Proper home and lawn maintenance is vital to stress-free homeownership, and extending the longevity of your property and its appliances. However, there are several common summer home care myths that many homeowners follow, only to find out their efforts are costly, if not completely derailed. We’re unpacking five of them, and sharing what you should do instead to make sure your home and lawn stay healthy and your wallet stays happy!
Myth: You’ll save energy by turning off your air conditioning until you come home.
Turning your system off before leaving your home for the day, and then back on once you come home can put greater stress on your cooling system overall. It can also end up costing you more money for your energy bill because your system will have to work much harder to reduce the heat and humidity that builds up inside your home during the day. Instead, invest in a programmable thermostat that allows you to schedule the time you’d like a certain temperature in your home to be reached. Instead of running full blast when you get home, the system can cool your home down gradually starting a couple hours prior to your arrival, making it a much more energy-efficient option.
If you don’t have a programmable unit, you can also keep your home cooler by investing in window coverings or shades that will block out the sun in the summer. According to the Department of Energy, “medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.”
Myth: If you want your home temperature to get lower faster, crank the air as high as it can go.
This is one of those home care myths that just seems to live on year after year. The truth is your HVAC can only run as fast as it’s capable. Lowering the temperature all the way down doesn’t actually speed up the process. Not to mention, you also run the risk of freezing your system should you forget to adjust the temperature back to a normal setting.
If you want to cool your home quickly, run your ceiling or pedestal fans in conjunction with your air conditioning, to help circulate the cool air as it vents inside. (It’s especially efficient if you place your fans right next to your vents.)
Finally, remember that hot air rises and cooler air sinks. If you’re wanting a quick cool-down, but don’t have a decent air conditioning system, place your fans near the floor, pointing upward, so that it will help circulate the cooler air where you need it.
Myth: Mowing your grass shorter is a time saver.
Mow your grass too short and you run the risk of exposing your roots to harsh sun, which can burn your grass and encourage weed growth. Short grass also allows greater evaporation of water, so not only will your roots get more sun exposure, they won’t be able to retain moisture from the soil.
While it may seem tempting to cut it down and buy yourself some time in between mows, you may actually end up causing yourself more work in the long run trying to repair damaged grass and tackling weeds. It’s recommended to keep your lawn height to between 3 – 3.5 inches in the summer to help promote healthy growth, keep soil moisture level, and deter weed growth.
Myth: It’s better to water your lawn in the evening when it’s cooler and the sun isn’t as intense.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually better to water your lawn early in the morning so the water has a chance to get absorbed before the temperature gets too hot. Watering later in the evening keeps the water sitting on the roots for hours at a time, which introduces mold and fungi, and attracts pests. It’s generally recommended to water between the hours of 6am and 10am, but only as needed, as overwatering can lead to disease or rot.
You can purchase a moisture meter to check to see if your lawn needs watering or you can try these simple tests: If you walk across and see your footprints (i.e., the grass doesn’t bounce back), or if you stick a screw driver into the soil and it comes out clean, both are indicators that it’s time to water your lawn.
Myth: If you waited until summer, it’s too late to plant anything.
While the most ideal time to plant is the spring, it’s certainly not the only time you can plant during the year. Depending on the zone you live in, there are some plants that can still thrive with a summer planting. Visit your local nursery for their insights and let them know what you’re looking for in your summer plants. Planting in the summer might mean you need to keep a more watchful eye for heat damage, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Here are a few plants that are very heat tolerant and love the sun:
- Lemon Verbena
It’s understandable that these summer home care myths persist — after all, they’re not that far-fetched! But now that we’ve shed some light on them, we recommend your next step to do some research and get professional input for your specific property needs. Getting your air conditioning unit professionally serviced and your lawn inspected can help ensure you’re getting the most of your space, and can alert you to any issues that could escalate without being addressed in a timely manner. In the meantime, keep checking back with the Homes.com blog for tips and insights to keep your home comfortable year round!