If you are a snowbird that flees to sunnier skies before the first snowflakes hit the ground, then listen up! Winterizing your primary home before heading to 75° weather is a must to prevent any sort of issues that may arise while you’re gone. The last thing you’ll want to do when you get home is to deal with a broken pipeline and a destroyed home.
Leaving your home for months on end can be difficult, so we’ve created a handy checklist that will help you assess what you need to do to winterize your home and grab a flight faster.
The best asset you can have when you’re going to be leaving your home for a long period of time is a trusty friend or neighbor. Not only can this individual help you out by checking up on the list items below, but it will give you piece of mind that you have a dependable person looking after your home. Create a unique checklist for your home and work out a schedule of how often you want them to drop by. If they are willing to help watch over your home, be sure to hold up your end and provide the proper tools. These can include but are not limited to your contact information, emergency numbers, and anyone that they would need to have contact with concerning your home. Don’t forget to reward them with something for your travels to show your appreciation!
Now that you have your house sitter lined up, here are some crucial tasks for you before you head to warmer weather.
The pipes are probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of winterizing your home. There are a couple different ways you can make sure that you don’t come back to a ruined water system and home.
- If you are turning your water off, you’ll want to have a plumber drain and blow compressed air through your pipes. Any water left to freeze can cause blockage or breaking of your pipes.
- If you plan to leave your water on, you MUST keep your home and plumbing at a maintained temperature of at least 55°. If you don’t, your pipes will freeze up. Remember to keep your furnace running and leave room and cabinet doors open to allow the heat to circulate.
Don’t let your house be a sitting duck while you’re away. The more lived-in you can make it look the better! Burglars prey on unattended homes. Make sure yours isn’t taken advantage of by making sure your alarm systems are fully functional and doors are locked. Keep up with outwards appearances by installing timer lights, hiring a snow removal service, and forwarding your mail (which you can even do online!). Be sure to take care of your valuables inside by placing them in a safe, far from prying eyes. Another way you can protect your home is to be wary of what you post on social media while you’re away. Keep your vacation updates limited to family, close friends, and house sitter to not further entice burglars. Don’t let your care-free beach selfie turn into an ad for an empty home!
- Install timer lights
- Forward mail and stop news delivery
- Snow removal
- Test alarm systems
- Lock doors
- Store valuables
Although there are quite a few items on this checklist that are not the norm for many homeowners, it’s important to not forget your normal routine maintenance. You don’t want to rely on your house sitter to be worrying about these simple tasks you can check off your list before you ever leave the airport runway.
- Test your fire alarms and replace batteries or units as needed.
- Have heating system inspected and serviced.
- Have your roof inspected and clean the gutters.
- Remove dead trees or overhanging limbs that could fall.
Keep the Pests Away
While you’re away, you don’t want pests to be throwing a party of their own. Talk to your exterminator or pest control about any potential problems that can be addressed proactively. The last thing you’ll want to come home to is an infestation of any sort!
- Clean perishable foods out of your fridges.
- Defrost and unplug your fridges and freezers.
- Check for cracks in your home that animals could crawl in.
Winterizing your home for winter can seem like a daunting task. There are so many things that need to be done, but if you take your time, you’ll be able to check everything off your list! We advise starting the winterizing process about two months prior to your departure, just to make sure you’re not too rushed.
To help you winterize efficiently, use our checklist below to make sure you don’t forget anything!