crack in wall of building

Drought and Your Foundation: Learning About the Cracks in Your Home

Texas is known for its hot summers, and drought can be massively destructive to your lawn, landscaping and your home’s foundation. Foundation issues are costly and can be expensive to repair and potentially damaging to more than just your home. Dry soil and hot conditions can be devastating to your home’s foundation and the signs are times are rather innocuous. The signs of foundation damage include: sloping floors, gaps in door ways, gaps in set in features like fireplaces, cracks in walls and any sticking or gaps in doors.

The causes of foundation issues during the summer heat are not quite as simple as dry soil. Trees and shrubs will try to grab onto any residual moisture from the soil and dry soils makes for shaky foundations. In addition to dry soil, Texas is full of less than ideal soil types: high amounts of clay (almost 50% clay) can be difficult to build a solid foundation on.

There are a few ways to check on your home’s foundation before costly repairs need to be considered. Rolling a marble down a floor to test for slopping can be a simple way to make sure your floors stay level: the faster the roll, the deeper the slope. Check your home’s exterior and interior for cracks. These cracks can start off as hairline and small at first and by the time they are more noticeable serious damage to your foundation may have already occurred. Check the soil around your home: dig about 6 inches down and if the soil is dry water the ground around your home.

If you’re worried about your home’s foundation, contact Liberty Builders. We have plenty of experience dealing with the foundation concerns that are all too familiar to Texas residents and builders. If you suspect your foundation may be in danger, don’t delay: call for a consultation.




Keeping Your Summer Electric Bill Cool: Energy-Efficient Ways to Cool Your Home

Summer’s heat can be oppressive in South Texas and high heat and longer days can mean soaring electric bills. High heat forces us indoors with air conditioning units cranked up to the coolest possible settings, and the drain of increased energy consumption isn’t just felt on our wallets: it takes a huge toll on power grids and the nation’s energy consumption as a whole. There are plenty of incentives to finding more energy-efficient ways to cool your home down in the summer that go beyond lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint. Here are a few tips on keeping your home cool while keeping an eye on your energy consumption.

Turn off as many electrical appliances and devices as possible when not in use or if you’re out of the house. Keeping the lights on may be a force of habit but only 10-15% of the electricity used by most conventional light bulbs is used to produce light – the rest is simply turned into heat. The longer summer days produce a great deal of sunlight that can be an effective method to light most rooms in many houses and apartments. Run appliances like dishwashers and washing machines when they’re full. Running half or small loads of laundry or dishes simply eats up valuable energy and these appliances can generate a great deal of heat in the rooms they’re in. Turn your air conditioner off when you’re out of the house. While it may be nice to return to an ice cold home, leaving the A/C running during the day with no one to enjoy its benefit is a massive drain of electrical energy. Ceiling and box fans can be a great way to help circulate cool air but leave them on just long enough to cool a room to the desired temperature. Opening windows during the late afternoon and early evening can be a fantastic way to cool off a home but if you keep the windows open but sure to keep the A/C off otherwise the cool air is simply being blown out the window. Check your home for cracks and gaps in windows and doors. These gaps and cracks can let warm air leak in and cool air leak out making your A/C unit work harder to cool a room and that strain on the A/C unit will increase your electric bill.

For more green solutions to cooling your home and checking for cracks and potential building concerns give Liberty Builders a call. We’re here to help.