(NewsUSA) - The smart home has gone mainstream. Currently available technology allows homeowners to further personalize the environments in their homes and to monitor their homes remotely. Consider the increasing popularity of smart appliances such as motion-sensor lights, programmable thermostats and sound-control surround systems. Such technologies will likely expand as ways to make homes not only more comfortable, but also safer and more efficient. Smart home technology is becoming increasingly affordable and will become increasingly common in new homes. For example, in 2013, approximately half of all new homes built in the United States included structured wiring, which is needed for the transmission of high-speed video.
Some examples of the latest smart home technology could fall into two categories: Home comfort and home monitoring. Homeowners are able to set up systems that program the house doors to unlock, certain lights to come on, and the thermostat to adjust to preselected settings automatically when someone arrives at the home. In addition, homes can be programmed to send emails or text messages to alert homeowners to potential problems, which can be addressed before they escalate into expensive repairs.
Another point in favor of smart home technology: resale value. If you want to boost the value of your home, smart home technology is a worthwhile investment, and a system that monitors plumbing is a good place to start.
Preventing water damage is one area in which smart home monitoring technology can be especially helpful. Water damage accounts for a significant portion of home insurance claims, and being able to identify potential water problems and address them early can save time and money.
The FloLogic System is engineered to act like a circuit breaker for the plumbing system in the home, and it may be fitted to any home, old or new. The system monitors the water flow throughout the home. The system is designed to shut off the water if it detects any sign of a leak, from something as large as a broken pipe to as mall as a pinhole. It sounds an alarm at the control pad and shuts off the water. The FloLogic System may be linked in with a home security system and will be WiFi enabled by year end.
For more information about how the FloLogic system works, visit www.Flologic.com.
(NewsUSA) - Owning a second home has many benefits: a potential rental income and a relaxing, reliable getaway, to name a few. However, second homeowners also must consider the challenges of maintaining a property left vacant for long periods of time.
Potential water damage is a key element of concern for homeowners who leave a second property for long periods. For example, a power failure and loss of electricity in the winter might result in frozen and broken pipes in a vacated summer house. An unsuspecting homeowner or renter could cause a flood by turning on the water. Home monitoring systems, such as the FloLogic System, are designed to provide remote monitoring of the water flow in a home. A sustained flow of water, whether from a pinhole leak, running faucet or flooding appliance, prompts the FloLogic System to send an alarm and shut off the water supply, so the homeowner can identify and address leaks before major damage occurs.
Many insurance companies offer reduced rates to homeowners who install the FloLogic System. Find out more about how the FloLogic System can give you peace of mind as you manage your vacation home by visiting www.flologic.com.
In addition to preventing water damage, owners of second homes can protect their property with these other simple strategies:
Protect the Pipes
For second homes in areas where the temperature dips below freezing, reduce the risk of a frozen pipe by leaving the heat running at 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Homeowners also should consider draining toilets, pipes and hot water tanks before leaving a vacation home for a long absence.
Protect Your Property
Be sure all windows and doors are locked and skylights and ventilation shafts are closed. Bring outdoor furniture inside. Secure bikes, boats and other similar items in a garage or shed. Move electronics, such as TVs and computers, away from windows.
Prepare for Power Surges
Unplug electrical appliances, including toasters and washing machines, for safety in case of an electrical surge.
Manage Your Mail
Be sure the post office has the correct forwarding address and the date on which to start forwarding your mail to an alternate location.
(NewsUSA) - The high cost of home insurance can seem like one more financial hurdle to homeowners, but a solid home insurance policy doesn't have to break the bank.
Several factors can impact how much you pay for home insurance, including the age and size of your home, and whether you live in an area prone to natural disasters, such as fires, storms and flooding.
In fact, water damage is one of the largest sources of insurance claims, so making a proactive effort to monitor leaks and minimize the possibility of water damage can help reduce your home insurance premiums. Plumbing-related water damage accounts for 22 percent of homeowner claims filed each year and accounts for 25 percent of the claim dollars that insurance companies pay out. This is second to damage caused by acts of nature.
How can you monitor leaks? The technology in the FloLogic system acts like a circuit breaker for your plumbing system. The system monitors water throughout the home, and automatically shuts off the water if a leak is detected. Homeowners who install the FloLogic sytem may be eligible for a discount on their insurance.
Find out more about how the FloLogic System works by visiting www.flologic.com.
Other smart steps to save money on home insurance include:
Improve Your Home
Some insurers offer discounts to homeowners in older homes who upgrade outdated heating, electrical, or plumbing systems. Also a home security system may increase your chances of getting a lower premium.
Pump Up What You'll Pay
If you choose a higher deductible (the amount you pay for any damages to your home), you will pay lower premiums. Be prepared to cover damages up to $1,000, so you can save your insurance claims for larger damages.
Read up on information about home insurance rates, and also about complaints related to price, customer service and a range of other issues issues. You can find many insurance quotes online, as well as customer feedback about the company. You may find that paying slightly more for home insurance from a company with mainly good reviews is worthwhile.
Consider using the same company for home insurance and auto insurance. It's not uncommon to get a reduced home insurance rate from a company if you also have car insurance or other types of insurance with them.
(NewsUSA) - The saying "They don't make things like they used to," may apply to the plumbing in many homes built in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. During those decades, polybutylene was considered the great future of plumbing for the home. Pipes made from polybutylene (PB) cost half as much as traditional copper pipes, and they were lightweight and easy for contractors to install.
PB pipes became the standard for home plumbing in much of the United States, including the Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Northwest, and Sun Belt regions. Approximately 6 to 10 million American homes built during the period from 1978 to 1995 contain PB plumbing, according to home construction data.
However, if a home has PB pipes, its water system is doomed to eventually degrade and fail. The reason? The chlorine present in every public water supply degrades PB pipes and their fittings over time. The questions are when, and how this problem will occur. Chlorine exposure creates small leaks in PB pipes that can turn into large leaks and major flooding. However, a water monitoring system such as FloLogic can help spare homeowners the hassle of an expensive experience in water damage.
The FloLogic System (www.flologic.com) monitors the water flow throughout the home, and acts like a circuit breaker that shuts off the water if it detects any type of leak. The System sounds an alarm at a keypad, and it also can be linked to a home security system. With the FloLogic System, homeowners are instantly alerted to the presence and location of a leak, and can address it immediately.
PB plumbing problems have caused millions of dollars in damage over the decades, and it is often difficult for homeowners to distinguish what their pipes are made of without calling in a plumber. Completely replacing PB pipes can be expensive, but careful monitoring can catch a small leak before it becomes a costly one.
In addition to reducing the risk of water damage, the FloLogic System may even earn homeowners a discount on their insurance, depending on the company.
Visit www.flologic.com for more details on how the FloLogic System can protect your plumbing.
(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Investors have obviously caught on. Tired of paying what can be large fees for traditional mutual funds, they've poured $3 trillion into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) -; with $2.09 trillion of that held right here in the U.S. And according to TD Ameritrade, it's millennials, especially, who've been allocating more and more of their portfolios to these baskets of securities that trade intraday like individual stocks.
PECOS, Texas â€“ Neither Ryan Gray nor Pete Carr Pro Rodeoâ€™s Dirty Jacket is a stranger to being part bareback riding scores in the 90s.
They worked together Friday night for a 92-point ride to take the bareback riding lead at the West of the Pecos Rodeo inside Buck Jackson Arena. It is the highest marked bareback ride so far in 2015 in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and more than three months remain in the regular season.
Gray, an eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Cheney, Wash., is the No. 11 bareback rider in this weekâ€™s world standings. With one performance remaining in Pecos, he should collect a big check out of the Worldâ€™s Oldest Rodeo.
Gray is one of just four cowboys who are part of the world record for highest-marked ride in rodeo, posting a 94 on Grass Dancer, another great Pete Carr bucking horse, in Eagle, Colo., in 2009. Gray also won the fifth round of the 2011 NFR with a 90-point ride on Pete Carrâ€™s MGM Deuces Night, which won the 2012 PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year.
Dirty Jacket is the reigning world champion bareback horse and has been voted as one of the top three horses in the game each of the past three seasons. This marks the third time this year that cowboys have exceeded the 90-point barrier on the 11-year-old bay gelding â€“ Jessy Davis was 93 points to win the San Angelo, Texas, Cinch Shootout in February (a non-PRCA event), while Winn Ratliff posted a 90 just two weeks ago to share the title in Weatherford, Texas.
Over his career, Dirty Jacket has been part of 90-point-plus rides numerous times. In 2014, he matched moves with Richmond Champion in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Steven Dent in Stephenville, Texas, for 91 points; those were the highest marked rides of the season. Two seasons ago, young gun Taylor Price won the West of the Pecos buckle with a 91-point ride on Dirty Jacket.
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. â€“ The Navajo Nation Fourth of July PRCA Rodeo is one of the greatest spectacles in the sport.
Itâ€™s part of Cowboy Christmas, an annual showcase of lucrative rodeos set around the July 4 holiday. More importantly, it features the greatest athletes in the game, from world champion cowboys and cowgirls to some of the most impressive bucking animals from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo.
The rodeo is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 2-Saturday, July 4, at Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena (because Window Rock is on the Navajo Nation, the kickoff each night will be during Mountain Standard Time; it is not the same as Arizona, which does not recognize Daylight Savings time).
â€śI think the thing that makes our rodeo so great is our stock contractor,â€ť said Wanda Nelson, spokeswoman for the Navajo Nation Fair, which produces the annual rodeo. â€śThe last few years, that has been a big thing for us. The contractor and the contestants: weâ€™ve actually had the NFR here in the (Navajo) Nation.â€ť
In addition to numerous world champions that are part of the field, the Window Rock rodeo also will feature world champion bucking animals like Dirty Jacket, the reigning PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year, and two other world champion equine athletes in Big Tex and Real Deal. Thatâ€™s the type of power Pete Carr Pro Rodeo has in the Navajo Nation.
The key is producing an event that is talked about around the Navajo Nation, which has been the case since the Carr team has been part of the Fourth of July event. This yearâ€™s event will include announcer Andy Stewart, a nominee for PRCA Announcer of the Year who is in his fifth year in Window Rock, and funnyman Troy Lerwill, one of the most decorated entertainers in ProRodeo.
Another keen aspect to the three-day rodeo will be the Pete Carr Pro Rodeo bucking stock, another attractive feature for rodeoâ€™s greatest stars. Each of the past two seasons, 27 Carr animals have been selected to buck at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
â€śOverall, heâ€™s just got the top-rated stock,â€ť Nelson said of Carr. â€śHis personality is a great fit for us, and so is his love for rodeo. Heâ€™s been really good to us and has worked really well with us.â€ť
The work is putting on the best rodeo possible for the greatest fans in the game. Thatâ€™s what the Navajo Nation has come to expect with the annual Fourth of July PRCA Rodeo.
DUNCAN, Okla. â€“ Jesse James Kirby has been in this position before.
The veteran cowboy holds the lead in the Prairie Circuitâ€™s saddle bronc riding standings, edging another veteran, Wade Sundell of Coleman, Okla., by about $1,400 with just three months remaining in the 2015 season.
â€śIâ€™ve been in the circuit situation before where I had a good lead and had some guys catch me,â€ť said Kirby, 33, of Dodge City, Kan. â€śBut itâ€™s not up to me. My main thing is taking it one rodeo at a time and letting things fall where they fall.â€ť
It may be clichĂ©, but that philosophy is working quite well for Kirby. Heâ€™s earned five event titles already this season, including three in the circuit, made up of contestants and events primarily in the Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma region.
Heâ€™d like to carry that momentum over to the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15-Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan. After all, he is the reigning circuit finals champion, winning the average title in 2014 by having the best three-round cumulative score among the finalists.
â€śIâ€™ve been very consistent lately,â€ť said Kirby, who has earned championships at circuit stops in Bennington, Kan.; Strong City, Kan.; and the May rodeo in Duncan. â€śIâ€™m just trying to keep it simple, not worrying about anything and just having fun. When a guy gets to thinking about too much, thatâ€™s when he fights his head and struggles.
â€śIâ€™m just keeping it as easy as possible, lifting on my rein, keeping my chin tucked and having a good spur out.â€ť
No matter how much success one has, the top athletes in the game realize basic fundamentals make the difference between riding well and struggling. There also is the thought to continue doing whatâ€™s working.
â€śI needed to get a little ahead so when I get out of the circuit a little bit, I have a bit of a cushion,â€ť he said, referring to the ProRodeo schedule that will see him traveling across the country and outside the region most of the next three months. â€śI would like to hit Woodward (Okla.) for sure and maybe Pretty Prairie (Kan.) before I head out West. Those are good circuit rodeos, and Woodward adds a lot of money, so thatâ€™s always a big part of it.â€ť
Cowboys and cowgirls not only compete to pay their bills, but each dollar counts as championship points. So far this season, Kirby has pocketed more than $9,100, with $6,481 coming from his earnings inside the Prairie Circuit. He is a three-time year-end circuit champion and a two-time winner of the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.
â€śIâ€™m going to keep riding the way I have been and hit the circuit rodeos I can,â€ť he said. â€śDuring the week of Dodge City, a guy can hit (Kansas stops in) Dodge City, Hill City, Abilene and Phillipsburg, and there are some others that are co-approved with the circuit. Thatâ€™s a good week to be a circuit cowboy, because theyâ€™re all close together.
â€śIf a guy can draw pretty good that week and have a real good week, it can make a big difference in what it takes to get to the circuit finals.â€ť
Thatâ€™s vital. Only the top 12 contestants in each event earn the right to compete in Duncan the third weekend in October. The world of rodeo features a tiered system; not only do the contestants battle for a spot in the season-ending finale, there are a number of cowboys and cowgirls who also are battling for a spot at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sportâ€™s grand championship.
As a full-time cowboy, thatâ€™s one of Kirbyâ€™s goals for 2015.
â€śIâ€™ve been on a roll, so Iâ€™m going to go out West and fight with the wolves a little bit,â€ť Kirby said, referring to testing his skills against regular NFR qualifiers and world champions. â€śPraise the Lord, Iâ€™ve been drawing really good and riding really good. Iâ€™m just going to try to take advantage of it and make a little statement that Iâ€™m still here.
â€śIâ€™m going to have fun and do this while I can, because Iâ€™m not going to have much more time doing it.â€ť
As a past circuit champion, Kirby wants to continue to push for another regional title. Qualifying for the circuit finals would be important, and so would performing well once he gets to Duncan, but there also is a bigger prize dangling on the line for the Kansas cowboy.
â€śThe circuitâ€™s always been important to me, because itâ€™s close to home and I like the circuit so much,â€ť he said. â€śBut I also havenâ€™t won the saddle yet at the Ram National Circuit Finals.â€ť
The year-end and finals champion in each event from all 12 ProRodeo circuits qualify for the RNCFR, which takes place in Kissimmee, Fla. Each national champion not only wins a trophy saddle but also a trophy buckle, thousands of dollars and a $20,000 voucher toward a new Ram pickup.
â€śIâ€™d like to have that, especially now that Florida has stepped up and has more added money. If we can still compete and win a lot of money, then weâ€™re going to do that.
â€śThereâ€™s a lot of money in our circuit, too. There are a lot of good rodeos in this circuit and a lot of good people. I want to keep supporting them as much as I can and help the younger guys who are just getting started.â€ť
Kirby has been doing that for his entire ProRodeo career. Thereâ€™s no reason to change now.