Before flying south for the winter, all “snowbirds” must take the time to ensure their homes are properly winterized. If you’re new to this migrating lifestyle, you should know that it will be much easier to enjoy your time in the sun knowing that your home will be safe while you’re away. As such, it’s essential to take the following steps to protect your home.
How to Protect Your Home When Going Away for the Winter
- Keep your house warm. You may choose to keep your furnace at a low setting or turn it off completely. If you leave it on and don’t turn off the water, turn your thermostat down, but make sure not to go lower than 55 degrees to ensure the water pipes don’t freeze. Leaving room and cabinet doors open also helps heat to circulate and warm the walls where the pipes are located. Don’t forget to turn off the water heater as well.
- Winterize the plumbing. If you choose to turn off the water, avoid damage due to freezing by opening all of the taps and leaving them open in order to drain out any water remaining in them. Flush toilets, shut off the water supply to the dishwasher and washing machine, and be sure to drain the exterior taps.
- Dispose of uneaten food. Avoid attracting pests and other unwelcome visitors by emptying, cleaning and unplugging your refrigerator and freezer. Leave them propped open slightly to prevent mildew.
- Unplug appliances. Unplug all appliances and electronics before you leave to reduce energy consumption and protect them from power surges during storms.
- Make your home look occupied. Discourage burglars by making your home look like it’s occupied. You should arrange to have snow removed and, depending on when you head out of town, you may need to hire someone to cut the grass as well. Forward your mail, stop newspaper deliveries and ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Just make sure they have your contact information!
- Clean your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to damaging ice dams and roof leaks in the winter. Hire a professional gutter cleaning service to clean and tune up your gutter system. Consider installing Gutter Helmet®, the best gutter protection system for preventing clogs.
- Have a plan for emergencies. Have a trusted local contact available who can handle emergency situations for you, and be sure they have your contact information. Grant them access to your home so they can routinely check for heating problems, water leaks and other issues. Ask your contact to keep an eye out for ice damming when the temperature dips below freezing.
Get Peace of Mind With Gutter Helmet®
If ice damming is a concern, learn more about Helmet Heat®, a self-regulating heating cable that melts snow and ice before they can cause problems for your roof. Helmet Heat is the perfect match for a Gutter Helmet gutter guard installation in the winter. And be sure to check out our gutter cover reviews! Find a local Gutter Helmet and Helmet Heat dealer by calling (800) 824-3772 or contacting us online today.
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