Living on the Outer Banks during the winter has unique maintenance challenges. If last year has taught us anything, it is that pretty much anything can happen. Now the hot button buzzwords across social networks and the media have changed from Polar Vortex to El Nino.
Everyone wants to know how bad winter will be and whether or not we will see colder than normal temperatures and the dreaded snow again. The truth is, nobody knows what the weather will be like in January and February. All you can do is prepare for what might be.
Here are some tips for preparing your Outer Banks home for whatever Mother Nature sees fit to throw at us in the coming months.
Inspect Your Home
Check in attics or crawlspaces for broken windows or sources of drafts that might allow for cold air or water to enter your home. Roofing shingles should be inspected as well as a potential entry point. It is best to make any repairs now before a small problem becomes a major project.
You also want to be sure that cold air does not reach your plumbing. Last year’s extreme temperatures proved that even on the Outer Banks, anywhere there is water can be susceptible to freezing under the right conditions. This includes sprinkler systems.
Make sure that all pipes have access to climate controlled air that will not go below 40 degrees. Any water pipe that is exposed to conditions below that level will need to be treated with some form of insulation.
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of all home fires averaging over 300,000 a year. Especially in an area like the Outer Banks, where your heating system may not get as much work, it is easy to overlook this component. Don’t make that mistake.
Without your furnace, you and your family will be cold and miserable this winter. Examine the blower belt and oil the blower motor. Change or clean all filters and make sure all vents are open to allow your system to function normally. Failure to do so may result in expensive damage to your HVAC system.
Chimneys are the most common cause of heating related fires in the home. If your house has a chimney, make sure it is clear and clean before lighting the first fire of the season. When not in use, it is important to keep the damper closed to keep cold air out and heating bills low.
Remove any debris that could have built up in your gutters. This will allow rain, snow, and ice to drain properly and prevent structural damage to the home. It is also important to remove screens and replace them with storm windows. This will allow for better insulation and more efficient heating through the cold months.
Bring in all outdoor furniture or secure and cover it if space is not available inside. You do not want your outdoor equipment damaged or becoming
projectiles in the winter elements. Make sure any pools are properly closed for the season.
Following these simple steps will keep you and your family safe and warm throughout the winter months. For more information on Outer Banks maintenance, check out our blog