3 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Home

Resolutions list

New Year’s resolutions are a great way to make improvements for yourself by losing weight, spending less or cutting out unhealthy habits. You can also make improvements around your home with your resolutions. Here are a few great ideas for making your home more comfortable, more efficient and more stylish in 2016.

  • Reduce energy use

You may be hoping to eat less in the new year, but for your home, it’s important to eat up less energy. By making a few improvements, you can see your energy bills drastically reduced and enjoy better climate control. That means your home will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer without having to pay as much each month. Typically, you’ll want to start with your ducts. Sealing up any gaps or holes and adding insulation prevents both hot and cold air from leaking out while it’s being delivered to vents around your home. Doing so could save you more than $200 each year on energy costs, and make your heating and cooling systems more efficient, which will make your air conditioner and furnace last longer. You may even qualify for a rebate for making your home more energy efficient.

  • Clean the air

Whether you have allergies or not, purifying the air in your home will make a noticeable difference. And, there are a few easy ways to keep contaminants out of the air you and your family breathe. Start by regularly changing the air filters. During peak use of your heating and cooling system, you may need to change your filters once each month. At minimum, you should probably change your filters four times each year. Also, make use of the ventilation methods already present in your home. Your kitchen’s vent hood and bathroom’s vent should exhaust outside of your home. If they don’t, look into having that fixed. When they do, they’re effective in removing smoke, fumes and excess humidity. Finally, you can use portable air filters around your home to further clean the air. These, like humidifiers, are a great way to reduce contaminants during allergen season or any time you notice the air in your home is harder to breathe.

  • Remove the clutter

You’ve no doubt heard of spring cleaning, but the spring isn’t the only time you can remove clutter and clean up your living space. For the new year, resolve to get rid of items you don’t often use and, at the same time, add additional storage features. The end of the year makes a great time to get rid of seldom used items because it’s easy to tell what’s been used this year and what hasn’t. If you come back next year, and items you decided to keep haven’t been used or moved, you can probably get rid of most of them too. Even if you get rid of a lot, improving storage will make the stuff you keep more organized and easier to access. Add shelves to closets, bathrooms or your kitchen, or look into organizers for your kitchen cabinets or closets.

There are plenty of other ways to improve your home so take some time to think about what would make the most difference to you and then get started.

If you decide that what you really need is a brand new home, contact us at Perry Hood Properties. We build new homes in Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow and can offer you a move-in ready home or start the process of building a home just for you.

Prevent Christmas Tree Fires With These Tips

Christmas tree by fireplace

Many families cherish the tradition of picking out a live Christmas tree and bringing it home. A real tree certainly adds a classic look, and smell, to your home that immediately evokes memories of the holidays. However, real trees also bring the threat of disastrous fire to your home. To keep your home and family safe this Christmas season, follow these tips.

  • Fresh, never dry

Christmas tree safety begins with choosing your tree. The longer trees have been cut and sitting on a lot, the more they dry out. So, while some of the older trees might be cheaper, they’re also a greater fire hazard. Look for a fresh tree that won’t dry out until after Christmas. Once you get your tree home, you can help keep it fresh by submerging the trunk in plenty of water. Fresh trees typically require about a gallon of water each day, so be sure to refill water in the stand often.

  • Safe lighting

Strings of lights strung around your tree complete the look, but they can also be dangerous. A general rule of thumb is to never attach more than three light strings to the same outlet or extension cord. It’s also wise to turn lights and any other electric elements of your tree off when you leave the house, or over night. It’s important that, since lights can spark or short, or just over-heat, you be able to monitor the tree while it’s lit. While it won’t prevent fires, running cords along walls and not under rugs and carpets is important to prevent trip and fall injuries and keep your tree from falling.

  • Keep away from heat

In most homes, the holidays bring an abundance of candles, fires in the fireplace, space heaters and other ways to stay warm or be festive. Just like any flammable material in your home, however, your Christmas tree should be kept far away from heat sources and open flames. Portable heaters and even electronics can heat up enough to cause your tree to catch fire. Embers jumping from your fireplace or candles blowing in the wind have also been culprits of tree fires. Be aware of the risks and always keep an eye out for potential hazards close to your tree.

In addition to these three tips, it’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency. You should always have one in the kitchen, but keep a second one in the same room as your Christmas tree for quick access.

If you’re ready to decorate a new home for Christmas next year, contact us at Perry Hood Properties. We build high quality homes in Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow. Get started building your own home, or browse through our move-in ready homes that are already constructed. 

Quick and Easy Winter Maintenance Tips for Inside Your Home

Christmas at home

We’ve already posted about preventing freezing pipes and home improvement chores to take before the weather gets cold. There’s plenty more to do around your home to help prepare you for winter, however. Here, we’ll share some quick tips for keeping your home tidy, organized and comfortable throughout the holiday season. These are all easy and fast tasks that anyone can do, but that also make a big difference.

  • Holiday lights

Let’s start with a staple of the holiday season. Most of us will be hanging lights and other decorations this year, which starts with getting them out of storage. If you find your lights are in a tangled mess, your first task will be to untangle them, but then you can take some extra time to learn how to properly store them so that next year, they’ll be untangled and ready to hang. After you hang your decorations, it’s also a good idea to walk around with a critical eye. You aren’t looking for anything hanging crooked, however. You’ll be looking for anything that might pose a fire hazard. Be sure to move fabrics away from candles, and don’t let hanging lights that will get hot rest against anything flammable.

  • Fire extinguishers

It’s a good idea to periodically check your home’s fire extinguishers. The holiday season is a perfect time to check them since you’ll likely have a number of fire risks around your home. First, ensure you have an extinguisher in the kitchen, and another near your fireplace. Next, be sure they are both charged and ready should you need them. Finally, be sure that every member of your family knows where the fire extinguishers are and how to use them. This way, if a fire does break out, anyone can quickly put it out.

  • Ceiling fans

Most of us only think about using ceiling fans during the hot summer months, but they can be useful in the winter too. Your ceiling fans should have a switch that reverses the way they turn. Instead of circulating cool air throughout the room, they’ll be sucking warm air away from the ceiling and evenly distributing it. Try it and you’ll find what a difference it makes. Additionally, you can add extra rugs and floor coverings in the winter to keep rooms warmer.

  • Clean air

There are actually a couple of tasks you should get to when ensuring your family has clean air throughout your home. First, replace your air filters. Most air filters need to be replaced at least three or four times per year, and it may be more if you have pets. If you haven’t replaced the filters you used with your air conditioner all summer, you’re well overdue. Replace theses and not only will air quality be better, but your heating system will be more efficient. And, if you’re running your heater often, the air in your home is likely to be more dry. To combat this, you can use humidifiers, but be sure to clean them periodically. A humidifier is a great way to keep your home more comfortable, but you don’t want it putting new contaminants and toxins into the air.

  • Carpet cleaning

The holidays may see a number of house guests for family get togethers and parties. That usually means your carpets will be in need of a good cleaning once the holidays are over. Take the time now to schedule a professional carpet cleaning for January, or look into investing in your own equipment. Those spills and stains left from your holiday parties will need attention in 2016.

If you’re in the market for a new home for the new year, contact us at Perry Hood Properties. We build high quality homes in Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby and even have a number of already completed homes that are move-in ready.

4 Tips For Preventing Frozen Pipes

Water droplet falling from faucet

With winter and colder temperatures here, it’s time to start worrying about frozen pipes. Your first task should be to unhook any hoses that you have connected to outdoor spigots. Leaving these connected can quickly result in pipes freezing and bursting, which can lead to water leaking into your walls inside.

About one in 55 home owners will submit a property claim due to water leaking or freezing this year. And water in your pipes typically begins to freeze when temperatures outside reach 20-degrees. That’s not far off in Oklahoma. So, here are some precautions to take to keep your pipes safe and warm this winter.

  • Wrap and insulate

If you were cold in your home, you’d probably wear extra layers and maybe cover yourself with a blanket. It’s the same idea for your pipes to keep them from freezing. Foam pipe covers are available at virtually any hardware store and are inexpensive. Or, you could make a bigger investment for a more permanent solution and wrapping pipes with fiberglass insulation. Regardless of which option you choose, it’s much cheaper than the average $5-thousand cost of repairing a burst pipe.

  • Exposed pipe

It’s important to also assess the environment of pipes in different areas of your home. Those on the exterior of your house, like an exterior faucet or spigot, are typically in the most danger of freezing. There are also pipes that lead from the exterior to the interior, and pipes located in colder areas, like the garage, or the basement in older homes. You can insulate these pipes as well, but if you’re going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, it might be a good idea to turn off the water completely and let the taps run dry to eliminate the risks.

  • Keep the heat on

Speaking of going away for the holidays, many of us may consider turning off our thermostat or turning it very low. The idea is that you don’t need to spend money to heat a home that no one will be staying in. Even with no one home, however, your home needs to stay warm to keep pipes warm. Turning the heat off completely during the winter could leave your home below freezing, which could cause even interior pipes to freeze. Other items in your home, like electronics, could also be damaged by prolonged exposure to the cold. And, when you return home, heating up your home from these low temperatures puts a great deal of stress on your heating system and can actually cost more in energy costs than leaving it on.

  • Running taps

This is probably the most common advice for preventing frozen pipes. Before a cold snap, leave faucets running. First, you want to leave a steady stream of water running from the tap, not just a drip. Second, this doesn’t actually keep water in your pipes from freezing. It does, however, minimize the damage. With water running, air pressure in the pipe is released, which can prevent tearing of the pipe even if freezing does occur. If you have both hot and cold taps, you’ll need to leave both running to accomplish this.

There’s no sure-fire way to tell your pipes are frozen until you turn on a faucet and no water comes out. If that happens this winter, turn off your water supply immediately. You could try to heat the frozen area by insulating it and heating it with a hair dryer, but be advised that dripping water is a potential electrocution hazard. Your best option is to call a professional plumber to fix the problem.

When you’re ready for a new home for your family, contact us at Perry Hood Properties. We build brand new homes in Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow. You can start from scratch, or choose from our currently built and available homes.

3 Home Improvement Tasks To Make Your Heater More Efficient

Winter scene outside window

Winter has officially taken hold in Oklahoma, which means many of us firing up our heaters for the first time in months. Regardless of the current state and quality of your home’s heating system, there are a few simple tasks you can do around your home to help it work more efficiently. This will help to keep your home warmer, and decrease your monthly energy bills. Here’s where to start.

  • Glass

The glass in your home, be it windows or glass doors, are a leading culprit for heat loss. To help insulate them, a thin sheet of plastic film can be added. This is a cheap way to instantly make your home more efficient. You can also help keep the heat in by simply closing blinds or curtains at night. Then, during the day, keep them open during the sunniest parts of the day to get the maximum heating benefit from the sun. These are small, simple steps, but you’ll be able to see the difference on your next heating bill.

  • Doors

Even solid wood or metal doors can lose a lot of heat if they’re not properly maintained. The weather stripping should be your primary concern. Check that it hasn’t become worn and ineffective and be sure to replace it periodically. Next, you can simply close your exterior doors and see if any light is allowed in around the edges and feel for any cold air coming through. If you notice any areas that are open, seal them with a variety of available products at your local hardware store.

  • Drafts

A similar approach can be taken throughout the rest of your home. If one room seems to be colder than the rest, there’s a good chance that room has a draft somewhere that needs to be sealed. The traditional way to find a draft is to light a candle and slowly use it to trace the walls and windows. It will flicker when you find the draft that’s allowing a stream of cold air into your home and allowing warm air out. Finding these drafts can take some time, but eliminating them makes your home significantly more efficient.

These simple tips will help your home’s heating system keep your home warm, but it’s also important to keep your heater healthy. Have it inspected each year in the fall before you begin to use it and follow the factory maintenance schedule. This will keep your heater running smoothly and safely each winter.

If you’re ready to move your family to a new home this winter, contact us at Perry Hood Properties. We currently have a number of already constructed and available homes in some of Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow’s most popular neighborhoods. Or, you can opt to start construction on a home that fits your specific standards.