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Tips for easy home improvement projects

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Our homes are one of the most important things we own, and where we spend so much of our time, so it's no surprise many homeowners take on several remodeling projects throughout their life. The only downside is home projects can be extremely costly and difficult to tackle on your own.

Luckily not all home improvements have to carry such an expensive price tag. Through careful planning, creative ideas and the clever use of electronic accessories, you can make a bunch of fun and affordable upgrades with these easy home improvement projects.

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Topics: Connected Home, How To, Around the Home

The DIY Guide to Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting: Part Two

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Part II: Quality of Light

Last week, we covered the different types, sizes and features of under cabinet fixtures in part one of the DIY Guide to Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting ( READ PART ONE HERE ). Now in part two, you'll learn what to look for in a quality under cabinet light fixture and the final important factors you should consider before making a purchase and getting started with your DIY kitchen lighting installation.

If you have tried shopping for a light bulb recently, you know the lighting market is more complex and confusing than ever, with multiple competing technologies (LED, CFL, tungsten, halogen, and others) on the market that each offer different specs, features, and terminology. The market for under cabinet fixtures is fortunately not nearly as complex, but there are still many options available with enormous differences in quality – especially in the quality of light they produce.

What do we mean by “quality of light?” Imagine, if you will, the crisp, clean lighting of a fine art gallery or museum. This is high quality light. Now imagine the buzzing green-hued fluorescent lights of a gas station bathroom. This is bad lighting. These scenes illustrate the extremes of light quality. While the difference between under cabinet fixtures is rarely this severe, it can still be significant.

Too often, consumers will spend thousands of dollars on a new home or kitchen remodel only to undermine their investment with poor quality lighting that casts unnatural glows on the room and dampens the vibrancy of the space.

There are several quality of light factors to consider when purchasing under cabinet fixtures that will have a tremendous impact on overall look and feel of your kitchen. This guide will help you understand these factors and what to look for in a quality fixture. 

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Topics: LED Lighting, How To, Around the Home

The DIY Guide to Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting: Part One

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Part I: Which Under Cabinet Fixture is Right for You?

Did you just remodel your kitchen? Could you use more light for your meal prep? Are your overhead lights too harsh for evening relaxation or gatherings? Then quality under cabinet fixtures are an easy and affordable way to dramatically enhance your kitchen space.

Under cabinet light fixtures, also called linear light fixtures, have many applications, but are used primarily in kitchens to add usable light to cabinet surfaces as well as pleasant, ambient light when dimmed to lower levels.

Under cabinet lighting can also be used for accent lighting (especially behind bookshelves) and as work lights, but for the sake of this article we will focus solely on their use in the kitchen.

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Topics: LED Lighting, How To, Around the Home

Easy ways to reduce your energy bills

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If celebrating Earth Day inspired you to make your home more eco-friendly then you're not alone! With a growing emphasis on sustainability, energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important and the push to go green is a win-win for your household and the environment. Fortunately, reducing your energy usage isn’t as difficult (or expensive) as you may think. By unplugging electronics, turning off or dimming lights and recycling, you can make a big difference in your daily energy consumption, help reduce pollution and even save some green by going green! 

As warmer weather quickly approaches, now is the perfect time to reduce your family's energy usage. Here are some easy things you can do to reduce your energy bills and consumption this season:

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Topics: Connected Home, LED Lighting, How To, Around the Home, Power

Q & A: Universal Remotes

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Do you have a remote for every device in your home entertainment system? Why not simplify your life with one remote? With GE Universal Remotes, you can! Universal remotes may seem tricky, but here at Jasco we know remotes and sell millions every year. Reading this Q & A session will simplify any and everything remote-related.
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Topics: How To, Around the Home, News, Q&A

What you need to know before purchasing a USB charger

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USB-powered devices go with us everywhere and it's important to stay connected. However, not all chargers or cables are created equal. What should you consider when choosing the best USB charging solutions? What's all this talk about amps, volts and rapid charging? Keep reading, and let us help you make sense of it all. 

Charging rate

For starters, not all electronic devices can be charged at the same rate. Different wall chargers have different output rates, measured in amps. Chargers with higher charging rates will power your device up quicker. For example, we recommend at least a 1 amp charger for an iPhone, 1.6 amps for Android and 2.4 amps for an iPad. When choosing a mutli-port charger for multiple devices, the total output must match or be higher than what each device requires to charge at the fullest rate. To find this out, add up the required amps for all the devices you'll be charging. 

For example: Android + iPad = 3+ amp charger. 

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Topics: How To, Mobility, Power

How to Have the Best Super Bowl Party

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The Super Bowl only comes once a year (February 7th this year) and provides the perfect excuse to get your football-loving family and friends together to watch the game on your big screen TV.

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Topics: How To, Around the Home

Winter Safety: How To Prepare For a Power Outage

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Winter isn't over just yet, and for many of us, some of the strongest winter storms often strike in January and February. That is why it's so important to plan for the possibility of a power outage.

Even when we're warned days in advance of possible severe weather or ice storms, power outages can still take us by surprise and can be scary for both children and adults. However, there are plenty of easy steps to take before a winter storm strikes to help protect your home (and all your precious gadgets) and insure peace and readiness for you and your family.  

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Topics: LED Lighting, How To, Around the Home, Safety & Security, Power

New Year's resolution No. 1: Cutting the Cord

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The final month of 2015 is a time for everyone look back on the previous year, but at the same time, look forward.

The last year was actually relatively huge for cord cutters and the streaming industry. HBO and Showtime released standalone streaming services that cord cutters could access without cable credentials. Netflix continued it's run of releasing critically acclaimed series, from new season of "Orange Is the New Black" and "House of Cards," to entirely new one's, like Marvel's "Daredevil" and "Beast of No Nation."

On the hardware side, Apple, Google, Roku and Amazon all released upgrades to their highly praised streaming devices. Add this to the news that sports giant ESPN has lost 7 million subscribers in the last two years, and the writing is on the wall: cord cutting is gaining momentum.

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Topics: How To, Around the Home, News

Jasco + Water4 Partner to Make a Difference in the World at CES 2016

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We recently announced Jasco is partnering with Water4 this year, a leading non-profit organization providing access to clean drinking water to a quarter million people and counting, at CES 2016 to help save lives and benefit thousands around the world. Together, we're working to transform the quality of life for people and entire communities around the world by helping rapidly increase the number of people with access to safe water.

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Topics: Connected Home, How To, Safety & Security, News

Stocking stuffers for the tech-savvy family

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Let's face it: The holidays can be a stressful time. As much as we enjoy the company of friends and family, there's a lot of planning that goes into this season. From decorating, to traveling to finding the perfect gifts, sometimes we have so much to do during the holidays, it can be difficult to actually take a moment and enjoy them.

According to the National Retail Federation, online shopping has also changed the way Americans prepare for the holiday season. E-commerce events like Cyber Monday bring in billions of dollars in sales each year. A NRF survey estimated almost half of holiday shopping will be done online in 2015, with the average consumer purchasing 46 percent of their gifts on the web, up from 44 percent last year. 

Luckily, online shopping can offer a quick and low stress way to purchase thoughtful gifts for your friends and family while skipping the chaos of department stores. You can also find a lot of last-minute online sales and deals still going on just days before Christmas. Make your holiday shopping much easier this year by taking advantage of online sales and ordering these stocking stuffers for the whole family.

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Topics: LED Lighting, How To, Around the Home, Mobility, News

The good neighbor's guide to energy-efficient holiday lighting

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Deck the halls with boughs of holly...and mistletoe, wreaths, garlands, candles, stars, tinsel, dancing Santas, plastic reindeer, and lights, lights and more lights!

The winter holiday season is a popular time to dress up the home and yard with fun and festive decorations. And nothing says "Christmas" like a beautifully decorated home.

However, for every giggle or gasp of awe that comes with a well-decorated house, there's also additional costs and responsibilities. For one, many holiday decorations require electricity and that can put an increased burden on your electrical bill. There's also the possibility that your neighbors might not appreciate your holiday light show as much as you do. Before you deploy your decorations, consider these energy-saving and conflict prevention tips.

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Topics: LED Lighting, How To, Around the Home

Increased popularity of cord cutting this holiday season

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A recent announcement by Nielsen shows just how much has changed in home entertainment in recent years. The consumer research company is planning to overhaul its metrics to better measure viewership across platforms. Though Nielsen's existing criteria are only 9 years old, a lot has changed during that time.

When Nielsen rolled out its current metrics in 2006, iPhones, tablets and connected streaming devices like Roku did not exist. Networks were beginning to offer some streaming content on their websites, but Hulu was still a year away from launching and Netflix only offered its snail mail DVD option.

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Topics: Connected Home, How To, News

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide by Jasco

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Christmas Gifts for Everyone On Your List

You’ve made your list and checked it twice, now it’s time to start on your shopping! Not sure where, or how, to begin? Whether you're looking for gifts for a DIY-er, TV lover or the techie in your life, let us help you with some gift inspiration. We’ve designed a simple, easy-to-use Holiday Gift Guide that will help you find the perfect present for everyone on your list.

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Topics: Connected Home, LED Lighting, How To, Around the Home, Safety & Security, Mobility, News, Power

How to prepare for Thanksgiving

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Families and friends everywhere are gearing up for the start of the holiday season. In addition, retail stores and online dealers are stocking up and preparing for the upcoming - and hectic - shopping season.

Whether you're a homeowner or renter, there are numerous ways to prepare for these next few months. Hosting weekend parties or weekday get-togethers can be spontaneous or thoroughly planned, but either way, there are some important items you'll need to host a successful gathering.

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Topics: Connected Home, How To, Around the Home

Easy ways to upgrade your cubicle

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In today’s world your cubicle isn’t only a place that you work, it’s where you spend 90 percent of your day. Your cubicle is a 3 walled, tiny, gray home for most workers. Spending all day tackling to-dos, answering emails, and making calls can get tiring when you are in an uncreative environment.

Making your cubicle feel more comfortable and homey can boost productivity. With these easy tips to upgrade your cubicle, you can transform into a productive, creative and comfortable place to spend your day.

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Topics: How To, Power

Turn any lamp into a smart lamp with Bluetooth Smart Controls

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In a previous DIY post we walked you through the steps for building your own bottle lamp (see here if you missed the How-to post). If you’re ready to take your lamp to the next level – keep reading! It is so easy to turn ANY lamp into a smart lamp with GE branded Bluetooth Smart Controls. With no wires or bulbs to change, there’s no reason not to do it. Now, if you are worried because when you hear Smart you think of confusing terms like networks and hubs and gateways – don’t worry! This doesn’t require any of that. This is super easy.

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Topics: Connected Home, LED Lighting, How To, Around the Home, News

Prepare for darker, longer nights with a connected home

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As we enter into autumn and winter, we face shorter days, longer nights and the end of daylight saving time. Coming home from work or dinner with friends, we're often dealing with decreased visibility and a greater risk of accidents. This could make for a minor inconvenience like knocking over your favorite lamp or a greater danger, such as failing to notice an intruder.

Automating household lighting adds security and comfort in the darker months and can keep you, your family and your favorite items safer. Here's a few simple ways to prepare your home for fall.

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Topics: Connected Home, How To, Around the Home, Safety & Security

How to light your house for Halloween with smart lighting controls

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Boo! It's time for terrifying thrills and monstrous scares as Halloween night approaches. Soon you'll be carving pumpkins, perfecting costumes and chowing down on entirely too much candy. As you prepare for a frightful Halloween night, don't forget to think about your home lighting.

From sinister shadows and flickering lights to fun-filled designs for the kids, smart lighting is a great way to enhance Halloween fun. It's also a crucial step for maintaining a secure environment for trick-or-treaters. Here are some tips to turn your home into an exciting and safe Halloween haunt using smart lighting controls:

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Topics: Connected Home, LED Lighting, How To, Safety & Security

The cord cutter's guide for watching college football without cable

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The time of the year we’ve all been waiting for is finally here — it’s football season. 

Sports have a unique place among cable subscribers and cord cutters. Unlike the premium channels HBO and Showtime, cable sports networks have, for the most part, not offered subscription- based services to follow in-market professional teams. However, professional sports are slowly adopting subscription services, according to USA Today. Watching College football without cable is a little different. Due to the sheer number of teams and conferences, some are easier to follow without cable.

Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, here's how you can follow all the action and still maintain your status as a cord cutter and enjoy future Saturday games.
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Topics: How To, Around the Home