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If you have a vacation home or you’re a snowbird that heads south for winter, you must take proper care of your home, especially since it will be vacant while you’re away. Winterizing your home will ensure the elements won’t cause issues that prevent you from enjoying the home next season. You’ll need to protect your home from water damage, theft, and electrical issues that can cause major problems when you’re away for a few months. Let’s talk about how to upkeep your vacation home.
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Winterization involves a series of steps to prevent issues when you come back in the spring and summer and can protect you from potential risks like burst water pipes and theft. If you don’t perform preventative maintenance, you’ll have difficulty getting the quality sleep you need when you’re not at home. Here’s how to upkeep your vacation home during the winter season:
This is how you should provide upkeep to your vacation home during the winter season. We know you like to travel and get away from the cold, so we hope these tips will help you keep your home feeling safe while you aren’t around.
If you want to make a little extra money on the side, consider renting the property to protect it from theft. If your home looks vacant, you’re more susceptible to theft. So even though you won’t be spending time at your vacation home during the winter, you should prevent the home from looking empty. Don’t let packages or newspapers build up over time because it signals that no one is home to collect them. You can stop newspaper delivery and ask a neighbor to take any deliveries left at your door.
In addition, you should pay a company to remove snow from walkways and driveways after a storm to make it look like someone has been doing it. You can also set timed lights to turn on and off throughout the day to make it appear as though someone is home. While this might sound silly or even like a waste of money, it can make your home look occupied to deter any thieves from breaking in when you’re not there.
Of course, thieves may try to break into a home even if they think someone is there, so you’ll need to be proactive. Since you won’t be there to scare away anyone who breaks into the home, you can invest in security alarms and secure all doors, windows, and locks. You should also remove any valuables from the home.
When you’re not at the home to make a mess, you may think that it won’t get dirty. However, vacant homes can get dusty, so it’s important to cover your furniture and put fabrics like blankets and pillows away to prevent them from getting dirty while you’re gone. In addition, you can cover mattresses, chairs, and sofas with a sheet and close all shades and blinds to prevent the sun from bleaching or damaging the furniture while you’re gone.
Pipes can burst during the winter because they get too cold, especially if you turn your heat off. While a pipe can break when you’re home, it’s more likely for them to break when you’re gone for long periods of time because there’s nothing to keep the pipes warm. Even though no one is using water while you’re away from the home, the pipes can still burst and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage and flooding, potentially destroying drywall and contributing to mold growth.
Therefore, everything from your wall decorations to your flooring can be damaged. Additionally, you won’t know a pipe bursts while you’re away, especially if you don’t regularly check on the house, so the damage could be even worse by the time you return for the next season.
Once the water is shut off, you should drain the pipes by opening the faucets and flushing the toilet to completely remove any water. You can also hire a plumber to handle this for you. However, don’t tell them you’re leaving the home for an extended period of time because you never know who they might tell.
If you don’t want to turn off your water because you plan to use the vacation home during the winter, you must keep your home warm to prevent pipes from bursting. Your home’s temperature should be at least 55 degrees to prevent piping from freezing. However, if you plan to leave for the entire season, it’s best to completely turn off the water so you don’t have to spend money on heating an empty home.
Performing routine maintenance before you leave can ensure you return to a home that’s in tip-top shape. Before winter, your heating system should be inspected to ensure the heat is working properly. In addition, you should continue to pay your electric bill, especially if you plan to use the heat while you’re away. If you’re worried about the home’s electricity, you can have your panel, wiring, and outlets inspected by an electrician.
If you leave during the winter, you should have your fuel tanks filled and keep the heat at 55 degrees or higher to prevent the pipes from freezing. In addition, you should check the insulating and weather stripping before winter hits and add extra insulation when necessary.
During the cold winter months, pests and animals may try to use your home as a shelter from the cold. You should discourage pests like roaches or bugs by cleaning the home, unplugging refrigerators, and removing food from the home. You should also inspect the home inside and out to cover up any openings that animals could use to get in, including the fireplace.
If you don’t have insurance, you should get it by the time you leave the home because you never know what could happen when you’re away. When you leave a house vacant for months, damages and theft can happen, no matter how much you try to prevent it. Having home insurance can keep you covered if anything happens to the home while you’re away.
Taking proper care of your home means being proactive when you plan to spend many months away. The two most important things to remember are that if your home looks unoccupied, someone might try to break in, and if you don’t take care of the pipes by keeping them warm or shutting the water off, they could break, causing a flood in your home that can contribute to mold growth or issues with the home’s structure.
Most people can’t check on their vacation homes while they’re away, so if you have a neighbor you trust, consider asking them to watch the home to prevent theft and any potential hazards. You can also contact the police to let them know you’ll be away and have them perform regular checks.
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