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Safe at home

As we enter the gift-giving season, now is a good time to consider your home security options. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there who will happily help themselves to whatever package is left on an unsuspecting homeowner’s doorstep. However, there are lots of options for new high-tech cameras that are currently on the market. Many can be installed as a DIY project. Surveillance cameras are an excellent deterrent for would-be thieves–especially if they know they are being recorded. Here are some good products:

The Kuna Smart Home Security System

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It replaces your existing porch light with one featuring a built-in video camera, a motion detector, a Wi-Fi adapter, and a two-way intercom. It connects to your home network and sends alerts to your smartphone when someone approaches your door. It will also record a downloadable video clip, and you can speak to the person in real time or play pre-recorded greetings. You can push a button to play three pre-recorded messages in a male voice: “Can I help you?” “I’m sorry, we’re not interested,” and “I’m sorry, we’re pretty busy right now.” If your unwanted visitor proves reluctant to leave, you can sound a 100dB klaxon that should do the trick. You can use the system as a stand-alone product, but it doesn’t permanently store the video feed. They do offer a subscription for monitoring for a monthly fee.

Nest Cam Outdoor
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This one has many of the same features as the Kuna (except the pre-recorded greetings) but this one just plugs into an outlet and you mount it on the house. It also offers a monthly subscription for monitoring if you want the video feed to be saved. Very easy to install yourself.

Ring
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The Ring Wifi enabled video camera is integrated into the doorbell. It is motion activated and you can access it through your smart phone. It can be hardwired or battery powered. You can also speak to whoever is at your door from anywhere in the world, providing you have cell data service. It can be paired to your computer, or for a monthly fee, the video feed will be uploaded to the cloud for storage.

Stay safe, and Happy Holidays from Green Tag Inspection Services.

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A smart idea!

Key rings have pretty much been the same since the invention of keys. This is a fantastic new idea for keeping your keys organized with the ingenuity of a Swiss pocket knife design.

Keysmart is a product that begun as a successful kick-starter project. Take a look at this video to see how it works:

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Like a house on fire…

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A while back, the Today Show ran a story about how modern homes and furnishings burn faster than those of 30 years ago. According to their report, that means less time to escape a burning home!
If you’d like to read up on this, click here to learn more.

Remember to keep your smoke detectors in good working order, and make sure there is one in every bedroom. Stay safe!

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Need a lift?

Attic Lift
Sometimes I come across a clever new innovation that catches my attention while on an inspection. Recently, I was inspecting a house that had a lift system installed that will raise items into the attic of the home without having to carry anything up a ladder. It’s made by a company called Versa-Lift.
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A PSA for homeowners who have significant others…

portrait-loving-couple-smiling-front-their-house-cute-standing-home-laughing-47990268One way to ensure domestic bliss is to share the responsibilities of the adult world. One person might be in charge of paying bills and buying groceries, the other is in charge of home repair and doing the laundry. The problem is that when you get comfortable in your role, eventually you have no idea how to do the other person’s job.

I received a heart-breaking call today from a woman whose husband had recently passed away. She had just discovered a major termite infestation in her laundry room. “He always took care of things like this! I have no idea what to do.” I referred her to a pest control person that I trust and wished her good luck…but it got me thinking. How many other people out there are in the same situation?

If you are the person in your household who is NOT in charge of home repair, there are a few basic things you should familiarize yourself with, such as:
-How to shut off the water to the house if there is a major leak
-How to shut off the electricity to the house
-How to reset a breaker
-How and when to change the air filter

When it comes to the bigger things that require a professional, the best thing you can do is create a file that has information on repair people that have worked on your house in the past. Do you have a trusted plumber, electrician, exterminator? When did they last work for you and what did they do? Having all this information in one place can save some frustration down the road.

Or better yet, swap jobs every so often.

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Tax deductions for energy efficiency

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There are a lot of things you can do to make your home more energy efficient–having plenty of insulation, weatherstripping, installing energy efficient appliances, etc. All of these things can make you more comfortable in your home and save money on electricity and gas bills. But did you realize that certain home improvements are tax deductible if they are designed to improve energy efficiency?
Here is a great article that gives an overview of what is tax deductible:
https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Home-Ownership/Which-Home-Improvements-Qualify-/INF12111.html
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Season’s Greetings from Green Tag Inspection Services!

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Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season. May the new year bring you health, happiness, and prosperity!

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Cool tips to stay warm

The best way to keep your house toasty in the winter is to make sure that your weatherstripping for your doors and windows are in good shape, and your heating unit is in good working order. But sometimes, that’s not enough. Here are some easy tips for staying warm this winter:

Before you reach for the thermostat, reach for a sweater instead! Or what about that Snuggie your great-aunt gave you last Christmas? Adding clothing indoors is the easiest (and cheapest!) way to feel cozy. Don’t forget about a good pair of house shoes, too! Your energy bills will thank you.
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Close off the vents in unused rooms and shut the door. No need to be heating the guest bedroom or game room when they’re not in use.
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On sunny days, open up the curtains on the windows that receive direct sunlight. Just remember to close them again when the sun goes down to hold the heat in.
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Reverse your ceiling fans so they rotate clockwise. There’s usually a switch on the fan that will reverse the motor. Since warm air rises, this will help push the warm air at the ceiling back down into the living space.
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Switch your regular bed sheets with flannel or jersey knit sheets. These are warmer to the touch, so your bed won’t feel chilly when you get in. Speaking of which, remember in old cartoons, they would show people sleeping in night caps like this?:
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It’s actually a really good idea! OK, maybe not an actual old-timey night cap, but a stocking hat works great!

Area rugs are your friend when it comes to keeping your house warm. The more surface area you can cover on your floor, the better insulated it is.
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And lastly, if possible, move your furniture toward the middle of the room and away from windows.
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If all else fails, just remember those blistering days of summer and know they’ll be back again before you know it!
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Your handy tape measure just got handier!

Every good DIYer out there has a tape measure, but did you know that there are features on it that you may not know about? Take a look at this video for some handy tips:

Now if you want to advance to Expert Mode, see if you can master THESE tricks!

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