Category: Sponsored content

Note: This is a sponsored post written and published in conjunction with our relationship with Reliant.

This holiday season there’s a new lighting attraction in Houston, and it has a space theme. With a background in astronomy and a professional interest in aerospace, I was intrigued to check it out. For the first time, Space Center Houston has debuted an indoor and outdoor light show to celebrate both space exploration and the holiday season. It’s called Galaxy Lights, presented by Reliant.

I had a chance to visit the display earlier this month, which is running from 6pm to 10pm daily through January 5, and I enjoyed the experience. There are three main elements absolutely worth checking out during your visit. The first comes inside the space center’s main hall, where a high-tech kinetic light show dances overhead, with dozens of lights moving in choreographed sequences. This was pretty cool, and something I’d never seen before.

A view of the kinetic light show at Space Center Houston.

From there, it was off to the trams, to ride through a tunnel of lights underneath Saturn Lane—all told there are 250,000 lights along the way—to reach the large building where the titanic Saturn V rocket is housed. This large building is bedecked with lights. Once at Rocket Park, you walk through an outdoor display of lighted structures, including a 35-foot tall shooting star, shimmering planets, and more space-related light displays.

From Rocket Park, one can enter the building itself, to see the Saturn V booster lit up with some impressive 3D projection mapping. A short video story about “Commander Quest” is projected onto the rocket. There was more to see back in the museum, too, including the original film “Holidays in Space,” which includes footage of astronauts celebrating the holidays in space.

For families and adults, Galaxy Lights is a welcome new addition to the region’s holiday lighting scene. A full tour takes about two hours. The public price is $19.95 for admission, but on Reliant Wednesdays now until Christmas you can bring a new, unwrapped toy for the KHOU Toy Drive benefiting The Salvation Army of Greater Houston and receive $5 off general admission to Galaxy Lights.

As this weekend so effectively demonstrated, summer has begun in Houston. And with July, August, and September around the corner, we’re facing several months of high heat. So, this is the perfect time to announce a pretty amazing contest that our friends at Reliant have come up with. They’re teaming up exclusively with Space City Weather to give away two complete, brand new air conditioning systems, with delivery and installation included, to our readers.

Yes, really. You can enter the contest here.

Reliant has sponsored this site for two full years now, and they really value what we’re doing to keep the greater Houston area informed about weather in a reliable and sensible way. To show our readers how important they are to Reliant, the company will award two air conditioners worth an estimated $11,000 each.

There really are no catches to this. Reliant just wants readers to know they appreciate Space City Weather, too, and to let them know about their AC Heat & Repair business.

A quick summary of the rules appears below, but for full rules and details of the contest, click here.

  • One AC unit will be given away to entrants between June 10–July 10
  • One AC unit will be given away to entrants between July 11–Aug 13
  • One winner will be chosen, randomly, at the end of each phase
  • Winners must be 18, and own a home in the greater Houston metro area
  • Your AC system must be 8 years or older

If your air conditioning system is not more than eight years old, or more importantly, if you know someone who could really benefit from a free, new AC system heading into the hottest time of the year, please share the contest link with them.

Update

We have our first winner! The winner of round one of Reliant’s AC giveaway—Farrah Gauge is thrilled. She told us: “What an incredible gift! Our current A/C is 18 years old and definitely on its way out so this could not have been better timing. You have gained a lifelong customer and advocate. Thank you Reliant!”

Editors note: This is one of our very occasional sponsored posts from Reliant, which brings Space City Weather to you free of charge, with no intrusive advertising. Thank you for reading.

Over the last month, I’ve been testing a Google Home Hub from Reliant—this is one of those “smart” devices that you’ve probably seen a commercial for on television. A Google Home Hub is essentially a voice-activated smart tablet that allows you to control other “smart” devices in your home. We put ours in the kitchen, next to the refrigerator. (This is, after all the hub of our home). A little bit bigger than a post card, the device is small enough to be inconspicuous, but large enough to be useful.

Reliant has partnered with Google to allow customers easy access to their electricity usage. Finding out your daily electricity consumption is as easy as saying, “Ok Google, ask Reliant how much electricity am I using.” From there you can find billing information, pay your bill, track usage, and look up other details about your account. This is something I’m looking forward to using this summer when electricity usage rises along with temperatures. There are more features, too. You can use the Google Home Hub to adjust a Nest thermostat, or see who is ringing the front door bell.

For our family, at least, the real killer application is having a tablet in the kitchen when cooking. Need to convert tablespoons into cups? Easy. Need to find a substitute for an ingredient? That’s pretty easy too. It’s been fun to find new recipes on the device. How-to videos are also useful for learning new tricks in the kitchen—I never knew the difference between slicing, mincing, and Julienne cuts. (I kind of do now.)

As a parent, I’m increasingly concerned about the number of screens in our home. But so far, this one doesn’t seem to have taken time away from interacting with our kids. I’d have to say it’s increased our time together because we use the device as an excuse to cook more. Don’t know if that will last, but it’s been fun so far. And if you’re worried about privacy, it’s easy to turn the mic off manually, so the device isn’t listening all the time.

Regardless, we’ve found the Google Home Hub to be a convenient smart home device with a ton of possibilities—everything from checking what your commute looks like or asking when the new season of Game of Thrones begins—all powered by just your voice. And it’s pretty awesome that our hometown electricity provider has a partnership with Google to provide more insight and access to our electricity usage, making it easier for us to take control of our bills. Reliant tells me they’re the first energy company in the country to create visual displays that provide personalized energy information—pretty impressive if you ask me. If you’d like a Google Home Hub, Reliant is offering one right now as part of a bundle with their Truly Free Weekends plan. You can learn more about that here.

As we noted in this morning’s post, it’s allergy season outdoors, particularly from tree pollen. Sneezing, itchy eyes and other symptoms are pretty common right now. But did you know there are indoor irritants that can also cause these symptoms and you can do something about it? With this post, our sponsor Reliant wanted readers to know that now is a great time to consider what you can do to improve the quality of the indoor air inside your home.

The first step is to determine whether you need an indoor air quality check-up. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, then it is probably a good idea:

  • Do you have respiratory issues that improve when you leave your home?
  • Does the air inside your home feel damp or stuffy?
  • Do you smoke inside?
  • When you enter your home, do you notice that smells linger?

So what is an air quality check-up? As part of this service, air quality specialists perform a visual inspection of your home’s HVAC system, assessing the quality of the air you and your family breathe. There could be any number of underlying problems, from poor ventilation to unexpected sources of odors and allergens.

The goal of the assessment is to diagnose those problems, and then find solutions that leave you with a healthier, fresher home. Here are some of the potential solutions available to improving the air quality inside your home:

  • UV lights to reduce viruses and bacteria in your HVAC coils
  • Air cleaners that capture up to 99.98% of allergens and bacteria
  • Media filters that capture dust and debris and enhance the efficiency of your HVAC system
  • In-duct air purifiers that provide whole-home purification

Reliant offers an indoor air quality assessment for just $49. This service is available to anyone, regardless of electricity provider, but Reliant customers receive 10 percent off.

People often think Reliant only provides electricity, but they do a lot more than that! They want to ensure Houstonians feel safe and secure in their home, which is why their home services team provides indoor air quality checks, along with HVAC repair and efficiency services, home maintenance and home security. If you’re interested in having your home’s air assessed, please call (833) 480-7835.