Each Spring as we enjoy the longer and warmer days that begin and end with cool crisp air, we can’t help but think about that serious summer heat just around the corner. While we are enjoying the weather we have right now, it would be wise to use this time to also prepare our homes for the inevitable heat! Below are a few items that might help keep your home more comfortable, keep bills down and increase value.
Pre-Season AC Unit Inspection
Like many of you, I have a home warranty and have already received my annual email asking if I would like to schedule my pre-season AC unit inspection. This is the perfect time to have this inspection and service to screen for any potential problems, make repairs, and top off that frion now before your favorite AC company has a multi-day backlog. Even without a home warranty company, you can still schedule this service with any licensed provider. Regularly servicing your AC unit not only keeps it running when it’s hot but will extend the life of your unit. Plus you get to keep that money in your pocket for other home projects.
Pro Tip- buy the least expensive filters for your AC and change them once a month. Your AC works harder to pump air through the more expensive filters which will decrease the life of the unit.
If you own an older home as I do, another consideration before summer arrives is updating your windows to an energy-efficient dual-pane Low-E window. Replacing windows is a big-ticket item but can pay off if you decide to sell your home or help out on those energy bills. If you are in a position to replace your old windows be sure to plan. Most window manufactures will take several weeks or even a month or two to deliver on new windows. Many factories are playing catch up from last year or are running lower production to have fewer workers in contact with each other in their factories. Also, be sure to select a contractor that can schedule your installation at the same time as your delivery. You can take some other steps to prepare your windows and doors for the summer. The installation of sunscreens on the outside or inside of your home can be a cost-effective way to block the sun’s heat. Most do not require that you hire a professional but if you are not feeling up to the challenge, a handyman would be a great choice at a reasonable cost. Checking your weather stripping around your doors will also be a big help and keep that cool air from leaking. If you don’t like how sunscreens look, you can always update your inside window coverings like interior shutters or blinds.
Pro Tip- UV films are also available for those super-hot, Southwest facing windows in your home, they are inexpensive and can cut down the heat 10%-60%; they are also easy to remove if you want to transition with the changes of the season.
Trees for Shade
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. That Chinese proverb is so true. Don’t you wish you had a nice big tree to shade your home right now!? After losing a large Ocotillo in my front yard, I decided to replace it with a desert-friendly Palo Verde Tree. There are so many other desert-friendly trees that will do well in your valley yard so be sure to have that conversation with the nursery before you make a purchase. Native Palo Verdes and Mesquites will do quite well in Phoenix and once established can reach up to 30 feet and provide excellent shade. If you are not a fan of these tree types, the nursery can point you to some other species that will love that summer sun. Even though I want to plant that new tree in the same spot as the old ocotillo, there are still a few steps I need to take to be sure I protect my home. Before you dig any holes in your yard, be sure to call 811 or visit arizona811.com to have your utilities mapped. You will need to do this at least 24 hours before you plan to dig. This will help you avoid cutting or interrupting your utilities and help you keep a sufficient distance from those service lines once the roots take hold and spread out. The last thing you would want is a sewer line with root intrusion. Also be sure to keep the tree far enough from your home so that as it grows, branches and limbs will not make contact with your roof and cause damage. This will also keep the root systems from your foundation. Maintain the trees as they grow with pruning if you do end up placing them a little too close to the house or if the tree grows unexpectedly. Keeping that tree back and pruned will also keep pests from finding a route to the roof and into your home. If you are not able to plant your trees in the next few weeks, it is best to wait until this fall or next spring. They will need the cooler temperatures to take root and settle into their new home in your yard.
Pro Tip- When showing older homes, buyers love to see mature well-placed trees and updated windows with any remodel.
With summer just around the corner and temps on the rise, it’s the perfect time to get to these Spring time projects. If you have a home and don’t know which steps to take next? Reach out and let us know, we are here to help firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Colby Schmeckpeper