[INTERVIEW] 5 Minutes with Barbara: Outdoor Heaters & Smart Home Technology

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I can start using my outdoor space a bit earlier in the coldest winter!

This month, we caught up with Barbara to have a chat about the outdoor infrared heaters that your Eastern Melbourne Electrician installed at her house last year. We also chatted about her interest in Smart Home technology and found out how she uses her Google Home set up to make her life easier.

(Transcript has been edited for ease of reading)

Outdoor Infrared Heaters Installation

Stay cosy through the winter months and increase the useability of your outside areas with an outdoor heater. Infrared technology used in modern outdoor heaters means that they are silent, streamlined and efficient. Infrared heaters heat the surfaces around them directly, rather than wasting energy heating the air.

Entertain all year round with an outdoor infrared heater!

Barbara is loving working and entertaining outside now she has outdoor heaters. Jamin caught up with her to find out how she’s using her outdoor space this winter:

J: Kenner Electrics installed two Infrared Outdoor Heaters in your patio area almost a year ago. Can you tell me about how you are finding them?

B: I often have both heaters on. I think the biggest advantage is that they extended the season, I can start using my outdoor space a bit earlier in the coldest winter!

J: Are you getting a lot of use from them now that the weather's getting colder?

B: Well I have the table here because I'm using it as a work area at the minute. Usually I entertain with barbecues but we were even sitting out here for our study group and coffee group. I don’t use them so much in the night time except when I entertain. It works well… if I'm going to entertain, a while before people come I put the two of them on to warm up the area.

J: We installed the model with the remote control and the timer functions. Do you use any of those functions?

B: I have not used the timer as much as I should. When you were coming I thought “I've got to dig out the instructions and find out exactly how to work them!”

J: These heaters are the 3000w model so it's about $0.75 an hour to run. Have you noticed much difference in your energy bill when they’ve been running?

B: It hasn't been too bad. It's not as if I use them every day or anything like that.

J: How did you find the experience of getting them installed by Kenner Electrics? Was the advice we provided helpful?

B: I found it was helpful to talk over the process of size [with Kenner Electrics]. I've enjoyed working with you guys, it's been good and it's been helpful. And I did talk around with friends who have them as well. It seemed to me if you're going to invest, it's better to get slightly bigger ones.

Kenner Electrics provides expert advice on the best outdoor heating solution for your home, as well as the electrical requirements of the chosen model.

Smart Home Technology Installation

Many smart products integrate with voice activation systems such as Google Home/Google Mini

Talk then turned to Barbara’s interest in Smart Home technology. Barbara has installed Philips Hue smart globes in some of her light fittings, and has multiple Google Minis set up around her home.

Jamin chatted with her about how she got started with smart technology and how it makes her life easier.

J: You’ve shown a lot of interest in Smart Home technology, you’ve got some Philips Hue smart globes if I remember correctly. How do you use it in your home and what has it added to your life?

B: It’s great, I love it! I love the way I can manage my music around the house, I love how I can manage my lighting around the house. I said to someone last night, "Google has just told me it's time to go to bed, I've got half an hour before it switches out all my lights. I've got to go!"

I've got a Brilliant Smart Plug to turn the fountains and fish pond on and off. And I've also got a couple of the smart plugs on lamps where I can't use Philips smart globes.

J: So how do you use it for music?

B: I've now got 3 Google Minis to control the music. I’d like to get one of the Google Home consoles as well. For the music I've got Spotify, so I just tell the Google Mini to play what I want to listen to. I can tell it from anywhere in the house, wherever I happen to be. I can play the music from one room where I am, but very often I play the music over all the Google Minis so I can move around the house and have my music around, or the radio of course.

J: What got you interested in Smart Home technology?

B: I got into it because the globes in the lounge room candelabras kept blowing, which was to do with the dimmer. I wondered about getting smart globes, whether that would fix the problem. The man at Bunnings gave me wrong information and I ended up taking back the first ones because they didn't work. Anyway, that got me into the whole technology thing. Then I just learnt by finding the information myself, usually from the manufacturer’s websites.

J: That's great that you're just doing it yourself. So you've found that the ability to control things and put them on schedules has helped?

B: Oh, it’s fun!  It's fun and it's useful, and silly little things like I can yell from the kitchen “Turn the dining room lights down” and there's a Google Mini in there that turns the dining room lights down. But there are things I should be able to do but I haven't, it has more capability than I'm using at the moment.

J: Do you have any future plans to expand your ‘smart home’ system?

B: I've had to do a lot with my irrigation this year and I know that's another job, but I’d like to get a WiFi controller on it so I don't have to get down on the ground to get to the controller. As I'm doing things I'm thinking of Wi-Fi-ing it.

Smart homes are no longer a thing of the future! Whether you want to use your voice to turn on the lights just like Barbara, or open the blinds from your phone, there is a home automation system to suit your home.

Simple automation systems can be installed to allow you to control your lights from your phone remotely or on pre-set schedules. More complex automation systems can be programmed to detect when you arrive home and initiate a sequence of events, such as turning on the A/C, opening the blinds and powering up the coffee machine.

Many smart products integrate with voice activation systems such as Google Home, Alexa or Siri. Use your voice to turn on/off or dim your lights, or turn on your speakers and request the next song on your playlist. Smart products have also developed so they are now able to be retrofitted to existing switchplates, without the need to re-wire your whole house! This means that you can easily add smart functionality to a single room, or throughout the entire house.

There are a wide range of smart systems on the market, so Kenner Electrics will work with you to find a solution to achieve whatever functionality you want in your home. With options such as SAL Pixie Smart Switches, Trader Powermesh, Clipsal Iconic Wiser, Fibaro and many more available, there's an option for every budget and the possibilities are endless!

Thanks to Barbara for taking the time to chat with Jamin! I’m sure she’s convinced us that outdoor heaters and smart home technologies are great upgrades for lifestyle and functionality!

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