Category Archives: Vacation Ready your Home

Simple, Safer, Peace of Mind

Hello, and welcome back to ‘The Advantage’! This month we would like to share with you a state-of-the-art product we offer to help you feel safe and secure, both while you are home and while you are away from your residence. With the extremely advanced home automation systems available today, all it takes to make your life simpler and safer is the click of a button.

iPhone Thermostat


Introducing the most advanced system we offer: Nexia Home Intelligence, a home automation system that connects electronic home products to internet-enabled devices, so you can access them remotely using the Nexia app on your smartphone, tablet or computer. With an automated home you can greatly reduce energy costs by doing things like dimming lights and changing the temperature when you’re away. You can also use the app to unlock the door remotely for family or guests, and to sense activity in or around your home from anywhere so you feel more protected and secure.

Nexia Home Intelligence is today’s leading home automation system, and it’s setting the industry standard by offering superior technology and allowing you to proficiently run your home from anywhere. Designed to fit your lifestyle, the Nexia mobile app provides you with the ability to manage your home via any device using Z-Wave technology . Z-Wave is a next-generation wireless technology that allows most electronic devices in your home to communicate via low-power radio waves that travel through walls, floors, and cabinets. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can check in on your home from anywhere at any time, or receive alerts about the activities in your home that you preset ahead of time.



Control your home wherever you are, whenever you want. Nexia Home Intelligence allows you to create a smarter home using connected technology so you can:

  • Set your lights and thermostat to adjust upon your return for a warm, well-lit welcome home.
  • Give the impression that someone’s home while you’re away for an extended trip by setting your system to close the blinds in the evening and reopen them in the morning, or turn the lights on and back off around your usual sleep time.
  • Receive a text or email alert when someone unlocks the door or when the set comfort temperature in your home is out of range.
  • Prevent potentially costly damage. If Nexia detects a leak, it both sends you an alert immediately and turns off the water valve to prevent further damage.
  • Parents and pet lovers receive peace of mind and well-deserved relief with the ability to check in remotely via cameras, receive alerts when the kids get home from school or if no motion has been detected in the house, and easily let help in case of an emergency.
  • Customize access codes for guests or pet-sitters that come in and out for added security.
  • Lock doors or close the garage with the Nexia app.
  • Expand your system any time you want by adding compatible components like cameras, locks, lighting and small appliance controls, thermostats, and sensors.

To learn more about the Nexia Home Intelligence options that fit your lifestyle, visit with us today and we would be happy to customize a system based upon your individual needs and budget. This system can support more than 200 devices at the same time, meaning your system is flexible and grows with your home as your life and technology change over time. For more information about Nexia and home automation, contact us on our website or call 701.775.4675.

6 Tips to Save Money While You’re on Vacation

As winter arrives in North Dakota, warm, sunny beaches start to call our names! Are you heading out on a winter vacation? More than likely you have had the mail held and asked a neighbor to keep an eye on things while you are away, but did you remember to ready your electricity and HVAC system for your absence? It is important for not only cost savings, but also safety reasons.


Below are six tips to remember when the packing is done and you are almost ready to set sail in paradise.


Reset the thermostat on your HVAC system to 60 degrees. This will save you money without risking frozen pipes and flooding, while still preventing moisture from building up on your primary heat exchanger, which could cause a possible shortage as well as mildew problems. Temperatures below freezing make it unsafe to turn the thermostat entirely off, and in our area we have the humidity working against us. We also tend to turn the heat back up to 72 or higher upon our return, causing extra stress to the HVAC unit. A programmable thermostat makes it convenient to remotely check on the temperature in your house and slowly increase the heat back to a comfortable setting over a couple of days, helping to prevent overworking your HVAC unit.


This lower temperature will prevent water in the lines and tank from freezing and causing damage, but won’t keep hot water on hand that you are not going to be using. If you are not quite sure how to change the water heater to its “vacation” setting, give us a call!


Turn off the water supply to washing machines and toilets; this can help avoid an unexpected leak while you’re away. Double-check the insulation around water pipes that are close to unheated areas and add insulation if needed, as an added precaution to prevent a frozen pipe while you’re away.


Be sure all interior doors are open. This will keep the heat circulating throughout the entire house and create less of a chance for cold spots where a pipe could freeze or a plant might die from inadequate warmth. If you have someone checking your home, it is a good idea to place a thermometer where it can easily be seen to notify the person of any dangerous temperature drops in your home.


Set your refrigerator to 42 degrees and freezer to 5 degrees, to save money while also reducing the odds of returning home to spoiled food. If you are heading off on an extended vacation, donate or discard perishable food items and unplug your fridge to save even more. Also, unplug any “vampire appliances” that continue to use energy even when they are not in use, such as televisions, lamps, entertainment systems and coffee makers.


If you don’t have motion detectors, it is a good idea to consider investing in them, especially when going on extended vacations. If you do, make sure all the lights are in working order and time them to come on in the evening as the sun sets. You could even set a radio on a timer to ward off possible burglars.

We hope these tips help you have a wonderful, stress-free vacation! If you would like additional information on the care and maintenance of your HVAC system, or help with prepping your system for an extended vacation, or to schedule services to make sure your system is running optimally, contact Vilandres and we would be happy to come give your unit a tune-up before your trip begins.