We have been blessed with an amazingly mild autumn at Smith Mountain Lake and very pleasant temperatures. But we all know the cold weather is coming soon. There are a few steps you may want to take to be certain your lake home is ready for winter. These preparations will protect your waterfront investment and set your mind at rest when the cold winds blow!
1. Any furnace or heat pump can have occasional issues that require maintenance. Some of those issues you can take care of yourself, such as replacing or cleaning filters. However, if you have your furnace checked out by a professional before the dead of winter, you can avoid costly emergency repairs and inconvenient heat outages. Whether you use your utility company or an HVAC service, you will want to confirm that your heat source is in good working order.
2. If your house has trees around it then the gutters on your home will need to be cleared of leaves, small branches and other accumulated debris. Your drains or down-spouts should be checked so that they are directing rain water away from the house and foundation or basement. Clogged gutters can create problems if not kept free and clear for water to drain. Be sure and follow all safety measures when working on the roof of your home or you can hire someone to help with this task. Some have found that the installation of gutter guards or filters has helped eliminate the frequency of trips to the roof. (Be sure to check for any other roof damage while cleaning gutters. Damaged shingles, weak spots or loose metal can be the forbearer of serious leaks and other damage inside your home.)
3. Drain garden hoses and store them where they will be protected from freezing; Use weather proofing around exterior doors and windows that don’t have a tight seal; Seal, insulate or caulk small holes/gaps around the exterior of your home where insects or mice could might want to get in and make their home.
4. Prevent deterioration of belongings you have been enjoying during nice weather by bringing them into the basement or storage shed. Patio furniture, small watercraft, yard games and other outdoor equipment can endure a lot of wear and tear if left out in the elements all winter.
5. Plumbing that is exposed to freezing temperatures can burst and create horrible damage and extremely costly repairs. Have someone check that all pipes in areas such as attic, outside walls, crawl spaces, etc. are well insulated. If needed wrap pipes with heating tape or possibly foam insulation, depending on what is appropriate for each situation. You will also need an insulated cover for any exterior faucets that are to be left in use.