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How to Stay AC (As Cool) While Saving on AC This Summer

Even though many of us try to spend most of our summer days outside, many of us also have that “oh $h*t” moment when we receive our energy bill at the end of the month. Summer may be the season of free outings to the beach, park, or barbecue, but it is also the season of cranked up air-conditioning. Here are 7 ways you can make sure you don’t break a sweat this summer, while also not breaking your bank. 1) Turn your AC down while you’re away… There are bunch of other ways you can enjoy AC at low cost – like going to the movies or the mall. Regardless of if you are just going to be gone for a few hours, or are vacationing for several days, be sure to turn your air conditioning down or completely off while you are away. This can be a significant waste of energy, and money, that you do not even get to enjoy, so take that extra second at the thermostat before you leave. 2) …Or when you open your windows. We all love that summer fresh air – on a cooler day (and while you’re home), turn off your AC, open up your windows, and let that pleasant and comfortable 75 degrees cool your home for you. Be sure to take advantage of the cool night air as well; leave your windows open for an hour or two before bed to allow your home’s temperature to drop comfortably, and always be sure to close them again before going to sleep. 3) Keep your blinds closed. If it is too warm to open your windows, be sure to cover them too. Even just the sun’s penetration through the glass of your windows can cause up to 30% of unwanted heat according to Family Handyman; using curtains, shades, or blinds can help to reduce your energy bills by up to 7% and can lower your home’s indoor temperature by as much as 20 degrees. 4) Be efficient with your AC use. When you know you will not be using a particular room on a regular basis (such as a guest bedroom or bathroom), do not waste the energy on it. Close the vents in that room and close its door so as to ensure that the cool air is concentrated where it is going to be felt; this will also more quickly cool your house allowing you to use less energy and money. 5) Make the switch. If you haven’t already, it is time to make the switch from incandescent to CFL light bulbs. Because incandescent bulbs waste 90% of the energy they use on unnecessary and unwanted heat emission, they end up making you spend more money on AC and electricity. 6) Can you grill it? Do you turn your fireplace on in the summer? I didn’t think so – using your stove or oven can have a similar effect. Frequently using these appliances to cook in your kitchen will quickly add heat to an already warm house; instead, take advantage of the beautiful weather and plan for more grill-oriented meals to keep the heat outside. Don’t worry, this doesn’t just mean eating hamburgers and hotdogs every day; nowadays, you can grill nearly anything, from pizza to pie! 7) Cool down your internal temperature. If these tricks and tips aren’t cool enough for you, you can always indulge yourself in some ice cream or popsicles. Regardless of how hot it may be outside (or inside), eating these foods is one of the fastest and most effective ways you can return yourself to a comfortable state. With year-long battery life and power-preservation as a top of priority of the security system, Blink is a great way to be efficient with your energy and your money. Check out the Blink home monitoring and security system, starting at just $99 with no monthly fees!

4 Tips to Abandoning Your Worries, Not Your Pets

Sep 16 2015 - Blink - 232 Oh our pets – no one is more excited when we come home or sadder when we leave. Try as they might to fit into our duffel bags or block the door, sometimes the call of paradise is too strong and we simply can’t give in to those heart-wrenching puppy-dog eyes. Though it will always be hard leaving our pets, there are some ways to help alleviate those guilt-ridden images of your pet anxiously waiting at the door, ears-perked, listening for any and every sign of your return. Here are a few things you can do to give both your pet, and yourself, some peace of mind and comfort when you have to say that difficult good-bye.

1. Make sure you’re gone, but not forgotten.

Your pet recognizes you primarily through your smell and finds it comforting, just as we do – while we like the smell of our mom’s cookies or our significant other’s clothes, our pets like the smell of us. So, for the week before you leave, carry or wear a blanket around whenever you have the chance in order to really make sure it absorbs, well, you. Leave this blanket in your pet’s favorite napping spot and you will see how quickly it collects hair from your pet’s many cuddles throughout the time that you’re away. If it wasn’t implied, you may not want to use your favorite blanket.

2. Leave him (or her) with a familiar face.

Even though it’s not yours, a face they know, and especially one they have come to know through an association with you, will make them feel a little more comfortable. If you don’t have a neighbor or friend who has spent time with your pet and can keep an eye on him or her while you’re away, don’t worry! There are plenty of websites (with plenty of pet-lovers) through which you can easily find someone to pet-sit, walk, or groom your little friend (care.com, for example, allows you to browse by experience, hourly rate, etc.). You can even bring some more comfort to your pet before you leave by arranging a quick meet-up of you, your pet, and your new pet-sitter so that your furry-friend can sniff him or her out.

3. Prepare home-made dinners.

Now I don’t mean you have to bake those three lasagnas you freeze for your significant other to prevent starvation while you’re away, but your pet is also comforted by food. Just because you’re away, doesn’t mean that those drooled-over dinner scrap-like treats have to stop – you know, those pieces of chicken that you just so happen to ‘drop’ right next to your best friend. So next time you’re planning on leaving, prepare some of your pet’s favorite “human-food,” and simply portion it out into small plastic bags to bring to the kennel or leave in the fridge at home to be sprinkled on top of your pet’s meal just like any other night. One taste of these treats and it will be like you never left!

4. Keep your pet close.

You’re leaving for this vacation to escape your worries, not add to them! Don’t let your imagination and concern get the best of you – with a home-monitoring system, you can be alerted when there is reason to worry, or you can use Live View to check in on your pet to make sure that they are cuddling with that blanket, getting along with your pet-sitter, or eating those little treats. This way, even when your pet is big like mine (she’s a Great Pyrenees a.k.a. a polar bear), he or she can still easily fit into your pocket. You can order your Blink wire-free home monitoring and security system today starting at just $99. Simply visit our website: www.blinkforhome.com!

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5 Outdoor Safety Lessons to Teach Your Kids This Summer

kid It’s that time of year again. You’re stuck inside at work, longingly looking outside the window, and your kids are at home, celebrating their summer vacation by playing outside and soaking up the sun. While Blink’s home-monitoring system can give you peace of mind about your kids while they are inside your home, what about when they are running over to the park to meet their friends for a pick-up baseball game, or just meeting up with the neighbor to play outside at their house? Though you may not always be there to protect them, the next best thing you can do is to teach your kids about safety. Here are 6 things you should ensure your kids know and do each time they go to play outside in order to keep them safe all summer long:

1) Wear Sunscreen

The last thing you want is to come home, after a long day of work, and find your child is a shocking shade of lobster. While it’s always good to have an aloe-plant in the house in case of incidences like this, it’s a lot better to prevent it from ever happening in the first place. Make sure you keep your sunscreen on a shelf they can reach, and, more importantly, explain to them why they should always use it. It’s always more effective to explain to your kids why something is a rule rather than simply relying on the classic “because I said so” go-to. But hey, if they still put up a fight, it’s always good to keep this phrase handy.

2) Drink Plenty of Water

We get it kids, you get carried away – you’re having so much fun that you just don’t want to have to stop to take a water-break, I mean, you’re not even thirsty! The thing is, you don’t have to be thirsty for your body to need water. Make sure that you have plenty of re-usable water bottles in the house (let your kids pick theirs out so that they will feel more inclined to use them), and explain to them that they should be taking a water-break at least every 20 minutes. Teach them about the signs of dehydration – such as dizziness, nausea, blurred vision – and what they should do in case they or any of their friends experience any of these. For more tips on how to encourage your kids to drink water, read this.

3) Know Which Pain is Bad Pain

As simple of a rule as this may seem, it is commonly very hard for kids to get it right – in order to ensure that your kids know when it is time to get parents involved, or when they just need to pick themselves up and ‘rub some dirt on it’, you need to first teach your kids how to tell the difference between a serious injury and a minor one. This doesn’t mean taking a field trip to the hospital and asking your kids, room by room, “serious or not?,” but rather simply explaining how they can tell the difference in the future. For example, if a child is bleeding, it is important to get the cut cleaned and covered to prevent any infection – but if this is just a scratch, they can probably wait until after the game. If there is no cut but just pain, let your kids know they should immediately take a break for 5 minutes and then see how it feels – if it still hurts, they should head home or call a parent, and if it doesn’t, then they can try easing back in to playing.

4) Let a Parent Know Where They Are Going

It is extremely important that you always know where your kids are and who they are with. In case of an emergency (injury, allergy, or God forbid something worse), you simply don’t have the time to waste trying to find your kids. With technology and ease and speed of communication today, there is really no excuse for your kids to not be able to tell you where they are. Explain this – explain that it’s because you love them that you need to know where they are, and explain that it’s as easy as just shooting you a quick text or telling you via the Blink home monitoring camera before leaving. When they do a good job at this, be sure to acknowledge it and thank them so that they understand how much you appreciate it and how much it means to you.

5) Obey the Rules of the Road

Your kids may not have their licenses yet, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t know the dangers and rules of the road. Whether they are riding their bikes, or just walking along the street, your kids are still involved with road traffic and should understand how to stay safe and what to watch out for. Aside from the basic “look both ways” rule, teach them that when they are biking, they should bike with traffic, whereas when walking they should go against traffic (while always remaining in a single file line when with friends). Teach them how, though they might follow the rules, other cars, bikes, or people may not, and therefore it is always better to be more cautious than less. With these safety lessons in mind, you can be sure that you will always receive a Blink motion-activated alert of your kids’ arrival back home after a fun day in the sun. Order your Blink home security system today!

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