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5 Sep

Winter Home Preparation to Complete Now

JSJ Builders

One of the main draws of building a new home in North Carolina is its milder winters, but that shouldn’t steer residents from preparing for the approaching dropping temperatures. Fall is the perfect time to tackle a few tasks that will ensure homes will provide a winter nest that will remain warm, safe, and energy efficient. As Ben Franklin so wisely noted, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” something that seasoned homeowners certainly agree with.

 

Interior Checklist:

In keeping your new home energy-efficient, it is crucial to keep external temperatures outside.

  • Weatherstripping is a terrific method of reducing drafts, but it can deteriorate over time. If you suspect a breach, close the relevant door or window on a strip of paper. If that piece of paper slides out easily, it is time to replace its weatherstripping.
  • Caulk around windows, doors, or utility entry points should be inspected annually. If any gaps are discovered, seal them with a caulk suitable for the location.

Furnace filters are easy to forget as they remain hidden behind their access point. While the filter’s main function is to trap dust that may otherwise make it into your home, a clogged filter can negatively affect utility expenses. Take these steps each month for a free flow:

  • Disposable furnace filters can be vacuumed once before replacement, meaning a longer life and savings. Plan on replacing it every other month.
  • Foam furnace filters can be vacuumed multiple times, essentially eliminating the need for replacement.
  • Metal or electrostatic filters can be washed with a jet spray (remove it from its cubby first!).

Furnace maintenance should also include an annual check-up, even in newly built homes. Schedule a professional peek in the early fall, thus eliminating the last-minute rush that often occurs as the heating season begins. Should any of the following issues pop up, consider it a request for immediate service:

  • A whining noise may be signaling a belt issue.
  • Clanking sounds may indicate an issue within the motor.
  • Poor performance could represent blocked ducts or a failing blower motor.

Fall is an excellent time to have carpets cleaned as the humidity has moved on. The dry outside air allows carpets to dry quickly and thoroughly as windows can be opened for ventilation. Check for incentives as many professionals run fall specials. For those who prefer a DIY approach, many hardware stores offer carpet cleaner rental options.

 

Exterior Checklist:

  • Gutters: Clear any clogs to allow winter precipitation to easily drain and prevent rusting. Install mesh gutter guards prior to the leaves begin to drop. If gutters show a large accumulation of granules, it may be due to a roof losing its coating.
  • Roof: Safely check for missing shingles or debris. Examine metal flashing around vents or chimneys as damage can create leak potential. Binoculars are a great way to gain visibility for a top-to-bottom roof inspection!
  • Exterior Paint/Seal: Fall is the perfect time to apply touch-up paint which will prolong the life of siding or trim. Seal any flat surfaces that may accumulate ice or snow, such as porches and stairs.
  • Walkways: Check walkways and driveways for damage along the sides. Should you discover cracks more than ? wide, head to the hardware store for repair material as these small problems can become big future headaches.

Hard freezes that span multiple days are uncommon in our North Carolina communities, however, it is still important to be prepared.

  • Remove hose-faucet connections and allow a full drain to the line.
  • Purchase foam covers to create a cozy faucet winter coat.
  • Insulate any exposed pipes in unheated areas like crawl spaces or garages.
  • If an extended freeze is forecasted, let interior faucets drip slightly (especially those located on exterior walls).
  • Locate your home’s main water shut-off valve today rather than attempting to track it down in an emergency.

Fireplaces require maintenance indoors and out. Chimneys should be inspected annually to improve efficiency and, more importantly, prevent fires or carbon monoxide buildup. Even if your fireplace isn’t frequently used, have it inspected. Ask a chimney sweep to show you what to look for as issues can often be detected early by the homeowner.

 

Invest in:

  • Humidifiers are a great investment to preserve the interior of your home during dry, winter months as they prevent wood from cracking (think furniture, cabinets, and flooring).
  • Programmable thermostats are terrific for maintaining ideal temperatures without taxing an HVAC system. Many newly built homes include these, but it is up to the homeowner to utilize their functions.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are a must-have and should be tested regularly. They truly are a lifesaver.
  • Smoke detectors come standard with most homes, but the more the better. Install smoke detectors on each floor, including the basement. Add one to the garage as well! Again, these should be tested regularly.
  • A portable generator is a great way to ensure that a long power outage doesn’t end with loads of spoiled food. Generators should receive regular maintenance and only be operated outside.

As each of North Carolina’s beautiful seasons begins, make a point to review any safety plans or kits in your home. Make sure all household members understand evacuation plans, where first-aid kits are located, and how to operate fire extinguishers. Flashlights should be easily accessible and with fresh batteries. Place a bin in each vehicle that contains blankets, flares, and non-perishables. Preparing for emergencies is also a great way to engage with new neighbors as sharing plans offers an extra layer of security.

 

JSJ Builders believes that every home should be a haven where residents feel safe, and secure while sharing memory-making moments each day. Preparing your new home for winter is essential for ensuring both comfort and safety. By taking these steps, you can enjoy the beauty of winter, knowing your home is secure against the elements.

 

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