Water, Water Everywhere

One minute your lawn is that deep lush green and the next minute it’s starting to look…parched. Reality check? You needed to water days before you notice. The signs of a drying lawn aren’t immediately obvious. When grass wilts, doesn’t spring back, and loses its green color (often turns purplish or grey), it’s time to water. When it’s brown, you’re going to need to pull off a resurrection. And before you drag out the sprinkler, double check to make sure there are no watering restrictions.

So, how much water does your lawn actually need? First, you need to pay attention to the type of grass you have. Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues are drought tolerant. Bermuda grass typically does well in heat, but will go dormant in drought. Zoysia grass grows very deep roots and is hardy in drought and heat.

Another thing you need to take into consideration is the type of soil you have. Clay soil can hold large amounts of water and needs less watering overall. Sandy soil drains faster and needs more frequent watering.

Regardless of the grass type, daily watering is not recommended—think couple soaking thundershowers, not daily sprinkles. Allowing the lawn to dry out encourages a stronger root system.

Watering in reality can be a time consuming unless you have a (costly) automatic sprinkler system. If you have municipal water, factor $5-10 for every 1,000 square feet of yard. If you’re on well water, break up watering into blocks to ensure you don’t run your well dry or burn out your well pump.

Finally, to really dial in how much water your individual lawn needs, you can check the soil yourself. Cut a small section—if it’s dry to four inches or deeper, it’s time to water. After watering an area, cut another section and check again. Water until it’s wet four to six inches then move the sprinkler.

With a little attention, you can keep that lush green lawn.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

Chimney

There’s a major fire hazard you probably aren’t thinking about—and no it’s not the candle you forgot to blow out before you left for the grocery store. It’s your chimney. Each year, around 9,000 homes have fires that begin in the chimney.

If you don’t have a fireplace or wood stove, don’t think you are exempt. Furnaces also have chimneys that need regular checkups. Oil furnace can cause soot buildups and gas furnaces can create smoke and condensation. It’s important to seasonally keep up on small repairs and do a thorough cleaning when buying a new house.

If you’re unsure of where to start, it’s probably best to hire a chimney company. They will check the following things to ensure a working chimney:

  1. Ensure lining of the flue is in good shape. The major cause is creosote buildup inside the chimney itself. This is typically done with a remote camera. Simply looking up the chimney isn’t good enough to determine if there’s a problem.
  2. Check for cracks or loose bricks—cracks can let carbon monoxide leak into the house.
  3. For a furnace, check the return vent.
  4. Check for debris that may have accumulated where the furnace enters the chimney.