7 Ways to Cut Down on Home Maintenance Costs this Summer

home maintenance

After spring cleaning comes the joy of home maintenance in the summer. Keeping your home in tip-top shape gets expensive, as the typical American home costs $1,126 to maintain every month. Ideally, the homeowner should spend at most between one to four percent of their annual income on home repair, but there are ways to curb the costs.

Don’t sweat expensive repairs when it comes to home updates or renovations. Try these seven ways to cut down the costs, before you empty your bank account:

  1. Use Energy Efficient Lighting

For $5 to $15 invest in a few CFL lights that are dimmable or mix it up. Purchase dimmable switches for incandescent lights and CFL lights, which last longer and save energy, at your local depot store. Though LEDs will save about $170 more every year than incandescent lights, they’re expensive and incandescent lighting is phasing out.

CFLs take several minutes to reach full brightness, but only start at $1.25 per bulb and save more money than incandescent lighting. Instead of hoarding old bulbs, invest in a brighter, equally eco-friendly and budget friendly bulbs.

  1. Replace AC Filters

Don’t overwork your central air conditioning or raise your utility bills by avoiding the simple chore of replacing the air filters. This simple task will keep the air free-flowing through all ducts and stop the blower motor from being too strained. Your new filters extend the life of the overall unit by keeping mold and dust off the condenser coils.

For the price of a greasy spoon dinner, grab a few filters and save more on your utility bill. Your HVAC is responsible for about half of your energy costs monthly, and by replacing your filters every three months you save 7.5 percent a month and decrease energy consumption overall by 15 percent.

  1. Pick a Cool Roof

If you have to replace your roof, anyway, pick a cool roof with a lighter color. While the color of your car doesn’t matter when it come to auto insurance, the color of your roof affects the cost of your energy usage.

Cool roofs are designed to reflect more light from the sun and don’t absorb as much heat as typical roofs. The material itself is highly reflective and are used on shingles, tiles and other types of roofing. Changing the roof color will also lengthen the life of the roof, while protecting it from UV rays.

home maintenance summer

  1. Plant a Tree

More specifically, choose a deciduous tree to plant on the east, west or south side of your home. This provides additional shelter over your roof to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent over the next hundred years. A few of the fastest-growing trees to plant include nuttall oak, hybrid poplar, northern cattalpa, weeping willow and red maple. Conduct a land survey to avoid planting to close to underground lines.

This will prevent you from overworking your HVAC system and save money, while giving back to nature and adding a beautiful addition to your yard.

  1. Put it all on a Timer

Extend the life of your electronics and household systems by placing them on a timer. Do this for the hot water and on your lighting systems, and note that you can save gallons of water by using an irrigation controller.

Program computers and other electronics to cut on and off at specific times. By unplugging your computer or timing your usage, you could shave a few bucks off your utility bill every year. Remember to use your battery powered devices to their full extend before recharging.

  1. Save Your Septic Tank

It’s important to treat your septic tank right, and when it starts to fail, know when you need a new one. In urban areas, sewer lines are more common than septic tanks, which are usually found in rural areas.

There are many pros and cons investing in a septic tank, especially when it comes to being eco-friendly and saving money. For example, fiberglass septic tanks won’t rust or crack like steel or concrete ones, yet they may change position with damp soil or be vulnerable to weight above ground. Septic tanks don’t have monthly costs associated with them, since they are independent of city services.

Septic tanks are durable and eco-friendly. They usually last for several years, and utilize drain fields as natural filters, while benefiting local plant life as water for the soil and food for small creatures. To extend the lifespan of your septic tank, only run full loads of laundry and a full dishwasher.

  1. Keep a Maintenance Routine

One major source of expensive maintenance costs is letting the work pile up, eventually leading to risk for a disaster. Don’t wait, and don’t cut corners with repairs.

Save more money in the long run by developing a home maintenance routine now. This way you can make a game plan for saving for more expensive costs you know are coming, like a new water heater that needs to replaced after ten years.

Don’t let home maintenance costs creep up on you and rob you blind in the middle of a beautiful summer’s day. Save more time for grilling, gardening and fun with the family.

Get in front of home maintenance with a solid routine, and take a few preventive measures now, such as replacing your AC filters and switching to more energy efficient lighting. These ideas will help you cut down on home maintenance costs this summer and save you more money in the long run.

Author Bio:

Kacey MyaKacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

https://twitter.com/kacey_mya

https://www.pinterest.com/kaceymya/

https://www.instagram.com/thedriftercollective/

Lawn Care: How to Nurture Your Yard This Summer

The hot summer months can cause severe damage to your lawn. The grass can become dry, which can lead to it turning brown and brittle. A few simple steps can help keep your lawn healthy.

Lawn Care How to Nurture Your Yard This Summer

Fertilize
In order to have a healthy lawn, you need to give it the proper nutrients. Before the summer season, take the time to fertilize the lawn, watering it after the fertilizer has been spread. This will provide the necessary nutrients that it will need to grow in the spring and summer and will often make the lawn greener.

Landscaping
If you don’t have the time to care for the lawn, then consider hiring a landscaping company, such as Nature Safe. Most companies will work with your schedule and can come on a regular basis depending on how often the lawn needs manicured. A landscaping company can do everything from mowing to adding mulch around the flowers in order to keep the moisture near the roots so that the flowers and other plants will grow.

Water
When you’re hot, you probably drink cold water. The same concept goes for your lawn. When it’s hot outside, the moisture is quickly taken from the ground. It’s best to water the lawn in the morning or in the evening. This will prevent the sun from draining the water that you just put on the lawn in a short amount of time.

Mowing
Your lawn will need to be mowed in the summer to remove the dead blades of grass on the top layer. Adjust the height of the mower so that it’s not cutting close to the ground as this can end up burning the grass. About half an inch to an inch from the top of the grass is ideal depending on how fast your lawn grows.

Bugs
There are many bugs that like making your lawn their home. Treat the lawn for grubs, beetles and June bugs that tend to lay their eggs in the middle of the summer. An exterminator can come to spray the lawn with products that are safe for both the grass and the family, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors.

Caring for your lawn in the summer is easy if you follow a few tips. You don’t have to look at brown blades of grass throughout the season as long as the lawn stays watered and manicured. Landscaping companies can help keep your lawn in the healthiest condition possible if you don’t have the time to provide proper care.

 

Home Improvement: 7 Home Renovations to Consider for this Summer

home renovations

Some renovations can be completed year-round. Others are more affordable or convenient if you do them in the right season. Here are just a few ideas for great summertime home remodeling projects.

1. Light-Colored Roof

Heat is absorbed through dark colors, and this includes your roof. Warmer temperatures can travel right through your exterior walls and into your home. Replace your black tiles with white ones to reflect sunlight and keep your bricks from overheating.

2. Different Windows

If you’re tired of the morning light always hitting your windows in a blinding way, consider a shopping trip to somewhere like the Fischer Window and Door Store. New frames or glass might be just what you need to stop the glare. As a bonus, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh breezes from non-rusty, non-sticking windows.

3. New Driveway

It can be tricky to lay asphalt in the winter when everything is icy and frozen. If you want to repair or replace your driveway, do so during the summer months when the weather won’t be working against you.

4. Customized Deck

Relax in the sunshine on a brand-new, custom-built deck. It’s the season for it, so contractors and material suppliers should have plenty of deals to choose from, and you can take your time and build it right thanks to the increased number of daylight hours.

5. Sunroom

A sunroom is a great way to enjoy the outdoors without suffering all the bugs and humidity brought on by direct sunlight. Screens and windows can protect you from the worst of it without sacrificing your view outside. What’s more, you can convert your sunroom into a winter room when the weather changes!

6. Solar Power

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on home renovations to be more eco-friendly. All it takes is a few photovoltaic panels on your roof to harness the sunlight of long summer days and improve your home’s sustainability with clean energy.

7. Fresh Landscaping

This is another task that can be almost impossible in cold weather. If you’ve been itching for your yard to thaw so you can mow your grass, plant a garden or sculpt your hedges, now is the time to make your visions a reality.

These are just a few ways to breathe new life into your home during the summer months. Whether you’re planning a full-scale renovation or just a few small changes to stave off the worst of the heat, a new season is a great time for change.

 

6 Creative Backyard Improvements for the Summer

Backyard improvements

Summer is almost here and it’s time to leave the house and start enjoying in your backyard. There are some improvements you can make in your backyard in order to prepare it for many interesting things to do during the summer. You will want to create a place where the whole family can gather and spend time together, or where you can organize a party for your friends. Be sure to check out the following tips and start preparing improvements for your backyard.

Prepare a hammock to rest in

Backyard is definitely the best place for resting during the hot summer days. Making a hammock is a great option for an improvement before the summer starts. It provides you with a great place to rest even while you are making other improvements in your backyard. A hammock is the ultimate symbol of relaxation and surely lives up to the name. You can easily make the hammock yourself and place it in a shaded part of your backyard.

Make your own outdoor theater

If you want to gather the whole family in the backyard or call up your friends and make a party, an interesting thing to do is to make an outdoor theater. The only thing you would actually need is the projector. Screen fabric is quite cheap but another idea is to simply pin white sheets to the trees or the wall. Prepare comfortable sitting chairs and get ready to play a movie for your family and friends. You can also make a drink cooler near the chairs in order to make your backyard a great place for watching a movie or a game.

DIY hammock

Create a gym in your backyard

During the summer there is no need for you to go to the gym, since you can make your own in the backyard. It is more enjoyable to stay at home and work out outside in the fresh air. You will save more time and feel better during the training. You can do some of the exercises that do not demand equipment and the only thing you may have to buy is a workout mat.

Make your backyard storage shed

You don’t want to spend much time in public transport or your car during the hot summer days. Riding a bike on a fresh air seems like a better option. You can make a storage shed for your bike and all of your bike accessories in your backyard. You will want to have easy access to your bike since you will use it quite a lot during the summer. The shed can be made out of wood and can be attached to the house or your garage.

Backyard barbeque

Increase lighting in your backyard

If you are going to spend more time in the backyard during the summer, be sure to increase lighting in it. You can add porch lights or rope lighting if you want your backyard look beautiful at night. You can install new lights wherever you want and they will always make your backyard look better. Solar-powered lights are a great option for this, since they do not require and underground wiring and digging in your backyard.

Build a backyard barbeque

Backyard barbeque is a great backyard improvement option for the summer and you can make it by yourself. You can build it in such a way that it completely fits in the backyard. It is up to you to choose whether you want a simple barbeque or a complex smoker. You can make a fire pit or install a gas grill. Whichever options you choose, you will enjoy the meals prepare in your backyard.

If you want to enjoy summer the way you never did before, try these things and create a family or party ambience in your backyard. Prepare all of your equipment and start working on these improvements in order to get a beautiful backyard where you will spend much of your free time during the summer.

 

Grilling in the Great Outdoors – Essential Ideas for Your Outdoor Kitchen

outdoor kitchen

source: telecomwiz.com

Building an outdoor kitchen isn’t easy, and there are a great many things to consider when you’re planning your next outdoor improvement. Designing from the ground up isn’t easy, but you’re in luck – part by part, we’ll cover some of the basic elements of the outdoor kitchen and give you a solid base for the work to come.

Outdoor cooking is more popular than ever before, so there’s a lot of inspiration to go around. Let’s have a look at some of the best ideas to build around.

The Pizza Oven

If you’ve never had a brick-oven pizza, you’re missing out on something special. With the right bricks and the perfect design, you can make better pies than anyone else in the neighborhood. The best part? You pick the ingredients. Whether it’s sausage or sardines, you can choose your own daily special.

pizza oven

source: pcbrickovens.com

The Grill

Your options are virtually endless when it comes to the outdoor kitchen’s mandatory grill. If your space is located near your indoor kitchen, you can easily choose to extend your electric or gas hookups to a gas grill. Prefer charcoal? Even that can be elegant.

outdoor kitchen grill

source: baysideoutdoorcentre.com.au

The Bar Cart

If your current version involves a Styrofoam cooler and a bag of ice from the gas station, it might be time for an upgrade. If you plan to host parties involving anyone you’d like to impress, a bar cart is a worthy investment.

bar cart

source: img2-3.timeinc.net

Remember the Basics

It’s easy to get caught up in the construction and the appliances, but storage is equally – if not more – important. The more thought you put into essentials like storage and garbage, the happier you’ll be when you’re cooking in your new kitchen.

outdoor storage solutions

source: fourgenerationsoneroof.com

Protect Your Kitchen

It’s important to consider the protection of your investment. Even if you live in a region that’s not concerned with rain or snow, you’ll still have to worry about wind, dust and sun damage. Be sure to keep your outdoor living space safe.

protect your outdoor kitchen

source: img.hgtv.com

Don’t Neglect Ventilation

You may be outdoors, but that doesn’t keep you out of the woods when it comes to smoke. If your neighbors live downwind, there’s a good chance you’ll hear about the smoke produced by your cooktop or grill. Think ahead and save yourself some trouble by looking into some proper ventilation.

 outdoor kitchen ventilation

source: cchpools.com

Don’t Forget the Kitchen Sink

Even if you’re just building a small outdoor BBQ, having a sink nearby can make your life easier every time you pick up the tongs. If an extension of your water source is in the budget, you certainly won’t regret the installation.

 outdoor kitchen sink

source: wowhomedesign.net

Rooftop Grilling

The backyard is the go-to standard when it comes to outdoor kitchens, but have you considered the roof? It can eliminate those smoke concerns we mentioned earlier, and it provides a better view besides. If your home is built in such a way as to sustain it, moving the backyard grill to the top of the roof might be the best thing you’ve done this year.

 rooftop grilling

source: kalamazoogourmet.com

Go Country

If you live in the right climate, the southwestern look is the standard for a reason. It fits in perfectly with the countryside, and it inherently reflects the natural surroundings.

 country outdoor kitchen

source: kleinslandscaping.com

Winter is Coming

Outdoor kitchens aren’t limited to dry climates. There are appliances and building materials that can stand up to snow and rain season after season.

outdoor kitchens source: weblando.com

A Garden is the Perfect Touch

Nothing goes with an outdoor kitchen like a garden. It offers more than just a vivid look and a fresh scent – you can harvest fresh herbs growing just steps away. If that doesn’t improve your culinary skills, nothing will.

outdoor kitchen garden

source: www.devcenteronline.com

An outdoor kitchen can bring another dimension to your family’s life at home, and that’s not all – it can also increase the value of your home, improving the resale value when you’re ready for a change of scenery. Making the right choices during its design and construction will pay every type of dividend imaginable.