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8 Technology Hacks for Homeowners

sicence fiction has long depicted the future as a place where homes are full of technology, automating everyday tasks and letting your house literally talk to you. While setting up a talking home would take some work, there are some technologies available that you can incorporate into your home right now to achieve a more advanced property. Here are some technology hacks that will make your home safer and more interactive, and some of them just may even save you some money.

1. A Hub for All Your Devices

In movies and television shows, smart homes have a central computer that controls everything and houses the AI that the owner interacts with. While most home technology hacks don’t require a central computer, having a home automation hub does allow you to tie different devices together. A hub links different smart-capable devices and allows you to access them from a central location, usually providing additional remote access via a smartphone app or secure web login as well.

These hubs use a wireless signal that works on a different band than your WiFi network. Depending on the specific hub you use, it may use different wireless bands with names such as “ZigBee,” “X10,” or “Z-Wave.” Make sure that any devices you buy use the same network as your hub so that everything will connect properly.

2. Upgrade Your Thermostat

smart thermostat

There are now a few “smart” thermostats on the market that let you have greater control over your heating and cooling costs. You can program the thermostats to automatically adjust the temperature at different times of the day. Some models can even detect when the house is empty and adjust the temperature to use less energy when no one is at home. If paired with a home automation hub, you can even control the thermostat remotely from your smartphone or over the Internet.

3. Smarten Up Your Cameras

Security cameras are a good way to keep an eye on your property when you’re not home. If you tie them in to the rest of your home automation network, you can even access them on the go to literally keep an eye on your property. Z-Wave and Zigbee cameras allow you to access streaming video feeds to check on your property remotely, and they often feature high-definition video as well. Depending on the camera model you choose, you can even select energy-efficient cameras that have built-in motion sensors, so they’ll only record when there’s something to see.

4. Window and Door Sensors

Another useful technology hack for the home is to install sensors on windows and doors that allow you to see when the door or window is open. This adds a level of security to your home, alerting you instantly if someone breaks in while you’re away from the house. If you’re a perennial worrier who constantly wonders whether you remembered to close every door and window before leaving, you can also check the status of your sensors before you leave the driveway.

5. Smart Locks

smart door lock

On the subject of doors, you can replace your locks and tie them into your home automation hub as well. Smart locks allow you to lock or unlock the doors through your monitoring app, and they can typically be synced with a key fob like you’d use for automatic door locks on your car. Depending on the lock, you can also use alternate identification methods such as a thumbprint scanner or digital keypad as well. Don’t worry though, the locks still use traditional keys as well, so you won’t be locked out of the house if a battery dies or if you forget a code.

6. Flood Sensors

A lesser-known home automation option, flood and leak sensors can prove invaluable if you ever have a major leak or ruptured pipe. These sensors check for the presence of water, and if they’re tripped, they alert you of a leak or a flooding situation. Depending on the sensor and how you set it up, they may even be able to automatically shut off the water until you can take care of the problem. These can be especially important during the winter when low temperatures threaten to freeze pipes in the basement.

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Mobile Electricity Will Provide Cheaper, More Reliable Energy for Homes, Businesses

Yuri Tsitrinbaum, is the Chief Executive Officer, Lumos Nigeria, a mobile electricity service provider, who is convinced that movable power is the new revolution for Nigeria in view of the prevailing energy crisis. In this interview with ROSELINE OKERE and ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, he speaks about how Lumos Mobile Electricity is powering homes and slashing energy costs by as much as 75 per cent for businesses.

Nigerias electricity demand is put at 40,000 Megawatts (MW), to what percentage can the Lumos Solar Technology help an average Nigerian solve basic electricity challenges?
At Lumos Mobile Electricity, our service provides a reliable and affordable source of electricity, which simply didnt exist for many people before. Our service provides our customers with a power solution that keeps family homes, small businesses, and clinics powered 24/7.

The cost of installing solar power in Nigeria is above the reach of many Nigerians. What makes your offering different?
When we established the Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, we wanted to make sure that the people who needed our service the most could access it. This is both the key catalyst and offering of our business.wires and cables Nigeria

thats why we use a pay-as-you go model, meaning that the initial cost is as low as N26,000, and customers pay for our electricity service in monthly, daily or annual payments, according to their needs and ability.

Nigerians today use different solutions to complement the national grid. Many Nigerians use generators while others use kerosene and flashlights. Potential customers pay small, small, but those increments add up to meaningful spend for households.

What we offer our customers is to divert the spend from the more costly and unreliable solutions to solar energy, for the same cost of running a small generator (I better pass my neighbour) for two hours, our customers enjoy 24/7 access to electricity.

Of course, a key feature of our system is that it will only produce electricity when it has been paid for, and making that payment is quick and easy using your mobile phone.

Maintenance is key in sustaining the efficiency and effectiveness of the solar panels, which adds to the cost of the panels. What programme is Lumos offering in this regard?
Thats one of the elements that our customers like most about our service. We give a five-year warranty to our customers. Our customers enjoy peace of mind; there are no hidden costs and no worry about needing to spend more.

We have our own R&D unit that designs the product, and we ensure the highest quality and product experience standards.

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Power investors are working hard to ensure regular electricity supply in Nigeria. If this happens, are you not afraid that this may undermine the success of your product in the market?
We are seeing a solar energy revolution, comparable to the mobile communications revolution, which swept across Africa over the past 15 years. The demand for power to keep up with our busy lives is outpacing even the most ambitious grid plans. Our service can be deployed quickly and easily without the need for major infrastructure projects. Just as with mobile communications, off-grid solar will complement investment in the grid. We all have the same goal universal energy access for Nigeria. And as the Nigerian power sector grows to meet ever-increasing demand, we too will adapt to that changing reality.

Do you think current economic policies are attractive enough to encourage investments in Nigeria, particularly in the power sector where investors are frustrated over their inability to recoup on their investments and make profit?
Our commitment to Nigeria is not time-limited or linked to a specific economic policy; its about providing a vital service to Africas largest population. When youre investing in a business, youll always push for a better deal or for more support, but we are very confident in the future of Nigeria, and plan on investing for many years to come. There is no other market like the Nigerian market.

Specifically, what do you think the Nigerian Government should do to attract new investments into the country?
The Nigerian Government is working hard to stabilise the economy for the benefit of both international and national investors. It is true that today the macro-economics of Nigeria pose real concerns for any investor. Foreign investors are attracted to opportunity and stability, in that sense; I believe that consistent policies and access to forex can play a meaningful role in any foreign investor investing here.

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What gave rise to the idea of the Lumos solar power mobile platform, especially in a recessed economy?
The mobile industry, which sparked a revolution in Africa, leapfrogging traditional landlines, and upturning industries from banking to communications, was the inspiration and the impetus for mobile electricity.

In 2013, Lumos Global founders, Davidi Vortman, and Nir Marom, decided that this would be the next big thing, marrying renewable energy, mobile technologys existing infrastructure into a service, Nigerias first distributed utility. Lumos was born.

All the team in Lumos, both Global and Nigerian are very proud and passionate to be a part of a business that is here to better the lives of millions of people.

Perhaps a bit ironically, there is no better time to come to this market. Nigerian consumers are smart and always looking for better product and services that can fit into the current financial environment. We offer a better, cheaper and more reliable solution. So now is the time for Mobile Electricity more than ever.

How much has Lumos invested on this particular project?
In 2016, Lumos closed a record funding round of $90million, which will allow us to bring affordable, reliable and clean energy to a target one million Nigerians over the next 12 months. This investment allows us to employ over 450 people in Nigeria, and has already brought around 40,000 YEllo Boxes into Nigerian homes and businesses.
We are delighted to be partnered with OPIC and UK Aid, whose investment in Nigeria helped make the Yello Box possible.

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How does the solar technology work with the MTN Nigeria mobile platform, seeing as this is the first of its kind in the country?
Our partnership with Mobile Operators is one of the critical enablers for the business. Partnering with mobile operators and specifically MTN Nigeria here, is enabling us to reduce our operational costs, provide an easy and accessible payment platform, and therefore increase the access to the service and reduce the cost to our consumers.

Mobile network has remained an issue in Nigeria due to poor network services, how are you able to overcome this challenge? What other challenges do you face since the debut of the project?
The growth of mobile technology and its penetration in Nigeria has been one of the great technology stories of the past decade. There are still gaps, and the regulators as well as the Mobile Operators are doing their best to bridge the gaps. Simply said, it is in the most basic interest of the Mobile operators to have the best coverage as happy customers spend more on your service.

With its launch earlier in the year, how has the Nigerian market responded to this innovation?
The response in Nigeria has been fantastic. When you consider that 73 million Nigerians do not have access to reliable electricity, and that huge numbers of them use expensive, unreliable, noisy alternatives, or make do without power, it was always clear home-solar was going to make a big impression.

Currently Lumos is bringing energy to more than 150,000 people across the country. Our mission now is to make sure that everyone has access to this innovation.Cable & Wire 1

Is there any specific market segment targeted, and how simple is the installation?
Our target market is Nigerians who do not have access to 24/7 grid electricity; people who are looking to improve their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Specifically, from our customers we learn that we have three key segments: families, businesses and gifters.

Everyone enjoys waking up with a fully charged phone, coming home and knowing that you have light. Families, specifically, love having quiet peaceful illuminated nights and evenings, watching television at convenient hours and enjoying a good nights sleep with a fan.

Businesses find special value in our service; non-business customers may be more flexible with their spend on fuel for generators, but a business with no electricity is a closed business. So we help business by shifting them from spending upwards of N600 a day on fuel to N150 a day only, reducing by over 75 per cent the spend on electricity.

Gifters, is a growing segment of our customer base, and the name is self-explanatory. People who understand the value and positive impact of electricity on quality of life and generously bestow that upon their families and loved ones
Our customers say:
No noise No heat No disturbance
With solar, you are very sure you will have constant light
24 hours light at my family and at my shop
With N150 a day, I see with light, charge my phone, watch my televisionFB_IMG_1462965478885

As for the installation, it is incredibly simple. The system will be up and running on your roof within less than an hour. Its a plug and play system.

Why is the partnership only with MTN? What happens to other non-MTN subscribers, who may also be interested in your product? MTN was the first operator in Nigeria to see the potential in the product and to join forces with us. It is far and away the biggest and best mobile provider in Nigeria, so this was the best way for Lumos to reach as many people as possible. They have a fantastic reach right across the country, and an excellent relationship with their customers. With around 60 million subscribers, we knew we had found the right partner. In addition, we hope that we will be able to add more networks to our payment methods.

What are your expansion plans to make the product available in all parts of the country? What are the considerations in terms of other demography income, occupation, location etc?
Mobile Electricity is currently available in over 300 stores across Nigeria, we should complete the expansion by end of year, but already you can join our service in almost every state. We do not target our systems at specific demographics, we target it based on energy need. We have found a demand for affordable, reliable and clean electricity in every part of Nigeria.

Finally, are there any after sales service programme in Nigeria, in case the need arises?
Of course, we need to make sure our customers are happy, this is one of the things I like about our business as a pay as you go business we are tied down to our customer satisfaction. We have full after sales service, five-year warranty for our customers and a commitment to the best customer experience.

Source: Gaurdian

Nigerian Manufacturers Self-Generate 13,223 Megawatts of Power

As persistent power outages continue to haunt industrial zones, causing production shortfalls and raising cost, Nigerian manufacturers are increasingly generating power on their own, with annual self-generating capacity in the industry put at 13,223 megawatts, Business Dayreports.

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The figure emerged from a survey undertaken by Adeola Adenikinju, professor of economics at the University of Ibadan, which was funded by the European Union and the government of Germany. The 2015 survey, which is the latest in the series, shows that the chemicals and pharmaceuticals sub-sector is the biggest self-generator of power (3,153MW) followed by the food, beverages and tobacco sub-sector (2,098MW) and the industrial plastics and rubber sub-sector (2,051MW). Manufacturers generate power through the use of generators, inverters, USPs and coal-fired plants, fueled by gas, low-pour fuel oil (LPFO) and coal.

Manufacturers have therefore signed an agreement with Tower Energy Solution & Systems Limited, for the supply of six to 10MW of electricity to Henry Carr Industrial Cluster in Ikeja, Lagos. They have also agreed with Negris Group for the supply of up to 80MW of electricity to Odogunyan in Ikorodu industrial cluster. They are also talking with solar power supply firms in northern Nigeria to enable clusters in Kaduna, Kano and other parts, to have incremental power at cheaper rates.Similarly, a negotiation is in the pipeline with Sahara Energy, Geogrid LighTec Limited and other companies, for the supply of power to industrial clusters.

 

Source: Energy Mix Report

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How to Repair an Underground Electrical Wire Break

Step 1 – Purchase Electronic Monitoring Equipment

If you dont know the location of the break, you can purchase electronic locating equipment at most electrical supply houses or big box stores. These tools will require some basic knowledge of electrical circuitry and a little patience as well.wires and cables Nigeria

Step 2 – Call the Phone and Utility Companies

Another alternative is to phone your local electric company and use their locating service. Most provide this service for free when locating the main power wires running from their incoming source to your meter or box. Locating other underground wires for light poles, barns, pools, garage, etc. may incur a small fee; the best practice is to call and ask.

Step 3 – Dig up the Affected Wire

First and most importantly, make sure you turn main electrical supply off before digging or attempting any repair to, or addition to, the electrical wire underground. Use a non-contact voltage tester afterward to confirm that the cable is no longer live. Then, dig along the sight path between the electric cables exit and entry points.Dante drums Armored Cables

Step 4 – Purchase Junction Boxes and Cable Connectors

If you are going to add additional circuitry to your existing wire underground, purchase waterproof junction boxes where connections can be made inside the box. This will protect the connections from corroding due to moisture and chemical elements from the surrounding ground.

Special sealing box cable connectors provide the waterproof seal for the electrical wiring that enters the box as well. These are a must when joining wires together in the water tight box. They have silicone inside the connector which will seal out the moisture after you have inserted the wiring. Do not reuse these once you remove them, however, because you may strip away too much of the silicone when you pull it off, and it will no longer be water tight if reused.

Step 5 – Use a Splice Kit

A splice kit containing an inline connector will join the two ends of a break securely in a polyolefin sleeve, which will shrink when heat is applied, to maintain a water-resistant connection. Inside the heat shrinkable tubing is an adhesive liner that will melt when heated. This will coat the connection and cover the wire with adhesive, oozing out the ends of the tubing as it shrinks. This method can be used if wiring is deep in the ground and no possible damage from gardening tools hitting it.

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A better choice for wires that you fear might get cut again will be connectors with a thick protective covering on them and silicone-based sealer inside for waterproofing.

Before you use the splice kit, you will need to cut the damaged wiring on either side of the break, and strip the outer sheathing back about three inches. Then, insert each conductor into the connector and match the colors. Tighten the screws in the connector, and heat the shrink tube with a heat gun to complete the seal.

Step 6 -Use Dante Wires And Cables

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Ikeja Electric Restores Power to Lagos Community Following Sustained Equipment Vandalism

Ikeja Electric has restored electricity supply to communities in Ijegun, after many months of outage from vandalism of the companys facilities in the area.

Mr Felix Ofulue, the Head, Corporate Communications Unit of the company, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. Ofulue said that the repairs took a longer time because the damage done to the transformers were enormous, adding that cables were also stolen from them. He, therefore, enjoined electricity consumers in the area to safeguard the companys equipment from further vandalism.Dante drums Armored Cables

From Okota to Ikotun, down to Ijegun, cases of vandalism have become very rampant and this contributes to the irregular power supply to consumers in those areas. In the last three months, we have witnessed more than 10 cases of vandalism in these areas, he said.125044

Ofulue said the company was spending money it would have used to boost its equipment for better power supply on the repair and replacement of vandalised transformers. We urge all communities on our network to secure electricity facilities in their neighbourhoods against vandalism. This is because when it happens, it is the consumers that will be in darkness. It is, therefore, better for community leaders to organise vigilance groups to safeguard these facilities, so that they can continue to enjoy them, he said.

He also said that the manner the transformers were being vandalised, left room for suspicion that the vandals were professionals.

Source: IWIN

Identifying House Electric Wiring Colors

The quickest way to identify house electrical wiring is by its color. Depending on where a wire ultimately gets installed, you cannot always rely on the markings printed on the insulation coating, nor will you always be able to read them legibly.The helpful reality is that you really have only three types of wire to identify: hot, neutral, and ground. A number of different colors may be used for the hot wire in various types of switch wiring, while neutral and ground wires should always be the same. If you are engaging in any home wiring, proper identification of wires is imperative so that you end up making the right connections.1.5 single core Read more

Dont pay electricity bills if youre not metered FG

However, Electricity Distribution Companies, Monday, said that the governments directive asking consumers yet to be metered not to pay electricity bills is applicable only to Maximum Demand (MD) customers. The Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) and Ikeja Electric made this known in a statement jointly signed by Heads of their Corporate Communications, Messrs Felix Ofulue and Godwin Idemudia. The companies said that residential consumers were not included in the directive issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). They said that the clarification was necessary because of a report claiming that NERC directed all consumers yet to be metered to stop paying electricity bills. Maximum demand customers are commercial and industrial customers, who consume high levels of electricity and contribute substantially to the revenues of distribution companies. We are happy to report that our maximum demand customers have been provided with meters as directed by NERC and are no longer billed by estimation. While we are making concerted efforts to provide meters for all our customers, we will continue to ensure the integrity of our bills and do everything within our mandate to comply with all NERC directives. We, therefore, urge our non-MD customers to please avail themselves of the content of the directive and be rightly guided. Consumers should not misinterpret it to avoid paying for electricity already consumed,wires and cables Nigeria
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