It’s no secret that southern Utah is a desert climate, and droughts are becoming more common and more intense. Some homeowners, especially those who are new to the area, may not be aware of special considerations in caring for your home in a dry climate.
Whether you’re a newcomer or a long-time resident, here are some things to remember so you can save resources and keep your home, yard, and belongings in the best possible shape.
Water is especially valuable in a desert area, so you can save both water and money by minimizing your lawn area, installing drip or trickle irrigation, and using mulch to help your soil retain more moisture. Choosing indigenous and drought-resistant plants will reduce the need for watering, as will creative landscaping that includes elements like wildflowers or rocks. A deck or patio is another useful way to use yard space that doesn’t require water.
In dry and drought-prone areas, you may want to install a watering system around the base of your home to keep the soil around the foundation at the right moisture level.
A professional can guide you as to how and how much to water, but the right amount will keep your foundation from cracking and causing significant damage in a drought or particularly dry area. Homes with basements are more prone to this kind of damage than homes without.
Indoors, you want to keep rooms at a consistent humidity level throughout the year to prevent cracking or warping of furniture and flooring.
This is especially important if you have valuable or sensitive furniture. Musical instruments like pianos and string instruments are also very sensitive to climate changes and humidity. A piano will need to be tuned and checked regularly to minimize potential damage from inconsistent conditions.
Choose flooring that can hold up in dry, hot, and sunny conditions. Tile and stone are your best choices for flooring that won’t crack, warp, or discolor because of hot weather or dry air.
Laminate, bamboo, and hardwood floors don’t do as well in hot, dry climates. To take care of these types of flooring, try to maintain a consistent indoor temperature and humidity throughout the year.
Vinyl, while it’s practical and fairly hardy, will fade over time if it’s exposed to direct sunlight. Keep windows covered on sunny days to prevent discoloration, or use rugs to protect the surface. Just remember that leaving a rug in the same place long term may result in spotty discoloration, where the covered area retains its color, but the rest of the floor fades uniformly.
Furniture such as sofas and upholstered chairs, as well as hard wood furniture, will also fade in direct sunlight. Choose window coverings that will let light into the house without discoloring your favorite pieces, and arrange furniture so that it isn’t in the path of direct sun at key times of day when the sun is strongest.