Unlock the Smart Home You Never Knew You Had

(BPT) – With everyone hunkering down, many of us are thinking about how to maximize what’s already in our homes. What many don’t know is that the benefits and efficiencies of a smart home might already be at their fingertips. With a little research and time spent with your appliances and technology, you can start enjoying the convenience of the smart home features you never knew you had – with added benefits like tips and alerts that will help you take care of your appliances to avoid service issues.

Reacquaint yourself with your tech

Start online by doing a search of the make and model of your TVs, speakers and appliances to determine if your items have smart capabilities. If they do, you can easily locate online instructions for setup and user-friendly tutorials on how to use them to their full advantage. Have you recently purchased a premium new TV or appliance? If you have, there’s a good chance that it’s smart-enabled.

Start exploring your smart app

After selecting a smart-enabled appliance or TV that you’d like to focus on, download the accompanying smart app to your smartphone or tablet. Many brands have one central app for their appliances and electronics to make this even easier. For example, LG’s is called ThinQ. A central app is the easiest way to keep yourself organized.

Get notifications directly to your phone

Apps like ThinQ allow you to track the status of appliances like your Wi-Fi-enabled washing machine. Download unique wash cycles on the ThinQ app like the Waterproof cycle, which washes waterproof material like mattress covers and rain jackets. Through the app you can receive notifications to your phone when cycles are completed, and start and stop your machine. If you have a ThinQ-enabled LG TV, you can even receive these notifications directly on the screen – making sure you don’t miss any binge-worthy television.

Avoid service calls

You may be surprised just how advanced some of these features get; LG now offers customer support technology that alerts smart appliance owners to potential problems before they occur, which is more important than ever these days. For example, if you used too much detergent in an LG washing machine, “Proactive Customer Care” will send you an alert followed by specific care instructions to fix the problem. It can even tell you if your dryer vent needs cleaning or your fridge is not cooling properly, providing guidance for how to take the right action to avoid a problem.

Hands-free is carefree

Most smart appliances and devices can be connected to the Google Assistant and/or Amazon Alexa. Some smart TVs like those from LG have both built in. This feature lets you use voice commands to control your enabled appliances or devices so you don’t have to lift a finger!

If you recently bought a new appliance or TV, your home may be smarter than you thought. Interested in learning more about what smart appliances and smart TVs have to offer? Visit LG.com and take a look around.

6 Tips For Advancing Your At-Home Cooking

(BPT) – With everyone spending more time at home, the kitchen is becoming a major hub for daily activities. Whether it is dusting off an old cookbook, perfecting a family recipe, mastering the latest recipe to take over social media, or baking cookies with the kids, people are creating new memories in the kitchen.

That’s why we asked the cooking and baking experts in LG’s home appliance consumer insights lab in Chicago to compile a list of the best tips, tricks and hacks to help get the most out of your time in the kitchen right now.

Create recipes that need less cleanup time

With more cooking comes more cleaning. Try to ease the cleanup burden by creating one-pot meals. Casseroles are great dishes that require less cleanup. Pro-tip: Most casserole dishes should be covered for most of their cooking time, but you can remove the cover and continue to cook the casserole for 5 to 10 minutes until the top is browned.

If things do get messy

First, see if you can do a simple cleanup. Functions like “Easy Clean,” for instance, allow you to simply spray water inside your LG oven and then in 10 minutes wipe away any leftover grime without chemicals or high heat. And since you may have more time at home right now, it might be a good time to use the full “self-clean” cycle on your oven. Be sure to ventilate the area and take your next activity outside if you can! Before you start, make sure to remove all racks in the oven and don’t forget to check the lower oven drawer for anything you may have stored down there like sheet pans.

Get to know your oven’s settings

For example, convection mode is best for baking. Some ovens have specific settings to make baking better. The “ProBake” convection range from LG circulates the air inside the oven for even heat distribution on every rack. When baking, make sure to allow enough space around each pan and rack to let heat circulate properly.

A dish’s placement in your oven is important

Most smaller items benefit from being placed in the middle of the oven while larger items should be placed on the lower third. Tent your larger dishes with foil to avoid browning of the food before it is properly cooked.

Avoid cramming contents into a pan

It may be tempting to avoid using two different pans, but overcrowding your pan prevents even cooking. If you make this mistake, you might steam your food instead of browning it.

Try a recipe you haven’t been able to before

With more time on your hands to prepare food, you can try recipes that take longer like baking bread. While it can be a laborious process, the results are always worth the trouble. Create a moist environment for yeast doughs to thrive in when using the Proof function on the oven; this is achieved by placing a bowl of water in the oven with the dough while proofing.

Now more than ever, families across the country are spending more time in their kitchens – from trying new cooking techniques and recipes to maximizing baking and cleaning. For more information about ovens and ranges, check out lg.com/us/ranges-ovens.

5 Steps to Painting Like a Pro at Home

(BPT) – Nothing transforms a home quite like a fresh coat of paint. In fact, painting your own house is one of the smartest and easiest DIY upgrades a homeowner can accomplish, especially as they find themselves spending more time at home. With 71% of homeowners undertaking improvement or renovation projects that include paint, according to an iProperty Management Study, here are surefire tips to ensure you are painting like a pro.

Clean your canvas

Paint adheres better to a smooth, clean surface. While living room walls may only need a dry dusting, kitchens and bathrooms, where dirt, grease, oil or mildew can build up, need extra attention. Wash surfaces with soap and water, rinse well and allow to dry completely. For bathrooms, remove mold and mildew by applying a solution of one part bleach to three parts water and allow the solution to sit for 20 minutes. Then scrub mold and mildew with a soft-bristle brush, rinse the surface and allow it to dry. Be sure to wear safety glasses and rubber gloves when working with this bleach and water solution. For surfaces that are particularly grimy, spray with Rust-Oleum® Original Krud Kutter Cleaner & Degreaser, wipe off with a clean cloth and allow to dry.

Ensure a smooth surface

Now that the surface is dry, smooth down any uneven or rough surfaces with a bit of fine-grit sandpaper. Another pro tip is to shine a bright light at a low angle across the surface to spot any problem areas. After you have sanded or scraped the area, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or residue and allow to dry.

Don’t forget the details

Anyone can paint over a wide, smooth surface, but it’s the attention to detail around windows and doors that truly gives a job that professional look. Start by removing any loose or cracked caulking from windows, doors and trim, and apply a fresh bead of sealant for a smooth, sealed surface. DAP ALEX FLEX™ Premium Molding & Trim Sealant is paintable in just 30 minutes, saving time and resulting in a seamless, more professional finish. Next, use painter’s tape to protect windowsills, molding, baseboards, door hinges and the ceiling perimeter, taking your time to ensure that all areas are properly covered.

Fill in imperfections

Now it’s time to tackle the main surface. Cracks, holes and dents will mar the finished project, so apply spackling to fill in these areas. Open a container of pre-mixed spackling compound and apply a small amount over the damage with a flexible putty knife. Spread the compound over the hole or crack in a smooth, downward motion. Overfill slightly and sand smooth using fine-grit sandpaper. Need to tackle a larger drywall repair? Reach for DAP® FAST DRY Premium Spackling. This professional-grade spackling compound is uniquely formulated to provide strength and durability while drying fast. Depending on the size of the repair, it can be painted in as little as 15 minutes.

Paint with precision

Make the job go easier and faster by having a variety of brushes and rollers on hand. Rollers are great for covering large, wide surfaces, but for a professional look around edges and corners, you’ll need smaller brushes for the right amount of detailed work. Allow the first coat of paint to completely dry, and then apply a second coat to ensure smooth, even coverage. Once the second coat is dry, carefully pull up any painter’s tape and voila! Your space is transformed!

For more information on DAP products for your next DIY project, visit DAP.com.

Turn Your Backyard Into a Safe Space For Healthy Play

(BPT) – As Americans across the country retreat to their homes to help slow the spread of COVID-19, many are rediscovering the value of their yards as places to take in fresh air, engage their children in outdoor games and enjoy physical activity in a safe environment.

3 tips for safe, healthy outdoor fun for the family

Kids who can no longer participate in organized sports activities or meet their friends at the park need creative ways to burn off energy at home. Unplugging and stepping outside can be good for the whole family’s physical and mental health. Consider these three tips as you explore ways to take advantage of the green space around your home.

Educate: The backyard offers a great setting to learn about plant biology and the creepy crawlers that call our lawns home. Take a magnifying glass to your lawn and explore the habitat nestled between the blades.

Exercise: Lace up your sneakers and take to the yard for a 30-minute workout or arrange an obstacle course on the lawn for the kids. Encourage children to compete for the fastest time or create a course of their own.

Rejuvenate: As the days get warmer, enjoy a little self-care by soaking in the sun on the lawn. Consider laying out a blanket and reading. Whether it becomes family story time or some quiet time to yourself, spend some time enjoying your own personal piece of the great outdoors.

Take this time to give your lawn some TLC

Now is a great time for some DIY spring maintenance to get your lawn ready for summer and the likely heavier-than-usual use it will see as you spend more time at home. To create a lush, healthy, low-maintenance lawn that is summer-ready, follow these spring lawn care tips from the experts at Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers and turf specialists.

Interseed for a thicker lawn. Lawns that are sparse or have worn patches coming out of winter can be interseeded when the soil warms up in the spring. In addition to enhancing the overall appearance of the lawn, interseeding will help keep turf dense, which is a natural defense to keeping pesky weeds out.

Simply rake away lawn debris or accumulated thatch, broadcast seed widely or target bare spots on your lawn and irrigate regularly until the seed germinates. Be sure to use a high-quality seed that is a good match for your geographic region and your lawn’s soil type, sun exposure and irrigation patterns. Seed can be ordered online and shipped directly to your home from most home improvement retailers.

Water deeply and infrequently. Rather than irrigating lightly every day, begin to water more deeply, only once or twice a week, which will encourage strong root growth and make for a hardier lawn in the summer. Most turf grasses will stay vigorous if they receive about 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall (and drought-tolerant species such as tall fescue do well on even less).

Mow early and leave the grass taller. Start mowing your lawn before it gets too tall. Scalping an overgrown lawn will stress the plants and potentially cause problems all season long, so make sure you never cut off more than one-third of the grass blade height at a time. A good rule of thumb for most species is to mow when the grass reaches a height of about 3 inches. That means you can cut it to 2 inches – or you can even leave it a little taller to protect the growing point at the base of the blade and improve your lawn’s wear tolerance.

Feed your lawn. Grasscycling – leaving the clippings on the lawn after you mow and allowing them to decompose – can save you time and provide up to 25% of your lawn’s fertilizer needs. To meet the rest of your turf’s nutrient requirements, you’ll likely need to fertilize in the spring and fall. The spring application should be relatively light and should feature slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to avoid causing rapid but weak growth, which can make the lawn less durable.

If you’re among the many Americans seeking activities for energetic kids, suddenly finding time for long-delayed home improvement projects, or just needing a breath of fresh air, step out the backdoor and take advantage of your home’s lawn. By engaging in a few DIY spring lawn projects now, your lawn will be ready no matter what summer brings!