Judging by the amount of questions we received, it seemed to get some homeowner wheels turning. Now that we know that information on Myrtle Beach & Charleston winters is in great demand, we decided to do a follow up post.
Winterizing your home doesn’t have to be stressful. It mostly involves common sense items, maintenance, inspection, and making a checklist.
As long as you make yourself a list, follow it, and take action when it’s appropriate, you shouldn’t have any undue stress about the state of your home. Organization and vigilance win the day.
In the last post, we discussed making sure you have energy efficient windows and a sound roof. Your roof and your windows are vital for winter. You should inspect your roof at least once, if not twice, a year. It’s best to inspect your roof before it gets too cold.
- corroded shingles
- open seams
- open joints
- bare spots in your shingles
- any signs of warping, tearing, or curling at the edges of your shingles
- broken, chipped, or missing pieces are a good sign you might need some repair work, too
You should also check your flashings. Flashings are the metal pieces that cover interruptions in the surface of your roof, such as chimneys and vent pipes. If they look cracked or rusty, there very well might be a problem. Additionally, check the rubber boots that wrap around your vent pipes for cracks and general wear.
Cleaning your gutters should also be a priority before the cold weather really sets in. Cleaned gutters prevent leaks and other damage.
If you think your roof might be leaking, check for the following warning signs:
- dark spots on the ceiling
- peeled paint underneath roof overhangs
- water stains on pipes, especially those that vent your water heater and furnace
If you’re not comfortable inspecting your own roof, we’d be happy to take a look. We’re fast, thorough, efficient, and friendly. A trusted roofer can make sure you have a pleasant, warm, and energy-efficient winter.
As we well know, there’s much more to the outside of your home than your roof. At Contract Exteriors, we specialize in knowing every part of your home’s exterior, so we thought we’d give a few more outdoor tips.
- Clean Your Deck – Clean your deck before the cold weather sets in. It’s tough to clean an outdoor space, especially when you need to use water, once it gets cold outside. Like anything else, your deck lasts longer if you care for it properly.
- Trim Your Trees – Trimming your trees can prevent damage to your roof, windows, and siding.
- Seal Doors and Windows – If you already have energy-efficient windows, you can buy a plastic sealing/insulation kit to reduce drafts even further. If you don’t have energy-efficient windows, you can either caulk or weatherstrip your windows to reduce drafts and heating costs. We really recommend energy-efficient windows, though.
- Protect Your Garden – If you have a garden, be sure to get it ready for the winter. Remove dead plant matter and other debris from your beds, and cover your plants with a winter crop or pine straw. You can visit Beach Landscaping and Three Leaf Farm for more ideas.
- Use Efficient Lights – As the days grow shorter, we use outdoor lighting more than we realize. Invest in energy-saving bulbs to reduce your power bill.
- Clear Your HVAC Unit – Clear debris and leaves away from your external HVAC unit’s compressor. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a shop vac for this task.
- Making sure the exterior of your home is winterized is vitally important for winter, but the great indoors offer plenty of opportunities to reduce drafts and save on heating costs, too.
We really liked this article from Popular Mechanics, so we’re sharing some of their ideas, along with our own.
- Check and Change Furnace Filters – Check on them often, and change them at least twice a year.
- Door Drafts – If you’re getting a draft under your door, you can use what’s called a “draft snake” or just use a rolled up towel.
- Run Fans in Reverse – This is a handy and underused trick. As Popular Mechanics mentioned, many ceiling fans allow the option to run them in reverse. Clockwise rotation actually helps keep your home warmer.
A/C and Water Lines – From Popular Mechanics:
“This one’s really easy, and it will even save you a few pennies next summer, too: Simply drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes, and make sure you don’t have excess water pooled in equipment. If your a/c has a water shutoff valve, go ahead and turn that off.
Similarly, make sure any hoses are drained and stowed away neatly. Turn off exterior water spigots. It’s also a good idea to seal any water leaks around the place — and don’t forget to remove any window A/C units and store them so you don’t invite cold drafts all winter.”
Lower Water Heater Temp – Try lowering your water heater temperature from 140 to 120 or lower. It will save you money, and maybe even save you from a too-hot shower.
Turn Off the Heat – Turn the thermostat down when you’re not home. It’s that simple. If you have a smart thermostat, you can even control it from a smartphone app while you’re at work. There’s no need to keep a hot house when no one’s home.
Insulate Pipes – If you insulate your pipes, you’ll pay even less for hot water. Many hardware stores sell pre-cut “pipe foam.” Just buy it, trim to size, and install it. Choose pipe foam with a higher “R Value.” If a pipe is warm to the touch, it’s probably a good idea to insulate it.
Popular Mechanics has some even more in-depth ideas in that article– these are just the basics. You need to mind the exterior of your home, your thermostat, your pipes, your furnace, and all doors and windows.
Before the weather turns really cold in Charleston and Myrtle Beach, make yourself a list. Don’t get overwhelmed, just check each item off one-by-one and you’ll be ready in no time.
And, if you need help with any inspection or replacement, know we’re just a phone call away. It’s best to hurry though, as we often can’t work as efficiently in the colder months, and we get busier with last-minute jobs as the year comes to a close.