System Installed Within 24 Hours1-800-580-1342

Inglés | Español
FREE Home Security System ($850 Value) With $99.00 installation fee and purchase of alarm monitoring services (certain restrictions apply*). See important terms and conditions* to this offer. FREE Home Security System
These two special offers
to help protect your home$100 Visa Card plus 6 Sensors
Call Us Now

5 DIY Presents Guaranteed to Produce Smiles This Christmas

Sure, sure. You keep seeing commercials for new phones, tablets, and other gizmos out there, but there’s nothing quite like making handmade gifts for the holidays. Your friends, family, and colleagues will surely treasure the amount of time and thought you put into making their presents. Read on to learn how to make some DIY presents that are sure to wow!

For the Foodie

oliveoil

Any food lovers in your life would love to receive this rosemary garlic olive oil recipe from The Clean Dish. Whether it’s used for dipping bread or adding some oomph to your roasted vegetables, this olive oil can add pizzazz to any plate. Plus, making it is as simple as could be! Here’s how it’s done:

  1. First, wash a food-safe bottle or jar in hot, soapy water. Dry.
  2. Wash 2-3 twigs fresh rosemary. Let dry.
  3. Place 2-3 garlic cloves (this stuff goes a long way) and the rosemary twigs into the bottle and fill with olive oil.
  4. Enjoy within 4-6 weeks.

For the One Who Loves to Pamper

pamer

Winter is a good time to indulge yourself in a little at-home relaxation. And if last winter is any indication, we’ll likely spend a lot of time bundled up indoors again this year. Give the gift of comfort this holiday season with a rejuvenating gingerbread body scrub from Wallflower Girl.

  1. Find a jar or container. Either glass or plastic will work.
  2. In a bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup of oil (olive oil, coconut, or sweet almond oil work well), 2 tablespoons ground ginger, and 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice. You may also add a tablespoon of vitamin E oil or a tablespoon of honey, if you like.
  3. Transfer to your jar, cap it, and decorate it as you wish.

For the Kids

kids

It’s safe to assume that most kids will be staying indoors this frigid holiday season. Since they’ll likely glue themselves to the TV, why not encourage them to be creative? Using this recipe from How Does She, give the kids in your family some homemade play dough.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbls. vegetable oil
  • food coloring (I used 4 drops)
  • Plastic container

To Make:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a large pot.
  2. Over medium heat, continue to stir your ingredients until it forms into a ball.
  3. After forming into a ball, dump onto your counter or on wax paper. Wait to cool.
  4. Once cooled, knead until the dough is soft.
  5. Pack into plastic containers and enjoy!

For the Pups

treats

Show Fido a little love with the following treat recipe from The Adorned Life. The pups get a crispy treat full of peanut butter, rolled oat, and whole-wheat flour.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups of whole-wheat flour and 1 cup of rolled oats.
  3. Add 1 ¼ cups hot water and a 1/3 cup of peanut butter. Gently combine.
  4. Knead dough with your hands until you achieve a smooth consistency.
  5. Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Use cookie cutters to cut out treats (bonus points if you have a cutter in the shape of a bone!).
  7. Place treats on a non-stick baking sheet or spray a sheet with cooking spray.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

For the Photo-Lover

photos

Yes. You could submit your Instagram photos to a printing service to have them turned into magnets or canvas prints, but that usually costs a pretty penny. Try this less expensive DIY from PopSugar and give this cute canvas to someone with an eye for art.
You’ll Need:

  • 6-by-6-inch square canvas
  • sandpaper
  • Mod Podge
  • foam brush
  • paintbrush
  • black acrylic paint
  • square picture
  • paper cutter or scissors
  • scrap paper

To Make:

  1. Select your photo. It can be anything, but choose something that has meaning for you and the person you’re giving it to. Resize the image using your computer until it is 6 by 6 inches and then print, using the best printer settings. Gather the other materials for creating the canvas print before getting started.
  2. Use a paper cutter to trim the image, creating a perfect square. You can position the print over the canvas to double-check its size, trimming as needed.
  3. Give the front of the canvas a quick sanding with fine sandpaper. This will really help the Mod Podge adhere to the print and canvas.
  4. With a foam brush, coat the front of the canvas with a layer of Mod Podge and then position the print, smoothing gently. Don’t worry if there are any bumps or puckers, they will smooth out once the glue is dry. Let rest for an hour before the next step.
  5. Now coat the print with a layer of Mod Podge, working first horizontally with the foam brush and then vertically. Once again, don’t worry about any bumps as they’ll disappear as the canvas dries.
  6. Place a piece of scrap paper under the canvas, and coat the sides with black acrylic paint. This will really make this DIY gift look professional. Touch up the black paint, if needed.
  7. Once dry, wrap it up!

We hope these presents will make the holidays fun for you as well as your friends and family. From all of us at Protect Your Home, have a happy holiday season!

What to Get the Home Automation Nerd Who Has Everything for Christmas

home automationThe holiday season is characterized by friends, family, tradition, love & joy. But it’s also fraught with the felt obligation to buy or make gifts for the many people in your life. Some people are no-brainers when it comes to gifts, but other people might leave you stumped. They seem perfectly content with what they have; and beyond baking them a cake, you’re not sure what to do. Alternatively, gadget nerds may be toughest to buy for since they’re interested in very specific things. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the gadget nerd in your life, you’re in luck. Here are some really awesome gift suggestions:

Elgato Smart Key Tag ™

This is for everyone and anyone who seems to lose everything… especially their keys. If you know someone who constantly leaves their keys in the car or at a restaurant — or someone who simply misplaces their keys on a regular basis–this is the best thing you can do for them. With the Elgato Smart Key Tag, you help give your techy yet forgetful friend the peace of mind that they’ll always know exactly where to find their keys. Attach this to a set of keys, and they’ll be able to find it in no time. At around $35, this is a highly affordable gift, and can even act as a stocking stuffer.

Smart Crock-Pot ™

Even if it seems like your favorite nerd has all things home automation, it’s probably a safe bet that they don’t have one of these: a WeMo ® enabled Crock-Pot. While they may already be familiar with WeMo ® home automation, they may not know smart Crock-Pots are available to help make cooking easier. By using the WeMo app, they’ll be able to turn the Crock-Pot on and off, adjust temperatures, and even monitor how long it’s been cooking. This Crock-pot generally sells for around $130-140, but keep your eyes peeled for holiday discounts.

August Smart Lock ™

We’re finally here: the future. With August’s new Smart Lock product, you can now control who is coming and going and when. Selling for $249, you can give the person who seemingly has everything in home automation something especially cool. It works in unison with its own app. All your gift recipient needs to do is sign up and register their phone, and then they can virtually toss out their keys. It doesn’t stop there! They can grant access to friends, family, and even a repairman at any time of the day, wherever they are. Naturally, they’ll need to have an internet signal, but that’s all they’ll need to truly rule over their home.

It’s hard to find just one thing that will truly make the gadget nerd in your life super excited. With all the neat gadgets on the market, it can often times be difficult to choose the right one. Just remember that on top of being really cool, practical tech gifts are never a bad idea, as they can help make life a whole lot easier for your loved one. Think about how these gadgets could make someone’s life easier and that should take away a lot of the guesswork.

5 DIY Projects That Will Prepare Your Home for Winter

diy projectsWinter is just around the corner, which means you need to prepare your home and yards for the worst. Cold weather, ice, and snow can lead to plenty of issues—like frozen pipes and broken gutters—that you may not anticipate. Here are five DIY projects to prepare your home for any cold and abrasive weather:

Bust Out the Caulk

Before the cold weather comes, fill the gaps around your windows and doors with caulk. Sealing up windows and doors helps keep the cold air out and the warm air in. If you do not want to permanently seal up these gaps, you can buy temporary caulk. This caulk can be easily removed when the weather warms up, but it still works just as well as the permanent stuff.

Ready Your Fireplace

Fireplaces may offer you some big problems when it comes to winter. This is especially true for old fireplaces. If the flue of the fireplaces doesn’t close, or doesn’t close well, then all the warm air your furnace produces is simply going to go right up the chimney. Luckily, there are several ways to fix this. You can pay to have your fireplace blocked up or your flue repaired; or you can find a way to do it yourself. Insulation board happens to be inexpensive, very effective, and it can be easily cut to fit any shape. All you’ll need is a pencil, a yardstick or carpenter’s square, and a utility knife. Simply measure your fireplace, mark the measurements on the insulation board, and cut it with the utility knife. Excess insulation board can be placed over windows or gaps.

Unfortunately, insulation board isn’t the nicest thing to look at, so you might want to take time to paint it or drape a curtain over it. You might consider turning this into a kids’ project by having your children decorate the insulation board with a winter theme!

Check Out Your Pipes

Freezing pipes are a common problem during the winter months. Although you can’t control how cold it gets, you can control the temperature of your pipes. Wrapping your pipes in water pipe insulation is the best way to keep your pipes from freezing. Inspect your pipes and find places where they’re exposed or more vulnerable to the cold weather. These exposed areas need to be insulated thoroughly before the cold weather comes.

Change Your Furnace Filter

You should change your furnace filter on a regular basis, but you should always make sure to change it before the cold weather comes. A dirty furnace filter reduces the effectiveness of your furnace. Fortunately, changing the filter is quite simple and easy to do yourself. For most furnaces, all you need to do is open the door and slide in the filter. There should be arrows on the filter so that you know which way it goes into the furnace. In addition to changing the filter, you should get your furnace serviced before it gets too cold.

Put Plastic Over Your Windows

Placing a thin layer of plastic over your windows can greatly reduce the amount of heat lost. If used in addition to caulking, this could really impact your heating bill positively. Now, you might think that plastic covering the windows will look tacky or ugly, but you might be surprised to know that most plastics are difficult to detect. The shrink-wrapped plastic hugs very tightly to the window to be as unobtrusive as possible. This plastic is very easy to install, and only takes a couple of minutes. You simply clean the window frame, place double stick tape on the frame, apply the plastic to the double stick tape and use a hair dryer to shrink the plastic tight. Once the plastic has shrunk, you can then trim off the excess plastic.

The nice thing about most of these solutions is that they are temporary as they can be removed once winter is over. These easy-to-do projects will help prepare your home for winter as well as cut down your energy bills. For more tips on becoming a proactive homeowner, check out the Protect Your Home blog!

Why Smart Home Technology Feels So At Home In An Apartment [Infographic]

In regards to smart home technology, the biggest misconception is that it’s only for homeowners. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Over the past few years, the smart home marketplace has made great strides to ensure their technology is accessible to everyone. So, why is now a good time for apartment dwellers to adopt smart home technology? There are many reasons and our latest infographic explains why!

apartment

Crafting Great DIY Holiday Decorations with Your Family

diy holiday decorationsHalloween and its fun may be over, but you can still flex your creative, decorative muscles with some DIY holiday decorations and crafts that are fun for the whole family. Whether it’s a wreath for the door, décor for the Thanksgiving table, or simple treats, you’ll celebrate autumn in style.

Fall Leaves Wreath

Here’s a fun and easy-to-do way to add new flair to your Thanksgiving decorations.

1. Collect lots of fallen leaves—big, small, yellow, red, and brown. Just make sure the majority of leaves you’re collecting are intact.
2. Get some metal wiring (pipe cleaners or bendable twigs can work, too) and make a circle (big or small) that doubles over several times.
3. Fix the leaves to the wreath base by gluing the stems to it. If you want to make a wreath that lasts a long time, carefully apply a layer of Mod Podge (or other strong adhesive) to the leaves to make them sturdy.
4. Attach other fall plants to the wreath as you’d like, such as acorns or fall flowers.

This is an inexpensive project that’ll get the kids outside, and make them proud about adding something special to their home for the season.

DIY Thanksgiving Candle

There’s no quicker way to introduce the new season by lighting some seasonal candles around the home. Thanksgiving comes with a lot of warm scents like apple and apple pie, cranberry sauce, pumpkin spice, and more. Before you go out and get a new seasonal ensemble of candles, think about making your own. The process can be as easy or complex as you’d like it.

1. Grab some cool candle holders. These can be pre-made for candles specifically or just various jars or other objects that can hold a lit candle.
2. Melt some candle wax with a double boiler system. You can buy candle wax in any craft store and can even find them at major supermarkets.
3. Next, add a scent. You can buy some pre-made essential oils for candles, or you can make your own.
4. Once the scent is mixed in, set a wick into your candleholder and pour in your melted wax. Let it cool. Then, light and enjoy!

Apple Hand Pies from YummyHealthyEasy

Sometimes making a whole pie feels like such a commitment. These hand pies from YummyHealthyEasy scale down classic pie to a hand-sized treat that offers up just enough bites of deliciousness. Make hand pies for a bake sale, potluck, or for Thanksgiving, and watch the compliments roll in. If you’re baking with the kids, teach them proper safety precautions before beginning

1. Gather your ingredients as listed in the link above.
2. For filling: Place peeled and sliced apples in lemon juice and stir to coat. Set aside. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. To assemble: Make egg wash by whisking egg yolk and 2 Tbsp. water with a fork. With a rolling pin, roll out pastry halves to ⅛”. Cut each half into 4-5 rectangles. Place 1-2 Tbsp. of apple filling on half of one side of each pastry rectangle. Sprinkle about 1-2 Tbsp. crushed Frosted Flakes over top of apple filling. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash and fold pastry in half, sealing in the apples. Press the edges together then crimp with a fork. Place on cookie sheet(s) covered with parchment paper.
4. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, preheat oven to 375º and pull out cookie sheet(s) from fridge. Brush tops with egg wash. Slice about three vents in the top of each pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and the pastry is cooked through. Makes 8-10 hand pies. Can cut recipe in half to make 4-5 hand pies if desired. Enjoy!

Your home will soon be the picture of autumn with these crafts and treats. On behalf of all your friends at Protect Your Home, enjoy the season – and happy crafting!

Five Ways to Customize Your Do-It-Yourself Security System

do-it-yourself security systemSo you’re already familiar with the process of developing your own personal security system for your home. Now you’re looking into how to customize and improve that system. With all the security devices and gadgets readily available on the market, you should also consider how to further tailor your do-it-yourself security system to meet your needs. Here are a few tips:

Use Devices In New Ways

You don’t always have to use devices the way they were originally intended. Use a security camera not to look for intruders, but to watch your pet to see if it suffers from separation anxiety when you leave. Use automated lights indoors for convenience when you get home rather than as a deterrent for anyone outside of your home at night. Get creative with your various security devices, and use them in new ways that help with both convenience and security. You’re limited only to your own creativity. 

Assess Your Home: What’s Unique?

Different houses and neighborhoods will have varying elements that will require different use of a security system. Dark streets versus lit streets, two-story houses versus one-story houses, and trusted neighbors versus neighbors you’re not so comfortable around. By evaluating what’s unique about your area and your house, you’ll have a better idea of what customizations you’ll need to help ensure your house is kept safe. Even the fact that you live with other people—roommates or your children—could influence how you customize your security system.

Evaluate Your Personal Goals for a Security System

As far as customization goes, what truly matters is that you feel secure. What someone else thinks is necessary isn’t always important. For some, just owning a dog is enough to provide a sense of security. For others, a personal sense of safety could mean investing thousands of dollars in an elaborate security system. Define your personal sense of security, and the customized options will make themselves known.

Pair Devices with Your Smartphone

Nowadays, many security devices and features can be connected to your smartphone, allowing you to have complete access to everything. If you’re relying on several apps for every different security feature, you might consider using an umbrella app like SmartThings ® to control all those features at once. It’s convenient, and you’ll be sure not to miss an update on anything that’s happening at your house when you’re away.

Don’t Limit Yourself to Technology Alone

It’s easy to forget how unique your living situation is, how different neighbors can be on opposite sides of the street, and how—sometimes—you need to revert back to some of those more traditional security concepts. We’re talking the “old school” style of security: giving trusted neighbors a copy of your house key, and asking neighbors who are home during the day to keep an eye out. Don’t limit yourself to technology alone. Home security customization often means adding a human element to the mix.

Once you make the decision to go the DIY route with your home security, consider the many ways you can further customize or expand on what you’ve installed. This will give you greater feelings of control and personal investment in your home security, which can help provide peace of mind and confidence.

Want to learn more about how you can truly personalize your home? Visit protectyourhome.com to learn about our bundles!

Big Home, Small Home: How the Size of Your Space Affects Your Protection Plan

homeFrom small apartments to mansion-style homes with ten or twenty rooms, where you dwell requires a different approach to your home protection plan. Depending on the size of your house, you might invest in different types of security systems, automatic door/window locks, motion sensors, automatic lighting, and a host of other options. Before investing in any of those products, you’ll need to evaluate your space and think about the best options for your personal living situation.

More Points of Entry vs. Fewer Points of Entry

As a rule of thumb, more points of entry in your home generally means you’ll have to up the ante with your home security. The more places to enter, the more vigilant you’ll have to be at keeping them blocked off. When you own a smaller home or apartment, and only have one or two points of entry, it’s not too difficult to remember to lock both doors when you leave and when you get home. If you have more doors, however, you might want to consider an automatic locking system you can control from your smartphone so you can rest assured that all doors are locked.

The Bigger the Space, The More Help You’ll Need

In a small home or apartment, your ears can be as useful as any monitoring system when it comes to detecting unusual or suspicious noises. From there, you can respond. But with a larger house—where there are seven or eight rooms and several levels—you can’t always trust your senses to know what’s going on in your home. That’s when monitoring and motion detectors can be especially helpful. With those detectors, you can know what’s going on at all times.

Naturally, this doesn’t let small homeowners off scot-free. What happens when you’re away from home? Owners of small homes and apartment dwellers can also benefit from motion sensors and smartphone alerts from their security system.

Multi-Level Homes

Homes or apartments with multiple levels will require different strategies when it comes to home protection. Every window offers a point of entry. And if there are trees near your home, branches, or others ways to climb up the house, you have to worry about covering your bases upstairs as well as downstairs. You might want to consider paying more attention to your yard security with motion sensor lighting, so that you don’t have to worry about upper levels.

Garages, Sheds, & Off-House Structures

So far, we’ve only talked about your living space and not the other spaces you might own like barns, sheds, and garages that aren’t attached to your home. When considering a protection plan, you want to evaluate these spaces, too, to determine how your current system can be expanded. Just as you need to think more about protection when you have multiple entrance points, you need to consider these separate structures as points of entry. Smart garage locks can send notifications to your smartphone if a door is breached, and will make sure you know what’s going on even when you aren’t in these structures.

Each home is different, and it’s hard to qualify homes in simple terms of “big” or “small,” so evaluate your home’s need for a protection plan based on its specific qualities—points of entry, multi-level or single-story, as well as what off-home structures you own. Cover all your bases and you can take comfort in knowing you’ve made it almost impossible for intruders to break in.

Want to learn more about what security solutions are good for your home? Call Protect Your Home at 1-800-580-1342 today!

Help Make Your Apartment Safer Through DIY

apartmentApartment living has its perks, but you obviously don’t get the same level of home security customizations as you would with a house. Just because an apartment dweller like yourself can’t make such changes, doesn’t mean you can’t be just as safe as a homeowner. Here are some measures you can take to help ensure your apartment is as close to Fort Knox as possible.

Curtains or Blinds for Your Windows

For burglars, windows are often a way for them to window-shop for what they want, as well as gain access to your apartment, especially if you live on the ground floor. Installing blinds or curtains won’t prevent a physical break-in, but they’re an easy way to help deter burglars from even considering it. If they can’t see anything they want to nab, what reason do they really have to barge in?

Get a Dog

While you should never solely rely on a dog to help deter burglars, the barking of a dog may be enough to potentially scare off many burglars. Homeowners can be awakened or neighbors alerted if they hear loud, continuous barking, and that’s the last thing burglars want. Besides acting as a crime deterrent, a dog can help give you peace of mind, as well as provide you with a furry friend. Do talk with your landlord before bringing a dog into your apartment, as some buildings have size and breed restrictions.

Stand-Alone Window & Door Alarms

While sometimes a full security system isn’t an option for an apartment, individual door and window alarms can be just the things you need. These alarms can work on their own, or you can sync them with your smartphone so that you’re alerted in the event of a break-in. Some alarms will even log when your doors and windows are opened; which is a great way to help you keep track of the comings and goings of everyone in the home. If you see unusual activity on the log, then you’ll know you need to investigate.

Lighting

Burglars usually don’t want to enter a home with lights on. There’s a higher chance they’ll be seen or that they’ll encounter someone. By setting up a timer for your lights or using investigate systems, like Insteon, that sync with your smartphone, you’ll be able to control your lights remotely. With Insteon, you can turn lights on at home while you’re away. Another option for lighting is motion detection. This applies if you live in an apartment on the ground floor. Motion-detecting lights might make potential burglars think twice before breaking in.

Security systems don’t always have to come in the form of a central hub by the front door with a passcode and a loud alarm. There are many different options available for you to make your apartment safer and smarter. The bonus of many of these suggestions is that you can take them with you if and when you decide to move to another home.

Professional or DIY Security? Your Next Move Can Help You Determine the Difference

DIY SecurityWhen deciding what kind of security system to install, people are often torn between professionally installed & monitored systems, and systems they can install themselves. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks. As you’re making your decision, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions: how much do you want to monitor your home? How is your space laid out and how large is it? And, do you plan to update your system frequently.

How Much Control Do You Want?

What level of control do you want over your home security? Some systems offer you a central hub that aggregates control over security, thermostat, lighting, locks, and more. You can purchase systems already designed to give you that control over everything, while still being managed and overseen by a home protection company. tIf you choose to go down the DIY route, you’d be designing your own home security solution. This can mean building a unique artillery of gadgets and systems that can all be accessed right from your smartphone, wherever and whenever you want. In a lot of cases, DIY projects can be cheaper; but if you go all out, you might want to consider bringing in the professionals to get the job done.

What Does Your Space Look Like?

Home security should be based around your particular needs, namely the size of your living space, its floor plan, and whether or not you rent or own. Where entryways are situated will affect the kind of system or gadgets you install. A professional system could be the best option if you have a larger home with a lot of doors and windows on the ground floor. Professionals would be able to assess your living space and recommend options based on where you live, how large your home is, and the number of entryways. Alternatively, a DIY system could work best for you if you live in an apartment or a smaller rental home. The decision is ultimately yours, and will be based on your comfort.

Updates? Upgrades? Customization?

Plenty of professional home security companies have system updates and upgrades to offer more safety and intelligence, but maybe working through a company to implement those updates takes too long for you, or you’d rather incorporate your own gadgets into your security system. That said, do you typically like to stick to plans and put stock in authority, or do you prefer to go your own way? Figuring this out could help you settle on a professional or DIY system for your home. A professional system has a feeling of permanence, while a DIY system offers several moving parts that you can take with you wherever you go. Things like throw bolts, Canary™, basic entryway security sensors, motion-detecting lights, and more offer you customization at a cumulative price point that you are left to determine. Both professional and DIY systems have their benefits and drawbacks. Do some research, ask yourself how much control you want to have, and figure out if you want something more permanent or not. The results of this research will help you determine the solution that will best fit your unique needs.

Home Automation Without a Smartphone: Is It Possible?

home automationWhen you think of home automation, you might only think about central control hubs that access everything in your home. Perhaps you’re thinking of a system that you run from your smartphone. If you’re limiting home automation to a smartphone or control panel, then you’re likely missing out on gadgets that don’t require a “central hub.” Take a look at these useful home automation gadgets that truly work on their own:

Solar Lighting

Solar lighting is easy to install and has come down in price over the years, helping to make this no-smartphone upgrade a cinch. Solar lights come in several forms, such as stake lighting for your lawn to illuminate paths, and overhead area lights for doorways and driveways. Since solar lights don’t need electricity or much maintenance, they’re a simple addition to your home, and you’ll never need to remember to turn on or program your outdoor lighting.

Automatic Door Openers

Another thing you don’t necessarily need a smartphone for is an automatic door opener. Imagine coming home after a long day of work: no one is home, and your arms are full of groceries. Now imagine the doors automatically opening (and closing) when you walk toward (and away from) the door. Automatic door openers have all the frills of highly sophisticated home automation, but are easily obtained by adding an upgrade to your existing doors.

Some heavy-duty door openers will open and close the door, which means easy entry and quick exits so you don’t have to worry about locking up. These are especially important home automation gadgets in the case that you or someone you live with has a physical handicap.

Smart Strips™

Start saving money with this useful automatic electricity saver. Electric strips make it easy to plug your appliances in and forget about them. But the simple truth is that a lot of your appliances pull energy even when they’re in standby mode. Smart Strips ™, however, detect when an appliance has entered that standby mode, and will stop feeding it power.

Domestic Robots

By now, you’ve likely heard of robotic vacuums and floor cleaners, the most popular of which is the Roomba. The first Roomba automated vacuum debuted in 2002, and since then the manufacturer, iRobot, has continued to refine the Roomba and offer additional models. The sensors in the Roomba allow it to detect dirty sections of the floor, steep drops, and to find its charging station at the end of a cleaning session. The Roomba and other similar robotic vacuums run on batteries, so no smartphones are necessary.

Automating your home without a smartphone is entirely possible, especially once you know what to look for. So, invest in some solar lighting, snag a Smart Strip™, and check out a door opener—your home will be smarter and more efficient in no time!