The vipHome Podcast

Welcome to the vipHome Podcast where real homeowners discuss homeownership. Find great content about home safety, expert advice and tips, design trends and much more!

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This summer, Canadian wildfire smoke spread across the U.S. and engulfed more than a third of our country’s population. While this may have been an anomaly, wildfires are common in many parts of the United States with more than half of all U.S. properties at risk for wildfire damage.

Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Division Director, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), recently stopped by the vipHome Podcast to share how wildfires ignite and spread, so you can protect your home and family!

Almost three in four homeowners with smart home tech devices worry that someone can gain access to their device without their permission, but is the threat real? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

“Smart tech owners deal with issues like their private information becoming public, companies using or tracking their online activity for purposes the user didn’t intend or consent to,” says Eugenia Blackstone, Chief Marketing Officer for Iris Powered by Generali.

There have been unwanted recordings of homeowners’ voices, images, and activities, which can lead to identity theft.

“Hackers are always trying to be one, two, three steps ahead, so it’s important that you do as much as you can to reduce your risk.”

Eugenia recently stopped by the vipHome Podcast and shared with us simple ways to help protect your smart home from hackers and other digital threats.

Last year was a record-breaking year for recalls. More than 1 billion units of food, drugs, medical devices, automobile, and consumer products were recalled in the United States, and unfortunately, some of these products may still be in your home. That’s why we reached out to Patty Davis of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Patty shared with us important tips to help you handle recall products, so they don’t harm you or your family. Watch now!

Do you have more than three computers in your home? According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, one of those computers has malware on it. Almost half of all American adults (47%) have had their personal information exposed by cyber criminals, and 600,000 Facebook accounts are hacked daily. How can you keep your family and information safe when surfing the internet at home?

“It’s not as complicated as some of us can make it out to be,” says Lisa Plaggemier, executive director of the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA). “The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Lisa recently shared with us important home internet safety tips every homeowner needs to know (including you)! 

Lithium-ion batteries have been known to cause destructive fires. Though the chances of a lithium-ion battery failing and catching fire is one in 10 million batteries, they caused 200 fires and six deaths in New York City last year alone.

That’s why we reached out to Brian O’Connor, technical services engineer at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Brian shared with us important safety tips to help you and your family safely use devices powered with lithium-ion batteries. 

Electric vehicles (EV) are quickly becoming mainstream. According to the Argonne National Laboratory, more than 3.4 million EVs are on American roads today, and they are expected to make up more than 50% of new vehicle sales by 2030. For many Americans, this may mean less time at the gas station and more time at the garage outlet.

What does this mean for the safety of your home (and your bank account)? We spoke with Sarah Ollila, program manager for the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) of the Department of Energy, who answered your top questions about EV chargers at home. 

“Homeowners shouldn’t be waiting for the first day of hurricane season to take preparedness actions to make themselves safer and more resilient,” says Aaron Levy, Director of Individual and Community Preparedness at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Last year, Hurricane Ian devastated parts of Florida, killing more than 140 people and causing between $50 and $65 billion in property damage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an isolated event. Numerous hurricanes threaten the U.S. each year, and many have been infamous – Andrew, Katrina, Sandy, Charley, Maria – due to their destructive nature.

The best thing you can do is be prepared for the next devastating storm. That’s why we reached out to Aaron, who shared with us how you can prepare your home for the 2023 hurricane season.

No one likes waking up to find their Greek yogurt spoiled and their ice cream melted. Or perhaps the clothes in the dryer are still wet or the dishwasher won’t start. If this happens to you, what do you do?

If you have a home warranty, all you need to do is log on to your warranty company’s website or pick up the phone to get the problem fixed. But is it really that easy?

We reached out to Matan Slagter, CEO of Armadillo, a technology-based home warranty company, to find out!

Moving into a new home and want to put your personal touch on it? Perhaps you want to renovate your personal space. How do you start your new home design project?

We went to our home design expert – Laurie Smith of TLC’s Trading Spaces fame and vipHomeLink’s Brand Ambassador.

“The first thing that I always tell people to consider and really think hard about is, ‘How do I want this space to function for me, if I’m just an individual, or for my family? What does this space need to be? What do I want it to be?'”

Laurie shares her top tips for a successful home design project in the latest episode of the vipHomeLink. Watch now!

“When it comes to an earthquake, you can never be too prepared,” says Mike Mahoney, Senior Geophysicist, National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.

With about half of all states in our country at risk for experiencing a damaging earthquake, we reached out to Mike and his colleague Pataya Scott, PhD, Civil Engineer, Earthquake and Wind Programs Branch, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Both shared with us important earthquake preparedness tips to help lower your risk of injury and home damage during a severe event.

Watch the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast now!

Important links from the podcast:

FEMA B-526 Earthquake Safety Checklist

FEMA 528 Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt

FEMA P-530 Earthquake Safety at Home

FEMA Earthquake Insurance, Closing the Insurance Gap

If you’ve been doom-scrolling recently, you may have heard of PFAS. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a warning regarding these “forever” chemicals as they pose serious health risks, even at extremely low levels.

“Once you’re exposed, they remain in your body,” says Eric Yeggy, Technical Affairs Director for the Water Quality Association. “Nothing in nature can destroy them once they enter the environment.”

What does that mean for your family and your drinking water?

Find out now on the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast! 

Links mentioned in the video: 

Products that have been independently tested & certified by WQA for PFOA and PFOS

Products that have been independently tested & certified by NSF for PFOA and PFOS

A free digital copy of Water Treatment for Dummies

When you think about home value, what comes to mind?

“A home that not only functions well but nurtures,” says Laurie Smith, designer from the hit TV show Trading Spaces. “That’s a timeless goal in design, but people really embraced and craved that when they all of a sudden could not depart their walls.”

With the current real estate market leading to more home renovations and upgrades, we recently welcomed Laurie to the vipHome Podcast for tips on how to add value to your home – both in comfort and dollars. 

Wildfires can happen almost anywhere in the U.S., and while you can lower your home’s risk of damage, wildfires are a community risk. What one homeowner does or doesn’t do can affect the entire neighborhood. 

With Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (May 7th) right around the corner, Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Division Director for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), stopped by the vipHome Podcast to share important tips to reduce wildfire risks in your community!

If you’ve ever been stung by a bee, you know it can hurt and be deadly for those with an allergic reaction. Bees (and wasps) can also harm your house and bring unwanted pests. Coupled with the infamous “murder hornets,” these stinging insects may not be your favorite guests.

So what do you need to know about bees, wasps, and your home? Ian Williams, a technical services manager for Orkin Pest Control, recently stopped by the vipHome Podcast with important bee and wasp safety tips, so you and your loved ones can avoid these buzzing bugs at home!

​Last year, California’s skies went red like a scene straight out of a post-apocalyptic movie. In August 2020 alone, four of California’s largest wildfires burned more than 2.1 million acres, destroyed more than 5,000 structures, and killed 22 people.

“The more you plan, prepare, and know what to do, the more peace of mind you will have when the moment comes, and the more ability you’ll have to be safe,” says Michele Steinberg, Director of Wildfire at the National Fire Protection Association. 

Michele recently stopped by the vipHome Podcast to share essential wildfire home protection tips you can use to save your house and family. Watch now!

How to Get Savvi with Insurance from vipHomeLink on Vimeo.


Between apps, emails, and fitness bracelets, many aspects of our lives have gone digital. So it only makes sense that insurance evolves to a digital-first approach – not just in billing and claims but also in its mission.

“No matter how good your insurance is, no matter how much money you get for replacing things, it can never replace damage to photo albums, to pictures, to all the things in your home that people love,” says Mark Coons, CEO of Savvi Insurance Group. “No insurance can put that together again.”

In this episode of the vipHome Podcast, Mark shares how Savvi is taking a future-ready approach to homeowners insurance by focusing on prevention rather than reaction – with the help of today’s smart home technology.

Find out how your insurance experience will evolve in the near future with new smart home insurance in the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast. Watch now!

We Serve Up Some Cooking Safety with NFPA from vipHomeLink on Vimeo.

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Unsurprisingly, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are the peak days fire departments get called to home fires. 

“On Thanksgiving Day you’re cooking probably more than you normally do,” says Andrea Vastis, Senior Director of Public Education at the National Fire Protection Association. “You have more going on around you. Sometimes more eyes mean less eyes on the cooking.”

Many of these home fires are preventable, so we asked Andrea to stop by the vipHome Podcast to dish some cooking safety tips to keep your holidays merry and bright – for all the right reasons. Watch now!

We Get Sparky with the NFPA from vipHomeLink on Vimeo.

Home fires happen, and a startling number of them can be prevented. We know what you’re thinking – “It won’t happen to me” – but it happens to approximately 354,400 homes every year

“Fire isn’t always top of mind for people anymore,” says Andrea Vastis, Senior Director of Public Education at the National Fire Protection Association. “We’ve done such a good job over the years through building codes, policies, education, to reduce the numbers of home fires. People aren’t thinking, ‘That’s the thing that’s going to get me tomorrow.’”

But it could be. Between 2013 and 2017, 79 percent of fire deaths and 73 percent of all reported fire injuries resulted from home structure fires.  

Andrea recently stopped by the vipHome Podcast to share with us some fast home fire facts and important safety tips to prevent a home fire from happening to you. Watch now! 

We Talk Energy Efficiency with PowerHouse from vipHomeLink on Vimeo.

As you increase your energy usage at home – whether remote working or charging your tablet – you’ve probably seen a rise in your energy bill. To help you learn new ways to increase your home energy efficiency (and lower your costs), Hosts Caroline and Jeff welcomed Megan Turner and Peter Seyfer of PowerHouse Presented by Alliant Energy to the vipHome Podcast

Turner and Seyfer have been helping customers with energy conservation and safety for almost 25 years, and they bring incredible energy-saving tips to the podcast. Where should you start your efforts (from the top down), and just which way should your ceiling fan spin in order for you to feel that cool breeze? 

Plus – we learn why you absolutely need to be careful while completing diy projects (or you just might find a boot through your ceiling – true story!), and what did Caroline’s parents find in their fireplace vent? It’s all in the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast. Listen now! 

How to Stop Pests from Becoming Unwanted Guests in Your Home with Orkin from vipHomeLink on Vimeo.

Unwanted pests have a way of crashing inside your home’s crawl spaces, attic, and yard. From ticks to mice to even scorpions, you want to make sure your home is safe and pest-free. Glen Ramsey, Tech Services Senior Manager and board-certified entomologist for Orkin Pest Control, stops by the vipHome Podcast with DIY home pest control tips. 

Glen explores why you shouldn’t vacuum a stink bug, forget to cut your grass, or pick up a scorpion by its tail. Also, hairspray may be every homeowner’s best friend, and just what pest made a home in Caroline’s arm? Watch the latest episode to find out!

Insurance Questions Answered! With O’Connor Insurance from vipHomeLink on Vimeo.

When it comes to homeowners insurance, you probably have a lot of questions. How much do you need? What’s covered in a standard policy? What should your deductible be, and even if you’re not near a lake or river, do you still need flood insurance? (Spoiler alert: You might.)

Michelle O’Connor of O’Connor Insurance Associates Inc. stops by the vipHome Podcast to explain the complexities of homeowners insurance and what you need to know, whether you’re buying your first home or renovating your current one. Plus – Michelle has a homeowner horror story where something might have literally hit the fan. Find out how to prevent that from happening in your house by listening now!

How to Keep Your Pets Safe at Home from vipHomeLink on Vimeo.

This is an extra special episode of the vipHome Podcast! Lindsey Wolko from the Center for Pet Safety joins Hosts Caroline and Jeff to help fur-parents keep their dogs, cats, and even fish safe in their new home. Guest Host Zoey, Caroline’s Aussie Labradoodle puppy, also joins the show – for the first of many times, we’re sure!

Lindsey discusses essential pet safety in the home, including why a bag of chips may be a threat to your dog. (We’re not joking.) Also, Lindsay shares her own experiences as to why regular home maintenance is super important to keeping every pet safe, especially when you’re not home.   

And just what everyday items in your home might be poisonous to your dog? Some of them might shock you. Watch now!

Everything You Need to Know About Home Inspections from vipHomeLink on Vimeo.

You’ve found your dream home. It’s in the neighborhood you wanted with an open-concept kitchen you can’t forget. You can’t wait to close and move in, but before you can do that, you need to know more about the home. 

A professional home inspector can provide perspective by examining and highlighting parts of the home that could haunt you post-closing. Learn answers to home inspection FAQs – what they cover, how to get one, and who pays for it – from a Certified Master Inspector!

Host Jacqueline welcomes Alan Grubb from 4U Inspection Services to help home buyers and sellers learn everything they need to know about home inspections. Watch now!

How to Prevent a Fire in Your Home from vipHomeLink on Vimeo.

You can never truly fireproof your home, but you can take steps to prevent a home fire. A few you probably already know – installing smoke detectors, keeping close watch while cooking, and “get out, stay out” if a home fire does occur. But have you ever thought about spiders in your grill? How about a nest? And do you have two exits out of every room? (You should.) 

Hosts Caroline and Jeff welcome Susan McKelvey of the National Fire Prevention Association to talk about general fire safety in the home and new UL considerations for smoke alarms that may have you cooking more. Plus – should you consider sprinklers in your home (absolutely), and will Jeff ever invite the whole team over for steaks? (I haven’t received my invite.) Watch now!