If you’re a pet owner, you want to protect your furry family members from any potential hazards around your home. This might be easy to overlook, so here are a few things to watch for.
No matter where we live, there’s no doubt that we can all benefit from lowering our electric bill. Thankfully, there are several simple and easy ways to do just that. Here are a few of them.
Everyone seems to be a smart shopper today. Of course, retailers make it easier with digital coupons and other savings opportunities. But, there are ways to make significant savings in your home especially when it comes to energy. Try some of the following ideas and track the difference it makes in how much you have left over at the end of each month.
• Buy energy efficient bulbs for your home. Today’s light bulbs will provide lighting that lasts for hours longer and also reduce emissions because they will require less electricity to be generated at power plants. This is not only good for your costs but helps the environment as well.
• Most appliances are now designed to operate much more efficiently in the home by using less electricity. For example, today’s water heater operates more efficiently by heating the water as it is needed and not keeping an entire tank of water hot all the time. Washers and dryers are also made to use less electricity when they are operating.
• Incorporate ‘passive’ solar design concepts into your home wherever possible. For example, replace older windows with more energy efficient ones, and be sure that your home is properly insulated and sealed tight against heat and air loss during the summer and winter months.
• Purchase drapes or blinds that keep heat out in the summer and in during the winter. All types of materials that are being made for modern homes try to support energy efficiency. For example, draperies are often lined with insulation.
• Use the tried and true method of turning things off that aren’t in use and even unplugging them. Of course, your refrigerator, washer and dryer will always need to be plugged in. Even such things as Google Home must remain plugged in to be able to work on a moment’s notice. But, if you have electric appliances that you only use sporadically – unplug them!
• Do an inventory of your home to see other ways you may be able to save energy. You might consider having a representative from the electric company help you find energy cost savings or use professionals from other companies.
Show me the home that doesn’t have at least one gaming system and I will show you a home without kids or with owners who were born before the gaming revolution. Gaming system companies have been under the gun for years about the amount of electricity they may be using. In response they created a ‘energy standby mode’ that purportedly helps to cut down on the amount of energy they use to remain ‘on the ready’. And now that gaming systems are becoming the hub for streaming entertainment, these devices are becoming what has been labeled ‘energy vampires’.
Every room of the house has different electrical and lighting needs to perform its functions. The kitchen provides so many different services to a home – from food storage to food preparation, while also acting as a family gathering place – it might be helpful to focus on one room at a time when considering electrical needs. We could even narrow the focus even more and attend to the singular subject of lighting in the kitchen.
There are several types of lighting in the kitchen – under-the-cabinet lighting, ambient lighting and whole-room lighting. If you are remodeling or building a home the time to decide what type of lighting you want should begin at the planning phase. Start by taking a hard look at all the areas of your kitchen and determine what types of activities will occur where.
For example, if you will be doing food preparation largely by the stove or refrigerator, you may want stronger lighting to better see what you are doing. Ambient light does not lend itself well to cutting and chopping. Nor is it the best light in which to read a recipe. So strong under-the-counter lighting is recommended for this particular area.
However, walking into the kitchen for an evening snack or relaxing at the island with a morning cup of coffee while contemplating life does not call for bright lights. In these instances, the lighting over areas where the family gathers to snack and dine is better suited to a hanging light such as a chandelier with multiple settings.
Too, recessed lights all around the ceiling or placed in strategic areas can provide another level of light and enhance whatever mood you are trying to create. When planning your final lighting design, you should also take into account the amount of natural light the room receives and at what times of the day this occurs.
There are also multiple control options for your lights as well. For example, you can design your lighting so that they include dimmer switches in addition to the on/off switch. You might also look into putting a smart light system into your kitchen that will allow you to identify and create lighting set-ups that can be controlled by your computer or tablet.
You’re probably aware that there are certain codes that govern new construction or building renovations. One type of code is specifically related to electrical systems: the National Electrical Codes or NEC codes. These codes were initiated in 1897 and are updated every three years. The next update will be released in 2020.
We live in the age of smart phones, smart cars, and smart homes, so why not smart light bulbs? Actually, smart bulbs are only one part of a smart lighting system that gives you multiple options for your home. Using a mobile app, you can control when the lights go on and off, the color of the lights, and lighting to match your mood and even your movies.
At some point, most people need an extension cord somewhere in their home or office. But not all extension cords are created equal. Before you head to the nearest home improvement center, department or grocery store, consider these important factors. Where will the cord be used? Indoors? Outdoors? Both? Do you need it for a computer, or in the garage for a heavy-duty power tool? Is the cord going to be used on a long-term basis or only for a short time?