Let Machines Do the Work! Clever Automation Ideas for Your Home

There are many simple tasks around the home that could be taken care of by modern technology.  You could free up your life to do more enjoyable things and save yourself a lot of time and hassle.  Options like gate automation can make your life so much easier and really improve the functionality of your home.

Automated Timing Switches

Timing switches can be a great way to automate a variety of different devices and gadgets around the home.  You can buy these switches and plug your electrical items straight into them.  You will then be able to program in a schedule of times when you want these appliances to turn on and off.

For example timing switches can be used for electric heaters.  The switches will automatically turn heaters on and off at the programmed times.  This enables you to heat rooms in advance so that they are nice and warm for when you get home.  This will also save you money as the heaters switch off again automatically so you never need to worry about leaving them on wasting energy.

Timing switches can also be used for other tasks like pumps for fish tanks.  You will be able to program when you want the pumps to turn on and off automatically and this saves you a lot of hassle.

Automated Washing Cycles

Many modern washing machines can now offer scheduled programming.  You will be able to load washing machines and then program what time you want them to come on.  This can save a lot of time as you can load the machine the night before and program it to automatically start the next morning.  No more rushing around before work trying to get the washing on!

clean, cleaning, funny

[Photo courtesy of Gratisography/pexels.com]

Automated wash cycles can also save you money as you can program machines to wash at the cheapest tariff point of the day even if you are out and about.

Automated Gates

Gate automation can offer a practical way to secure your home whilst still making it accessible to you and your family.  These gates can also add style to properties and have a certain upmarket appeal.  The great thing about automated gates is that they can be opened remotely.  This means you don’t have to get out of your car and open the gates to access your property.  The gates can either be opened by someone inside the property or you can have a wireless controller in your car that triggers the gates to open for you.

architecture, balcony, blue sky

[Photo courtesy of Daniel Frank/pexels.com]

This offers an incredibly convenient way to secure your property without making access difficult for you or your family. There are many benefits to installing automated gates on your property including:

  • Increased Security – locked gates offer a powerful visible deterrent to opportunistic criminals. Automated gates have specially geared motors that make it very difficult for someone to force them open.  For additional security electromagnetic locks can be installed which power up when the gates are shut.  These exert a very powerful force that makes it incredibly difficult to force gates open.  Automated gates make it much easier for you to control who enters your property.
  • Increased Convenience – automated gates enable you to enter and leave your property with ease. Some remote controller devices can be used up to 20 metres away.  This means you can ensure the gates slide open just as you approach so that you don’t have to stop your car and wait.
  • Long Lasting and Durable – quality automated gates are available in a range of robust materials. Metal gates offer a tough and lasting option.  You can also get wooden electric gates for those that prefer a more traditional, natural finish.  Whatever material you choose with a little careful maintenance your automated gate should last for many years.
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Throwing Shade: Go Low-Tech But Stay Cool

If you know all too well how unbearable it can be once summer hits you’ll already be looking at ways to keep your bills down and your air supply up! Depending on where you live, temperatures can quickly reach 90 Degrees Fahrenheit and it’s much harder to concentrate, sleep and eat when the sun’s at its zenith. One of the best ways to keep cool during the summer months is to stay hydrated. You should also always make sure you carry sunglasses, as even on cloudy days the sun can be powerful, and our eyes are incredibly sensitive.

It may also be worth keeping your curtains open at night, that way the cold air will alleviate the stuffiness in your house once the sun’s gone down. Try to get as much fresh air blowing through your home as possible by opening windows, doors, using fans to circulate and blasting the AC for a few hours so the filters to trap any dirt and debris that may be floating around. You may also have noticed a greater abundance of insects appearing, summer is often where you see the most wasps, bees, flies and beetles. Take precautions by putting up fly screens even if you don’t live in a rural area and check food is never allowed to sit out in the heat, not only will this spoil the flavor and texture but it could make you quite ill. While bees and wasps may look pretty buzzing around your flowerbeds, they have a nasty sting so always know where your tweezers, antiseptic insect bite cream and plasters are!

Brown Woven Umbrella

[Photo courtesy of nastya/pexels.com]

Take Cover

Parasols are great but if you want to make a real difference to the temperature in your home why not buy yourself an awning? The Department of Energy has stated awnings, or shaded covers can reduce heat by 30% simply because the sun rises and the linen cover takes the brunt of the heat while rays bounce off. While awnings aren’t as fashionable as they used to be; they do add a certain charm to your property as well as allowing you to sit outside comfortably. Before buying an awning always check to see if your property is suitable, maintain both the mechanism and fabric to stop cracks or holes appearing and never let children pull or raise awnings themselves as they could get their fingers trapped. Avoid any accidents by using an awning pole, a device similar to a loft pole which attaches to the hook on the underside and lets you pull down the striped sail from a safe distance.

Vacant Swing Near Grey and Green Tree

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Get Planting!

If you’re very lucky, you’ll live somewhere with lots of trees which isn’t just good for your health because trees take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, but they also act as a natural barrier and so quite often the temperature in the shade is at least ten degrees cooler than out in the open! However, lots of us believe that as long as there are trees somewhere nearby, we’ll automatically stay much cooler! Sadly, that’s not always the case as depending on where those trees are placed, that’ll decide how much shade you get. If you have no trees close to the house, it may be worth thinking about planting some young saplings now. Choose trees that grow quite quickly like poplars, maples, birches, and willows as well as those that are famed for their leafy, green appearance, so they’ll give you plenty of shade.

To save a significant amount of energy, or at least figure that’ll be noticeable on your next bill plant trees on the south and west-facing sides of your property. Everyone knows that south facing gardens tend to get the most sun, so by creating a tree line there you’ll reduce the heat dramatically. Remember, trees are a natural way to cool down your entire home as well as encouraging wildlife into the neighborhood. When planting always check the property boundaries before you start digging and as long as you don’t cross over onto your neighbor’s land you’re fine.

However, we do suggest being courteous as not only do you not want to start a turf war but it means if you block their beautiful view now they could do the same thing to you later on.

bed, bedroom, chair

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Have A Ceiling Fan

It may seem a bit old-fashioned, almost colonial, but high ceiling fans do a fantastic job of keeping the air moving while cooling down rooms you spend the most time in. In fact, the more people you put somewhere small the hotter the overall room temperature gets. This is because we each have our own perfect temperature! Some people feel much colder than others but in a big group heat becomes the dominant force and as it rises things then get fairly uncomfortable quite quickly as people begin to sweat.

Ceiling fans aren’t as ugly as they used to be and now come in a variety of shapes and sizes they’re also quieter than you’d expect. Remember, these fans are designed to keep you from melting so if you’re going out turn the fan off! If you really need your AC on, and let’s face it in mid-summer plenty of us see it as a lifesaver try to look for one that’s as silent as possible. There are also some great quiet ac units out there that won’t make you feel like you’re standing in the middle of an airfield instead of your living room every time you turn on the remote control!

art, brush, color

[Photo courtesy of Tookapic/pexels.com]

White Out!

Do you recall your eighth-grade science lessons and how your teacher told you how snow reflects the heat instead of absorbing it due to it’s lighter color? The same principal applies to our roofs so if you want to lower the temperature below you should mix it up above! It’s often why you’ll find buildings and roofs painted white or yellow in hotter countries so that the encroaching heat doesn’t seep inside. Believe it or not, a report by Climate Change Research suggested that if all buildings and roads in the US were painted white the energy saved could run into millIons of dollars.

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The Reason You’re Losing Time When Cooking

You find a recipe you want to make. The picture is tantalizing, the ingredients are already in your cupboard, and you’re going to cook it better than the chef in the picture ever could. Ah, hubris.

It’s not uncommon to find a recipe that claims to take 30-40 minutes and emerge from the kitchen, sweaty and irritable, more than hour later. You begin to wonder if the problem is the author – do they exist in a different universe where time runs differently? Or could the problem be… you?

One of the major contributors to the slowing-down process is clutter. We have all come to value our kitchen appliances; not just the cooker (although its importance is obvious) – but we love all those little gadgets we have that make cooking fun and seemingly easy. When thought about it… how many of those gadgets do you actually need? How many do you really use?

Therefore it’s necessary to wonder if you’re getting the most out of your kitchen or if perhaps a few tweaks to your behavior could improve on perfection.

Do You Really Need Those Gadgets All At Once?

Blender, Drummer, Kitchen, Utensil, 3D, Mixer, Made

[Photo courtesy of Amigos3D/pixabay.com]

It’s important to be harsh with your kitchen appliances – and no, that doesn’t mean using lifespan-reducing steel wool to clean them. What it does mean is following a simple rule of necessity. Ask yourself if you really need everything that you have in the room.

Many cooks follow a rule of “one in, one out” when it comes to their gadgets. So, if for example, a meal calls for the use of a blender, then you make space for it in the room by moving out the steamer. If you have to use a bowl mixer, then it’s bye-bye blender. They don’t have to go into deep storage – just remove them from the work surfaces into cupboards. With more available space to work in, it’s easier to see what you have done and – importantly – what you need to do.

Your Kitchen Is For Kitchen Things

Keys, Open Locks, Security, Unlock, Secure, Bunch, Pile

[Photo courtesy of stevepb/pixabay.com]

It’s not uncommon to come home from work and, before heading to the kitchen, pick up the mail. Once in the kitchen, you put the mail down on the counter, adding to the pile your keys, bag, and your phone.

Just like that, in one mindless moment, your belongings are spreading through the room without your knowledge. If you don’t clear these items away quickly, they begin to mount up – and will get in the way when you cook.

Create a space outside the kitchen – a cubby, or a shelf – to deposit items in before entering the kitchen. If you need to use your phone for a recipe, then put it back in a pocket when done rather than abandoning it on the counter.

Use Dead Time For Clean Up

Most meals offer you a certain amount of “dead time” while food is simply cooking and there is nothing for you to do to it. Sure, stir the sauce every few minutes or turn the steaks when one side is done – but mostly, it’s hands off for a short while. Use this time to cast an eye over the counters and clear away any mess, spills, or equipment you no longer need. It might sound small and simplistic, but it genuinely is an effective way of preventing things getting on top of you and disrupting the meal!

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Unusual Gardening Tips That Will Keep You Interested

Some people seem to have been born with a special touch when it comes to gardening. For the rest of us, this popular hobby just seems to boring and too much like hard work! But maybe that’s just because we’re not doing it the right way? If you try and mix up your gardening techniques, you will find that it gets a lot more interesting. In fact, if you use some of these unique and unusual tips, you will find that your gardening interest stays at a constant high!

Tulips, Tulip, Field, Fields, Red, Background

[Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures/pixabay.com]
  • Use eggs as fertilizer. Do you love having scrambled eggs for breakfast? Maybe some poached eggs and avocado for lunch? Well, your egg habit could help to fuel your gardening habit! Make sure you save your eggshells, as these can be used as fertilizer. Simply scatter them onto your garden, and they will enrich the soil, making it easier to grow plants and flowers.
  • Try Aquaponics. Don’t worry, this sounds a lot harder than what it actually is. This method of gardening uses fish waste to help plants grow and doesn’t require any soil. You can buy special starter aquaponic kits that will also come with the right fish for your plants. Basically, you will be growing your plants and flowers in a fish tank. How cool is that?!
  • Rent, don’t buy. If you aren’t sure how long you are going to keep your gardening habit up for, it’s a good idea to rent equipment from companies such as Brookings Rent All. This will work out cheaper than buying new equipment like lawnmowers and ladders. And, if you get bored of gardening soon after you start, you won’t be left with a lot of equipment to sell!

Bloom, Blossom, Bud, Bunch, Color, Colorful, Flora

[Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures/pixabay.com]
  • Garden at night. Gardening can be sweaty work, and doing it out in the sun is only going to tire you even more. So, how about gardening at night? In actual fact, some experts say that planting in the dark will encourage your plants to grow quicker.
  • Use cooking water in your garden. Don’t just throw the water that you cooked vegetables or pasta in down the drain. There is lots of healthy nutrients, vitamins, and minerals left in it! And these will all go down well with your plants and flowers. So keep hold of your cooking water and use it to water your garden.
  • Stick to annual plants. Did you leave it too late to plant your seasonal vegetables and flowers? Well, you can always rule out ever being late again by sticking to annual plants. These plants survive all year around, so it doesn’t matter when you get round to planting them outside.
  • Add caffeine. Something else that you shouldn’t throw out is left-over coffee granules. These can be spread on your garden, just like fertilizer. Not only does the coffee keep pests off your plants, but it also adds plenty of potassium, copper, and magnesium to the soil.

So there you have it; some excellent tips that are so unique, you should never get bored of gardening again!

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