Seven steps to winterize a Florida home
Most people associate living in Florida with palm trees and warm weather. However, North Florida homeowners know that this isn’t always the case: While winter in Florida is milder than in other parts of the world, there are still steps you need to take to protect your home from the changing seasons and the changing temperatures.
So, how do you winterize a Florida home?
Here are seven steps to complete before the changing of the seasons.
1. Get your plumbing professionally inspected.
This is critical for homeowners in areas like Jacksonville, Duval County, and Saint Johns County, Florida. Because North Florida gets a few good freezes each winter, it’s important to double-check your pipes and plumbing for leaks, cracks, and other issues that could wreak havoc in the event of a ground frost. Florida pipes are rarely buried more than a few inches below the surface, which means that in the event of an unexpected cold snap, your pipes could expand and crack if the water inside them freezes. Call a professional plumber for a full inspection of your plumbing system — you’ll thank yourself later!
2. Change out your air filters.
Typically, you should change out the air filters in your home once per quarter (about once every three months). At the very least, you should change air filters when you switch your home’s system over from AC to heat. Imagine how much dust and gunk has been sitting in your vents since last winter… Yup, it’s time to change those air filters.
3. Fully clean out your gutters (and the roof tiles, while you’re at it!).
While North Florida typically doesn’t see snow, we usually get a couple of good frosts per year, as well as plenty of rain during the fall and winter. Combined with lower temperatures and falling leaves, this can wreak havoc on your gutter system. Take the time to fully clean out your gutters (and we do mean fully — get that elbow grease going!) so that winter water flow can’t damage your roof or gutter system. If you’d like us to take that task off your hands, consider a soft wash for your roof as well as a gutter cleaning! A clean roof holds the heat of the sun in, and can lower your heating bills during the colder winter months.
4. Check and replace the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
This is another task that should be taken care of once a quarter, but we often forget (until our alarms beep like crazy to remind us). If you haven’t yet, change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. If your home has a fireplace, now is also a good time to double-check the flue system and make sure there are no clogs or build-ups.
5. Seal any leaks in your doors, windows, and outlets.
While we don’t get snow, North Florida winters can be very chilly! Save on heating bills (and time spent shivering) by checking your windows, doors, vents, and outlets for places where cold drafts can sneak in. Seal up any cracks or leaks with caulk to lock in that warm heat, and call in a professional if the holes aren’t easy to seal with DIY magic.
6. Inspect your insulation for tears, holes, or leaks.
Generally, Florida homes have insulation in the attics (and sometimes the walls). For attic insulation, check for any tears, holes, and leaks. For the best heat/cool maintenance, your insulation should be at least 12 inches thick. If you’re noticing lots of holes or tears, this may be a sign of an animal or pest infestation (yuck!). This is also a good chance to check for mold in places you wouldn’t usually look for it, like your attic and any crawlspaces beneath your home. Certain species of mold can survive and grow in cooler temperatures, and you don’t want to let a mildew patch go unnoticed for an entire winter season!
7. If you’re expecting a freeze, cover your pool.
With the temperatures dropping, the odds are good that you’re not going to use your pool for the next couple of months. To lower your heating and water bills, consider covering your pool for the winter season. This locks in heat, but it also keeps bugs, dirt, twigs, and other detritus from dirtying up your swimming pool during the winter months. This way, when you’re ready to open up your pool for the warmer weather in spring, you’ll have less work to do before you’re ready for fun in the sun!
No matter what the changing of the seasons may bring, you know your home is in good hands when you work with Diamond Power Washing & Maintenance. Give us a call at (904) 747-4DPW (4379). We’ll be happy to arrange a FREE home inspection and consultation to help you determine any pain points you need to take care of before the Florida winter sets in. Don’t let mold and mildew dull your sparkle!