Water Filtration at Home: Better Alternative to Bottled Water
Water is everywhere in Canada. Canada has 1,169,561 square kilometers of freshwater alone – accounting for 11.7% of the country’s total area and yet one in five Canadians choose to drink bottled water over tap water.
According to Statistics Canada, 69% of Canadian households reported that they primarily drink tap water at home in 2015, while 19% reported that bottled water is their main type of drinking water at home.
Harmful Chemicals in Tap Water
Fear of tap water is one of the reasons why Canadians turn to bottled water; this fear isn’t misplaced.
According to Health Canada, tap water can be broken into three parts: 1) source of water; 2) drinking water system; and 3) distribution system which carries the treated water to your home.
“As drinking water travels on its journey to you, it can become contaminated in many ways,” Health Canada said.
Here are some of the harmful chemicals that may contaminate your tap water:
Lead is a soft metal that has a low melting point and resists corrosion. Because of these characteristics, lead has been used sizably since the Roman times and has since become widely distributed in the environment.
In terms of drinking water, lead comes into play as it was used in drinking water systems since ancient Rome; lead was used to make water pipes.
The National Plumbing Code of Canada prohibits the use of lead in pipes in 1975 and as solder in water distribution systems in 1986. According to Health Canada, while the prohibition was in place decades ago, many drinking water systems in Canada “may still have some of these lead components in place today”.
Health Canada, the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for national public health, noted that there’s little lead in natural water sources in Canada, as well as water coming out of the drinking water treatment plants.
The department said that the most significant sources of lead in tap water usually come from water pipes that link the house to the main water supply and from lead solder in plumbing, or from fittings such as faucets made of brass.
The department added that the amount of lead that goes into your tap water depends on many factors, including the age of the plumbing system, the length of time the water sits in the pipes and the chemistry of the water.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lead is a toxic metal that affects multiple body systems, including the neurologic, hematologic, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and renal systems.
“Children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious, and in some cases, irreversible neurological damage,” WHO said.
Health Canada said that lead toxicity can increase blood pressure and kidney dysfunction in adults, as well as adverse neurodevelopmental and behavioral effects in children, including reductions in intelligence quotient (IQ) scores in children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)said that there’s no safe blood lead level in children. “Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body,” CDC said. “Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized.”
Benzene is another chemical that may be hidden in tap water. Natural sources of this chemical include volcanoes and forest fires. Other sources of this chemical include oil and gasoline. This chemical is also used to make plastics, resins, nylon, synthetic fibers, some types of lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents and pesticides. Benzene mixes with drinking water through industrial effluents.
A person can be exposed to benzene by drinking contaminated drinking water and through both inhalation and skin absorption from showering and bathing.
According to Health Canada, benzene is a human carcinogen, which means that any level of exposure in drinking water may increase the risk of cancer.
WHOsaid that exposure to benzene has been associated with a range of acute and long-term adverse health effects and diseases, including aplastic anemia and cancer.
According to CDC, benzene causes cell dysfunction; for instance, it can cause bone marrow to not produce enough red blood cells, resulting in anemia. The CDC added that benzene can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells.
Lead and benzene are just two examples of harmful chemicals that may contaminate your tap water. Other chemicals that may be hidden in your tap water include the following:
Water Filtration System vs. Bottled Water
Lead, benzene and the above-mentioned harmful chemicals can be removed by using the Simply Pure Chemical Remover, a water filtration system fitted for home use. This water filtration system removes up to 99.9% of harmful chemicals in your tap water, eliminating your fear of drinking tap water.
A home filtration system also eliminates the cost of bottled water. According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian household spent $41 on bottled water in 2015. Many Canadians, however, spend more than this amount on bottled water today.
Turning to bottled water isn’t a guarantee of getting harmful chemical-free drinking water. As shown in the test conducted by the researchers at the McGill’s Biocolloids and Surfaces Laboratory, 30 of the 50 bottled water tested (from Canada’s five leading brands of bottled water and purchased in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal) contained microplastics.
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic less than five millimeters (5,000 microns) in length. The types of plastics found in the bottled water tested by the researchers include polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyvinyl acetate, nylon, rayon, polystyrene and polytetrafluoroethylene.
Contact ustoday, and start enjoying the health befits of clean water in your home, and protect your family.
Top 4 Benefits of Using Google Wi-Fi
If you no longer want to put up with the headaches brought about by your traditional router, consider replacing it with a modern router: the Google Wi-Fi.
Here are the top 4 reasons why Google Wi-Fi is better than your traditional router:
1. Google Wi-Fi offers better signal over a wider area compared to a traditional router.
Google Wi-Fi offers a better signal over a wider space when compared to the traditional router as it uses what’s called a “mesh network”.
But what is a mesh network? Most likely you have a single router in your home. A single router is enough to cover a small home or apartment (500-1500 square feet).
You’re faced with Wi-Fi headaches – the likes of spotty connections and dead zones – if you have a medium or large home and your home is subdivided into different parts for bedrooms, dining room, basement, etc.
For a medium home (1500-3000 square feet), it’s recommended that you install 2 Google Wi-Fi devices in your home and if it is a large home (3000-4500 square feet), it’s recommended that you install 3 Google Wi-Fi devices in your home.
The Google Wi-Fi devices will form part of a “mesh network”, acting as a single Wi-Fi network. This mesh network provides a better signal over a wider area as Wi-Fi is broadcasted from each Google Wi-Fi device, not just from a single router. You can opt to add more Google Wi-Fi devices if you want to increase the Wi-Fi signal in your home.
Relying on a single router in a larger home with subdivisions makes your Wi-Fi connection weak. The farther you are from the router, the weaker the Wi-Fi signal gets. With Google Wi-Fi’s mesh network, you have multiple Wi-Fi devices around the house, so you’re always close to one.
The mesh network eliminates spotty connections and dead zones. It allows you to binge watch your favourite show from your bedroom and then continue watching the show, uninterrupted, while you walk around your house.
Another advantage of the mesh network is that in case one device breaks down, you’ll still be able to get a Wi-Fi connection as the communication is simply rerouted through another device. This rerouting process only applies when the main Google Wi-Fi device is operational. If the main Google Wi-Fi device is down, the additional devices won’t function as well.
Another advantage of the mesh network is all your Google Wi-Fi devices are connected to each other wirelessly. Since they operate wirelessly, there’s no need for Ethernet cables all throughout your house.
Keep in mind that Google Wi-Fi isn’t a modem, it’s a router. Like other routers, you still have to connect it to a modem with an ethernet cable. You also need a Broadband connection in order to set up Google Wi-Fi.
2. Google Wi-Fi offers faster Wi-Fi speed.
Another benefit of using Google Wi-Fi is that it offers faster Wi-Fi speed.
Faster Wi-Fi speeds enable you to stream videos and play online games effortlessly. All Google Wi-Fi devices use the technology called “Network Assist,” ensuring that all devices always choose the fastest route to the internet.
3. Google Wi-Fi offers family-friendly controls.
You can control your Google Wi-Fi devices via your smartphone or tablet using the Google Wi-Fi app. Through this app, you can schedule a regular Wi-Fi operation pause; this allows for your family to spend quality time together, during dinner for instance, or to prevent your kids from spending too much time accessing the internet (especially during bedtime).
Millions of adult websites can also be blocked using the Google Wi-Fi app to protect your kids from internet menace.
Aside from the above-mentioned family-friendly controls, the Google Wi-Fi app can also be used for monitoring to see who’s connected to your Wi-Fi network, run a speed test, set up a guest network or for troubleshooting.
4. Google Wi-Fi offers better security.
When you’re using Google Wi-Fi, you’re assured that your internet connection is secure.
One of the security features of the Google Wi-Fi is that it automatically updates itself. Malicious hackers are always on the lookout for security vulnerabilities in devices connected to the internet, including Google Wi-Fi.
Google, on the other hand, is always on the lookout to fix any known security vulnerabilities that cyber attackers could exploit. Google fixes security vulnerabilities through automatic updates.
Many of today’s cyberattacks are simply the result of device owners’ failure to install the latest security update on their devices. However, not everyone has the time to install these updates or the knowledge to do so. Thus, the automatic updates in Google Wi-Fi is a safety precaution.
An example of a security vulnerability that affects every Wi-Fi device is the security vulnerability called “Krack”, short for key reinstallation attacks. This Wi-Fi security vulnerability enables cyber attackers to steal Wi-Fi passwords, emails, chat messages, photos and other sensitive information.
To protect consumers, Googleautomatically updated all Google Wi-Fi devices to fix the KRACK security vulnerability. This automatic update ensures that your personal data is protected from KRACK attacks.
“Wi-Fi is an integral part of daily life,” the Wi-Fi Alliance said. “Billions of people all over the world depend on Wi-Fi in their homes and businesses, to shop, bank, coordinate life and stay connected. Securing Wi-Fi connections is an important element of securing personal data ….”
If you want a better Wi-Fi signal over a wider area, faster Wi-Fi speed, family-friendly Wi-Fi controls and secure Wi-Fi connection, choose Google Wi-Fi as your new home router.
Contact us today for additional information.
How Video Streaming Becomes Easier with Google Home
One of the remarkable things that you can do with Google Home is stream videos straight onto your TV.
What You Need to Stream Videos Using Google Home
In order to stream videos straight onto your TV using Google Home, you need the following:
- Google Home
There are currently three versions of Google Home: the regular version, Google Home Mini and Google Home Max. All versions of the Google Home enable you to stream videos provided the other requisites are present.
- Chromecast Built-in or Enabled TV
Chromecast is the second requirement in order to stream videos straight onto your TV. Developed by Google, Chromecast comes as a built-in feature in some select TV models such as Vizio, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Philips, Polaroid, Skyworth and Soniq.
Even if your TV doesn’t come with a built-in Chromecast, you can still stream videos to your TV by purchasing an external Chromecast. An external Chromecast refers to the thumb drive-sized device that’s plugged into your TV’s High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port.
- Another Smart Device
You also need a smart device in order to stream videos directly to your TV. This could be smartphone, tablet, laptop, Chromebook, or other smart home devices such as Nest Hello, Nest Cam Outdoor IQ or Nest Cam Indoor IQ.
Connecting Google Home + Chromecast enabled TV and a Mobile Device/Laptop
Here are the steps in order to connect your Google Home, Chromecast enabled or Chromecast built-in TV and your mobile device (smartphone, tablet) or laptop:
- Make sure that your Chromecast, Google Home and mobile device/laptop are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
- Once these devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, open the Google Home app on your mobile device.
- In the top left corner of the app’s home screen, tap Menu.
- Confirm that the Google Account listed is the one linked to Google Home.
- Tap More Settings next and under “Services,” tap TVs and Speakers. You’ll then see a list of linked devices – tap add in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- To add a device, tap the checkbox next to the device’s name.
Connecting Google Home + Chromecast enabled TV with a Security Camera
In order to connect Google Home, Chromecast enabled or Chromecast built-in TV and a security camera, follow these steps:
- Open the Google Home app.
- In the top left corner of the app’s Home screen, tap Menu and then Home Control.
- At the bottom right in the Devices tab, tap Add.
- Tap the device you want to connect and then follow the steps.
- When the pairing is complete, tap Done.
Benefits of Video Streaming with Google Home
Here are some of the benefits of streaming videos using Google Home:
- Play Your Favorite TV Shows and Movies
Once you connect the three devices, you can play your favorite shows and movies.
Chromecast works by mirroring the screen of your smartphone, tablet or laptop. For example, you can view TV shows and movies on Netflix and HBO if you have accounts on these streaming services.
If you want to watch the Netflix TV show Stranger Things via your Chromecast, you can tell your Google Assistant through the Google Home; just say “Ok Google (or Hey Google), watch Stranger Things on Chromecast”.
If you use your smartphone to watch a TV show through Netflix for instance, you can watch it on your TV without the need of logging into your Netflix account again or downloading anything. The great thing about streaming your favourite shows or movies using your smartphone to your Chromecast is that this won’t drain the battery of your smartphone.
- Stream Your Security Cameras
With your Google Home, Chromecast enabled TV and your security cameras, (Nest Cam Outdoor IQ, Nest Cam Indoor IQ or Nest Hello) you can stream the live footage straight to your TV.
To stream your security camera to your TV, you can say, “Ok Google (or Hey Google),” and add any of the following statements:
“Show [camera name]”
“What’s on [camera name]?”
“[Camera name] on [Chromecast device name]”
“Play [camera name] on [Chromecast device name]”
“Show [camera name] on [Chromecast device name]”
- Use Only Your Voice
One of the benefits of using Google Home and connecting with your Chromecast enabled TV and your other smart devices, such as mobile devices and security cameras, is that you can stream shows, movies and security footage without using the remote control for your TV or doing anything on your mobile devices or computers.
All that you have to do to stream your favorite shows, movies and security footage is use your voice. For instance, you can monitor via your TV what your dog is doing in your backyard while you’re cooking at the same time.
Other family members or friends can also tell Google Home to stream shows, movies or security footage, as six people can use a single Google Home. You simply have to set-up voice match to enable Google Home to be able to recognize specific voices.
If you want to watch your favorite shows, movies or monitor what your security cameras have captured on a bigger screen hassle-free, go on and connect Google Home with your Chromecast built-in or enabled TV and with your other smart devices.
Contact ustoday and learn more about Google Home and stream away!
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ: Outdoor Security Camera with Brains and Brawns
If you’re looking for an outdoor camera that’s smart enough and yet sturdy enough to brush off bad elements, then the Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is the right outdoor security camera for you and your family.
Brain Features of Nest Cam Outdoor IQ
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is smart enough to tell the difference between a person and a thing.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is a state-of-the-art outdoor security camera that has an incredible sight. Its camera is capable of spotting a person 50 feet away. Within this distance, this outdoor security camera can determine whether what it spotted is a person or a thing. Once it determines that what it spotted is a person, it then sends a notification alert – a photo of who’s there – via Nest app installed in your smartphone or tablet.
This camera is equipped with a 4K digital sensor, HDR and 1080p HD video and can be zoomed in up to 12 times for an enhanced view.
Once this camera detects a person, it automatically zooms in and follows the person. The camera will show you a close-up tracking shot with a wide 130° view.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is smart enough to tell the difference between a stranger and a familiar face.
If you subscribe to Nest Aware, in addition to receiving a photo of who’s there, you’ll also be informed whether this person is an unknown person or a family member.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is smart enough to identify a person talking or a dog barking.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is equipped with a speaker, a three-microphone system, noise suppression and echo cancellation. This outdoor security camera sends you an alert via your smartphone or tablet if it hears (even if it doesn’t see it) a person talking or a dog barking. So, you’ll be alerted via your dog’s bark when someone is lurking near your home or simply inform you that your dog is harassing the neighbors with its non-stop barking.
With the camera’s built-in speaker, you can also hush – via the speaker – your dog from further barking or tell the intruder in your home to get off your property or threaten the intruder that you’re reporting the incident to the police.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ won’t let you miss a thing.
If you subscribe to Nest Aware, you won’t miss a thing with what’s happening outside your door as Nest Aware continuously records what’s happening, 24/7 for up to 30 days, allowing you to review the entire 30-day video history, not just clips.
If after scanning the video, you’ve noticed that your dog was making some funny antics, you can share the video clips with family and friends. If an intruder tried or entered your home, you can share the video clip with the police to help the authorities capture the intruder quicker.
Brawn Features of Nest Cam Outdoor IQ
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is tamperproof.
You’re assured that the footages captured by Nest Cam Outdoor IQ stay safe in the cloud as Nest encrypts data with TLS/SSL and AES 128-bit encryption. Two-step authentication is also in place to keep your data safe and private.
This camera has a base that completely conceals the power cord. The power cord of this camera plugs into an indoor outlet. It’s, therefore, hidden, preventing intruders from tampering it.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ gives you a strong Wi-Fi connection.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is equipped with 2×2 MIMO chip, making streaming experience faster.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is weatherproof.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ received an IP66 rating. IP, which stands for Ingress Protection, refers to the level of sealing effectiveness of a device against intrusions such as dirt and moisture.
IP66 means that the Nest Cam Outdoor IQ is protected against dust and powerful jets of water. With Nest Cam Outdoor IQ, you’re assured that this device will still function come heavy rain or storm.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ can be used day or night.
Shadows or no light can’t deter Nest Cam Outdoor IQ from producing clear images. This camera is equipped with daytime HDR, combining multiple 4K images to even out challenging lighting conditions. So you’ll still see clear images even if they’re originally blown out or lost in the shadows. It’s also equipped with high-power infrared LEDs for clear, even night vision.
Nest Cam Outdoor IQ functions well even in a noisy environment.
With Nest Cam Outdoor IQ’s HD talk and listen built-in speaker and mic, you’re assured that you’ll still receive audio alerts even in noisy environments with the noise and echo suppression features.
On its own, Nest Cam IQ outdoor may deter intruders from breaking into your home. This outdoor camera also works with other Nest security cameras, including the smart video doorbell Nest Hello and Nest Cam IQ indoor cameras.
Security cameras have been proven as crime deterrents. Studies have shown, including that of theUrban Institutestudy, that security cameras have indeed helped prevent and solve crimes. Criminal elements don’t want to be seen on camera. The presence alone of a security camera scares would-be intruders away.
These Nest video cameras will serve as a secure alarm system, protecting your home from intruders. If you’ve put in place Nest Cam IQ outdoor cameras outside your home, Nest Hello for your front door and Nest Cam IQ indoor cameras inside your home, you’ll be alerted of intruders trying to enter the front side, back side and everywhere in between of your home. Contact ustoday to learn more and protect your family!
3 Types of Indoor Air Pollutants Your Home Air Filter Should Be Able to Remove
Your home’s indoor air quality can have an important impact on your family’s health. Your home’s air filter plays an important role in ensuring that you and your family breathe clean air. Here are the 3 types of air pollutants that your air filter should be able to remove:
1. Particle Pollutants
Particle pollution is one of the air pollutants that your home air filter should be able to remove. Particle pollution, also known as particulate matter (PM), is made up of tiny pieces of liquids, solids or a mixture of both that are in the air.
Particles differ in sizes; some particles are big enough for you to see, while some are too small. The bigger particles are called PM10 – referring to particles 10 micrometers in width or more than 2.5 micrometers. Dust is an example of a bigger particle.
The smaller particles, meanwhile, are called PM2.5 as they’re less than 2.5 micrometers in width. Examples of smaller particles are pollen, dust mites and soot (produced when materials are burned).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breathing in bigger particles can irritate your nose, eyes and throat. The CDC said breathing in smaller particles are more dangerous as they can enter into the deep parts of your lungs or even into your blood.
CDC said people who are most likely to experience health effects as a result of particle pollution include those with heart or lung diseases (for example, asthma), older adults, babies and children.
2. Bioaerosol Pollutants
Bioaerosol is a subcategory of particle pollution that refers to any airborne particles that are biological in origin. Bioaerosols vary in sizes. Based on their sizes, they can either be a bigger particle or a smaller particle.
Animals, plants, soil and water are potential sources of bioaerosols. Given that these biological sources are present in nature, this means that bioaerosols are present in just about everywhere. Mold is an example of a bioaerosol.
According to Health Canada(PDF), molds are of special interest in terms of human health as some molds contain inflammatory properties, others contain allergens, and some have toxic properties. Major causes of mold growth, according to Health Canada, are condensation of moisture on surfaces as a result of excessive humidity, lack of ventilation, water leakage (from a broken pipe), and water seepage from the outside (from a leaking roof, cracked basement or flood).
Health Canada and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec published reviews of the scientific literature relating to the health effects of molds on human health. The organizations concluded that exposure to indoor mold increases the prevalence of asthma-related symptoms, including chronic wheezing, irritation symptoms and non-specific symptoms.
3. Odor/Chemical Pollutants
Odors can be both pleasant and unpleasant. Some odors can be health hazards and some aren’t.
Harmful odors can come from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), harmful chemical contaminants found in many home environments. Examples of harmful odors derived from VOCs are paints, wall coverings, cleaning agents, carpeting, vinyl flooring, fabric materials and furnishings, air fresheners, perfume and shampoos.
“If these VOCs and other chemical contaminant sources are not controlled, indoor environmental quality problems can arise, even if the building’s ventilation system is properly designed and well maintained,” the CDC said.
Formaldehyde is another example of a harmful odor. At room temperature, formaldehyde has a pungent, suffocating odor. Formaldehyde is used as a food preservative. It’s also used in household products, including antiseptics and cosmetics.
“Exposure to formaldehyde can irritate the skin, throat, lungs, and eyes,” the CDCsaid. “Repeated exposure to formaldehyde can possibly lead to cancer.”
Lennox Healthy Climate HEPA Filtration System
The Lennox Healthy Climate HEPA air filter eliminates particle pollution, bioaerosols and harmful odors through its 3-step air filtration process. This air filter uses the same filtration technology used in hospital operating rooms and science labs. It functions like a vacuum; it pulls dirty air and then undergoes a 3-step cleaning process.
Stage 1 of the Filtration Process
The first stage of the Lennox Healthy Climate HEPA filtration process is called “Pre-Filter”. In this stage, bigger particles – those particles that are more than 2.5 micrometers in width – are removed from the air.
Stage 2 of the Filtration Process
The second stage of the air filtration process is called “HEPA”, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air. In this stage, smaller particles – those particles that are 0.3 micrometers in width and less than 2.5 micrometers – are removed from the air. At this stage, 99.97% of particulates, including bioaerosols, are removed from the air.
Stage 3 of the Filtration Process
The third stage of the Lennox Healthy Climate HEPA filtration process is called “Carbon”. The word “Carbon” refers to the 1/2-inch thick carbon filter used for removing odors and chemicals from the air. This air filter comes with an optional carbon canister that removes more odors and toxins like formaldehyde. After this last filtration stage, the clean air is then released from the air filter to be introduced into the air you and your family breathe.
Keeping your home free from air pollutants is important as according to Health Canada, Canadians spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. Installing Lennox Healthy Climate HEPA air filter in your home ensures that 99.97% of particle and bioaerosol pollutants, as well as harmful odors, are removed several times a day.
Health Canada recommends that your home air filter should be used along with good ventilation and reducing and eliminating sources of indoor air pollutants. Call ustoday to improve your air quality and protect your family.
4 Ways the Nest Hello Is Smarter Than Your Traditional Doorbell
If you’re planning on replacing your traditional doorbell, consider replacing it with an intelligent one – Nest Hello.
The Nest Hello is an intelligent doorbell that functions beyond just allowing visitors to announce their presence; this doorbell is equipped with a high-quality camera, microphone and speaker and contains technologies that make it an intelligent device.
Here are 4 ways that the Nest Hello is smarter than your traditional doorbell:
1. Facial Recognition
Traditional doorbells simply tell you that someone’s ringing the doorbell – it won’t tell you who the person is. The smart doorbell, with its facial recognition technology, lets you know who is ringing your doorbell and whether the person is a stranger or someone you know.
You’ll receive a notification via your smartphone or tablet whenever Nest Hello’s camera spots a person. You’ll have to teach Nest Hello who you know in order for it to be able to send you alerts for unfamiliar or familiar faces.
At first, you’ll receive a lot of alerts for unfamiliar faces as the Nest Hello is learning. Every unfamiliar person alert will ask if you know the person and you can select Yes or No. Through this process, the device will begin to recognize who is familiar and who isn’t.
It’s recommended that you review the face library in your Nest app during the first few weeks to identify the familiar faces. This helps to train the facial recognition technology to become more accurate. Those that you marked as unknown will be deleted in your familiar faces library.
Nest Hello also acts as a security camera – it will alert you if a person approaches and doesn’t ring the bell.
Nest Hello is equipped with HDR imaging and night vision, giving you a clear view in both day and night of the unfamiliar person or persons approaching your home.
2. Activity Zones
With this intelligent doorbell, you can choose a particular area – activity zone – and receive alerts whenever there’s motion there.
For instance, you can choose your front porch as your activity zone. Choosing this activity zone will turn off motion and people notifications outside of this area.
Even if you choose your front porch as your activity zone, the camera of your Nest Hello will still shoot and stream the entire view. The camera of this device captures 160 degrees of view.
The video feed of the view in front of your door, not just the activity zone, will continue to be streamed and recorded up to 30 days if you subscribe to Nest Aware. The activity zone only applies to notification alerts.
3. Connectivity with Other Smart Devices
The Nest app enables you to connect your Nest Hello with your smartphone or tablet. This way, you can receive notifications whenever someone approaches or rings your doorbell.
You can also connect Nest Hello with Google Home; this allows Google Assistant to announce when someone’s at your door or rings your doorbell. If you’ve tagged every family member by name in the Nest app, Google assistant will welcome home every family member by name.
To connect Nest Hello with Google Home, follow these steps:
- Open the Google Home app.
- In the top left corner of Google Home app screen, tap “Menu” and then “Home control”.
- You’ll then see the “Devices” tab. At the bottom, right tap “Add” and tap Nest Hello to connect, then follow the steps.
- When pairing between Nest Hello and Google Home is completed, tap “Done”.
You can also connect this doorbell with your TV and live stream what your smart doorbell sees. Connecting Nest Hello with Google Home is an initial step in connecting the smart doorbell with your Chromecast or Chromecast-enabled TV.
In addition to connecting Nest Hello and Google Home, you need to setup Chromecaston your TV. After setting up Chromecast, link your TV with Google Home. To enable live streaming of footages captured by Nest Hello, you simply use your voice via Google Home and say
“Ok Google (or Hey Google), show the <doorbell name> on <chromecast name>.”
Nest Hello can also be connected with the Nest X Yale smart lock, enabling your trusted guests to unlock or lock your door via their smartphone or tablet using assign codes.
4. Flexible Scheduling
Nest Hello is a smart doorbell that allows flexibility. This intelligent doorbell allows you to do the following:
- Turn camera on or off
- Turn chime on or off
- Turn on the camera automatically when you’re away and turn back off when you get home
- Turn on and off camera at specific times
- Choose what type of activity you want to be notified and when to get notifications – whether all the time or only when you’re away
- Change video quality to save bandwidth or for slow internet connection
- Turn Nest Hello’s microphone on or off
- Reply to someone who rings the doorbell with a pre-recorded response in the language of your choice.
If you’re looking for a smart doorbell that recognizes familiar from unfamiliar faces, gives notifications if anything happens in a selected activity zone, can be connected to other smart home devices and offers flexibility, then Nest Hello is the right doorbell for you.
6 Insights & Analytics Your Water Sensor Should Have
Water sensors detect water leakage, however, your water sensor should be more than a water leakage detector since this indicates that damage is already done.
The Flowie water sensor – which can easily be installed by strapping it on to your municipal water meter without tools – does more than just detecting leaks. It provides you with the following 6 insights and analytics directly to your tablet or smartphone using the Alert Labs app (Alert Labs being the manufacturer of Flowie water sensor):
1. Water Consumption
Unusual high-water consumption is a sign that you have a water leak at home. Using the Alert Labs app, you can view your water usage right down to the minute.
You can monitor your water consumption even if you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection at home as the Flowie water sensor works with a cellular network.
The Flowie water sensor knows your usual water consumption. When it detects an abnormality in the water consumption, the Flowie automatically alerts you via your mobile devices.
The Flowie provides peace of mind by alerting you when there is unusual water consumption. Through this alert, you can then check or ask someone to look for the source of the leak and fix it. These automatic alerts will help you catch water leaks while they’re still at an early stage, minimizing the possible damage.
The Flowie water sensor will also provide you with insights and analytics about the weather in your area. Weather is one of the biggest predictors of the likelihood of flooding or pipe freezing in your home.
In addition to the weather report, your Flowie water sensor also provides you with the actual temperature inside your home. Knowing the actual temperature inside your home is important as temperature is a good predictor of the likelihood of pipe freezing.
Many homeowners lower the heat when they leave the house. A lower temperature saves costs for space heating, but this could have negative repercussions; during cold spells, pipes could freeze or burst.
The Flowie’s insights and analytics will notify you of abnormal temperatures, for instance, extremely cold weather, allowing you to increase the temperature in the house to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
4. Pipe Freezing
When water freezes, it expands. When water in a pipe is exposed to extreme cold conditions, it freezes and causes the pipe to burst.
Homes are generally built with pipes located inside the building in order to protect the pipes from the freezing weather, however if there are holes in the building, during extremely cold weather the pipes could freeze or burst.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), pipe freezing is one of the biggest risks of property damage when the temperature drops. It added that a frozen pipe can cause a pipe to burst and result in over $5,000 in water damage. 37% of frozen pipe failures happen in a basement, IBHS said.
Flowies alert you when your pipe freezes. A pipe freezing alert will warn you that pipe bursting is possible, giving you time to take action to prevent further damage to your home.
Here are some measures to prevent frozen pipe damage:
- Keep doors on cabinets under bathroom sinks and kitchen open during cold spells to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes; and
- During cold spells, open faucets to keep water flowing through the pipes. Ice may still form in the pipes during cold spells but an open faucet enables water to get out before the pressure builds up to the point where a pipe can burst. If no more water comes out, this means that ice is blocking the pipe. Keep the faucet open still as this step relieves pressure inside the pipe.
5. Power Outage
The Flowie water sensor gives you alert on your mobile devices whenever there’s a power outage. A power outage notification during cold spells is particularly important. During power outages, your important home appliances like a heater will no longer function. Space heating is particularly important to prevent pipe freezing.
A power outage notification allows you the oppportunity to take measures to prevent pipe bursting.
The Flowie will also give you humidity insights and analytics. Humidity refers to the dampness or water vapor in the air.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor relative humidity should be kept below 60% – ideally between 30% and 50%, if possible. High levels of humidity can be a source or a contributing factor for mold growth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) people have different reactions to molds. CDC said “exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin.”
“Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath,” CDC added. “People with a weakened immune system, such as people receiving treatment for cancer, people who have had an organ or stem cell transplant, and people taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to get mold infections. Exposure to mold or dampness may also lead to development of asthma in some individuals.”
Unattended indoor flooding is also one cause of mold growth. The Flowie’s companion device, the Floodie sensor, alerts you whenever there is a small or big flooding in your home.
With your Flowie water sensor, Floodie sensor and the Alert Labs app, you’ll have access to insights and analytics regarding leaks, flooding, water consumption, weather, temperature, pipe freezing, power outage and humidity.
Learn moreand prevent a flood in your home today.
Google Smart Speakers Take the Number One Spot in the Smart Speaker Market
The smart speaker market landscape is changing – Google has overtaken Amazon, the once dominate force in the smart speaker market, with its Google Home.
According to the market analyst firm Canalys, in the first quarter of 2018, 9 million smart speakers were shipped to different parts of the world. Google took the top spot for the first time shipping 3.2 million units of the Google Home and Home Mini devices, while Amazon only shipped 2.5 million Echo devices.
By 2020, the leading research company Gartnerprojected that a total of $2.1 billion smart speakers will be sold worldwide, up from $360 million in 2015. Gartner also projected that 25% of households worldwide will have 2 or more smart speakers by 2020.
“The value of the device is derived from the ease of use and the natural, intuitive interaction model,” Gartner said. “If this value is recognized by all household members, it will drive the desire to have terminal access throughout the entire house, not just in one room.”
Google Home comes in 3 sizes: Google Home (original and regular size), Google Home Mini (smallest version) and Google Home Max (the biggest version).
Here are the top 4 reasons why people see more value in the Google Home compared to other smart speakers:
1. Smart Assistant
At the heart of every Google smart speaker is Google Assistant – an intelligent assistant developed by Google. In total, Google Assistant is capable of helping you with more than 1 million actions.
With Google Home, you can ask Google Assistant to help you with any of these actions hands-free. There’s no need to stop what you’re doing and type your query into Google Assistant; you only have to say this introductory phrase: “Hey Google” or “Ok, Google” to activate Google Assistant.
Just like you would Google anything that you want to know, you can also ask Google Assistant anything – weather, calculations, translations and much more. All you need to say is “Hey Google, how many cups are in a liter?” or “Hey Google, how do you say ‘awesome’ in French?” and Google Assistant will provide a response.
You can set up Google Assistant to give you a daily brief to start off your day, letting you know about the weather, news, traffic, daily reminders, appointments for the day and even your flight status.
With your permission, Google Assistant can help you manage your tasks such as adding items to your shopping list, setting alarms and making hands-free calls.
Most importantly, Google Assistant allows you to turn your home into a smart home. To date, Google Assistant works with more than 5,000 connected home devices.
If your TV has a built-in Chromecast or you’ve purchased a Chromecast – a device that allows for screen casting – you can connect it with Google Home and turn your room into a smart entertainment center.
With your Chromecast enabled TV, Google Assistant and Google Home, you can watch your favorite shows. For instance, you say “Hey Google, play Stranger Things from Netflix on my TV.”
Aside from turning your home into a smart entertainment center, you can also say, “Hey Google:
Turn on the lights
Set the temperature to X degrees
Dim the lights
Stream security camera (using Google Home and Chromecast or a TV with Chromecast built-in)
Google Assistant has also dramatically improved its language understanding, so you can speak to it naturally and it will know what you mean. For instance, Google Assistant understands more complex questions like “Hey Google, what’s the weather like in Montreal and Calgary?”
According to Google, it will soon roll out an update to Google Home that eliminates the need to utter the words “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” for each follow-up questions or orders.
“Soon you’ll be able to have a natural back-and-forth conversation without repeating ‘Hey Google’ for each follow-up request,” Googlesaid in a blog post. “The Assistant will be able to understand when you’re talking to it versus someone else and will respond accordingly. This feature has been one of our top requests and you’ll be able to turn on Continued Conversation in the coming weeks.”
2. Far-field Voice Recognition
People are choosing Google Home over other smart speakers due to its far-field voice recognition feature. To enable accurate far-field voice recognition, Google Home was designed with 2 microphones.
Google Home can recognize voices and minimize error rates even from across the room as its microphone system uses “neural beam forming”. Neural beam forming is a system that simulated hundreds of thousands of noisy environments and applied machine learning to recognize patterns, allowing the microphone system to filter and separate human voice from noise.
3. Multi-Room Capability
People are turning to Google Home due to its multi-room capability. If you put one Google Home in every room of your house, you can set-up your Google Home devices to synchronize music throughout the home or broadcast your voice across devices. For instance, you can say, “Hey Google, broadcast its dinner time!” and your message will be broadcasted to all Google Home devices in your home.
4. Hi-Fi Speaker
People are choosing Google Home over other smart speakers in the market today due to its hi-fi speaker. It has an integrated high-excursion speaker that delivers crystal-clear highs and rich bass.
So, if you’re looking for a smart speaker that’s intelligent enough, is capable of far-field voice recognition, has multi-room capability and has hi-fi speaker, then Google Home is the right smart speaker for your home. Connect with ustoday and learn how to make you your home more smart and comfortable.
5 Reasons to Choose a Lennox Air Conditioner over Other Air Conditioners
If comfort and cost are of the utmost priority when buying or renting an Air Conditioner, then the Lennox Air Conditioner is the right match for you.
Everyone loves summer, but with the bright sunshine comes high relative humidity and elevated air temperatures, producing an uncomfortable indoor environment.
Here are the top 5 reasons why the Lennox Air Conditioner gives you the best indoor comfort and why it’s worth the investment in comparison to conventional Air Conditioners:
1. Precise Temperature
The Precise Comfort™ technology of the Lennox Air Conditioner gives you the temperature that you want, every time. You simply set your preferred temperature and your Lennox Air Conditioner changes the temperature to match your preference without delay.
With the Precise Comfort™ technology of the Lennox Air Conditioner, your chosen temperature is maintained with an accuracy of 0.5 degrees or less.
To maintain your desired temperature, the variable-capacity and inverter-controlled compressors in the Lennox Air Conditioners continuously make tiny adjustments in fan speed and cooling output.
Conventional Air Conditioners only offer single capacity and single speed mean airflow, which results in temperature swings between cycles.
2. Humidity Removal
The air in your home will still feel light and cool in the hot summer months as the Lennox Air Conditioner removes approximately 30% more humidity compared to conventional Air Conditioners.
3. Silent Comfort
Conventional Air Conditioners are non-discreet appliances; they have a distinct noise while running.
The SilentComfort™ technology of the Lennox Air Conditioner – technology that combines a specially shaped fan blade, vibration resistance and thick insulation – greatly reduces sound levels.
The Lennox Air Conditioner with its SilentComfort™ technology is 50% quieter than a conventional Air Conditioner.
4. Save the Environment
Sunlight can be converted in to usable energy to power your Lennox Air Conditioner.
A Lennox Air Conditioner is compatible with the solar roof modules in a SunSource® Home Energy System. Here’s how the SunSource® Home Energy System works:
First, the solar roof modules capture the energy from the sun and send the harnessed energy to your Lennox solar-ready Air Conditioner.
Second, the energy harnessed by the solar roof modules is used to cool your home through your Lennox Air Conditioner.
Third, the energy that’s left over is used to power other electronic devices and other small appliances in your home.
The solar roof modules can be installed on your home without major modifications. You can also add more solar roof modules whenever you want to increase the volume of energy captured from the sun.
5. Save Money
If there’s energy left after you’ve powered your electronic devices and appliances in your home, the excess energy can potentially be sold to your utility company and possibly earn you a credit.
Using SunSource® Home Energy System™ can cut your Air Conditioner bill, as well as your heating bill, by up to 50%. This also qualifies you for possible rebates and tax credits.
The Lennox Air Conditioner, in particular model XC25, is an ENERGY STAR qualified product. This means that the product is recognized by ENERGY STAR as one of the most efficient products in 2018.
In Canada, the ENERGY STAR name and symbol are administered by Natural Resources Canada and registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Looking for the ENERGY STAR label is a simple way to save you money and protect the environment,” EPA said. “Now EPA introduces ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2018, a new distinction that recognizes products that deliver cutting edge energy efficiency along with the latest in technological innovation. It is an award that truly represents the best of ENERGY STAR.”
“Room Air Conditioners contribute more to the summer peak demand for electricity from the electricity grid than any other household appliance,” Natural Resources Canadasaid. “On hot days, when the demand for electricity for air conditioning increases, the generation of coal-fired electricity can soar, with a corresponding increase in nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions that lead to smog, acid rain and climate change. By choosing an ENERGY STAR qualified room Air Conditioner, you can help the environment and realize significant electrical savings.”
You can save hundreds of dollars in your utility bill every year with the Lennox Air Conditioner model XC25 because this product has the industry-leading energy efficiency of up to 26 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio).
Air Conditioners are rated according to their SEER, which refers to the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Conventional or older air conditioning systems have SEER ratings of 6 or less. Higher SEER means greater savings.
The Lennox Air Conditioner model XC25 also saves you money as the unit’s PermaGuard™ cabinet offers extra protection against corrosion and rust, extending the lifespan of this unit. It also has a 10-year limited warranty on the unit’s compressor and 10-year limited warranty on covered components.
The Lennox Air Conditioner model XC25 works with Lennox’s iComfort® S30 thermostat. This thermostat uses the GPS in your family members’ smartphones. You only have to set the automatic schedule once on the iComfort and it’ll automatically adjust your Lennox Air Conditioner to match.
Lennox iComfort detects when your house is empty and automatically changes the temperature of your Lennox Air Conditioner to a more energy-efficient setting. This thermostat also detects when a family member is on the way home and automatically changes the temperature to its regular setting. This makes your household energy savings consistent as this thermostat adapts to the schedules of your family members.
9 Things to Look for in an Outdoor Security Camera
If the security of your home is important to you, then an outdoor security camera is for you.
What is an Outdoor Security Camera?
An outdoor security camera is a camera that’s installed outside of your home in order to protect it from unauthorized persons.
Not all outdoor security cameras are created equal. If you’re planning on buying an outdoor security camera, look for the following features in order to provide optimum security for your home and your family:
1. HD Image Quality
When choosing an outdoor security camera, select one with high definition. A security camera is judged mainly by the quality of the footage that it produces. Watch out for security cameras that claim they have high definition quality, when in fact their lenses and sensors produce lower image quality.
A true high definition camera gives you 1080p HD image quality. Image quality is especially important in worst case scenarios, for instance, when a burglar tries to enter your home. If you want to report this incident to the police, they’ll ask for a copy of your security camera footage. Nest outdoor cameras have taken footage of package thieves and break-in culprits. Criminals have been identified and arrested via the Nest outdoor camera footage.
Footage that is not of HD quality and is too grainy is useless for authorities as perpetrators can’t be identified.
The Nest outdoor camera provides true HD image quality with its all-glass lens. You can zoom in up to 8 times in order to see every detail.
2. Night Vision
When choosing an outdoor security camera, select one with night vision. Many criminals operate during nighttime thinking that darkness will conceal their identity.
The Nest outdoor camera has night vision. This security camera, with its high definition and all-glass lens, produces clear footage regardless of whether it’s day or night.
3. Wide Angle
When choosing an outdoor security camera, choose one with a wide angle view.
The Nest outdoor camera has a wide angle, providing you with a 130° view of your home.
4. Weather Resistant
When choosing an outdoor security camera, choose one that’s weather resistant. A non-weather resistant camera is useless outside as it has to battle nature’s elements: rain and snow.
The Nest outdoor camera watches your home rain or shine.
5. 24/7 Recording
When choosing an outdoor security camera, select one that records everything, 24/7.
When you subscribe to Nest Aware, your Nest outdoor camera records everything 24/7 and you can easily review everything that the camera has recorded.
This camera has continuous power as it can be plugged into an outdoor or indoor outlet. Compared to battery-operated cameras, those that derive power from outlets are better, as battery-operated cameras are often in the sleep mode and only turn on when there’s motion.
6. Differentiates Between a Person from a Thing
In selecting an outdoor security camera, choose one that can differentiate between people and objects.
When you subscribe to Nest Aware, your Nest outdoor camera will give you a notification alert when it senses a person. On Android smartphones, this notification includes a cropped close-up of the person.
Using the Nest app, you can review the footage of what the person was doing in your home.
7. Activity Zone Alerts
In selecting an outdoor security camera, choose one that has activity zone alert capability.
Many criminals surprisingly choose the front door as their entry point. If a camera has an activity zone alert capability, it can send notifications whenever someone moves into your selected activity zone. The Nest outdoor camera gives you alerts whenever it senses someone in your identified activity zone.
In selecting an outdoor security camera, choose one that allows you to interact with the person who has entered your home.
The Nest outdoor camera allows you to interact with whoever has entered the vicinity of your home by being able to see, hear and talk to the person.
For instance, if an unauthorized person attempts to open your front door, using the Nest app on your smartphone or tablet, you can yell at the intruder as the Nest outdoor camera is equipped with a microphone and speaker.
You can also interact with friendly visitors like the delivery person. Using the Nest app on your smartphone or tablet, you can give instructions to the delivery person on where to put the package. The delivery person can also interact with you using the camera’s speaker if he or she has any questions.
9. Easy Installation
In selecting an outdoor security camera, look for a camera that is easy to install. With the Nest outdoor camera simply plug in the camera in the cable and adapter, mount the camera and it’s good to go.