Show Notes: Everything You Need To Know…
On The House has everything you need to know! Especially for the holiday season!
Under the On The House Christmas Tree is powering your home cleaning in the new year with Hoover ONEPWR product giveaways!
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Everything You Should Know About Smart Home Lighting
The Skinny on Smart Lights
Smart lights let you control a bulb remotely via an app on your phone, through a smart speaker or even by talking to them. You can program when the lights go on and off, change a bulb’s color as well as find your own creative uses (more on this later). Here are a few things to consider when choosing which smart lights are right for you. You can add a smart light to any light fixture or lamp. It really is as easy as changing a light bulb: Unscrew the old one; screw in the new.
Hub vs. Hubless
Some smart lights require a hub, which is a device that plugs into your router. A hub like the one shown connects other light bulbs, allowing you to interact with them from your mobile device and/or smart speaker.
So, how do you know which lights are compatible with hubs? When you’re shopping for lights, look for the words “Zigbee” and “Z-Wave.” These are names for the protocols/languages that smart devices use to communicate. Leaders in the hub market are Samsung SmartThings, Wink and Amazon Echo. Prices range from $50 to $200. Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols are both capable of creating mesh networks (which allow signals to hop from device to device, extending range) and can operate over a significantly longer range than Wi-Fi.
Hubless bulbs don’t require any extra hardware or devices. They’re cheaper than a bulb with a hub. These bulbs connect via your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Wi-Fi bulbs are more reliable and don’t require a user to be within Bluetooth range (approximately 30 ft.) to control the light. Wi-Fi smart lights require no additional hardware; they use your existing router to connect to the internet. If you’re interested in dipping your toe into the smart light market, a couple of Wi-Fi bulbs may be the best way to go.
White vs. Color-Changing
Some people may be happy with just the ability to dim or turn lights on or off from their phone, while others may want more. Color-changing lights can be used like typical light bulbs—to set the mood during a romantic dinner or even as a notification system (see below).
Make Smart Lights Smarter
- Want to know if you’ll need an umbrella today? Tell the smart light located by the front door to turn blue at a certain time if rain is in the forecast.
- Do you sometimes miss important emails? Program a smart light at your desk to blink red if you get an email from your boss.
- Want your lights to turn on automatically when you arrive home? Configure them to turn on when you first connect to your home Wi-Fi.
- Want to get into the team spirit with some mood lighting? Tell your lights to change to the color of your favorite sports team when a new game starts.
- Want to know when the price of one of your stocks rises? Make your lights turn green when you’re making money.
- Want to be the first to know of a zombie outbreak? Set up your light to flash when the CDC sends out an alert about a deadly virus.
All these and more are possible by pairing your color-changing smart lights with a free third-party service called IFTTT (ifttt.com). The sky’s the limit for what you can make your smart lights do for you; all you need is a little imagination.
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TIimely Winter Tips With WD40
Prevent car parts from freezing: A frozen-shut door lock or ice-clogged windshield wiper spray nozzle is the last thing you need when you’re running late to work. Lubricating locks with a squirt of WD-40 before winter can keep them from locking up when icy times return.
Prevent snow from sticking: Spray your shovel and your snowplow blades with WD-40 to stop snow from sticking to them as you clear the walk.
Open iced mailboxes: Put the ice pick down. WD-40 is a safer “open sesame” when you find your mailbox door frozen shut.
Keep squirrels at bay: WD-40 Co. CEO Garry Ridge told the Los Angeles Times that his favorite story about an unusual use for WD-40 involves a woman who sprayed it on her backyard bird feeder pole because squirrels were filching bird food. Petroleum jelly — good ol’ Vaseline — works for this purpose as well.
Staying Safe During A Home Power Outage
There are many things that can cause power outages such as severe storms, high winds, and even accidents. When the power goes out at home, you will want to take steps to keep your home and family safe. There are some simple things that can be done to stay safe in the event of a power outage. Having supplies and a plan in place can be extremely helpful in the case of a power outage.
If you only lose power for a few hours, your food will probably be fine as long as you keep the freezer and refrigerator doors shut as much as possible. If the power is out for longer, you may need to take steps to preserve your food. Freezers that are half full will normally keep food safely for about 24 hours while a full freezer will keep food safely for about 48 hours. The refrigerator will not keep food nearly as long during a power outage so to prevent spoilage you should place items such as milk, eggs, meat, and fish, into a cooler with ice.
If you lose power, any water purification system you have may not work. In order to ensure water is safe it is best to use bottled, treated, or boiled water during a power outage. Your local health department is usually able to provide recommendations on how long water should be treated or boiled depending on where you live. You should never use contaminated water to brush your teeth, prepare food, wash your hands, or wash dishes.
Heating and Cooling During a Power Outage
When you lose power in the winter months, there is a risk of hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, everyone should wear layers of clothing and a hat, and use blankets to keep warm. Moving around and staying active will also help to warm you up. If you suspect hypothermia, you should get to a medical facility as quickly as possible. Losing power during the summer months can mean dealing with extreme heat, which can cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and fainting. To avoid overheating, you should drink adequate amounts of water and also avoid caffeine and alcohol. If you begin to feel weak or dizzy, it is important to sit or lie down, splash your face with cold water, and drink some water. If you do not begin to feel better, you should immediately seek medical attention.
Carbon Monoxide and Power Outages
If you lose power during the colder months, you may be tempted to use an unsafe heating source in your house. This should never be done as it is not only a fire hazard but can cause carbon monoxide poisoning which can be fatal. If you lose power due to a severe storm or natural disaster, carbon monoxide leaks can be a risk so it is important to check you home before returning.
Power Recovery and Electric Shock
When power returns after an outage, people, especially those working on restoring the power, can be at risk for electrical shocks. It is important to take steps to avoid electrocution and if you believe that someone has been electrocuted, you should immediately call 911 for help. Downed power lines can also be extremely dangerous and if you encounter a downed power line you should stay in your car and call for emergency assistance.
Preparing For a Power Outage
You never know when you may encounter a power outage or some other situation in which you need to be prepared. You should have a disaster supply kit ready and in an easy to reach location in the event of a power outage or some type of emergency. Your kit should include emergency supplies such as batteries, flashlights, medicine, and first aid supplies. The kit should also include bottled water, and canned or dried food.
Purrrrrfect Holiday Safety Tips
The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities.
- Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
- Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
- Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
- That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
- Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.
Avoid Holiday Food Dangers
- Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
- Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
- Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
- Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.
Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering
- House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
- Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
- A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
- New Year’s Noise: As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.
Kitchen Trends That Will Be Huge In 2020
If you thinking of some kitchen upgrades in the New Year here are some new trends for 2020
Heavy Up the Metal
The open shelving trend isn’t going anywhere, and in a kitchen void of upper cabinetry, the hood is inevitably the centerpiece. Dress it accordingly! Copper sheeting, with coordinating straps and rivets, adds age-old warmth.
Embrace Black Appliances
Plain old stainless steel has its merits, but in a small kitchen, a giant swath of silvery metal can quickly dominate the room. Appliance manufacturers such as GE, Samsung, and Whirlpool have wised up to this dilemma, introducing refrigerators, stoves, and microwaves in sophisticated shades of black and slate.
Think Beyond “Greige“
Gray undertones lend a timeless, totally livable vibe to most paint colors—not just beige, go for color
Feel free to mix it up: Unified cabinetry is a thing of the past.
Concealed Range Hoods
If you feel inclined to give more attention to your appliances, backsplash, or accessories, then you’re going to be the first to embrace this new trend. Let your other kitchen elements steal the show with a sleek and minimalistic range hood.
Berkeley’s 3rd Annual Winter on the Waterfront, Fireworks, Lighted Boat Parade & Snow FREE Berkeley Yacht Club
Join the City of Berkeley’s 3rd Annual Winter on the Waterfront, a chance to celebrate winter with activities for all ages including real snow, a lighted boat parade, visits with Santa, and a fireworks display over the Bay. Winter on the Waterfront & Lighted Boat Parade Saturday December 14, 2019
Starts at 2:00 pm
Houseplants For Everyone On Your Gift List
For the new plant parent: ZZ plant
It can take all kinds of light situations and can go for long periods of time without water. Such a forgiving plant! And so pretty, a perfect gift for a beginner or anyone with a brown thumb.
For the insomniac: Lavender
Lavender in in fact, it is probably one of the best known plants for helping to coax calm nerves and slumber.
For the Dog Lover
Also known as the elephant-foot tree and the bottle palm, can be found in the ASPCA’s list of “Plants Non-Toxic to Dogs.” This fun and whimsical houseplant is also very easy to care for, making it a great gift for someone who travels a lot … or would rather spend more time playing with their pup than taking care of a plant.
For the cat lover: Parlor palm
a miniature fishtail dwarf palm, good luck palm, tabletop palm, and bella palm. Don’t you think it would look great in a home with cats? The ASPCA gives it its blessing as non-toxic to cats.
For the sun worshipper: Aloe Vera
For a giftee who can’t get enough sun, and in fact may get a bit too much, an aloe vera plant should be theirs. As the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences notes, “Aloe vera is touted as the ‘burn plant,’ the perfect natural remedy for a bad sunburn, and according to some studies, aloe vera can help. Initial research has shown aloe vera aids the skin in healing from sunburns and mild burns. In addition, aloe vera oil can moisturize the skin, helping you avoid the peeling normally associated with sun damage.” As a succulent, aloe plants like a bright spot, but don’t need much water.
For the chef: Windowsill herbs
Nothing beats having a few pots of windowsill herbs from which to snip while cooking. Herbs that do well inside include basil, bay laurel, chervil, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. You could also give edible flowers, like nasturtium or pansies. Some shops offer grow-your-own kits, or you could put together your own selection of potted herbs.
~ Thank you~
A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming!
Thank you to our Technical Support:
- Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer
- Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer
- Sam Reed – Associate Producer
- Rico Figliolini – Digital Master
Thank you for tuning in to know something about everything! And check in next week for more cool tips!
“Everything You Need To Know…” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired December 14, 2019.