Smart Homes – Garage and Outdoors

A Smart Home is a home that is equipped with modern technology to make it more functional, efficient, and convenient than ever before.

Smart Home products are accessible, provide you with knowledge of your home, and make your life easier by saving you time. One of the best things about a Smart Home is that you can retroactively upgrade your home without spending thousands of dollars, and installation is quick and easy!

We were so curious about how to make a Smart Home that we did some research and found tons of cool products on the world wide web! Throughout the next few months, we’ll be posting different products that we think could help make your home a Smart Home! For now, we give you our first Smart Homes blog post: Appliances that will help make your garage and outdoor space more functional and convenient than ever before!

Garageio:

Garageio is the next step in bringing your garage to the modern day, without needing to buy a new garage door opener.

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The Garageio Blackbox is a WiFi-enabled device that installs directly into your home garage. It allows you to open and close your garage door with your smartphone from anywhere in the world via the Garageio app, which is available on both Apple and Android devices.  If you have a babysitter, contractors, or in-laws that frequently visit your home, Garageio gives you the control to give (or take away) visitor’s access as needed, giving you peace of mind.

Our favorite feature of the Garageio is its ability to integrate with other apps on your smartphone using IFTTT (If This Then That). You can connect Garageio to your weather channel app so that your garage door automatically closes when it starts to rain, or you can integrate it with your smartphone’s location services to automatically open and close the garage door when you arrive home. As a safety feature, you can also set it to notify you if your garage door has accidentally been left open!  There are also plans for future integrations with other services such as SmartThings, so this Smart Home product will continue to offer you more convenience!

There’s no need to worry about someone hacking in to your Garageio account!  Garageio uses bank-level security that includes industry-standard encryption and short-lived authentication tokens.  And any action your Garageio makes has to go through the app, so local communication across your home WiFi network won’t budge your garage door.

With such a useful array of features, you may think that Garageio would break the bank, but it is surprisingly affordable! The price is based off of the number of doors it would control. The prices are as follows:

1-door garage: $199

 

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What comes with the 1-door garage package.

2-door garage: $209

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2-door garage package.

3-door garage: $219

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3-door garage package.

Installation:

Installation should take about 15 minutes per door and can be done with just a screwdriver, a stepladder, masking tape, and the Garageio app. Just activate your Blackbox over WiFi using the 16-character code on the website, install the Blackbox on your garage door opener, place the activator on your garage door, and you’re good to finish setting up your door with the Garageio app!

Click here to see the more detailed installation instructions on their website!

 

Schlage Smart Lock:

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The Schlage Smart Lock is a new touchscreen deadbolt lock with an alarm. By inputting your password on the touchpad, you unlock the deadbolt. The touchpad has a matte finish so that it’s resistant to fingerprints and smudges, and the lock is capable of holding up to 30 user codes! You can also set it to give off an audible alert whenever the door is moved. You can choose the type of alert you receive: activity, tamper, or forced.

Another great feature of this lock is its wireless capabilities. Depending on your service provider, you can connect it with your home security system via computer, tablet, or smartphone.

This Smart Home appliance offers you plenty of security and knowledge of who goes in and out of your home, and costs $265.

Installation:

Installation is nearly the same as any other door handle, but while you’re installing the deadbolt, you run a cable inside the door from the deadbolt to the alarm assembly. That’s it! No confusing wiring, just a screwdriver.

Click here to see more information on their website for installation.

 

iRobot LOOJ:

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The iRobot LOOJ  is a remote controlled robot will save you from the dangerous and time consuming task of cleaning your gutters. It operates by breaking clogs, lifting and throwing those clogs away, and then sweeping and scraping the remaining debris. It also comes with an extra set of smaller ejectors that work on different types of debris.

The remote control puts more power in your hands than you would initially think! When you have other work to do, you can set the robot to the automatic clean mode! Or if you want, you can use the remote control to make the robot move forwards and backwards, and you can chose the spin direction to ensure that debris is thrown away from your roof!

Home automation products such as this are worth the price they carry, and the LOOJ will cost you around $300.

Installation:

The iRobot LOOJ is a perfect example of a smart home device with no installation.  Since this is a portable robot that you can carry around, you don’t need to worry about installation at all! It stands just under 2 inches high and is 3 inches wide, making it able to fit in most gutters. However, you can download the measurement document from their website to make sure it will fit.

Click here to see their measurements document to make sure that the robot will fit in your gutters.

 

High Tech Pet Power Electronic Pet Door:

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The Power Pet Door is a vertically-sliding pet door that’s activated by an ultrasonic collar. Since it operates via ultrasonic waves, the door is able to sense the direction of the collar. This means that the door won’t open when your pet wanders by or sleeps next to the door. The door also has 4 different controls: in only, out only, full access, and closed & locked.

You don’t have to worry about feeling a draft through this pet door! It’s wind and weatherproof with an airtight seal, giving it much better insulation than a regular pet door.

The door uses an AC adaptor, but there is an optional battery that you can buy if you want to have battery power as a back up or operate the door solely off of batteries.

The door comes in two different sizes as well! The medium size allows for animals of up to 30 lbs., and the large size is for pets up to 100 lbs.

Pricing for this modern home product depends on the size of the door that you purchase.  The prices are as follows:

Medium: $299.99

Large: $349.99

Installation:

It’s as simple as installing a regular dog door. Cut the hole for the section where your pet can walk through, screw the pet door into place, and you’re done.

Click here to see their page for more specific information on how to install your pet door.

 

Skydrop Sprinkler:

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The Skydrop sprinkler controller is a WiFi-enabled controller for your sprinkler system that helps you reduce your water usage by watering your lawn more efficiently. The Skydrop doesn’t just water less when it rains or when the temperature drops; it uses your internet connection to track the weather in your hour every hour so that it knows when the soil is dry or already saturated. This means that the Skydrop tells your sprinkler system to run less often, but at the right times and in just the right way. This means that you’ll have greener, healthier grass while using less water!

Sometimes you’re away from home and may want to check in on or manually control your sprinkler system. Not only does Skydrop allow you to control your sprinklers with the Skydrop controller itself, but also with a web browser, smartphone, or table! This means you can manage your lawn from anywhere that you can access the internet!

This revolutionary smart home product may seem like it could cost you thousands of dollars, but the Skydrop controller is only about $280!

Installation:

It should be noted here that the Skydrop Sprinkler controller requires more wiring than the other products on this list, so make sure to take a reference photo of your current sprinkler controller before you take it down! It’s also important to note that since the Skydrop uses your wifi connection, you should install it in a location with a strong connection.

Screw the new Skydrop unit to the wall, test and connect each of the wires, and then attach the main controller to the unit! While this installation process may seem daunting, in the end its entirely worth it!

Click here to see their page for more specific information about installation.

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Want to see more ways that you can upgrade your home with Smart Home products? Read our newest article on security systems and cameras!

Tips for Living in a Small Space with Pets (aka: Don’t Be the “Smelly House Friend”)

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We’ve all got friends like this (or maybe you’re the friend). You go over to their house, and it’s covered in pet hair and smells like a barn. There’s no reason to blame the pets in this instance — there are certainly things that you can do, even living in a small space, that will keep you from being the “smelly house friend.”

1. Invest in a good vacuum.
It doesn’t have to be expensive — just good. One of my favorites is the Bissel Bagless 12-Amp Upright Momentum Cyclonic, available at Loew’s for $99. That one served me well for years, until I traded it in for a Dyson DC24 Ball Upright ($299.99), which works like magic — but yes, it’s an investment. If you have a puppy, or an accident prone pet, look into some of the deep-cleaning, steam models like the Bissell 47A2 Deep Clean Premier Carpet Cleaner, $199.99. You’ll save yourself a lot of scrubbing! Plus, lots of vacuum companies make special animal hair versions as well for some extra help.

2. Have some helpers for when you don’t want to pull out the full-sized vacuum.
I have a Roomba iRobot that I program to run between cleanings (we’ve named her Rosie), and that definitely helps out in the pet hair department. These will cost you a pretty penny, however, so if you’re not in the market for that, consider a handheld dustbuster or even a Swiffer if you have hardwood floors.

3. Catbox got you down?
Make sure to clean it regularly or invest in a self-cleaning box that will scoop automatically after your cat uses it. Store the box in a space that is used primarily for that purpose only. What if you don’t have space? Consider these creative solutions for a prettier appearance and invest in a great air purifier to go right next to the box. Don’t try to use non-odor absorbing deodorizers or air fresheners. Trust me, you’ll just get used to the smell and won’t notice how grossly overpowering it actually is. Or put the box near a window that can be left cracked to filter out odors.

4. Bathe your pet! Brush its teeth (or let it chew on pet dental items)! Feed it a high-quality diet!
A healthy pet is a happy, non-smelly pet. You’d be shocked at what a high-quality diet can do for their skin, coat and digestive system (and you know what an unhealthy digestive system smells like!)

5. If you’re getting a new pet, look for a breed that is right for your space.
A non-shedding or smaller breed might be what’s right for the space you’re in. And no matter what breed you’re looking for, consider adoption first. There’s no need to go hunting for a purebred tiny. You’ll most likely find that one at the shelter anyway.

6. Designate a spot just for your pet.
They like that anyway! My chihuahua, Grady, has her little heating pad and blankets at the end of the couch, where no one else sits. Another option — get your buddy his own little bed on the floor. Regardless of where it is, make it your pet’s very own spot. You can clean/wash that area once a week to keep everything fresh, plus that will keep your friends’ clothes pet hair free when they come over.

Got tips of your own? We want to hear them!

(Image by Andie Powers)

source: Apartment Therapy

Tip Tuesday: Combination Pet Bed / End Table

DIY Network Tips

Octogon tables were all the rage 40 years ago; today you can find them at garage sales and flea markets for next to nothing. We updated this one by removing the door and giving the whole piece a fresh coat of paint. Then we made it pet friendly by lining the inside with fabric and a fluffy cushion. (read how to make your own)

source: Brian Patrick Flynn, Decor Demon

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