Energy Saving Tips That Save You Money

Energy saving bulbs

There are many opportunities to save energy in your home. Taking steps to make your home more efficient helps the environment and saves you money. At Perry Hood Properties, our homes are built with energy saving features like Low E windows and insulation, but there are other ways that each individual homeowner can save even more energy. A post at Energy.gov has a few suggestions on energy saving for a typical homeowner. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Programmable thermostat: Every home needs a way to keep the air temperature comfortable when you’re home, but save money while you’re away. Program your thermostat to work less when no one’s home and watch your utility bills plummet.
  • Change air filters: Regularly changing your air conditioner’s filters allows the unit to cool your home more efficiently. This means it runs less and uses less electricity. This is also good for the air conditioner itself and could save you from costly repairs.
  • Adjust refrigerator temperature: Your refrigerator is capable of keeping foods much colder than they need to be, but this requires the fridge to use much more electricity. The refrigerator can be set between 36 and 39-degrees and keep foods cold and fresh. Your freezer doesn’t need to be colder than 0-degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use washer and dryer efficiently: A lot of energy can be wasted depending on your clothes washing and drying habits. Be sure to regularly check and clean out the dryer’s outside vent and clean the lint trap on the dryer before every load. Try to do multiple loads of laundry at once so the dryer is already warm when you start it. When you can, consider air drying clothes instead of running the dryer at all. And be sure to use the load size settings when you’re washing less than a full load of laundry.
  • Efficient lighting: By replacing standard light bulbs more efficient compact fluorescents, or CFLs, you get the same amount of light and use less energy. You can also save energy just by checking your fixtures and ensuring each bulb is the right size and wattage. With timers, motion sensors and photoelectric cells, you can save on outdoor lighting by only having them on when they’re needed.

These energy saving tips save you money without drastically changing your daily routine. In many ways, utilizing some of these energy saving tactics makes your home easier to manage.

Perry Hood Properties takes care to build homes that serve our clients well, which includes taking extra precautions to install energy saving features and appliances. To see the homes we have available in Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby, visit our available homes page.

Prevent Major Roof Damage Through Regular Inspections

Man on ladder inspecting roof

Winter and spring storms can cause a great deal of damage to roofs. It’s important to regularly check your roof in order to fix damage as soon as possible and prevent it from causing leaks and other problems. Angie’s List has a helpful list of preventative maintenance tips for your roof.

  • Check Shingles

Damage to your roof’s shingles is the first sign that the roof is in need of repairs. When shingles fall off due to high winds and storms, it leaves the remaining shingles more likely to be damaged or removed also. Missing shingles also leave the roof vulnerable. Even minor damage like tears or missing granules can, over time, cause the underlayment to deteriorate. It’s important to actually go on your roof once or twice a year, especially after severe storms, to check for damage.

  • Leaks

Water leaking into your home can cause mold, damage to your walls and ceilings and to your home’s structure. Damage to your roof caused by storms or tree limbs can lead to leaks. You may not even be aware of these problems until they’ve already done damage to your home like leaving yellow or brown stains on walls or ceilings. To check for leaks, go into your attic and look for signs of water. It may be helpful to wait for the next rainstorm and then look for any water being allowed through.

  • Soffits and Fascia Boards

The top of your roof isn’t the only part that’s vulnerable. The soffit, which refers to the board under the eave that connects the roof the siding, and the fascia board, which runs along the roof line and connects to the rafters or trusses, both need to be carefully monitored. Clogged gutters can be a serious problem for both soffits and fascia boards. Damage is typically fairly obvious, however. Look for cracks or holes or other signs of stress and replace and patch these immediately.

The roof is an important part of your home that is commonly overlooked or forgotten about. By regularly checking on the health of your roof and its components, you’ll avoid major problems like leaks and severe damage.

If you’re in the market for a new home, Perry Hood Property is here to help. Browse through our online catalog or contact us about building a home specifically for you and your family.

Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Appliances

Perry Hood kitchen

Our properties feature modern kitchens with granite countertops, Jay Rambo cabinets and stainless steel appliances. Even though the name ‘stainless steel’ sounds like those surfaces would be easy to clean, there are a few tricks to keeping your stainless steel appliances looking like new. At the Housekeeping blog on About.com, Sarah Aguirre put together a list of these stainless steel tips to ensure these surfaces stay free of rust and scratches.

  • Just Water

In most situations, you’ll only need some warm water and a soft cloth to clean any dust and spills from your stainless steel. There are two important tips that go along with this, however. First, you’ll want to wipe with the grain of the steel. There are no dramatic consequences if you don’t, but you’ll notice much more residue and grime left behind. That will leave you with surfaces that aren’t very shiny. Second, be sure to thoroughly dry your appliances after cleaning. Any water left will leave spots.

  • Mild Dish Soap

For tougher dirt or sticky substances, you can try warm water with just a drop of mild dish soap. Again, use a soft cloth to prevent scratching the surface and rub with the grain. When you’re done, rinse with water and dry thoroughly.

  • Glass Cleaner

If fingerprints are causing your stainless steel appliances to lose their shine, glass cleaner is usually the answer. You’re usually better off spraying the cleaner on your cloth, rather than directly on the surface. This helps prevent drips that you see later. You can rub in a circular motion around the fingerprints to remove them, then rinse with water by rubbing with the grain again.

  • Stainless Steel Cleaner

If your stainless steel surfaces have developed scratches or are in need of a polish, stainless steel cleaners and polishes are available. These help to fill scratches and chips, remove stains and polish the surface to restore shine. You’ll want to start in a small, inconspicuous spot just in case the cleaner isn’t right for your surface. Then, rinse and dry thoroughly.

With proper maintenance, your appliances will look like new for as long as you keep them in your home.

If you’re interested in a new home, browse through our available homes or start the process of building the home of your dreams.

5 Ways To Improve Your Closet’s Organization

Walk-in closet

Your home’s closets are only as good as their organization. Even a large, spacious bedroom closet loses its luster when it’s hard to find and access items. Recently, Forbes published a list of organizational tips for how to improve your closets and make them easier to use every day. Here are a few of our favorite tips.

  • Critique your closet

The first step to improving the organization of your closet is to carefully critique everything in it. If you’ve lived in your home for years already, that probably means completely emptying the closet. If you’re a new home owner, this is an ideal time to assess all of your clothes, shoes and other items before putting them into the closet. Once you know exactly how many items are going back in, you can make more intelligent choices about how much storage you need to add.

  • Use empty space

It may seem like your closet is at its limit but there’s almost always some empty space on walls or the door that you can utilize. Bars and hooks can greatly increase your storage capability without putting often used items out of reach.

  • Add light

Not only is does there seem to be never enough storage in a closet, there’s also never enough light. Most closets have one solitary lightbulb on the ceiling, but that’s hardly enough to effectively light the whole closet, especially when it’s full. Adding shelf lighting doesn’t have to be a big, expensive project, however. Consider battery-operated LED lights that can be stuck or screwed into shelves. You can even invest in motion activated LED lights that only come on when you’re looking for something near them.

  • Be able to reach

If you’re short, either make all your closet storage lower, or add a step stool or ladder to your closet so you can reach everything you’re storing. There are also options like clothes racks that pull down when you need them so you can easily reach clothes on the top rack.

  • Quality hangers 

It’s tempting to use the wire hangers from the dry cleaner that all of us have accumulated over the years, but those hangers are tough on clothes. Your hangers can be wood, plastic or metal, but they should be able to easily hold the weight of your clothes without stretching and bending them. They also add the benefit of being able to group your clothes easier. For example, use wooden hangers for dress shirts in one area of your closet and metal hangers for pants in another area.

At Perry Hood Properties, we build high quality homes in the Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow areas and want to help our buyers enjoy those homes for years to come. To browse through our currently available homes, visit our Catalog.

4 Tips For Maintaining Your Concrete Driveway

Perry Hood home with driveway

It may not be the first thing you notice when you look at a house, but the driveway does impact the overall look. It’s easy to overlook a smooth, well-maintained concrete driveway, but one with unsightly cracks or holes detracts from the quality and appeal of the house. Concrete Network put together a handy guide for caring for your concrete driveway in order to keep it, and your home, looking beautiful. Here are a few care tips.

  • Clean and Reseal 

In Oklahoma, your driveway is subject to hard rains and hail, snow and ice and blistering sun at different points of the year. All of this extreme weather take its toll over time. Especially if dirt and debris are left without attention. Typically, it’s a good idea to regularly hose off and clean your driveway to prevent cracks from developing. Resealing your driveway also helps to keep it clean and looking like new. Most contractors advise you reseal every 2 years, but your driveway may need it more often if it experiences more extreme weather or heavy traffic.

  • Stains

While a grease, gas or oil stain likely won’t harm your driveway’s structure, it does create unsightly blemishes that detract from your home’s appeal. Having a freshly sealed driveway helps to keep spills from staining the concrete, but it’s always a good idea to thoroughly clean them as soon as they happen. For tough stains that won’t come up, consider a pressure washer combined with cleaning chemicals, but be cautious that some chemicals can be harmful to concrete.

  • Avoid Deicer

One such chemical that actually attacks concrete is deicer. Oklahoma winters typically ice over driveways at least a few times each year and deicer is extremely helpful to make your driveway more passable. Unfortunately, it can also cause surface damage to the concrete. Rock salt is better for concrete, but is harmful to vehicles and your lawn. An alternative would be to put down sand for better traction, but be sure to wash your driveway when the ice clears to remove excess sand and dirt.

  • Heavy Vehicles

Concrete is a durable material, which is why it’s so often used for driveways. It’s not intended for any load, however. Heavier vehicles, like fully loaded moving trucks and construction equipment can cause cracks and other damage to the concrete. Even long-term storage of boats or RVs can end in damage to your driveway. Consider alternatives like street parking or off premises storage for large vehicles to prevent the need to replace your driveway.

At Perry Hood Properties, we build houses in the Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow areas with high quality materials. We use these materials so our homes will stay beautiful for as long as you own the home. To browse through our currently available homes, please visit our Catalog page or call us at 918-250-2663.

Maintenance Tips For An Efficient Air Conditioner

Working on air conditioner

You may not need your air conditioner now, but that makes it a great time to for maintenance and some routine cleaning. You certainly don’t want to wait until the first hot day of the year to find out that your air conditioner isn’t working. At Small Notebook, there’s a helpful list of ways you can get your air conditioner ready for warmer weather and keep it running throughout the summer. Here are the vital tips every homeowner needs to know.

  • Air Filters

Most of us know that air filters need to be changed regularly. Doing so regularly improves the quality of your air and prolongs the life of your air conditioner. Think of it like changing the oil in your car. Typically, changing it every 3 months during use of your A/C is recommended, but you’ll want to change it more often if you have severe allergies. There are plenty of options in filters, but don’t skimp and buy the cheapest available. Pleated synthetic filters don’t cost much more, but do a better job for longer.

  • Check Efficiency 

How efficient your air conditioning unit is running not only dictates how cool your home stays, but also how high your electricity bill is likely to be. Before the peak of summer, measure efficiency by comparing the temperature of air coming out of the vents with the air going into the return vent. There should be about a 15-degree difference. If it’s more, it could signal it’s time to change your filters. If the difference is less, you’ll need some maintenance on your A/C like more Freon.

  • Maintain Ducts

The ducts in your home are responsible for carrying air to the vents in each room. If they’re not properly maintained, an efficient unit is unable to distribute cool air properly. Go to your attic to see if there are any leaks that allow cool air to escape before it reaches the vents. If so, you can either replace the duct, or try to patch it with duct tape. It’s also a good idea to invest in insulation to wrap around the ducts so that the heat from the attic doesn’t affect the cool air. Finally, keep ducts free of debris and dust by protecting them during any home renovation project. Cover the return air vents in your home with air filters to keep all that dust out.

  • Keep Outside Unit Clean

The unit outside of your home, also known as the condenser, needs to be clean in order to have sufficient airflow. When it’s dirty, it either stops working, or must work harder, which uses more energy. One cleaning per year is usually plenty, but you should clean the condenser when it is visibly dirty. To do so, turn off the power, then rinse with a hose. Don’t use much pressure because some parts of the unit can bend easily. Your goal is to remove dirt and debris from between the small openings, or fins, on the condenser.

Keeping your air conditioner running is vital during the sweltering Oklahoma summers. These tips will help you keep energy costs low and regular maintenance will keep you from paying big repair bills.

At Perry Hood Properties, we want our homeowners to keep their homes looking beautiful for years after they buy them. We use high quality products to help homes look like new. Browse through our available homes and call us today!

 

4 Spring Maintenance Chores For Your Home

Man cleaning gutters

Spring is coming, which brings with it a list of chores to do around the house. Winter takes a toll, especially on the outside of your home, and the start of spring is a great time to repair the damage. At the HGTV blog, Dwight Barnett put together a “maintenance list” for homeowners to take care of this spring.  Here are a few tasks you’ll want to do to keep your home looking beautiful.

  • Check the gutters

You probably haven’t cleaned the gutters since the fall so you’ll want to ensure they’re free of debris before the spring rains. While you’re up there, check for any leaks or loose gutters. And be sure that all downspouts point away from your foundation.

  • Add soil

The winter months tend to result in low areas and holes throughout your yard and garden. Animals, rains and snow tend to remove soil and leave vulnerable areas for flooding and standing water, which attracts insects in the summer. The early spring is an ideal time to buy a few bags of soil and fill in any areas that need it.

  • Examine the roof

You can survey from the ground for any apparent damage or missing shingles, but it’s also a good idea to climb onto the roof for a closer look. That’s the only way you’ll be able to spot shingles that are damaged but still in place. You’ll also be able to examine the exterior of your chimney.

  • Service your heater and A/C

Your heater and your A/C require annual service calls to keep them operating efficiently. You could wait until the fall to have your heater serviced, but it’s usually easier to remember to have both done at once. Not only will a serviceman be able to keep both units running for the duration of the season, but they’ll also save you on energy costs by keeping the units clean. The spring is also a good time to change interior filters.

These tasks keep your home looking nice and save you on potentially costly repairs down the road.

At Perry Hood Properties, we build beautiful homes throughout the Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow areas. To browse through our available homes, click here.

4 Ways To Prepare Your Lawn Now For Summer

Sprinkler system on green lawn

While there’s still plenty of cold temperatures in the forecast, now’s a great time to start planning for the spring care of your home’s lawn. The lawn plays a big role in the overall look of your home so you want to make sure you lay the groundwork early in the year in order to enjoy a lush, full lawn throughout the summer. Yahoo Homes put together a valuable list of tips for what your lawn needs early in the spring.

  • Check Soil Health

Your first step should be is to test the acidity levels and nutrient levels of your soil. This will help you decide what the soil needs added to it in order to grow a healthy lawn. For example, if your soil is too acidic you can add lime to it, but if it’s too alkaline, you’ll need to use sulfur to lower the pH.

  • Time Fertilization

Since Oklahoma summer’s are hot and dry, grass species start slowly growing in the spring and will continue throughout the summer if properly cared for. In cooler regions, grasses grow more rapidly throughout the spring and won’t grow much over the summer. The key to fertilization is to apply fertilizer when grasses hit their peak growing times. For Oklahoma lawns, this may be when the weather truly starts to get warm and then again in the middle of summer.

  • Water Effectively

It’s not just how much you water your lawn that determines its health, but also the way you water. Watering too much can actually make your lawn more susceptible to drought. Typically during the summer, lawns need about an inch of water once per week. Your watering should be done before temperatures hit 80-degrees, which means summer watering needs to be done in the early morning. Watering slowly is also key. This prevents runoff and grass grow deep roots.

  • Control Weeds

Now is the time to try to eliminate weeds so they don’t infest your lawn and limit the growth of your grass. Unless you’ve already seeded, look for a pre-emergent herbicide that inhibit the germination and growth of weeds. If you control weeds now, you’re lawn can grow so fully that it won’t allow for the growth of any throughout the year.

These four tips are things you should start thinking about now, before spring has officially started. Also, don’t plan to roll out the lawnmower too early. Let your lawn grow for a few weeks until it reaches a height of about 4-inches before clipping it the first time.

At Perry Hood Properties, we build beautiful homes in the Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow area and love giving our homeowners tips for how to keep their homes looking gorgeous for years to come. If you’re hunting for a new home, browse through our available homes and give us a call!

4 Vital Tips For Preventing Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipe leaking water

Even though we’re into February, Oklahoma’s unpredictable climate could still produce plenty of freezing nights in the coming weeks. That means the threat of frozen pipes and the subsequent damage to your home is still a real threat before the official on-set of spring. Thankfully, there are some helpful ways to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place. At Popular Mechanics, Roy Berendsohn lists a few of these tips. Here are our favorites.

  • Preparation

If the weather is bad enough, there’s a chance pipes in any home could freeze. To minimize damage and the associated costs, preparation is key. Know where your water shutoff is located in case of disaster. It’s also helpful to have a temporary patch kit handy. You can find them at most hardware stores and home centers. While they’re not a permanent solution, they can save you from thousands of dollars in water damage and even give you working pipes while you wait on a plumber.

  • Crank up the heat

While cold temperatures probably have you worrying about your heating bill, it will be much more costly to replace a pipe that has burst due to freezing. By keeping your home warmer, the pipes in the walls and running through your crawl space will be warmer. That may just be enough to keep them above freezing.

  • Open cabinets

Pipes that run through an exterior wall are especially vulnerable to freezing. Opening any cabinets along that wall helps heat to keep those pipes slightly warmer. Some even suggest using an electric heater at spots that are the most concerning. Remember, the goal is to simply keep pipes from freezing. They don’t have to be toasty and warm.

  • Detach hoses

This is perhaps the easiest measure to prevent pipes from freezing, but also the easiest to forget. When a hose is connected to an outdoor spigot, water rests in the connected pipe and can freeze and burst behind the wall. Repairs can be costly, so before winter begins, be sure to remove and drain all hoses and store them for the season. Since Oklahoma’s weather fluctuates, it’s a good practice to always remove hoses when you’re finished using them. That way, your watering on a warm day in January won’t cost you when the cold front moves in the next week.

Frozen pipes create the need for costly repairs and can be the cause of mold growth. It’s worth it to take the time to take every precaution possible to prevent this damage.

At Perry Hood Properties, we want your home to stay as beautiful as the day you bought it. But, when you’re ready for a new home, contact us to build terrific floor plans in attractive neighborhoods.