Fall’s cooler weather and shorter days mean winter’s frigid temperatures are just around the corner. And when it’s really cold (and maybe snowy or icy) outside, you want to stay warm and cozy inside your Murphy, North Carolina mountain cabin. To ensure that your house is nicely buttoned up against the elements, here are seven easy steps for winterizing your home and property. And here’s the best part: you can prepare both large and small homes using the same guidelines.
Add Insulation in Strategic Spots
Adding insulation to your home can make the house feel warmer during the winter months. This is especially important in the attic, where beefing up the insulation prevents warm air from migrating to your roof, where it can lead to ice dams. Throughout every season, this extra insulation can help you conserve energy and save money, according to the United States Department of Energy.
While you’re focused on insulation projects, take steps to protect your water pipes and water heater. This is most important if your water pipes are routed through an unheated or very chilly basement, potentially leading to frozen pipes during super-cold weather. Taking time to winterize the pipes and water heater now can help prevent expensive repairs down the road.
Fix Those Expensive Door & Window Leaks
If your Murphy, North Carolina mountain home always seems chilly during the winter months, your doors and/or windows may have tiny cracks that allow cold air to invade your home (and allow warm air to escape). To find the leaks, do some quick low-tech detective work. Walk through your home barefoot one evening, and use your hands and feet to pinpoint cold air intrusion spots.
It’s relatively easy, and doesn’t cost much, to banish these chilly drafts. Seal the door and window leaks with weather stripping, spray foam, or caulk. If your home contains a basement with window wells, cover the wells with a heavy plastic sheet. Although keeping cold air out of your home will take some work, you’ll keep the heat inside and should see substantial savings on your heating (and cooling) bills. Finally, periodically check your home’s thermostat, as that can provide clues to your leak remediation strategy’s success.
Service Your Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Regularly testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors helps to ensure that the devices continue to function correctly, especially if you use a gas furnace or a fireplace. Equally importantly, change the detectors’ batteries during the twice-yearly Daylight Saving Time switch. Although you’ll need to haul out your stepladder for this bi-annual task, installing fresh batteries goes a long way toward keeping your family safe throughout the year.
Schedule a Professional Chimney Cleanout
If your Murphy, North Carolina home features a wood-burning fireplace, you know that yearly maintenance is key to the unit’s safe and efficient operation. A tidy chimney greatly reduces the chance of chimney fires caused by deposit build-ups and animal nests. As an added bonus, a clean chimney will boost your fireplace’s heating efficiency. So, hire a professional chimney sweep to thoroughly clean out your chimney before starting your first fire of the season. Need a good chimney sweep for your home? Visit our Gotta Guy List for recommendations.
Clear Out Your Rain Gutters
Your Murphy, North Carolina home’s rain gutters can collect fallen leaves, twigs, and pine needles. When it rains or snows, clogged gutters can’t freely drain away the incoming water, potentially causing ice dams to form in freezing temperatures. This excessive moisture can also lead to mold growth inside your home.
To prevent these potentially expensive problems, scoop out the gutters and spray water through the downspouts until they’re free from debris. If you don’t have leaf guards on your gutters, repeat the process until nearby trees have dropped all their leaves. Finally, install downspout extensions to route water away from your home’s exterior. Want to save the trouble and install leaf guards? Visit our Gotta Guy list for our recommended gutter companies.
Perform Preventive Tree Maintenance
Howling winter snow storms can pack some hefty winds, potentially causing tree limbs to fall onto power lines that serve your home. Even worse, limbs can crash into your house, possibly resulting in damage that requires pricey repairs.
To prepare for these possible scenarios, trim all questionable branches that you can safely reach. Contract with a reputable tree service to remove the rest of the leafy green missiles. Eliminating these potential hazards is another of the ways to effectively winterize your property. Need a good tree company for your home? Visit our Gotta Guy List for recommendations.
Assemble a Winter Emergency Kit
Winter power outages are significantly more than a nuisance – they can pose a health and safety hazard in our region’s cold (and often frigid) winter temperatures. With some advance preparation, however, you’ll weather the storm while staying safe and cozy inside your home.
Here are several ways to manage the situation. First, stock up on candles, an oil lamp, and a lighter or matches. Place the candles and oil lamp on stable, convenient tables; and keep the lighter or matches nearby. To access your well during a power outage, purchase a manual pump handle from your well-drilling company. If that’s not feasible, stockpile plenty of bottled water. Purchase a good supply of non-perishable food for yourself and your pets (if applicable). Keep yourself warm by piling on the blankets. Ensure that you have a well-rounded first aid kit with sealed containers that keep moisture at bay.
Purchase backup batteries for your computer and other electronic equipment. Keep your utility companies’ phone numbers handy (or store the data in your cell phone). Finally, if you have a landline phone, remember that these devices often continue to function even during a power outage.
Now that you’ve taken seven essential steps to winterize your Murphy, North Carolina home, you’re ready for our upcoming cold weather and snow storms. Relax and enjoy winter’s singular beauty from the warmth of your cozy mountain cabin.
Want to winterize your home for when you’re gone? Visit our Tips on Winterizing Your Home here and the best way to Unwinterize your home here plus How to Protect Your Well from Freezing Temperatures
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.iLoveMurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team