The Fountain app connects you with home improvement experts right when you need them

fountain app home improvement fountainapp
The Internet has revolutionized home improvement in a lot of ways. On the most basic level, increased availability of information has made it easier to do things yourself, and tackle projects that would otherwise require a professional. You can learn just about anything on YouTube, WikiHow has an article for everything under the sun, and there’s a forum for practically any other question you might have. The only problem is that, while the Web is great for finding facts and documents, it often falls short for more nuanced questions like, “why is my faucet leaking?” or “does this air filter look clogged?”

Fountain –an brand new app that recently launched in Beta form– aims to solve this problem. Rather than forcing you to scour through forum threads and crowdsourced answer sites, or set up an appointment with a local service professional, the app allows you to video chat with a credible home improvement expert precisely when you need to.

fountain appThe first thing you’ll see when you fire up the app is a simple question: What are you stuck on? Answer this question however you like, and Fountain’s artificial intelligence engine will analyze your response and then provide you with a curated list of experts who can provide some insight.

From there, you’re free to initiate a one-on-one HD video chat with the expert of your choosing — but it’s more than just a simple Skype call or Google Hangout. The app also allows you to snap photos, annotate them to point out specific problems, and even share links and other relevant information to paint a clearer picture of what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s basically a faster, more immediate way to get a professional in your house. Instead of calling up somebody you found in the yellow pages and waiting for them to show up at your house, you can connect almost instantly over the web and bring them into your home virtually with the help of a mobile device.

Currently, the app itself is a free download (once you’re invited), but each question you ask costs five bucks. But it’s not exactly a flat fee either — your five dollars buys you a certain amount of talk time with an expert, and the time limit varies depending on what you’re inquiring about. You’ll get about 15 minutes for Gardening and Plumbing advice, 12 minutes for Appliance repair, and 10 minutes for Interior Design. If you need more time, it goes in $5 increments.

That might sound a bit steep for a mobile app, but when you consider the fact that an in-person service calls can often cost quadruple that amount per hour (if not more), five bucks starts to sound pretty reasonable — especially if the service is immediate and on-demand. Find out more or sign up for the Beta program here.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Having enough RAM is important, but stick to these guidelines to save some money

Although not quite as exciting as processors and graphics cards, RAM is one of the most important parts of your PC. Not having enough can hurt performance. So, how much RAM do you need?

The best sleeping bags to help you conquer the cold, no matter what season it is

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.

Best deals on home security cameras to save you from package thieves

Home security camera systems can help keep your home and your family safe. Amazon's deals on Blink security cameras and Ring Video Doorbells also help you save money on devices you can access regardless of your current location.
Smart Home

Google Store sale is on now through December 24!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 may be history, but fans of Google hardware including the popular Google Home Hub, Pixel 3 and 3XL mobile phones still have lots of deals in store -- the Google Store, that is.

Walmart is offering Google Home starter kits for under $50

If you're hoping to save big on Google Home devices before all the holiday deals come to an end, there's no better time than right now. Walmart is slashing prices on smart home starter kits for a limited time.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Smart Home

Porch pirate problems? Keep them away with these tips and tricks

The holiday season is fast approaching and the packages are arriving on our doorsteps. Are you worried about porch pirates stealing your gifts this holiday season? Here are some tips to help protect your purchases.

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.

Clean up with robot vac, upright vacuum, and spot and stain remover deals

Whether you're gift shopping or need to get your house ready for the holidays, deals on household cleaning appliances are always welcome. We found Walmart's best deals on robot vacs, upright vacuum cleaners, and spot and stain cleaners.
Smart Home

Amazon Alexa enhancements add geolocation, kids’ Routines, and more

Amazon's digital assistant Alexa continues to evolve and its newest features should appeal to busy people and parents on the go, including location-based routines and reminders as well as Routines aimed toward kids.
Smart Home

How to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant

Nothing say "holiday" like talking to Santa. Here's how to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant, whether he's helping you create a playlist or checking to see if you've been naughty or nice this week.
Smart Home

Tired of running outdoors? Check out the best treadmills of 2018

Running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track. We've rounded up the best treadmills on the market