The weather is changing and kids are back in school. Fall is just a good time to reset. Holidays are coming soon with all the craziness that follows. Now is the time to prepare our home for the fall season.
Earlier this year, we started using smart home automation to make life just a little bit easier. We’re using Hive smart products to program lights to turn on with the touch of my phone, confirm I turned off the iron as I’m pulling out of the driveway, and know our home is safe when we’re away with a motion detector. You can read all about it here. I even got a call from the Seattle Times to hear about my experience. I also got lots of comments and emails from all of you wanting to know even more. Apparently, I’m not the only late bloomer to smart home automation.
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So, I wanted to check back in with you all and give a couple more ways that we’re using smart home automation to make life just a little easier. And with a now 6-month-old running (well crawling) all over the place, it’s become more and more important to find ways to make life easier.
Each year in October I’m pretty intentional about setting aside time to prepare for the winter. Living in Seattle, we don’t get the snow, but boy oh boy do we get rain! Regardless of your location, there seems to be several things that we can all do to prepare for the change of seasons. As I was compiling this list, I realized there were several new ways that we put our Hive system to use.
Here’s my list of go to’s that I always make sure to accomplish before the snow (or rain) starts!
1 Holiday Decorations
Whether its pumpkins or Christmas lights, we love to decorate for the holidays. Actually, scratch that. In theory I love to decorate. But the season gets busy and by the time I’m ready to pull out the decorations, the holiday has almost passed. An easy way to ensure that our home is dressed for the holidays is to switch our porch lights with Color-changing Hive Active Lights. I schedule our outside lights in the color of the season. There’s over 16 million color options. (Yep, 16 million. You read that right!)
Whether you outsource this or do it yourself, cleaning out the gutters should be on the top of your list. If you do this regularly enough, it’s a pretty easy task. Start by cleaning the gutter area around the downspout. Then remove any large pieces stuck near the downspout with a trowel (think: leaves, twigs, etc.). To clean out the finer materials, flush the gutter with a hose starting at the opposite end. If the water doesn’t drain, you may need a gutter cleaning tool to get out debris inside the gutter.
Depending on your location, snow may be a big concern. If you’ve got a snow blower and/or shovels, bring those out of storage. When we lived in the Midwest, we would purchase ice melt early in the season before the first snow. If you’d rather pay the professionals, make sure to reserve the service early in the year.
I always wash the outside of our windows each fall and spring. Yes, easier said than done if you have more than one floor. Once a year we do hire a professional service to clean the outsides of all the windows. For the months that we don’t, I’ll remove the window screen and wash in the bathtub. Then I’ll do my best to wash the outside of the window where I can safely reach.
If I wait until it gets cold outside, I know I won’t want to do it. Timing it right, I usually am able to get this done BEFORE the Seattle rainy season starts! Plus they’ll be clean and sparkling for the holidays! My Hive Window Sensors make it easy to check that I’ve closed all the windows when I’m done.
Pull out that humidifier and give it a good cleaning! You may know that dry winter air is bad for your skin, but it’s also bad for fine wood (floors, tables, etc.) making them more susceptible to cracking. Since I don’t want our humidifier running 24/7, I use the Hive Active Plug to schedule several blocks of time throughout the day to have ours running. This comes in handy especially as the weather may shift & change throughout the winter months.
6 Heating System
It’s a good idea to have your HVAC system inspected by a professional regularly. You don’t want to discover a problem the first time the weather gets cold and have to pay for an emergency repair. If you’re like me and aren’t crazy about paying for an annual inspection (even though it would save me money in the event that there’s a problem) an alternative is to turn on your heat on for several days before the cold season kicks in to ensure everything is working correctly. It’s not the equivalent of a professional inspection, but at least you’ll know it’s working prior to the first cold night!
While the days and nights are getting colder, I hate heating our home when no one is there. That’s why we recently set up our Hive Active Thermostat. I’m able to turn up the heat as I’m heading home or turn down the heat as I’m leaving the house. It’s an easy way save money on the heat bill during these expensive winter months!
8 Air Filters
Depending on your air filters, you may need to change these more often than once a year. But at minimum it should be on your Fall To Do List. Clogged filters can impact the effectiveness of your heating system causing it to work harder than necessary to keep your home warm. Worst case it can create some pretty expensive equipment damage.
9 Lawn Mower
Now for the record, I don’t know a whole lot about lawn mowers. We’ve got a tiny tiny tiny plot of grass with our townhouse and in the three years that we’ve lived here, Joe has always done the mowing. But …. here’s what I’ve learned: before temperatures drop too low, make sure you’ve drained any gasoline or oil from your lawn mower. Then move the mower in to storage to keep it in tip top shape.
Roll up all the hoses (removing any water inside) to store for the winter. If you have outdoor faucets, considering insulating the pipes to prevent freezing. If you have a lawn sprinkler system, you may want to drain the water to also prevent freezing. Frozen water in pipes and hoses can be pretty destructive and costly.
While there’s so many home maintenance tasks to tackle, these are the ones we’re focusing on this fall. By accomplishing these in the next month, I’m hoping we’ll be able to enjoy the snowy (or rainy) season with minimal home maintenance tasks!
As I mentioned above, I’ve jumped on the home automation bandwagon and am not looking back. There’s no better sense of relief than not having being able to turn off your hair straightener from your car AFTER you’ve left your house ….. so I’ve heard.
If you’ve ever been interested in Smart Home Automation, Hive home has you covered:
- Easy, self-install approach (so easy, even I could do it!)
- Low monthly subscription rates
- Service features such as access to the Hive mobile app, on-demand customer service and ongoing warranty
- Makes your daily life easier and a whole lot less stressful (never worry about whether you left your hair straightener on again!)
- Unique features can double as a security system for your home!
The Hive home has all the essentials to make your home a Smart Home:
- Hive Hub – Hive Hub plugs into a broadband router to see and control the Hive ecosystem of products from a smartphone, tablet or laptop
- Active Thermostat – A clever way to control heating and cooling, at home or from your smartphone
- Active Light – Switch lights on and off, set schedules, and dim lights from a smartphone with Hive Active Light bulbs
- Active Plug – Turn electrical appliances like an iron, radio or lamp on and off, from anywhere at anytime
- Window or Door Sensors – Clever wireless sensors send alerts to a smartphone if windows or doors are opened or closed
- Motion Sensor – Clever wireless sensor sends an alert to your smartphone if there’s movement in your home
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hive. The opinions and text are all mine.