As we head into the months that typically mean winter weather, I say this lightly as the seasons can be a bit up or down on the coast, there are some things you can do to make sure your home is ready for freezing temps as they come.
While our winter is mild compared to the northern states, we see freezing temps periodically and most of the time they come with minimal warning. The focus of what information being shared is in reference to is personal experience of living and owning homes in the area on this map since 2013: the eastern coast of North Carolina. From the SC/NC border up to the VA /NC border would be where this information is most helpful and applicable.
Things we do to ensure the homes ready for winter are below ;
•Giving your home a good pressure wash, taking away any algae/mildew that can accumulate on the home during the spring to fall seasons. This can be done yourself, if you have a pressure washer and are comfortable doing
Side note: For those like me, who do focus on the budget impacts, from years of experience the cost to have it done by a professional isn’t going to cost you much more then buying the equipment and time to do it yourself. Multiple times a year we partner with companies who will offer a bulk rate to pressure wash our clients homes, we do this for our property management division and are always happy to add in our clients homes when they need it.
•While working on the exterior of your home, clean your gutters- anything that can sit on or around your roof that can freeze/melt etc means it is going to hold moisture in. The best way to avoid unnecessary issues is to keep debris off and away from your roof.
Annually we always advise on getting your roof inspected, especially if your roof is a few years old or if the age is unknown. Being proactive will ensure you avoid leaks/shingle breakage/issues with your roof or the roofs components. We have a preferred vendor who will do this, we are always happy to refer you to them!!
•Walk around your home’s exterior, check all windows and doors- are there any gaps around windows, has the caulking worked itself away from the window or siding, can you see light through your home’s doors when closed? If so in order to ensure the homes not getting unwanted drafts or areas that can hold moisture - seal those windows and replace doors weather stripping.
•One of the things we love most about our area is the greenery and beautiful foliage that not only surrounds us as a whole, but that we also have beautiful yards with plants/bushes/trees that grow in our yards. In order to keep everything in your yard beautiful year after year, there is annual maintenance to be done. For those with green thumb, well even a partial green thumb and a niche for looking up articles on plants you have- it can be done pretty easily by everyone. For general purposes - trimming bushes/tree branches/plants all back away from the home and following each plants best practices for keeping them healthy if essential.
Common plants we find in yards across our area and details to how to maintain them can be found in the next blog that is catered to yards/landscaping.
•Cover the exterior water lines and spigot, this will ensure you keep your home’s pipes free from freezing. Most plumbing is within the foundation of homes in our area, if you have a crawlspace some will be there and if your crawlspace is conditioned you should just check to ensure the plumbing is secured/climatized properly. If any pipes are outside of the home, you will want to wrap those. You can purchase a simple styrofoam cover for the spigot, foam coverings for pipes ( tape them on properly )and for those this applies to-ensure if you have a backflow, that it’s protected as well. Helpful tip- if you are putting a cover on the spigot you would be taking the hose off - Don’t forget to disconnect hoses and empty them out!!
Side note: A backflow is found on homes that have irrigation systems or that are on the island, as well as some that are in communities that border the ICWW. Each home is different and you will want to know if your home has one, it would look like a set of pipes coming up from the ground with a gauge on it( ours is covered with a green box in the corner of our yard). These are also require to be inspected annually, don’t worry if you aren’t sure when to do it… our local water provider ONWASA will send you a notice.
If your home will be vacant during the winter months, there are key steps to take to winterize it as well- we have seen severe damage to homes empty that are not winterized. We have another blog that is specific to a vacant home as well!!
When the forecast calls for below freezing temps a few key things to do in addition to the items above. These are all things that while aren’t required or a steadfast rule of doing…. If something can prevent an issue- we do it:
*Open cabinets that have plumbing in them, the purpose is to ensure under the cabinets is the same temp as the home.
*Always keep your home 68 degrees or higher when it’s freezing outside, this maintains the home’s overall temperature ( for you and the plumbing).
*Sometimes it is best to allow for faucets to drip, it’s always a good precautionary item and will ease your mind on ensuring the water’s flowing through keeping the pipes from freezing.
Thanks for taking the time to review rhis information, it will help you ensure your home is winter ready!! The additional benefit is that your home will also be ready to start the new year when heading into spring with a fresh appearance!!! If you need recommendations on someone to help with any items, our preferred vendors have been vetted over years time and we personally use them. Just ask us for details and check out additional blogs for the following:
Winterizing a vacant home
Keeping your yard in pristine healthhttps://www.realisthomes.com/blog/keeping-your-yard-and-landscaping-pristine-health-north-carolina/