Show Notes: Smart Home Gadgets and More – On the House

Show Notes: Smart Home Gadgets and More

By on August 29, 2015

How smart is your home? Do you have a trained thermostat? Does it talk to you?  James and Morris  connect with some brilliant smart home improvement products, share great holiday weekend grilling tips and home fixes.


Thank you to our guests:

Sue Harman with Guardsman Furniture Protection:

Mike Spanton , World Class Shows:


Government Product Recalls:

Osram Sylvania Recalls T8 LED Tubes Due to Burn Hazard

About 46,300 in the U.S. (an additional 8,700 sold in Canada)

This recall involves SubstiTUBE IS T8 LED lamps. The recalled lamps are white, cylindrical in shape and measure 48 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. “OSRAM SubtiTUBE® IS LED T8” is printed on a silver label affixed to the end of lamps. The model number 73312-1 or 73315-1 also appears on the label beneath the statement “Compatible LED T8 for use with instant start T8 electronic ballasts.”


Osram Sylvania Inc. received 34 reports of overheating and melting. No injuries have been reported.


Consumers should immediately stop using the lamps, remove them from the fixture and immediately contact Osram Sylvania for a free replacement.


Robert Bosch Tool Recalls Dremel Rotary Tool Due to Burn Hazard

Dremel® MICRO™ Model 8050 Rotary Tool


The tool’s circuit board can overheat and melt the tool’s enclosure. If the tool is being held while overheating, it could present a risk of burn. Additionally, some tools may lose their speed control changing to high speed in use, turn on by themselves, or may not turn off, posing a personal injury hazard.

This recall involves the Dremel® MICRO™ Model 8050 Rotary Tool with date codes 407 through 505.  The model number and date codes are located on the name plate of the product, which is on the side opposite the Dremel logo.  Products are dark gray with a silver label and blue control buttons and have 8V lithium ion batteries.


Bosch Tool has received six reports from consumers of tools overheating. There are no reports of injuries.


Consumers should immediately contact Robert Bosch Tool for information on a free repair.

Sold at

Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards and other home improvement, hardware and major retailers nationwide and online including,,, and from July 2014 through May 2015 for about $90.

Consumer Contact:

Robert Bosch Tool Corp. toll-free at 855-866-1291 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or online at and click on “Customer Service & Safety Information” for more information.


Gadgets That Will Make Your Home Smarter

Here’s sneak peek at some new home automation gadgets on the market.


Place the Lockitron over your existing deadbolt and it connects to your phone. You can use your phone to lock or unlock the door from anywhere, share the ability to operate the door with friends, and best of all it fits on the inside of the door see you don’t need to worry about somebody messing with it. Anytime the door opens you get a message sent to your phone. Plus this device has Bluetooth so you can simply walk up to the door and it unlocks.


Phillips has begun selling a three pack of LED bulbs and a controller exclusively through Apple stores. This LED bold starter pack allows you to control your lighting remotely using a smartphone. These bulbs come with an app and a Wi-Fi receiver allowing full control of brightness, on/off, and color. It looks like the possibilities don’t end there. Late for work? Program the lights to turn red at specific times to warn you of impending doom. There are more features worth checking out which make this automated lighting solution worthy of our attention.


Gadgets that connect other gadgets together These are basically handheld, small, and aptly named computers that sense their surroundings and talk to your apps. This company allows you to connect all of your home “things” to the web. Everything you connect to the device talks to your smartphone if you want it. A knock at the door? Get an instant notification via Twitter or Facebook to your phone. Motion detected in your garage? Instant notification to your phone. Build a home security system on your own with these tools. This company has a true DIY spirit and you don’t need to be a “geek” to make this work.

Read more:


Great Labor Day Grilling Recipe From Around the Web

Grilled Caramel Apple Crunch


1 cup chopped apple (approximately 1 small apple)

Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

2 tablespoon caramel ice cream topping

¼ cup granola


Preheat grill to medium heat (approximately 350 degrees).

Tear off 2 pieces of aluminum foil, approximately 8 inches square each.

Put chopped apples in the center of one piece of foil.

Sprinkle with cinnamon (if desired).

Drizzle caramel over the apples.

Sprinkle with granola.

Place the other foil square over the top, and roll the foil packets together. Start with the corners, and then roll up the edges so it seals well.

Place in the grill over coals until apples are soft.

Be careful when operating the foil packet and be sure to open the side farthest away from you first so the steam doesn’t burn you.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


How to Clean Your Water Heater 

By James Carey and Morris Carey from Home Maintenance For Dummies, 2nd Edition 

If the bottom of your water heater fills with sludge, the heater won’t operate at peak performance. Sediment buildup also causes the water at the base of the tank to super-heat and turn to steam, resulting in mini explosions that blast small amounts of sediment off the bottom of the tank.

To clean the sediment out of a water heater, follow these steps:

  • Unscrew the cold-water supply line at the top of the water heater and remove the nipple screwed into the cold-water port.
Be sure to turn off the power to the water heater and the cold-water inlet valve before you begin any repairs.
  • Pour a citric-acid-based cleaner into the open hole and wait about eight hours for the acid to dissolve the minerals at the bottom of the tank.
The citric-acid-based cleaning product Mag-Erad works well, but it can sometimes be hard to find at local plumbing supply stores.
  • Connect a garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the water heater and run the hose out into the garden.
  • Open the drain valve, reconnect the cold-water supply line, and then turn on the cold-water supply to the water heater. 
The cloudy water and sediment that comes out of the end of the hose will amaze you.
  • When the water runs clear, close the drain valve and remove the hose.
Aside from being a breeding ground for bacteria, sediment at the base of a tank significantly diminishes the efficiency of a gas water heater and can cause it to rumble like a freight train.
  • Bleed air from the system by turning on the hot-water faucet farthest from the water heater.
When water runs from this faucet, turn it off and repeat this process at other faucets throughout the house.

Turn the power to the water heater back on.
Hopefully, you’ll be in hot water now.


Grilling Do’s and Don’ts for Your Holiday Weekend


Do perform regular grill maintenance.

Do clean your grill after it has preheated. It’s easier to scrape off cooked-on gunk.

Do set up your grilling area in an open space.

Do preheat your grill before cooking.

Do keep raw meats separate from other foods.

Do use a meat thermometer – no guessing.

Do let your meat rest before cutting into it to keep in the yummy juices.


Don’t reuse marinades that have been used with raw meats.

Don’t spray non-stick cooking spray onto a hot grill – envision a flamethrower.

Don’t squirt water on flame flare-ups – water squirts stir up ash. Move food to another section of grill until flames die down.

Don’t use wooden skewers without presoaking in water.

Don’t skewer foods together that require different cooking times. You’ll end up with raw chicken or char-grilled veggies.

Don’t char food. It’s really not good for you.

Don’t leave grill unattended.


How To Trouble-Shoot An Icemaker That Isn’t Making Cubes 

It’s Saturday, time to relax with a nice cool drink out on the deck. But, the icemaker’s on the blink. Here’s how to trouble-shoot an icemaker that isn’t making cubes. Before fretting about the cost of repairs, check the obvious. Is the wire arm in the up position?

If so, move it down to turn the icemaker back on. It’s problem solved that easily! If the problem is small cubes, check for a clogged water-supply line. If freezer temperatures are set too high, it causes problems, too, and icemakers don’t cycle properly. Set it at 8 degrees, or lower, for crisp, clean cubes. If these simple quick fixes don’t do it, it might be time for replacement. Icemakers typically only last six to 10 years. If you do go shopping for a replacement, be sure to take along the make and model number of your refrigerator.


Sticking doors? – Quick Fix

Do you have a door that sticks? It won’t open or close easily? Want to remove and re-hang it? Repair or replace it? We’ll deal with doors that stick with surefire quick fixes.

The problem most likely is just plain old wear and tear, so start by tightening up any loose hinge screws. Do so by hand, rather than with a power drill, so that you don’t over-tighten, strip screw holes or chew up the soft screw heads. If one is already stripped, or won’t tighten up, try using a longer screw.

If that fails, rebuild the screw hole by inserting toothpicks dipped in glue, and driving the original screw in again when it dries. If the door still rubs or sticks, tighten some more with longer screws –.to draw the hinge and jamb in. Extra screws driven through the jamb help, too, on one or both sides. They help open things up. Countersink screw heads, then fill and paint.


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