{HOME} Everybody Chill! You Don't Have To Spend A Fortune On Your Home Over Winter

*This post contains affiliate links to essential oils and other products I talk about in the post. Purchasing them here from my blog is no extra cost to you but I do earn a commission that helps in the cost of running this blog. Thanks for your support! Read full disclaimer here.
Home is where the heart is… It’s also where the heat is. And the light. And the comfort… And they’re all extremely important commodities as we move into the last month of the year. Because, as they say in Westeros… Winter is coming! Over the coming weeks and months we tend to brace ourselves for outrageous energy costs. We assume that we need to spend a fortune to keep our homes warm and cosy until spring sets in.
However, a warm, cosy and comfortable home needn’t cost us a fortune. We can lay a lot of the groundwork now to ensure that your home is winter ready in the coming months. Before things get really cold, you might want to look at the following...

Is it time to rethink your radiators?
When your heating system is on, take a walk over to your radiator. Does it feel as warm to the touch as it should? Is the heat evenly spaced all around your radiator? If you feel cold spots here and there you may need to bleed your radiators (here’s how). If this still doesn’t work, don’t worry. You don’t need to replace your radiators, simply add a radiator additive. This expands when mixed with the water in your radiators and has a greater surface area than water meaning that it absorbs more heat.

Take a good long look at your water heater
Your water heater is at the heart of your home’s central heating system. However, (just like us) as they get older they are less able to work their magic efficiently. When a water heater goes bust it can be extremely expensive to replace or repair. It can also create a serious health hazard. On the other hand, getting ahead of the problem can save you a small fortune. Your heater / boiler may need a little TLC from a trained plumber like Edwards Plumbing, LLC if the pilot light burns yellow instead of blue, you notice strange smells or sounds emitting from it or it seems to take longer and longer to heat up your home. A little expenditure now can save you a small fortune later.

Winterize your pipes
Many of us don’t give our pipes a great deal of thought over winter, but if we forget to winterize our pipes, they can actually burst in an extremely cold snap and result in an extremely expensive repair. This is one December drama that you seriously don’t need. Make sure that you winterize your pipes. It’s relatively quick and easy and can save you a lot of money and inconvenience.

Spend some quality time in your attic
Your attic insulation is pivotal in preventing heat from escaping through your roof and taking your hard earned money with it. Take a look in the attic with a flashlight and look for anything that might indicate that your insulation is compromised like holes (likely burrowed by mice, rats or squirrels) bite marks in your rafters or droppings. If you see any of these, you may want to replace your insulation as quickly as possible and lay down some humane traps.

{HOME} Is Your Home In Need Of Some Fixing Up?

*This post contains affiliate links to essential oils and other products I talk about in the post. Purchasing them here from my blog is no extra cost to you but I do earn a commission that helps in the cost of running this blog. Thanks for your support! Read full disclaimer here.
Some of you are going to have mixed opinions of this. Because it might be easy to think that your home is perfect, and it might be easy to think that any moment it’s going to fall apart. It all depends on how you perceive the problems you have, and how bothered you are about sorting them. Because we promise you now, no home is perfect, and if you really search hard enough, you will find a nice amount of issues waiting for you to fix. But who has the time or patience to go round the home and check for all of the issues. We bet you’re thinking ‘why would I do that to my mental wellbeing?!?!’. Well, without you even realising it, you will be picking out all of the things, and you will be burying them to the back of your mind. Even if it’s just the issue of a broken bulb that you’ve decided to ignore for months now, it’ll still be there in the back of your mind, workings its magic on your stress levels along with any other minor issues your home has. Until one day you just snap, and you go into meltdown thinking that your home is about to fall down. So, let’s stop you from ever getting to that meltdown stage, and give you some solutions to the most common home issues.
The Exterior
The exterior of your home is definitely something that you can pick out faults with. Sometimes the seasons that we go through just play absolute havoc on even the most modern and sturdy of homes. But we get why it would be easy to ignore the exterior. Afterall, your main focus is always going to be on the inside. It won’t be often that you’ll find people staring at the outside of your home, so why would you focus on making it look pretty? Well, it’s not always about the aesthetics here. Just one little thing could go wrong and you could have an absolute nightmare on your hands, especially in terms of your roof. If you have tiles lose, or perhaps some of the storms we’ve had have damaged it, all it takes is for a little bit of pressure from some snow, and you could have a huge issue on your hand. Not only that, but lose tiles leave holes, and holes let out all of that warm air that you’ve been trying to keep in now that winter is here. A roofing contractor is the best person that you can speak to for all of your issues up to, but it’s not only up top that you have to focus on. Sometimes we neglect the outside of our homes so much, that it gives a negative view of the inside. You have to admit that if you’ve drove past a home that looks a bit tatty on the outside, you’ll instantly think the same of the inside. So, take some time to do up the front of your home. Paint the exterior, put some hanging baskets out, and generally just get rid of any faults that you can find!

The Interior
If the interior needs fixing up, then we know it’s going to be driving you mad. It’s easy to have a few things break when you have an older home as well, so we know that the issues might just be mounting up and up. Common interior issues we think that most people have will are the little things like lightbulbs, switches, or electrical items. But how easy are all of these to change? It really doesn’t take long for you to change a lightbulb, and all you have to do is change a wire in the switch to get it working. If you don’t consider yourself as much of a handyman, then surely you do know someone who can give you a hand if you gather all of the tools together! It’s also really common at this time of the year for things like the central heating to break, so make sure you have a gas engineer on standby for any emergency situations.

The Most Costly Of All Issues
Finally, we want to talk about one issue in particular that’s going to cost you a fortune if it does go wrong, and it usually goes wrong when you ignore the issue. Anything to do with your plumbing needs to be solved asap. From a drain that doesn’t drain, to a toilet that doesn’t flush. It’s just so important that you’re addressing issues as and when they come in!

{TRAVELING} Peace Of Mind In Leaving Your Home Behind: Protecting Your Home While You’re On Vacation

*This post contains affiliate links to essential oils and other products I talk about in the post. Purchasing them here from my blog is no extra cost to you but I do earn a commission that helps in the cost of running this blog. Thanks for your support! Read full disclaimer here.
When you take the family on vacation, you want to know that your home is safe and sound. But is your property as secure as it could be? When you make casual upgrades to your home, do you give due consideration to how much like Fort Knox you can make it, or is it all about the aesthetics? Don't beat yourself up, we all want a good-looking home; but the big problem with a good-looking home is that it attracts a certain caliber of thief. So, with that in mind, when you are making your home as stylish as possible, you need to give consideration to making it as safe as possible. What are the best ways to do this?

Keeping Social Media Posts To A Minimum
It isn't something we would think about normally, but your vacation time would consist of numerous social media posts. After all, you want to show off to the world how much of a great time you're having. But if you don't have particularly secure methods when you're posting online, and your friends list is as long as the Magna Carta, are you leaving yourself open to break-ins while you're away? This means that, if you suspect anybody on your friends list as being capable of breaking into your property, then you might want to think about deleting them! If you got a million great photos that you want to share with others, think about doing it when you get home. And also, if your social media profiles have any information about you that can be linked with your address, such as your phone number, it's important for you to perform a swift delete!

The Various Home Security Methods
Protecting your home these days is than ever before. If you're going away, especially for a few weeks, and you don't have any neighbors that can keep an eye on the property, you need to have home security methods in abundance. There are so many options available to us these days, companies like LifeShield don't just provide the basic security methods; they are more akin to a smart home. This means you can program your door locks, turn your lights on and off, as well as have access to your security camera. So even if you believe a security camera to be insufficient as far as a deterrent is concerned, you can program your house lights to come on at a certain time, therefore giving the impression that somebody is in the property. The great thing with live video security systems is that you can access it from your phone, giving you the opportunity to witness what's going on in real time.

How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors?
Some of us don't know our neighbors as well these days, and for so many of us, this is just the hallmark of the world we live in. But it is additional peace of mind when you are heading on vacation for a few weeks, and you may have all of the security systems in place, but you want a human eye to be kept on proceedings. And if you get a lot of random parcels delivered to your door and hidden behind the bin, having a neighbor with a spare key can help keep up pretenses. After all, you want to give the impression that the house is being continually maintained, so thieves don’t target it. So if you've got plants out the front that need constant care, asking a neighbor or a family member nearby to sort out these little duties every couple of days. This will help to keep up the impression that you're still there.

The Little Things…
And while having a neighbor keeping on top of things will benefit you in so many ways, it's about the little things that can go a long way when you are away. A good example is the mail, making sure that you put a hold on any deliveries, like newspapers because a letterbox stuffed full of cards and papers is a sure fire sign that nobody is there. In addition to this, if you're after more peace of mind, you must give thought to the habits you usually have at home. If, for example, you're not one to close your curtains all the time, but when you decide to go away you think it is common sense to shut them so people can't look in, but this is a dead giveaway. This is where automating your lights to come on at a certain time will help too. And if you've got a home security system, you need to advertise it as blatantly as possible. Thieves will always try their luck, and even if they manage to set off an alarm after breaking a window, they've still gained access to your property. The best deterrent is having it as obvious as possible. Other little things that ive you some peace of mind can include having a safe installed, especially as far as your valuables are concerned, as well as making sure that the spare key you usually hide is nowhere to be found. It may be a last minute thing, where you're rushing to get to the airport on time, but if you usually leave a key under a plant pot, be sure to take it with you or post it through the letterbox. Thieves will always look for that hidden key, and they will find it!

Nowadays, it's easier than ever to protect our home while we're away, but it seems that crime is through the roof, especially in smaller neighborhoods. It's not just about protecting your home with the most up-to-date equipment, but it's about being clever in the other methods. Neighborhood watch schemes can help, but if you are new to a neighborhood, or you just don't know the people that live nearby, you can't run the risk of placing your trust in these people just yet. You want your vacation to be a happy time, so give yourself that peace of mind and protect your home as best as possible

{HOME} The Tech Dummies Guide to Setting Up a Smart Home

*This post contains affiliate links to essential oils and other products I talk about in the post. Purchasing them here from my blog is no extra cost to you but I do earn a commission that helps in the cost of running this blog. Thanks for your support! Read full disclaimer here.
Smart homes are becoming more and more popular. You can automate everything in your home, from lights to televisions, and more and more smart gadgets and appliances are being released all the time. But what if you want a smart home, and you're not very tech savvy? If you feel like you're not very good with technology but you want to have a smart home, you might be intimidated by all of the technical jargon that seems to come with buying smart items and setting them up in your home. However, you don't need to be put off. It's easier to create a smart home than you think.
Call in the Professionals
Firstly, if you don't want to try and get your head around all of the smart technology, think about calling in some professionals. You don't need to know how something works to use it, so leave all of the technical stuff to someone else. Desert Valley Audio Video can set everything up for you so that it's easy to use. With the right setup for your automated home, you should be able to use it intuitively. No technical skills should be necessary for you to use a smart thermostat or turn on your smart TV and sound system at the same time.

Research What You're Buying
You don't need to have a lot of technical knowledge to buy smart technology. It can be a little confusing when you're trying to buy something and you don't understand some of the terms being used. However, a little bit of research can go a long way. You don't need to get into the highly technical stuff, but it helps to know things like how an item connects to other items. Does it use Bluetooth, WiFi or perhaps something else? Some manufacturers have their own systems for connecting their products. It's a good idea to know what you should be looking for and why.

Try Things Out
Before you buy anything, it's wise to try something out. It's not always easy to find the opportunity to do so with electronics and appliances, but there are ways to try before you buy. You might know someone who already owns something that you're thinking about buying, and who could let you try it out or see how it works. Some things are possible to try out in-store too, or perhaps in a showroom. However, if those options aren't available, even watching a video can help you to understand how something works.

Pick Easy to Use Gadgets
Some smart gadgets can be easier to use than others. If you're buying new items for your home, start with those that won't be difficult for you to start using. Many things are designed to be "plug and play", basically getting you set up right away as soon as you plug them in. Something like a smart thermostat or light switch, or even a home assistant like Amazon Echo, should be fairly easy to start using.

Setting up a smart home doesn't have to be difficult. With a bit of help, you can do it easily.

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