Category Archives: Gardening

Is Your Home Ready to Handle All Those Holiday Decorations? Exterior Outlets can Help!

christmas-lights

The holidays are at our heels, and many of us will be putting up home light displays after Thanksgiving as a way to usher in the winter festivities. Think about your dream holiday lighting display – a home wrapped in light and color, a display worthy of drawing a collection of “oohs” and “aahs” from both visiting relatives and passersby. But before you take down your collection of baubles from winters past, ask yourself this: is your home ready to take on the most complex and elaborate of holiday light displays? Or will you need to pull down that box of extension cords too, wondering where to trim back due to a lack of power supply? If your visions of an awe-inspiring light display have been curbed by electrical limitations in the past, consider an easy and relatively economical fix: exterior outlets.

Adding an exterior outlet to your home is a simple electrical upgrade that can be performed in less than a day by a licensed electrician. Having an exterior outlet installed is similar to the process of having an interior outlet installed – the biggest difference between the two outlets (besides the location) is that exterior outlets are also installed with waterproof covers and other weather-proofing features, as they will be subjected to more extreme environmental wear-and-tear than the outlets inside your home. Having an extra exterior outlet or two can cut down on the number of extension cords you need to use, drawing more attention to your carefully constructed light display and reducing the number of possible tripping hazards in your front yard.

Of course, exterior outlets can be useful after the holiday season, too! Exterior outlets can help you complete home improvement projects faster by providing a handy place to plug in your power tools. And if you like to use your back yard and patio area for summer get-togethers, an exterior outlet will allow you to hang additional lighting to help your party last long into the night. Whatever outdoor electrical needs you face, an exterior outlet can provide a safe and convenient source of power for your lights, tools and appliances.

Think it’s time to kick your holiday light display up a notch? The electricians at Home Comfort can help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Small Changes Can Lead to Big Savings: Cutting Down on Summer Water Use

sprinkler

Does your heart do a little somersault when you open your water bill after a long heat wave? Perhaps you’ve been feeling reluctant to fill up the plastic wading pool for your kids on a hot summer day; or maybe pranksters have been writing “wash me” in the dust on your car’s back window because you just can’t justify turning on the hose one more time this week.

In most parts of the U.S., there’s just no way around it. Between thirsty gardens, dusty cars, and a simultaneous desire to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors and avoid heat stroke, we use more water during the summer months than any other time of year. A lot more, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA estimates that during this peak water use season, a household’s daily water use can nearly quadruple in comparison to an average, off-season day. The good news is that there are plenty of measures you can take to reduce the amount of water you use in your home without sacrificing the beauty of your garden or the fun of an old-fashioned water balloon fight.

Start by assessing your outdoor water use. How frequently do you water your lawn and garden, and what time of day do you usually turn on the hose? Many people will water their lawns on a hot summer day as a preventative measure, even when the grass is at no risk of drying out – which can lead to hundreds of gallons of wasted water. To avoid watering your lawn unnecessarily, the EPA recommends trying the “Step on It” test. The test is easy – before you start to water your lawn, simply walk across the grass. If you see footprints in the grass when you’re finished, your lawn is thirsty and needs to be watered. But if the grass springs back into place, put down the hose – your lawn probably doesn’t need the extra water right now.

To conserve even more water when it comes to your garden, be deliberate about your watering schedule. Instead of watering your garden in the middle of the day, do your watering first thing in the morning or just before sunset. A lot of the water you generously pour on your grass and flowers can be lost to evaporation if it’s done during the hottest part of the day.

To reduce water waste inside your home, take a look around and make a list of plumbing components that need to be repaired or updated. Consider this – your toilet alone can waste around 200 gallons a day if it is operating with a leak! Call a trusted, licensed plumbing contractor like Home Comfort to fix any leaking pipes or fixtures.

If you think it’s time for your plumbing components to be updated, talk to a plumber about installing a WaterSense-labeled toilet or a low-flow showerhead. These components are easy to install, and can use less than half the amount of water older fixtures were designed to use. The initial investment to stop the leaks in your home and update your fixtures can lead to big savings down the road. With small changes in behavior, and an investment in your home’s plumbing, you can take charge of your summer water bill.

Works Cited:

http://www.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/summer2011.html

http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/indoor.html