6 Home-Protection Tips Every Snowbird Should Know
With last year's polar vortex fresh in the minds of many Americans, the flock of snowbird travelers could grow considerably this season as folks head to the sunny states. Whether families spend a couple of weeks or the majority of the winter in a different state, preparing a residence for a prolonged absence is important. Snowbird travelers need to protect their homes from the forces of Mother Nature and potential burglars or trespassers.
Preparing a House for an Extended Absence
When leaving any property for more than a week, there is more to do than just pack a suitcase. Topping the list for most snowbird travelers preparing for a vacation is keeping their property secure. According to Travelers Indemnity Company, a house should appear occupied when owners are away. While it's important to keep energy costs down, a property that looks dark and vacant is very inviting to burglars. Here are a few other tips:
- Forward mail, stop newspapers and have a neighbor collect fliers. A house with mail and papers piling up is a sure sign the owners have flown the coop.
- If absent during the growing season, snowbird homeowners must make sure someone is mowing the lawn. This maintains the appearance that someone is in the residence and keeps the property in compliance with local ordinances.
- Ensure that motion sensing exterior lights are working, some interior lights are on timers and that alarm systems are activated.
Keeping Out Pests and Weather
While having a house burgled certainly ruins a vacation, it's more likely for property damage to occur in a more natural way – mainly the result of bugs and weather. Make sure a home is as uninviting to pests as it is to burglars with these tips:
- Close fireplace flus to prevent birds, bats and rodents from making their way indoors.
- Clean the kitchen and pantries before leaving. Even a small amount of garbage or loose food could be signal to bugs that the buffet is open.
- For season-long trips, it's a good idea to unplug and defrost freezers and refrigerators and turn off the water.
Controlling Climate at a Vacation Home
While many snowbird homeowners leave for better weather, they must remember their houses have to endure the very climates they are fleeing. A significant problem no matter which direction a snowbird is flying is humidity. Dry winter weather can destroy hardwood floors, furniture, electronics and musical instruments. Conversely, leaving a residence exposed to high levels of humidity can quickly result in mold growth and water damage. In severe cases, snowbird travelers have even found mushrooms growing in their second homes.
Controlling humidity at a permanent residence and vacation home both require the same products. Whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers that are installed as part of an HVAC system can be programed to keep humidity levels within acceptable ranges even when owners are hundreds of miles away. This not only protects valuable investments but also creates peace of mind for travelers, so they can enjoy their vacation – not stress about their house.
LitCoat Takes Paint To A New Level With Electroluminescence
LitCoat has developed a new electroluminescent paint product which can be applied to a myriad of different surfaces, paving the way for innovation through paint products.
LitCoat electroluminescent paint can be used to illuminate cars, models, buildings, panels, or other objects requiring luminescence for any reason. The company also offers an "electroluminescent coating specialist course" to inform users on how to apply and wire the paint no matter what their particular use may include.
When using LitCoat, it can light up instantly in response to the current it is exposed to. The phosphor component used in the product is a copper-doped zinc sulfide and it only requires a very small amount of current to initiate the color change from a flat paint look to complete electroluminescence. The product can work on any voltage and these power sources are the same that are currently used for EL or wire panels today.
With extended LitCoat Electroluminescent Composition Services, the brand also offers to replace the matrix with brands of basecoats that you may already be working with, such as Sherwin Williams or DuPont. This is done to help users to improve results and become more comfortable with the paint as they can use the brands they are already used to working with. No matter the formulation, LitCoat remains safe and easy to use on any surface a person may be working with, allowing them to transform surfaces with their own version of liquid light.
The brand also prides themselves on creating a truly "green" method of luminescence, as LitCoat electroluminescent paint is able to provide light using only a fraction of the energy when compared to typical lighting sources. This liquid light also allows users to work with natural materials, further allowing a person to lessen their carbon footprint. While providing an excellent standard of light, LitCoat allows a user to use up to 90% less energy when compared to typical lighting.
For more information regarding LitCoat and their electroluminescent paint, the brand can be reached through their website at www.litcoat.com.
Enphase Energy Introduces New Energy Management System to Accelerate Mainstream Solar Adoption
Enphase Energy, Inc. today announced the Enphase Energy Management System, a groundbreaking system for energy management that delivers on the vision of enabling large-scale implementation of solar power integrated with the grid.
The Enphase system intelligently integrates the critical technologies needed to solve solar energy challenges at scale: smart grid intelligence, communications, big data analytics and storage. The energy management system offers the next-generation, smart-grid ready Enphase microinverter, plug-and-play storage, advanced control capabilities and load management. The new system has three distinct advantages: it provides a better return on investment for system owners, expands the range of profitable business models for installers, and provides broader insight into and control for utilities.
“Enphase is taking a fundamentally different approach to energy management,” said Paul Nahi, Enphase CEO. “The solar industry is dominated by static, isolated systems that do not integrate, communicate, scale or adapt quickly to changes in power generation. Our energy management system is designed to accelerate mass penetration of solar globally and make mainstream access to clean, affordable energy a reality.”
The Enphase Energy Management System is comprised of four main components:
Generating solar energy that is smart-grid ready, with advanced grid functionality, enables maximum penetration of distributed solar on the grid. Designed to meet current and future requirements, the fully bidirectional, software-defined microinverter supports reactive power control and other advanced grid functionalities. Enphase S-Series Microinverters are the most advanced and easy-to-install smart grid-ready microinverters on the market.
Enphase AC Battery™ is an advanced energy storage solution with a modular, plug-and-play storage device fully integrated into the Enphase Energy Management System. Based on a distributed architecture, the AC Battery is a safe, reliable and easy-to-install storage solution, designed for residential and commercial applications. The modular battery provides system owners with the ability to store solar energy for future or nighttime use, optimizing solar power consumption and giving owners greater energy independence.
Enphase’s new Envoy-S expands from energy monitoring into full revenue grade metering of solar production, metering of home consumption, and storage management. Ruggedly constructed and suitable for installation in outdoor enclosures, the Envoy-S offers a full range of networking connectivity options. In addition to Ethernet, integrated Wi-Fi not only allows for easy connection to broadband systems but also functions simultaneously as an access point for integration with Enphase’s mobile application and other home automation solutions. An optional cellular modem completes the package; designed in collaboration with AT&T, the plug-and-play M2M data plan makes networking a snap.
Enphase’s Enlighten software platform enables customers to monitor system performance from any PC tablet or smartphone. Enlighten also monitors and optimizes the use of all energy sources—solar, stored and grid—providing remote visibility and control to every installation. Enlighten alerts system owners to performance issues, proactively supports operations and maintenance activities for installers, and helps utilities optimize and manage the grid, revealing trends and opportunities.
The Enphase Energy Management System components will be available on a rolling basis beginning in the third quarter of 2015.