While we realize how lucky we are to live in the South Carolina Lowcountry and not usually have to worry about snow and ice, the temperatures have been dipping to new lows as of late in our community. We want you to be prepared as possible for keeping your home safe this winter, regardless of the weather. One of the biggest and simplest ways to stay prepared is to have your heating system regularly checked by an HVAC specialist. Changing your furnace filter at the start of every winter and every 2-4 months after that is imperative to the system running properly. Once the filter becomes dirty or clogged, it won’t heat your house properly and runs more of a risk of starting a fire.
We’ve gathered a few other tips to prepare your home for the cold temperatures, and even the much anticipated, sometimes dreaded, snow.
Seal Windows & Doors
Gaps that are visible around your doors and windows can make it difficult to keep your house warm during the winter months. These cracks can be sealed using caulk or weather stripping, and are relatively inexpensive ways to help you keep your home warm and running efficiently. If your home doesn’t already have insulated doors and double-paned glass windows, these upgrades can also increase your home’s efficiency by keeping the cold out and the warm in.
Protect Your Pipes
When water freezes, it expands. If the water inside your pipes freezes, the pipes can become so overloaded with frozen water they can crack and burst. This can cause massive damage and can be extremely expensive to fix. To keep this from happening, it’s a good idea to drain any water from outdoor faucets and your yard’s sprinkler system, as well as disconnecting your hoses and cover your faucets with insulators.
It’s also a good idea to know where your water shut-off valve is located in case of an emergency. Usually, these are in a basement or buried toward the street in your front yard.
Keep Your Attic Cool & Your Roof Cleared
If your attic is too warm, it can cause snow to melt and pool in the middle of your roof, draining toward the gutters and re-freezing. By keeping your attic at a cooler temperature, you can avoid this disaster. You can keep your attic sufficiently cool by making sure the ventilation is running properly, sealing any cracks in the ceiling to the attic, and keeping the floor insulated so that heat doesn’t seep in from the house.
Keep Your Gutters Clean
Having clogged or dirty gutters can result in an ice dam when snow begins to stick. An ice dam occurs when snow and ice melt during the day and refreezes throughout the night. The ice becomes trapped in your gutters and can clog them, preventing them from filtering properly. Make sure your gutters are clear from any debris, to avoid this nasty situation.
Regularly Inspect Your Fireplace & Chimney
Who doesn’t love sitting by the fire in your pj’s and a mug of something warm and festive? We wouldn’t want you to miss that feeling if your fireplace is on the fritz! Before you ignite your first fire, it’s not a bad idea to clean out your chimney and fireplace to be sure you’re free of any debris or critters. Calling a professional chimney sweep is also important to be completely sure before you light that first winter fire. They can clean up soot and other debris that could catch fire, that you may not even see.
Before the real chill sets in the Lowcountry this winter season, don’t waste time in preparing your home for the cold. We want you to have a safe and happy holiday season, and we’re here to help! Happy Holidays!