Stuck Inside? Easy Tips to Freshen Up Your Living Space

(BPT) – Winter weather means more time living indoors – working, playing, relaxing and staying warm. It’s important to keep your home fresh by staying ahead of the continual buildup of dirt, dust and allergens. The following are some key areas to tackle for a comfortable and efficient home.

Wash Windows

Washing away dirt and water marks from your windows and screens gives you a clear view of the outdoors and lets in more natural light. It will also make your home feel lighter and brighter, keeping cabin fever at bay. And to help maintain a controlled climate inside the home, prevent air from leaking in or escaping by using weatherstripping or caulk around your windows. You’ll stay cozy inside and save money on your energy bill.

Check and Replace Your Vacuum bag, filter and belt

A full vacuum bag, clogged filter or broken belt can hinder your vacuum’s effectiveness, leaving dirt, dust and allergens behind. Replacing your vacuum bags every 1-2 months, filters every 3-6 months and belts once per year is recommended to help your vacuum achieve peak performance. Even more, a Filtrete HEPA vacuum filter will help trap particles 75 times smaller than a human hair, including 99.97 percent of dust mite debris, animal dander, molds and pollen.

Don’t Forget to Look Up

After tackling floors, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures. These hard-to-reach and hard-to-see places can harbor dust. And while you’re up there, change the direction of your ceiling fans to counterclockwise for the winter. This will keep air moving, but circulate warm air instead of cooling the room down.

Clean Around Your HVAC

With the heater on, be sure to clear the area around your HVAC unit to make sure there is nothing blocking the flow of air. Next, remember to swap out that filter for maximum effectiveness and change your filter every 90 days.

Turn On the Humidifier

Increasing the humidity in your home during the cooler months adds moisture to your air and living space. This raises the “heat index,” making 68 degrees feel more like 76 degrees. If your house has low humidity, you may notice chapped lips, dry skin or a dry, sore throat. Be sure to maintain a relative humidity in the home between 20 and 40 percent. As the temperature outside drops, lower this percentage so condensation does not form on the windows.

Add Extra Insulation to All Areas of Your Home

Adding insulation to your home reduces energy usage and increases comfort. If your home uses less than 12 inches of insulation, chances are heat is escaping. Add insulation in the attic to prevent warm air from escaping. Also consider adding insulation in crawl spaces, under floors and against basement walls to stop the transfer of cold through the house.

Take back your clean, fresh home today.

Tackling each of these simple projects will help you take on winter with a fresh, cozy home you and your family can enjoy. For more information, visit www.filtretevac.com.

Creating a Dream Home With Cypress

(BPT) – Transforming the unremarkable into the extraordinary need not be an impossible task. More and more homeowners are finding that lavish looks are both attainable and affordable. Their imaginative design professionals are making it happen, using cypress to create their clients’ dream homes.

“Wood is a classic and timeless building material,” says Stephen Logue of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association. “And many people are discovering that the inherent beauty of cypress, a species so often chosen for outdoor applications, adds a luxurious look to indoor living spaces, for anything from walls and ceilings, to exposed beams and so much more.”

Transforming the Ordinary

When a coat of paint just won’t do, think paneling. For Christopher Rose, an architect based in Johns Island, South Carolina, solid wood paneling provides a sense of warmth and richness to a room. But not just any wood.

“I particularly like working with cypress,” says Rose. “It has a wonderful grain pattern that offers a relaxed, yet elegant look. Vertical beadboard or tongue-and-groove patterns are popular options that add perceived height to a room. And more recently, horizontal shiplap paneling and accent walls have been requested by many clients.”

Reaching New Heights

Looking to add dimension and visual interest to otherwise flat, dull ceilings? Architect Geoff Chick of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, says it’s not enough to simply add crown molding. Too basic!

“Owners today are looking to celebrate their ceilings with more creative design solutions and materials,” Chick says. “In large rooms where I have tall ceilings to work with, I typically use a coffered ceiling. Filling in the coffers with wood helps to warm up a room and add another layer of detail. Cypress with a square groove is my favorite wood to use for ceiling treatments. I just love how it looks, especially when combined with cypress beams.”

Adding the Finishing Touch

When selecting a finish for his interior cypress woodwork, Chick prefers stains. “It’s a shame to cover cypress with paint,” Chick says. “To help bring out its grain pattern, I like finishing it with a matte stain or pickled finish. Some rooms require a lighter finish than others, and it can be a challenge to coordinate with flooring. But from my experience with cypress, it’s all worth it when it comes together.”

And remember, much like wood cabinets and floors, solid cypress paneling and ceilings can be refinished. If you’re envisioning a fresh look down the road, swap neutral tones for bold colors, or sand the wood and apply a transparent stain to let cypress’s natural beauty speak for itself.

Browse the Photo Gallery at www.CypressInfo.org and see how cypress transforms the unremarkable to the extraordinary. It’s time to make your dream home a reality.

5 Spring Remodeling Projects Sure to Brighten Your Home

(BPT) – During the coldest months of the year, it’s hard not to think about the warmer months to come – and all that they hold. You may already be planning your next vacation or outdoor activities to host in your backyard this summer. Now is the time to brainstorm about your spring home remodeling projects that can add enjoyment and value to your humble abode.

Home Remodeling Projects On the Rise

As the U.S. economy continues to strengthen, home improvement project investment by homeowners has increased, according to the latest Residential Remodeling Index (RRI) study. As spring is a popular time for renovation projects, you may want to start checking out popular design trends, researching product choices and figuring out what you like and what works for your family.

Here are five projects that can help you reinvent your home this spring. Besides making your home more livable and meeting your family’s needs, you will be investing in the real estate value of your property.

Take the Mud Out of the Room.

You don’t have to allow the mudroom to live up to its name. Consider installing a Fiat Molded Stone mop service basin with a multifunction hand shower to give your family a convenient and stylish spot to wash off boots and other bulky items. It’s also a great place to give your dog a bath or wash off dirty paws to ensure nothing is tracked into the house.

Shed a Little (More) Light in Your Foyer.

Your foyer is the entry point into your home, and the right lighting solution can make this space all the more welcoming. Newer LEDs or halogen light sources naturally generate a warmth that’s perfect for the entryway. Be sure to install a dimmer switch with your new lighting solution; it’s the best way to ensure your lights provide exactly the right ambiance for your entrance hall.

A Masterful Master Bath.

Perhaps no room is more capable of providing luxurious relaxation than your bathroom. If yours isn’t living up to this billing, it may be time for some changes. The DXV Oak Hill bathroom collection offers a freestanding slipper tub for ultimate bathing comfort, along with a stylish high-efficiency toilet with a unique traditional farmhouse style. A coordinating high-back sink accented with a charming wall-mount faucet can finish off this bathroom remodel for ultimate enjoyment and function. This may be just the spruce-up needed to enhance your personal space, while adding value to your home at the same time.

Make Your Outdoor Space Amazing.

Once the weather turns warm, spending time outdoors will be top on your list. That makes now the perfect time to plan how you’ll use this outside space. A pergola is an easy-to-build addition that can give you a relaxing place to avoid the sun. Adding a flagstone seating area or creating a decorative border for a new fire pit might be perfect for your family. Try planting flowers for a pop of color, or invest more with new bushes or trees to round out your landscaping project. Plants like day lilies or hostas can survive in almost any environment and are an easy, effective way to optimize your green space.

Shower Power For All.

For the all-purpose family bathroom, upgrading to a highly functional shower system will deliver results efficiently and enjoyably for all users. The American Standard Spectra+ shower system employs first-to-market technology that allows you to change the spray patterns simply by touching the outside ring of the showerhead for a customizable experience. The Spectra+ eTouch system also includes a remote control that can be mounted to any surface, allowing anyone having trouble reaching the showerhead to enjoy the same personalized shower satisfaction. It’s luxurious and accommodating. What could be better than that?

Finding the Perfect Project For You

The spring season is home improvement season, so don’t let it pass you by. Start thinking now, while staying warm inside during the colder months. Figure out what needs to get done first, then look online or in stores for ideas and get inspired for your spring home renovations. It will be project time before you know it.

 

Winter Storm Power Outages On the Rise – 3 Ways To Prepare

(BPT) – Winter storms can wreak havoc on roads, homes and personal lives. However, facing hours of cleaning up fallen tree limbs, shoveling snow or being cooped up inside with antsy kids might be the least of your worries. Experts predict more frequent and severe storms could lead to lengthy power outages that could affect thousands of Americans this winter storm season.

In fact, increasingly severe weather is the chief reason power outages are becoming more likely, according to a National Governors Association report. What’s more, a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found the average outage lasts two hours and 20 minutes, but increases by 260 percent to six hours and 10 minutes when a major event like severe weather is involved.

While you can’t predict when a winter storm or extended power outage might affect your neighborhood, you can take steps now to prepare your home and family for severe weather events.

Stock Up In Advance

Nearly everyone has experienced long grocery store lines and cleared-out store shelves when news of a coming storm hits the airwaves. Spare yourself the aggravation, or possibly being caught without essentials if stores sell out, by stocking up on important items at home.

Keep enough bottled water and non-perishable foods on-hand to feed everyone in your family up to one week. Set these items aside in a “storm prep” box so you don’t dip into them until you really need them. Canned foods, protein bars, dry cereal and nuts are great options.

Never allow your supply of prescription medications to fall below a week’s supply, and make sure you stock up on useful over-the-counter meds such as pain relievers and cold remedies. Finally, keep a supply of batteries, flashlights and battery-powered lanterns readily available to ensure you have safe illumination when the power goes out.

Invest In Emergency Power

With the average length of power outages growing longer, many Americans are turning to generators to help ensure their homes and families stay safe and comfortable during winter storms. In fact, a report from the Society for Risk Analysis notes “a string of natural disasters and prolonged blackouts have motivated consumers to invest in personal generators at unprecedented rates.”

Homeowners have two options when it comes to back-up power; portable generators and automatic standby generators. Portable generators can be moved from place to place and are designed to power a few key items or systems, like a refrigerator or lights, using properly rated extension cords. These manually operated generators are usually gasoline-fueled and must be operated outside of the home.

Automatic standby generators like those from Kohler are permanently installed outside the home similar to a central air conditioning unit. They attach to a home’s existing natural gas or propane lines and turn on automatically within seconds when the power goes out; homeowners do not need to be present to operate. Standby generators can power an entire house, from essentials like the refrigerator, sump pump, lights and water heater to non-essentials such as TVs, computers and more. To learn more about automatic standby generators, visit www.KohlerGenerators.com.

After the Storm

Once the storm is over, continue to be cautious. Check weather and traffic reports before leaving the house to determine if roads are closed. If you do venture out, stay alert for downed power lines. If you spot power lines that are down or damaged, call the power company immediately. Finally, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly, to ensure everyone is fine.

Preparation is the best way to protect your home and family during the winter storm season. Take action now, which includes a storm prep box and a backup power source, to keep your family safe and comfortable, no matter what the weather may bring.

3 Tips to Keep Your Home Cozy All Winter

(BPT) – Every year, homeowners across the country take precautionary steps to winterize their homes to protect against burst water pipes as well as improve their overall comfort throughout the colder months. Winterizing your home goes beyond just ensuring snow and chills stay out. These three tips will help ensure that your home is adequately prepared for the harsher months ahead.

1. Reduce the Risk of Water Damage

Beyond damage sustained from heavy rainfall, water damage can occur because of ice dam formation. Ice dams on your roof as well as snow melt near vulnerable basement windows can cause significant (and often unseen) damage to your home, which can result in costly repairs. Replacing traditional attic insulation with open-cell spray foam insulation can help mitigate air loss through your home’s roof, reducing the risk of ice dams while also helping to keep all that expensively conditioned air inside your home, keeping you and your family comfortable. Closed-cell spray foam insulation installed in basements can help reduce the risk of water entering your home. FEMA has identified this insulation as a flood-resistant material.

2. Reducing the Prevalence of Drafts

Cold spots and drafts throughout your home can literally make you shudder. It is estimated by the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) that gaps and cracks throughout the typical 2,500-square-foot American home can equate to more than half a mile. Sealing your home’s tiny cracks and crevices can help reduce the possibility of drafts inside your home.

3. Address Potential Problems Before They Develop

The frigid winter weather can often create problems that you did not anticipate around your home. Colder temperatures and increased precipitation are harsher on a house. Cleaning eavestroughs, ensuring the seals around windows and doors are intact, upgrading your traditional insulation and getting your HVAC unit serviced are all actions that can help to prepare your home for the upcoming winter.

Insulation can play a vital role in winterizing your home, allowing you and your family to remain comfortable throughout the entire winter. Spray foam insulation like that available from Icynene works well in all climates to seal the building and fill gaps to stop air leakage and reduce the strain on HVAC equipment.

More information is available online at www.icynene.com.

Think Spring: Now’s the Time to Plan the Landscape of Your Dreams

(BPT) – The weather outside is frightful, and the week ahead calls for falling temperatures, maybe even snow. That makes it easy to dream of warmer spring weather, but to plan for it? To sit and strategize for making the most of next year’s lawn and landscape projects? That seems like no small feat.

It Doesn’t Have To Be

The good news is that spring will be here before you know it, and now is the best time to work with your local landscape professional to set the stage for a healthy spring. With the expertise and knowledge of a professional, you’ll be well on your way to get a thriving landscape you’ll enjoy come spring.

Finding the Right Professional for You

Quality lawn care and landscape professionals are all around you, but finding the perfect one can be challenging if you go it alone. Instead, consult the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) professional directory at www.loveyourlandscape.org/find-a-pro/. You’ll have access to the NALP’s comprehensive directory and can find inspiration through the organization’s expert advice columns and idea center, motivating you to take your spring landscaping projects to new heights.

Making the Most of Your Relationship With Your Landscape Professional

The initial conversations you have with your landscape professional are essential for creating a beautiful outdoor space. When working with a professional, you can become more prepared by considering the answers to these questions in advance of your first meeting.

What’s Important To You?

You don’t need to know every last detail, but you should have a broad understanding of what you want. Do you want to entertain? Have space to garden or create a private area to enjoy quietly by yourself? Determining what you want your yard to be and how it will be used can help your landscape professional realize your vision.

What’s Your Budget?

When it comes to dreaming of the perfect landscape project, the limit is your imagination. But once you place some real-world practicality behind it, the limit will ultimately be your budget. So, how much are you willing to spend? It’s a good idea to have a rough estimate of this figure in your head before discussing plans with your landscape professional. Relaying this information to them will allow them to tailor a project that matches your expectations and your budget.

What Plants Are Best for Your Property?

Flowers, shrubs and trees are all integral to any landscape project and you should have an idea of what you’d like to see. If you don’t know, visit your local greenhouse or nursery for inspiration and gain a greater understanding of native plants that fare well in your environment.

What Level of Lawn Care Is Needed?

Whether or not you have sprawling acres of land, a healthy lawn of any size and shape sets the foundation for a beautiful landscape. Your lawn care professional can review with you how to grow and maintain a lawn through all the seasons. Consider if weed control, mowing, aeration, fertilization and irrigation may be needed as part of your lawn care program. A lawn care specialist can help you budget and plan for these tasks now, even if your lawn is covered in frost or snow!

It’s Never Too Early To Start Planning

The long weeks of winter are here, but now is the perfect time to formalize your plans for a gorgeous, spring lawn and landscape. A professional can help you reach every goal you’ve dreamed about. So start planning today. Your home will benefit from your preparation – and on those cold mornings, it sure helps to dream of spring, doesn’t it?

 

5 Budget-Friendly Master Bathroom Upgrades You’ll Cherish for Years

(BPT) – What does your bathroom mean to you? Is it an oasis, a place to unwind, relax and let the cares of the day simply melt away? Or is it just another room in your house?

If your answer is the latter, then your bathroom isn’t doing everything it could. The good news is, getting your space there doesn’t have to break your bank or signal a months-long remodeling process. The truth is there are plenty of unique, invigorating ways for you to reinvent your bathroom space – some of which you can tackle yourself, and all of which can be budget friendly.

So if you’re ready to turn your master bathroom from a simple location to a desired destination, do so with any or all of these five projects.

Repainting In Your Image

When it comes to affordable projects that redefine the look of a room, it’s hard to beat a fresh coat of paint. Changing the color of your bathroom changes the entire appearance, and if you’re ready to strap on some clothes you don’t mind destroying, there’s no reason you can’t tackle this project yourself. Pick a color that matches your tastes and your space and your bathroom will take on a whole new feel.

Get Soaking

Remember all that talk about the oasis? It really starts with the tub. The Sterling Lawson Oval Bath offers beautiful style at an affordable price with soaking and whirlpool models. The bath can be situated to fit nearly any bathroom layout, and with a headrest and lumbar support included, as well as six jets featuring variable control, the Lawson oval bath is your perfect getaway that doesn’t require you to actually get away.

Fix Up the Fixtures

A brand-new tub completely redefines your bathroom, and if you want to bring the rest of your bathroom up-to-date as well, replacing your existing fixtures with new models is an easy way to do it. From towel racks to faucets and shower hardware, new fixtures are an effective way to show your sense of style and bring cohesion to your space while capitalizing on the latest technology.

Finish the Flooring

Your new bathroom deserves to look good from top to bottom. Pick a flooring style that speaks to you, spoil yourself with heated floors and rest easy knowing you’ll never have to grout again.

Shed a Whole New Light

There is perhaps no room where lighting is more important than the bathroom. If your current bathroom feels more like a cave than spa, it’s time for a major lighting overhaul. Modern fixtures allow you to use fewer bulbs more efficiently, and installing a dimmer switch gives you the bright light when you need it without blinding yourself in the morning. Lastly, this is a great time to replace all of your old bulbs with energy-efficient options. They’ll last as much as 25 times longer, and replacing your most often-used bulbs can save you as much as $75 per year on your energy bill.

Start Improving Your Bathroom Today

Many people see their bathroom as a functional space in their home when it has the potential to be so much more. Apply any or all of the tips above and you’ll turn your bathroom from a functional space to the oasis you’ve always wanted.

The New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep: A More Eco-Friendly Home

(BPT) – Nearly 42 percent of all New Year’s resolutions are broken by February, according to Statisticbrain. It’s easy to understand why – resolutions are difficult to keep all year long. Instead of risking disappointment in 2018, why not make a resolution that takes short-term effort but yields long-term benefits?

This year, resolve to make your home more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

“The upgrades needed to make a house eco-friendlier can be accomplished in a relatively short amount of time and for a reasonable investment,” says Chris Garcia, an energy efficiency expert with Champion(R). “Instead of struggling to stick to a resolution month after month, resolving to reduce your home’s environmental impact is quickly achievable and satisfying. Plus, energy-efficient upgrades can help lower utility bills, and saving money is a great way to start the year!”

Garcia points to three areas of focus to help you keep your resolution to make your home better for the environment – and your wallet – this coming year:

Focus on the Furnace

Heating and cooling account for about half of a home’s total energy usage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Of course, where you live helps determine whether you use more energy to heat your home or to cool it, but the majority of homes in the U.S. have some form of heating, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports.

“An old, faulty or wrong-sized furnace can significantly increase how much energy a home uses,” Garcia notes.

Start your new year by taking care of your furnace. Have a qualified professional inspect it if you didn’t do so at the start of the heating season. Check to be sure that all components of the heating ventilation and cooling system are working properly. Change air filters if you haven’t done so in a while, and set a reminder on your smartphone to change them throughout the year according to the furnace manufacturer’s guidelines.

If you need to replace an older, less efficient system, consider high-efficiency options like a Champion(R) Momentum(TM) gas furnace, which provides more heat for less money with a high 98 percent AFUE efficiency rating. The new system can reduce fuel costs nearly 38 percent compared to older models.

Eliminate Air Leaks

Temperature-controlled air can escape your home in multiple ways, including through air leaks in and around windows and doors, fireplaces, attics, basements and even garage doors. Air leaks can make HVAC systems work harder, use more energy and even shorten a system’s usable life.

Keeping cooled or heated air inside your home starts with sealing air leaks, which the Department of Energy says could yield yearly energy savings of 5 to 30 percent. Add or replace caulk and weather stripping around windows and doors, including garage doors. Check fireplaces, air ducts and points of entry such as water pipes, electrical lines and cable connections to ensure that no air leaks are occurring.

Add insulation in your home’s attic, basement or crawl space to help ensure your home stays warm in winter and cool in summer. Keep in mind often overlooked spots such as garages, especially if your home has a room over the garage space.

Rethink Lighting

Replacing old, less efficient incandescent light bulbs throughout the house with newer, energy-efficient options like CFLs and LEDs is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to reduce a home’s energy consumption and environmental impact. The Department of Energy says that these types of bulbs use 25 to 80 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of illumination. They can also last three to 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs, so you’ll save money in the long run by purchasing fewer replacement bulbs.

You can also reduce energy consumption by relying on natural light whenever possible. Start by opening curtains and blinds to let in light during daytime hours in winter months. To further increase the amount of daylight in your home, consider installing a skylight.

“New Year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to sustain for an entire 12 months, but energy-efficient improvements to your home mean you can fulfill your resolution to be more environmentally friendly in the first months of the year,” Garcia says. “Your resolution can be accomplished and continue to benefit you and the environment long after other resolutions have been broken.”

To learn more about Champion(R) furnaces, visit www.championhomecomfort.com/ecofriendly.

Top 5 Features Millennials Look For in a Home

(BPT) – For generations, homeownership has been part of the American dream. For most Americans, it’s the largest, most significant investment they’ll make, and because homeownership is the best way to grow their wealth, the most important investment as well.

As the youngest generation of new homeowners, millennials are entering the housing market and are eager to get a home to fit their unique lifestyles. Just as every generation has its own music, its distinct style and look, the new generation of homeowners has different expectations than buyers did a few decades ago. To shed some light on these evolving home trends, here are five of the most popular features millennials look for in a home.

1. It Needs To Be Energy Efficient.

More than other generations, millennials are particularly concerned with their impact on the environment. As such, they want to be sure the home they buy will have a minimal carbon footprint. Some energy-efficient features that are a priority for homebuyers are UV-protected windows, programmable thermostats, efficient appliances and upgraded insulation.

2. It Needs To Be Customized To Their Tastes.

It’s not enough to find a home that is merely “livable”; millennials want a house that is an outward and inward expression of who they are. Translation: The one-size-fits-all model is no longer sufficient. This is one reason manufactured and modular homes from Clayton Homes have become so popular. They offer diverse floor plans with a number of customizable options to suit individuals’ needs and unique styles. There are even built-in home features for pets!

3. Rethinking Space Usage.

The era of buying a house as big as you can afford is on the way out. Many millennials are forgoing the extra bedrooms and enormous living rooms. These homebuyers prefer smarter ways to utilize space for their family’s needs, while keeping a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

4. Open Floor Plan.

In a world where everyone seems to be plugged into their phones and staring at their individual screens, the open floor plan has emerged as a way for families and guests to come together and share the same space. Basically, the fewer walls between the kitchen, dining room and living room, the better. This floor plan also aids homeowners with their entertaining needs and provides more natural light, which is very big for this young generation.

5. A Room For a Home Office.

The millennial workforce is a mobile workforce, and just as this generation is transforming the home market, it is also transforming the workplace. Millions of Americans work from home, and many more are often given the option to work a day or two a week from home. With this shift, many potential homeowners want to be sure there is a suitable workspace for an office.

With evolving needs and different tastes, many millennials worry that they will spend a lot of time searching for that one, perfect dream home. At Clayton Homes, we provide a range of green, energy-efficient home models that can be customized with a range of affordable options. From the kitchens to outdoor living areas and multifunctional spaces, millennials and everyone else can find the choices that will allow them to tailor their home and their living space to suit their lifestyle.

4 Things You Might Not Know About DIY Home Security

(BPT) – With the holiday season approaching, you may be thinking about giving your family the gift of home security – especially if you know you’ll be traveling over the holidays.

A growing number of homeowners are turning to do-it-yourself smart home security systems to address their security concerns. Installing your own home security system can be well worth the investment; while the average system may cost hundreds of dollars to get started, monthly fees are low, and when a home security system is present, 60 percent of attempted burglaries fail, according to StatisticBrain.

Crime doesn’t take a holiday.

During the holidays, burglars know many families travel to visit distant loved ones. Plus, homes filled with gifts can be a treasure trove for thieves.

Here are ways DIY home security systems make it easy to keep your smart home safe and secure during the holiday season and throughout the year:

Affordable and Flexible

Professional monitoring of a smart home security system from traditional players and well-known brands can cost nearly $50 a month – and then lock you in for four years or longer. When you’re already spending on holiday shopping and celebrations, the extra cost of monitoring can seem daunting. DIY systems typically offer the same components, such as security cameras, motion sensors and smart locks, without the costs and contracts of professional installation. Plus, you can still get affordable 24/7 monitoring; Iris by Lowe’s Professional Monitoring is $14.95 per month.

Customizable For Your Needs

DIY home security systems typically offer starter packages that contain the basic components you need to set up a simple system in your home, such as a smart hub and sensors. Once installed, the smart system is scalable, and you can add products or solutions that meet your needs by just shopping at your favorite retailer – no need to call up a security company to come out to your house for an expensive visit. For example, Iris offers a catalog of more than 150 devices that pair with its smart hub, including cameras, motion sensors, locks, light switches, thermostats, smoke alarms and more. Whether you want to secure and monitor a door or window shielded from sight, or you want to turn lights on and off automatically to make your home look occupied while you’re out, a smart home security system can do that.

Mobile Monitoring

Being able to monitor your home security system from your smartphone gives added peace of mind, and many DIY systems also provide apps that allow you to remotely control and monitor home systems. Whether you’re out shopping and realize you forgot to arm the system, or visiting out-of-state relatives, you can manage your smart home security system as if you were at home.

Smart Home Compatible

If you’re already using smart technologies like Google Home or an Amazon Echo smart speaker, these components may work with and even enhance your DIY home security system. Systems allow you to create a fully integrated smart home experience. For example, you can use the smart system’s mobile app to turn on lights and the home security alarm when you’re away from home and control it by voice when you are home.

To learn more about home automation and DIY security systems, visit www.irisbylowes.com.