How to Winterize Your Beach House in 3 Easy Steps

Winterize Your Beach House

Winter is coming. Is your beach house prepared? And exactly what do you need to do? Let us help. We're breaking it down into three simple steps to make sure your house is ready for the change of seasons. Winters on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina are mostly mild and temperate, but it's still worth taking a few preparatory steps to ensure all systems are go for the colder winter months. Here's what you need to do to winterize your Emerald Isle beach house.

Systems Check 

1. Do a systems check.

Test your heating system. Do a test run to make sure you have heat when you need it. The time to do that is now before the winter months arrive. Set your thermostat to 80 degrees or until you hear the furnace kick on and you can feel warm air blowing through the vents. If it's working without issue, reset it back to the desired temperature. If you find any issues, check these troubleshooting tips or call a service technician.

Winterize your AC unit. Check the outdoor condensing unit of your air conditioning system. Clear any debris and rinse with a high-powered hose spray. Cover the unit with a breathable waterproof fabric specifically designed for AC condensing units to help preserve and protect the life of the unit, as well as prolong its effectiveness and efficiency. Though the units are designed to weather the outdoor elements, an extra layer of protection from wet leaves and other debris that can freeze and cause damage is a proactive and worthwhile step to take. 

Protect your plumbing and pipes. Consider insulating any exposed piping in crawlspaces, attics and outside walls. Shut off the water to all exterior faucets from inside the house and open up the faucets to drain the water from each. Disconnect garden hoses and drain those, too. If you are closing down your property for several months, you should always shut off the water supply and drain the plumbing system. If a leak were to occur while vacant, the damage to your home could be catastrophic.

Winterize your sprinkler system. Turn off your sprinklers and blow compressed air through the holes to purge them from water and prevent any damage from freezing and bursting. Winterizing your sprinkler system should be done during the fall in preparation for the winter months. 


Inspect, Repair, Prepare

2. Inspect, repair and prepare.

Clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney. Make sure the chimney is free and clear of any nests from birds, squirrels or other animals. Also check your flue damper to ensure that it opens, closes and locks properly. If you haven't had your fireplace cleaned in the last few years, or ever, schedule a chimney sweep to come and clean it for you.

Check your windows and doors for air flow. On a blustery day, check each of your windows and doors for any air leakage. Check weatherstripping and repair or install where needed. 
Clean your gutters. Now is the time to clean your gutters and downspouts to remove any leaves, dirt and debris. Wet leaves can add significant weight to the gutters and cause damage, especially if they freeze during the colder temps.  



Outdoor Living Space 

3. Ready your outdoor living space.

Reseal the deck if needed. Take a look at the condition of your deck. If it needs resealing, now is the time. 

Use up or drain the gas out of the lawn mower and other lawn maintenance power tools. You most likely won't be using these landscaping tools until spring. Make sure the gas is used up or drained out while not in use.

Clean and cover the grill. Sure, you may still use your grill on occasion over the coming months, but now is the perfect time to give it a good clean up after a summer of intense use. Cover it up and make sure it's protected from the elements and ready to go for next grilling season.

Protect or cover outdoor furniture. Depending on how much you think you're going to be out on your deck or porch, consider protecting your outdoor furniture by covering them. It gives an added layer of protection from weathering over the cooler winter months. 

Cover or bring in any plants that need protection against frost and freezing temps. If you have any tropical or frost-sensitive plants, prepare them for the colder temps by covering them, or if they're potted, bringing them indoors for the winter. 
Drain any fountains or water features. Unplug any pumps and drain the water from any water features you have in your yard. 

If you're leaving your vacation home vacant over the winter months, there are a few additional steps you should take beyond the above mentioned.

  • Make your home appear occupied. Use outdoor motion sensor lights and interior timer lights to give the appearance of occupancy in your home while you're away. Forward your mail and stop your newspaper delivery until you return.

  • Have your home checked on periodically by someone you trust. It's always good to have a trusted family member, friend or neighbor come by to periodically to check on things while you're away. Give them entry access to your home so they can do a quick check inside to make sure there are no issues that need your attention.

  • Prevent against pests. Make sure your home is well cleaned with the trash removed and the refrigerator and freezers emptied. Don't forget to clean your oven, too. No need to invite unwanted pests into your home while you're gone. Make sure your chimney flue is closed and check for any other open areas into your house that need to be closed up or sealed.

  • Control the temperature and water. Set the thermostat to a temperature that will keep the pipes warm enough to prevent freezing. Or turn off the water supply in your home and empty the pipes and toilets in preparation for colder temps and discontinued use while you're away.

  • Have security measures in place. Make sure someone in your neighborhood has your contact information in case of an emergency or unexpected situation. Check your window and door locks and alarm your house. Inspect all smoke detectors and replace batteries if needed. 

A little prevention provides a lot of peace of mind when it comes to preparing your home for winter. How many of these steps do you take when the winter season rolls around? If you're looking for more ideas on how to winterize your home, check out this Easy Winterizing Checklist
Did we miss anything? What steps do you take to winterize your Emerald Isle beach house? Let us know in our comment section!

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