Insteon Smart Home System

Insteon Smart Home System

Insteon Smart Home System – So you are looking for the best Smart Home products, Insteon Smart Home System is the best. Insteon is made by a company called Smart home, itself a subsidiary of Smartlabs, a California-based company founded in 1992. Competition for the “hub” or the brains of your home is fierce. With its acquisition of SmartThings (Mountain View, California), Samsung entere d the market in a big way in 2014 and makes all sorts of “things” to automate your home. Central to its strategy is the Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub. Wink Labs Inc (New York) is another strong player — launching a new v2 version of its well-reviewed Wink Hub.

Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

Insteon Dimmer Keypad 2334-232
A new Insteon Keypad. A neutral white wire is required in your home’s electrical wiring.

Cloud technology and lower prices are key factors why the smart home is finally within grasp of the mainstream. Unlike years past when contractors might quote you $10,000+ for a custom Crestron system to control lights and cameras, these things are DIY friendly, and don’t require you to take out a second mortgage.

But there’s another reason why the time is now for home automation:

Voice control.

And we can predominantly thank Amazon (Alexa and Echo) and Google (Google Assistant and Google Home) for that.

With a voice interface, we can now interact with our home in a natural way. Better still, we can combine multiple hubs, and switches from various manufacturers and need only control it all with, say, an Amazon Echo Dot (“Alexa, turn on kitchen lights”). In my experience, it works especially with Insteon.

But more on all of that in future posts. For now, if you’ve just bought a hub, or are researching the home automation market and considering what to do, here’s 10 things I’ve learned over the past 10 years working with Insteon.

Smart Home: Top 10 tips for getting started with Insteon

1. Buy only the latest revisions of Insteon hubs, switches and modules

Insteon Tips and Tricks
Each Insteon device has a revision number. Be careful to only buy the most recent ones — they are vastly improved in quality and performance.
Old and new Insteon dimmer comparison
Old and new keypads. Note the newer Insteon branding on the right. That’s another clue, along with the revision number, you’re buying a newer model.
Insteon Tips and Tricks
3 Insteon dimmers for kitchen lighting.

This is important. Insteon (the brand name for Smarthome’s line of home automation products) has been around for a while. I bought in early, in 2006. Products were in their infancy and it showed. Reliability was a big issue — software and hardware. Dimmer switches often failed. Communication between the hub and devices was iffy. Flash forward to 2017 and the situation is dramatically improved. Insteon Smart Home System..Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

So, please be sure to buy the latest revision (or as close to it as possible) of any Insteon device.

How?

Each Insteon device has a version label, usually placed on the front of a switch, or the rear of a plug-in module. Check that. Then use a Google search to verify the latest versions.

For instance, the most recent version of the 6 and 8-button keypad controllers (models 2334-232 and 2334-222 respectively) is at least 8.0 and from what I can tell they were manufactured in 2017. The latest version of the Insteon Dimmer (2477D) that I’ve installed this year is 8.2.

My understanding is that if you buy Insteon products from Amazon you will get the newest stuff so long as you select the seller as: “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.” That’s key. if you buy from a marketplace seller or a third-party that is fulfilled by Amazon you may get old switches as many suppliers will try to move old inventory.

If you buy on eBay (a good place to sometimes look for deals on Insteon switches), again, look for the label. A good seller with include a photo of the switch with the label so you can verify it’s a later version.

This is my #1 tip for Insteon.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Insteon, but in recent years it’s been mostly love because the newer, 2nd generation (Dual Band) products are vastly improved over their iffy predecessors. Today, I find Insteon to be very stable, and reliable — so long as you heed this advice and only buy/install newer versions of their hubs, switches and modules.

2. Keep it simple

Insteon Dimmer and Keypad Tips Review

Complexity can really create problems when it comes to the smart home. For Insteon I’ve found that keeping scenes (groups of multiple devices that turn on together) as simple as possible ensure that your home network won’t get overloaded with commands and create slowdowns and errors. Insteon Smart Home System

In particular, if you’re adding devices to an Insteon Keypad (6 or 8 button switch) just know that if you set one of the buttons as a “controller” and assign, say, 10 devices, the hub will then create 20 links, a two-way connection between each device. This can multiply exponentially if, for instance, you want multiple buttons on keypads around the home to act as a “controller” for the same scene. It can get messy really fast.

Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

One solution is not to use Keypads. Instead just use dimmer switches and plug-in modules. Besides, with Alexa you can simply ask your Echo to turn on a scene (“Alexa, turn on evening mode”). I still use two keypads as I like to see the status. And sometimes hitting a physical switch is all you want. But I don’t create mega scenes, and ensure that the scenes I do create are a minimal as possible, and typically have just one “controller” defined (the rest being a “responder”).

Note: a controller in Insteon speak can control all the devices in a scene meaning it can turn the entire thing on or off and also control brightness. A responder merely responds to the controller. For example, you have a button “All On” and set it as a “controller” and group 20 devices (dimmers and plug-in modules connected to lights throughout the home or condo) into a scene each as a “responder”. If you tap the “All on” button all 20 lights will turn on. Tap again and, of course, everything turns off. However, if you turn off the switch for any of the assigned responders (say, a living room light) it will only turn off that individual device, not the entire scene.

3. Avoid Android: You really want to use the iOS version of the Insteon app

Insteon App for iOS / iPhone

If possible use the iOS Insteon app. it’s miles better than the Android equivalent. It looks better. It runs better. It just a better overall experience.

This is where you can feel the roots of Smarthome, an A/V company founded in the 1990’s. Unlike many new home automation players who are software-centric, with many based here in Silicon Valley, Smarthome has had to morph over the years. Thankfully, the latest version of the Insteon app for the iPhone is good. Not phenomenal. But definitely functional, with a few design quirks to be sure. However, in my experience it does the job and is reliable. Just take your time and spend some time learning the layout and you’ll be fine.

 4. Setting local dim level and ramp rate is very easy with Insteon

Insteon 2477D Dimmer Indicator Light - Adjust dim and ramp rate

I still believe Insteon makes the best all around dimmer switches. They look modern and clean, and are easy to install thanks to the included pigtail cables (4 in total).

Perhaps best of all is this little trick:

You can easily set the local dim level and ramp rate for any Insteon dimmer switch:

  • To set dim level (the brightness of the light when you turn it on) simply set the switch to the desired level and tap the set button (below the paddle) once. It will beep. Next time you turn on the light it will go to your preferred brightness. Easy.

To adjust the ramp rate — the speed  at which a light turns on:

  • To set ramp rate set the light from near off for a slow ramp or up to on (100%) for instant on, or anything in between. Then double tap the set button. It will beep. Now your light will turn on at the rate which you set. Insteon Smart Home System

Once you’ve done this a few times it’s very easy. For some reason I can’t find similar features in other dimmers from the likes of GE, Lutron and Leviton. Yes, of course you can customize dim and ramp when you create a scene, but unlike Insteon it seems hard if not impossible to actually set them on the dimmer switch itself.

5. Double tap On and Off

Want instant on light? Just double tap top paddle. Or double tap bottom to turn off instantly without waiting for dimming to ramp down.

Another nifty trick. Double tapping the top or bottom of an Insteon dimmer switch will instantly turn the light to full brightness or turn it off — convenient if you don’t want to wait for the light to ramp dimness.

6. More Insteon devices strengthen the network*

*but quickly deplete your bank account

Insteon Home Control Starter Kit
Insteon Home Control Starter Kit is a great value. You get the Hub plus 2 dimmer switches.

Another thing I like about Insteon is that it is dual band. That is, it communicates using two methods: (1) power line (white neutral wire); and (2) wireless RF signal (proprietary).

Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

In my experience, it’s extremely reliable and very fast to respond. I now have 37 Insteon devices across a small home. As I add new lamp modules and dimmer switches (and, more importantly, replace older ones from 2006!) the Insteon network actually gets better. That’s because each device extends the range, and also adds another communication point to send/receive commands. I’m no expert, but it’s something called a “mesh network.” Like me, you may not want or need to know all the details. Just know that Insteon is not wi-fi based, and it provides serious performance, especially as you expand the number of devices throughout your home. Insteon Smart Home System

7. Leak sensors and alerts: Your new best friends

Insteon Leak Sensor by Refrigerator
Placing leak sensors in high risk areas around the home is a great way to get started with home automation.

Quick tip to avoid costly home repair. Put Insteon water leak sensors in places prone to potential flooding: the refrigerator, washer/dryer area, shower, hot water heater, etc. If you were unable to avoid the unexpected flooding in your home, you should contact flood cleaning experts to help you with the cleaning. Occasionally, Smarthome direct or Amazon run 2-for-1 specials and you can get these sensors inexpensively. I sure do wish I had one a few years back when a line from our hot water tank burst.

Place the sensors on the ground next to these areas. Don’t worry, they’re white and fairly unobtrusive. Then after you’ve added them to the Insteon Hub, be sure to setup alerts in the app. Slide them to on, and add your email address. If a sensor detects wet, it will immediately email you. Then you can start freaking out.

8. Go deep with Stringify to create conditional Insteon programs (“flows”)

Stringify App - Insteon Flow Example
The Stringify app, like IFTTT, provides an easy way to create custom notifications, scenes and integrations with other apps and home automation devices. Here, in this “flow”, a simple notification is sent when the garage door opens.

You might have heard of IFFF (If This Then That)? Unfortunately Insteon is not yet supported on that platform (though other hubs are supported, including Samsung SmartThings and Wink). You can use a competitor app called Srtingify. It’s available for iOS and Android and can really take your smart home to the next level.

I won’t go into details here, that’s for another day. But you can do things like switch lights on randomly late at night while you’re away to make it look like someone’s home. Or detect if your garage door is open for 20 minutes and have it automatically close. Or have your irrigation system not run if rain is detected. And on and on… and on and on and on. The possibilities are near endless.

With Stringify (and IFTTT) and Insteon the sky is the limit and you can really do some interesting things. It’s definitely not for the plug-and-play crowd, but it’s there if you want to do more advanced things with your IoT things. It really is a thing.

9. Insteon is closed and proprietary while most of the competition is based on open standards

Insteon review and tips

This one is not really a tip, but something to be aware of.

If you own an Insteon Hub you already know that you can only use it with Insteon products. You can’t mix and match with other manufacturers. So dimmers from Lutron or Leviton or GE are a no go and aren’t compatible with Insteon.

Much of the competition, however, is based on open standards. The most prevalent — and one that appears to be gaining even more momentum — is known as Z-Wave, with the more recent standard dubbed Z-Wave Plus.

Samsung SmartThings and Wink 2 are hubs that support Z-Wave Plus. When you buy into the system you can mix and match from a variety of vendors: Nexia, GE, Lutron, Leviton, Ecolink, Honeywell, Schlage, Kwikset, and dozens of others. A lot of brands make Z-Wave enabled smart home devices.

Something to keep in mind.

In a sense, Insteon is like Apple. You buy in, and you buy only Insteon.

Z-Wave is more akin to Google and Android. You buy in, and can buy a variety of devices made by partner companies.

Neither approach — like Apple and Google’s business models — is necessarily better or worse. If you really have your heart set on that Lutron Caseta dimmer switch (Z-Wave based), then you’re choice is made and it’s not Insteon. Go with the Samsung SmartThings or Wink 2 hub. If you appreciate the look of Insteon switches and don’t mind buying only that brand then it’s definitely a strong option.

10. THIS IS BIG: Use Alexa and Amazon Echo, Dot and/or Show to control Insteon lights (Hint: it’s a home automation nerd’s dream come true)

Insteon with Alexa and Amazon Echo Dot: Tips and Review

Finally, but not least: voice control.

When I first tried out an Echo Dot I wasn’t a fan. It sat on a tabletop mostly unused. That is, until I discovered it could work with Insteon. First, I had to update to the latest hub. A bit of a pain because I needed to re-add all my devices and setup scenes from scratch. But it was worth it.

It’s as simple as this: Alexa a game changer for home automation. Together with Insteon I’m in a la-la land of smart home nirvana. I couldn’t near imagine this stuff possible even 5 years ago:

“Alexa, turn on the downstairs lights.”

“Alexa, dim the front lights to 50%.”

“Alexa, turn on movie mode.”

“Alexa, turn on sleeping.”

and my favorite…

“Alexa, turn on the espresso machine.”

It works so well that I was absolutely flabbergasted. Yes, we’ve had Siri and Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana for a while now. But to now have this capability in the home, available anytime to control lighting is a dream come true… at least for this home automation nerd.

The best part of Alexa voice control and Insteon is that the setup is a breeze.

  • First, enable the Insteon skill in the Alexa app.
  • Then tap “discover devices” under the Smart Home section of the Alexa app. In about 20 seconds the app will import all of your Insteon scenes and devices.

That’s it. You can start asking Alexa to control your lights. Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

Alexa Smart Home

Alexa Smart Home

Alexa Smart Home – Setting up an Alexa smart home in 2020 is a whole lot easier than it was just a couple years back.

Why is that?

Well, you really don’t get much by the way of compatibility issues these days. The impressive Works with Alexa program means these days, it’s surprising to see something that doesn’t work with Alexa.

Another prime benefit in of Alexa in 2020 is the huge choice of smart speakers and smart displays you have at your disposal.

So, today we’ll walk you through the logistics of creating an Alexa-powered smart home the easy way and it’s got to start with that Echo device. Professional AV labor services can assist you in product selection of smart home devices and the installation of audio visual systems.

Choose Your Smart Speaker or Smart Display

The Echo bench continues to widen and deepen. The recent launch of several new models along with some retooled models means there’s never been a better time to invest in an Echo.

Choose from the following options:

Echo

The original smart speaker debuted Alexa in 2016 and this new and improved second-generation comes with overhauled audio and a facelifted design.

As with all Echo devices, you’ll get a vehicle for hands-free control of your smart home. If you’re looking to bring Alexa out to play and you want serviceable audio, the classic Echo still makes a valid choice in 2020.

Pick from 3 colorways and opt for a multipack if you want even better value and you need multiple smart speakers in your home.

From hands-free home automation to entertainment, organization, and voice calls or messages, Echo delivers exceptional value for money.

Echo Plus

If you’ve got a more fluid budget and you like the idea of a Zigbee radio onboard your smart speaker, Echo Plus is the obvious solution. This works as de facto home hub affording you voice control of selected compatible devices without needing a third-party gateway, the home security with gates will be just fine.

Beyond this neat property, Echo Plus delivers a crisp, immersive soundscape. You can pair Echo devices for stereo sound. You can also manipulate the settings in-app to personalize your listening experience.

With 3 subtle designs to choose from, Echo Plus will blend in rather than standing out while Alexa will streamline your life wonderfully. Alexa Smart Home

Echo Dot

All-new Echo Dot comes with the time displayed making it better than ever as a bedside smart device. Measuring just 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.7 inches, this tiny disc will sit neatly on your dresser and allow you to launch into your day the smart way.

While you’ll need to make some compromises on the audio front, you won’t lose out on any of Alexa’s smarts.

Echo Dot also comes in a colorful kids’ edition.

The price of Echo Dot is firmly in budget territory so there’s no reason not to invite Alexa into your home even if you’re on a tight budget.

Echo Spot

Now being slowly phased out, if you act quickly, you could still pick up an Echo Spot, Amazon’s first attempt at a small smart display.

The diminutive 2 ½-inch screen gives a visual edge to search and music without eating up too much space on the counter.

As with every Echo device, Echo Spot comes with the inimitable Alexa onboard and ready for action.

Echo Studio

As we regularly point out, most smart speakers are certainly plenty smart but they typically underperform on the audio front. This is perhaps not surprising since the primary use case for most smart speakers is hands-free control of other tech.

That said, Amazon redress the balance with the upscale Echo Studio now flying off the shelves after its recent launch.

Echo Studio is bulky and weighty with no less than 5 speakers crammed inside. You won’t begrudge that extra weight when you ask Alexa to fire up your favorite playlist. The sound is powerful yet balanced. Echo Studio also automatically self-optimizes for the dimensions of your room for an even stronger sound.

As an added bonus, you’ll also get the Zigbee hub previously only seen on Echo Plus.

Echo Flex

Do you have areas in your house where you’d like to take Alexa but you can’t accommodate a regular Echo device?

For stairs, hallways and attics or basements, Echo Flex is an all-new solution from the innovative Bezos stable. Alexa Smart Home

A plug-in smart speaker, Echo Flex boasts a USB port to maximize functionality by giving you an extra charging station while preserving power outlets. There’s also space for optional accessories. At the time of writing shortly after launch, a motion sensor and night light are available. We’re confident Amazon will build out more devices to capitalize on this port.

From dropping in on other Echo devices to performing all your home automation, you really can take Alexa anywhere in 2020.

Echo Show

In the second iteration of the original smart display, Echo Show has an expansive 10.1-inch screen along with revamped sound giving you a greater experience than ever before.

With smart displays, the screen adds a great layer to your entertainment by opening up music videos, visual search and video calling. You’ll also be able to follow the lyrics of your favorite tracks on screen.

The display comes in handy in the kitchen where Alexa can give you plenty of help with ingredients, recipes, and timing.

As you’d fully expect, Alexa is primed for action across the whole home, too.

What do you do if the full-size Echo Show is just a bit big for comfort? Well, you’ve now got the option of a pair of smart displays with smaller screens so which one will it be?

Echo Show 5

The dinky Echo Show 5 is half the size of its big brother so makes a fantastic bedroom device. It also works well in the kitchen or anywhere space is at a premium.

As with all new Echo devices, you’ll benefit from multiple and robust layers of privacy.

Maybe you like the idea of a smaller Echo Show but this feels a little restrictive. Well, you’re in luck as there’s an 8-inch version available as well…

Echo Show 8

Echo Show 8 is designed to fight head-to-head with Google Nest Hub with its roughly comparable 8-inch screen. This gives you enough screen real estate to watch some music videos or movie trailers while Echo Show 8 remains eminently portable.

Priced keenly and currently up for grabs at a steep discount, Echo Show 8 will not disappoint. Alexa Smart Home

So…

You’ve now got what you need to control your devices with voice commands so how do you get started?

How To Set Up Alexa to Control Your Smart Home

While setting up some smart tech can have you scratching your head, Alexa is straightforward to install even if you’re a complete beginner.

First thing’s first, you need to set up your smart devices per manufacturer’s instructions. This typically involves plugging it in then hooking up a third-party hub to your router. Once you’ve done this, install the app the search for your device and enter a password. In case you have any problem with your router you should contact Connected Solutions Group.

With your devices fired up, open the Alexa app then enable the skill for every device you want to pair with your Echo device. Enabling the skill is as easy as pushing a button.

Some devices also call for you to pair smart devices with Echo. Simply command Alexa to “Pair devices” and it’s done for you. She’ll locate your thermostat, smart bulb, or whatever else you want to control with your voice.

Do You Need To Stay Loyal To One Ecosystem?

Here’s the good news…

Unlike just a few years back, if you plan to run your smart home with Alexa, you won’t be prevented from mixing and matching devices or brands. There’s no need to remain locked into a single ecosystem.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from staying loyal to one brand. This can often make your life easier since you’ll be using the same hub and app. This streamlines this nicely. Alexa Smart Home

That said, there’s no need to feel that you’re locked in so experiment and get the devices that fit best with your needs.

All you need to look out for on the buying trail is that the device “Works with Alexa.” You certainly won’t find yourself short of options! We’ll touch on a bare handful down below when we look at setting up a robust Alexa smart home in 2020.

Before that, a swift look at Alexa’s skills. What are they and why should you care?

Alexa Skills for The Smart Home

Alexa comes with many skills. You can think of these as apps although most you only interact with hands-free without setting eyes on.

Put simply, these skills tell Alexa what to look for and what the device in question can do.

How can you find these skills, then?

The most direct approach is to ask Alexa: “Alexa, enable the Nest Learning skill” is the swiftest route to skill-grabbing.

Alternatively, use the Alexa app on your smartphone to search for skills. This is not a bad ploy anyway as you’ll need to enter your account details in-app even if you bag the skill using voice commands.

All you need to do is this:

  • Open your Alexa app
  • Push the hamburger icon
  • Select Skills
  • Open the category of devices or search by brand for your device
  • Push Enable once you’ve found the skill
  • Punch in your account details

Using skills is pretty intuitive for the most part. Nevertheless, it’s still worth reading through the skill info in case you need to employ specific phrasing.

Now you’re almost there but you need to ask your virtual butler to scan for devices.

Command Alexa To Scan For Devices

Now you’ve set up all your smart devices and told Alexa what these devices are, you can now search for them.

Luckily, this is a quick and easy process.

Either say, “Alexa, scan for devices” or “Alexa, search for devices” and the ever-faithful Alexa will do the rest.

You are now fully equipped to control all compatible devices in your connected home hands-free.

Grouping and Routines

If you’re looking to get the most from your smart devices and to streamline control further, you can take charge of multiple devices simultaneously thanks to grouping.

Here’s what you need to do for to create groups:

  • Open your Alexa app
  • Press the hamburger menu icon
  • Hit Smart Home then Add Group
  • Choose which devices you’d like included in that group
  • Name the group (ie living room, downstairs, bedroom)

The best use case for grouping is a simple on/off application.

Do you want even more automation?

If so, with routines you can associate certain actions with trigger phrases. There’s also scope here for incorporating third-party scenes.

Here’s what you need to do for to create routines:

  • Open your Alexa app
  • Press the hamburger menu icon
  • Press Routines then tap + so you can add a new routine
  • Choose a phrase or a time for the routine
  • Select your required actions from the categories provided

OK…

As with all aspects of creating a connected home, be prepared for a slight learning curve and enjoy experimenting until using Alexa is second-nature.

To round out, we’ll look at how you can commission Alexa in a 2020 smart home. Texas Handyman can assist you in product selection of smart home devices. Call us at 214-507-3405 or visit our website.

6 Ways To Use Alexa in Your Smart Home

It goes unsaid this list is by no means exhaustive. We’re here to save you time, though, and we don’t want to keep you all day with a list of every conceivable Alexa application.

We’re sure you’ll agree that with the following half-dozen approaches, you’ve got a solid foundation for a hands-free smart home this year.

  1. Speak To Your Smart Lock
  2. Enjoy Hands-Free Lighting with Philips Hue
  3. Treat Yourself to a 50-Inch Smart TV with Alexa Baked In
  4. The Ultimate Smart Thermostat with Hands-Free Control
  5. Control Dumb Appliances with Voice Commands
  6. Monitor Your Security System with Alexa

1) Speak To Your Smart Lock

As with most smart devices, you’ve got a wealth of options if you’re looking to smarten up your entryway. Alexa Smart Home

One of the most impressive smart locks that works well with Alexa is the August Smart Lock Pro.

DoorSense differentiates the Pro from a slew of competitors. This nifty feature means you’ll never need to worry about whether or not you’ve locked up again.

The Connect bridge you need comes bundled so to enjoy hands-free interaction, all you need to do is add in an Echo device and you’re all set.

2) Enjoy Hands-Free Lighting with Philips Hue

If you’re intending to smarten up your lighting this year, one of the best Alexa-enabled options is the classic Philips Hue Starter Kit.

You’ll get 4 white and color ambiance LEDs with this set alongside the Alexa-compatible hub to get the most out of your lighting.

There are a huge number of variations on the starter kit so take your time and get the right one for your needs. Hands-free control of your lighting is just minutes away with the super-simple Hue set-up.

3) Treat Yourself to a 50-Inch Smart TV with Alexa Baked In

When you’re taking care of all the essential products in your connected home, it’s easy to forget to make time to enjoy yourself.

Insignia’s expansive 50-inch Fire TV Edition gives you the chance to navigate all your media and entertainment with voice control. Alexa is built right in so you won’t even need an Echo device.

4K UHD picture delivers 8 million pixels and ensures all your content looks as great as if you were at the movie theater.

Thanks to Fire TV and Alexa, you’ll be free to journey through a half million movies and TV shows hands-free meaning you’ll never say, “There’s nothing on TV” again.

4) The Ultimate Smart Thermostat with Hands-Free Control

If you think about smart thermostats, one of the first names that springs to mind is likely to be Nest. Now rebranded as Google Nest, the classic Learning Thermostat now edges into its third iteration and it’s better than ever before.

Unlike many intelligent thermostats, Learning will accustom itself to the temperatures you prefer putting an end to scheduling and programming. If you need to fine-tune heating or cooling, you can do so without even picking up your smartphone as long as you have an Echo device.

Save money while making your life easier – what’s not to love?

5) Control Dumb Appliances with Voice Commands

Do you like the idea of lamps but hate contorting yourself to switch them on or off?

Well, invest in a pack of mini smart plugs and you can uprate those old, dumb appliances, throw in an Echo device and hit the lights using voice commands.

Since these outlets come with WiFi on board, you won’t need a home hub either.

6) Monitor Your Security System with Alexa

One of our favorite home security systems is the iconic Arlo Pro. Why do we like it so much?

The wire-free set-up makes this the perfect security solution for homeowners and renters alike.

Compatibility is first-class. Arlo plays nicely with Google Assistant, If This, Then That and, of course, Alexa. Grab yourself one of the Echo devices we highlight above and you can check in on your system hands-free.

Final Word

We hope by now you can see that building an Alexa smart home in 2020 is a piece of cake. With a smart speaker or smart display and a handful of smart devices all you need, why not start the year by enjoying some hands-free convenience?

If you want even more handy hints on making your life easier, remember to bookmark our blog. Along with plenty of detailed guides like this one, we’ll also bring you the best products and the latest smart home news.

As a final incentive today, we’d suggest you also sign up for our email newsletter. Along with more great content, you’ll also benefit from 20% off your first Smarthome order. Why not use that to pick yourself up an Echo device?Smart Thermostats

Plano Texas Handyman can assist you in product selection of smart home devices. Call us at 214-507-3405 or visit our website.

Surround Sound Media Rooms

Smart Media Rooms

Surround Sound Media Rooms – Die hard movie fans truly enjoy surround sound. Nothing adds to the movie-watching experience quite like multiple speakers surrounding and enveloping you inside the movie itself. But how does a home surround sound system recreate this experience? The easiest way to explain it is to work backwards.

Plano Texas Handyman can help you design and install a great home theater system, call us at 214-507-3415 or visit Plano Texas Handyman for more information to our capabilities.  Surround Sound Media Rooms.

Home Automation

If you have a standard 5.1 surround sound system, then you have five primary speakers, and one subwoofer. Of these five speakers, one is a center channel speaker, which is designed to sit horizontally at the center of your display and deliver dialogue, a pair of vertical left and right speakers, a pair of surround speakers, and a subwoofer sitting on the floor for bass. However, it is important to understand that no matter how great your speakers are, they require something more to optimize performance.

The thing that makes surround sound really shine is your audio video receiver or preamp. This piece of electronics sends the correct audio signals to the correct speaker so that your center channel plays the center channel information, and the left surround speaker plays what it’s supposed to as well.

But how does your receiver know what to do? It receives information from your source material, whether it’s a Blu-Ray disc, cable TV program, video game, etc. Encoded along with the video information is an audio track that’s designed to tell your receiver where the different audio signals are supposed to go. As long as your playback device and your receiver know how to decode the information, everything works.  Surround Sound Media Rooms

Of course the first step is creating the surround sound information. This is done by people. Most surround sound isn’t recorded when a movie is produced. Instead, audio engineers sit down with all of the recorded audio and decide which sounds should be reproduced by which speakers. Without the experts doing all this work in the beginning, the rest of the system breaks down, and you don’t have a surround sound experience at home.

Designing the Ultimate Home Theater Setup

So you want to build a serious home theater, but you’re not sure where to start? While we can’t make every decision for you, we can give you some direction. Here are things to keep in mind.

Display

If you’re truly looking to build a home THEATER there’s only one real way to do that, and it’s with a front projection display. A projector and screen combination is the best way to recreate the movie theater experience. You’ll want to go with a 4K projector to get the best possible image quality and the largest possible screen size (of course) depending upon viewing distance.

Speakers

If you’re going for the best of the best, then you’ll want to design a Dolby Atmos speaker system. Might we suggest Klipsch Dolby Atmos® enabled speakers? With Dolby Atmos®, sound comes alive from all directions, including overhead, to fill a home theater with astonishing clarity, detail, and depth. You’ll need at least one subwoofer, but if this is the ultimate home theater, you’ll want two. Choose your subwoofers based on the size of your room, not necessarily the other speakers you’re using. The larger the room, the larger the subwoofer you’ll want to use.  Surround Sound Media Rooms

A/V Receiver

Since we’re using a Dolby Atmos® speaker system, an audio video receiver that is capable of such a system is critical. In addition, choose a receiver with many HDMI inputs since its the primary connection for most components and should handle most future upgrades to your system.  We recommend  a Denon AVRX4300H 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Built-in HEOS wireless technology featuring Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Wire

Don’t skimp on the wire. You want CL3 rated wire if you’re going to be running it through the walls–the ultimate home theater doesn’t show any exposed wire. 16 gauge wire is probably ok, unless you’ll be doing extremely long runs for your surround channels. In this case, upgrade to 14 gauge wire.

Additional Equipment

You’ll need something to play movies on, of course. This means a quality Blu-Ray player or other devices. Since access to movies is essential, you should have a Netflix or other streaming service subscription, which are starting to roll out more 4K and UHD content.  Surround Sound Media Room

Universal Remote Control

Now that you have selected your equipment, you need an easy way to control it. A programmed universal remote control will allow you to control everything from one place, as well as power up your entire system with a single button.

Seating

There are lots of options out there for “movie theater seating,” so choose what is most comfortable for your lifestyle. Something that allows you to put your feet up and with a place for your drink sounds ideal.

Lighting

The movie doesn’t start until the lights dim. Controlling the light in the room allows your to see the screen properly and adds ambience to the room. You may want to consider blackout shades, as well as installing dimmers to the lights in your room, which can also be programmed into your universal remote control.  Surround Sound Stereo Systems

Already have your ultimate home theater? We would love for you to share suggestions here!

Plano Texas Handyman can help you design and install a great home theater system, call us at 214-507-3415 or visit Plano Texas Handyman for more information to our capabilities.  Surround Sound Media Rooms.

New Kitchen Range Hood

New Kitchen Range Hood

Companies like kitchen remodelling perth upgrade your kitchen range hood.  Most new homes have hugely inadequate range hoods that ventilate at 150 CFM to 190 CFM. CFM is cubic feet per minute. If you happen to have one of those, and lets assume your kitchen area is 500 square feet. A 190 CFM fan will make an air exchange every 25 minutes. You might as well open the back door and put a box fan in the door. 190 CFM removes nothing form the home, effectively

If you have played host for Thanksgiving or any daily cooking event, you know exactly what a difference kitchen ventilation can make—or what it could have made, if only your range hood had been up to the task. The right range hood doesn’t just make cooking more pleasant, it also improves the air quality of your entire home. So now is a great time to replace yours, ahead of more holiday cooking and day-to-day time indoors.  Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415 to discuss the installation of your New Kitchen Range Hood. Visit our website at www.planotexashandyman.com for more information. New Kitchen Range Hood. Read more about kitchen range hoods on this Website.

In addition to removing cooking odors, a range hood whisks away grease, moisture and such pollutants as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. And instead of filtering and recirculating air in the kitchen, it should duct to the outside in order to carry exhaust and odors completely out of your home for a healthier environment inside.

It’s also possible to find a hood that works quietly while you’re carrying on a kitchen conversation, learn about cabinet refacing at the link. Look for certified sound ratings and sone levels (one sone is equivalent to around 40 decibels). The lower the sone level, the quieter the range hood will be; just make sure to double-check sone levels for all fan settings before you commit.

In other range hood features, dishwasher-safe filters make maintenance easy, and sensor lighting provides safety when you’re prowling for a midnight snack. Whether your range hood update is a replacement or upgrade, the variety of designs on the market means you can accommodate both your kitchen’s style and your year-round cooking routine with healthy, effective results.  High Performance Kitchen Range Hoods

Range Hood

The interesting thing about range hoods is that most all of them are completely ineffective, most all of them.  A GE under cabinet microwave oven/ventilation combo unit installed over most ranges have a maximum CFM (cubic foot per minute) air exchange at 190 CFM.  In comparison, an upper end stand-alone range hood can extract upwards of 300 CFM.  Reality check, this is not much of a difference.  Taking 190 CFM of air from a standard kitchen means you will have a complete air change every 15 to 25 minutes, not so good.  Under this scenario, you would practically cook one course of an entire meal and not clear the or of the associated odors.

SOLUTION:  The above investment in a microwave oven would be less than $300, the range hood would be $125.  Neither of these units actually remove negligible odor from the cooking event.

Consider investing $650 in a High performance (vented) range hood.  This hood will move 900 CFM.  Now consider the same 500 square foot kitchen with a 900 CFM range hood, you will make a complete are exchange every 4 minutes or so. An improvement of 600% to 800%.  Dramatic improvement!  New Kitchen Range Hood

This high end range hood unit features a 8 in. round duct vent exhaust, delayed power auto shut off, credit card size wireless remote control system and a 900 CFM motor. The range hood can be controlled via the remote control from 20 ft. away and the 900 CFM motor provides powerful air ventilation. Remove grease, smoke and odors from your kitchen with a beautiful Cavaliere under cabinet range hood.  High Performance Kitchen Range Hoods

Other benefits include:

  • Under cabinet range hood delivers superior ventilation above the cooking surface and ventilates air outside the home
  • Touch sensitive keypad with LCD display and credit card sized remote control allow them to user adjust the fan speed, the light setting and unique heat sensitive auto speed function
  • The 4 fan speeds with a timer function allow the user to customize the ventilation to fit their needs
  • 900-CFM motor is powerful for heavy duty cooking
  • Stainless steel baffle filters are dishwasher-friendly for easy cleaning
  • Two 35-Watt GU10 halogen lights illuminate the cooking surface
  • For external ventilation, a 8 in. round duct is required to fit the 8 in. round duct vent exhaust
  • Stainless steel (brushed finish steel sheets) construction creates a beautiful aesthetic, is durable and is easy to clean

Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415 to discuss the installation of your Drip Irrigation System. Visit our website at www.planotexashandyman.com for more information.  High Performance Kitchen Range Hoods, New Kitchen Range Hood

Commercial Property Maintenance

Commercial Property Maintenance Company

Commercial Property Maintenance – Plano Texas Handyman offers a full range of building property repairs. Call or text 214-507-3415 for more information. Visit our website for all of our capabilities. When you call our company, you know you are in good hands as we have extensive experience in commercial property repairs. Your single source for all your companies light commercial property maintenance. You could look at this website to get some help with your property. Facility Repair Services wants you to maintain control of your service and billing environment and facility repair. It’s particularly important that you get repairs if you’re thinking about selling your commercial property, as it will be much more difficult to sell if there are obvious things that need finishing. Commercial Property Maintenance

Our Commercial building maintenance program includes a full range of services at an hourly rate basis which translates to huge maintenance savings, we do not offer monthly plans simply because they are costly to the client, If you need some contactors to work at home but you are located in Chicago, visit contractors Chicago.  We cover virtually any general and specialized technical tasks that you request, including:

  • Sloan toilet valve repairs and battery replacement service.
  • Zurn toilet valve repairs and battery replacement.
  • Hair salon maintenance and repairs, Hair Salons, Salon Suites and commercial suites.
  • High definition security camera installation.
  • Door closer replacement and commercial hardware installations.
  • High definition TV mounting and cabling.
  • Wireless access controls
  • Cat6 cable installations, Cat5 cable installations, video balun installation (cabling).
  • T-Bar Ceiling and Tile Repairs and suspended tile ceiling repairs..
  • HVAC filter replacement.
  • LED light bulb replacement.
  • Cable control.
  • Touch-up painting.
  • Commercial door stop installation, door hardware installations.
  • Banner hanging and picture hanging.

Current customers include Harbor Properties, A-Suite Salons, Sean David Salons, Gemini Investments, Apcon Solutions for Networks, My Suite Salons, Hallmark Insurance, Fidelity National, Oceans Healthcare, Tate Investments, and many others. Commercial Property Maintenance

Local Commercial Services, Repairs and Maintenance in Dallas, call to discuss our service platform for you commercial building with prompt and professional service – 214-507-3415.

Plano Texas Handyman is a convenient and economical resource to call when maintenance problems occur. We can assist your team or handle projects from start to finish, drawing on our experience with hundreds of previous maintenance issues. Whether its a big job or a small list of tasks, we can help. A ceiling tile here, a paint scrape there – before you know it, the list has surpassed your available time. Call Plano Texas Handyman today to discuss your commercial maintenance needs at 214-507-3415.

Plano Texas Handyman offers a full-range of commercial property repairs. Call or text 214-507-3415 for more information. When you call our company, you know you are in good hands as we have extensive experience in this type of repairs and maintenance. You can get Commercial Property Maintenance on parkpl.co/phoenix

We serve customers that range from strip mall locations to convenience stores. If you need repairs performed or just want to schedule preventative maintenance.  Our technicians can perform repair, maintenance, and improvement services to buildings that range from fine dining restaurants to fast food joints to coffee houses and even donut shops.  The work performed at healthcare facilities can literally mean life and death.

We perform the repairs and improvements you need so you can focus on what’s important: your patients. Do you need repairs or improvements made around your small business or corporate office? Commercial Property Repairs

Commercial Property Repairs – Plano Texas Handyman offers a full-range of building property repairs.  Call or text 214-507-3415 for more information.  Visit our website for all of our capabilities. When you call our company, you know you are in good hands as we have extensive experience in commercial property repairs.Your single source for all your companies light commercial property maintenance.  Facility Repair Services wants you to maintain control of your service and billing environment and facility repair. Commercial Property Maintenance

Spring Home Improvement Projects

The Best Handyman in Plano Texas

Spring Home Improvement Projects – It happens every January. Motivated by the sense of a fresh start for tackling those home improvement projects that never got done the year before, many people come to general contractors in Belmar with a wish list of to-dos–primarily inspired by the latest trends in design and remodeling.

This year I thought I would beat them to the punch and compile my own list of what I think contractors–and DIYers–will be called upon to do the most in 2018.

Call Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 to discuss you New Year home improvement projects or visit our website for information on all our capabilities. Spring Home Improvement Projects

1. Install Garage Organization Systems

Why it’s popular: Getting organized is probably the top New Year’s resolution of home improvement enthusiasts. What’s great about starting out with the new garage equipment. Plus, there are just tons of options to choose from in home improvement stores. Plus garage organization means you can organize your Christmas decorations in a logical manner. Overhead storage, Wall systems, Attic renovations are all useful and economic renovations. Spring Home Improvement Projects

2. Update Lighting

Why it’s popular: Again, because there are so many great options to select from. Home owners can add recessed lights, spotlights, ceiling fans (with light fixtures), under cabinet lights… the list of interesting styles of lights available looks to continue to grow in 2019. My personal favorite for really making an impact statement adding state of the art LED lighting with adjustable color temperature and colo. They can be installed in less than a day and they bring sunlight directly into the home, but they have the profile of a recessed light, so they won’t draw too much focus in the room. Spring Home Improvement Projects

3. Renovate the garden

It’s that time of year when all the flowers are in full bloom and you want to spend as much time as possible outside. Hence this would be the perfect time to bring those changes that you’ve been wanting to do. If you notice an unhealthy amount of space between tiles or signs of wear and tear, then it’s time to renovate your garden. Stone paving is a good option as it has a renaissance feel to it. You check out Paving & Flooring (pavingandflooring.com) or other similar firms if you’re not sure where to look for good paving materials.

4. Purchase Standby Home Generator

Why it’s popular: Ranging from $800 to $10,000, depending on the size, these were selling out all over the country when Superstorms hit so are still fresh on the brain for many. For ease of use you can choose to have a manual transfer switch installed in your electric panel so the generator can run your house directly, instead of having to lay out a web of extension cords. Standby generators can make your life convenient and protect you from devastating power outages. New Year Home Improvement Projects

5. Replace Doors

Why it’s popular: Fresh start. The beginning of the year always has people thinking about ways to make their home more energy efficient and increase curb appeal. . Air leaks from your old doors are taxing on your HVAC and expensive on your utility bills. Replacing the old with new materials and solid seals will save you money in the long run and improve the look of your home. This will take from a weekend to a week to complete, depending on the size of your home, but the benefits will last for decades. Plus, your doors will look a lot fancier comparing to the old ones. If you reside overseas in Auckland or a nearby area you can consider Next level home renovations (Next Level Construct) or similar building practitioners to get your doors replaced professionally.

6. Install a Garage Attic Lift

The Ceiling Storage Heavy Lift gives you a convenient storage solution for all of those bulky items that take up so much space on the floor, such as seasonal storage, boxes or totes, outdoor furniture, large tools, tires, or just about anything else you can think of. Made of steel construction, the Ceiling Storage Heavy Lift has a unique pulley system that lets you easily load and lift up to 250 pounds of storage items to the attic above your garage and to store them securely in place freeing up valuable storage space. As a side note, you may want to ensure with the help of Windsor roofing companies that your roofing is up to date to protect the lift’s mechanics and the items you are storing.

This is an important factor to ponder before opting for this snazzy solution. If you want help with your roofing it’s wise to contact companies like https://www.cbchandlerroofing.com/ who have specialists in the Henrico Roofing area to get some professional advice. Attic Lift – Garage. Attic Storage Lift

7. Install LED lighting

Install Energy Efficient Lighting Investment – Light your home using the same amount of light for less money. There are few home improvement projects that actually pay for themselves and LED lighting is one of them. An average household dedicates about 5% of its energy budget to lighting. Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. You could also try switching energy provider at https://www.moneyexpert.com/gas-electricity/ to make sure you’re getting the best deal. By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $45 each year. New lighting standards took effect in 2012, and money-saving options such as halogen incandescent, CFL, and LED lightbulbs are available today. For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR. Of course this isn’t the only change that you can make to increase your home’s energy efficiency. In fact, you’d be surprised at how many improvements can be made to cut costs, increase efficiency, and reduce environmental impact.

8. Install an Electric Fireplace

If you’re new to the idea of owning an electric fireplace, we’re here to give you the scoop on all the reasons you’ll love having one. Skip ahead to the Electric Fireplace Infographic ⬇️ or View the Video, or keep reading to learn why it’s one of the best things you can do for your home this winter (or any season)!

If you want more tips as well as this article, you can read this guide to see if it has any tips for you and your new home improvement project!

Call Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 to discuss you New Year home improvement projects or visit our website for information on all our capabilities. New Year Home Improvement Projects

Smart Home Smart Choice

Smart Home Smart Choice

Smart Home Smart Choice – It was not that long ago that smart home technology and smart home security were thought to have limited interest among home buyers. These “connected homes” were believed to fit the lifestyles of the rich, famous and technologically gifted. A smart home is a smart choice and can also add to electrical safety.

But today the reality is smart home products and smart home security systems are being increasingly adopted by consumers across generations and across residence types – from starter homes to 55+ communities, even apartments. Ted with Plano Texas Handyman and our sister company, Monarc Technology is a expert on home automation, call us at 214-507-3415 to see how easily we can integrate your Smart Home at our website.

If You Build It With Smart Security, They Will Come

According to a 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trend report by the National Association of Realtors, the smart home market is expected to become a $130 billion industry by 2020. And smart home technology is no longer solely piquing the interest of early adopters or tech-minded Millennials. In fact, “43 percent of Americans with smart home products are Millennials 33 percent are aged 33-54; and 24 percent are age 55 or older,” according to the report.

Grayling Love, a member of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Leading Suppliers Council, wrote in that organization’s newsletter, “We’ve reached a point where the majority of consumers aren’t only willing to invest in it, but they are expecting their next home to be connected.”

What is driving this expanding interest in smart homes? Across the board, and across the generations, security and convenience are of primary interest. Security is exemplified by devices like smart door locks, smart video cameras and doorbells, and smart lighting. Some may even speak with a speak with a roller shutter motor supplier to get shutters installed for an extra layer of security and visible deterrent. And convenience is added to security when these devices can be controlled remotely from mobile devices. Smart Home Smart Choice

No matter what your age or interest, protecting one’s home and family has always been of paramount importance. But now that this peace of mind can be accomplished through smart home technology, from a phone and from anywhere in the world, it’s no wonder smart security is right up there with eat-in kitchens and master baths as a home buyer attraction.

And just as with kitchens and baths, the ability to increase a home’s value is another reason why smart security is catching the eyes of a wide range of home buyers. According to the NAHB and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), installing smart home technology can increase the final closing price of a home by 3% to 5%. And a 2017 Coldwell Banker survey found that 72% of Millennials are willing to pay $1,500 or more, and 44% are willing to pay $3,000 or more to make their home smart.

These devices not only add value, but they are increasingly being offered at lower prices. The rich and famous may own smart locks, but their wealth no longer gives them exclusive access to purchasing them. Smart lock manufacturers are now offering a wide selection of connected locks, with a range of capabilities and price points. Smart Home Smart Choice

For example, electronic lock manufacturer Kwikset offers the SmartCode 888 electronic deadbolt with Home Connect Technology that works with home automation systems, enabling locking and unlocking from a smart phone, at a low price point. And the Kwikset Convert is a conversion kit that affordably transforms mechanical locks into smart, electronic locks.

Who Is Knocking at the Smarter Door?

Tech-savvy Millennials still thrill to the “cool factor” of living in a home with the latest and greatest technology. But they are not the only category of buyer that is enjoying the benefits of smart security. This pool of prospective buyers is diverse, and it is expanding. And the opportunities for smart lock dealers and installers to form relationships with builders, or strengthen existing ones, have never been greater.

According to a 2016 smart lock consumer audience segmentation study conducted by Kwikset, 31% of potential smart lock adopters fall under the category of “Smart Home Savants” and 26% are “Enthusiastic Adopters.” These prospective customers are “ready to convert” and in fact are likely to already have connected smart products. Smart Home Smart Choice

But, according to the same study, the savants and enthusiastic adopters are not the only prospective buyers of smart locks. Also in line to purchase smart security are what the study refers to as “Good Life Gurus” and “Super Moms and Dads.” “Good Life Gurus” (17% of the prospective consumer market) are suburbanites who skew female and care most about convenience. “Super Moms and Dads” (10% of prospective buyers of smart locks) are an even male/female split, focus on their children, and juggle busy lives.

The study found that a primary difference between the first two types of buyers and the last two is that the “Good Life Gurus” and “Super Moms and Dads” may need some education to be converted. They may not be readily aware of all the potential applications for smart locks, and the reasons why home buyers of their particular generation, with their means and their life situation might want to own a connected home with smart security.

Example #1: Smart Parent

Here’s one typical potential application that we’ll call “Smart Parents.” A pair of young working parents are looking for their first home. They are looking for a home near good schools, in a kid-friendly neighborhood, because they plan on having children soon.

For the foreseeable future, their focus will be on their children and on keeping them safe and sound. These parents are ideal candidates for smart, connected security. With smart locks, they would be able to monitor the comings and goings of their children through their smart phone. They could even use their smart phone to make sure the lights are on when their kids get home.

Plus, when their kids are old enough, they could provide their kids, and their baby-sitter, nanny or grandparents, with a personal user code to enter the home.

Another advantage, especially when the kids enter their teen years: smart locks connected to a home automation system can be empowered to maintain important information about their use and deliver it to a controlling device. In this way, these homeowner “Super Moms and Dads” can receive an audit trail of activity from those who have been granted access to their home, and when. Plus they can receive a text telling them when their kids have arrived home safely. Smart Home Smart Choice

Example #2: Smart Seniors

An older couple (over 55) have decided they want to “age in place” and are looking for a suitable, possibly smaller home that fits their current and anticipated needs. They want a home that is safe and secure, but they also want a home with all the conveniences of smart home technology.

These forward-thinking seniors are ideal candidates for smart locks. When part of a home automation system, smart locks can keep unwanted guests out, while granting access to loved ones, caregivers, and even first responders in emergency situations. Smart Home Technology on the Rise

There are so many different pieces of technology that can help and support seniors nowadays, meaning that more and more of them seem to continue living alone. Seniors may be interested in looking at some phones for hard of hearing people. These phones are essential for any home, especially in case of an emergency. Keeping in contact with families is also so important as we grow older, so technology, that ensures people with hearing difficulties can still talk on the phone too, is great. There are so many other smart home devices that can help old people too.

Maybe this couple is thinking less about health emergencies and more about controlling their locks, lights and other devices from a second home. Perhaps they are “snowbirds,” who want to monitor and control their home in New England from a winter home in Florida or Arizona.

Example #3: Smart Apartment Owners

A potential home buyer is seeking the extra income that can be gained from rental properties. They are looking to buy a multi-unit vacation property in a warm climate near a beach. There are plenty of homes for sale in the area with curb appeal. Smart Home Technology on the Rise

How does a home builder or realtor separate their properties from the rest? One way is through smart security. Home automation devices like smart locks not only add extra convenience and security to a potential rental unit, they also can make maintaining the building and controlling access easier than ever before. This is a really important thing for people who own rental properties, as they will want to make their life a lot easier as a landlord. It doesn’t just have to stop here with smart homes, you can take it that one step further and make use of property management services as well.

First, rental property owners can have complete access control without managing and potentially losing dozens of keys. With the ability to conveniently send electronic keys or user codes to renters through a smart phone or other internet-connected device, property owners no longer have to make an extra trip to deliver the keys. Plus they never have to use one of those fake key-hiding rocks, or make new keys after renters move out.

Also, property owners can have complete control over who has access to their property. Neither the owner nor the resident has to be home to let a plumber or other contractor inside. And when paired with certain smart locks and security cameras, services like Amazon Key lets delivery people leave packages inside the front door while the property owner controls the access and views the delivery through a smart phone app. Smart Home Smart Choice

Of course, as with the super parents and modern seniors described earlier, the rental property owners can enjoy the peace of mind of always knowing who is coming or going from their property, and when. Smart Home Smart Choice

Educating the Buyer Is Smart

As you can see in just the few examples we’ve provided, the market for homes with smart locks is extremely diverse. Combine the range of smart locks and smart security applications with the product’s greater affordability and it is easy to understand why so many prospective homebuyer customers have smart locks on their checklists. Once soon-to-be homebuyers have secured a Nevada loan, thoughts quickly turn to how they will adapt their home to their needs and desires. Smart features appear to fit that category! Smart Home Technology on the Rise

There is a challenge, however. The Kwikset segmentation study showed that one thing – perhaps the main thing – separating “Good Life Gurus” and “Super Moms and Dads” from becoming smart lock converts was a lack of understanding of the benefits of these still relatively new home features.

To this end, it’s important for builders, realtors and even smart lock sellers and installers to develop a clear understanding of the ways in which smart locks make a home more attractive – and sellable.

Become more at home with the features and benefits of smart locks, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting the needs of every different type of prospective home buyer and smart lock customer – and a better opportunity to take advantage of the growing smart security market. Smart Home Technology on the Rise

Ted with Plano Texas Handyman and our sister company, Monarc Technology is a expert on home automation, call us at 214-507-3415 to see how easily we can integrate your Smart Home at our website.

There are so many different pieces of technology that can help and support seniors nowadays, meaning that more and more of them seem to continue living alone. Seniors may be interested in looking at some phones for hard of hearing people. These phones are essential for any home, especially in case of an emergency. Keeping in contact with families is also so important as we grow older, so technology, that ensures people with hearing difficulties can still talk on the phone too, is great. There are so many other smart home devices that can help old people too.

Maybe this couple is thinking less about health emergencies and more about controlling their locks, lights and other devices from a second home. Perhaps they are “snowbirds,” who want to monitor and control their home in New England from a winter home in Florida or Arizona.

First, rental property owners can have complete access control without managing and potentially losing dozens of keys. With the ability to conveniently send electronic keys or user codes to renters through a smart phone or other internet-connected device, property owners no longer have to make an extra trip to deliver the keys. Plus they never have to use one of those fake key-hiding rocks, or make new keys after renters move out.

Also, property owners can have complete control over who has access to their property. Neither the owner nor the resident has to be home to let a plumber or other contractor inside. And when paired with certain smart locks and security cameras, services like Amazon Key lets delivery people leave packages inside the front door while the property owner controls the access and views the delivery through a smart phone app.

Of course, as with the super parents and modern seniors described earlier, the rental property owners can enjoy the peace of mind of always knowing who is coming or going from their property, and when. Smart Home Technology on the Rise, Smart Home Smart Choice

Educating the Buyer Is Smart

As you can see in just the few examples we’ve provided, the market for homes with smart locks is extremely diverse. Combine the range of smart locks and smart security applications with the product’s greater affordability and it is easy to understand why so many prospective homebuyer customers have smart locks on their check lists. Smart Home Technology on the Rise

There is a challenge, however. The Kwikset segmentation study showed that one thing – perhaps the main thing – separating “Good Life Gurus” and “Super Moms and Dads” from becoming smart lock converts was a lack of understanding of the benefits of these still relatively new home features.

To this end, it’s important for builders, realtors and even smart lock sellers and installers to develop a clear understanding of the ways in which smart locks make a home more attractive – and sellable.

Become more at home with the features and benefits of smart locks, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting the needs of every different type of prospective home buyer and smart lock customer – and a better opportunity to take advantage of the growing smart security market. Smart Home Technology on the Rise

Ted with Plano Texas Handyman and our sister company, Monarc Technology is a expert on home automation, call us at 214-507-3415 to see how easily we can integrate your Smart Home at our website.

Everything You Need to Know About Pet Doors

Everything You Need to Know About Pet Doors

Everything You Need to Know About Pet Doors – It’s a far-too-common scenario for pet people: You are watching the final minutes of the season finale of your favorite TV show, and just at that critical moment—your dog paws your leg and whimpers as she dashes toward the back door. She pleads with you to usher her outside so she can potty… Now! Plano Texas Handyman is your local Pet door expert, call today at 214-507-3415 for more information.

What’s the win-win solution for you and your dog? Consider installing pet doors, either in your back door, your sliding doors and even between the studs in your wall. And let’s not overlook your indoor-outdoor cats, who can be trained to enter and exit a feline-sized cat door.

These days, pet doors come in many styles, materials and exciting features. Let’s take a closer look at some choices.

How to Choose the Right Pet Door

When getting a pet door, you must consider several factors.

  • Size of your pet or pets. The pet door must be tall and wide enough for your biggest pet to enter and exit easily through.
  • Yard features. For safety reasons, the pet door should open to a fenced backyard or other confined space, like a kennel run, and definitely not to an unsupervised swimming pool.
  • Your willingness to train your pet to use the door. When introducing anything new to your pet, training is a must. Get tips on training your dog to use a pet door here.
  • Location for the pet door. Will it be installed in a back door, a sliding patio door, a wall or another exit option? Your high-tech level of confidence. Some pet doors feature a special device on the pet’s collar that only lets that specific pet—and not any curious squirrel, neighborhood dog or other critter—in and out of your house.
  • Weather. Depending on where you live, you need to pick the right pet door to protect against extreme hot or cold temperatures as well as rain or snow.

Pet Door Options

When I lived in Oceanside, California, I teamed up with my neighbor, Jan, to cut a hole in a wall that was big enough to accommodate Chipper, my 60-pound Husky-Golden retriever mix, Cleo, my 12-pound terrier mix, and my two indoor cats, Zeki and Murphy. We purposely cut the wall opening between the studs, so it easily could be repaired, closed and drywalled, if necessary.

We installed the correct-sized pet door that featured a waterproof seal and a sturdy flap for my Furry Fab Four to exit into an enclosed kennel run on the side of my house to do their “business” and to enjoy fresh outdoor breezes in a safe, confined area.

Whether you wish to go the DIY route or put a pet door panel in your sliding glass door track, there are many pet door options to choose from for you and your four-legged family.

1. Pet Doors with 2-Way Locking

These are your basic pet doors. They allow pets easy access in and out of the house, usually through a vinyl flap. The flaps may have a magnetic closure, like the one on Ideal Pet Products’ Designer Series pet door, to ensure the flap stays sealed after use.

These pet doors come with a panel you can slide in to completely lock the pet door so no pets (or wild animals) can get in or out. Or some, like PetSafe’s 2-way locking cat door, has a lock incorporated into the design of the door and all you need to do is slide it closed. For indoor use only, PetSafe’s 2-way locking cat door is designed to effectively thwart your dog from accessing a specific area—for example, your cat’s litter box in the spare bedroom.

2. Pet Doors with Multiple Lock Options

If you want more locking options than open or close, consider a pet door with 4-way locking. A four-way locking door, like PetSafe’s 4-way locking cat door or Cat Mate’s 4-way self-lining door, can be set to completely open, completely locked, only allow pets to enter or only allow them to exit.

3. Pet Doors for Selective Entry

If you want even more locking options, then consider a door that only opens for a specific coordinating pet ID tag or pet microchip. This high-tech feature is designed to keep out roaming neighborhood dogs or cats as well as wildlife, such as coyotes or raccoons.

Cat Mate’s Elite Microchip pet door, for example, is operated by your cat’s unique microchip or I.D. Disc (sold separately). You can choose between locked, unlocked, in-only and out-only, and the timer function controls your cat’s access to the flap, so you can keep her inside at night.

If you happen to have a large dog and large pet door, this type of technology may help prevent an intruder from scooting through and into your home.

4. Pet Doors for Sliding Doors

Most pet doors are installed by cutting out a piece of your door. That’s not exactly an option with sliding glass doors. But rest assured, there are still options for those types of doors.

PetSafe’s Freedom Patio pet door and its Sliding Glass pet door are designed to fit easily into an existing door track and offers a convenient way to let pets out without having to cut into a wall to install a pet door.

Another benefit for renters is that it can be removed easily without causing any permanent changes to the leased dwelling.

5. Pet Doors for Walls

If you prefer a no-door option, then consider a wall entry pet door. Petsafe’s Wall Entry pet door, for example, is designed to be installed in almost any wall. It offers a double-flap system for enhanced energy efficiency and comes in several sizes.

6. Pet Doors for Extreme Weather

If you live in an area prone to heatwaves or blizzards, you might want to consider a door specifically designed to withstand extreme weather. The PetSafe Extreme Weather Pet Door has not one, not two, but three flaps to keep the heat or cold weather outside while giving your pet the freedom to come and go.

Pet Door Training Tips

The key to successfully training your dog or cat to go in and out of the chosen pet door starts with “P” for patience—your patience. Pets are adept at reading and reacting to our emotional states, so make the pet door training fun for both of you. Plenty of healthy treats as enticements certainly will help.

Here are some other tips from Nick Frank, product manager for PetSafe Pet Doors:

  • Lift or tape the door flap open to help your pet become familiar with the pet door opening.
  • Encourage, but never force, your pet to come through the pet door to avoid causing your dog or cat to become frightened.
  • Use treats to motivate your pet to use the door. First, feed your pet a treat or two near the pet door from inside your home. Once she is comfortable approaching the pet door, team up with a family member or friend. You stay inside next to the pet door while your friend positions himself outside by the pet door. Take turns having your pet go through the raised flap to garner the awaiting treat.
  • Gently lower the flap on the pet as he exits and enters to get him accustomed to the feel on his back. Be encouraging and heap on praise and treats for each successful enter-exit.
  • Once your pet gets the idea of going through the pet door, lower the flap and encourage him to push through the flag on his own.

“Most pets will learn to use the pet door with a few short training sessions,” Frank says. “The most important rule is to be patient with your pet and let him work out for himself that he can go through the pet door. He will be letting himself in and out in no time.”