Good Friday everyone! For those of you who partake in lent as many of my friends do, you can once again indulge yourself in whatever it was you gave up plus it's official... Spring is here, but some of us may be hesitant to believe so with recent snow fall and mother nature not making up her mind. But lets hope the worst is over and take a look back at what 2018 has brought us thus far. There are many more innovations and products out there but these are a few that really caught my eye for any homeowner. Ill provide one for each of our everyday uses.

 

Thermostat

  • EcoBee4: This product took home best energy efficient product at the International Builder Show this year. Instead of registering the temperature only where the thermostat is located, this system integrates small sensors you can place in rooms and get temperatures all throughout the home. This will then eliminate those Hot/Cold rooms that dont seem to get enough conditioned air. And for anyone out there loving their Amazon Alexa, EcoBee4 has that voice service built in as well so it becomes more than just your averge thermostat.
  • https://www.ecobee.com/ecobee4/

 

Furnace

  • DLS Series SL280NV Ultra-Low NOx Furnace: This is the first residential ultra-low NOx furnace avaialble for to purchase for your home. This puppy produces 65% less NOx emmisions than a standard low NOx furnaces and has an AFUE of 80%. Bringing with it a variable speed blower and 2 stage gas valve, you can count on a consistent temperature in your home. Lennox is a name you can trust and they continue to be first movers with this product. This should certainly grab the attention of anyone that is concious of the environment, anyone who lives in certain areas that are more stringent on NOx output and high efficiency such as areas in California, and many green builders.
  • https://www.lennox.com/landing/low-nox

 

Smoke Detector

  • OneLink Safe and Sound Smoke/CO Alarm: Everyone better have a smoke alarm in their home. The vast majority of us who were swept away by the show "This is Us" and witnessed the tragedy will understand how crucial these little devices on your ceiling are. Smoke alarms are required in any dwelling but Carbon Monoxide detectors are only required in some states, making it a recommendation for the remaining (My state of Ohio being one of those recommendation state). Therefore, some people get that "superhero" feeling where they are invincible and wont ever have a gas leak even though they have a gas stove, furnace and water heater. News Flash! Its called the silent killer for a reason. Anyways, many of you will probably recognize the brand logo "First Alert" and many of you probably have this brand of smoke detector in your home. Now they bring you the OneLink, which is a combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm. It does not require any hard wiring so a DIY'er can install this, it is wifi enabled (sending alerts to your phone if you were away and something happened), the standard 10 year battery, it can be used as a speaker for audio, Alexa enabled and will interconnect with any current BRK/First Alert hardwired alarms so you can slowly build to a fleet of non wired smoke/CO alarms. Probably my favorite thing about this system that im sure anyone who has set their alarm(s) off will agree... when 1 alarm goes off, they all go off and fortunately I know which one went off first because I accidentally set it off, but in a real fire or gas leak I wont have that convenience and Ill be guessing where it is as each and every alarm goes off. This system will tell you what and where it detected the danger and that will allow for a safer escape or remedy if possible.
  • https://onelink.firstalert.com/

 

Hot Water Tank

  • SmartPlug Instant Hot Water Control: This little gadget can pack some huge savings. There are so many things that consume energy in your home and many of you might not know that your water heater can often times be more draining on your wallet than you A/C or Furnace system depending on the efficiency of the units. My gut tells me that in any case, your water heater is top 3 on the list of energy consumers in your home. The smart plug is an easy add on that provides smart functionality to any water heater. How does it work? The SmartPlug will monitor and record useage patterns over a week and then use this data to automatically cycle when the data shows it is needed. So its not going to be turning on during the day when you are at work, its going to circulate when your living style demands it. By doing this, the SmartPlug will allow for almost immediate hot water when you need it where as before you would need to turn on the water, let it warm up after a few seconds or longer depending on how far you are from the tank, and essentially waste water while you waited. A Department of Energy study reveiled that you could save up to 12,000 gallons of water per year by removing this wait time for hot water.
  • http://www.tacocomfort.com/products/systems/instant_hot_water/smartplug/index.html

 

Lighting

  • Phillips Hue White Ambiance: It seems everything we once knew is moving towards the SMART technology. I wont complain although my wife is determined to believe this convenience is turning me into a couch potato. Smart light bulbs allow you to control both light intensity and color from the touch of your phone. Oh and you can add this to the list of items you can connect to your Alexa. This will allow you set the mood and save on energy consumption as you change the setting to fit your needs.
  • https://www.usa.philips.com/c-m-li/hue

 

There are obviously other items out there and availabe to you, these are just a few to consider. If you are looking for quick and easy ways to save money, look into energy saving/conservation sockets that you plug in and set like a timer for outdoor lighting. We all like to leave things plugged in and as minimal as it may seem, its still drawing some energy. These socket timers allow you to set the time you are away from home so you can leave items plugged in knowing that they wont be draining your electric all day.

 

Just some products that you can incorporate into your home for a greener tomorrow. If you have any questions or concerns with your current electric bill, be sure to ask your local HVAC business for recommendations on how you might lower your bill. Sometimes it doesn't require a new product to cut your energy costs but a professional to look over your systems and determine if they are functioning at their best. Maybe you just need a tune up or maybe something in the system isnt balanced, and that is holding you back from the savings. Some of the systems in our home seem so simple, "Air gets heated here, travels through this and blows out there" but there is sooo much more that goes into it. You may never know if your system is performing as it should without the second opinion of a professional. And you dont need to settle on the first person you ask, make sure to get multiple opinions.

 

Have a great, Good Friday! And a wonderful Easter Sunday!