Winter is well on the way, and it’s time to prepare your beach house for the cold weather. Service fees will vary depending on your area, but you can generally expect these prices when hiring a service versus doing it yourself.
- Check your water and heating systems — $30-160 for sprinkler systems, $20-$200 for heating, $75-$365 for AC units, and $20-$400 for plumbing.
- Clean, inspect and repair — Hire a chimney sweep for an average of $252, clean your gutters, and check windows and doors for airflow.
- Prepare your outdoor space — bring summer furniture inside and protect your plants with mulch.
You can easily do many of these costly services yourself, so let’s break it down!
Ensuring that your water and heating systems are in working order will prevent many headaches during the colder months — most of these things you want to check before it starts getting too cold.
An easy way to test your heating system is to set your thermostat to 80°F before the winter months come in full blast. When you feel warm air flowing through the vents, you don’t have to worry about hiring a service to inspect, and you can set the temperature back to your desired temperature.
If the vents do not expel heat, troubleshoot common errors or hire a technician to evaluate and solve the problem for you.
Something to remember when preparing your air conditioning unit for the winter months is that they are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions (rain and snow).
There are, however, some things that you can do to prevent damage during the winter months:
- Shut off the unit
- Wash the cover
- Cover the unit and exposed pipes
- Tune-up your furnace
- Regularly check-up on your outdoor AC unit
Ensuring that you follow these tips will help you use your AC unit for many years to come without paying a penny for maintenance services.
You want to consider insulating any pipes that are exposed to the outdoors.
You can do this yourself by switching off the water supply to exterior faucets and draining the water by opening the taps.
You also want to ensure that you drain your garden hose.
Blow compressed air through your sprinkler system to remove any water and prevent damage that could occur from freezing temperatures.
You want to blow out your sprinklers in the fall to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible.
Outdoor house fixtures can quickly accumulate dust and debris during the summer and fall months.
Ensuring that you clean out and prepare your fixtures before winter settles in will make summer breezy and prevent unwanted damage.
Ensuring your chimney is animal-free before lighting the first fire of the winter will leave you and the chimney occupants very happy.
Check for, and remove any blockages from your chimney by hiring a chimney sweep or sweeping it yourself.
Other than blockages, you also want to check that your flue damper opens, closes, and locks as it should.
If you don’t regularly hire a chimney sweep, it may be a good idea to leave the cleaning and removing to them.
This shouldn’t cost much if your house is well insulated, but it always helps to check. On a breezy fall day, check each of your windows and doors for any unwanted airflow.
Install or repair weatherstripping where needed.
When winter is just settling in is the best time to clean your gutters and spouts to remove all the fall leaves and other debris that the wind brought along.
Wet leaves can weigh down and damage your pipes if they freeze in the winter temperatures.
Preparing your patio and garden for the winter months is an excellent idea if you want to lessen the work of removing damaged furniture and plants in the following seasons.
So, let’s take a look at how you can protect your outdoor area during the winter months on the coast.
There’s nothing like investing in expensive patio furniture, only to have it ruined by the elements. It’s always wise to store your outdoor furniture in a sheltered space to prevent unwanted damage.
If the pieces are too large to move, or you plan on spending time outdoors, you can always cover the furniture with tarps to prevent as much damage as possible.
While you may still use your grill over the winter months, it’s still a good idea to clean it and store it in an indoor space. Leaving rancid oil and grease can have adverse health effects.
Best prevent that and keep your grill clean for the following spring season!
Similar to your grill and outdoor furniture, you also want to make sure you protect your plants from frost and cold temperatures.
You can easily do this by bringing potted plants indoors (or undercover) and covering the ones that aren’t in fleece or other specialized materials. You can also add mulch to prevent excessive water loss and prevent snow and rain from penetrating too far into the soil.
If your deck is in bad condition, it’s a good idea to seal it before winter comes around. If it’s still in good condition, you’re free to leave it for next winter’s inspection.
Unplugging and draining water from your water features will prevent pipes from bursting and parts from acquiring damage.
If you’re leaving over the winter months, here are a few things you want to do before leaving:
- Drain your plumbing system to prevent leaks.
Other than your outdoor water fixtures and pipes, you also want to make sure to drain your plumbing system. The last thing you want to come back home to is a flooded house.
- Have someone housesit or check on your house periodically.
Try to have someone you trust (a friend, neighbor, or family member) check in on your house while you’re away. This way, you’ll be able to know when something happens, that needs your attention.
- Make it appear like you’re home.
Utilize motion sensor lights and interior times to make it appear that you’re home. Have someone collect your mail and newspapers or forward it until you return.
- Take preventative measures against pests.
Ensure your house is clean before you leave. Remove food that can go off from the fridge and freezer. Don’t forget to clean your microwave and oven either!
You can also cover your chimney and ensure that most windows and doors remain closed or sealed.
- Prevent pipes from freezing.
Set your thermostat to an optimal temperature that will prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Have additional security measures in place.
Ensure that a neighbor has your contact details in case of emergency and remember to secure your house with alarms and locks. Also, ensure that smoke detector batteries are charged and replace them if needed.
These few checks will not only give you peace of mind but will also prevent you from pulling out the big bucks to repair winter-damaged items.
You essentially want to ensure that your water and heating systems are up to par. You want to inspect and repair structural fixtures, as well as ensure that your outdoor space will be stunning by the time the ice melts.