Prepping House And Yard For Winter - 27 East


Residence / 1382947

Prepping House And Yard For Winter

icon 3 Photos
Winterize irrigation systems by blowing out all water from the pipes through the sprinkler heads. COURTESY RB IRRIGATION

Winterize irrigation systems by blowing out all water from the pipes through the sprinkler heads. COURTESY RB IRRIGATION

Porches, like this one by builder Jeffrey Colle, should be winterized by removing screens and replacing glass with storm windows. COURTESY MIDDLETON & GENDRON

Porches, like this one by builder Jeffrey Colle, should be winterized by removing screens and replacing glass with storm windows. COURTESY MIDDLETON & GENDRON

Sunrooms, like this one by builder Jeffrey Colle, should be winterized by removing screens and replacing glass with storm windows. COURTESY MIDDLETON & GENDRON

Sunrooms, like this one by builder Jeffrey Colle, should be winterized by removing screens and replacing glass with storm windows. COURTESY MIDDLETON & GENDRON

author on Nov 12, 2013

To the trained eye, a dune is not just a pile of sand. It is a grainy network, wired with vegetation and a root system that holds it in place. Until a hurricane or a nor’easter hits, ripping up shorelines across the East End and leaving dozens of oceanfront properties devastated by the crashing waves and high-powered winds.

Eventually, new sand is trucked in and the beaches are replenished. However, Wainscott-based builder Jeffrey Collé, owner of JC Construction Management, fears there will not be enough time for the dunes to re-network and knit themselves together before the next big storm—opening up homes to more serious flooding as temperatures plummet.

Now, more than ever, is the time to winterize, he said.

“You’re trying to protect against moisture in general,” he said last week during a telephone interview. “Obviously, when water freezes, it expands. When it gets into different crevices, that’s when you start to have problems.”

The key is keeping water away from house—backfilling a home’s foundation with clean sand, installing a sump pump in the basement that turns on automatically to remove accumulated water, and installing window wells that drain properly and are easily accessible for cleaning.

“Also, make sure leaves are out of the gutters so they drain properly, so water doesn’t pool up and freeze,” he said. “Once ice gets in there, they become useless. Water is pouring over as if it’s not there.”

Connect gutters and leaders—which should be installed away from the house—to a dry well in order to keep water from the foundation. Ensure all window and door flashing is properly installed for waterproofing, as well as proper window stripping to prevent cross-breezes. Utilize storm windows, putting all screens into storage—a move that can conserve energy and lower heating costs.

Annual heating system tuning and maintenance can save homeowners 5 to 10 percent on their bills, according to the Energy Communications Council, as well as wrapping exposed pipes with proper insulation to prevent both heat loss and freezing. Replace manual thermostats with a programmable model, and lower it just a few degrees while at work or sleeping.

Remember, hot water uses fuel, too. Be conservative while bathing and washing dishes to reduce consumption. Also, consider installing a solar water-heating component.

Outdoors, as the season winds down and the cold weather starts to set in, irrigation systems need to be winterized—typically by Thanksgiving, according to Robert Boyle of RB Irrigation in Westhampton Beach, before the lower temperatures hold.

“We got snow today and it’s pretty cold, but this isn’t the kind of cold that will cause trouble,” Mr. Boyle said last week during a telephone interview. “What will happen is, the water inside the pipes freezes, expands and then cracks the pipes.”

The trick to winterization is to open all of the system drain valves in order to release any remaining water that may be trapped inside by shutting off the water flow to the sprinkler system and filling the lines with compressed air to get rid of any lingering water, Mr. Boyle explained.

“It’s not rocket science, but it’s not something you want to do unless you have an understanding of mechanics,” he laughed. “You want to use a proper size compressor because if it’s too small, it doesn’t have the ability to push all the water out. And if it’s too big, it will actually cause damage.”

Depending on the size of the irrigation system, the process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, he said, and ranges from $100 to $500. Whether a homeowner uses traditional sprinklers or deeper drip irrigation, winterizing is a must, he said.

“The thing is, the damage that’s caused will end up paying for the winterizing anyway,” he said, “so there’s no sense in taking a chance.”

But before freezing weather comes storm season, which began in June and will run through November, followed by the threat of extreme weather events that have become the norm. Prepare by installing the boiler and furnace above the floor, to avoid potential flooding, and purchase a generator. They can be sized to run the entire house, or at the very least, the main pathway, refrigerator and furnace.

Also, have pre-cut plywood at the ready for all windows and doors, and store the panels in an easily accessible place in the case of a storm, Mr. Collé said.

“If a hurricane’s coming, everybody’s in a frenzy,” he said. “Not only is it going to Lowe’s, but you have a limited amount of labor pool out here [to size the plywood]. So when everybody needs somebody all at once, that gets a little thin. Everybody is jockeying to get their house done.”

Before a big storm hits, there is only so much a homeowner can do, Mr. Collé said. In the end, no amount of preparation can stop what’s to come.

“The bottom line is, you’re dealing with Mother Nature,” Mr. Collé said. “You can do all the preparation you want, but when she wants to do something, I don’t know how much control man has ever had and is ever going to have over that. These things are certainly helpful and are going to minimize damage, but the bottom line is: you cannot fight Mother Nature.”

You May Also Like:

‘Look For The Zero’ Campaign Urges Homeowners To Purchase Phosphorus-Free Lawn Fertilizer

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s annual “Look for the Zero” public awareness campaign has returned to encourage homeowners to go phosphorus-free when using lawn fertilizer. More than 100 water bodies in New York State cannot be used or enjoyed because of phosphorus overuse, according to the DEC, which wants consumers to review fertilizer bag labels for phosphorus content before buying. Fertilizer bags have an N-P-K number that shows the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that the product contains. So, for example, a bag labeled 22-0-15 is a high-nitrogen fertilizer with no phosphorus at all. Nitrogen causes ... 11 May 2021 by Staff Writer

Federal Tax Credit Of $4,000 For Lead Abatement Proposed

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is co-sponsoring legislation to provide a $4,000 tax credit for homeowners, landlords and renters to cover the cost of abating lead hazards in paint, pipes and soil. Under the Home Lead Safety Tax Credit Act of 2021, the credit would be available through 2024 to cover up to half of the cost of lead abatement. If enacted, the legislation would also supplement federal, state and local programs to replace lead pipes that deliver drinking water. “Everyone should have a home that can keep them safe from health risks, yet thousands of New Yorkers and their families ... 10 May 2021 by Staff Writer

Negative Effects Of Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers Go Beyond The Noise

It’s a warm, sunny spring day, and I’ve come home to have my lunch on ... by Andrew Messinger

Celebrate ‘Go Public Garden Days’ On The South Fork

American Public Gardens Association’s Go Public Gardens Days, formerly known as National Public Gardens Week, ... 3 May 2021 by Staff Writer

May Garden Ramble: Cicadas, Celandine, Salvation For Lilies, Flower Bed Renovation

If you’ve been paying attention to the news you may have seen some reports about ... by Andrew Messinger

Here’s To A Honey Of A Summer

Well, I’ve embarked on another season of beekeeping, and so far, so good. All three ... 30 Apr 2021 by Lisa Daffy

PHOTOS: LongHouse Reserve Brings Blooms And Sculpture Together

Renowned textile designer, artist and gardener Jack Lenor Larsen, the founder of LongHouse Reserve in ... 29 Apr 2021 by Staff Writer

East End Garden Festival Returns To Tanger Outlets May 4-9

The East End Garden Festival, a benefit for Peconic Bay Medical Center and Operation International, will take place at Tanger Outlets in Riverhead from Tuesday, May 4, through Sunday, May 9. The annual festival offers an array of annuals and perennials for sale, from flowers to shrubs and trees, all donated by nurseries and greenhouses from Long Island and farther afield. The event was initiated to support the mission of Operation International — formerly called International Surgical Mission Support — a nonprofit founded in Southampton that sends teams of volunteers on medical missions to impoverished areas around the globe. This ... 28 Apr 2021 by Staff Writer

Daffodils Of All Shades And Sizes Put On A Spring Show

When the first daffodils begin to show color, we are surely reminded that spring is ... by Holger Winenga

Herb Crestani To Lead Nemo Tile + Stone Showroom In Water Mill

New York City-based Nemo Tile + Stone is expanding its reach to the East End ... by Brendan J. O’Reilly

Welcome to our new website!

To see what’s new, click “Start the Tour” to take a tour.

We welcome your feedback. Please click the
“contact/advertise” link in the menu bar to email us.

Start the Tour
Landscape view not supported
Send this to a friend