Ok guys, Fall is finally showing its colors and we couldn't be any more excited to enjoy some cool days after a long, hot, wet summer. We are already planning halloween costumes, turkey dinners and thinking about opening presents Christmas morning. However, with all these great things and fun seasons comes the inevitable cold. Snow, Freezing rain, power outages (cringe). Are you and your family prepared for this? Is your home prepared for this? Is your beautiful property prepared for this? Heck, Is your wallet prepared for heating costs etc? Here are a few tips to get ready for the cold weather coming up.
Winterizing your home!
First off, Lets make sure your home is as ready and efficient as can be before the cold. Everyone knows the most important thing in your home to be prepared for the cold is Heat and insulation. Heat to be sure everyone is warm while eating turkey dinner and insulation to keep that heat in.
Winter start ups can be extremely hard on your heating system after its sat all summer. We like to think of it as going and kicking a bear in the rear end after its been sleeping all winter. It is really important to have your HVAC unit checked and started up by a professional to be sure you don't damage anything by a quick start up of a "tired" unit. There are several different kinds of heating units but the most common is a oil furnace or a heat pump. In our opinion it is most important to service the oil furnaces because they have a nozzle inside which does wear out. Once it wears out the units efficiency drops drastically causing the home owner to burn much more fuel than a properly serviced unit, I don't know about you guys but I don't want to buy any more fuel than I have to this year! A heat pump does not require as much attention but should be serviced at least once a year to make sure its running as efficiently as possible. This means clean filters, proper freon levels, completely sealed units, its not uncommon for us to find that an animal has tore a line under a home or in a attic causing you to heat or cool an area of the home that shouldn't be.
A typical service call for either unit will only run you $100-$120 plus any parts/material that may be needed. That my friends is very much worth it to have peace of mind knowing your unit is going to run smooth all winter or even summer for that matter. Here are a list of some of our local friends that can help get your unit prepared for the winter:
Condrey Heating and Air- 828-652-6838
Morris Heating and Cooling- 828-659-2400
Rutherford Heating and Cooling- 828-287-2240
Ok we are spending all this money heating our house, lets keep that heat in! Insulation, unfortunately, isn't a one and done thing. It is something that needs to be maintained. Over time it will break down and lose its R-Value. What is R-value? R-value is a measure of how well an object, per unit of its exposed area, resists conductive flow of heat: the greater the R-value, the greater the resistance, and so the better the thermal insulating properties of the object. There are many areas of your house that is supposed to be insulated and require a certain R-value to remain efficient. Now different areas of the country require different R-values, Florida wouldn't require as much as Alaska, Heres a map for reference:
So, How do I know if my house is properly insulated? First of all if you haven't had any insulation work done in 10 years. . .It's probably time. A certified insulation tech could come to your home and perform a test to check insulation in all areas of the house but most commonly the attic and crawl space is what needs to be maintained the most. The walls of your home are pretty protected as long as you have never had any leaks etc. The Blow in insulation in your attic often gets broken down or disturbed by traffic. The insulation under your home can easily be tore down or ripped by critters and contractors. Have a professional check your home before its to late, here are a few recommendations:
Dover Insulation- Marion, Nc 828-724-4667
Ok the last thing you want to be doing when its freezing cold out is crawling under your house through frozen water and mud to repair a broken pipe or thaw out frozen ones. The number one cause to frozen or broken pipes is air moving across them. If your house is built on a foundation be sure that your crawl space is completely sealed. Close all vents, doors, holes etc. If your house is underpinned, be sure it is all in tact with no openings or seems. It is best to taken a further measure and insulate your pipes to keep them covered from that chilling winter air. Got an outdoor hose? Disconnect the water hose from the spigot and cover the spigot with a "Weather Head" which you can purchase at any home depot, Lowes, or Ace. Keep water moving through your house to prevent the chance of freezing. Crack the faucet just enough to get a small drip. (Caution this will not help our argument of efficiency but is a temporary solution to battle freezing pipes). If you do experience frozen or broken pipes we have included a list of plumbers who handle these certain situations. . . These guys deserve a standing ovation for getting out in those condition and dealing with anyones water problems haha.
Ben Franklin Plumbing- 828-414-2454
Father and Son - 828-738-9645
Miller Plumbing 828-655-1877
Doors and Windows
Its also important to be sure all doors and windows in your house are properly sealed and insulated. You can lose a whole lot of heat out of an old single plane window which we still see very often in the Marion, Nebo and Asheville NC areas. We offer window installation on most common sized windows for $250 per window which includes a new double hung insulated window with Low E and Argon gas, New metal trim to be capped around the exterior of the frame, insulation around the window and labor.
Your Beautiful Property
Next lets talk about your property. First off, Trees. With the possibility of snow and ice coming comes the possibility of broken trees. When the canopy of a tree becomes heavy from the additional weight of snow and ice in combination with the cold temperatures trees are far more likely to snap and break. Do you have any trees on your property that have a lot of weight over any structures, driveways, dog lots etc? Do any of your trees lean real far in one direction? These are all things that may need to be addressed before its to late. This does not necessarily mean the trees need to be taken down, with proper pruning we could perform a weight reduction prune to help reduce the chance of a snap or break, keeping your trees healthy into the next season. One more thing to keep in mind with your trees is a weather split. This occurs when the temperature goes from warm to cold back to warm really quickly. Think of a water bottle freezing and thawing and freezing, eventually it will split. Your trees can do the same thing. If you have any trees that you may be concerned about please feel free to send us photos to 8288031148 for free advice or give us a call to set up a on site consultation.
Don't get stuck at home just because a little snow in the driveway! Now we are not encouraging taking your daily vehicle out in bad weather but most of the time the DOT does a pretty good job keeping the main roads cleared and safe to traverse but if you cant get out of your driveway to the road that doesn't do you any good does it. You can pick up a cheap snow blower at your local tool store like Grainger for $500-$750, heres a link to one we like to use:
Don't want to do the Hand numbing work yourself? Heres are a few of our friends who are always out and about during snow storms fighting to get folks out of their home. They help out in the Marion NC, Nebo NC, Asheville NC and especially around Lake James areas.
Cutting Edge Lawn care- Clay Duncan 828-442-7428
Chambers Edge- John Chambers 828-442-1606
JC Property Professionals- John Seaman 828-803-1148
I hope this quick list will help you prepare for an easy winter so you can enjoy all the fun activities this season brings without worry! We will continue to add tips and tricks to this post so check back periodically to learn more info about how you can be best prepared for the winter!