Happy Holidays, Sarasota-Manatee! Wherever you’re spending your December along our beautiful Gulf shores, we here at Reliable hope you’re having a fantastic season and enjoying this fabulous southwest Florida weather.
That’s right—we’re currently enjoying highs in the mid-70s and lows that just maybe dip into the 50s. And while we may experience some cold snaps here and there for the next few months, rest assured we’re much cozier and comfier than our friends up North.
Our coastal areas—from Bradenton to Whitfield, from Sarasota to North Port—enjoy even milder temps than most, thanks to the fabulous influence of the Gulf of Mexico. But even if you’re as far north as Ellenton or as far east as Myakka (brrr!), freezing temperatures are still a rarity. And rarer still do they stay below freezing for more than an hour or so.
That’s great news for our wardrobe. And it’s great news for our houses, too! We don’t have to worry about frozen pipes or snow accumulation on our roofs or damage to our driveway or sidewalks from the cold temps.
Still, we don’t want to be too casual about winter time in our tropical paradise. Here are a few property things to consider while we’re enjoying this beautiful Floridian season.
Air conditioning is a way of life in southwest Florida. We can’t live without it. But when we finally get a chance to turn it off and welcome the cooler air into our homes, how refreshing it is!
Of course, our homes have probably been closed up now for months on end. And if you’ve been diligent about your seals and insulation, then your home has been good and safe against the elements and pests and other things that might otherwise creep inside.
Now that you’re opening things back up, you still want to make sure the inside is protected. Are your window screens properly fitted and secure? Do they stay that way when withstanding the new cross-winds and pressures that occur when the house is open? Are there places where debris accumulates (potentially harboring moisture or insects causing long-term issues) or dust may be able to filter inside?
You might not go all Clark Griswold with your decorations, but you still need to be mindful of your home’s electrical situation. Both inside and outside, we ask a lot of our outlets this time of year. Extension cords upon extension cords and strings of lights one after the other. This can very quickly tax your system and lead to dangerous circumstances.
Before you go plugging in all of those many, many strings of lights, have a professional inspect your home’s electricity. And don’t be all miserly—if your lights or extension cords are old or worn, just go ahead and replace them.
Whatever you’re using to heat your home, we’re pretty sure you don’t have to worry about over-using it. Chances are, you haven’t turned on your heater for eight or 10 months. It should be well-rested and ready to go, right?
Well, yes and no. Your electric or gas-powered heating device still ages, whether or not it’s being used. And it could even have developed some issues while sitting idle. Before you turn on the heat this season, it’s best to have a professional come out and check it to make sure everything is clean and in good working order.
This goes for your fireplace, too. We Floridians love a good excuse for a fire in the living room. But since we only get a handful of excuses a season, a lot of issues can develop in the meantime.
Whether it’s electricity, gas or straight-up fire, you don’t want to mess around with the heating elements in your home. Some easy inspection (and repair, if necessary) beforehand can save you from serious disaster.
Humidity (And Lack Thereof)
That’s right, Florida is known for humidity. Our air is almost always jam-packed full of moisture. And here on the Gulf coast, we get the moist sea breeze to boot. Heck, we’re used to it.
But when winter comes, that humidity often eases up a little—sometimes a lot. You might notice it in your skin or sinuses. And your house notices, too.
Humidity makes things swell—especially wood, which in Florida absorbs a lot of moisture. Drywall and insulation are just a few of the other things in your home that are used to soaking up humid air.
So when that air dries out, so do these elements in your home. And instead of swelling, now they shrink. This can cause all kinds of issues, like gaps, warping, cracks, etc.
We can’t magically make the air more humid again. But we can keep our eyes peeled for these concerns, and identify them, and then take measures to make sure they don’t cause more serious problems in the future.