As the weather changes for the chillier, I thought I’d take this Flashback Friday moment to talk about winterizing your Jersey Shore home. Before Old Man Winter terrorizes your property, you need to take a few steps to prepare for our annual polar plunge. Two years ago, I wrote the following post about what you need to do to prepare your home for winter. These tips are just as important today as they were then.
Posted on December 13, 2017
‘Tis The Season To Winterize Your Home
Sherri Lilienfeld Author
Winterizing your home is important. Here’s what to keep in mind:
No Frozen Pipes. Pipes are key and must be winterized. Many are aware of the disaster of frozen pipes. Worst case scenario, burst pipes could cause substantial water damage to your property. Insulating your pipes, or shutting off the water if it’s just a vacation property, is an easy proactive measure that could potentially save you thousands.
A quick way to check if your pipes need insulating is to see if they feel warm to the touch. If you can feel heat coming off the pipe, then it is certain that both heat (and money) are being lost and that your pipes are at risk of freezing.
Winterize Cooling Units. Make sure that all units are drained of water, including any hoses and pipes. Check to see if there’s a water shutoff valve, too. If your property has window units, the most energy-efficient thing to do is to remove them and store them properly.
Don’t Forget Your Sprinkler System! Frozen water can damage sprinkler systems as well, and it’s something that can be easily overlooked. Make sure the system is free of any water.
Opt for Storm Doors and Windows. Installing storm doors and windows can significantly increase the energy efficiency of your home, by adding that extra layer of insulation. As an added bonus, it’ll give your home more curb appeal! They may also be easily replaced with screens come summer.
Drafty House? Does your house feel especially drafty in certain areas? Check for drafts where different home materials meet, inside and out, like along the edges of windows, doors, and chimneys. Caulk and weather-stripping are low cost, effective options.
Run Fans in Reverse. Switch your fans to run clockwise. Warm air rises, so use your ceiling fans to draw the warmer air back down.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate. Don’t waste money by running your heating system nonstop. Make sure your house is properly insulated and effectively holding heat inside. Major areas of heat loss include the attic floor and basement ceiling, so check to see if those are well insulated.
Reading this article again, there are a few tips I’d like to add. First, make sure you stock up on salt and a couple of good, sturdy shovels. If you rent this property out or live elsewhere during the winter, I highly suggest you seek out a contract for a snow shoveling service now. They get booked up quickly. And you don’t want to be caught without one when the snow starts falling.
First of all, contact an HVAC service right away. They also book up quickly at this time of year. Ask them to inspect your furnace and heating ducts. Stock up on filters for your furnace. Change them regularly throughout the fall and winter.
When you leave your Jersey Shore home for the holidays, set the thermostat to 55F. This regulates the temperature inside your house and protects the interior pipes from a dangerous freeze. Sometimes, the weather creates power outages. So, keep a back-up generator in case you need to engage your sump pump. Make sure your fire extinguishers are up to date and accessible on every floor of your home. On November 3rd, we set back our clocks one hour. That’s a great time to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Set up an emergency kit for each of the people living at your house. Designate one backpack per person and keep it within easy reach in case you need it. Inside, add clothing, a flashlight, extra batteries, any medications they might take, a list of contact information as well as any medical conditions/instructions needed, and enough food and water for at least three days. In addition, pack a cooler with more food, water, pet food (if needed), a first aid kit, and blankets. Keep this near the door you use most to enter/exit your house.
When turning off water from the exterior faucets at your Jersey Shore home, make sure no water sits between the faucet and the water shutoff valve. Drain garden hoses of all water. Roll them up and store them away. While outside, trim any tree branches near your house, hovering over the driveway or hanging near electrical wires.
Firstly, check your roof for any damage. Next, replace broken or worn out flashing. Furthermore, clear out debris in your gutters. Then, send a forceful spray through your downspouts to clear out any debris there. Clean out the chimney and make sure the damper works properly. Again, if you need someone to do this for you, contact someone now. This is a busy season for them. Also, look for cracks or open areas in your exterior walls. Fix them right away.
Finally, check your exterior HVAC unit after a snowfall. Clear it of any snow buildup.