How are you handling this record-breaking summertime heat? How about your home and landscape? There are things you can be doing during this heat wave that will protect your home and save you a lot of money down the road.
When people think of Phoenix, Arizona, aka “The Valley of the Sun,” they usually envision a hot and dry climate with little to no humidity. While this is generally true, the arrival of Arizona monsoons introduces a significant surge in humidity to the Valley. Unfortunately, this increased humidity can lead to the prolonged operation of your AC unit(s), resulting in higher energy bills and an increased risk of AC unit breakdowns.
Keeping Cool and Preventing Humidity Problems
Keep vents open. You may be tempted to close vents to less often used rooms to save money on your electric bill , but you will save more money on a/c costs if you keep all your vents open. Your HVAC system (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) is designed to pump hot or cold air through the vents. When you close the vents and block that flow, you stop that air from being released from your home. Negative pressure increases in the ducts inside your home and outdoor air to builds up in inside. During monsoon season, that humid outdoor air is now trapped indoors. Simply keep your vents open to avoid humidity problems in Phoenix, Arizona, keep your energy bills down, and decrease the risk of mold in your home.
Keep the fan setting on your thermostat set to AUTO. For optimal energy efficiency and to avoid potential humidity issues, it’s best to set your thermostat to AUTO. When set to ON, your HVAC system runs continuously, leading to excessive cooling and higher energy costs during the monsoon season in Phoenix. By using the AUTO setting, your system cycles on and off, allowing your home to maintain a steady temperature while giving the evaporator coils time to drain accumulated moisture. This prevents excess humidity from being blown back into your vents, ensuring a more comfortable and energy-efficient indoor environment.
Change your air filter every 2 weeks. Changing your air filter once a month in Phoenix will keep the air flowing through your system––except during monsoon season. During the summer monsoons, humidity rises and our famous haboobs blow an impressive amount of dust around, which ultimately ends up in your HVAC system and filters. A clogged filter prevents your system from expelling the heat causing it to work harder and reducing the system’s ability to control indoor humidity. To save on energy bills and costly HVAC repairs, it’s best to change your air filters twice a month during the monsoons.
Keep your outdoor unit clear of shrubs and plants. Keep vegetation 2-3 feet away from your outdoor HVAC unit. When plant debris blocks the vents, it reduces airflow and puts a strain on the system. A less efficient system also causes outdoor humidity to build up inside your home. Consider moving trash cans, patio furniture, and decorative items away that may be blown into the vents away from the unit(s) as well.
Prevent Moisture and Mold in Your Home. Too much moisture in the air can warp wood, cause doors to stick, and create condensation on walls. Vent fans in bathrooms and kitchens can help reduce dampness. Indoor moisture can also cause mold and mildew––a health concern that can worsen allergies and asthma. If you think you might have a mold problem, contact a professional to avoid major health issues for your family. Contact me for a recommendation to a certified environmental specialist if you want to test or remediate moisture issues.
Regularly Maintain Your HVAC System. Sign up for a service contract with a cooling and heating company, and they will proactively reach out to you before each change of season. This way, you won’t have to worry about scheduling delays due to their busy schedule at these critical times of the year. Your technician will thoroughly inspect every component of your system, conduct a coil cleaning, and ensure everything is in perfect working order to prevent expensive emergency repairs in the future. Email me for a list of my recommended service providers.
Summertime Chimney Work
Summer can be a great time to get your chimney and fireplace swept and and repaired. The fall season tends to be the busiest time for chimney companies, so taking care of these tasks now could lead to significant discounts and better negotiation opportunities.
Yard Work for Summertime
Your yard should be in pretty good shape by summer but the heat can take a toll on your lawn, trees, flower beds, and pots.
Keep Your Trees Trimmed. Summer storms and trees full of leaves with unstable branches are a potentially disastrous combination. No one wants a tree crashing though their home or hitting their car. Have a tree service come out regularly to ensure your trees are healthy and trimmed at the right time of year. Remember to budget for tree service and possible removal in your maintenance plans so that you’re well prepared.
Check on exterior drainage systems and remove debris. Prepare your home for the impact of summer storms by addressing potential water damage risks. Leaves and debris can accumulate in various areas, so it’s crucial to ensure that all drainage systems are functioning correctly and efficiently diverting water away from your property. Take proactive measures such as installing downspout extenders for gutters, ensuring your landscaping slopes away from the foundation, and considering options like storm drains or a French drain system. These precautions will help safeguard your home and prevent costly water-related issues during the rainy season.
Add a splash of color with some annuals that can withstand the summer heat. As you enjoy your yard, patio, or deck this season, bring some color to your surroundings. Work with your local garden center to see what will thrive best in your yard, especially if you have direct sunlight or if want more low maintenance plants.
Keep Watering. During the summer months, it’s essential to maintain adequate watering for your lawn, plant beds, and containers as temperatures soar. To optimize water conservation, water your plants right before sunrise or at dusk when evaporation is minimal. Using a timer for your irrigation system can also ensure consistent and efficient watering, helping you achieve a healthy and thriving landscape while being mindful of water usage.
Clean, power wash or stain/seal your deck and patio. It’s still a good time to get your deck and patio power washed or cleaned. Brighten them up and make them sparkle for your summer entertaining. It’s also a good time to protect them with new stain or sealant.
Pest-Proof Your Property
Proactive Mosquito Control. To prevent mosquitos, eliminate standing water in your yard and gutters. Use non-toxic larvicides like Mosquito Dunks and Mosquito Bits. Check and repair window screens to keep bugs out of your home. Use an oscillating fan on your deck or patio to blow mosquitos away during outdoor gatherings and stay cool on hot nights.
Hire a pest control service. The summer means more spiders and, yes, roof rats in some more urban areas. Do your part and keep your garbage contained, clear out debris in your yard, and trim citrus away from your roof so you don’t have a tempting home for critters. A pest service can offer suggestions and solutions on how to deal with any problems, inside and outside of your home.
Avoid having long grass to prevent ticks. Yes, we do have ticks in Arizona. Lime disease is not much of a concern in the Greater Phoenix area, however, there are other illnesses that ticks can transmit. Mow your lawn regularly and remove leaves and debris, where ticks can thrive in damp soil. Have your veterinarian place your pet on a year-round tick prevention program and check yourself, your kids, and pets after being outside.
DIY Projects in Summer
Clean windows and screens. Take advantage of early summer mornings and be sure to stay hydrated. Summer temperatures are no joke. Spray wash your screens with a hose and the summer sun will dry them quickly.
Revitalize Your Lawn Furniture: Consider refurbishing flea market finds by stripping, sanding, or staining them. Additionally, you can inject a playful touch by spray painting the furniture with vibrant colors. Remember to protect your grass or patio by laying down newspapers or covers before painting to avoid any mess. This simple update will elevate the look of your lawn furniture and create an inviting ambiance for outdoor gatherings.
As you tackle these summer home improvement projects, remember to take some time to relax and enjoy the season. If you need recommendations for service providers to assist with your tasks, just email me, and I’ll be happy to help! Happy summer!
I'm Kathleen and I love sharing the Arizona lifestyle by helping people who are relocating to, or from, Arizona with their real estate needs. Let's talk about how I can help you make your real estate goals happen from wherever you are!
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Chandler, AZ 85286
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