Keep The House Cool Without Using Air Conditioning

7 Ways to Keep The House Cool Without Using Air Conditioning

It is hot outside and we still have August left to experience the worst of the Texas heat. Instead of overusing your air conditioning, there are other ways to help keep your home cool for the rest of the summer. Here are some neat tips and tricks for saving money on your energy bill and staying cool inside your home.

  • Keep Blinds Closed. About 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows. By keeping your blinds closed, you can lower your indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees and save up to 7 percent. In addition to this, purchase blackout curtains to block out sunlight from seeping through.
  • Keep Doors Closed. Close off unused rooms to prevent cool air from permeating throughout the house.
  • Utilize Ceiling Fans Instead. Ceiling fans use a lot less energy than A/C units and will lower your energy bill significantly. Set them to turn counter-clockwise to create a wind-chill breeze effect.
  • Crack the Windows Open. At night, if the weather isn’t too warm, try sleeping with the windows open for a refreshing night’s sleep. Addition to this step, heat rises so the lower you sleep the cooler it will be. Move the mattress to the floor of the room or even to a room downstairs.
  • Switch out the Lights. If you’re using incandescent lights, make the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to make your home a little cooler and to lower your electric bill, too.
  • Minimize the Use of Your Stove. Using your oven and stove will make your house hotter but it’s summer. You should be outside grilling, anyway.
  • Make Some Long-Term Improvements to your Home. You can make some changes that will keep your house cooler such as installing insulated window films or planting trees that will shield your home from the sun.

Stay cool this summer and keep following Liberty Builders for more tips and tricks.

hot sun on a summer day

Painting in the Summer with Liberty Builders

The summer is when most people want to take care of exterior home maintenance duties, like repainting their house. However, extreme hot weather like the type we get down here in San Antonio, is not beneficial to your paint job. Weather has a significant effect on your home’s exterior. As the days get warmer, the sun will have an impact on your home’s paint job among other things.

Humidity and heat have an influence on the time it takes your paint to dry. Don’t paint in the sun when it’s hot outside. Painting in the heat of the sun is not recommended because the paint will dry too fast. This may lead to lap marks, which happen when you paint large areas and it dries too quickly. This leaves striations, a series of ridges, furrows or marks, on the surface, and will ruin the paint’s appearance. Paint in the early morning when it is less hot and allow for double the drying time the paint label states. Also, paint in small sections and not large ones for the best results.

Painting in the damp, rainy environment is not any better than painting in the heat. If you’re having a wet summer (which could be rare for San Antonio), you are bound to fail if you paint over any wet surface. When you paint over a wet area, you seal in moisture and enclose it. When the sun hits the area, it tries to dry the moisture out, causing the paint to life and ruining the paint job. If you’ve ever seen peeling paint, this is a big sign of that. To make sure you’re not painting on a moist area, use a hygrometer to measure the amount of moisture on the exterior surface of a house. For best results, paint on a dry, warm day.

For additional exterior home maintenance tips, keep reading blogs by Liberty Builders.

replace water hose Summer Maintenance Tips

10 Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Home

Summer is the perfect time to step outside and make sure your home is in good shape. There are many tasks you can do that will help spruce up your home. Use a weekend to apply some time to exterior and interior home maintenance tasks. Here is a list of simple summer projects you could do.

  • Check Detectors. Make sure your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
  • Exterior Paint Touch-Ups. Touching up the paint on the outside of your home is a quick and fun way to boost your curb appeal.
  • Clean Exterior Windows. Use a summer day to wash the outside of your house’s windows as it is something that doesn’t get done very often. If Windex doesn’t do the trick, fill a bucket with hot soapy water and scrub them by hand.
  • Replace Your Window Screens. If your window screens are too filthy to be cleaned, you might just want to replace them.
  • Inspect Your Patio, Driveway, and Walkways. Check these areas for cracks and weeds, and use a pressure washer to wash away dirt and residue.
  • Clean Your Home’s Roof. A pressure washer is a good item to have to clean your entire house from the roof on down.
  • Clean Gutters. Rid your gutters of leaves and debris. It may be time to replace your gutters altogether.
  • Inspect Your Hoses. Check your hoses for leaks and wear and tear. Replace your hoses every 3-5 years.
  • Inspect Your Attic and Basement. Check your attic and basement for any signs of pests or insects, water leakage, and mold.
  • Add or Replace Exterior Décor. Liven up your yard or porch with new décor and make your home a sight to see.

Stay hydrated while you’re working on your summer maintenance tasks! Happy a safe and happy summer from Liberty Builders.

Improve the Value of your Home!

As the New Year begins and you look to fulfilling all your 2018 resolutions, we hope that you remembered to include home improvement among them. Home improvement projects that increase the value of your home are beneficial for many reasons, whether you’re looking to sell or stay, raising your home’s value is not as difficult as it seems. Here are some great tips to help get you started.

Make a plan. List all the things you want to change and improve on your home and research how much time and money will go into each project. After that, prioritize your list and focus on your cheaper or easier tasks first and leave the more challenging projects for last, as they may be less easily achievable due to time or cost.

Focus on one room at a time. Rather than working in several projects at once, focus on one, finish it, and then move on. Don’t stress yourself by overworking or leaving no room available for some R&R. Also, don’t forget about the little upgrades that will increase your home’s value such as replacing old faucets, doors, and outlet plates.

Keep up home maintenance. A well maintained home easily improves its value. Prevent mold before it spreads unchecked and stay on top of maintenance issues before they become expensive problems. This includes your home’s curb appeal. Accentuate your walkway or yard with flowers and lanterns and keep lawn and bushes well-trimmed and healthy.

Don’t forget the bathroom. One room that suffers the most over time is the bathroom. Take care of it or watch your home value decrease drastically. Watch out for mold, dirt, and grime as they can become embedded in surfaces quickly. Under-mount sinks are trendy right now so replace your faucet with those. Also, if you can, replace your countertop with marble or granite and replace your overhead lighting with wall mounds to add a relaxed mood.

Whether you’re looking to sell or stay, your home worth will increase dramatically with these simple tips. Your house will look newly renovated and have amazing curb appeal. Call Liberty Builders today, we can help!

Autumn Home Cold

Get your Home Ready for Cold Weather

It recently snowed and we couldn’t believe our eyes! Normally in South Texas, however, the bitter cold doesn’t arrive until January and February, so now is the time to prepare our homes from cold damage. Prepare your home now and don’t delay because if you’re a native Texan, then you know the weather is never predictable. Cold temperatures can damage certain parts of your home and could dig a hole in your pocket. Follow these steps to ensure your home is ready for what the winter brings this season.

  1. Seal windows and doors. Caulk around windows and install weather stripping around your exterior doors. Gaps that are found in windows and doors make it difficult – and expensive – to keep your house warm in the winter. You could save a lot on heating costs by taking on this task before the cold weather hits.
  2. Protect your pipes. Watch out for busted pipes this season as the water in your pipes could freeze. Especially in older homes, it’s a good idea to leave faucets dripping in very cold weather. Disconnect outdoor hoses and store them away, and cover outdoor faucets with foam insulators.
  3. Check the heat. Turn on the furnace to see if it is operating normally. Change your furnace filter before continuous use of your heater.
  4. Clean and store lawn equipment. It’s time to store away equipment usually used for summer days, such as your lawnmower and other motor-operated devices. Empty the fuel tanks because gas can degrade and damage the fuel line and other components. After cleaning, store them in a dry and warm place to avoid winter damage.
  5. Inspect your fireplace and chimney. Soot and other debris can collect in the months that you’re not using them. Make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean before you light up the first log of the winter. When you aren’t using it, keep the flue closed all the way. This will prevent cool air from entering the house.

For more home maintenance tips and other tricks, continue to follow Liberty Builders. If you have any questions or are in need of home exterior services, call us today. We offer a free in-home consultation.

Blue House

Easy Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Every homeowner wants their house to be the best looking one in their neighborhood. Not every homeowner currently has the budget for big home improvement projects. We have searched to find 4 things you can do to easily boost your home’s curb appeal while being on a tighter budget. Follow these tips and watch as your home becomes the talk of the neighborhood.

1. Paint your front door, shutters, and trim. This may seem obvious but a new nicely fresh coat of paint can make your house stand out from all the others.
2. Keep up with lawn and garden maintenance. A fresh cut lawn and a weed-free flower garden with multiple colored succulents will complement your home.
3. Changing or painting lights and door fixtures. Getting or painting fixtures that match in color is a small change that can give your home new life.
4. Power wash your siding, walkways, and porch. Over time, dirt and grime start to build up on these surfaces. A power wash can clean them right up and make your home look brand new.

Whatever you decide to do with your home (sell or improve the exterior look), these tips can help upgrade any houses curb appeal. When you decide it’s time and you have the budget for larger home improvements, call us for a free in-home consultation.

Home Exterior Decorating Ideas for Halloween

Following a summer renovation, we understand that you may not be motivated to decorate your house for Halloween, but don’t skip getting into the spirit altogether. And don’t worry, your Halloween decorations aren’t going to overshadow your beautiful home. You can definitely decorate for the trick-or-treating holiday tastefully and without going overboard. Enjoy something pumpkin flavored and read on for Halloween decorating tips for your home’s exterior.

Harvest: Instead of trying to scare up the neighborhood kids, make them feel the autumn mood by adding pumpkins of different sizes to your yard, along with bales of hay or straw. Consider corn stalks and scarecrows to include in your décor.

Floral: You can also turn your home into a fall attraction by adding a garden. Begin fall gardening by adding fall and winter flowers to your yard. Chrysanthemums are a nice choice and a low-maintenance one, too. Pansies are another fall flower to add. However, if you’re not ready to add a garden to your home, consider a collection of fake floral options. Fill hanging pots and sitting pots with colors of flowers with yellow, orange, and red. Don’t ignore garlands if you want to take it a step below that. Garlands and wreaths are an excellent addition to your door and porch décor.

Pumpkins: Keep it extra simple by placing jack-o-lanterns to your porch. Get the family involved by having a carving night so that you have more than just one pumpkin to decorate your front lawn and porch with.

Scare: If you’re up for the challenge and don’t mind adding some scary decorations, go all out! Spread cobweb all over your porch and even your lawn and bushes. Board up your windows to give your home a look of abandonment. And, don’t forget hanging décor like ghosts, witches, bats, ghosts, and other Halloween themed ghouls.

Have a safe and happy Halloween. Don’t allow yourself to not to have some fun simply because you recently renovated your home. There are many ways to make your home look beautiful no matter what it’s decorated with. Happy Halloween from all of us at Liberty Builders.

Man power washing his driveway to keep it clean

Summer Exterior Home Maintenance Checklist

Summer is here and you need to make sure your house is ready to handle the unpredictable South Texas weather. A change in season comes with a new set of maintenance to-dos for your home and the exterior. Maintain your home now to prevent any future problems and prepare for the fall.

• Touch-up your exterior. Make the exterior of your home more presentable with a simple paint job.
• Analyze your deck. Check for signs of rotting. If it’s an older deck, it may be time to repair or replace altogether.
• Inspect your hose. Examine your hoses and faucets for leaks, as this could lead to a big waste of water and a higher water bill for you. Applying some electrical tape around the hose could easily fix the problem.
• Inspect the air-conditioner. This is the busiest time of year for your AC. Clean the filter and make sure it’s still running in top shape. You still have one more month of warm weather to get through. While you’re at it, keep the shrubs that surround your AC unit trimmed and pruned.
• Check the crawl space. Moisture in the crawl space of your home can cause mold and rotting. Cover the space to prevent moisture from coming up through the ground.
• Inspect the attic as well. Look for signs of pests, insects, water leaks, or mold. Also, turn off the lights and check for signs of daylight seeping through. If you spot this, it’s time for an attic repair.
• Repair your driveway. Examine the driveway and other concrete areas around your house for cracks and holes. Use concrete repair caulk and asphalt crack sealer to repair the cracks.
• Finally, clean your house’s exterior. From the roof to the exterior windows, window screens, to the patios and sidewalks. A good power washer should do most of the work.

Keep following Liberty Builders blogs for the latest in exterior home maintenance care.

Siding repair demolition

6 Biggest Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

When considering renovation, you are free to dream big! You can have all the trending home styles and apply a more modern look to a tired house. But if you’re selling or flipping, you may not want to go overboard. Consider the buyer in search of a new home. Will they enjoy the extra room you added in place of a garage? Will they enjoy a pool in place of a big yard? You don’t know what the prospective buyer will want and chances are they will renovate the home once purchased. When renovating a home, balance is key. Follow these tips to avoid renovation mistakes that could hurt your property.

  1. Pay attention to the demands of your market. Adding a basement to a Texas home may not do much for the property value of your home, but adding a screened porch will. If your neighborhood caters to families, skip the luxurious restorations and stick with something simple. What you think works in your house may actually not work for another owner.
  2. Avoid open space. Opens areas and larger rooms may be the current trend but this might make your home appear smaller. To avoid this, use a half-wall with built-in shelving or widen a doorway into an archway. A large master bedroom is appealing to anyone but not at the expense of other bedrooms. Consider investing in a master addition instead.
  3. Don’t build that pool. Pools are simply a never-ending buildup of maintenance costs or a highly dangerous area if you have kids. If you’re selling your home after a renovation, a pool will not be a good investment, especially if you live in an area with a neighborhood pool.
  4. Updating one room on an old house is useless. Save renovation costs by selling your home as is and they can do the dirty work. If your home is outdated, tackle the entire home as one single project as your budget allows.
  5. Build back, not up. If you’re going for room additions, adding a second floor is costly, time consuming, and will create less space on your lower level by adding a staircase.
  6. Don’t settle for trendy. Nothing stays the same in the world of design. Eco-friendly restorations won’t do too much to increase your property costs and the latest sink design will eventually get tired. Be creative with your renovations but don’t settle for what’s popular now.

Want more tips? Give Liberty Builders a call. We can help!

brick house yard porch architecture

Your Home Maintenance Checklist for February

February is the time to start planning many things, such as your spring cleaning plans and summer vacation plans. But, before you get to those things, you have some home maintenance chores to do before the start of spring. There are certain things to replace and clean before a change in weather, or you’re bound to see the negative effects of not caring for your home.

Follow these home maintenance tips for the month of February:

  • It’s time to replace the air filter on your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) system in order to keep the air in your home clean and flowing freely. A high quality air filter is the best choice to remove mold, pollen, and other particles from the air. You’ll want to replace your filter every three months or you might damage your HVAC system.
  • Clean your walls, floors, and interior windows. A midwinter cleaning could cut down on dust. This is especially important for allergy sufferers.
  • Plan your yard and patio projects for the spring. Maybe it’s time to renovate your patio or add onto it. Also, consider building a carport over your driveway. Now is a great time to plant shrubs and fruit trees in your garden. If you’re planning to add onto your home, think twice about where you keep your garden.
  • Winter isn’t quite finished yet but clean your gutters frequently as leaf build-up could cause damage to your gutters, which could then cause damage to the roof of your home.

Keep following Liberty Builders for your monthly home maintenance checklist. Give us a call if the winter weather has affected your home negatively. We’ll be able to help with exterior home repair. Call us at (210) 714-1655.