What Should Floridians Do To Prepare For Winter
As the weather starts to cool down and the days get shorter, Floridians need to start thinking about preparing for winter. While the Sunshine State doesn’t usually see much snow and ice, the colder temperatures can still take a toll on your home and your health if you’re not prepared. There are several things you can do to prepare your home for the winter season. Even if you live in a warm, sunny climate, there are still precautions you need to take to protect yourself and your property from the cold.
Here are a few things Floridians should do to prepare for winter:
Check your home’s insulation.
If your home isn’t properly insulated, you could be losing heat (and money) through the walls and ceilings. This is especially true in older homes. Adding insulation is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable during the winter months.
Seal up any drafts.
Drafty windows and doors can also let heat escape from your home. To help keep the warm air in, caulk and weatherstrip around doors and windows. You can also install draft guards or draft stoppers at the base of doors.
Protect your pipes.
Frozen pipes can burst and cause serious water damage in your home. To prevent this, insulate any exposed pipes and allow a slow drip of water to run from the faucets, especially if the temperature expected to dip below freezing. Leave your cabinets open to help warm the rooms where pipes are located and keep the thermostat set above 55Â F — even a few degrees can help prevent freezing.
Add insulation to the attic.
Many homes in Florida don’t come with adequate insulation in the attic. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your attic insulated to an R-value of at least 49. R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance and indicates the resistance to heat flow through a certain thickness of material. The higher the R-value, the thicker the insulation you’ll need.
Prepare for the threat of power outages.
Although he coldest months are still a few months away, it’s not too early for Floridians to protect themselves from the threat of a lengthy power outage. During the winter, low temperatures can cause electric lines to crack and snap under the weight of ice and snow while trees can easily fall onto power lines.
Be sure to have some backup items on hand such as a flashlight, lantern and plenty of batteries. It’s also a smart idea to have a few blankets and a small heater available should you lose the power on a particularly cold evening.
Stock up on ice melt.
Although the possibility of snow is small, one year it did snow in parts of Florida for an entire night. Florida Weather expects at least one hard freeze this winter. Snow, slush and ice can cause damage to the exterior of your home, so keep a supply of ice melt on hand to sprinkle on outdoor surfaces after a cold snap or snowstorm.
Invest in a generator.
Although natural gas isn’t included in a home warranty, a whole house generator may be covered by your home warranty, so be sure to check with your provider to see if adding a generator will give you peace of mind and minimize some of your risk in severe weather that may occur over the next few months.