Winterize your home for extend periods of time…
- Make it look like somebody’s home.
- Stop your mail and your deliveries, such as the newspaper, magazine subscriptions and , and if you are able, ask a friend or relative to collect flyers or other items that may be left at your door, so it look like you have been there.
- Arrange for someone to remove snow after storms.
- Put motion-sensitive exterior lights and interior lights on timers and set them to come on at varying times to discourage prowlers.
- No Ketchup, Mustard or Ham-burglars please!
- Confirm that your alarm systems are in working order, active & paid up for the time you will be gone.
- Secure external doors with door blocker, deadbolt or WiFi security system measures and windows with deadbolt locks, security-type hinges & make sure the frames are sturdy door frames that cannot be spread apart.
- Place valuables that you are not taking with you in a safe or another safe offsite location.
- It’s hard not to brag or want to share, however, Do Not post your vacation or travel plans on social media sites, as this is advertising your home is vacant.
- Water on… Water off?
- If a pipe bursts or leaks while you are away, it could cause significant damage. So either have someone check on your home or consider completely turning off the water supply. If your home is heated by an older steam heating system, consult with your heating professional before turning off the water supply.
- Depending on your location and your situation, you may want to drain your pipes of all water by opening the faucets, and flush your toilet to clear the water from the tank and bowl, then consider pouring antifreeze in toilet tanks and bowls to prevent any remaining water from freezing and cracking. This is frequently done in non-insulated homes or cabins. And to ensure that the pipes have been drained, consider having a plumber blow compressed air through the pipes.
- Set the temperature at 55°F or higher to help keep the interior of the floor and wall cavities, where the water piping is likely located above freezing temperatures should you decide to keep your water on. You may simply shut the water valve of to individual items such as washing machines and dishwashers, etc. Keeping room and cabinet doors open also helps heat to circulate.
- Shut off all outdoor water faucets to prevent vandalism and freezing damage.
- Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance BEFORE You Leave
- Have your heating system inspected and serviced. Have your fuel tanks filled before you leave.
- Maintain electrical power if required to keep the heating system running.
- Have your roof inspected before you leave and clean your gutters.
- Unplug all unnecessary appliances before you leave.
- No snacks to attract pests!
- Clean your home thoroughly.
- Clean, defrost and unplug refrigerators and freezers, wiping them dry and leaving doors propped open to prevent mildew. Also clean the oven.
- Inspect your home for openings that animals could use to enter. Check weather-stripping, insulation and exterior doors and windows to ensure no major deficiencies are present. Water and insects can enter through these openings.
- Chimneys should be inspected by a chimney service and, if necessary, cleaned to ensure that they are free from obstructions.
- Have a plan in case of emergencies
- Notify the police department that the property will be vacant & provide contact info.
- Install smoke detectors or maintenance them before you leave.
- Ask a trusted friend, neighbor or relative to keep an eye on your home and be available in emergency situations.
- Periodically check in with your contact person. Example: the weather turns frigid, you want to make sure no ice dams or roof issues etc. Provide access and contact info. to this trusted person.
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