involve many different aspects. Security, environment control, comfort,  and control of everything in your home from your smart phone or desktop. We recently installed a new furnace and AC system with a WiFi enabled thermostat. This is an initial step towards a smart home.

Smart home trends WiFi Thermostats

We can now control the homes environment from our smart phones from pretty much anywhere. As long as the in home WiFi is working and we have internet access to our smart phones we are good to go.

Using the app on our phones we are able to turn on or off the system. We can adjust the temperature in the home. We can also turn the fan on auto or always on. This capability gives us lots of flexibility to control our homes environment.

Sometime in the future we will integrate the thermostat with other smart home capabilities. We will do this when it makes sense from an economic perspective. The WiFi thermostat was added simply because we were upgrading our AC and furnace, so we decided to upgrade the thermostat at the same time.

A good deal for us and a practical smart home technology.


Home Remodeling for Aging in Place

Home Remodeling for Aging in PlaceIf you plan to stay in your home after retirement home remodeling for aging in place should be strongly considered. If you plan to move at some point then this issue may not be that important. For anyone who wants to stay in their home as long as possible, any changes they make should be well thought out. The picture shows wheel chair access to the oven and the sink. This is just one tiny example. There are many aspects to consider and there are resources available to provide you with ideas.

Home Remodeling for Aging in Place

Important considerations anytime you plan on remodeling and plan to age in place include the following:

  • No step entry into your home at the front entrance or garage entry
  • If there are steps, add a ramp and / or a railing to hold onto
  • Being able to live on one floor of your home
  • Light switches and outlets should be reachable at any height
  • Hallways and doors should be wide enough to accommodate wheel chairs.
  • All faucet handles should be lever style rather than twist type.
  • You may need to remove some furniture to make it easier to get around your home.

These are general items to consider.  Any time you remodel or renovate your home there may be many other considerations to think about. Imagine yourself in a wheel chair or getting around using crutches or a cane. Evaluate all of your day to day activities and assess whether you could complete them with out remodeling your home.

Some people will even go to the extreme and pretend they need a wheelchair  to get around to test how easy your home would be to get around. Do you need to install a chair lift to help get up the stairs? Some of these features can easily be reversed if you decide to sell the home.

For more information about remodeling your home, click here.

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Spalling Concrete Repair

Spalling Concrete RepairSpalling concrete appears to becoming a huge problem, for home owners as well as cities and building owners. Many consumers find that their concrete sidewalks leading to their homes look like the one in this picture. Others like myself are finding that their cement garage floors are spalling and look terrible. The good news is that they can be fixed and you just have to find the right solution to make the repair. The following steps are a brief summary of what to do to repair your side-walk or your garage floor. Note that local conditions may dictate when you do this repair work. For example outside work should be completed in dry conditions, less wind and on a cloudy day to achieve best results. Temperatures should be well above freezing.

Spalling Concrete Repair

  • Thoroughly Clean the concrete floor with a blower to remove all loose dust and any other material that may be present.
  • Use a pressure washer to dislodge loose particles that are about to lift up from the floor as well as remove other stains that could prevent the new concrete from binding
  • If there are oil stains, these need to be removed by removing the concrete or by using an acid to provide clean unsoiled concrete.
  • Use a blower again to clear off all loose particles that might remain
  • Mix one part Portland cement and two parts sand to a thick consistency like thick applesauce. Course sand can be used to provide a rougher surface if needed.
  • Apply cement paint to surface to act as a glue to help the cement – sand mixture to adhere to the existing concrete
  • Apply cement to surface immediately before cement paint dries from 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick to fully hide all spalling areas. If you are doing a sidewalk, you will want to install a form on either side. This will help ensure the proper thickness is applied.
  • Allow it to thoroughly dry before using

For more ideas and repairs you can do yourself around the home, click here.

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Are WiFi Thermostats part of Smart Home Trends

Are WiFi Thermostats part of Smart Home TrendsWe recently installed a thermostat with the WiFi feature. Are WiFi thermostats part of smart home trends? The answer in the writers opinion is definitely yes. Although this one is a stand alone model i.e it is not integrated with anything else, it is a beginning. The screen on our thermostat looks exactly like this one. I have been able to test the WiFi capability from inside our home as well as remotely. It works well 99% of the time. Occasionally I cannot connect with the server that runs the whole thing. I do have some concerns about this model.

Are WiFi Thermostats part of Smart Home Trends

Part of the setup involved providing the password for by local WiFi to the unit. I also needed to provide this same information to the a server operated by the manufacturer. I could have enabled my installer to also have access.

There are a number of potential security weaknesses to this particular set up. Passwords can be compromised in any number of ways. Hacking is one thing that comes to mind. What are the chances that my system will be hacked? probably pretty low!

Other than the security concern I am pretty happy with the unit. I can check on the temperature inside the home. I can also adjust the cooling or heating mode as well as set the temperature inside the house. The fan can be cycled on all of the time, auto or turned off completely by turning the system off.

All of this can be accomplished remotely from another room in our house as well as from miles away! For more information and posts about smart homes, click here.

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