Inside the Innovation House

We pulled out all the stops to bring the latest home tech features to our Innovation Home. See the 16 coolest things from the home and be amazed by how smart one home can be.

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Bathroom Countertop Ideas

Good-looking countertops -- whether made of marble, limestone, or concrete -- create high-functioning bathrooms that spill over with style. These popular countertop materials are sure to inspire a bathroom remodel.

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Find Your Dream Backyard

Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

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DIY Patio Ideas

Want to boost the beauty and usefulness of your outdoor spaces? Put one of these inspiring DIY patio ideas to work in your landscape.

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Easy Fireplace Upgrades

Does your fireplace need a facelift? Check out these 20 ideas for updating your fireplace with easy-to-apply embellishments and simple-to-make constructions.

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8 Cutting-Edge Exterior Features

The wow-factor of the Innovation Home starts with great curb appeal. See the eight things that make the home's exterior stand out.

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Budget Curb Appeal

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

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Spa Care and Maintenance

A helpful primer on the care and preservation of your spa.

Using the appropriate equipment and fairly minimal effort will keep your bubbling haven clean and comfortable. Here are the facts about the equipment and chemicals you'll need for upkeep, and the regular chores you'll need to perform.

Pump and Motor

The pump circulates the spa water through the filter and heater and then returns it to the spa.

Filter or Sanitizer

The filter's primary purpose is to clean the spa of particles. There are three basic types of filters available on the market and a few alternatives.

Diatomaceous Earth Filters (DE)

DE filters are fine mesh that has been coated with diatomaceous earth. Although these filters are organic, some areas restrict disposal of DE, which is done each time the filter is cleaned or backwashed, which occurs frequently.

Sand filters

These filters force the spa water to pass through a fine sand which filters particles from the water. The sand needs to be replaced every few years.

Cartridge filters

These pass the spa water through a series of grid-like devices made of a pleated mesh material.

Ultraviolet Water Sterilizers

Sanitize spa water with ultraviolet rays.


This type of spa sanitizer kills bacteria by introducing an electric current between two metal electrodes located in the water pipe system.

Ozone Generator

Sanitize by introducing ozone into the spa water.


Ideal spa water temperature is between 100-103 degrees. It is important to purchase a heater with a BTU rating adequate to service your spa's size.

Spa Pack

This special pack refers to portable spas, which come complete with everything needed to operate the system, including the pump, filter, motor, and heater.

Hydro Jets

Agitate the spa water by pushing a mixture of air and water to create water pressure and provide a massaging action. Table spas typically come with a set number of jets, which varies according to the size of the spa. If you design a built-in spa, you can include as many jets as you wish.

Air Blowers

These blowers use air pressure to agitate spa water, creating swirling bubbles on the surface.

Spa water must be sanitized and balanced at all times to provide a safe water environment. The heated water provides perfect growing conditions for unwanted bacteria.


Chlorine and bromine are the most common chemicals used to sanitize, or keep your spa free from microscopic particles. Other sanitizers such as chlorine generators and oxidizers are also available. Oxidizers are sometimes teamed with bromine to sanitize a spa.


Imbalanced water causes eye irritation, cloudy water, and can spell trouble for your pool's operation equipment. Maintaining specific levels of pH, alkalinity, water hardness, and total dissolved solids will keep spa water balanced. Sodium bicarbonate (soda ash) and muratic acid are the two most common products used to balance spa water.


Spa water needs to be tested regularly. The frequency depends on your region, weather conditions, and how much the spa gets used. Three to four times a week is a good rule of thumb when it is used regularly.

Test Kits

Chemistry was not your best subject in high school? Don't worry. Simple-to-use-and-read test kits make it a breeze to test your spa water.

Because spas are covered when not in use, debris in the spa is minimal.


The surface can be skimmed if needed and most large debris such as leaves or twigs will be captured in the skimmer basket. The basket should be emptied regularly.

Water Change

Though regular use of chemicals in the spa allows you to keep the water sanitized, it is recommended to completely drain your spa and start fresh about every six months.


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