Smart Home Technology

Technology is hitting every aspect of life, and homes are among its newest target. For those who have technophobia, there is nothing to fear either as smart home technologies are very simple to use. Just a press of the button on your smart phone is all it takes to get so many appliances in your home taken care of!

Smart home technology is Wi-Fi enabled and ideal for those who keep having nagging doubts after leaving home…. Is the coffee maker off? Is the security alarm on? Is the AC off? …..The list of worries can go on and on. But with smart homes, a quick scroll through your smart phone and your worries are over. Numerous devices including lighting, home security, garage doors, entertainment devices, thermostat regulators, etc, can all be linked to your smart phone now. A press of the button or a voice command is enough to get your appliances following through. Life couldn’t get better than this surely!

In the earlier days of smart home automation, only the rich could afford automated homes, but now they have become more affordable to the common man. A lot of it is due to the success of the smart phone, making it a full-blown consumer trend.

If you are just getting started off, consider getting a smart home bundle that includes a range of devices that you use on a regular basis- like bulbs, music system, TV, thermostat/AC, fridges, locks, bells, etc. Though the earliest smart appliance was the lighting system, the technology has moved far ahead. You now have smart devices that can even tell when your plant needs watering or when your fridge needs stocking up. Technology has moved so far that you can even get voice answers to your questions regarding some appliance.

Smart home technology is best for those who don’t like getting off the couch just to turn down the lights or turn on the coffeemaker in the kitchen. It also means that just before you reach home, your gate would be opened, your garage door will open, lights will come on in the house, music will be playing to welcome you and the AC would have come on. What a homely welcome!

As home security is always a matter of priority to all Indians, there are smart security cameras that can detect movement and inform you when there is an intruder inside the house and even zoom into the intruder and stream high-resolution footage as it follows his image; this provides a good source of evidence for the police. And what’s best is that this camera looks just like some common art object lying around! Digital locks are also very useful for the security-conscious Indians and pretty fool-proof. What’s more, when tampered with, they send off an alarm!

Isn’t it time you got started on home automation too?

Questions to Ask when Apartment Hunting

With migration into the urban areas on the rise, city’s populations are growing larger day-by-day, and to cope up with the consequent land shortage, homes are increasingly growing vertically. Apartments are hot properties these days with more builders getting into the fray over the recent years. This provides potential homebuyers with a lot of choices – but then a problem arises….how to choose the best one!

Like going into a new relationship, you need to be a little level-headed when choosing your apartment, after all, you can’t make a commitment with the first person you meet! Instead, you need to spend some time and check if your needs and requirements are a good fit… And for this, here is a list of questions that you will need to get answered before deciding on ‘the’ one!

Who is the builder?  As a home stays with you forever, you don’t want to compromise on its quality; for this reason alone, it’s important, you go with a builder who has a good reputation, has a brand name that the builder wouldn’t want to play around with. You will need to check his records and possibly visit some of their other project sites. Do find out about their project delivery timings as delays would only result in loss to you.

Any nearby developments?  If there are any nearby developments coming up, they might spoil or block your views. Additionally it could affect the amount of sunlight coming in.

Any car parking space?  Do find out if there is covered car parking space available with the apartment and if it comes at an extra cost. Most builders charge separately for car spaces. This information isn’t always mentioned in the brochures.

Any public transport nearby?  Since most apartments don’t offer multiple car parking areas to its owners, access to nearby public transport becomes essential. A nearby bus stop or railway station can make all the difference to residents.

Availability of daily need facilities nearby?  It doesn’t make sense to go more than a kilometer to meet day-to-day needs like supermarket, pharmacy, gym, bus stop, etc. There should also be hospitals, schools, theatres and malls nearby.

What are the amenities available?  With the work schedules changing, people don’t have too much time in the evenings for recreational activities; hence, it’s better to have some basic amenities like a swimming pool, gym, various game courts and a clubhouse within the facility itself.

What’s the quality of fittings and fixtures?  There must be a finished model apartment that you can go through to get an idea of you will be getting into. All the same, do make sure the type of fixtures and their brands are mentioned in your contract letter to prevent any discrepancies later on.

You can always add some more questions to this list, before taking the plunge!

How to Conserve Energy Consumption at Home

How to Conserve Energy Consumption at Home

For one reason or the other, the bills are always on the rise, with your electricity bill topping the list. There are some bills we can control by compromising on, but some others are just too inconvenient to give up! Electricity is one such element that’s difficult to put a cap on. However, unknown to most of us, there are numerous small-small ways in which we can cut costs and wastage of energy – and contribute our little bit towards saving the environment.

With increasing use of technology in all aspects of our life, including heating/cooling, lighting, devices as well as transportation, energy consumption is on the rise. However with the following tips, you can make a difference to your wallet and the planet…

Keep doors and curtains closed. Heating or cooling the whole house is expensive, so use heaters/coolers only in the rooms that you spend most time in, keeping the doors and curtains closed to keep the desired temperatures locked in. Make sure your windows close tightly to prevent air leakage.

Set your thermostat correctly. The temperature on your thermostat shouldn’t be more than 2-4 degrees different from the outside temperature or it will contribute to a 10% increase in your bill. In the summer, set temperatures at 26 degrees.

Wash clothes in normal water. There is not much point in washing clothes in heated water as it consumes a significantly higher amount of energy. Operate the washing when it’s a full load and use the shortest cycle appropriate.

Dress according to the weather. Wear layered clothes during winter and light cottons during summers so you won’t feel the need to keep the heaters/coolers turned on high.

Insulate your roof. This would help grossly in keeping your home cool during the Indian summers, reducing your air-conditioning bills. There are numerous ways you can do this, depending on the kind of roof you have.

Standby power is energy wasted. Once your gadgets are charged or not in use, switch off from the socket. This loss of vampire energy could account for as much as 10% of your bill!

Use energy-efficient lighting. New generation LED or CFL lighting save on energy as well as last longer. Time to do away with the old incandescent and halogen bulbs!

Use your fridge efficiently. As your fridge is one of the appliances that’s always on 24×7, you need to make sure it closes properly and is working at the right temperatures. Ideal fridge temperature is 4-5 degrees while for freezer, it’s minus fifteen to minus eighteen degrees.

Save energy in the kitchen. Some ways to save energy include using the microwave instead of the electric oven whenever possible as it consumes less electricity. Cover pots when cooking as it reduces cooking time and run the dishwasher only when it’s full.


Tips to Organize an Apartment to Increase the Space


Let’s get one thing straight – a home is never big enough. Period. There are always going to be space constraints, with the area never being big enough to hold your hoard of memories. There are always things to be tucked in here and there, a variety of stuff that you have been prizing since your childhood days, vacation mementos, etc.

And when the kids start growing up, it’s only going to get worse as they start their own collection of ‘must-haves’ and needs. So what do you do for space? In an apartment, there isn’t much scope for extending the built-up area, which means that you need to get innovative and find ways to use space judiciously to create an aura of spaciousness.

However, not to get disheartened, as there are so many ways in which you can organize an apartment to accommodate all your stuff, yet look stylish. Let’s start from the walls. Create aesthetically-placed shelves that can accommodate your decorative knick-knacks without taking up too much space. Shelves work wonders in all rooms, starting from the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, kid’s rooms, etc, as these rooms always have a lot of stuff to store.

The important thing is to place the shelves strategically so that they are functional without being an eyesore. The TV can also go up on the wall, creating more floor space. Painting the walls in light airy shades creates a sense of roominess and when paired with large airy windows, the effect is one of uncluttered haven.

When it comes to the floor, go for pale shades of wall-to-wall carpeting as it makes the floor area look bigger. Buy furniture that suits the size of the space available. Large pieces will create a claustrophobic effect and eat up space. Short-legged sofas look better in smaller spaces and furniture arranged towards the walls creates a larger central area to move around in, giving the

impression of a bigger room. Invest in modern furniture designs that have built-in concealed storage area; a lot of storage space can be created under the beds and tables this way.

You could try investing in pretty baskets too that could hold the hundred-and-one things that need to be stored. And when it comes to cupboards, think of really tall ones – cupboards that reach the ceiling. An awful lot can be stored this way.

Natural light has a way of maximizing appearance of space and when paired up with large decorative mirrors, you are onto a winner for creating an impression of generous roominess.

Thinking out of the box, using a little bit of ingenuity and going for furniture that does double-duty is the trick to organizing space in your apartment.