Keeping Your Home Safe From Common Fire Hazards

Fire extinguisher and flames

With Independence Day upon us, many are preparing for fireworks and backyard BBQs. While both are great ways to celebrate America’s freedom, they also present significant fire hazards. It’s important to take the necessary precautions to keep your family and your home safe. Of course, there are plenty of other fire dangers in and around your home throughout the year. Here are a few of those.

  • Kitchen

More than 40-percent of house fires start in the kitchen and it’s easy to see why. A number of combustible materials are likely sitting on your counter near your stove top. For example, paper towels and pot holders are often the cause of fires. The first step is to keep a 3-foot buffer zone around your stove. The second is to simply monitor any pot or pan on a burner or in the oven. Trying to multi-task leads to forgetting about your cooking, which can lead to a flame getting out of control. It’s also a good idea to keep a charged fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen at all times.

  • Laundry room

Your dryer poses a significant risk to your home. It’s an appliance that generates a great deal of heat and produces an extremely flammable by-product in dryer lint. While you may regularly empty the lint trap, lint can build up other places as well. Eventually, it tends to get close to the heating element and catch fire. That’s why it’s important to either take apart your dryer and clean it yourself or hire a professional every two years.

  • Garage

If you’re particularly handy and use your garage to work in, there are a number of fire risks you should be aware of. The most dangerous is sawdust. For those that work with wood, you already know that sawdust accumulates quickly. It’s also extremely flammable. Often, it can form a thin layer over work benches and other surfaces, which can quickly catch fire. To prevent this outcome, use a shop vac to clean after working with wood. It’s also a good idea to use water to wipe down the area.

  • Outlets

This hazard can be found in any room of the house and develops overtime. As you use your outlets, they tend to get loose. After years of use, you may notice that chords don’t fit snugly anymore and may even fall out. These loose chords generate more heat and can lead to a fire starting. This can be a serious issue for outlets with chords plugged into them all day that might ignite while you’re not home. The best way to deal with this hazard is to replace outlets when they start to get loose.

With some attention and proper precautions, you can greatly reduce the risk of fire in your home.

At Perry Hood Properties, we construct high quality homes with high quality materials in the Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby areas. If you’re ready for a new home, contact us or browse through our currently available homes.

5 Ways To Keep Your Home Cool All Summer

Woman with fan

When temperatures top 90 and start creeping towards triple digits, it becomes more important than ever to use every available trick to keep our homes cool and comfortable. At Huffington Post, Samantha Toscano published a list of ways to keep your home cool without using your air conditioner. For Oklahoma summers, turning off your A/C isn’t typically an option during the hottest months of the year, but using some of these tips will help put less stress on your unit and keep your home cool all summer.

  • Windows and Doors

Obviously, keeping doors and windows shut will help keep hot air out of your home, but you can go a step further. Using blinds, shutters and curtains on windows can lower temperatures in your home up to 20-degrees. Particularly if you have many windows in your home, that could result in big energy savings. South and west facing homes are the worst for greenhouse like effects, so be sure to cover those windows. As for doors, during the hottest parts of the day, keep doors to unused rooms like spare bedrooms closed. This keeps the cooler air only circulating in the parts of the home you’re in. At night, open up those doors and let air circulate throughout your home when temperatures outside are a bit cooler.

  • Ceiling fans

Using ceiling fans is a great way to keep a home feeling cooler, but did you know that most fans have two settings? In the summer, fans need to be rotating counter-clockwise in order to produce that wonderful cool breeze effect. Operating the opposite way actually pushes warm air down and can make the room feel warmer. Save this function for the winter.

  • Personal habits

In many ways, the key to staying cool all summer is about your personal habits rather than the way you treat your home. Actions you take like sipping cold drinks, applying a cold cloth to the neck and wrists and wearing light, breathable clothing will greatly increase your personal comfort. The summer is also a great time to ditch the stove and oven. Instead, grill outside. When applying these tactics, your home can be much warmer without you feeling the heat.

  • Light bulbs

Traditional incandescent light bulbs produce a great deal of heat. In fact, about 90-percent of their energy is lost to heat, rather than light. That’s why alternatives like CFLs, or compact fluorescent lamps, are both more efficient and a better option in the summer. You may not realize the impact a few hot bulbs are making in your home until you switch to cooler bulbs.

  • Home improvements

If it’s in the budget this year, some long-term home improvements can greatly reduce energy costs and make keeping your home cool much easier. Adding insulation options to your attic is a great place to start. Insulated windows also make a big impact. Outside your home, the more shade you can produce the cooler your home will be. So, consider planting trees or installing awnings.

Keeping your home cool is a constant struggle in the summer, but these tips help make your home more comfortable and efficient.

At Perry Hood Properties, our homes are built with efficient, energy saving features and appliances to help make extreme temperatures more bearable. Explore our currently available homes or contact us to start building a home just for you.

The Truth About Radiant Barrier Decking

Radiant barrier decking

What do you know about radiant barrier decking or sheathing? It’s a great investment for your home that can lower energy costs and keep your home significantly cooler throughout the summer. Those advantages are among the reasons that Perry Hood Properties installs radiant barrier decking in all of our homes. While there are many benefits to be had from installing radiant barrier decking in your attic, there is also a lot of misinformation available. To better understand exactly what you’re getting, here are a few common myths and an explanation of the truth behind them.

  • Energy Savings

Radiant barrier decking is installed between rafters and shingles in order to reflect heat and keep air temperatures in the attic and the home cooler. That results in reduced cooling costs throughout the summer, especially in warmer climates like Oklahoma. There are many factors involved in the energy savings, however, so any specific savings claims should not be trusted. Typically, savings will depend at least partly on the direction your home faces, the climate outside and the occupant’s lifestyle and habits.

  • Shingle Deterioration 

Many have speculated that installing radiant barrier decking will accelerate the rate at which your shingles deteriorate. This is backed by the fact that shingles experience hotter temperatures throughout the summer. Temperatures could increase as much as 10-degrees on shingles. However, this is not expected to greatly impact the longevity of the shingles. In fact, the color of asphalt shingles will play a bigger factor in how long they stand up to the summer sun than will the presence of radiant barrier decking.

  • Dust and Proper Installation

There are two common problems with radiant barrier decking that result in diminished performance. First, there should be space between radiant barriers reflective surface and other surfaces. If the radiant barriers are in contact with other surfaces, the heat they collect will then be passed on to the other surface and be less effective. The other issue typically happens when radiant barrier decking is installed after a house has been completed. For ease of installation, radiant barriers are placed horizontally on the attic’s existing insulation. This allows dust to accumulate on the reflective surface and, over time, makes it less effective at reducing heat.

When installed correctly in warm climates, radiant barrier decking is able to transfer as much as 97-percent of heat and reduce attic temperatures by as much as 30-degrees. This results in less stress on HVAC units, cooler ducts and lower energy costs.

To browse through our currently available homes, complete with radiant barrier decking and many other amenities, head to our online catalog. We build homes in Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow.

How To Keep Mosquitos Away This Summer

Woman applying bug spray

When warmer weather arrives, we all want to celebrate by going outside to enjoy it. Unfortunately, the warmer weather also brings mosquitos, which can ruin a backyard BBQ and other outdoor activities. DEET-based mosquito repellents have adverse health effects, but there are more natural ways to keep mosquitos at bay this summer. Here are a few to try in your backyard.

  • Catnip

Oddly enough, the same herb that makes cats go crazy is also a great way to get rid of mosquitos. In fact, a study at Iowa State University found that catnip was about 10-times more effective than DEET. The key is the essential oil found in catnip, but consider this a way to keep yourself safe from mosquitos, or your entire yard.

  • Citronella

The pure essential oil of citronella is a well-known mosquito repellent for a good reason. You have to be careful, however. Fragrance oils are not as effective as the pure essential oils. And, while oil for your skin won’t work in torches and vice versa, citronella oil can be used in a variety of ways to protect yourself and your yard.

  • Garlic

If you’re fond of garlic in your food, you probably won’t have to worry about mosquitos this summer. Mosquitos don’t like garlic and won’t bite those that have eaten enough of it. Another option is to add garlic to your garden. The smell of growing garlic should be enough to keep mosquitos away.

  • Lotus

If you have a backyard pond, or any type of regular standing water, you know how difficult it can be to keep mosquitos from swarming around it. A recent study found, however, that lotus is great for repelling mosquitos and even kills mosquito larvae. Lotus grows in water so it’s a natural choice to protect your pond or water feature.

Before putting any of these items directly on your skin, be sure to test them in small areas first to be sure you don’t have a sensitivity.

If you’re ready to buy a new home this summer, come see the available homes we have to offer in the Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow areas. Or, contact us to start building your own dream home.

Preventative Maintenance Needed Around Your Home

Caulking a window

We all dread a serious issue developing in our home that needs costly repairs. Thankfully, there are some fast and cheap steps to take to minimize your risk of a serious problem developing. John Riha at HouseLogic put together a list of a few of these preventative steps. By spending a little money now, you may be able to avoid spending a lot of money later on foundation repairs or new HVAC units.

  • Perimeter Check

A regular walk around your home with a critical eye can help you spot developing problems. Start by checking around the foundation for cracks. Spotting some doesn’t necessarily mean your foundation needs to be repaired, but it’s a good idea to mark them and check back to make sure they’re not growing or moving. It’s also a good time to check the soil around the foundation. It should gradually slope away from the foundation to help funnel water away. Adding new top soil is a cheap fix that can save you thousands in foundation repair later. Similarly, check that your downspouts are far enough from the foundation. About 5-feet is a good rule of thumb and extensions for your downspouts are both cheap and easy to install.

  • Caulk and Waterproofing

Water and moisture can wreak havoc on all parts of your home. Keeping this moisture out helps to prevent rot and mold. Properly sealing areas around windows and doors also helps make your home more energy efficient and easier to heat and cool. Expect to use a few small tubes of caulk each year on your home as it ages and new problem areas pop up. By staying on top of them, you’ll be able to avoid much costlier repairs while keeping your home in top condition.

  • Exterior Cleaning

Your house looks much better if you take the time to wash the siding annually. This also helps to maintain it and prevents cracks and holes from forming. After you clean, look around for any small areas that could use touch-ups. This would include paint that has chipped away or faded, holes in stucco or missing mortar. Like using caulk around your home, making these small repairs helps to keep moisture from getting into these weak spots and causing much larger scale damage.

  • HVAC Maintenance 

If your furnace or air conditioner breaks down, you’re looking at expensive repairs or replacements and an uncomfortable few days while you wait for the repairs to be done. Much of that can be avoided, however, with some minor upkeep. Your first priority should be to change filters regularly. Every three to six months, filters will be dirty enough to change and start to restrict air flow in your home. When they’re dirty, it also causes more dust and grime to be sucked into your air conditioner or furnace, which increases the likelihood of a break down. It’s also a good idea to have a professional give a check-up to your units before you begin using them each season. They’ll be able to tell when a component is about to fail and replace it before it does and damages other parts.

These are only a few of the areas where small repairs help prolong the life of your home and prevent big problems.

At Perry Hood Homes, we build high quality houses throughout Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby. If you’re ready for a new home, give us a call or browse through our currently available homes.