Does Nest Thermostat Save Money?

Does Nest Thermostat Save Money


It’s a fun and cool technology gadget, but does Nest thermostat save money? Truth be told, I had my heart set on buying one of these regardless of the answer to the money-savings question. There are lots of things I already knew I liked about the Nest thermostat. Before we talk about the possibility that Nest might save money on my energy bill, let me delve into these:

What I Like about the Nest Thermostat

For one thing, I like the looks of the Nest. I like the large, round display. I like the round appearance with easy-to-grab, hand dial for turning temperatures up and down. I also like how I can change the display to analog clock, digital clock, weather, actual temperature, or set temperature. I like that I can adjust the temperature from any room in the house. Installation of the Nest thermostat was very logical and straightforward with the included instructions. The Nest company took every care and precaution to make sure all steps are followed. They even were smart enough to recommend taking a picture of the wiring before removing anything. I installed mine without having to turn off my main breaker. I simply took Nest’s advice, turned off only the switch to the thermostat, then verified the power was off by attempting to turn up the heat. I was very comfortable removing and reinserting wires and the installation was simple. Using the basic features of Nest was equally simple to learn. I grabbed the large outer dial and turned it to 70 degrees and voila. I was set. Next, I downloaded the app to and set it up for my iPhone. No problem there either. It is also very clear how to program a set schedule for the Nest. What isn’t so clear is instructions that tell me how Nest is actually going to learn my habits and program itself? How many days must I turn he heat down and up before it recognizes the pattern? After a week thus far, my Nest is still not adjusting temperatures by itself. What is also not clear in the instructions is whether or not I can use the manual programming setting and auto-learning feature at the same time. I setup a schedule and the Auto-Learning is still on and informing me that it is learning. Will the manual schedule disrupt it or will it continue to learn adjacent to my manual schedule that I have already set? This leads us right back to the question: How does Nest thermostat save money?

Does Nest Thermostat Save Money?

I have always used a manual schedule to program my thermostat. My thermostat adjusts according to our habits. I turn it down to 62 when I go to bed at night and warms the house back up to 70 by the time I get up at 5:00AM. At 6:30AM the temperature goes back down to 64 while I’m at work for the day. The house is warm once again when I get back home in the afternoon. That’s me. Well, after talking to a few people, I was surprised to learn that not everyone has a manual schedule setup for their existing thermostats. For this reason, the Nest company can probably truthfully claim that it saves a lot of people a great deal of money. For someone who already has a specific and effective temperature schedule, I see very little ways Nest’s auto-learning can improve upon that. Having the ability and convenience to set temps away from home and in other rooms in the house might play a small role in helping with the energy bill. So, my conclusion (yet to be prove) is that the Nest thermostat can save a household owner some money depending on how they were using their previous thermostat.

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Bowflex Max Trainer M7 vs M8

Bowflex Max Trainer M7

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is basically the same machine as the Bowflex M8 except for some technology differences and just a slight modification to the console to hold various mobile devices. You will have a difficult time getting a concise answer as to the essential differences of the M7 vs. the M8. In a practical sense, I’ve owned both machines, so I will spare you some time and explain the difference as best as I can: Other than the console layout, the mechanical hardware of the M7 vs the M8 is 100% the same. In a nutshell, the difference is that the Bowflex M8 includes interactive Bluetooth technology. Here’s what that does for you.

Max Intelligence, Console, and Software

Bowlflex Maxtrainer M7 vs M8 Differences


The M8 Bluetooth technology means you can use the machine with Bowflex’s Max Intelligence software which basically gives you intelligent video and training workouts that are displayed and interact with your workout on your mobile devices; iPhones, iPads, etc. You can also stream the interactive software to your television with the use of an Apple TV or other streaming hardware device. The Max Intelligence App basically takes over the job for your console. For example, when you plug the Bowflex M8 Maxtrainer into your iPad, the display on your console will switch to your iPad. When your are connected to your mobile device, you will no longer see anything displayed on your console. This isn’t necessary, because the iPad gives you everything you need; heart rate, RPM, time, etc.. The console of the M8 is a little bigger to allow you to snugly mount various sized screens for your moble devices. There is also room on the bottom for a remote or water bottle.

M7 vs M8 – is it worth it to Upgrade to the M8

Here’s my little secret. I didn’t actually own both of these Maxtrainers. I bought a Bowflex M7 back in December when I stumbled upon a really enticing online deal. Having had it a month I was disappointed to learn that the bluetooth technology was not interactive. In other words, I would never be able to use 3rd party apps that could actually control things like speed, resistance, and workout performance etc. When I called Bowflex to ask them about this, they informed me of an upgrade that would essentially turn my M7 into an M8 for $299.00. I didn’t mind paying this too much because I had only paid $1,400 for the machine. My net cost with the upgrade is sitll well below the retail price of a new M8 and there is virtually no difference. The upgrade even came with a new front panel that says, M8 on it. The bulk of the package was the entire M8 console which took some assembly, but it was not too difficult. The upgrade includes a 1-year subscription to the Bowflex Video trainer. I was also pleasantly surprised that it included an arm-strap heart monitor which is far more convenient and works much better than the chest strap that was included with my original M7. Whether or not this arm strap is included with a new M8 purchase I don’t know. I do not see it listed anywhere on the Bowflex site. The main thing is that I was ready to experiment with some 3rd party apps to test how well the bluetooth interacts.

Third Party Apps to use with the Bowflex M8

Run Social

Run Social is one such iPhone/iPad application that is compatible with the bluetooth functionality of the Bowflex M8. I couldn’t wait to try it .RunSocial allows you to choose various virtual scenery and compete with other runners, bikers, etc from around the world. Unfortunately, I did not notice that the bluetooth did me much good other than to detect my speed. The routes I ran didn’t seem to adjust incline for going up and down hills. The big other big problem with RunSocial is that the scenery is very unrealistically repetitive. How likely is it on a run across the country that you will pass the exact same 1997, white Subaru legacy 12 times? On to other apps.

BitGym

I discovered BitGym when I first purchased my Bowflex M7 and it remains my favorite exercise scenery app. BitGym does not require the Bluetooth interactive functionality of my machine. Rather, it uses the motion from your device’s built-in camera. This is amazingly accurate which makes my whole reason for requiring the M8 vs. the M7 pretty much worthless. At least, until I find another app that actually interacts with things like resistance. Oh well. It’s nice to know I have the best elliptical Bowflex makes. But, how good is the actual machine?

Bowflex Max Trainer M7 vs M8

Brief Summary and Review

Basically, I bought this machine in order to keep myself in good cardio shape. I replaced an old, recumbent bike that served me well the last 10 years. What impressed me at the Bowflex Maxtrainer M7 I tried at a local sporting goods store was how sturdy it felt; just like a commercial elliptical trainer. Also, I felt that ergonomics of the Bowflex M7 felt good for the core of the body. It does not put too much emphasis or overwork any parts of the body. The Bowflex M7 is a 300lb machine with 20 levels of resistance. It has built-in, heart-rate monitor grips which project your heart rate on your screen or on your mobile device.

What’s not so Good

What I don’t like about this machine is that after 3 months of use it has developed a very annoying clicking and rattling noise inside of the flywheel. It worries me that something is going to fall apart. I’ve taken the flywheel apart and did not see anything loose. It somewhere deep inside. You shouldn’t pay $1,400 for a machine and have issues like these. I will end up contacting Bowflex about this. I was not real impressed with the online support and troubleshooting instructions for locating noises and squeaks – they were not real helpful. This machine has very positive reviews, but most of them seem to be coming from the Bowflex website. They heavily sell their products direct online. For this reason, I would be inclined to look up other brands besides the Bowflex Max Trainer M7. Here are some other highly rated Elliptical Trainers on Amazon:

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Apple Pencil Cap Replacement

Apple Pencil Cap Replacement

I did not even own my Apple Pencil a full day before I found myself already looking for an Apple Pencil cap replacement. For such an innovative company, Apple still does some things that don’t make sense. The included Apple Pen cap which is magnetically attached, comes dislodged very easily. My cat knocked my Apple Pencil off the kitchen table while I was upstairs getting ready for work. When I came back down to the table for breakfast, the Apple Pencil was on the floor, but the cap was no where to be found. I searched and searched for it, and only found it hours after I had already researched new cap replacements on Amazon and found the Tranesca Aluminum Apple cap replacement in 3 colors for $8.95. Furthermore, it comes with an adapter which even secures the little lightening adapter to your charger’s adapter cable. Genius! Two products in one. Why couldn’t Apple have done this?

This product is well made. These pencil caps were very nicely packaged with a professional Thank You card. Obviously, Tranesca is a company who cares and wants to satisfy their customers. The caps are well made and fit very snugly onto the Lightening Port of the Apple Pencil. The big bonus with this product is that Tranesca even includes an adapter for the lightening adapter; another small piece that is likely to get lost which Apple overlooked when they sold us their $100 Apple Pencils. While they are rather nice in appearance, my one small disappointment is that the aluminum up closes really looks as though it is spray-painted plastic. It does not have that ultra-glossy finish of a metal product. I’m being overly picky here. This Apple Pencil replacement cap which comes in a set of 3-different colors and serves two purposes in one will make you glad you lost your original Apple Pencil cap.

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How to Dethatch a Lawn with the Greenworks Dethatcher

Wondering how to dethatch a lawn without becoming inflicted with a sore back and blisters on your hands? Who isn’t? As much as I look forward to Spring time and the great, Colorado outdoors, I always dread the thought of dragging a rake through the lawn, pulling up thatch, and then bending over to bag it. Dethatching a lawn is not only a bit tiring, and hard on the back, arms, and hands, but it is a tedious process, especially if you have a huge lawn. Even with my medium-smallish, yard, I always wonder where to begin. Even a small yard has a lot of dethatching surface if you’re going to do it all by hand. Since buying my Electric Kobalt Lawnmower 6 years ago, I am no longer able to use my inexpensive, Arnold Power Rake blade which I bought and reviewed here several years ago. Upon waking up one morning and realizing it was time to rake, I finally decided to look into an electric lawn dethatcher.

Greenworks Dethatcher

14-Inch 10 Amp Corded Model 27022

Greenworks Dethatcher

The Greenworks Dethatcher is a very light-weight, corded, electric lawn dethatcher. There are no blades to mess with from your lawn mower. It’s a stand-alone tool that does one job and one job only: Dethatches your yard. It comes with several, inch-long tines that rotate via an electric mower. There is no bag included, so keep in mind that you will still probably want a rake to rake-up the thatch in big piles or you can try using your mower with grass catcher to collect all the thatch. Upon first use I went over my entire lawn in a matter of minutes and was able to easily mow up the thatch into my grass catcher. However, I wondered if I had really done a good enough job dethatching. Though it seemed to I had only a half-bag of thatch. A week later I learned how to dethatch a lawn much more effectively with the Greenworks dethatcher. I will share it with you.

How to Dethatch a Lawn Electrically

How to Dethatch a Lawn

The key to dethatching your yard properly is to go slow and take your time. The Greenworks dethatcher, in fact, is very effective at pulling up the thatch if you focus on going over areas slowly, and spending more time on dry, heavily thatched areas that need more attention. You can also gently back-up, then go back and forth over an area several times. You will quickly notice the thatch piles up the most where it is most heavily thatched. Though the cord is a bit of a nuisance at first, I learned to route the cord to one side of where the job is and work away from it. It helps to do a lawn in two or three sections, so the cord is out of the way. You’ll notice from the picture that there are nice piles of thatch after the job was finished.

Piles of Thatch

The thatch shown here is after raking it into small piles. Only light raking was required. The job, overall, takes much less time and effort than raking by hand. My front yard shown here is very thin. I never get anymore thatch than this when I spend the extra time and effort doing the back-breaking work of hand-raking. I think dethatching the yard this way did a much more thorough job especially after doing a second run a week later. One of the benefits is that you won’t mind doing it again if you have to. It’s really pretty easy.

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Best Bluetooth Earbuds under 50

Tranya Bluetooth 5.0 Deep Bass True Wireless Headphones Review

Best Bluetooth Earbuds under 50

When I began looking for the best bluetooth earbuds under 50 dollars my expectations were not for the very best sound. I set my price point at $50.00 knowing that I could have gotten better quality sound had I spent $199.99 for either the Apple AirPods, or the Bose SoundSport Free Wireless, but price went way beyond my budget and means. My main objective wasn’t sound quality as much as freedom from all of the wires. I use earbuds when I workout on the Elliptical or when I practice my Spanish with Duolingo. My goal was freedom from wires and sound quality as good as equal to the original Apple Earbuds which sell for $29.99. With the Tanya Bluetooth Earbuds I believe I accomplished both of those objectives. After a few days of setting up and using them here are my initial impressions of these economically priced wireless earbuds by Tranya.

Design and Functionality

Upon opening up the little box I was impressed with the nice packaging, attractive appearance, feel, and quality of the charging case. The charging case can be charged with or without earbuds attached via a USB port and adapter. The Earbuds are then charged by simply dropping them into the magnetic slots. The left and right each have their own shape to snugly and magnetically fit inside. Like all electronically charged devices, I could not find any instructions on how long it takes to charge these wireless earbuds or case. The directions do explain that the case is fully charged when the 3 lights at the bottom are all lit in solid green. When the earbuds are flashing read it means they still need a charge. Battery life of the earbuds is rated at 6-8 hours, but I have yet to go close to that many hours at once to test the accuracy of that claim. Pairing the earbuds was a breeze. By pressing on the earbuds the first time, they are powered on. Then, you go into your Bluetooth settings of your mobile device and choose T2-R. You are paired. That simple! Inside the box are a variety of different earbud plugs you can slip on and off to more comfortable fit the size and shape of your ear. However, there is more here than meets the eye or ‘ear’ as I shall explain in the Sound Quality section below. The earbuds have, in my opinion, very logical ways of controlling them: One press of either earbud will pause your music. Two presses on the left lowers the volume, two presses on the right raises it. Holding the power of either earbud for two seconds will skip to the next track. Triple-pressing either earbud will turn on the voice assistant for use with Siri or other device enabled voice control systems. One thing to know: If you want to use the bluetooth wireless earbuds on another device, you will have to disable the bluetooth connection on the one you were previously using. This is something to keep in mind if you’re having trouble pairing.

Comfort and Wear

Wireless Ear Buds Bluetooth

Some of the reviews on Amazon have complained that the earbuds hurt inside their ear. I find them softer and less harsh on the insides of my ears than the original Apple earpods. Also, I think they fit more snugly inside the ear with a simple twist and there is no worries about a cumbersome cord getting pulled by your elbow or arm. In short, they fit more securely than the wired earpods. I can work-out on the Elliptical without worrying about them falling out. That’s good enough for me. The real test, though, is would they pass my sound requirement of being as good or better sound quality than the original apple buds?

Sound Quality

Best Bluetooth Earbuds under 50

I have always thought Apple’s Earpods were pretty good compared to other cheap earbuds. When I first powered on the Tranya wireless ear headphones I immediately noticed they weren’t as loud as my Apple Earpods. This is an okay thing. I would never listen to then turned up all the way, anyway. My first and (now) lasting impression of these bluetooth wireless earbuds is that they most certainly do have better bass than the Apple. In fact, the sounds; treble, mid-range are fuller, cleaner, tighter and better all-around. When I went back to the Apple iPhone earbuds I immediately noticed they are not as clear and concise. In fact, they sound a bit muffled and boxy. While trying on the inferior Apple iPhone buds, I tried on a smaller, diameter earbud fitting for the Tranya before I placed them back on. At this point I knew one thing for sure: The best bluetooth earbuds under 50 bucks are not made by Apple. I immediately grabbed for a smaller pair of fittings for the Tranya as pictured above and put them back on. Here’s the big discovery: What happened to the bass? Lots of treble; good, sharp, crisp highs, but thinner mid ranges and a woeful lack of bass. Aha! The fittings are more than just for ear comfort. I went back to the original, bigger fittings and life was good once again. These are great sounding earbuds. Very good bass, though hip-hoppers might want more. Drums, highs, mids all sound superior to what I was used to. I highly recommend the Tranya Bluetooth 5.0 Deep Bass True Wireless Earbuds. While I have not tried them all, I believe these are as good as any if not the best, bluetooth earbuds under 50 bucks.

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