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Sunday, October 28, 2018   /   by Gary Semeniuk

How smart is your home Thermostat.

In the Internet Age, it seems like almost anything is possible. There are cars that can drive themselves, microwaves that you can talk to and, of course, smart thermostats. For the average homeowner, that last one might not sound all that special, but there’s really a lot of “neat” coming out of that weird little thing that hangs on your wall and controls the complicated HVAC system in your home.


But have smart thermostats lived up to the hype? Or are they really just vanity gadgets that you can use to one-up your buddies when they come over to visit?


What Can a Smart Thermostat Really Do?


There are two things every thermostat has to be exceptionally good at or it’s just not worth the effort: first, it must be able to tell what the temperature is where it’s located. Secondly, it needs to be able to turn the HVAC system on and off. Considering these two basic functions, nearly any thermostat is a pretty good one by some standards.


Your b ...

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Saturday, October 20, 2018   /   by Gary Semeniuk

Sticking to your New Home furniture budget.

You’ve finally done it! You bought the house of your dreams and closing is just around the corner. Then it occurs to you. Your aged and creaking futon, cement block and raw lumber bookshelves and that one lone chair in your kitchen might not be anywhere near enough furniture for the new space.
What’s a new homeowner to do?
Step One: Don’t Do ANYTHING Until After Closing
Before going into detail on how to keep your budget under control when buying new furniture, it’s important that you actually close your loan. It’s a common pitfall for new home buyers (and really, even home buyers who have bought before). Of course you’re excited, you got a clear to close — but you’re not closing for another week because there’s just not another day that works for everyone.
THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO BUY FURNITURE.
If you buy furniture, especially if you buy it on credit, you can literally have your loan approval revoked. You were approved based o ...

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Friday, October 12, 2018   /   by Gary Semeniuk

When your Home Staging is a Pinterest Fail

There you sit, watching “The Vanilla Ice Project” on the DIY Network when a thought bubble forms over your head. If Vanilla Ice can remodel houses on television, you could probably save yourself the expense of a pro home stager and take the job into your own hands. Your Realtor will be so impressed that she’ll probably put it on her Instagram account right away.
This is a critical decision point. Do you put down the remote control and get to work making your home presentable for buyers or do you keep watching in hopes that Vanilla Ice breaks out into random song? It’s a hard decision.
As you lean forward to turn the television off, your spouse calls to see if you picked up milk on the way home from work. Of course you did. It’s just that important.
You may not realize it now, but one day you’ll see how close you came to total annihilation. That might be a bit dramatic, but you definitely came close to something…
What’s the Big Deal w ...

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Wednesday, October 03, 2018   /   by Gary Semeniuk

When Disasters strike

Any time there’s a natural disaster, emergency preparedness is all anyone can think about. But soon after the news coverage fades away, it’s back to the same old grind, with little brain power paid to wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes and their ilk.
The truth is that natural disasters happen when they will and waiting until the last minute to be ready for one is a dangerous practice. Instead of that, you can be truly well-prepared for the next emergency situation.
Emergency Preparedness Is Quick and Painless
When done outside of an actual disaster, emergency preparedness can be easy as pie. People often assume they need to have complicated battlements in place just in case of an invading force, but the truth is that a little awareness can go a long way. Be ready for the next big thing with these tips.
#1. Understand your local disasters. Even if you’ve lived in the same area all your life, there’s probably something you could learn about local disasters ...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018   /   by Gary Semeniuk

Your Sprinkler May Be Smater Than You Think.

You’re all alone at home when you hear it. Sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-shhhhhhhh… and it seems to be coming from outside. You look around, very puzzled and a little afraid, then it comes again sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-shhhhhhhh.
Oh! It dawns on you suddenly. “Alexa, turn the sprinklers off.”
Smart devices are popping up everywhere, even on your front lawn. And while many seem kind of silly, like voice controlled outlets, others, like smart sprinklers are very likely the smart device you never realized you needed.
The Basics of Smart Sprinklers
Sprinklers have been becoming increasingly smarter over the years, but those standard sprinkler systems still can’t hold a candle to a smart sprinkler. These babies are so efficient that in research studies, they’ve been able to save up to 70 percent of the water a traditional sprinkler will use. That’s not just good for the environment, your driveway and your neighbor’s cat, it’s great for your pocketboo ...

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