Visions of burglars, exploding water heaters and even house fires can dance through your head as you make plans to head to warmer climes, putting a real damper on the warm, sunny days you’ve been looking forward to.
Here’s how you can put a stop to – or at least minimize – these worries, giving you peace of mind to really enjoy your time in the sun!
Prepare your home for the winter
1. Make your home appear to be occupied
- – Stop mail – have it forwarded to your new destination
- – Have someone pick up those free papers that clutter your stoop
- – Stagger lighting systems to come on at different times and different nights, etc.
- – If you live in an area that gets snow, make arrangements for someone to shovel your drive and walkway
2. Get some help
- – Have someone regularly check on your home’s condition
- – Consider getting a security system that will notify you of any problems with the home (including, of course, a break-in)
3. Protect your home’s systems
- – Turn off your water supply or keep your thermostat set at 55 degrees or higher to prevent freezing pipes
- – Shut off appliances to save power
- – Leave your home spotless to prevent an infestation of pests while you’re gone
- – Shut the fireplace flue – and add a chimney cap – to prevent any unwanted “guests” from taking up residence in your home
4. Pre flight checklist
- – Get your heating system checked before leaving
- – Get a roof inspection to address any problems before they happen
- – Deal with any large overhanging limbs or dead trees that could hit your house
- – Trim back any hedges or bushes that might hide a burglar trying to break into your home
- – Check and replace any worn weather stripping around all of your exterior doors and windows
- – Check smoke detectors to be sure they’re working
- – Take a list of trusted repair people that you can contact should there be any issues
- – Consider adding keyed window locks
- – Consider installing a wireless thermostat
Prepare for your return flight!
After you’ve had all the fun you can stand it will be time to head home.
The steps you’ll need to take when returning home will vary depending upon your situation.
For example, if you’ve been staying in a second home that you own you’ll need to do some things to make sure your home is in good shape for next winter.
Otherwise, you’ll simply need to pack up your stuff – double checking to make sure that nothing gets left behind – then head back home.
While many of the home maintenance tasks you’ll do for your winter home will be the same as your main residence, if your home is in a warmer climate (e.g. Florida) do the following tasks to ensure peace of mind in knowing that your home will be waiting for your return next winter!
- – Leave your air conditioner set at about 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent any issues with mold growth.
- – Have a pest control company spray the exterior of your home each month to stop any bug infestations.
- – Shut off the water valve to the house to avoid any water damages.
- – If you own a pool, have it professionally serviced to ensure a healthy pool when you return.
- – Arrange for a lawn care service to cut your lawn and trim your bushes on a regular basis.
As a final note, be sure to check with your home insurer to understand any coverage limitations you may have on an unoccupied home.