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Iris Smart Home System by Lowe's { Giveaway! }Renovating a home (DIY style) is not for the faint of heart, but we’re managing it… just barely. It’s just one of the reasons you see me a little less here at the moment (I’m sorry, truly!). From planning to implementation, working and taking care of kids, keeping the air clean and making sure that we feel safe in the process, it’s been a lot to manage (as you might have imagined). One of the tools that we are using to help us with all of this is the Iris smart home system from Lowe’s.

Simply put, Iris is a smart home system created by Lowe’s. It’s simple to install (plug & play!) and helps you monitor entry-points on your home (and get alerts) from an easy-to-use app as well as automating lighting, door locks, and a whole lot more (energy savings!). It’s a great system that provides all of the bells and whistles without the overhead expenses of a company security system.

We absolutely love how simple this system is to install and how, once set up, there’s really nothing you have to think about on a daily basis. It just works, which is why I am so delighted to be bringing you a giveaway that I know you’re going to love! If you have any questions about the system, leave a comment below and I’ll do my very best to answer them for you.

One lucky winner will receive one smart hub and one home automation pack (which includes two contact sensors, one motion sensor, one smart plug and one smart button), a total value of $190 (US only)! This is the perfect starter kit to get you going, and you can easily and affordably pick up additional sensors at your local Lowe’s Home Improvement Store.

Enter using the form below and good luck!

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Tips for Cleaner Air While Renovating Your HomeIf you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might have noticed that we’re in the middle of totally remodeling our home… by ourselves. Yes, really.

It’s a long story, but basically my husband knows what he’s doing + we don’t like to pay for things to not be done to his standards *cough* perfectionist *cough* + we don’t really have the cash to do that anyway + we’re totally f’n nuts = we’ve been doing a total gut job on the house while living here. We started in September of last year and likely won’t be totally done until winter of this year… or early next year.

So when Honeywell Plugged In reached out to me about their air purifiers I all but pounced on them. With all of the renovation dirt and dust being kicked up, I knew that I wanted to find a way to minimize the impact on our indoor air quality. I’ve written before about tips for improving indoor air quality, but doing it during a home renovation is a whole other ball of wax.

I’ve put together a few tips that have helped us (so far) and hopefully they will help you too — and Honeywell has generously offered an air purifier for me to give away to one lucky reader as well, so be sure to check that out at the bottom of this post.

Contain It

While this is not the most earth friendly option, sealing off any rooms or construction areas with plastic sheeting will create an affordable, physical barrier between your construction zone and the rest of your living space. While it may not be fool-proof, it will greatly help. If the space you are working in has heating and cooling vents or cold air returns, you may also want to seal them off to prevent wider spread contamination.

Additionally, if you’re DIYing, you may be able to opt for dust catching versions of some of your tools. While going out and buying tools that you already own may not be cost effective, it may be worth considering tools with dust collectors if you need to buy or rent a tool anyway.

Keep It Clean

Renovations aren’t known for their cleanliness, but doing your best to clean up as you go can really help. Sure, it might take you a bit more time overall, but it will also keep you from kicking up excess dust and particles. While you’re at it, be sure to use non-toxic cleaners! That’s always important but it’s worth repeating.

If you have items in the space that you are unable to remove, cover them! Heavy sheets or junky blankets work well and will also help prevent damage from paint, stain, drywall mud, and many other renovation materials.

Use Air Purifiers

Dust is a mighty foe. No matter how hard we try to fight it, dust is there. Run air purifiers in the rooms you spend the most time in (bedrooms, living room, etc.) to minimize exposure.

The one I’ve been using is made by Honeywell and utilizes a HEPA filter to help capture 99.97% of microscopic allergens that pass through it. It also helps to effectively remove odors, VOCs (plenty of these during a renovation), and certain germs in rooms up to  465 square feet.

This particular purifier offers a timer feature so that you can turn it on and not forget to turn it off. Choose 2, 4, or 8 hours on three different cleaning settings plus turbo. I love to keep this filter in my room at night, so I also appreciate the addition of a light dimmer to turn off the panel lights while I sleep. If you’re a nightlight person it’d be perfect, but I am definitely not.

Replace Your HVAC Filter

A quality filter will fun you a bit more than standard filters, but a bump up in quality is worth it – especially during a renovation. Look for filters that remove allergens and be sure to check it more often than you normally would. You’ll have a lot more debris in the air than usual and you want to be sure that it’s allowing air through properly — both for cleaner air and a better running HVAC system.

Vacuum Often

A good vacuum is so important … and actually using it is everything during a renovation. I have a Dyson and absolutely adore it. I think I’ve had it for about 5 years now and I cannot imagine a world without it. It handles my kids, our shedding dog, and now this renovation. Totally worth its weight in gold.

Open the Windows

Good air flow can certainly help dilute the ick and move particles through. Be sure to only open them up when outside work isn’t kicking up extra debris though. Open windows while you’re backfilling will likely not yield the desired results. 😂

Choose Safe Finishes

Choosing Low/No VOC paints, flooring, glues, and sealants can make a huge impact on your indoor air quality during the renovation and for years to come. Thankfully these things have become much more common in recent years, with even some of the biggest stores and brands making it their standard!

Final Cleaning

Once the renovations are over and the dust has settled, give everything a thorough cleaning and strongly consider having your ducts clean to remove any debris that may have found its way into your system.

I hope these tips help you keep your home a bit healthier during your renovation – and I wish you the best of luck on a swift process. Like me, I’m sure you can’t wait to relax in your newly renovated (and hopefully calmer, cleaner) space.

~* Enter to win! *~

Honeywell Plugged In has generously offered to give away the same purifier that I have been using the past few months. I love it and I know that you will too! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and if you must have one right away you can find it on their website or at a store near you 😊

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Saving Energy with Iris

We all know that reducing energy consumption is one of the biggest bang-for-your-buck ways to green our homes. Not only does it lessen the environmental impact of creating that energy in the first place, it also lessens the blow on our wallets – and who doesn’t love that?

There are lots of ways to reduce your family’s reliance on energy and to all around save energy from being wasted. I’ve found that using the Iris by Lowe’s products can help in your family’s fight against energy waste and offers a super easy, set-it-and-forget-it method.

Since heating takes about 42% of your home’s energy use, that’s a great place to start. The Iris 7-Day Touch Programmable Thermostat gives you greater control over your home’s heating and cooling, has energy saving features, and is even easily programmable online. Personally, I love how simple (and consistent!) a smart, programmable thermostat makes home life. Also, the Keen Home Smart Vent gives you the option of retrofitting your vent covers with a “smart” version that will adjust and regulate airflow in rooms depending on use and even coordinate with other rooms.

Another area that many homeowners don’t take into account as far as energy usage involves the water heater. You can set your water temperature around 120 degrees (depending on your heater’s requirements), which not only ensures less energy use but also keeps children safer around faucets. A resource like this EnergySmart Water Heater Controller works exclusively in conjunction with select Whirlpool water heaters and allows you to track and control water temperature and even create customized schedules.

Saving Energy with the Iris Smart Home SystemAs for lighting, a great energy saving method is to utilize dimmable switches, particularly when used in conjunction with a great LED lightbulb. An option like the GE Remote Control Lamp Module is an easy choice to control the lighting and energy use in your home with a simple plug-in. Additionally, you can pair bulbs and lighting plugged into the Iris outlets to come on before entering a dark home, off if you’ve forgotten it, etc.

To gain better control over your home’s electricity use, the GE Iris Duplex Electrical Outlet controls your outlets via internet or phone from anywhere. You can even program lights and small appliances to turn on or off at set times, or turn lights on remotely if you’re unexpectedly detained at night. Or, use a super easy plug-in option like the Iris 120-Volt Smart Plug, which offers an easy, no-tools-needed installation.

While we may not all be able to afford solar panels or practically install windmills, we can still reduce our environmental footprint through a variety of energy saving techniques. Iris makes it easy and, most importantly, affordable.

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Home Security Installation Made Simple : Now, home security is a DIY job - and an easy one, at that. Learn how!

When you think of setting up home security features at your house, what comes to mind? Do you envision dragging out all of your bulky tools? Do you imagine lots of drilling on ladders, rewiring, and the general headache that goes along with a DIY project? Maybe you even instantly picture calling in the professionals to do the job for you – all with big dollar signs in their eyes like some crazy emoji.

Through a partnership I’m very excited about, I’ve already introduced you to Iris by Lowe’s and all it can do to keep your family safe and secure. Today, I’d like to branch off and share with you how easy it is to make Iris work for your family. It truly is an easy DIY project that won’t eat up an entire weekend and leave you red in the face (or hardly speaking with your significant other).

Through a huge variety of simple-to-use products, Iris allows you to select just the right option for your family’s needs. Whether you’re looking to cut costs and wastefulness by monitoring your energy and water use or you hope to give your family some added safety and security, there’s an option to fit your budget and skill level. You can pick as many or as few features as you want.

Take, for instance, when I installed Iris motion sensors and smart plugs. I was unsure what to expect when my Iris package first arrived. My worry was for nothing though, and I ended up really impressed by how easily and simply the sensors and devices paired. Each took just a few seconds in the Iris by Lowe’s app.

The same can be said of the installation of the hub, keypad, and other devices. Each one came with the option of where to install (to a wall, window, etc.) using perfectly-sized adhesive strips or screws. I opted for the screw-based installation, which consisted of a small hanger that the sensor or device can snap or slide into. This allows for secure attachment, but also gives easy access when it comes time to replace batteries.

Once everything was installed and set up in the app, the Iris system was ready to go. Depending on your settings, you’ll receive an alert on your phone through the app. Through these features, you can also check out your history log (which I know I’ll find rather useful when we have teenagers).

Home Security Installation Made Simple : Now, home security is a DIY job - and an easy one, at that. Learn how!The fact that the products offer automation is a lifesaver. The Iris by Lowe’s smart home system installs in minutes and offers an abundance of tools to help automate your home ¬– saving you both time and energy. Pair the hub with motion sensors, smart plugs, or even LED bulbs and you’re set. You can even automate your lighting to maximize your energy savings! Check out this video to see just how simple it is to pair an LED light.

A programmable thermostat ensures that you can set it and forget it, as well. While there are many options available on the market, many of these systems are also compatible with the Iris by Lowe’s smart home system. While most Wi-Fi thermostats offer an app, it’s clunky to have to deal with multiple programs. Iris helps reduce the clutter and confusion by working with multiple devices seamlessly.

Most of the Iris options are just as simple as switching out an outlet or light bulb. Others might take the use of a screwdriver (or simply use of the adhesive pads), but are designed specifically with ease-of-use in mind.

Now, securing your home really is a DIY job – and an easy one, at that.

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