How Much Should You Water Your Lawn in Spring and Summer?

Knowing just how much to water your lawn can get tricky. Water it too little, and you end up with a wilting, faded lawn. Water it too much, and you risk fungal growth from too much moisture and runoff that can unnecessarily boost your water bill. So below we’ll cover just how much to water your lawn in both spring and summer, when needs can differ. Also, we’ll cover ways you can save water but still have a healthy lawn.

Watering your lawn is a task that can run in the thousands of dollars or only require a hose and sprinkler attachment, based on how you choose to water or save on water. Some people may choose to install drought-resistant landscaping that can run thousands of dollars. Or you might be on board with manually watering straight out of a hose with a spray attachment. However, it can take no time at all to water your lawn if you choose an automated system or several minutes daily manually.

Water Your Lawn Damp Grass

Your lawn has some basic watering needs no matter the season. Image: @just.cle / Twenty20

General Lawn Water Needs

No matter what time of year it is, lawns have some basic watering requirements:

  • Generally, lawns need at least about 1 inch to 1 ½ inches of water per week.
  • That being said, check with a lawn care professional about what type of grass you have if you don’t know. Different types of grass can have different watering needs.
  • If your grass is brown and doesn’t respond when you water your lawn, it can be a number of other issues like fungal growth or simply not rotating a pet’s bathroom area enough. You may need to consult a lawn care specialist.
  • A common test to make sure you are watering enough is to stick a flathead screwdriver down into the soil right after watering. If it doesn’t easily go down 6 inches, you’re not watering enough.

But lawn needs vary between spring and summer, so below we’ll cover how to water your lawn between the two seasons.

Water Your Lawn Wet Green Grass

Keep an eye on your lawn during the spring especially to adjust watering needs based on recent rains. Image: @lindaze / Twenty20

Watering in the Spring vs. the Summer

The main point that makes watering your lawn in the spring and summer so different is the varying amounts of rainfall. Simply, more rain in the spring means you can get away with watering your lawn less. During spring, or even rainy periods in the summer depending on your local climate, you will have to keep a close eye on your lawn to see whether it needs additional watering from you.

It can help to have either a digital or analog rain gauge to tell you how many inches of rain has fallen recently. That way, you can see if the rainfall has hit that 1 to 1 ½-inch weekly water mark.

There are also several signs that you need to water your lawn more, which you can tell just by looking. The number one sign is that the lawn has a dull green cast, or even a grayish color, to it. Also, while walking on it, your footprints should disappear right away. If not, the grass doesn’t have enough moisture to return to its original position.

Water Your Lawn Sprinkler Setup

Using a sprinkler can help you get even coverage over your lawn so you’re not letting water run down into the street. Image: @JulieK / Twenty20

How to Save Water

According to the EPA, if the average-sized lawn is watered for 20 minutes every day for seven days, it can be like running a shower constantly for four days or taking over 800 showers. That’s a lot of water. But you can still keep a green lawn and save on water with the following ideas:

  • Try installing smaller patches of lawn and complementing them with drought-resistant landscaping. That way, you don’t have to water your lawn as often.
  • Always water in the morning before 10 a.m., otherwise the water will evaporate during the heat of the day.
  • Water slowly and evenly to prevent runoff. You can place containers around your yard while the sprinkler is on. Then make sure each is getting a similar amount of water. You should also water slowly by using sprinklers or a spray attachment on the hose. Water different areas of the lawn in short and multiple bursts to allow the water to absorb.
  • Never water for so long that you see water running down the street.

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How to Pick a Garden Color Palette

garden color palette

Want to add color to your garden while preserving a cohesive look? Pick a garden color palette and let it guide you. Image: 1000 Words/Shutterstock

Maybe you plan your garden meticulously as soon as the first signs of spring pop up. Or maybe you wait until summer, see what grows well and add as needed to keep things looking lush. Whatever your approach, thinking about one small thing can take your garden from looking haphazard to looking completely curated. It’s your garden color palette.

You think about the color palette for the interior of your home, so why leave your garden unattended in this way? Choosing a few colors for your exterior spaces and growing plants in those colors will make your outdoor spaces look polished and vibrant.

And, like all good design, choosing a garden color palette is a lot easier when you have a few principles to guide you. Here’s a quick look at some of your color palette options in your outdoor spaces.

garden color palette - monochrome

A monochrome garden will always look polished. Image: SingjaiStock/Shutterstock

Monochromatic

Want to keep it simple? Go monochrome. Choosing plants in a single color gives your garden a cohesive, seamless look that helps it blend together so your outdoor spaces look established and attractive.

The easiest way to work with a monochromatic garden color palette is to go green. Grow virtually any type of foliage and you’re right on track. But you can still go monochrome if you love colorful flowers. Just pick a color — whether that’s pink, white, purple, blue or another fave of yours — and stick with plants that bloom in that color.

garden color palette - complementary

Choosing colors opposite one another on the color wheel can add a serious dose of vibrancy to your yard. Image: dvoevnore/Shutterstock

Complementary

Remember color theory? (If you need to brush up, we’ve got a great color rule guide here.) Complementary colors are those that are positioned opposite one another on a color wheel. That makes it super easy to follow. Even if you’ve shied away from complementary color pairings in your home’s design up to this point, consider it for your garden color palette.

While this can be a pretty in-your-face color combo in interior spaces, complementary colors are ideal for outdoors where they have plenty of room to breathe. Pair yellow and purple, blue and orange or red and green for a lively looking garden.

garden color palette - analogous

Keep things in the family color-wise and your yard will look curated. Image: satit_srihin/Shutterstock

Analogous

Another color theory basic, analogous colors are ones that are placed next to each other on the color wheel. And using analogous colors in your garden can help different plants blend visually, giving your yard a cohesive but still colorful look.

Just a few examples of analogous garden color palettes you could choose include: blue, green and yellow; red, orange and yellow; purple, blue and red. Clearly, there’s room to play here. And sticking to a specific section of the color wheel gives your yard a clear vision even if you go wild when choosing plants.

garden color palette - multicolor

Choose a main color, then accent from there. Image: Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock

Another go-to for designers, the 60-30-10 rule is also a pretty simple one to follow. You pick one color to make up 60% of the space (the green in the photo above). Then, you choose a secondary color to make up the next 30% (above, it’s indigo). Finally, you round out the space with an accent color that completes the last 10%. It’s usually a bold color like the red in the image above.

The 60-30-10 rule gives you plenty of flexibility while building in guidelines that ensure your garden will look balanced when you’re finished. And that final 10% is a fun opportunity when you’re talking about blooms. Choose something surprising and vibrant to take your garden to the next level.

Armed with these garden color palettes, you’re ready to make your outdoor spaces shine all year round. Which one will you choose?

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7 Common Weeds & How to Get Rid of Them

Ugh, weeds. You put a lot of work into your yard with the hopes of helping it look its best so you can relax and enjoy it this summer. Then you spot a weed and all that relaxation goes out the window. Suddenly, you’re on the offensive, prepping to battle an invasive species. Fortunately, you can avoid all the stress by knowing how to spot and eradicate the most common weeds. And we’ve put together this guide to help you do exactly that.

Here are seven of the most common types of weeds — and what you can do about them.

common weeds - lambsquarter

You can spot lambsquarters thanks to its gray undersides. Image: seven75/Getty Images

Lambsquarters

If you live in the northern half of the country, odds are high you’ve encountered this broadleaf annual. You can spot it by looking for its scalloped leaves with gray undersides. It’s a fast grower that sucks the moisture out of your soil, so don’t dally in removing it from your garden.

Pull lambsquarters by hand or extricate it with a sharp hoe. You want to get all of the root because it can survive for decades in the soil. Alternately, you can treat it with a post-emergence herbicide.

And, bonus, if you haven’t been using chemicals in your yard, you can actually eat lambsquarters. It’s a little like spinach and you can enjoy it raw, steamed or sauteed.

common weeds - amaranth

Why not make a salad with the weeds you pull? Image: arousa/Getty Images

Amaranth (Pigweed)

A summer weather lover, this annual weed springs up tall with a taproot that’s red. Amaranth grows clusters of green flowers that look like they have little hairs. But you don’t want them to get to that point, because once this plant goes to flower, you’re fighting a much bigger battle.

Pull pigweed by hand or use a post-emergence herbicide on it. Mulch your yard to prevent it from coming back.

This is another edible weed. The greens can be used in a tossed salad or cooked.

common weeds - dandelion

Allergy sufferers know to steer clear of dandelions. Image: Tina Caunt/EyeEm/Getty Images

Dandelion

Who doesn’t love puffing a dandelion’s seedhead like Belle in Beauty & the Beast? People who don’t want their yards overtaken, that’s who. Those signature seedheads make this plant spread like, well, a weed.

If you’ve got dandelions in your yard, dig them out (they can have a deep taproot, so keep digging to ensure you’ve got it all) or spray them. If you choose the spray route, kick them a bit beforehand. No, you’re not just getting your aggression out. Wounding their leaves helps the herbicide absorb better.

And if you didn’t spray, this is another edible weed. The Farmer’s Almanac has quite the variety of recipes awaiting you.

common weeds- nutsedge

Hand-pulling can take care of this grassy weed. Image: charti1/Getty Images

Nutsedge

This stiff, V-shaped, grassy weed can produce a yellow or purple flower. Nutsedge grows underground tubers, also called nuts or nutlets. Get rid of those bad boys before the weed can spread.

The best course of action is to pull the weeds by hand, but you can also spray with a post-emergence herbicide. Just be sure to read the labels because you need something that’s specifically formulated to get rid of sedge.

Nutsedge can actually be a helpful indicator of soil quality. If you’ve got it, it’s a sign your soil isn’t draining very well.

common weeds- chickweed

Its flowers might be pretty, but you’ll want to catch chickweed early. Image: Stefan Rotter/Getty Images

Chickweed

This annual likes shady, moist spots. It’s got small, white flowers and if you let it get to seed, you’ll be dealing with as much as 800 seeds per plant. A lot of the other common weeds on this list prefer the summer’s heat, but you’ll usually start to see chickweed springing up in the spring, so start checking for it early. When it spreads, it will create a mat of green.

Hand pull chickweed or look for an herbicide formulated to treat chickweed. Mulch can help you keep it at bay, too.

common weeds - crabgrass

This low-lying, grassy weed is easy to squeeze out of your lawn. Image: Cappi Thompson/Getty Images

Crabgrass

As its name suggests, this summer annual looks like a grass. But you can spot it because it keeps close to the ground, spreading out along its surface. It likes hot and dry conditions. And, good news, it’s easy to control.

If you’ve got crabgrass, hand pull it or treat it with a post-emergence herbicide. If it’s growing in your lawn, mowing regularly and keeping your turfgrass healthy should be enough to crowd it out.

common weeds - bindweed

Don’t be fooled by bindweed’s flowers. Image: jamesvancouver/Getty Images

Bindweed

Sure, it’s pretty. But bindweed, also known as perennial morning glory, is one of the most common weeds — and one of the most difficult to control. A single weed can spread 10 feet in all directions, often under the soil thanks to its wandering roots, so getting rid of bindweed can be a hassle.

You can identify it by its vines filled with arrowhead-shaped leaves and small white or pink morning glory flowers.

Getting rid of this weed takes some work. Keep pulling it every time it emerges and you’ll eventually wear out the root. Or treat it with an herbicide that can kill it at the root — but don’t expect it to work in one go. Keep reapplying the herbicide as needed to get rid of bindweed.

Now you’re ready to deal with the most common weeds and keep your lawn looking great this summer. But if you’re sick of fighting a losing battle against the weeds in your yard, a dedicated lawn care professional can help you keep your yard lush, beautiful and weed-free.

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Lawn Care Tips to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes, its pays to wary about a house with bad curb appeal. If you’re selling your home, you can bet that potential buyers are making judgments based on the condition of your yard. In fact, you could have a beautiful, well-kept home, but if the outside doesn’t match the inside, you could be missing out on a sale before buyers even step inside.

Your landscaping says a lot about your pride of ownership. An unkempt yard could make it seem like your home is in disrepair. What’s more, you could actually ask more on the price if your curb appeal attracts more buyers. You don’t need to completely overhaul your landscaping, especially if you’re pressed for time and on a budget. The trick is to maximize your home’s curb appeal by making a few small changes that could make a big difference in how buyers see your home.

Traditional home with clean landscaping

Get rid of personal clutter for better curb appeal. Image: Shutterstock/karamysh

Remove clutter

If the outside of your home is an extension of the inside, you probably have a few signs of life littering your yard. From kids bikes and balls to worn-out pots and decor, buyers don’t really want to see personalized landscaping elements. It’s much easier for buyers to imagine themselves in the home if the lawn is neat and tidy.

Look at your lawn with a buyer’s eye and stash any personal stuff. It’s easy to get used to everyday clutter, so use a discerning eye to spot areas that need to be cleaned up. Clip back shrubs that might be overgrown into living areas. Clear off porches except for a couple of chairs, and make sure you get rid of kids’ gear lying around. Choose a few pieces of decor, like a couple of flowerpots in great condition, and store anything else until you’re ready to move.

Home backyard with garden beds

Mulch can hide your lack of a green thumb. Image: Shutterstock/Artazum

Refill mulch

Mulch is a seller’s secret weapon. It’s an inexpensive and quick way to clean up garden beds and spruce up your lawn’s look without having to plant or weed. Taking the time to fill your home’s garden spaces with mulch gives the appearance of a neat, well-maintained yard.

Choose a larger-sized mulch that covers more space quickly. Make sure that, after its been spread, you clean up areas where it might have spilled onto sidewalks or paved areas. You can use it to hide some of the messier areas of your garden, or spread it at the bottom of trees to give the appearance of a more landscaped, intentional space.

Still think your lawn needs some extra TLC? Contact a lawn care professional to help you improve your lawn and create a plan to make sure it’s green and inviting before selling your home.

Craftsman home with front porch.

Make landscaping part of the living space for more curb appeal. Image: Shutterstock/ppa

Add living space

Give sellers an idea on how they might utilize the landscaping by offering living space. Gardens and grass are great, but if you can sell the idea of actually using the yard, you could increase your asking price. This is especially good for smaller homes.  Styling a backyard as an entertaining space can make it feel like an extension of the home.

Consider how your landscaping could be utilized as actual living space. Whether it’s a play area for kids or a zen retreat in the garden, usable landscaping drives up curb appeal and makes a home more livable inside and out.

Use color to draw the eye to the best parts of your home. Image: Shutterstock/ppa

Pop in some color

If you’re selling your home, you know that the color green rules. Whether it’s your grass or the selling price, you can bet that green is going to make the biggest impact. Still, don’t forget to add other colors to draw focus and call attention to the best parts of your yard. Choose a landscaping color scheme to keep the look clean and focus on your home’s best features. Amazing windows? Use window boxes to show them off. Plant flowers to draw sellers to your garden beds. Or, use a plant pots filled with flowers to make your entryway more inviting.

Color can also serve to draw focus away from some of your home’s less-desirable features. A bright door can help detract from tired paint elsewhere. A lush, green lawn can stop sellers from noticing broken pavers in the driveway. Remember that the eye will go toward color, so an afternoon’s worth of planting and painting could make all the difference in how buyers see your home.

Your seller to-do list is probably already a mile long. But while you’re getting the inside of your home ready to sell, don’t forget about the outside. As buyers drive up to their home, they’re already making snap judgments and picturing themselves there. Make sure your house tells the right story by making sure your lawn is just as gorgeous as the interior of your home sweet home. And you can always call a lawn care professional for some extra help making sure your lawn looks its best.

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How to Get a Stylish Laundry Room

Normally, when we picture laundry rooms, we see these dank spaces shoved to the side of basements. Laundry rooms are traditionally strictly utilitarian. They don’t have to be pretty, they just have to be a place to do the laundry. But if you’re tired of looking at that dank laundry room, there are some classy ways to update it.

Depending on how you decide to update your laundry room, it could require anything from some inexpensive reorganization to a whole remodel. For instance, if you want a real overhaul of the space with professionally installed wall paneling, it can cost in the low hundreds of dollars all the way to the low thousands of dollars. That price depends on materials, square feet covered and local labor costs. A full remodel of the room costs thousands of dollars, on average. And redoing a laundry room can take anywhere from an afternoon of organizing to a few days to weeks for a heavy remodel.

However, it might be worth it if your laundry room is severely old and gross, or somewhere people can see it. And a real creative update could turn the laundry area into a mixed-use space.

Laundry Room Wood Panel

Small accents like textured wood can add a natural feel to a laundry room. Image: Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock

New Paneling and Flooring

If you want maximum impact with limited cost, simply try getting some new paneling in the laundry area. You can see how the textured wood on the walls of the space in the photo above adds some visual interest and a more natural look. The textured wood flooring gives the same feel. And the added accent of the creative floating shelving gives this space a more modern vibe.

After all, the problem with laundry rooms is that they tend to be shoved in the basement or off to the side as a utilitarian afterthought. That means cement floors and exposed concrete block walls. So new flooring and wall paneling could be an easy way to comprehensively update the space.

Laundry Room Kitchen Space

Some homes combine the kitchen with laundry functionality. Image: romakoma/Shutterstock

Combine Spaces

With people living in smaller spaces, a laundry room might not be a luxury for which you have space. Maybe you need to convert that laundry room into a bedroom or spare office.

That’s where an unconventional idea like the mixed-use space in the photo above comes in. Basically, this involves installing a washing machine where you’d normally have a dishwasher under the kitchen counter. While unusual in the U.S., this laundry/kitchen combo is common abroad.

You can also look into designs where the laundry room itself becomes a mixed-use space. For instance, it’s common to see a laundry space in the corner of a children’s play area, workout area, game room or by an all-purpose table space. These are common ideas for open-concept basements, in particular.

Laundry Room Zen Area

Rich wood pieces and minimalism make this laundry space look updated. Image: New Africa/Shutterstock

Keep the Laundry Room Minimalistic and Zen

You can also update your laundry room in the way you organize and decorate it. This is perhaps the easiest way to update your laundry room. The space above shows how simple accents in the laundry room can give a relaxed, zen vibe.

The greenery on the floating shelf gives the space a more natural feel. Rich wood accents like the clothing rack, small table and divider add warmth to the space. And they’re also useful items in the room. All these elements are placed far apart to give the space a sense of minimalism. By doing something similar, you can create an updated and relaxing laundry room.

And remember, laundry machines often have specific needs for parts like drain hoses. If you’re doing a major redesign, make sure to talk to a remodeler about how the washing machine will empty and any necessary components like nearby drains to handle potential machine leaks.

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How to Use Room Dividers in Small Spaces

If you have a small space, you may think that the last thing you need is an element like a room divider, which was literally made to close off and separate spaces. But room dividers are a great addition to any small space. They are a good way to section off and organize small spaces, which often have more of an open floor plan. And open-design dividers mean that you can get a more organized space visually without closing areas off from each other completely.

Room dividers are also a budget design addition to a room. They can cost anywhere from $60 up. And as for time, it can take as little as a couple of hours to decide on the right divider for you, bring it home and place it in the room. So whether you are looking for a fun style accent or need to add functional organization to your space, take a look below for different ways to use room dividers.

Room Dividers Open Design

Visually separate a space without closing it off by going with an open room divider design. Image: New Africa/Shutterstock

Visually Open Room Dividers

As touched on above, room dividers don’t have to visually close off a space. The photo above shows a room divider that has an open pattern. Designs like these are perfect for adding some conceptual organization between areas in small, open-plan spaces. And they don’t make the space feel claustrophobic.

Designs like these also come in a wide array of patterns. A pattern like the room divider in the photo above adds some interesting geometry to the space. Other open room dividers have more curved and free-flowing patterns to them. There’s a pattern for any design taste.

Room Dividers Rope Design

Your room divider doesn’t even have to be a traditional divider. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Go Conceptual

The photo above shows that a room divider can be made of just about any material. You can get creative with the types of materials you use. For instance, a simple textured wooden post and some heavy vertical rope give the appearance of a room divider in the photo above. It adds visual organization to this artsy, relaxed space without visually closing the areas off from each other.

The idea above also shows how you can add greenery to your room divider. The vines on the rope add more of a visual block but, again, without completely closing off the spaces. And the vines add a natural feel that matches the potted plant in the background. It’s also common to see vines added to solid room dividers.

If you’d like to go for a conceptual idea to separate your space, here are a few ideas for unconventional room dividers:

  • Shelving where you can see from one side to the other
  • A full clothing rack
  • Sheer tapestry or curtain
  • Open shelving with fish tanks placed on the shelves
  • A line of tall plant life

These are just a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

Room Dividers Blue Accent

A boldly colored room divider makes a great accent in a corner. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Use Room Dividers as Accents

It’s also common to see room dividers used as decorative accents. If you have a smaller space you’d rather not close off, think about putting a room divider in a corner. You can see the concept in action in the photo above, where a bright blue room divider adds a shock of color to an otherwise boring corner. You could do this idea with any bright accent color, like cherry red or bright purple.

Also, you don’t have to stick to solid colors. There are room dividers with bold art printed on them (like this item here). And a room divider with a full art scene on it gives the optical illusion that your small space is larger since it feels like you’re looking into a window to another world.

And remember, take your time to weigh your options. There are many different types of room dividers out there.

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How to Pick the Best Dining Room Table for Your Space

If you need a new dining table, choosing one can be fun. It allows you to define the style you want for your dining room. And there are many attractive options to sort through. Plus, who doesn’t like a stylish new piece of furniture? But choosing a dining room table has to be done carefully since the table’s such a large, room-defining piece. So below we’ll cover how to pick the right dining table for you and your home.

Shopping for a dining table can take a day or weeks, depending on how much time you have to devote to the project each day and how many options you choose to sort through. Sometimes you find just the right piece immediately, and sometimes it takes a while.

Dining tables also run all over the price range, depending on size, materials and style. A more simply designed table could cost in the mid $200 range, or you could be paying thousands of dollars or more. That’s why it literally pays to take the time to shop around. To that end, we’ve gathered some tips to help you decide on the type of dining room table you want. You can reduce your search time if you know what type of table will best suit your needs and your space.

Dining Room Table Black Style

Smaller, minimalistic tables fit well in open concept areas. Image: @cameronbraun/Twenty20

Take Stock of Your Room’s Size

The most defining feature of the dining room table is its size. Some are expansive. Some are small and minimalistic. Your dining room’s size is going to be a large factor in what size of table you get, of course. So start by measuring the space in which you plan to put the dining room table.

If you’d like more room to walk when you’re not entertaining, also remember to look at drop-leaf or extendable dining room table designs. That way, you can remove part of the table or fold part of it down when you want the extra floor space. This is especially useful for smaller dining rooms.

As a side note, many open concept designs in homes don’t have a set dining room space. Instead, you create an eating space wherever you put the table. Visual elements like a floor rug can create some organization in the space. Smaller and streamlined tables usually work in this style, as they don’t overpower or crowd the open space.

Dining Room Table Wood Style

A dining room table can set the tone for a whole room, like with this highly rustic and textured design. Image: @statusdog/Twenty20

Choose a Style and Material for your Dining Room Table

Your next step is to choose the style you want in a dining room table. It might be easy to think, “Well, a wood one, I guess.” But all dining room tables have specific details in their materials and construction that make certain styles better for certain types of rooms. A few examples include:

  • Classic homes do well with rich wood textures like mahogany and dark espresso finishes.
  • Contemporary homes do well with minimal and modern styles.
  • Industrial styles do well with a dining room table that uses metal elements, like stainless steel table legs.
  • Artsy homes do well with funky styles, like table legs that angle outward or tabletops that are in unconventional, geometric shapes.
  • Country styles do well with rustic, textured wood pieces.

These are just a few dining room table ideas. Remember, when looking for a larger piece of furniture, often it’s an intuitive process. Sometimes the right piece will just “speak” to you. Keep your room’s style in mind and it can be easier to pinpoint that perfect piece.

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5 Ways to Fix Temperature Variations In Your Home and Save Energy

Is there a spot in your home that’s always hotter or colder than the rest? It’s more common than you think. Fix temperature variations right away and you’ll extend the life of your HVAC system and save on your home energy bills.

When a room’s temperature varies, your HVAC system has to adjust to regulate for the change in temperature. This means your HVAC system may be working harder than needed.

Why are some rooms warmer or colder than others?

Before you can fix temperature variations, it’s a good idea to understand why they happen. There are lots of factors that can contribute to a hot spot or cold, drafty room in your house, but the most common are the following:

  • Poor insulation can let more outside air in, causing the room to feel colder or warmer
  • The orientation of the room may mean more hot sun comes in or a lack of sunshine
  • If the room is furthest out on the HVAC air duct’s line, it may not cool or heat efficiently

Fixing the temperature variations in your house allows your HVAC to work less, which will save you money on your cooling and heating bills. Here’s how you can fix temperature variations in your home so your HVAC system works more efficiently.

how to fix temperature variations in a room

Caulk gaps and drafty spots around windows and doors. Image: veryulissa/Shutterstock

1. Seal Windows and Doors

The weatherstripping on windows and doors deteriorates over time, letting cold or hot air in. Caulk all gaps and replace worn out weatherstripping to better balance the temperature in your home.

HVAC drafts

Layers of fabrics and textiles can warm up a cold, drafty space. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

2. Add Window Drapes, Shutters Or Blinds

Sunny rooms tend to feel warmer than rooms that are dark. If you have a room where the window receives a lot of sun in the summer or feels very cold to the touch in the winter, invest in a heavy black-out or insulating set of curtains or drapes. Window shutters or blinds are also a good insulating option to keep the ambient temperature of the room comfortable.

Open the shades or blinds during the winter so the sun’s warmth enters. And in the summer, keep blinds closed to maintain a cooler room.

HVAC thermostats to fix temperature variations and drafty rooms

A programmable thermostat can keep the room at a comfortable level automatically. Image courtesy of Trane.

3. Add A Programmable Thermostat Strategically

Once you address insulation and manage to balance the temperature extremes, install a programmable thermostat. The key is the location of the thermostat. Place it in or near the room you use most so the temperature level is most comfortable where you spend the most time.

Smart thermostats like Trane’s ComfortLink II XL850 can be programmed remotely from your smartphone so your home’s temperature is perfect before you arrive.

cold drafty rooms and how to fix them

A zoning system means each room can have its own temperature setting. Image courtesy of Trane.

4. Install An HVAC Zoning System

If one temperature for the entire home isn’t realistic, consider adding an HVAC zoning system. A zoning system allows you to set unique temperatures in different rooms or zones in your home.

how to fix drafty rooms

A ceiling fan can circulate air to keep the room’s temperature more comfortable. Image: JR-stock/Shutterstock

5. Add a Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan is a low-energy way to circulate the air in a room. Most fans have a small button at the base of the motor that allows you to switch the direction the fan spins. This little trick can make a huge difference in the temperature of your room.

In the winter, set your fan to rotate clockwise on low to pull cold air up and away. Doing so pushes the warm air that has risen to the ceiling back down, warming the room. Do the opposite in the summer, setting the fan to spin counter-clockwise, to cool your room.

Still have questions? Talk to an expert

Making your home comfortable and energy-efficient is the smart way to live. Plus, think of all the design projects you can take on with the monthly savings. Talk to a local HVAC professional to see what you can do for your home.

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5 Tips for a Summer-Ready Lawn

A summer-ready lawn only takes a few days of care. In fact, just a little extra TLC ensures your landscaping can withstand hot temperatures while still looking great. Taking a weekend to clean up and care for your lawn in the spring can mean greener grass and a summer-ready lawn that also requires less maintenance when temperatures rise.

Follow these tips to make sure your lawn stays in shape all summer long.

A winter’s worth of debris could be clogging up your lawn. Image: Shutterstock/Breadmaker

Clear out the debris

After a long winter and spring, your lawn is probably covered in debris known as “thatch.” Thatch includes the pine needles, dead leaves, dead grass, and other stuff that builds up on your lawn over the winter months. It has a nasty habit of covering up your healthy grass and blocking it from sun. What’s more, thatch can absorb too much water and cause wilting. It’s always best to start with a clean slate, so grab a rake and gently remove as much thatch as you can. Don’t be too aggressive, as your spring grass will still be fairly fragile while its growing underneath.

Traditional home with garden

Fertilizer is like a multi-vitamin for your lawn. Image: Shutterstock/ppa

Spread on the fertilizer

A layer of fertilizer can really give your landscaping the nutrients it needs to turn over from sparse spring to summer-ready lawn. Think of it as a multi-vitamin for your grass. Fertilizer includes a balance of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphate, but the percentage you need of each depends on your area and the type of grass and soil you have. Make sure you follow the directions for your fertilizer carefully. Some require specific watering amounts after spreading. Others work best on an already-damp lawn.

Not sure what to use? Contact a lawn care professional for expert advice on the type of lawn you have and to get a tailored fertilization plan.

Stone exterior home with front walkway

A thorough watering can help supplement through the summer. Image: Shutterstock/karamysh

Water deeply

The promise of a wet and rainy spring can help you weather the hot, dry months, but your lawn might still need more. Make sure to give your lawn at least a couple deep “drinks” before the heat makes its appearance. This is important in growing strong roots that withstand the summer. As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to do a deep water irregularly than to surface water your lawn every day. Make sure you give your lawn a deep watering at the beginning of spring to help grow healthy grass. Water your grass at regular intervals and amounts through the spring, and then give your lawn another deep watering at the end of spring. This will help hydrate the soil so you need less water throughout the hot summer months.

Get some air

Aeration — tiny holes poked into the surface of the lawn–might seem nonessential, but it’s a great way to get a summer-ready lawn. Over cold winter months, soil can become compacted and hard. This makes it difficult for the roots of your grass to get the oxygen and water they need to give you a strong, green, healthy lawn. By perforating the surface of the soil, it breaks up some of that hard surface to allow your grass to get everything it needs.

You can try DIY lawn aeration by renting a tool from you local hardware store. Or, hire a lawn care pro to come in and take care of it. Aeration is relatively inexpensive, but it gives you big bang for your buck when it comes to a healthy, hydrated summer lawn.

French-style home with paved driveway

Make sure your sprinklers are working efficiently. Image: Shutterstock/pics721

Summer sprinkler checkup

The last thing you need is a broken sprinkler system in July. Give your landscaping a spring checkup to make sure everything is working like it should before it gets too hot. Survey the sprinkler heads, since they can be broken off by lawn mowers — or errant baseballs. They’re simple to replace and ensure your lawn is getting the water it needs. You can also adjust the spray patterns or change the watering schedule. The goal is to water efficiently, not water more. Make sure sprinklers are only spraying grass, shrubs, and flowers, and aren’t wasting water on sidewalks or driveways.

Check the long-range forecast (or farmer’s almanac) to see what type of summer is forecasted. Start with the minimum amount of watering and adjust up from there. Remember that when it comes to watering your lawn, overdoing it isn’t only expensive, but stops your grass from getting the oxygen it needs. An overwatered lawn is more likely to have weeds and poor growth with weak roots. Less is more, especially when it comes to watering on a schedule. Your best bet is to water less frequently, but more thoroughly.

Summer is just around the corner, and a summer-ready lawn is a lot easier to get when you start in the spring. Are you ready to have the best lawn on the block this summer?

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How to Keep Your Heating and Cooling Vents Clean

Dusty heating and cooling vents aren’t just ugly. They can also restrict the airflow into a room if the dust buildup gets bad enough, and you risk dust and debris getting down into your air ducts. So, to keep your heating and cooling vents free of dust and debris, below we have both some cleaning tips and some preventative ideas.

These tips to keep your heating and cooling vents clean are actually very easy to do and only take a few minutes. They also tend to be low in cost. You’ll need your vacuum cleaner, some soap and water, towels/rags and crevice cleaning supplies to clean the vent.

Some of the preventative measures, on the other hand, could require some items you don’t already have around the home. For instance, an air purifier to capture dust can run around $20 for small devices or all the way up to hundreds of dollars, depending on how many features you want the device to have. Air vent covers often cost around $5.

Heating and Cooling Vents Vacuum Attachment

Brush attachments on the vacuum can help clean vents easily. Image: paulbiryukov/Getty Images

Cleaning Tips

Regular cleaning is your best bet in keeping your heating and cooling vents free of dust and debris. That way, nothing has the chance to build up to problematic levels. In order to get your vents clean, follow these tips:

  • Start by turning off the power source to your air conditioner at the breaker. That way, your HVAC system won’t kick on when you’re cleaning it, blowing dust everywhere.
  • Vacuum the vent cover itself, ideally with a crevice or brush attachment.
  • Remove the vent cover by unscrewing it, if it’s screwed in place. Pull the cover straight up from the duct.
  • Soak the vent cover in warm, soapy water if there is any stubborn dirt. Keeping soaking until that dirt loosens.
  • Wipe the cover down with a wet rag.
  • You can clean between the slats of the vent cover with any narrow cleaning tool, like a pipe cleaner, narrow soft brush or even a cotton swab.
  • You should manually dry between the slats with either a thin rag or a hair dryer on the hot setting to prevent water from pooling. If you use a hair dryer, be careful touching the metal after you blow dry it on a hot setting, as the metal can get warm. From there, you can either let heating and cooling vents air dry on a towel or dry them by hand.
  • After they’re dry, put the vent covers back and turn the power source back on.
Heating and Cooling Vents Pet by Vent

Pets seem to be naturally attracted to vents. Image: @jenlpalmer/Twenty20

Preventative Maintenance for Your Heating and Cooling Vents

You can also keep your heating and cooling vents clear of dust and debris with some defensive measures. A popular way to do so is to invest in a magnetic or plastic vent cover. These are usually used to direct airflow in a certain direction or to prevent excess air from coming through a closed vent, so they’re only suitable if you wish to restrict airflow. But they have the added benefit of keeping dust and grime off the vent, too.

Another option is to protect the heating and cooling vents themselves through lifestyle changes. For instance, encourage pets to avoid the heating and cooling vents if they have a habit of laying on or near them. That will keep dirt and pet hair away from the heating and cooling system. Make sure to vacuum the floor regularly so that dirt and debris are not close to the vent. You may also want to invest in an indoor air purifier to remove dust from the home.

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