Product Review: Hoover FloorMate® Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner

When opportunities arise, we tenant proof our rental properties as much as possible. This usually means putting in hardwood or tile flooring. As properties turn-over, a hard surface floor is not only easier to maintain but should last longer (through multiple tenants). We are also finding this to be true in our personal home where we have tile throughout the first floor. We just don’t have a good way of deep cleaning these surfaces…until now! Enter the Hoover FloorMate Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner.

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Hoover FloorMate® Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner

Why We Own It: Our house was built 10 years ago, we’ve lived in for a little over 3 years and our grout lines have turned. We’ve tried everything from bleach to vinegar/baking soda combined with a little bit of elbow grease. Nothing we’ve tried will get our grout lines clean. The heavier traffic areas are darker than the not so trafficked areas. And it’s not like we are dirty people. Our tile get’s a heavy steam bath via the Shark Steam Mop once a week.

The Hoover FloorMate Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner has over 3,000 reviews on Amazon!

What I love about the Hoover FloorMate:

  • Lightweight; easy to maneuver
  • Price point – around $125
  • Slick look with clean lines
  • Easy clean-up
  • It ships with a 16 oz bottle of cleaning solution
  • How clean it gets our floors!


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What Can Improve: 

  • The fill tank should be flat on the bottom or balance itself. As the instructions request, and as I found out, you want to fill the tank with water first before putting in the cleaning solution. Doing the opposite creates a huge bubble bath in your tank, limiting the amount you fill or requiring your cleaning solution to spill out in the form of bubbles. Balancing a full tank of water while measuring & pouring in the cleaning solution provides some challenges.

For that, once a quarter, deep cleaning of your tile floors (or when tenant turnover happens), the Hoover FloorMate Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner does the trick. For that daily or weekly clean, go for the lighter, more portable Shark Steam Mop.

All in all, the Hoover FloorMate did not clean our grout like I was hoping. Still impressed with how clean it left our floors, just looking for something to remove the 10 year old gunk in our grout. Next up is Amazon Home Services – Tile & Grout Cleaning. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Product Review: Nest Learning Thermostat

I wanted to save money, she wanted the comfort. Another DIY that solved a problem.

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Why we own the Nest Learning Thermostat: It bothers me to leave the HVAC running when we are not at our primary residence in Pensacola. Not as extreme as my dad, but I am focused on turning off our unit when we go out of town. I used to turn the thermostat up to 82 degrees in the summer and in the mid 50s in the winter. It is Pensacola, temps don’t get that extreme, but my wife on the other hand, hated coming home from a trip and having a “freezing cold” or “extremely hot” home – I could just think of the money we were saving :).  The Nest Learning Thermostat makes us both happy. An Amazon #1 Best Seller with over 8,600 reviews!

What I love about it:

  • Happy Wife, Happy Life – on our way home from those long trips, using the Nest Learning Thermostat’s app, we can turn our HVAC unit on from our phone when we’re about 1.5 hours from our house and the comfortable environment awaits as we pull up.
  • Money Savings – going into Eco / Away mode allows us to set desired temps while we’re away to prevent unnecessary usage. The Nest claims to save a couple hundred $$$ yearly in energy costs. When I first read this, I thought yea right! I’ve been keeping a close eye on this an since we installed ours 7+ months ago, we have saved approx. $150 on our energy bill. Essentially this home improvement will pay for itself in 18-24 months.
  • Airwave Mode – the Nest also measures humidity. Pensacola is very humid but as long as the humidity is below a certain % inside, the Nest will enter into Airwave mode and just circulate the air inside your home to cool it. Limiting the outside compressor usage saves even more money. Happy Husband…man on a island. 🙂
  • Set your temp schedule – we used to adjust our thermostat 4-5 times a day. Now that we’re able to set our temp schedule, the Nest auto adjust as the day goes on and the nights roll in.
  • App – Allows you to see usage history, turn off/on your HVAC, set your temp schedule and more. Best part it costs nothing.
  • Options, remote access, the interface (thermostat & app), tons more.

What can improve on the Nest Learning Thermostat: I did install this myself – never replaced a thermostat until now. The instructions are pretty straightforward, and the only constructive criticism I have is on the installation instructions. I highly recommend taking a photo of the wires connected to your existing thermostat before unplugging anything. Otherwise, if you have 1 or 2 misplaced wires, you could end up with nothing but hot air blowing out – coming from experience 🙂

If you’re concerned about installing yourself, you can always check out Amazon Home Services to find a licensed HVAC or electrician to do the install for you.
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Product Review: Kwikset Smartcode 913 Deadbolt

One of the best and simplest home improvement things we’ve done & for our sanity!


Why we own it: It’s inevitable. We pack up to leave, day trip for shopping, the beach, out of town for the weekend, a short trip to the grocery store or to grab a bite to eat…it never fails. Once we’re loaded in our vehicle and out the gate, one of us will remember something we forgot inside and have to turn around and go back in. I used to carry an extra house key in my truck just for this reason.

<Enter the Kwikset Smartcode 913 Deadbolt…the problem solver>

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I installed, re-keyed and programmed in about 30 minutes. Operationally, it is one of the smoothest dead bolts I have. Over 300+ customer reviews on Amazon. 

Kwikset Smartcode 913 Deadbolt

What I love about it:

  • ease of installation – really, it only took me about a 1/2 hour to install, re-key and program and I’ve never re-keyed anything.
  • 16 programmable user codes – who needs that many codes? 🙂
  • equipped with the SmartKey Re-Key Technology – I re-keyed this myself to match the dead bolt on our back door; one less key to carry
  • A set of 4 AA batteries (not included) are supposed to last a few years (we’ll see)
  • One touch locking.
  • Price – These electronic keypads can get very expensive so I shopped around a few months before buying one. A $100 is about the middle of the road.
Other features highlighted on the box:
  • 20 minute fire rating
  • Tamper resistant interior cover
  • Bump Proof / Pick Resistant
  • Compliments any Kwikset Product (knobs, levers, handlesets)
  • Lifetime Warranty on the Finish and Mechanics
  • Automatic door locking after 30 seconds – this is an optional feature. I can see where this will be a huge bonus in certain scenarios. We originally turned this on, but not an option we appreciate with our current setup.

What can improve: while the automated lock is faster than me fumbling with my keys, I wish the motorized opening happened faster. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not to be compared with a turtle. I’ve actually timed it – it beats me fumbling with my keys every time because my hands are usually full. Also not something that will deter me from purchasing another one for one of our Pensacola rental properties.

We’ve had our Kwikset Smartcode 913 Deadbolt installed for about a year now. Great value and function for the money.
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