What is the proper location for the thermostat in my house?

Thermostats control the operation of heating and/or cooling systems in your home. Proper location, maintenance and operation of your thermostat keeps indoor temperatures comfortable and can save on utility costs.

Your thermostat should be located on an interior wall near the center of your home. It should not be in direct sunlight or near radiated heat from fireplaces, radiators or other heat sources. Generally, the thermostat is placed outside the kitchen. It should also be away from doors and windows that open and close frequently. Thermostats are generally located about five feet above the floor so they can be read or adjusted easily, and they may be controlled by a gauge, a dial or digitally with a panel of buttons. Thermostats should be assessed as part of a home’s general mechanical system during a home inspection.

Most thermostats for gas-fired appliances also have a variable anticipator to help prevent overheating. The anticipator “fools” the heating unit into shutting down just before the room hits the set temperature so the heat remaining in the furnace finishes the job.

Whenever changing a thermostat or performing routine maintenance, it’s a good idea to make sure the settings for the anticipator are correct.

 

Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home and appliances.

Canada: gpiweb.ca/FindAnInspector
United States: npiweb.com/FindAnInspector

Tagged: ,

Light Bulb Technology Gets Smart

CFL BulbsIf you thought the newest light bulb technology was the CFL or LED bulb, then you’re in for a big surprise. The latest innovations are smart light bulbs that offer a vast array of exciting features, such as wi-fi and Bluetooth, automation, and color changing. Here are just a few of the new options available:

BeOn Starter Pack
Each BeOn smart bulb houses a removable battery pack that allows the bulb to illuminate even when the light switch is turned off. This feature is handy in the case of power outages, and you can leave the battery pack in any bulbs that you want to stay on while you’re out of the house.

BeOn bulbs offer a unique security feature: If the bulbs “hear” your doorbell or alarm, they’ll light up automatically to make it look like someone is home, and in the event of a fire, they will hear your smoke alarm and light up so you can safely get out of the house. According to CNET, BeOn bulbs “also have a sort-of DVR function that lets you set them to ‘replay’ your typical at-home lighting patterns when you’re out on vacation.”

C by GE LED Starter Pack
Science suggests that the color temperature of lighting affects humans’ circadian rhythms. For example, a warm, lower color temperature tone (such as orange) can help you sleep better, while a cooler, higher color temperature (such as white) can help perk you up in the morning. With this in mind, the C by GE LED bulb changes color temperatures automatically, which can help stimulate melatonin levels and balance your circadian rhythm.

In addition, each bulb contains a Bluetooth radio, so you can pair it with your phone to control brightness and to turn the bulb on and off.

Qube
Qube bulbs offer built-in wi-fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), so the bulbs can connect to your mobile devices without a hub. You can also use your mobile device to control the bulb’s color, brightness and motion (dancing lights, anyone?). Priced under $20 per bulb, Qube claims to be the most comprehensive and affordable lighting solution.

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

How Homes Are Getting Smarter

By Randy Yates, Technical Supervisor and Technical Training Administrator, NPI/GPI

Modern House at Night_shutterstock_146068007The term “smart home” and home automation technology have been around for quite some time. Early-generation systems required hardwiring to make the systems function within homes. Back in those days, it seemed as though only the super-rich could afford to have a smart home. Costs of installing those systems ran into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to install. I’m not saying that a smart system installation can’t cost that much these days, depending on the size and whether it’s a fully computerized monitoring system like we see in the movies, but some smart home elements and technologies are much more affordable.

With the rise of wi-fi, cellphones, the Internet, and wireless devices and systems, we are seeing a dramatic rise in smart home systems and technology and a drastic reduction in costs for these systems. Early-generation security systems required hardwiring and actually were the beginning stages of what was then called home automation technology. Today, we see homes where wireless devices and wi-fi have practically eliminated the need for hardwiring, and that has reduced the costs dramatically.

Command centers are being replaced by applications on our smartphones that allow home owners to control just about anything — lights inside and outside the home, temperature, TV and stereo systems, opening and closing blinds and curtains, locking doors, and a security system that can be set up and monitored by the police and fire departments. You can even find smart appliances, which can be connected to the Internet and to each other, and sales of these appliances are expected to explode over the next five years.

In the long run, smart home technology can save energy, which can result in reduced energy consumption and save money in the long run. It also reduces your carbon footprint.

If you’re ready to jump on the smart home bandwagon, do some research online to find systems and providers. For example, several telecom companies offer monthly smart home subscription services that can be affordable. You can also check out DIY smart home options, such as Staples Connect and Belkin WeMo.

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,