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Smart Home Device Guide 2019

Smart Home Device Guide 2019

Smart Home Device Guide 2019 – The range and scope of smart home devices in 2019 have never been stronger. Maybe you’re already using the occasional smart light bulb and are looking for more in your connected home.  Plano Texas Handyman is your hometown expert in installing smart home products.  Call us today at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for all pour capabilities.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019

If you’re already fully invested in home automation and you’re looking to get even more from your smart home.

Either way, you’re in for a treat today.

Rather than exploring the components of an entire smart system, we’ve kept things simple. We have our favorite smart home devices you should know about. Investing in any of these automated appliances and smart devices will make your life easier at the same time making your home safer.

Smart Home Starter Kits

With great power comes great responsibility… 

Having the new found “super-power” to control smart home devices might seem difficult to comprehend. However, we can assure the ease of use and convenience in smart lighting will moe over uncertainty.  While it sounds difficult, it’s simple; yet rewarding.

Smarthome has prepared top smart home stater kits for new customers at a significant discount. Please note, these smart home devices are meant for individuals who aren’t comfortable wiring a switch. A majority of these devices are so simple a child can do it.

1) Digital Assistants

Digital assistants have come a long way since the first IBM PC could recognize a handful of spoken words and numbers back in 1981.

Siri was the first digital assistant to in a smartphone. If you remember the old iPhone 4s in 2011 they continue to enjoy a robust 34% market share. While Google Assistant accounts for 19%, both have substantial install bases on cell phones. Amazon’s Alexa makes up just 6% of digital assistants overall with a practical stranglehold on the smart speaker space.

Today, try controlling a smart home using voice commands from voice assistance of your choice.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019

So what’s your favorite?

  • Amazon Alexa: We’ll explore Alexa more fully when we outline the role of smart speakers. With 7000 third-party integrations and with Alexa now coming built into TVs (Fire TV) and thermostats (ecobee4). Alexa can communicate a broad spread of smart home devices and appliances. Communicating with all these smart devices means the simplest and most versatile way to start controlling your home with voice commands.
  • Google Assistant: While you might get fewer third-party hook-ups with Google’s Assistant, reap the benefits from the full weight of dominance of search. Accuracy is generally better than you’ll find with either Alexa or Siri. From Philips and August to Nest and Belkin, most major smart home brands offer reasonable integration with Google Assistant.
  • Siri: For Apple converts, there’s the slick Home app that allows you to control HomeKit accessories using Siri. Whether you want to fine-tune the temperature using your MacBook or turn off the lights from your iPhone, the world’s your oyster. Over 50 global brands offer full Siri compatibility so, as always, you’re in safe hands with Apple

Before we leave digital assistants and take a wander through other must-have smart home devices, we’ll take a quick glimpse at Alexa. Smart Home Device Guide 2019

2) Smart Speakers

The smart speaker market is buoyant, and the undisputed leader is the mighty Amazon with its formidable range of Echo devices.

A smart speaker gives you the convenience of playing your favorite music playback while also offering you the full services of a digital assistant.

You’ll be able to fire up all your favorite streaming services using nothing but your voice, and the sound quality of smart speakers continues to improve.

It’s the integration of Alexa that really makes smart speakers sing. With most decent smart speakers, you’ll have no problem making yourself heard even across a crowded, noisy room.

Whether you choose to use your smart speaker and Alexa to communicate directly with other compatible devices or you use IFTTT, the best smart speaker is about far more than music. Add one of these Bluetooth beasts to your command center and you’ll start fully appreciating just how convenient home automation can be.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019

3) Smart Home Hubs

With a digital assistant in place to obey your every command, don’t get too excited just yet…

Depending on what ambitions you harbor for your smart home, there’s every chance you’ll need to invest in a hub. A smart hub can ensure smart devices can communicate properly with each other.

Think of a smart home hub as a gateway or translator ready to bridge the gap between devices and appliances that don’t speak the same language.

Obviously, if you only intend to slip in a smart bulb or possibly upgrade your thermostat, you won’t need to think about a hub. Smart Home Device Guide 2019

If, on the other hand, you want a more thorough and interconnected smart home, think about Samsung’s mighty SmartThings Hub. All main communications protocols are supported including both Z-Wave and Zigbee as well as any IP-connected devices. Samsung has an inclusive attitude with the exception of Nest. All bases are covered with the SmartThings Hub.

You’ve got plenty of other options if SmartThings doesn’t work for you. Think not just about your smart home today but also of how you’d like things to develop. Compatibility is key so make sure any hub you’re considering offers all the support you need.

4) Smart Lights

While it was possible to automate lighting as far back as the early days. Sadly the communication protocol X10 was based was relatively unreliable.

Today, smart lighting comes in many disguises from the simplicity of a plug-and-play smart bulb through to taking charge of all the lighting throughout your house using simple voice commands.

Why should you bother with smart lighting when it’s so easy to simply flick a switch?

Don’t underestimate just how handy it can be? Try to enter a hallway that illuminates as you enter rather than fumbling in the dark for a switch. You will notice less scrubbing the dirty wall plate. Kiss goodbye to feeling your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Watch out! Stop stubbing your toe as you get up in pitch blackness. Let cursing yourself for not investing in smart lighting end today! Smart Home Device Guide 2019

Energy-efficiency is perhaps the driving reason more and more people are flocking to smart lighting. Did you know electricity accounts for 19% of all energy used worldwide? How about the average American electricity bill is $100 a month? Wouldn’t you agree any savings in this area are great for your bank account?

From a basic device like the Insteon Remote Control Plug-In Lamp Dimmer Module that allows you to tweak brightness levels remotely to LIFX or Philips Hue bulbs, smart lighting is a vast field. You could also experiment with Insteon’s legendary on/off switches or go for a dimmer switch depending on what you want to achieve.

Take the time to think about what you require from automated lighting and it will be well worthwhile. Rush in without forethought and you’re likely to make an expensive mistake.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019

5) Smart Lock

While you might assume smart door locks make your house safer, it’s more about convenience. Let’s face it, with a smart lock you’re just replacing one form of a lock with another. The most favorable benefit of smart door locks is keyless entry. No need to find an open door or pull out your key, just enter the code…

Keyless convenience should not be underestimated, though. If your children often forget their keys or you like to go out jogging in the morning unencumbered, smart locks are the ideal solution. They also work well if you have a rental property and need to streamline access while keeping things secure.

Smart locks can make use of WiFi, Bluetooth or Z-Wave to communicate with other smart devices in your home. You can arrange for the lights to come on and the AC to ratchet up as you enter. As with all aspects of home automation, getting separate components and systems working in harmony is the key to success. Smart Home Device Guide 2019

Some smart locks like those from the legendary August slot over your existing hardware. However, some others call for a deadbolt replacement. If the lock you choose does call for swapping out the deadbolt, you should get the job done within the hour. So there’s no excuse to not have it.

Think about how you want to use your smart lock before committing to purchase. The Nest x Yale lock is extremely user-friendly but you’ll get limited integration. Therefore, if you already have the Nest ecosystem it might be a no-brainer. Roll with August locks and grab yourself a Connect hub, and get better compatibility.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019. Plano Texas Handyman is your hometown expert in installing smart home products.  Call us today at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for all pour capabilities.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019

Just as automating the lighting in your home can save you a packet on your power bill, installing a smart thermostat can also help you maximize energy-efficiency and minimize the amount you waste on heating or cooling empty rooms.

Smart Home Device Guide 2019

You might also need to consider pets or plants that need things kept at a certain temperature even when you’re away on vacation or off on your next business trip. With a smart thermostat, you’ll simply be able to control the climate in your house remotely from your cell phone.

At the cheaper end of the market, Insteon serves up a remote control wall thermostat although you will need to invest in a hub if you want to use your phone rather than the keypad for the purposes of control.

The classic Nest Learning is now in its third generation and still going from strength to strength. If you see the Nest Leaf displayed under the temperature, you’ll know you’re operating at an energy-efficient temperature so you can relax knowing your next utility bill won’t be quite so eye-watering.

With ecobee4 coming fully Alex-enabled, you can do far more than just change the temperature with the best smart thermostat.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019

7) Robotic Vacuum

Convenience is perhaps the core purpose of home automation.

Start thinking creatively about how to make your life easier at home. How about getting some help with the vacuuming? Don’t even think about the expense of a monthly maid service? Get yourself a robotic vacuum to keep your house spotless.

iRobot offers a superb range of robot vacuums including the legendary Roomba line. Both Roomba and also the neato botvac can be controlled through your smartphone. While Dyson has a stellar reputation when it comes to regular vacuums, it’s expensive 360 Eye Robot doesn’t come particularly well reviewed so buyer, beware.

At the bottom end, you’ll get 60 minutes or less of battery life from a robotic vacuum. While the best robots on the block can clean for 90 minutes. However, they will return and charge before returning to the dust bunny battle.

While with many smart home devices you can rely on cheaper models to do the job. With robotic vacuums, you need to dig a little deeper if you want a really deep clean.

All that remains is to ask yourself what price you put on never needing to break out the Hoover again.

8) Smart Garage Door Opener

Are you tired of jumping out to open the garage door after a long day of work? Try smartening up your access at a cheap cost.

Smart Home Device Guide 2019

Garage door openers come with a range of mechanisms. These mechanisms range from cheap but noisy chain-drive models through to quieter but more expensive belt-drive and direct-drive openers.

The Chamberlain MyQ is a hub that works with all garage door openers made since 1993. It also enables you to take control in-app from your cell phone. This is a great entry point if you fancy enhancing an existing system with the option of adding Google Assistant or IFTTT for a modest monthly fee.

If you’ve got an older 2-wire garage door opener, Insteon has a superb full control kit so you can take control of your garage door from your smartphone and receive alerts in the event of any kind of security breach. You’ll need an Insteon hub but you’ll get plenty of mileage out of this gateway with other devices in your connected home.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019

9) Smart Security Camera

Security cameras have long been commonplace in homes and businesses the world over.

Your home is your most precious possessions. Being able to keep your eye on things even when you’re away on vacation gives peace. With peace of mind, you just can’t put a price tag on.

As technology progresses, smart security cameras can easily be customized to tune out false triggers. You’ll even be able to arrange for the authorities to be alerted in the event of a genuine breach of security.

Wireless security cameras are flexible and affordable although prone to interference and at higher risk of being hacked. Wired cameras are a costlier and much more permanent solution but they offer super-stable data transmission without any galling interference.

From the classic Nest Cam to Netgear’s Arlo Q, you can find a whole host of smart security cameras capable of working seamlessly with other devices in your connected home.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019

10) Smart Blinds

If you’re looking to add an inexpensive but high impact product to smarten up your home, automated blinds are a wise move. Imagine saying “Alexa close the blinds…”

Smart Home Device Guide 2019

You might think there’s little to be gained by saving yourself the trouble of a few seconds effort raising or lowering the blinds, but you’ll rapidly appreciate the convenience once you’re set up.

The ever-reliable Insteon has a tiny remote control module you simply install behind your existing switches. In combination with the Insteon hub, you’ll be able to turn your smartphone into your remote control and open smartphones or any other 110-volt appliance like a projector screen.

Even though convenience is a strong motivator, if you invest in smart blinds you’ll add an extra layer of security to your house as well. There’s nothing worse than trying to relax on vacation while you’re worrying about whether your home is fully secure. Simply raising and lowering the blinds several times a day remotely can give your house the impression of being occupied even if the whole family is away.

Final Word

This is by no means an exhaustive list of smart home devices you should know about but with these bases covered, you’ll have the makings of effective and comprehensive home automation.

Start any hunt for smart home devices with a frank appraisal of what you want and expect while not forgetting about compatibility if you want independent devices to work harmoniously together.

Plano Texas Handyman is your hometown expert in installing smart home products.  Call us today at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for all pour capabilities.  Smart Home Device Guide 2019

Kitchen cabinet hardware

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Kitchen cabinet hardware – Since most kitchen cabinets are not sold with hardware, it’s up to homeowners to decide which knobs and pulls to pair with their selection. This is not always the easiest decision, since there are so many unique styles and finishes to choose from. To help you on your search for the perfect hardware for your kitchen cabinets, here are some tips to follow.  Call Plano Texas Handyman today at 214-507-3415 for more information or visit our website to get a full perspective on our capabilities.  Kitchen cabinet hardware

1. Stick with the theme. The hardware you choose speaks to your theme in the same way your kitchen cabinets do. Which hardware works best with different themes? Sleek, tubular pulls complement the streamlined look in modern and contemporary kitchens. Traditional cabinets tend to have more detail and benefit from simple, smooth knobs. French country can benefit from hardware with an antique look, with finishes that comes in gun metal, rubbed bronze and brush pewter.  Kitchen cabinet hardware

2. Keep finishes cohesive. You’ll find hardware in a range of finishes from brushed nickel to brass. While mixing and matching the hardware around your kitchen is fine, you should try to maintain the same finish and keep colors as close as possible. Sometimes you’re forced to buy hardware from more than one retailer, but when doing so make sure you keep finishes cohesive.

3. Know when to use knobs over pulls. In traditional and country kitchens, putting a knob on a cabinet is not uncommon. In fact, with many cabinets, knobs may a better option than pulls. How do you know the difference? When kitchen cabinets are ornate or finely detailed, go with a knob rather than a pull. A knob is smaller and simpler and doesn’t take attention away from the design of the cabinets.  Kitchen cabinet hardware

4. Consider the color of your kitchen cabinets. The color of your cabinets is as important as the style when choosing hardware. With white and painted cabinets, almost any finish will work but some shades of brown are not as flexible.

5. Be aware of the appliances and fixtures in the kitchen. Pulls and knobs are not the only hardware in your kitchen. Take into account the finish on appliances, light fixtures, and your sink and faucet. While mixing metal finishes is trendy right now in kitchen design, be sure not to overdo it. If the colors clash, it could disrupt the cohesiveness of your kitchen and take away from the beauty of your new cabinets.  Kitchen cabinet hardware

6. Don’t overlook quality. The hardware in your kitchen sees a lot of traffic. Don’t put so much importance on look that you forget about quality. You want hardware to be sturdy, strong and easy to hold onto.

7. Step outside of the box. Your standard hardware will come in finishes like gun metal, brushed nickel, and bronze but it’s okay to go with something out of the ordinary. Glass or mirrored hardware can work equally as well, and can add a creative touch to your kitchen.   Kitchen cabinet hardware

Call Plano Texas Handyman today at 214-507-3415 for more information or visit our website to get a full perspective on our capabilities.  Kitchen cabinet hardware

8. Dallas has a large selection of stores unsurpassed anywhere:

Elliot’s Hardware

Dallas North Builders Hardware

High performance kitchen range hoods

High Performance Kitchen Range Hoods

High Performance Kitchen Range Hoods – For a Healthy Home, Upgrade Your Kitchen Range Hood.  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 Drip Irrigation System. Visit our website at www.planotexashandyman.com for more information.  
High Performance Kitchen Range Hoods. Read more about kitchen range hoods

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. 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 12 to 15 minutes, not so good.  Under this scenario, you would practically cook one course of an entire meal and not clear the ir 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.  In comparison to the above referenced unit, you are changing the air every 12 to 15 minutes, with this upper end unit you will change the air every 2.5 minutes, an improvement of 600% to 800%.  Dramatic improvement!  High Performance Kitchen Range Hoods

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) 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

Hi Tech Mancave

Hi Tech Mancave

Hi Tech Mancave:  Did you know that garage man caves are therapeutic? I’m just kidding, but in all seriousness, a man cave garage is sure to be the talk of the town and your home within your home.  And it does not take a lot of money to create a really nice mancave in your home.  Plano Texas Handyman can create the ultimate mancave with great creativity.  Call us at 214-507-3415 to discuss your project or visit our website for more information on our capabilities.

So what are the benefits of a high tech mancave and what makes them better?

  1. Plano Texas Handyman can automate your mancave by installing electrical apparatuses that you can control from your Smart Phone.
  2. High Tech HVAC systems and controls.
  3. High Tech audio systems and controls.
  4. High Tech video system and controls
  5. We can also automate security, lighting and WiFi
  6. Provide structured wiring systems.
  7. Interior design.

Man caves give us the freedom to express ourselves. It gives us the personal space we sometimes need in the middle of the weekly grind we go through 52 times a year. The benefits are endless, but converting a garage into a man cave is certainly easier said than done.  Hi Tech Mancave

That is why I have researched and gathered all the steps one must take to convert and remodel a garage into a dream man cave.  Call  Ted with Plano Texas Handyman to create the perfect mancave.  We have been in business for the last 10 years and can make your dreams into reality.  Call us at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for more details.

Rummage through all the junk you have in your garage and make sure each item is something you and family needs. If not, sell it on eBay or throw it out. For the items you do need, you better get smart at organizing. Move it to the basement, below the sink or in the laundry room. Do whatever you can to clear out the space before you turn it into the garage man cave everyone will be talking about.

Too much junk? Get some professional cleaning help.  Hi Tech Mancave. Below is a summary of the other items that go into the mancace that make it the prefect space.

If you’re going to be spending every Sunday in this man cave watching football, then you better have it insulated. That means you need the floors, walls, ceiling and garage door insulated.

No one said this was going to be easy or cheap. According to our insulation installation cost estimator, most homeowners pay $1,289 for insulation. However, this price is the average of all insulation projects around the house, including the attic. You can expect garage insulation to be less.

One way to save money is by installing the garage door insulation yourself. I mapped out all the steps in How To Insulate A Garage Door.  Hi Tech Mancave

The insides of garages are not built with design flair. Man caves, on the other hand, require some color and design. That is why your new garage man cave needs a new coat paint on all the walls.

I don’t care if it’s red, blue, green or even white, if you’re converting a garage into man cave, it needs paint. If you need help deciding, make sure you read Popular House Paint Colors For 2014.

Beware, painting an entire garage is a lot of work. There are professionals who specialize in garage painting. Click here to connect with up to four professional painters for free.

Most garages have one light installed, but when you’re hosting poker night or your next fantasy football draft, you need to illuminate the room.  Hi Tech Mancave

Try incorporating lights that match your style. If you’re going with an industrial look, look for pendants lights that match the color scheme. If you want a more modern touch, go with recessed lights.

Installing your own lighting can be tricky. If you have an attached garage, the project is a bit easier, but if you have a detached garage, you may want to find a professional electrician.

For obvious reasons, the standard garage floor can get cold and unwelcoming, two feelings you would never want for your garage man cave. Concrete floors will not help the situation.

You could add floorboards or even carpet in certain areas (very risky though). Alternatively, you could buy large area rugs, but if you really want your man cave to be the talk of the town, spend the extra cash on a comfortable flooring option.  Hi Tech Mancave

We will get into the highlights of your man cave garage momentarily, but we must address the elephant in the room that is security. If you’re going to place your 75” TV or Michael Jordan jersey in the garage, then you better have good security.

These are valuable items and after you show off your unbelievable man cave, all your neighbors will be talking about it. Make sure you purchase special garage door locks. This way, friends and neighbors will need your code to open the garage.

Likewise, make sure you put a deadbolt on the back door (if your garage has one). For more protection, you could also extend your security system.

Now that we have the basics out of the way, it’s time to get into the fun stuff. As I noted in 10 Must-Have Items for the Ultimate Man Cave, a recliner is the No. 1 essential item all man caves need.

The age-old picture of a man drinking a beer on his recliner in his man cave has not died. However, the modern man cave has evolved and you need comfortable seating for all your friends. Whether you add a sectional, a huge leather couch, multiple recliners or even bar seats, make sure you have enough seating for you and all your guys.

Bar & Fridge
The man cave is supposed to be convenient and it surely won’t be if you have to run inside every time you want a drink or another sandwich. If you have space, try to build your own bar in the corner of your new man cave garage. Leave space and electrical outlets for a mini fridge or a larger one if you can fit it.

Believe me when I say that without a fridge, your friends will not enjoy this man cave.  Hi Tech Mancave

No man cave can be complete without its fair share of sports memorabilia. If you have always wanted a place to show off that Derek Jeter ball or a wall to hang that LeBron James jersey, your man cave is it.

If you’re not into sports, add movie posters, pictures of the kids or anything that makes you happy. It’s your man cave. Be sure to add all the personal flair you want!  Hi Tech Mancave

Garages are the perfect location for a man cave. If separates the home and your home within your home. It gives you the freedom you demand after a long week. Now that you know what you need, go out and start building or designing your own garage man cave.

all  Ted with Plano Texas Handyman to create the perfect mancave.  We have been in business for the last 10 years and can make your dreams into reality.  Call us t 214-507-3415 or visit our website for more details.  Creating a Mancave

Ready to Sell the Family Home?

Ready to Sell the Family Home?

This article was written by guest contributor, Kris Louis of Parentingwithkris.com regarding the process to sell your home.

Moving is a challenging process, even when you don’t have kids. Add a few extra bodies to the mix, and you can easily get overwhelmed. From extra packing to exhaustive protests, you’ll have to proceed with caution. Here are a few practical tips to make the undertaking less of an aggravation.

Start with a home checkup

The condition of your property is a key factor in how long it takes to sell and for how much. Before you call an agent, spend some time giving your home the once-over to see where issues might arise that could delay the selling process. Put on your analytical hat and look at all of the things a home inspector might. The Mortgage Reports explains that this includes all of the home’s systems, roof, and its overall structure. If you see anything that looks suspect, reach out to a contractor in that field. A few loose shingles, for example, might not seem like much to you, but these types of issues can force you to postpone the sale if the buyer’s home inspector recommends repairs or replacement. Don’t blindly agree and, in the example above, contact a roofing contractor yourself to determine the extent of damage. Ready to sell the family home?

Other things you might also consider are the appliances, driveway, pool and spa equipment, and other features that will be evident in your listing. Make sure the real-world condition of these matches your listing photos.

A thorough cleanout

Once you determine your home is in good shape, it’s time to clean things up so your home’s appearance matches its physical condition. This is the tricky part because kids don’t like to clean, and they dislike getting rid of their stuff even more. Explain what’s going on and then ask the kids to help you decide which of your furniture, seasonal decorations, and other non-essential belongings can go on vacation (aka storage) before the move. Keep in mind that storage units in and around Dallas can be pricey, so shop around for a decent rate. For example, places like CubeSmart Self-Storage on Maple Avenue offer introductory rates and discounts when signing a lease. As you pack up the clutter, label each tote or box so you know where they belong. These moving box labels from Olympia Moving will help you stay organized. Ready to sell the family home?

Your next goal is to get things clean. Really clean! In addition to your standard spring cleaning, you will need to attack the dirt and grime hiding in places like heating vents and in light fixtures. At this point, your best option is to bring in professionals. Maid services in Plano charge an average of $157 for a cleaning, but it’s worth the price to have a sparkling-clean home.

Don’t forget that you still have to live in your home while it is on the market. Keep the things you must have, and give the kids a bit of leeway when it comes to holding onto their important stuffed animals, toys, etc. They will need something to help them feel secure as they watch their world change in front of them. With that in mind, look for ways to keep their bedrooms and play areas tidy (as well as the rest of the house!). Organize their bookcases, add a stuffed-animal hammock (available for less than $10) to the bedroom, and give them a few chores to take the cleaning burden off of you. Ready to sell the family home?

Finally, remember that this is all only temporary. It’s a hassle, yes, but getting your home in shape and keeping it clean are the best ways to ensure a smooth sale. Don’t forget to let the kids check out the new house before moving day, and reward their cooperation with lots of hugs and permission to decorate their new bedroom however they want it.

Image via Pixabay

Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 for more information on home repairs. Visit our website for all our capabilities. Ready to sell the family home?

Electric Car Charger

Electric Car Charger

Electric Car Charger

Electric Car Charger -Plano Texas Handyman installs Tesla Home charger and Electric Car Charger and Tesla Home Charging Stations.  We offer installations for Square D Tesla chargers, Eaton Tesla chargers , GE Tesla  chargers, as well as any other electrical panel manufacturer.  Below is a list of the most common wiring apparatus for Tesla Home Charging Stations.

Call Plano Texas Handyman today for a quote on your installation at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for more information.  Listed below are the most common devices for Electric Car Charger .  We install Electric Car Charger Stations for all panel products: Square D, Eaton, General Electric, and a few others.  Installation charges for a Mobile 1450 with standard connections, charges start at $350 and the Tesla wall connector at $450.

Tesla Home Charging Station

Electric Car Charger

Mobile Connector – The Mobile Connector is included as standard equipment with a new Tesla. It’s a compact bundle that can charge your car from different outlets at medium to low speeds. We recommend installing a Wall Connector at home and leaving the Tesla Mobile Connector in the trunk of the car as a backup option while traveling.  When installed with a 240 volt 50 amp breaker will produce (Miles of range per hour of charge) for the Model 3 of 30 MPH, the Model S of 23 MPH, and the Model X of 20 MPH.  DO NOT even consider 120 volt service as it will not produce desired results. Electric Car Charger

This bundle includes:

  • Mobile Connector (20 feet)
  • Adapter for standard 120 volt household outlets (NEMA 5-15)
  • Adapter for 240 volt outlet (NEMA 14-50)
  • Cable organizing bag
  • Adapter for public charging stations (SAE J1772)
Tesla Home Charging Station

Tesla Home Charging Station

Wall Connector – A Tesla Wall Connector is the most convenient way to charge at your home or office, with the fastest charge speeds. Simply plug in overnight and wake up to a full charge, every morning. Electric Car Charger

To purchase a Wall Connector, visit the Tesla online store.


  • Customizable power levels, allowing installation with any circuit breaker ranging from 15 to 100 amps
  • Compatible with 208-250 volt power supplies
  • As many as four Wall Connectors can share available power, perfect for owners with more than one Tesla or commercial installations
  • Mounted to a wall or post, the Wall Connector can be installed both indoors and outdoors
  • 48 month warranty, Electric Car Charger

Each Tesla has different charging capabilities depending on its onboard charger. The table below shows circuit breaker rating for the fastest home charging speeds. Learn more about the onboard charger capabilities of different Tesla cars. For all trims not listed, open the charging menu from the charge icon on your touchscreen to view your maximum charge rate.

Please refer to Tesla Support for specific details on the Tesla Home Charging Station wall connector.  Call today for a quote on your installation at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for more information.  Listed below are the most common devices for Tesla Home charging. Electric Car Charger

Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

Best Smart Home Devices of 2019 – Smart home devices let you do things such as turn your lights on using your smartphone, stream music to a speaker using Alexa, lock your doors remotely, clean your house, and much more. But smart home gadgets are about more than just convenience. These devices can also help you save on heating and energy costs, let you know if someone’s trying to break in, or if there’s some other emergency. This is a great article re-posted from Tom’s Guide which is a great resource for anyone researching technology products.

Monarc Technology is the premier provider of Smart Home products in the Dallas Area, Plano, and North Texas.  Call Ted Vinci today at 214-507-3415 for more information or visit our website – Monarc Technology.  Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

While still in its infancy, the number of smart home products—from Amazon to Xiaomi—is rapidly growing. We’ve tested dozens of smart home devices, from cameras to lightbulbs to thermostats to smart light switches—even robot vacuums —to find the best of each for your new smart home. Here are some of our favorites.

Latest News & Updates (May 2019)

  • The Sonos One and the Sonos Beam now work with Google Assistant. The smart speaker and smart soundbar have had Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant built in, but now consumers can also opt for Google’s assistant. While you can’t run both assistants simultaneously, you can switch the Sonos One and Sonos Beam from Alexa to Google Assistant in the Sonos app. However, at the outset, some features not available include: calling, voice match, purchases, interpreter mode, and setting routines in the Google Home app.
  • Google is ending the Works with Nest program on August 31. That means if you have a smart home device directly connected to a Nest product, this interaction will no longer function. For example, if you programmed your Philips Hue lights to turn on when the Nest Protect detected smoke, this won’t work as of September 1.
  • Google announced a new smart display, coming this summer. The Nest Hub Max ($229) will feature a 10-inch display, a front-facing camera for making Google Duo calls, and dual speakers. Google is also rebranding the Google Home Hub as the Nest Hub, and dropping its price to $129.  Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

Best Smart Speaker

The second-generation Echo is smaller and more attractive than the original. Plus, you can change its skins to match your decor. Inside, the new Echo does all the same things the original does: control smart home gadgets, connect to other smart home hubs, read you audiobooks, check the weather, and even let you purchase things online just by using your voice. And, as a speaker, it sounds pretty good, too.

Best Security Camera

The Arlo Q’s 1080p camera boasts excellent quality video, both day and night, has great motion detection, and a flexible scheduling feature. Best of all, though, is that you get a week’s worth of video storage for free.

Best Smart Thermostat

The Ecobee4 has everything we liked about its predecessor, the Ecobee3, such as a slick touchscreen interface and a remote sensor that helps ensure all the rooms of your house are getting heated or cooled properly. But the newest version also has Alexa built in, so you don’t need an Echo or an Echo Dot to control your other smart home devices, ask for the weather, or do anything else you can do with Amazon’s voice assistant.

Best Light Bulb

Philips Hue White starter kit includes two bulbs and a hub to connect them to other smart home devices. While you can’t change these bulbs’ colors, you can adjust their brightness (up to 800 lumens), and add up to 50 to a single hub. Philips’ bulbs also work with a wide range of smart home systems, including Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, Google Home, and Nest.  Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

Philips also has an app, Philips Hue Sync, which lets users synchronize their smart bulbs with multimedia content on their Mac or Windows PC. For example, you can set your lights to flash and change color in time with music, video and movies being played on your computer. Users can also modify the color schemes and themes to suit their tastes.

Best Video Doorbell

Nest’s device has the best video we’ve yet seen from a video doorbell cam; its microphone and speaker were excellent, too. Nest’s camera can recognize faces, and even announce them when they come to your door. While it needs a hardwired connection, it continuously records video, so you’ll never miss an event. You can also set up specific zones, so you’ll only be notified when a person or object appears in that area of the frame. While you’ll need to subscribe to the Nest Aware service (starting at $5/month) to get all of its features, they’re worth it.

Best Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector

Nest Protect – Not only does the Nest Protect detect smoke and carbon monoxide, but its sensors are designed to pick up both slow- and fast-burning fires. Plus, the Protect will tell you in which room the fire is located, and can be linked to other smart home devices, so that it can automatically turn on your Philips Hue lights in the event of an emergency.  Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

Best Smart Lock

Take your pick, I like them all, whether it be August, Kwikset, Schlage, Yale, it makes no difference.  These companies have been making locks for a while.  Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

Best Smart Home Garage Door Opener

Searching or reaching for that elusive garage door opener remote while trying to navigate a dark suburban street, toppled garbage cans or your kids’ toys – or your kids – often proves awkward and dangerous. Chamberlain’s garage door opener lets you tap your device’s screen to open or close your garage from anywhere. Soon, the company also plans to add geofencing capabilities so it can sense when you’re near your driveway to automatically open and, when your car is safely ensconced inside, close your existing garage door. MyQ can control nearly every garage door opener from all the major brands manufactured after 1993.

Monarc Technology is the premier provider of Smart Home products in the Dallas Area, Plano, and North Texas.  Call Ted Vinci today at 214-507-3415 for more information or visit our website – Monarc Technology.  Best Smart Home Devices of 2019

Selling your home, what repairs to make

Selling Your Home What Repairs to Make

Selling your home, what repairs to make. Home Improvements when selling a home – When you are preparing your home for sale, there are many inexpensive improvements you can do to your home that will bring you greater value and help sell your home faster. Plano is an incredibly competitive market. Most all updates will present a suitable return. We have all heard that you should de-clutter, de-personalize and have chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven when it is shown. We also know that if you have unlimited funds that granite, hard wood and stainless steel appliances are all the rage, but expensive. There are also the basic improvements, such as new carpet, but this can still costs thousands of dollars. The following are some inexpensive ways to improve your home with very little cash that we suggest you consider before selling. Create Value Selling a Home, Selling your home, what repairs to make

Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for a complete list of all our home improvement capabilities. Updates when selling a home

1. Repaint or Replace Front Door

The national association of realtors does a study every year of “Remodeling Cost Vs. Value Report”* where they rate home projects with the highest and lowers return on investment. Last year the highest return on investment went to replacing your front door (85.6% R.O.I). The first impression is a lasting impression so make it count. Dated interior doors make a house look cheap, and a worn front door makes a house un-cared for or old. However, if you have a nice front door and if you don’t need to replace your front door consider painting it a bold color, maybe using high-gloss paint or staining of its stained. If your front door is in disrepair, consider replacing it with a new, stylish door. For a $300 to $800 dollars you can buy a nice door. It is also a nice touch to put a flower pot on each side of the front door with flowers in bloom. Home Improvements when selling a home, Selling your home, what repairs to make

2. Interior Doors

This is also true for interior doors. If you have old dated brown flat panel wood doors, consider replacing them with nice raised panel white doors or paint the existing door to make them look clean and fresh. The basic raised panel hollow-core doors are about $20 to $30 and they come pre-primed. If you want to make an extra good impression, replace the trim the with and an updated style. Selling your home, what repairs to make

3. New Electrical Switch Plates

This is such an easy improvement, but can really stand out. We have seen freshly painted rooms with old yellowed ugly switch plates. Even worse, some even paint over them. New switch plates cost about 50 cents each. You can replace the entire house with new switch plates for about $20. For the entry, living room and other obvious areas, spring for nice bronze or brass plates. They run about $5 each – but make a difference. Selling your home, what repairs to make

4. New Door Handles

In addition to changing doors, consider changing the handles. An old door handle, especially worn gold ones look bad. For about $20, you can replace them with new bronze finished handles. For an added touch you can also replace bathrooms and bedroom door handles with the fancy lever handles (about $20 each). Home Improvements when selling a home, Selling your home, what repairs to make

5. Caulking, Weatherstrip, and clean windows.

Caulk all your tubs and and showers, make them look freshly new. Replace the weatherstripping on all exterior doors, it dampens road noise and makes the house seem tight. Have your windows professionally cleaned, this is a massive improvement that will make your home seem new. Home Improvements when selling a home, Selling your home, what repairs to make

6. The Entry

After the front door, your next first impression is the foyer area; make sure it is inviting. Find a plant, decorative piece of furniture or art that sets the tone for the home. Many older homes have linoleum entry floors. Make sure that all floors are properly cleaned when trying to sell – this may require you to have a look at the best upright vacuums 2019 – vacuum cleaner ratings, test results as you’ll want to do all you can to get the best valuation for your home. Consider 12? ceramic tiles, which for a 8ft x 8ft area should cost about $100 in materials, or use travertine.

7. In the Bath

It is amazing how many older homes that have an ugly old shower curtain. An old used shower curtain can be a turnoff and make the home feel dirty. If your shower/tub is nice, buy a curtain that ties back so you can show off your tub and display decorative soaps and candles. If you have shower doors and they are worn and beyond reviving, consider removing and hanging a curtain. If you need to replace a shower door, consider clear glass to make the bath look larger (unless the shower is unsightly then use obscure glass). A new shower door cost about $500. Shower Doors and More will measure and install for about the same price as the door alone. If you need a new vanity they are a couple hundred dollars. Make sure the bathroom is clean, put up decorative towels and soap. So make a trip to Ross, Tuesday Mornings, Fred Meyer or Target and buy some fresh towels, decorative soaps a nice new rod, curtain hooks and a fancy curtain. Selling your home, what repairs to make

8. In the Kitchen

Replacing kitchen cabinets is expensive, but painting them can save you money. If you have old 1970?s style wooden cabinets in a lovely dark brown shade, paint them. Use a semi-gloss white and finish them with colorful knobs. Replace the old dated doors with new shaker style doors and paint. There is no need to paint the inside just organize them well so if they are opened it, is not scary in there! For a considerably more you can replace the cabinet doors and paint them to match the cabinets. Americans spend a major amount of their time in the kitchen so a nice bronze modern faucet looks great as well. They cost around $150 from Home Depot but you can shop sales or go to Amazon or eBay for better deals. Selling your home, what repairs to make

9. Window Shutters and Trim

If the front of you home is plain or you have old looking windows, consider adding shutters. You can purchase them in a few colors at Lowes and are easy to install. For a custom color you can purchase them pre-primed. Paint them a color that sets off your house. They do not necessarily need to be the trim color – (if the house is dark, paint the shutters white. If the house is light, paint them dark). You can enhance your curb appeal by just painting the trim of your house. We actually replaced our outside trim and added crown and dental molding and now our standard 80’s home looks more like a craftsman home and the trim really pops. And don’t forget the simplest of steps- cleaning your windows! If you’re in Canada, take a look at window cleaners like Nick’s Window Cleaning. Selling your home, what repairs to make

10. Add a Nice Mailbox and House Numbers

Everyone on the block has the same black mailbox. Be different and for about $35 you can buy a nice mailbox. For about $60 more, you can buy a nice wooden post for it. People notice these little details and buyers love them! Also buy new house numbers or paint the existing ones make them stand out. Be creative. Home Improvements when selling a home, Updates when selling a home

Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for a complete list of all our home improvement capabilities. Selling your home, what repairs to make

Home Electrical Problems

Home Electrical Problems

Home Electrical Problems – It’s important to have an inspection of your homes electrical system by Plano Texas Handyman.  Call Plano Texas Handyman today at 214-507-3415 for more information or visit our website to get a full perspective on our capabilities.  Home Electrical Problems

The following is a list of common items that could cause an electrical issue in your home:

1. Loose Outlet or Switch

Sometimes new homes are built so quickly that adequate care is not taken to secure the outlets properly. Besides being an eyesore, they can be dangerous. Wires can move around and come loose from the terminals, causing them to overheat and potentially catch fire. You can buy plastic spacers to tighten the connection or place small washers around the screws.

2. Cutting Electrical Wires Too Short

Wires that are too short provide a poor electrical connection. More importantly, they can be dangerous. Wires should stick out at least three inches from the electrical box. If you have wires that are too short, you can buy wire connectors that will extend the wires. These are available at home improvement and hardware stores.  Home Electrical Problems

3. Exposed Combustible Material from Recessed Electrical Boxes

If an electrical box is behind combustible material like wood paneling, sparks or heat from the wires can cause a fire. You can fix the problem by adding a plastic or metal box extension. This is another problem that many people may not notice themselves, but an experienced residential electrical service provider can find and easy fix.

4. Installing a Three-Slot Receptacle Without a Ground Wire

Many people choose to replace a two-slot outlet with a three-slot one so that they can use three-pronged plug in them. That seems simple enough. However, the outlet has to be grounded in order to do that. To find out if your outlet is grounded before installing a three-slot one, you can purchase a tester. If you find an ungrounded three-slot outlet in your home, just replace it with a two-slot one.  Home Electrical Problems

5. Too Many Wires in an Electrical Box

This can cause wires to short-circuit and can be a fire hazard. You can purchase a larger box. These come in plastic and steel. It requires some calculations involving the number of wires and clamps and knowing what gauge wire you have.

If you choose to do this yourself, consult with someone at the store before going to purchase the box to make sure that you?re buying the right size. You may be able to take a clear photo of the wires and clamps to bring to the store with you.

6. No Electrical Box

Wires should never be connected outside of a box. If there is a short circuit or loose connection, there is nothing to protect the surrounding area from damage from sparks and heat. This creates a fire danger. If you have something like a porch light or other electrical connection without a box, you can install one and reconnect the wires within it. As noted above, make sure that you purchase the correct size box for the wiring.  Home Electrical Problems

7. Backward-Wired GFCI

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens near sinks and in areas like garages and patios. They protect people from getting shocked by shutting off in there?s a change in the current. GFCIs have two sets of terminals labeled ?line? and ?load.? If these are backwards, they cannot perform their intended function and the results can be deadly. If you discover that the connections are backwards, connect the power to the ?line? terminals.

This is a crucial thing to fix, so if you have any concerns about doing it yourself, contact us to have one of our Knoxville or Atlanta electrical contractors do it. It is also something we can check on a regular inspection.

8. Reversed Hot and Neutral Wires

If a hot, black wire is connected to an outlet?s neutral terminal, the result can be a deadly electrical shock. The white wire should always be connected to the neutral terminal. That terminal is marked, usually with a silver or light-colored screw. Because the mistake doesn?t affect the functioning of the outlet or fixture, most people don?t realize they have this situation until someone is shocked.  Home Electrical Problems

If you find this situation, connect the white wire to the neutral terminal (marked by a silver or light-colored screw) and the hot wire to the other terminal. If there is a bare copper wire or green wire, that?s the ground. It needs to be connected to a grounded box, ground wire or the green grounding screw.

9. Missing Cable Clamp

Cable must be secured with a clamp. If it?s not, the connections can become strained. This can be fixed by installing a clamp. If the cables are in a metal box, the sharp edges can cut the wires. Metal boxes must have an approved cable clamp. Plastic boxes have different requirements based on their size.

10. Unprotected Plastic-Sheathed Cable

If this type of cable is left exposed to framing members, it can be easily damaged. This is especially true if it?s around ceiling or wall framing. This can be fixed by either screwing or nailing a 2 x 2 piece of board that?s 1 ? inches thick along the cable. It?s not necessary to staple the cable to the board.  Home Electrical Problems

Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or have been in your home for awhile, it’s advisable to have your electrical outlets inspected by an experienced residential electrical service provider like Plano Texas Handyman. Our experience can spot problems and fix them before they become potentially disastrous. Call Plano Texas Handyman today at 214-507-3415 for more information or visit our website to get a full perspective on our capabilities.  Home Electrical Problems. Read more about Home Electrical Safety

Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm – Now it’s simpler than ever to know about a potential emergency at home – regardless of the location.  Upgrading your smoke alarms is one of the best investments you can make in your home.  Modern day smoke and CO2 alarms can make your life a dream.  Modern day smoke detectors and CO2 alarms have a 10 year battery life and can detect particles as small as ions in your home.  Modern day smoke alarms don’t “chirp” annually to dive you and your family insane.  SOLUTION: change your smoke alarms, and don’t worry about it for 10 years.  In fact, you should consider a full blown smoke/ionization detection for your home.  Most all smoke detectors installed before 2013 are for the most part , obsolete.  For a relatively small overall investment, $700 and up, you can upgrade your home immensely.  Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 for more information and budget prices.  Visit our website for more details and full capabilities.  Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

How often should the smoke alarms in your home be replaced? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. A national survey conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows that nine out of 10 Americans don’t know how often smoke alarms need to be replaced. The correct answer: every 10 years.

As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week, NFPA is promoting this year’s campaign theme, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” to better educate the public about this potentially life-saving message.

“While the public generally knows that smoke alarms play an important role in home fire safety, some smoke alarm messages are not as well understood,” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “Not knowing how often smoke alarms need to be replaced – or that they even have an expiration date – are among them.”

According to Carli, that lack of awareness means some U.S. homes may have smoke alarms that have outlasted their full functionality, putting people at increased risk in the event of a home fire. NFPA statistics show that three out of five U.S. home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working alarms.

Key survey findings

  • Half of Americans (50 percent) have three or more smoke alarms in their current home.
  • Almost one in five Americans who have smoke alarms (19 percent) say the oldest smoke alarm they currently have in their home is 10+ years old.
  • Nearly one in five Americans who have smoke alarms (18 percent) are not at all sure how old the oldest smoke alarm they currently have in their home is.
  • When asked how often they should replace smoke alarms, nine in 10 Americans (90 percent) did not select the correct answer, which is once every 10 years.

“Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” said Carli. “That’s why it’s so important to make sure they’re working properly.”

A smoke alarm’s age can be determined by looking on the back or side of the smoke alarm, where the date of manufacture can be found. Smoke alarms should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase or installation). In addition, smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and batteries should be replaced when they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.

Fire departments throughout the U.S. and Canada play a key role in making Fire Prevention Week an annual success by implementing the campaign in their communities; departments throughout North America will be hosting open houses and other local events throughout the week of October 9-15.

For more information on smoke alarms and this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.

Smoke Alarm

Placement of Smoke Alarms
In a typical home fire, occupants have just minutes to escape. And because smoke in one area may not reach a smoke alarm in another, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends placement of at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home (including basements) and in every bedroom , and outside each sleeping area. The NFPA also recommends interconnection of alarms to provide better whole-home protection than stand-alone alarms. Leading authorities recommend that both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms be installed to help insure maximum detection of the various types of fires that can occur within the home. Ionization sensing alarms may detect invisible fire particles (associated with fast flaming fires) sooner than photoelectric alarms. Photoelectric sensing alarms may detect visible fire particles (associated with slow smoldering fires) sooner than ionization alarms.  Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

Upstairs – Smoke alarms and/or ionization detectors in all bedrooms and hallway, CO2 alarm in common area, a fire extinguisher, and and escape ladder in all bedrooms  rooms.

Downstairs – Smoke alarms and/or ionization detectors in all bedrooms and hallway, CO2 alarm in common area, a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Garage – Smoke alarms and/or ionization detector, CO2 alarm, a heat detector and, a fire extinguisher.

We recommend Kidde smoke alarms which are rigorously tested and are approved for use in any room in the house as specified by the user guide. Some alarms have added features which may make them more beneficial for certain areas. For examples, a model with super-bright LEDs can help illuminate a hallway escape path, or a model with voice warning in a bedroom can reduce confusion by informing of the danger with specific voice messages. Near the kitchen, a model with an intelligent algorithm may help reduce nuisance alarms.  Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm.

Combination Smoke/CO Alarms
A combination Smoke/CO Alarm makes it easy to provide both types of protection throughout the home. Industry experts recommend a CO alarm be installed on each level of the home – ideally on any level with fuel burning appliances and outside of sleeping areas. Therefore, a combination alarm can satisfy one of your smoke alarm location requirements as well as a carbon monoxide location.

The Kidde Intelligent Alarm combines the detection capabilities of an ionization smoke sensor with that of an electrochemical sensor, which is used to detect CO. Since carbon monoxide is present in all fires, having both detection chambers work together in one alarm is a breakthrough in the fire safety industry. When either sensor notices a potential hazard, it will communicate with the other. Depending on what is detected, the alarm will adjust its smoke sensitivity in order to better discriminate between a real hazard and a false one. This constant communication enhances the alarm’s overall performance in all fires, and significantly reduces the potential for a nuisance alarm. Fire Safety For Your Home. Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

Heat Alarms
Heat alarms are not suitable for fire detection by themselves, and must be used as part of a smoke alarm system. In some areas of the house, it may be beneficial to use a heat alarm that senses fire by air temperature, rather than a smoke alarm that senses particles in the air. The installation of heat alarms in attics, furnace rooms or garages is recommended, since these locations occasionally experience conditions that can result in improper operation of smoke alarms. Heat Alarms are designed to alarm when presented with a certain temperature at the alarm. They will not react to smoke and should not be used to replace smoke alarms, but as a supplement to a complete smoke alarm system.

Placement of Fire Extinguishers
Ideal Locations- Kidde has designed some fire extinguishers with features that specifically address these types of dangers. For example, Kidde’s kitchen fire extinguisher has a proprietary nozzle design that allows a broad, dispersed discharge of agent that delivers a high volume, low velocity delivery of dry chemical. This is the only fire extinguisher UL-Listed for residential cooking equipment. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides minimum recommendations for the home.  Fire Safety For Your Home.  Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

Step 1: Choose Primary Fire Extinguishers (Must-Have)
For your main home protection install a 2-A:10-B-C rated extinguisher on every level of your home – no more than 40 feet apart. This could include locations such as living areas, garages, and workshops.

Step 2: Choose Supplementary Fire Extinguishers (Should Have)
The kitchen is the likeliest place you will have a fire. Protect special locations in your home with a UL rated fire extinguisher.

Every Home Needs Them
Smoke detectors are a must in all homes, and carbon monoxide detectors are needed for any home with fuel-burning appliances such as a furnace, water heater, range, cooktop, or grill. Even those living in all-electric homes should install carbon monoxide detectors, because CO can seep into the house from an attached garage or if a backup generator is used too close to your living quarters in the event of a power outage.

You’ll need smoke detectors that detect flaming and smoldering fires for each bedroom, with at least one detector installed on each floor, including a finished attic and the basement. You should also have a carbon monoxide detector on each living level, in the basement, and near (not inside) an attached garage.  Fire Safety For Your Home.

Ionization Smoke Detectors are best at detecting the small particles typical of fast, flaming fires but in our tests, all tested poorly for detecting smoky, smoldering fires. Ionization units are prone to false alarms from burnt food and steam, so don’t mount them near a kitchen or bathroom.

Photoelectric Smoke Detectors are best at detecting the large particles typical of smoky, smoldering fires but poor at detecting fast, flaming fires. Photoelectric units are less prone to false alarms from burnt food and steam, so you can install them safely around the kitchen or bathroom.

Dual-Sensor Smoke Detectors combine ionization and photoelectric technology to save you the hassle of installing two separate smoke detectors. But you will still need to install carbon monoxide detectors.  Fire Safety For Your Home.  Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

Features to Consider
The latest smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have added features to better protect you and your family. Here’s what to consider when tailoring the safest combination of detector options to your household’s needs.

Power Source: Hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors tie into your home’s wiring and require professional installation. Battery-only detectors are simple to install, and they work during a power failure, but most batteries require annual replacement. (Lithium batteries may last the life of the detector.) Plug-in detectors are available, but electric outlets are typically located low on the wall, while the optimal placement for the detector is on or near the ceiling.

Battery Backup: A backup battery for hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide alarms offers security in case of a power failure. All battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide detectors warn you when the battery is low. Some provide warning chirps, a low battery voice message, or a visual display.

Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: You can link some smoke and carbon monoxide detectors so that all units in the house sound an alarm when any single one is triggered. Some newer homes have wiring already in place to link the detectors. In a home without such wiring, you can buy detectors that interconnect wirelessly. These smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are an important safety feature in a home with multiple levels. A standalone detector may be adequate for a small, single-level home.  Fire Safety For Your Home.  Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

Digital Carbon Monoxide Display: This feature displays carbon monoxide concentrations in parts per million, even when the concentrations are below the level that triggers the detector. Carbon monoxide detectors certified by UL must go off at no less than 70 ppm, but as little as 30 ppm can harm heart patients, pregnant women, and children. The display can alert you if the carbon monoxide level is inching up or is higher than usual. Some also show the peak level since they were reset, warning you of any spikes that occurred while you were away. Expect to pay a little extra for this feature: $5 or $10 for standalone detectors, slightly more for smart detectors.

Hush Button: To silence a nuisance smoke detector, pressing a hush button is more convenient than disabling the unit, and it avoids the possibility of forgetting to turn it back on. All the smoke detectors we tested had this feature. Some carbon monoxide and combination CO/smoke detectors can work with a remote control to silence a nuisance alarm.

Fire Safety For Your Home – Now it’s simpler than ever to know about a potential emergency at home – regardless of the location.  Upgrading your smoke alarms is one of the best investments you can make in your home.  Modern day smoke and CO2 alarms can make your life a dream.  Modern day smoke detectors and CO2 alarms have a 10 year battery life and can detect particles as small as ions in your home.  In fact, you should consider a full blown smoke/ionization detection for your home.  Most all smoke detectors installed before 2013 are for the most part , obsolete.  For a relatively small overall investment, $700 and up, you can upgrade your home immensely.  Call Ted Plano Texas Handyman with Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm at 214-507-3415 for more information and budget prices.  Visit our website for more details and full capabilities.  Fire Safety For Your Home.  Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

Structured Media Enclosure

Structured Media Enclosure

Structured Media enclosure provide a convenient termination location for wiring home runs from wall outlets, creating a distribution point for voice, data, audio, and video applications. Available in compact, 14″, 21″, 28″, 30″, and 42″ sizes to address a broad range of capacities for single family homes, and light commercial applications,  Structured Media enclosures support new and retrofit installations.  Structured Media Enclosure

Structured Wiring Panel
Structured Wiring Panel

Linked throughout by structured wiring systems, fully connected homes integrate cable TV, home automation, home security, satellite feeds, audio/video systems, computers, Internet, multiple phone lines, and more to provide convenient control over the entire home environment. Built for today with an eye toward tomorrow, these structured media panel systems enable you to fully maximize the capabilities of home devices and systems, and help them run together more efficiently.

Monarc Technology and Plano Texas Handyman organize your structured media panel and make sense of all the wiring into a unified panel.  Call us today at 214-507-3415, ask for Ted Vinci to discuss your wiring panel.  Visit our website for all our technology aspects.

(1)  The structured media enclosure >> These versatile enclosures allow you to manage and distribute a full range of voice, data networking, audio, and video wiring from one central location. We have enclosure solutions for every construction type: wood, steel frame, concrete, and cinder block construction, and an RF Transparent Enclosure for expanding the reach of a wireless network. Structured Media Enclosure

(2) Data distribution patch >> Monarc Technology offers durable Cat 6 and 5e panels and modules for data cable distribution. The high-end Twist & Mount Panel makes installation simple and provides easy access for moves, additions, or changes in the home network.

(3)  Telephone Patching and Distribution »  Despite landline communication is passe, you can choose from a wide selection of telephone distribution boards, modules, or panels for telephone and security systems. Our Telephone Input Distribution Panel (TIDP) supports inputs for use with triple-play modems and complements the look and simplicity of our Twist & Mount Patch Panels.

(4) Premium and Passive CATV Splitters >> Distribute the incoming RF signal to locations throughout a home via coaxial cable using Leviton passive CATV splitters, or use Premium splitters to optimize the performance of digital cable signals to handle HDTV.

(5) Wireless Routers and Switches >> Monarc Technology offers a complete Gigabit solution with high-speed routers and switches. Create a Local Area Network (LAN) in the home or office to network PCs, printers, and other connected devices. Integrate with high speed Wireless Routers for maximum speeds on wired and portable devices. Structured Media Enclosure

(6)  Ultra High-Flex Patch Cords >> Ultra High-Flex Patch Cords allow for tighter radius connections and a cleaner finished appearance inside a dressed Structured Media Enclosure.

(7) ISP Modem (provided by Service Provider) >> The modem converts DSL, cable, or fiber optic signals for Internet access for triple play service or pure data connections.

Your structured wiring panel is the backbone of your homes information highway.  Monarc Technology can create a well identified system that will male your home a high tech pleasure!!  Call Ted Vinci at 214-507-3415 for more information.Structured Media Enclosure

Monarc Technology and Plano Texas Handyman can organize your structured media panel and make sense of all the wiring into a unified panel.  Call us today at 214-507-3415, ask for Ted Vinci to discuss your wiring panel.  Visit our website for all our technology aspects. Read more about structured wiring panels, Structured Media Enclosure

Cost to Convert to a Smart Home

Cost to Convert to a Smart Home

You can Google the Cost to Convert to a Smart Home and come up with a plethora of results sine smart home technology is one of the hottest topics for today’s homes.  Most of the results you would get from the search are not really what you are looking for so we have taken the liberty to provide some realistic numbers.  Plano Texas Handyman and Monarc Technology is your premier provider of smart home technology, call us today for information at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for more details. Cost to Convert to a Smart Home

Some primary items to consider when considering smart home technology.

  1. Don’t be mislead, most any home can incorporate smart home technology to control lights, plugs doors, irrigation, and a plethora of sensors and security devices.
  2. So what do you really want to accomplish in your smart home?  Think about normal everyday electrical apparatuses lights lights, lamps, garage doors, entry doors, thermostats and security, we can convert these to smart home technology.  Monarc Technology provides you with an extensive list of smart home devices and smart home platforms.
  3. Third, you need to consider the importance of controlling your devices under one “app” platforms or for a more versatile application, you can use multiple “apps”.

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. And convenience is added to security when these devices can be controlled remotely from mobile devices.

A basic smart home system which includes front door lock, garage door opener, master bedroom ceiling fan, 3 to 4 primary lights, and two (2) thermostats Will run you about $1000, material and installation costs.

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. Cost to Convert to a Smart Home

Consider this, if you can spend $3,000 or more to have a smart home, then you can have a robust and really nice system that incorporates a lot of technology. So what do you get for about $3,000:

  1. Whole house WiFi – you need a whole house WiFi system which includes a super-fast router with 2 mexh points.
  2. A 1000Mbps Plug and Play Ethernet Switch that allows easy installations of new electrical apparatuses.
  3. Twist and mount Cat6 patch panel
  4. Up to five (5) wireless light switches
  5. Two (2) wireless plugs
  6. Smart door lock
  7. Master bedroom ceiling fan control
  8. Smart HD camera
  9. Smart sprinkler system controller.
  10. Single “app” for controlled environment and sequencing of all functions in groups.

Let Plano Texas Handyman or Monarc Technology help you design smart home.  Cost to Convert to a Smart Home.  Plano Texas Handyman and Monarc Technology is your premier provider of smart home technology, call us today for information at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for more details. Cost to Convert to a Smart Home