At the end of each year we enjoy looking back on the topics that were of the most interest. Despite another year of uncertainty, people were still interested in home improvement. Regardless of working or schooling at home, things around the house still need fixing, improving, and updating.
The Rosie on the House website acquires tens of thousands of page views every week. Readers search for the best advice and assistance including recommendations Rosie-Certified Partners, answers to frequently asked questions about houses in Arizona and their special problems, videos on home repair and maintenance , podcasts of past broadcasts, and more.
Every week on our website a new article or blog will be added and discussed on-air the following Saturday. Sign up for our Thursday Weekly Newsletter and they will be delivered right to your inbox.
We focus on topics that are particularly important to Arizona homeowners, our partners, employees, and regular listeners because we’ve always specialized in being “every Arizona homeowner’s best friend.”
This week we revisit the five most popular blogs from 2021 and a couple of honorable mentions. Some of the most viewed blogs have been in our top five list before.
#1 Plants Out of Control
A top 5 article in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016. First appeared July 27, 2016.
For the third year in a row, this blog has taken the top position. This year it outranks the second highest blog by at least double the views. Looks like rogue plants continue to be a widespread problem.
Be wary of Arizona plants that can take over your yard.
That sounds just like a tree called the Dalbergia sissoo, commonly known as Sissoo or Indian Rosewood. This is a tree that many homeowners plant because it’s very lush and fast-growing. Sissoos grow to a moderate height of 35 to 40 feet but their vigorous root systems can threaten underground irrigation lines, sidewalks, block walls and even lawns. The invasive roots can take over a yard after only a few years. Some homeowners complain about the many pods and leaves that drop off the tree, but its roots pose the biggest problem. Then when a decision is made to remove the tree, the real headaches begin.
#2 The Toughest Stuff To Grow In Arizona
A top 5 article in 2020, 2019 2018, 2017 & 2016. First appeared June 29, 2016.
Six Finicky Plants & Why We Crave Them
Over the years we’ve found that there are several unique plants that many Arizona residents really yearn to have in their yards despite the fact that the odds of success are stacked against them. Again and again these gardeners call our “Rosie on the House” radio program asking if they can grow them or asking why they died.
Jay Harper of Harper’s Nursery in Scottsdale, a regular expert on the gardening hour of our show, gave us his list of the six most popular finicky plants and explained why they generally fail to thrive in the Arizona desert.
If you love guacamole, you may yearn to grow avocados. But these plants fail partly because it’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.”
One of the most important problems for azaleas as well as for other plants on our list is the extreme alkalinity and saltiness of soil in Arizona.
#3 Lets Do Some Remodeling Can I Remove That Wall
First appeared June 30, 2020.
How To Remove A Load Bearing Wall: Preparation & Execution
Often times, homeowners who own a ranch style home that has not been renovated, want to update their home to create bigger spaces and better views to the outdoors. The conversation often starts with, “Can I remove that wall to update my home and make a bigger living space?” Rosie’s answer is, “yes, with a good engineer and a big enough budget, you can get rid of any load bearing wall.”
Ranch style homes were originally introduced in 1930 in California after WWII. Rosie says, “we built a ton of them here in Arizona in the 60’s and 70’s. When you walk in the front door you are greeted with the family room and living room usually divided by a wall creating 2 medium size spaces. For homeowners who are looking for larger, airy rooms with more light, removing that wall is a great way to update a home.”
Is It Load Bearing?
The first question, when considering the removal of a wall should be, “is it load bearing?” If it is a ranch style home, you can assume that it is.
#4 Why Stucco Is So Popular In The Desert
First appeared July 16, 2019.
Many Arizona residents wonder why most houses in the state are covered with stucco. Sometimes it looks like an unending sea of stucco.
That’s because stucco does a great job of protecting our homes. According to Doug Dedrick, owner of Stucco Renovations in Tempe, stucco is a strong coating that will stand the test of time and the Arizona sun, if it’s put on properly in the first place, painted regularly, and repaired whenever there are cracks or other damage to its surface.
Another reason for stretches of stucco as far as the eye can see is because that finish is traditional to the Southwest and adds to the romantic and beautiful style of desert architecture. You’ll also find lots of stucco homes in Nevada, California and New Mexico. And remember houses aren’t made of stucco, they’re “covered” in stucco.
Today’s stucco is a mixture of sand, Portland cement, lime and water, but can also include fiber and acrylic additives.
#5 Five Must Do Fixes In Your Aging House
First appeared August 31, 2016
When you moved into your house 10 years ago, you promised yourself you’d update the place. But like most homeowners, the longer you live there, the less you notice the 40-year-old light fixtures, the wallpaper from the 1970s, and the sunken living room.
Even if you feel comfortable in your current home, when it comes time to sell, you could have some big problems. Here are five fixes you may have to make and some suggestions on how they can be repaired. But do them now so you can enjoy the improvements before you sell your home.
1 | Fill in the sunken living room.
Sunken living rooms were all the rage in the 1950s and 1960s; to some extent they are popular today with some folks. But they do present some problems. Most of them take up a whole living space that can be a step of from six to eight inches down from another room. That can be a hazard for aging baby boomers and small children.
#6 All About Saguaros
First appeared January 25, 2017.
Six Questions Often Asked About Saguaros
Nothing says you’re in Arizona better than those silhouettes of saguaros set against a red sky at sunset. After all, the National Park Service says, saguaros mostly grow in the Sonoran Desert. That means that almost all the wild ones grow in Arizona and some smaller areas of Mexico and California.
Often during the Rosie on the House broadcast we get questions from homeowners who have saguaros in their yards or want to plant a saguaro. Here are six things you may want to know about them as well:
1 | Can I dig up my saguaro and get rid of it?
Other versions of this question: Can I give my saguaro to my neighbor? Do I need a permit to remove the saguaro from my yard? Can I sell my saguaro? I could use the cash!
You probably know that saguaros are native plants that have state protection. According to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, you as a landowner have the right to destroy or remove any plant on your land. However, with native saguaros, you must notify the department first. You also have the right to sell or give away any plant on your lot, but if you’re transporting the cactus somewhere else, you will need a permit and a tag; the price of both together is around $20. You don’t want to forget the permit or you may end up being fined. If you’re hoping to sell a saguaro to a plant dealer, by the way, it needs to be in almost perfect condition.
#7 Proper Thermostat Placement Is Key To Accurate Readings
First appeared May 11, 2021.
The Do’s and Don’ts For Effective Thermostat Readings
Getting an accurate temperature reading is critical to keeping your home at the comfort level you desire. The placement of the thermostat determines how accurate that reading is.
Your home’s thermostat is the headquarters for maintaining comfortable room temperatures. The thermostat records the temperature of your home, particularly the room in which it is placed, and uses that information to determine whether the heating and cooling system needs to kick on.
Follow these rules provided by Rosie on the House Certified Partner, Green ID, and avoid inaccurate temperature readings.
Ideal Thermostat Placement
In a nutshell, the best placement for the thermostat is on a central interior wall, away from direct sunlight, air vents, the kitchen, hallways, windows, and doors.
Install the thermostat 52 to 60 inches above the floor for a couple of reasons.
#8 Where Does Arizona Get Its Power
First appeared Ma 28, 2019.
Arizona Power Sources
It would be a fair assumption to think that Arizona squanders a lot of money and energy running air conditioners half the year. The fact is however, that our state – the 14th most populous in the union – ranks close to the bottom — 43rd among all states — in energy consumption per capita.
Our low consumption is partly because we have a small industrial sector and a mild climate, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a division of the Department of Energy. We do drive our cars a lot in Arizona, and half the energy used is consumed in transportation.
When you turn up the thermostat in winter and power up the AC in summer, you rarely think about where the gas or electricity comes from or which of the 10 power utilities in Arizona is your supplier. You just want it to come on, and you expect it to work smoothly.
However, an amazingly complicated system of sources is responsible for your power and that system seems to get more convoluted all the time.
Thank you for reading an re-reading our blogs throughout the year! Tune in mid-December 2022 to find out which articles make the top 2022 list.
We discuss some of the most popular Rosie On The House Blogs of the year. Including identifying and removing a load bearing wall, the reason stucco is popular on desert homes, insulation and more. Plus listener questions on heating the outdoor patio and maintenance issue on a shared stucco block wall.