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Sunday, October 15, 2017

How to Winterize Your Home



Tips on How To Winterize Your Home

Owning a home in a winter climate has its challenges, especially if you do not reside in the home during the winter season, or if you take an extended vacation away from the home during the winter months. Read through the below tips and recommendations for ways to winterize your home and ensure no issues arise while you are away or upon your return.

Make a checklist.
Determine what needs to be done to properly winterize your home and write it down. Your newly crafted checklist will come in handy when it’s time to de-winterize the home upon your return.

Checklist categories should include:
  • Utilities
  • Kitchen
  • Indoor Areas
  • Outdoor Areas
  • Security


UTILITIES
  • Turn off exterior water.
    Make sure your water is turned off completely at the main supply point.

  • Unplug your appliances.
    If you leave the electric power on, unplug all appliances to avoid the risk of fire. In case of bad electrical, a power surge, or animal/rodent activity, you want to avoid any possible electrical issues.

  • Turn down your thermostat.
    Set your thermostat to a level adequate to keep the inside temperature above freezing and to keep things dry. For more frigid locations, do not turn your thermostat off. During lower temperature times, you do not want anything to completely freeze, especially in case you forget to drain the pipes or empty a toilet.
  • Pay your final bills and notify your utility companies.
    You don’t want to pay penalties for late bills, nor do you want to deal with unnecessary utility expenses that can be avoided by informing your utility companies that you need the service shut off while you are gone.
  • Forward or stop your mail delivery.
    Be sure to forward mail to your other address if you are taking an extended leave. If your departure is only a few weeks, simply inform your local post office to hold your mail delivery until you return. Ask a neighbor to watch for packages which may be delivered by UPS, FedEx or any other service.





KITCHEN

  • Clean out your fridge and freezer - completely.
    Do not keep anything that can go bad while you are gone or if the power goes out for an extended period of time. Wash the refrigerator and freezer thoroughly and prop open their doors to avoid mold from growing or smells from setting into the unit.

  • Remove all food.
    Any dry foods that you leave should be locked in airtight containers to keep rodents or insects out. To prevent possible issues or concerns, remove all food from the home.

  • Thoroughly clean your kitchen.
    Wash trash containers and put away soap, sponges, candles, etc. Consider placing rodent repellent under the sink and in the kitchen. Use rodent deterrents in the garage too.


THE REST OF THE HOME: INDOOR AREAS

  • Remove all items that could freeze.
    This includes all bottled liquids, such as water, soda, beer, and paint. Empty water from jars, vases, and decorative indoor fountains. Such items can break or even burst if they freeze.

  • Remove all fire hazards.
    Flammable, oily products, solvents, combustible products, etc. should be properly stored or completely removed to avoid any type of fire hazard.

  • Close flues and dampers.
    This will keep insects and other critters out, as well as prevent drafts from getting into the home.

  • Wash and vacuum everything.
    Remove bedding and allow mattresses to air out. Open empty drawers and closets for the same reason. Use mothballs where needed. All linens and bedding should be washed, then stored in airtight containers. This is advisable to make your return to the home easier and more comfortable. Vacuum carpets and sweep and mop floors. This ensures that no food particles are left behind.

  • Arrange for indoor plants to be watered.
    If you are leaving any live plants indoors, ask a trusted neighbor or nearby friend to stop by and water the plants once a week, or as needed.

  • Remove all trash from your home before you leave.
    You do not want to leave any trash anywhere in your home. This causes odors in the home and may attract rodents or insects.


THE REST OF THE HOME: OUTDOOR AREAS

  • Protect your yard.
    Consider what needs to be protected or taken care of in your yard and the exterior of your home. If needed, arrange to have the lawn and/or garden cared for. Cover any plants that are frost intolerant.

  • Store outdoor furniture.
    Cover and store any yard art, grills, outdoor furniture, lawn equipment, etc. Don’t leave anything that can blow over or blow away in case of high winds. Don’t leave anything out that cannot weather the season.


SECURITY

  • Put away and lock up valuables.
    Vehicles, bicycles, lawn maintenance equipment, and any other outdoor valuables should be put away in a garage or other secure location and properly stored. Block window views into your garage or storage space while you are gone. Consider storing such outdoor toys as boats, ATVs, or RVs in an offsite secure storage yard or facility.

  • Lock your home.
    Check that all windows and doors are shut completely and locked. Close window shutters, blinds, drapes, and curtains to deter possible break ins and to keep carpet and fabrics from fading.

  • Enlist your Neighborhood Watch program for help.
    Ask a trusted neighbor or nearby friend to drive by or make regular check-ins. Consider leaving this person a key for emergency entry, if needed.
  • Security system.
    If you are leaving your electricity on, and if you have a security system installed, share this with your local neighbor. Nowadays, there are system upgrades that allow monitoring via your cell phone.

Remember, keep a checklist of the items completed so you can thoroughly de-winterize upon your return to your home. It is also recommended that you provide some type of gift of appreciation for any neighbor or friend that helped watch your home, water your plants, take care of your lawn, or pick up your packages while you were away. Showing your appreciation will better guarantee that person will be willing to help you out again when you need them. Happy and safe travels to you!

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