Leaving for Winter Vacation? Read This.

Thinking of leaving your home for the winter to catch some warm sun? You’ll want your home to be in good working order when you get back, so make a checklist of what you need to do to winterize it properly and keep thieves away. You’ll enjoy your vacation more if you know your home is safe.

Water

  • Turn off and drain out all your water including the toilet, faucets and all appliances. After the water is off, open faucets to get water out of the pipes. Drain the washers and refrigerators according to the manufacturer’s directions.

  • You can then run RV type antifreeze through a partial cycle and pour it in the drains and toilet. This protects against freezing by creating a barrier from the air to the water.

  • Or you can get a licensed plumber to come and winterize your home.

Mail

  • Have your mail stopped or forwarded. You can do this online or at your local post office.

  • Cancel or freeze any subscriptions that you don’t want forwarded.

Security

  • Leave a spare key and your phone number with a trusted neighbor who is willing to look in on your house now and then. They might even be willing to water any plants you have in the house. You can also alert your police and neighborhood watch so they can keep an eye out.

  • Have at least a porch light set to turn on at night to deter burglars. You can include some lights in the house too, but consider how much you want to be paying for utilities while you’re away.

  • Take any small valuables with you.

  • If you pull items into a shed or garage, block the view into the windows.

  • Use strong locks and lock up every entry point.

Clean and Ventilate

  • Clean thoroughly to make sure there are no crumbs to attract rodents and pests.

  • Spray insecticide along baseboards and under the sinks. Leave out traps or chemical deterrents while you’re gone.

  • Pull off all the linens and bedding to wash and store them. Make sure they are completely dry before storing them in an airtight container. If your dry cleaner will hold them, you could take everything to the dry cleaners and keep them there until pick them up when you get back.

  • Empty or remove any containers that can freeze so they don’t burst while you’re gone.

  • Take out all the trash and get rid of potential fire hazard items like oily rags.

  • Close flues and dampers.

Thermostat

  • If you plan on leaving the thermostat on, turn it down to 55 degrees which should keep water from freezing.

Electricity

  • Unplug everything before you leave. A percentage of energy is wasted just through appliances that are plugged in. Or, if you are not going to leave anything running, including the furnace, you can switch off the breaker as you leave.

Gas

  • If you will be gone very long, it really isn’t safe to leave any gas on. That means a gas water heater too.

Outside

  • Drain the pool and hose bib.

  • Bring in furniture and lawn decorations from outside that can get blown about or stolen.

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