It’s that time of year again…we wait with great anticipation for the monsoon season here in the Valley! Monsoon storms often bring us much needed (and heat-relieving) rain, as well as spectacular displays of lightning, high winds and blowing dust. Okay, maybe we don’t look forward to the crazy wind and walls of dust so much…
If you’ve ever owned a home in Phoenix – especially one with a pool – you already know that monsoon storm clean-up can be a huge chore. While you might postpone clean-up for a few days at your personal residence, vacation rental homeowners don’t enjoy the luxury of procrastination if guests are due to arrive.
Because these storms can develop rather quickly, it may not always be possible for the vacation rental homeowner – no matter how well-intentioned – to guarantee that the outdoor areas of their rental property are going to look exactly as pictured when guests arrive. Vacation rental home hosts should always make their guests aware of the storms that can occur in this area of Arizona, and the effect they may have on the appearance of the outside of the property.
Now, this is not an excuse to not TRY to make sure everything at your vacation rental home is as perfect as it can be. In fact, there’s a lot you can do prior to these storms that will help keep your vacation rental looking its best, while at the same time ridding yourself of additional potential problems during the monsoon season.
Work With Your Guests
Aside from alerting your vacation rental guests to the possibility of intense storms during their visit, it’s also a great idea to ask for their help in keeping your property and equipment safe from storm damage.
Outdoor umbrellas should always be closed when not in use. Leaving an umbrella open during a monsoon says, “Goodbye and good luck, umbrella! I’ll be replacing you tomorrow.” Ask your guests to be sure to close your umbrellas unless they are sitting under them (which they shouldn’t be, during a monsoon!)
Landscaping and pool umbrellas aren’t the only casualties of monsoon winds – downed power lines also become a thing during this season. If your guests see downed power lines on or around your property, advise them to call 911 immediately. Oh, and DON’T TOUCH the downed power lines! (Astounding to think a guest might decide to pick up a live power line, but you never know.)
Guests should also be reminded that any floating items for the pool (toys, loungers, etc.) should be stored securely when not in use.
For more great information on Phoenix-area monsoon weather, check out these other Moxie blogs:
A professional landscaper will always advise thinning large trees and removing any tree branches that appear unstable – and this is particularly important before and during the monsoon season.
The winds created by the monsoon storms can be severe, easily breaking branches and even uprooting entire trees, so it’s crucial you be proactive in keeping your vacation rental’s landscaping as least vulnerable as possible to wind damage.
Also keep in mind that anything picked up by the wind has a really great chance of coming down in your pool, creating additional clean-up!
And Speaking of Pools…
Summer in Phoenix is the best time to have a pool – but it can also seem like the worst! Moxie Girl recommends a reputable professional pool service such asAquaman Poolsto take care of the pool at your vacation rental home.
If left unattended, foliage and other debris are blown into your pool can cause your pool pump and filter to work overtime, affecting their efficiency and lifespan – trash and leaves can also permanently stain some pool surfaces. So it’s best to “get the big stuff” out right away, if possible. Your guests may be of some help here – especially if they want to swim after a storm – if you provide a skimmer and a brush for them to use.
They should be changed monthly anyway, but during the monsoon season changing the filter in your vacation rental home’s cooling unit is an absolute must. Dirty filters negatively affect your unit’s performance – and summer is definitely NOT the time to have sub-standard cooling in your vacation rental!
Moxie Girl Leads the Way in Valley Vacation Rental Care
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Own a vacation rental home in the Phoenix area? If so, there are definitely things you should do in preparation for our monsoon season! This period of exceptionally wacky weather can start as early as June and not calm down entirely until October. Moxie Girl has a few tips to keep your guests in loop and help limit the potential for summer storm-related damages to your vacation rental home.
Professional tree-trimming done prior to monsoon season is an important step in reducing the chances of branches breaking, and possibly causing other damage to your vacation rental home during high winds.
If your vacation rental property has young trees, be sure they are properly staked. Swaying in the wind is actually helpful in growing strong trees, but if not properly staked young trees are easily uprooted!
As temperatures rise, we often think we should be giving our trees and other landscaping extra watering time, but did you know that over-watering can cause root-rot and top-heavy growth in your trees? Decaying roots, especially in combination with top-heavy growth, leave trees exceptionally vulnerable to damage from high winds.
So, water “deeply” (think of it as a nice leisurely bath, vs. a quick shower) but less frequently to keep those beautiful trees on your vacation rental property growing healthy and strong!
Patio umbrellas are a versatile source of shade, and can even make a colorful fashion statement at your vacation rental property. Even in our extreme Phoenix summer sunshine, quality patio umbrellas are capable of seeing your vacation rental property through more than a few seasons. Quality patio umbrellas can also be quite pricey, so it’s definitely in your best interest to take proper care of them.
It should be standard to keep umbrellas closed when not in use to prolong their lives and good looks – their labels even say so. Leaving patio umbrellas open during a monsoon storm can be a death sentence for your patio umbrella, especially in areas experiencing “micro-bursts.” Open umbrellas can also be easily picked up and carried by high winds, causing further damage to your vacation rental property.
Pools and Spas
Increasing the frequency of your regular professional pool service, if possible, is a great idea! But even with increased service, unexpected storms can leave the pool at your vacation rental home looking a mess. Have basic tools on hand for guests to do a little DYI cleaning, if necessary – a skimmer, at the very least! (Also, the umbrella rule should also apply to spa covers – keep it down when not in use!)
For more excellent tips on maintaining your vacation rental home pools and spas, and preparing for summer guests, check out these great Moxie Blogs:
Our Valley summers – especially the crazy monsoon storms – may come as quite a surprise to vacation rental guests new to the Phoenix area! It’s definitely a good idea to warn your guests – as well as ask for their help in preventing weather-related damages during their stay. Your guests may also need to be reminded that you have no control over the weather (sorry, but if a 500ft wall of dust just blew through, the pool may be dirty when you arrive!)
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Summer is here and you’ve booked a fantastic vacation rental home in the Phoenix area – how exciting! If you’ve never visited Phoenix in the summer before, here are a few pointers to help you stay safe and enjoy your desert adventure.
Hot Enough for Ya?
Yes, it’s hot! And it’s not always a very dry heat. While the humidity level in Phoenix is generally far below much of the rest of the US, even 30% humidity, when combined with our high temperatures can seem pretty extreme. Moxie Girl cannot emphasize enough the importance of staying hydrated. Always carry plenty of fresh drinking water with you, especially when walking or driving in the desert. Drink water before – yes before – you feel thirsty. That thirsty feeling is a sign that you are already on your way to dehydration.
Hats and sunglasses offer protection from the sun, and sunscreen is a MUST! The higher the SPF, the more protection the sunscreen will provide, but even a waterproof sunscreen should be reapplied periodically to ensure sun safety. The desert sun is most damaging between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, so limited exposure during those hours is best. Try taking advantage of cooler early morning temperatures for recreational walking, hiking or biking!
Holy Haboobs, Batman!
Summer weather in the Valley often goes from “beautiful, hot and sunny” to dangerous, in short order! Monsoon season can start as early as June and last well into September – and is capable of bringing massive dust storms (called haboobs – really, you can Google it!) heavy rains, crazy wind and flash flooding.
Washes, natural water overflow passes, are abundant in the Arizona desert. You may notice the “Do Not Cross When Flooded” signs posted at many of these washes – and these warnings are not without good reason. Abrupt and heavy rain can cause the washes to flood within minutes, turning a dry desert into a rapidly moving river. A wash you may think doesn’t look “that” flooded, may actually be far deeper and faster moving than you would imagine. Enough people have tried to drive through flooded washes, necessitating emergency rescues that Arizona now has a “stupid motorist law” and may charge the stranded motorist up to $2000 to cover the cost of the rescue. And you don’t want to make your television debut from the roof of your vehicle on the 6 o’clock news, do you?
It is likely you may see an approaching haboob in time to get inside or, if you are driving, find a safe spot to pull off the road as far as possible. These massive dust storms can bring visibility to zero in a matter of seconds! The Arizona Department of Transportation advises pulling off the paved road as far as safely possible and turning off all your lights, so as not to confuse traffic that may be approaching from behind. Stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on and wait for the dust storm to pass.
Urban Desert is Still Desert
Perhaps your vacation rental home is in the center of town with lots of nearby bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues, but please remember you are still in the desert. Our wildlife may visit even heavily populated areas in search of food. Moxie Girl knows how exciting it can be to spot a javelina or a coyote – especially if you have never seen one in real life! And generally speaking, javelinas and coyotes are non-aggressive towards humans – unless they feel threatened.
But, consider that what may feel non-threatening to YOU could seem quite the opposite to the animal involved, especially if it has young ones nearby. Yes, a selfie with a wild desert boar WOULD be awesome but consider the potential consequences. (Have you noticed the teeth and tusks on those things?) It’s always advisable to observe any wild creature from a safe distance. Never provoke, get close to, or attempt to handle any of the creatures you may encounter. Think how silly you would feel if you died trying to pet something you shouldn’t – and on vacation, no less!
Vacationers with pets, especially small dogs, should never leave their pets outside unattended – even in a fenced yard – since the desert is home to some large birds of prey as well.
Ouch, That Hurt!
They are unique – and many are quite beautiful – but treat any unfamiliar desert plant the way you would a wild animal and keep your distance. Moxie Girl knows you wouldn’t deliberately stick your hand in a cactus but we even have some cactus that “jumps.” Trust us when we say you do not want to add “cactus spine removal” to your summer vacation itinerary. It is also wise to note that even though they may not be cactus or even a spiny succulent, many desert plants sport sharp points and the other unpleasantness. So your best bet is simply to DO NOT TOUCH.
What IS That?
In addition to our native plants, birds, and mammals, the Arizona desert is also home to a variety of things you may NOT want to encounter…such as scorpions. They love to get comfy in those hiking boots you left outside! Best not to give them the opportunity in the first place, but always be sure to give any items left outside, such as towels or shoes, a good shake before putting them on or taking them in the house, to make sure there are no surprises! Seek medical treatment immediately should you fall victim to a scorpion’s sting.
It’s likely you may see other creepy crawlies, especially during our summer monsoon season. Yes, they are horrifying to look at, but giant desert roaches really won’t hurt you. Put the bravest person in your party in charge of a heavy shoe and inform them they are also in charge of disposing of that squashed scorpion or desert roach.
If you’re visiting in June or July you’ll be here for Palo Verde Beetle season. The Palo Verdi Borer Beetle is very interesting…and scary looking! With a limited lifespan of approximately 30 days, they are often mistaken for the desert roaches we mentioned above. They are quite the sight, 3 to 4 inches long with a bulky, segmented body. They are terribly clumsy, not at all speedy and agile like the desert roach. The Palo Verde Beetle is built like a tank, but they are indeed harmless to humans. Their entire 30-day existence is spent lumbering about in search of a mate and once mated, it dies.
You Still In?
Of course, you are – a little wildlife and wild weather is nothing to fear now that you’re armed with desert safety tips and know what to expect. So go get packing for your Arizona summer vacation rental adventure!
Moxie Girl is your vacation rental expert! Vacation rental homeowners and guests, please check out our other blogs and videos for more ways to maximize and enjoy your vacation rental experience.