Show Notes: Home Smart Clean Home – On the House

Show Notes: Home Smart Clean Home

By on August 20, 2017
smart home upgrades

Sending your youngest child off to college? Send them off with an important lesson…. how to clean their bathroom! Now with your new spare time make your home smarter with a few simple tips.


Living Near A Trader Joe’s Could Increase The Value Of Your Home

 If you want to increase the value of your home without having to do a whole lot, move somewhere close to a Trader Joe’s.

According to a recent report from Attom Data Solutions, a company that collects property data, home buyers that live near Trader Joe’s have experienced ― on average ― a home price appreciation of 67 percent over the past five years.

Comparatively, home buyers that live close to Whole Foods have experienced a five-year appreciation of 52 percent, while those living near an Aldi saw a similar 51 percent appreciation.

According to a market overview of the United States’ home prices and values from Zillow, appreciation has increased an average of 29 percent over the past five years.

“The disparity in home values and price appreciation for homes located near each of these three grocery stores is really a reflection of the types of neighborhoods that each grocery store chain is targeting,” Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of Attom Data Solutions, said in a statement to HuffPost.

“Both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are for the most part targeting neighborhoods with low crime, good schools, and high incomes while Aldi is targeting neighborhoods with lower incomes and often higher crime and lower school scores,” he said. “The neighborhoods targeted by Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are pretty similar, and are more likely to have bounced back quickly during the housing recovery of the last five years than neighborhoods targeted by Aldi.”


Home Sweet Smarter Home

Do you want to make your home “smart,” but don’t know how to begin? The good news is there are myriad ways to start, and making your home smart doesn’t have to cost a lot, either. At its most basic definition, a smart home can mean any device or appliance connected to the internet that you can control using a smartphone or whose function you can automate.

The devices and services that make a home “smart” will be different for every individual. In fact, whether you know it or not, chances are that you already have some type of smart home device.

  • Make Your Home Smarter
  • Lights
  • Smart Speakers
  • Smart Plugs
  • Security Cameras
  • Locks
  • Smart Home Hubs
  • Smart Thermostats
  • Light Switches
  • Video Doorbells
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Robot Vacuums
  • Garage Door Openers
  • Lights

What they will do for you: For starters, smart lights can lower your energy bill. All smart lights are LEDs, which consume far less electricity than incandescent and even fluorescent bulbs. However, smart lights can also be controlled via your smartphone, and you can set schedules for when these lights turn on and off.

Smart Speakers

What they will do for you: Rather than taking out your phone to control your smart home devices, a smart speaker lets you merely speak commands to get your gadgets to do your bidding. More than that, though, smart speakers can tell you the news and weather, read your recipes, even order a pizza or a Lyft. Oh, and they’ll play music, too.

Smart Plugs

What they will do for you: A smart plug or switch is the easiest and cheapest way to make any appliance in your home “smart.” Connect, say, a lamp to the smart switch, and then plug the switch into the wall, and voila, you’ll be able to control the lamp from your phone. You can also set schedules for the plugs to turn on and off and link them to other smart home devices.

Security Cameras

What they will do for you: A video surveillance system lets you keep an eye on your house and keep tabs on who’s coming and going, all from your phone, tablet or laptop. The better cameras will also have night vision and can be linked with other smart home devices. That means the camera will start recording when you leave home and stop when you return.


What they will do for you: Beyond allowing you to lock and unlock your door using your smartphone, a smart lock will also let you issue temporary passes to others and see who’s using your door. Integrate the lock with other smart home devices, and you could have your lights turn on automatically when you unlock your door when leaving home in the evening.

Smart Home Hubs

What they will do for you: A smart home hub provides a uniform platform through which you can control a bunch of smart home devices that otherwise wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other. Hubs also let you automate a lot of processes.

For example, you can have your lights turn on, thermostat change temperature, music start playing, and window blinds lower when you unlock your front door in the evening. However, it’s important to note that your smartphone can do many things a dedicated hub can do, nd that smart speakers like the Amazon Echo are becoming the new hub.

Smart Thermostats

What they will do for you: One of the most obvious benefits of a connected thermostat is that it will let you remotely set the temperature in your house using your smartphone. However, when linked to other smart home devices, such as motion sensors and lights, it will also save you money in the long run by reducing your heating and cooling costs, as you won’t be using energy when you’re not at home.

Light Switches

What they will do for you: If you have a lot of light bulbs in your home, replacing them all with smart bulbs can quickly become expensive.

A more cost-effective solution could be to install a smart light switch. It works like a regular switch but can also be controlled from your smartphone and connected to other smart home devices. However, unlike with most of the other products in this guide, installing a light switch requires some basic electrical knowledge, so you may need to hire an electrician.

Video Doorbells

What they will do for you: You’ll never have to guess who’s at your door when you have a video doorbell, which sends a live feed to your smartphone or tablet when someone pushes the button at your front door. Plus, it acts as an intercom, helpful for those who have trouble getting to the door quickly. Just keep in mind that a really good security camera could help monitor your front door as well.

Smoke Detectors

What they will do for you: If there’s smoke (or fire) in your house, a connected smoke detector can alert your smartphone, wherever you are. Plus, they can automatically turn on smart lights, making it easier for you, or whoever’s in your house, to get out safely.

Robot Vacuums

What they will do for you: Make vacuuming less of a chore. You’ll still have to break out the Hoover from time to time, but a robot vacuum will help cut down on the daily accumulation of dust and pet hair. And, because of its low profile, a robot vacuum can get to places you can’t, like under your bed or dresser.

Garage Door Openers

What they will do for you: Adding smarts to your garage door means you can control it from your phone, but more importantly, it means the door can notify you if it gets opened when you’re not at home. You can also connect it with lights and smart cameras, which will activate if the door opens.


How to Clean a Bathroom:

Tips Your Parents Should Have Taught

Learning how to clean a bathroom is no one’s idea of fun, but let’s get real: You simply have no choice in the matter. So unless you enjoy horrifying friends and family every time they dare to visit, it’s essential that you don those rubber gloves and learn how to clean a bathroom right.

To help, here’s a hit list of the areas you should tackle from top to bottom, including some surprising spots you’ve probably never cleaned but really should (ventilation fan, anyone?). For each area, we’ve also included some pro tips on how to clean thoroughly without an excess of muck or elbow grease so you can emerge unscathed.

How to clean a bathroom ceiling

Little-known fact: Microscopic particles of soap hitching a ride on shower mist can leave behind a film on the bathroom ceiling, which causes mildew and grime to build up. To get it off, apply a layer of all-purpose cleaner to the ceiling with a cloth. Then turn on the shower, crank the hot water, and let the steam and the cleaner mix for about 20 minutes. Then wipe it off.

How to clean a ventilation fan

Ventilation fans inhale dust and other airborne particles, which will eventually linger on the blades. Remove the vent cover, soak it in warm water and dish soap, and then rinse clean. While that’s drying, use a stiff, clean paintbrush to wipe away dirt on the motor, and suck up any debris with a vacuum. When you’re finished, replace the cover.

How to clean a bathtub

Before you start scrubbing, step back and take a good look at the tub.

“Generally, you can see where the water line is,” says Debbie Sardone, president of “In most cases, half of the bathtub is pretty grimy and dirty below the water line, but above the water line it’s relatively clean.”

Therefore, the best approach is to spray from the water line down with a soap scum cleaner. Use a scrub brush and spread the cleaner in a circular motion, then rinse with hot water.

“Don’t spray the whole tub or you’re going to needlessly overwork yourself,” Sardone says.

How to clean a shower

Once again, don’t do more work than you need to.

“Waist-down has 80% of the soap scum, so you don’t need to spray the tiles all the way to the ceiling,” says Sardone. “If you rub your hand along the tile, you can feel where it’s smooth and then where it gets rough and resistant, so from that area down spray it thoroughly with a foaming soap scum cleaner.”

Then take a scrub brush and scrub in a circular motion from top to bottom and rinse with hot water. When you’re done, the tile should feel smooth and glossy.

You can also use soap scum cleaner to treat the inside of glass shower doors. If you have an open shower though, you’ll want to buy mildew-resistant shower curtains, like vinyl, and replace them as needed (say, once a year).

To clean a shower head, fill a plastic bag with undiluted white vinegar, place the bag over the head so it’s submerged, and then seal the bag with a rubber band. Let it soak overnight and then scrub with a toothbrush (one you won’t use for your teeth later, obviously).

Note: Some shower heads are easy to detach, in which case you don’t have to use the bag-and-rubber-band hack.

How to clean mirrors

The secret to a streak-free mirror? It’s all in the technique.

“Any glass cleaner will work, but most people overspray the mirror and it creates streaks,” says Sardone. To avoid over-saturating the mirror, Sardone recommends spraying glass cleaner on a microfiber cloth instead of the mirror itself.

If you’re looking for a homemade alternative to manufactured glass cleaner, you can use an equal mix of vinegar and water, says Jan Dougherty, author of “The Lost Art of House Cleaning.”

How to clean a sink

“Almost all soaps have a fat component in them, so you’re going to have grease deposits on the sink,” says Dougherty. Thus, you’ll want to clean the sink with an all-purpose cleaner that contains a degreasing agent.

Pay special attention to the faucet handles since you touch them before washing your hands, and the sink drain. In fact, the sink drain has the highest bathroom bacteria count (yes, even more than the toilet seat!), according to research at the University of Arizona.

How to clean a toilet

Here’s the fun part! Well, not really, but don’t panic—it takes only about 5 to 10 minutes to thoroughly clean the throne. You’ll want to clean from top to bottom, so start by cleaning the top of the tank with white vinegar, which “cleans, disinfects, and makes it shine,” says Dougherty.

She also recommends using white vinegar to clean the seat, rim, and base of the toilet.

Don’t forget to scrub the bolts behind the fixture, says Beth McGee, author of “Get Your House Clean Now: The Home Cleaning Method Anyone Can Master.”

To clean the inside of the bowl, scrub with Comet and a curved, plastic toilet brush, says Sardone, and make sure to clean beneath the rim.

“Don’t use a brush with wiring in the middle or it will scratch the toilet,” she adds. Also, always close the lid when you flush to prevent water from shooting into the air. (Gross, but it happens!)

How to clean a tile floor

Start by vacuuming the floor first to remove dust and debris, says Sardone. Then, wash the tile with a 1:1 solution of water and ammonia. Finish by scrubbing with a mouthwash containing a tooth-whitening agent to make floors shine.


A Buyers Guide To Gutters And Downspouts

Gutter Shape:

K style

Features a flay bottom and back. These gutters often have fronts made to resemble crown molding. This shape has been popular since World War II because it handles more water than half round gutters.

Half Round:

Features a rounded bottom; typically found on older homes. Their trough shape drains more efficiently than the K style gutters.

Gutter Materials:


Pros: Inexpensive

Snap together assembly – good for DIYer’s

Will not rot or rust

Cons: Gets brittle in cold

Can bend ot bow under heavy loads

Won’t support ladders placed against them

Limited colors available

Average cost: $1-2 per foot


Pros: Inexpensive

Rust proof

Easy to install

Comes in many colors

Cons: Lightweight construction makes them easy to dent or bend

Ares with snowfall require thicker gauges

Average cost: $2-8 per foot


Pros: Stronger than aluminum or vinyl

Comes in many colors and can be painted

Stainless steel will not rust

Cons: Heavy

Costlier than vinyl or aluminum

Galvanized steel is susceptible to rust after 5 – 10 years

Average cost: $2-8 per foot for Galvanized

$5-12 per foot for Stainless Steel

Going up from there you may want to consider Zinc gutters that will last about 30-50 years or Copper with a life span of up to 100 years.

Glossy, Semigloss, Satin

What’s The Difference Between Hardwood Finishes, Anyway?

In addition to stain, color, feel and texture, there’s another major consideration when it comes to your wood flooring: sheen (or, in other words, how much light a floor will reflect). Are you a glossy, semi-gloss, satin or matte kind of gal? And what are the everyday implications of each? Let’s break this thing down.

Matte   10 to 25 % Luster

From a practical standpoint, this soft, clean finish is your best bet in high-trafficked areas and kids’ rooms, since a matte finish absorbs the most light (and therefore best disguises nicks, dirt, debris, you name it). This also makes cleaning especially low frequency and low maintenance.

Satin  35 to 40% Luster

The most popular of all the options, this finish gives off a subtle, pretty shine without reading super glossy. And since it doesn’t reflect much light, it disguises imperfections beautifully and needs minimal upkeep. Rely on satin if you want a formal look but have a modern, active lifestyle.

Semi-Gloss   45 to 55 % Luster

We’re moving up in the shiny spectrum, guys. A semi-gloss finish bounces around a good deal of light, making it a lovely option for darker spaces that might benefit from a mirror-like surface. Something to remember: The higher the shine, the less hardwearing the finish. So this modern option isn’t the greatest for areas of high activity and kiddo domination.

Glossy   70% Luster and Above

While ultra-high-shine wood flooring has fallen out of popularity in recent years, those looking to make a major statement still shellac it on thick. The trouble with these shiny ponies? Their light refracting quality shows dirt and dings, hence it needs to be cleaned and sanded frequently. It’s best for modern spaces with minimal traffic (or you know, your private bowling alley/barre studio/gymnasium).




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