You know the drawer that holds the appliance warranties, manuals, and receipts? A new breed of iOS and Android apps for organizing home maintenance is turning that overstuffed jumble into a powerful point-and-tap tool to help you easily reorder obscure yet specific parts like the lint filter for the 12-year-old clothes dryer, check the exact warranty dates on the not-so-old dishwasher, or find a local repairman to fix the fridge. We’ve made various efforts over the years to keep PDFs of manuals and digital scans or phone photos of receipts organized in a shared Dropbox or Google Drive folder, but these turned into cloud versions of the dreaded drawer—another hodgepodge that’s more muddle than home management. Centriq is genius at using the phone’s camera to compile a useful master inventory of home appliances.
- Add notes, photos, and your own videos to simplify regular maintenance and warranty questions.
- Or organize by function such as HVAC, major plumbing, or stereo and home theater AV.
- Track your appliances room-by-room and even house-by-house with the Centriq app.
- Snap a photo of your appliance, and Centriq can usually supply a PDF of the manual.
Centriq—which has a partnership with This Old House to syndicate how-to videos and articles—neatly builds a catalog of your gear as you roam around your home snapping photos of serial-number plates and UPC bar codes in the Centriq app. Just take pictures and Centriq will build a master guide to your home, including appliance manuals it automatically downloads. Organization buffs will get the thrill immediately. We had a distinct rush of pragmatic satisfaction when we found the debossed metal plaque with the model and serial number of a 1989 Vulcan range—the Centriq app on our phones now magically has the full stove manual, complete with the official instructions for restarting the master pilot behind the kick panel, and it’s easy to share with others. (Imagine buying a home that had already been cataloged with Centriq, and came with detailed care-and-feeding instructions in one easy-to-use app.)
The Centriq app orchestrates all this information by rooms and even multiple houses, if, say, you have a weekend place or rental property. With one tap, appliance-specific buttons will take you to exact listings on Amazon for parts—need a new “E17 Intermediate Base 40W” bulb for your refrigerator light?—or to repair help through how-to videos and the HomeAdvisor network. One of our favorite Centriq features lets you add your own video notes to inventory items, for example, to record your own short video of exactly how to restart the master pilot on the stove, or how to clean out the trap under a bathroom sink. We can easily imagine this video feature being a lifesaver when it’s time to return to some long-forgotten maintenance.
Centriq earns affiliate fees when it helps homeowners connect with products and services, including the Amazon product links. Co-founder James Sheppard wants Centriq to be “one place to turn for anything related to keeping the home running well,” with planned features to help with maintenance schedules (time to inspect the oil burner?), efficiency (could a new air conditioner pay for itself? Does my aging dishwasher use too much water?), and even home-improvement ideas (what speakers or sound bars would turn the TV into more of a home theater?). Even as connected appliances take on some of this self-maintenance, Sheppard sees his home-management app addressing more of everyday home life. “Your Caesarstone quartz countertop is never going to be smart,” says Sheppard. “But Centriq told me how to safely get out an Angostura bitters stain.” (Nonabrasive Soft Scrub with Bleach Cleaner Gel.)